Tesla a dirty car?? What's wrong with this evaluation?

Tesla a dirty car?? What's wrong with this evaluation?

Read this knowing it was wrong. Love to squash it by using the smarts on this forum. Arguing that the electric use of the car exceeds many ICE carbon contributions makes no sense to me.

negarholger | 13 mai 2013

Enjoy it - it is pure desperation. Wait for the articles when the panic starts.

CaliSun | 13 mai 2013

It's a silly article, the author goes through pains to get the highest possible number for CO2 for the Tesla but uses EPA numbers for the other cars in comparison. if it was a true comparison they would find the true CO2 values for those cars too.

If you look at the bottom the author also has written articles advocating investment in petrolium companies and trusts. | 13 mai 2013

I think we need an article from Petersen from Seeking Alpha to get the whole "help out the shorts" package complete.

RAFellows | 13 mai 2013

He says he has no positions in TSLA stock, but he also says at the end that he is advising clients to be Short. So, he does have an interest in seeing the stock decline.

jk2014 | 13 mai 2013

Check out what Elon says about this argument at Ted:

rloehler | 13 mai 2013

I read this article too, and I've seen this oil industry shill (Nathan Weiss) and others on seeking alpha debate the greenness of the Tesla Model S. So I did the calculations on my own vehicle. I found that the article author inflates the Model S energy usage numbers and then compares them to ICE vehicles without taking into account similar inefficiencies in ICE vehicles. I have no idea where he gets his CO2 emission numbers, either. He also conveniently ignores the 60 KWH model S, which is even more energy efficient than the 85 KWh.

Let me show you my numbers compared to his:

My 60 KwH Tesla (~3000 miles) His representative car

KWh/mile .315 .367
CO2/mile 196 228
Vamp loss/day 2.5 3.5
Miles per year 10,500 12,000
KWH/yr (includ. 4219 5681
Total Energy use 4963 KWh 6683 KWh
(85% chg eff)
Total CO2/mile 293 g 346 g
Total lbs CO2/yr 1400 4152

So, the main number to look at here is the 293 g CO2/mile that my personal 60Kh Model S emits, based on his calculations. How does that stack up to other vehicles?

I went to to compare results: (numbers shown represent combined tailpipe and upstream emissions)

My 60 KWh Tesla Model S: 293 (After 3000 miles) --> including all vampire/charging losses
60 KWh Tesla Model S (EPA estimate): 220 (Based upon my local region - Florida)
80 KWh Tesla Model S (EPA estimate): 240 (Based upon my local region - Florida)
2002 Lexus SC430 (my previous vehicle): 608
2013 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: 190
2013 Smart fortwo coupe: 308
2013 Chevy Spark 4 cyl: 326
2013 Chevy Volt: 250
2013 Toyota Camry 6 cyl: 443
2013 Toyota Highlander 2WD 4 cyl: 504
2013 Honda civic hybrid 4 cyl: 252
2013 Ford C-max hybrid: 236
2013 BMW 528i 4 cyl: 396
2013 Mercedes-Benz E400 Hybrid: 426
2013 Mercedes-Benz S550 8 cyl: 583
2013 2013 Jaguar XF 6 cyl: 528
2013 Cadillac CTS 8 cyl: 791 (sheesh!)
2013 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid 4WD: 528
2013 Cadillac Escalade AWD: 739
2013 Lexus LS 460 8 cyl: 583

So here's the thing: If you use Nathan Weiss's formula assumptions, my personal measurements indicate that the Tesla Model S emissions profile compares favorably with subcompact plug-ins, impressively with ICE super economy cars, and blows away other luxury vehicles, including luxury hybrids.

If Nathan Weiss doesn't feel that the Tesla Model S is a "Green Car," then I guess both the Chevy Spark and Smart Coupe don't qualify, either, because both of these vehicles produce more CO2 per mile than my 60 KWh Tesla Model S utilizing his own formula.

Furthermore, though a few vehicles had fever emissions on this list than my personal Model S, remember that I'm comparing my real world figures to EPA estimates. In real world measurements, all of the comparison vehicles would likely be much higher. If you level the playing field and use the EPA estimate for the 60 KWh Model S (220 g/mile), then only one vehicle outperforms the 60 KWh Model S: The Mitsubishi i-MiEV (190 g/mle)--essentially a souped up golf cart.
(The 85 KWh Tesla Model S by EPA estimates has about 10% higher emissions than the 60 kWH.)

All I know is, by these calculations I'm decreasing my annual CO2 emissions from 2.9 tons (2002 Lexus SC430) to 1.4 tons (60 KWhTesla Model S). What's not green about that?

There is one additional factor that he fails to emphasize: that vampire losses (looks like about 20% of annual energy use based upon my driving distance) will be fixed soon, making our cars even more energy efficient. And as the electric grid becomes less coal dependent in succeeding years, greenhouse emissions will go down even more compared with ICE vehicles.

Tesla Owners: Worry not. You ARE driving a very green car!

awaite | 13 mai 2013

you lost me at . I've been tempted to make manual updates to my computers' hosts files to block that site. Utter noise.

Captain_Zap | 13 mai 2013

My brother is a mariner and he has worked on a wide variety of vessels. Everything from oceanographic research vessels to oil tankers and dynamically positioning drill ships.

That brings this question to mind. Why don't they include the environmental costs and emissions associated with drill ships continuously cruising the globe and drilling dusters for oil speculators or the emissions associated with transporting oil?

How about trucks driving from city to city for gas deliveries to service stations?

Don't even get me started on leaking underground storage tanks, spills, and other environmental damage that is caused by using oil and fuel in personal vehicles.

negarholger | 14 mai 2013

Catain_Zap - don't get me statrted... 1 gallon of gasoline takes 13.5 kWh to produce - so I can drive 38 miles before you even put a single gallon of gas into the ICE. The whole argument is a lost cause.

Andre-nl | 14 mai 2013


"1 gallon of gasoline takes 13.5 kWh to produce".

I'd be interested in a source for that number. Have been hearing a lot of different estimates.


"Why don't they include the environmental costs and emissions associated with drill ships continuously cruising the globe and drilling dusters for oil speculators or the emissions associated with transporting oil?"

This is exactly the reason why Argonne Lab always talks about well-to-wheel efficiency, to get all upstream CO2 emissions too. Tar sands require a lot of heat (=CO2) to extract the bitumen from the sand. I bet they only used the tailpipe emissions as a comparison.

negarholger | 14 mai 2013

Just google it... That seems to be the general concensus. Half of it is just for the refining.

BYT | 14 mai 2013

@awaite, That's what I call FOX News, FOX NOISE!

Andre-nl | 14 mai 2013

Kleist, thanks for the hint. Googling just brings up a wide variety of blogposts claiming anything between 2 and 15 kWh/gallon. That's why I asked.

Andre-nl | 14 mai 2013

Kleist, did some looking around and found that Argonne Lab research shows that the energy cost of producing 1 gallon of gasoline is 0,25 gallon of gasoline eq. (all included: extraction, refining, transport, etc). The lower heating value of gasoline is ~33.5 kWh/gallon. 25% of that is 8.4 kWh/gallon.

Now, what is this 8.4 kWh/gallon? Not electricity. It is the heat that results from the combustion of fossil fuels, and can be converted into electricity with an efficiency of ~50%, in a modern power plant. Factor in losses in the grid and the charger and the energy used to pump up, produce, refine, transport 1 gallon of gasoline could be used to generate ~4 kWh of electricity.

Remember that some kWh's are more equal than others. Electricity is a very high grade form of energy that can be used more efficiently than the low grade energy (heat) from fossil fuel combustion. Electric and thermal kWh's should therefore never be used interchangeably on a 1:1 basis.

You can also look at it from another angle. The US consumes about 130 billion gallons of gasoline per year. If each gallon indeed used up 13.5 kWh that would bring the electricity requirement to 1750 TWh. Annual US electricity generation is ~4000 TWh, so oil rigs and refineries would then consume nearly half of all US electricity. That doesn't pass the sniff test.

Andre-nl | 14 mai 2013

" to generate ~4 kWh of electricity." ==> " to deliver ~4 kWh of electricity in your battery."

amir | 14 mai 2013

I agree that his numbers are skewed but I think there are 2 major problems with the basic approach of the seeking Alpha article: 1) The calculation of CO2 emissions does not take into account that over time electricity will be produced with cleaner technologies resulting in lower CO2 emissions for EVs. ICE cars or even hybrid cars cannot benefit from this effect as they burn fuel. 2) Since most EVs are charged at night the incremental CO2 emission associated with such nightly charge is negligible since the power plants have to be kept operational regardless of demand. Once every house has an EV that fact will be different but by them electricity will likely be produced much more cleanly.