This week on Gas2, the most popular stories revolved around the promise of electric power in alternative transportation. From Tesla’s reveal of the Model 3, to Toyota’s vision for its 2022 quick charging EV, and even to the Koch brothers’ message machine about the perils of EVs, the key connecting element among the top Gas2 stories was about the promise of electric power…. who has it, who proclaims to be on the verge of having it, and who’s so afraid of the promise of electric power that they’re spreading EV stories about fearful safety concerns and children’s welfare.
Here are those stories and more in this edition of the “Gas2 Week in Review.”
Titled “The Dirty Secrets of Electric Cars,” the new Koch brothers’ video is a linguist’s dream! Did you know that “electric cars are more toxic to humans than average cars?” Or that “pollution is rampant” in countries where batteries are produced? When “rare earth metals” are mined for EV batteries, the video says, “children are forced into oppressive labor” and “are ripe for exploitation.” These children “earn as little as two dollars a day.” It is “dangerous” to extract these metals, many of which “end up in landfills.” Ah, the simple video is rife with the most basic of propaganda techniques to refute the promise of electric power:
- name calling (“dirty secrets”),
- glittering generalities (because batteries — among other products — are produced in countries that are polluted, it is implied that batteries are to blame),
- plain folks (“children” are “forced into oppressive labor,” but the video implies the fault lies with battery production rather than horrific social conditions),
- appeal to fear (batteries “end up in landfills” which, by extension, will contaminate infrastructure like water supplies), and,
- black and white fallacy (only two alternatives are presented— a world with and without batteries.)
Watch the video yourself and see if you can find more propaganda techniques. It’s easy!
Unlike the Koch brothers, several European countries are embracing the promise of electric power. Following France earlier this month, Britain has announced that by 2040 it will impose a ban on the sale of cars and light duty trucks with internal combustion engines. To move this plan toward reality, the U.K. is providing councils with new funding to accelerate development of local plans as part of an ambitious £3 billion program. Target areas are to include retrofitting or replacing diesel buses, altering roadways to reduce congestion, reconfiguring the timing of traffic lights, instituting special levies, and even creating a diesel scrappge fund.
To be built on an all-new platform, Toyota’s new electric car will be powered by a new type of battery. According to the Chunichi Shimbun daily newspaper, Toyota will detour around lithium-ion batteries and, instead, use all-solid-state batteries, which will introduce recharging in mere minutes. The result will be significantly increased driving range. Toyota spokeswoman Kayo Doi said the company intends to commercialize all-solid-state batteries by the early 2020s. With new platform, EV, and batteries, the promise of electric power is strong at Toyota, which is slowly stepping away from its original intention to rely strictly on hydrogen fuel cell technology.
In a digital reveal streamed from the company’s homepage, Tesla unveiled the newest vehicle in their catalog, the Model 3. The “Standard” version has a base price of $35,000, will reach 0–60 mph in 5.6 second, has 220 miles of range, and can achieve a top speed of 130 miles per hour. The “Long Range” version costs $9,000 more than its counterpart. The Long Range and its larger battery pack will lower the 0-60 to 5.1 seconds, reach top speed of 140 miles mph, and achieve 310 miles of range. The Model 3 deliveries to employee reservation holders began on July 28, 2017 at the Tesla Factory in Fremont, CA. Reservations are still available, Gas2 readers….
EV batteries come in many different sizes, shapes, and voltages. According to Teslanomics‘ Ben Sullins, the Model 3 battery pack will actually use battery cells that are 44 millimeters high and 16 millimeters. If Sullins is correct, the Model X batteries will be wide and rectangular instead of round. All of this is different from the Tesla Model S and Model X, which use the 18650 cylindrical cells. Those are 18 millimeters in diameter and 65 millimeters long.
Why is this important? The new cells would have higher energy density than either the other cells, and it’s higher energy density that may give the Model 3 — with a 75 kW battery — a range of 315 miles or more. At this writing, although the first Model 3 has been revealed, few details about its batteries have been released. Stay tuned, readers, to Gas2 for more information as it is distributed about Model 3 batteries and other Tesla news.