Thursday, August 18, 2022

German Greenies Make Stunning Realization

From an article in German, quoted at Watts Up With That,  Germany’s ADAC automobile association has had the stunning realization that electric cars are not 100% efficient!  Even worse, nothing connected to those cars is 100% efficient!  

Why didn't somebody tell them?  I mean besides any engineer they would talk with?  

I'm not making this up.  The article begins:

This makes electric cars even more expensive, and less affordable, than previously thought.

The ADAC’s results show, “electricity consumption when charging electric cars is significantly higher than indicated on the consumption displays.”

Manufacturers forgot to tell e-car buyers that lots of energy – about 10% – in fact gets lost during charging and battery storage.

10%?  In your dreams.  That's considering the energy delivered by the charger to marked capacity of the battery, which is the very last step of the charging process.  Before the battery gets charged by the charger, the charger converts the power grid output (in Germany and much of the world, 240V 50Hz) to the voltage required to charge the battery.  These systems are typically based on switching power supplies; those get good efficiencies and over 90% is not unheard of even as they age.  But take that last number in article, 90% of the energy ends up being usable in the battery, and consider the efficiency of the charger and you find (0.9*0.9 or 0.81) so 19% lost.  Instead of dumping a few liters of gasoline on the ground, it's dumping twice that. 

There are many steps between that outlet the charger is plugged into and the generation system that creates that electricity.  Ignore the power generator and whether it's a wind turbine, coal or nuke, the power distribution grid itself has losses.  Transformers step up and step down AC voltages with little loss, but the route to some particular destination is hard to know and some will have more losses than others.  It's absolute truth that there are no gains of energy from the power generation to battery being charged, only losses.  I posted this cartoon years ago as a reminder, in a post on a related topic: Climate Fix Science is Just This Stupid.

ADAC actually ran tests on some cars to get the losses:

The ADAC tested electric vehicles were all connected to the same 22-kW wall box at 23 degrees ambient temperature, all under the same conditions. According to the test results: “a 100 kWh battery in a Tesla Model X100D actually requires 108.3 kWh. The Kia e-Niro Spirit requires 72.3 kWh for a 64 kWh battery. Even the Jaguar I-PACE EV400 needs at least 10 kWh more for a 90 kWh battery,” reports

With skyrocketing electricity prices in Germany, these hidden costs are turning out to be substantial. But the news will soon get a lot worse, reveals: “Electricity prices will rise by 320 percent. […] Driving electric cars is and will be more expensive for drivers than previously thought.”

The author at WUWT notes that current electricity rates in German cities are at about 50 euro-cents a kilowatt hour. With a 300% rise, mobility is about to become a luxury only affordable by the rich. Apparently just what the people pushing this global nonsense are trying to accomplish. 

Look, I laugh at this because I'm old enough that the memories of facing this inefficiency are hard-wired in my brain.  The first battery powered system I worked on (a small box for the ISS which never actually flew) had NiCd batteries and the rule for charging them was to apply 1/10 of the rated Amp*Hours capacity of the battery (0.1C) for 16 hours.  That's right, 160% of rated capacity to charge them slowly and safely.  That makes the efficiencies that ADAC measured, all around 8-13%, look highly optimized.


  1. Never heard this before, 19% is a big loss. What about discharging these batteries? Some sources say you can only use 70% and then the battery won't yield any more? TeX

    1. That lower limit depends on the battery's chemistry and the battery management system. If it has one. I think all cars have a BMS built in.

      If I'm recalling correctly, the better cars won't charge the battery higher than 90% or discharge lower than 30% (the 70% you mention). It's supposed to preserve battery life. The thing is, if you don't know how many Watt*hours went into the battery, you'll never know if it's limiting you. It'll just say you're discharged when there's potentially more there, and it will tell you you're fully charged when you get to 90%. They're trying to make it something you don't have to worry about and let the car control itself.

      If it isn't clear, I'm not an electric car owner. I'm technically not a power supply designer, although I've done a handful. They're just old tech, done mostly in the '80s and '90s.

  2. Talking energy conversion efficiency to a non engineer is like speaking Swahili to a twelve year old. Their eyes glaze over then something comes out of their mouth that is just as incomprehensible. Try to explain line loss due to temperature change and you might as well speak Martian.

    1. It should be something everybody can understand. Most people hear the saying "you can't get something for nothing" all their lives.

    2. I learned engineering and physics by years of post-graduate study. My favorite expression when reponding to technical question from people with no technical education is "that's not right. That's not even wrong."

  3. Civilization consists of creating entropy at ever faster amounts to produce PEZ.

  4. And, of course, that charging test is under reas.onably perfect conditions.

    Now do it when it's -10C outside during a blizzard.

    Or when it's 100F outside.

    Or when it's 96F outside during a hurricane when the grid drops.

    I worked for a major battery manufacturer in their tech sales department. One part of the company was making batteries for Space Station Freedom. And as our noble host says, no matter what, in good conditions with a good battery, you're looking at 130-160% charge to get 'full charge' and no matter what the efficiency and how good the battery chemistry is, each discharge/charge cycle only charges up to almost the last charge level. It's like calculus equations, where 'almost but not equal to 2' times 'almost but not equal to 2' approaches the limit of 4.

    Aaaaaaannnnnndd... all of this was known in the 1900's when electric cars out-performed internal combustion and steam powered cars. In the 1960's when rechargeable portable batteries became a thing. In the 70's, in the 80's, in the 90's...

    Anyone who believed or believes different is treating science as a religion or as a liberal arts rather than as, well, science.

    It's not hard to understand. But it also requires the person to understand logic and real science and not flim-flammery and whoodoo.

  5. Expecting religious fanatics to respect objective reality is always a bet against overwhelming odds -- and the "electric vehicle" fanatics are as religious about it as any Jehovah's Witness.

  6. Never fear. This winter Germany will get to understand many things as much of their civilization freezes to death, if Russia has the cojones to make them live with their decisions!

  7. And as bad as that is, you didn't include the power lost in the grid distribution wires before it gets to the charger, or the discharge efficiency of the battery, or the efficiency of the motor driver amplifiers, or the efficiency of the motor itself, or the efficiency in the tires.

    From original power source (oil, coal, nuclear, hydro, solar, wind) to getting the vehicle to move down the road the overall losses are incredible.

    1. Oh, yeah. I left out a lot, but I wanted to stay close to the original story.

      It gets convoluted to talk about those numbers alongside Internal Combustion Engine numbers because the Electric Car zealots will argue, "yeah, but how much fuel is burned filling the tanker trucks to the gas station? What about the energy to run the refinery, huh?" and that sort of crap.

    2. Good point. You can rapidly get into an argument following the energy from its creation in the Sun. The same arguments that can be made about the cost of growing food so that you can operate a bicycle to get to work.

  8. As a response to hurricane evacuations in Florida Tesla send an over-the air update to unlock more of the buffer 30% buffer capacity so evacuees could get a bit farther before having to queue for hours to recharge.

    Now, what Big Brother giveth (extra capacity) Big Brother can taketh away (locking away capacity to restrict your range)...

  9. The ultimate goal of the evil people in power is simple.
    You will own nothing and be happy.
    You will go nowhere and be happy.
    You will freeze and be happy.
    You will starve And be happy.

    If you look at everything happening while keeping in mind they
    hate all of us and want most of us dead everything that's been
    happening for the last couple of years will make sense.

    1. They intend to reprise the Holodomr.
      On a GLOBAL basis!

  10. Built an off grid solar/wind system for the house, its incredible how much energy goes into the fork truck battery which is 1250 amp hour, 20hr rate old fashion wet acid lead cell, compared how much real world capacity get out of it to power the house. Good thing the wind and sun are free for the taking once the system is bought.
    Its difficult to understand in one respect, first finding out the best inout is always exceed the rated system capacity no matter what all else. The extra goes to dump loads when the battery reaches full charge using a load diverter, dumps into a 12VDC water heater element manifold plumbed into a natural convection system to heat domestic hot water, (got the wood stove hooked into it too thru a heat exchanger, which combined has a heat exchanger runs to a aluminum race car radiator using a muffin fan for extra house heating, thats all natural cinvection also, the idea being once the domestic water heater reaches full temp theres still a dump liad and a place fir the wood stove heat exchanger surplus. Waste not want not.
    The other diffulculty is the best off grid device, thats simply, but really hard for people me included, is changing your thinking. Accomplish that the rest is basic applied common sense physics and simple pie and ingenuity.

    I look at the EV stuff and just shake my head at what a dbake oil scam it all is, how its seen by many as a zero sum game.
    Im starting to understand that wind and solar for now is realky only economicaly feasible and an honest endeavor with small wind and solar, and hydraulic water turbine, in a closed loop system, mostly because how it is such a fantastic investment, grid feed isnt in this catagory, only stand alone, for the simple truth every penny and drop of swaet equity put in instantly and forever pays itself back and once paid back it really is free in terms of the wind blows and sun shines as long as your off grid system functions. One caveate is no matter what mother nature does what she desires, and you get periods of no wind and sun and to stay off grid you have to have alternative system input. Built a gasoline genset using an aircolled VW beetle bug motor, drives a 400 amp PMA, a one wire 12vdc race alternator, PMA for fast charge and the one wire 100 amp race alternatir for a slow charge. At idle of 800rpms the beetlebug motor puts out near 18 hp, more than enough to produce the required current and watts. and it literally sips fuel, near run time of 5 hrs a gallon no matter the charge rate. I think thats about as real world practical as it gets, a diesel might be better, probably is cause of erges to torque compared to gasoline but its splitting hairs, as i can run the VW engine in hime made ethanol in a pinch, but that stuff you need to run near 40% more than petrol. But it is an option if gasoline gets scarse. easier to home produce ethonal than vegetable oil.
    Everything comes down to the classic formula of 750 watts to the horsepower. Get right with that fundamental theorem and its easy to figure everything out common sense every day applied working functional practical ways.
    The other surplus from this kind of stand alone is the bucks the rentier's never get out of you and once the cost is paid back understand how much wealth that is and how it compounds over time. So small standalone off grid is likely the only economically viable alternative energy source.
    Another thing long as PV celks are to be had and materiels to build a PMA are abailable, along with sundries from cable to wind turbine tower materiels you always have the option of increasing input. Ni matter what the golden rule is it dont work without putting in more than you take out. Thats absolute rule of the universe. Unicorns need not apply.

  11. But changing your thinking in terms of best buch for the value is the number one investment which makes everything possible. To put it another way, the most baluable and highest efficient componant you can build and employ, is being ingenious and perservere at finding ways to reduce your power needs. Nothing comes close to the power of an alternative power system than that componant, and believe you me, it is a componant just as real and viable as a fuse or a battery or a solar panel.

    To put it in another facet, think how ineffecient it is to go to work, part with your hard won wealth thru the system as it is in mainstream america, how many have greedy fungers in every buck, how many levels of wealth transfer take your wealth. And compare that to taking your buck and putting it into the regenerative system if off grid small wind/solar, which is all yours bought and paid for. And how now the mains grid system no linger gets that buck, that buck pays you, and pays you over and over, leaving that buck to use for other standalone systems, like a roof water or natural spring cistern system, Viola! Now you got another buchk never leaves your standalone wealth system. OK, now take that buck and put it into a greenhouse for a three season suply of fresh food, how about some hogs and chickens, or a hot water solar box roof system, free hot water for heat and dmestic hot water, keep a jacuzzi warm, plumb it to your greenhouse increase your growing season.
    Sure its work, but you got to work no matter what dont you? why not change your thinking and invest in home and acerage, that buck can be put into fruit trees, grapevines, berry and cane fruit, nut trees, how about a small herd of beef cattle, whats a 1200lb beef cow dress out to? About 350lbs of wrapped delicious wholesome meat, add thise tasty taters from your greenhouse, thats living large and self sustainable and the wealth inherent is just mind boggling.
    Can you see how just changing your thinking and some ingenuity pays you back? I dine all this, live this way, im richer than i ever imagined it was possible to be and everything i own is paid for clear i own everything totally, no note or mortage, did it all on a welders wages. never made more than 50 grand before taxes my whole life.
    Its all because i changed my thinking. Some elbow grease too. But again you always got to work to survive and feed yourself no matter what. Why not work for yourself in this fashion? I have 5 acres and independence. And it pays me instead of me paying the babk. I became an off grid bank, a bank of personal wealth with nobody with a hand in my pocket all on marginal blue colkar wages. I simply invested every extra buck i had and built my bank.
    Now, when the EV market crashes and EV vehicles are essentially worthless i can scrounge up a decent used one, and charge it for free off my off grid system.
    See, how changing your thinking gets you?