Though Vince Ebert makes his living as a prominent cabaret artist in Germany, he is in fact a trained physicist who has a good understanding of science and is thus quite able to see it when someone is trying to pull the wool over our eyes.
Prominent cabaret artist, physicist Vince Ebert says electric cars nowhere near what they are portrayed to be. Image cropped from Facebook here.
One example is Germany’s “Energiewende” (transition to renewable energies) where Germany is attempting to wean itself off fossil fuels and to supply its energy needs almost completely with green energies such as wind and sun.
One aim Germany has is to convert all its motor vehicles on the street over the electric vehicles. In fact some green politicians have even called for banning the registration of fossil fuel cars by 2030.
So just how feasible (or absurd) is the proposal? Ebert points out in an opinion piece here, that is a lot easier said than done. Clearly the whole idea is in fact quite absurd.
First he notes that electric cars are a long way from having the over 700+ kilometer range of fossil fuel cars and that electric cars reaching that range are “dreams of the future“.
Quarter million wind turbines
Another major obstacle is the lack of charging stations. Even if Germany managed to put merely 1 million electric cars on its streets, Ebert calculates that this would necessitate the construction of 35,000 wind turbines.
However in Germany there are in fact some 6o million vehicles on the road, and “if every driver charged his car for 30 minutes every second day” and did so evenly distributed over a smart grid, “we would need 140 new power plants or 220,000 wind turbines“…which is almost 10 times more than what is already installed.
This is an enormous number — and it would only be enough for the electric cars and not even include the tens of millions of households, businesses and industry that together need even more power than Germany’s transportation sector.
Worse than fossil fuels
Another problem, Ebert points out, is the enormous size of the batteries. In order to replace the 30 liters of petrol of a conventional car, an electric vehicle needs a modern lithium battery weighing some 900 kilograms. Supplying the hundreds of millions of cars in operation worldwide with the lithium and neodymium would be nowhere near sustainable, Ebert writes. He also cites findings by Germany’s renowned Fraunhofer Institute:
Moreover the Fraunhofer-Institute for Structural Physics concluded that the manufacture and recycling of modern batteries has a negative impact on the ecological budget when compared to the fossil fuel engines.”
In a nutshell, electric cars would only make the environment much worse.
Then there are the organizational aspects of using electric car batteries, Ebert reminds us, asking readers to imagine millions of Germans all leaving at once for summer holidays on the autobahns and then all of them trying to charge their vehicles all at once along the motorway after a just couple of hours of driving. Huge traffic jams would form as cars charge up at stations at the rest areas. While a fossil fuel car can fill up in a matter of minutes, electric cars would be blocking the charging stations for an hour or more. It would be total chaos and mayhem.
Ebert summarizes his opinion on the rush to electric cars by quoting biologist Thomas Huxley:
The great tragedy of science – the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.”