Self Driving Vehicles to the Rescue?


Brett Houser with Greenlots suggests that every electric vehicles pulls as much power as a single family house per day  Ouch!  That was not what you expected right?  That means lots of power plants – upgraded wiring, new poles, new transformers, etc.  Subsides to encourage electric vehicles, but all power consumers pay the cost of upgrades.  J.A. Lesser, notes that the subsidies for electric vehicles primary go to those who can afford electric cars, which are currently high end vehicles, so the benefit translate to the higher income people, vs working people who pay for all power.  The savings in emissions is a question unless power plants become cleaner (a question under the Trump White House).  Otherwise we are simply switching fuels – gasoline for natural gas (at the moment).   While natural gas now exceeds coal as the largest fuel source for power plants, but appears to have peaked at about 33%.  One issue may be that natural gas has priority for heating – some diversions in the winter could pose a challenge if new pipelines are not constructed.  And that has been an ongoing challenge in some communities.

Renewables are the only sector climbing because they are easily placed and can be constructed in small increments, but they are only 12% of total power produced although many electric vehicle supported think solar and EVs are a match.  Time will tell if the battery technology has developed to appoint that is can address the night time concerns with solar electric.

So back to self driving vehicles – how soon is the technology coming?  Hard to say.  Sensors are an issue.  “Seeing” the road lanes is an issue.  Snow, rain, sleet are issues.  Liability is an issue.  Ownership may be an issue if the cost is high.  Who holds the insurance (Warren Buffett has asked this question).  But we sure could get some work done in the self driving vehicle. …

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