Why MPG should be important for electric vehicles – TechCrunch


If preserving the environment is just a lifestyle choice, automakers and their latest electric vehicles have us covered. Tesla’s Plaid touts performance. Leafs, Priuses and Volts preach humility. And Ford is showing some dynamism with the launch of electric Mustangs and F-150s.

But if consumers’ choices are to contribute to a greener future – if they opt for energy efficiency over flash – they need to be able to make smart purchasing decisions. To do this, an old-fashioned gasoline-era measuring stick might come in handy: the concept of miles per gallon.

In the age of electric vehicles (EVs), buying a car is no longer a simple matter of finding a high MPG car and a cheap gallon of gasoline. Electricity costs are confusing. Information on pricing and efficiency is difficult to find and understand. And finally, you have to do the math.

This means getting to know the unit of choice for electrical energy: the kilowatt-hour, or kWh, a string better suited to an engineering manual. To determine their costs and carbon footprint, drivers must solve puzzles that turn kWh into dollars and miles.

If you don’t, you trust the automakers to do the right thing for you and the environment.

The government can lead this problem. In fact, he did, and he does. Gas pumps have long been needed to show the price of a gallon, the gallons pumped, and the total cost of filling. A vehicle’s EPA-imposed miles per gallon rating – displayed on dashboards and on every new car’s MPG sticker – ties it all together.

So maybe we already have a common thread for the age of electric vehicles. A familiar, tangible unit of energy that gives us an apple-to-apple way of thinking about cost, efficiency and pollution.

American friends, say hello – again – to the gallon. Even if we leave the gasoline car behind, we can conserve its unit of energy. It is tangible, and if it works for the energy contained in the gas, we can make it work for the electricity.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a gallon of unleaded gasoline contains approximately 34 kWh of energy. Knowing this, you can easily deduce how much your power purchase costs and how far it can take you. The gallon can even help you better understand your other electricity use, by comparing the energy costs of your home to the energy costs of your automobile.

When I messed up my energy bills for August, I learned:

  • My house used 56 gallons (1,888 kWh) of electricity.
  • My average home electricity cost was $ 6.34 per gallon.
  • In a Tesla compressor, I paid $ 8.43 per gallon (25 cents per kWh).

The government already publishes an MPG equivalent for electric and hybrid vehicles. By using MPG, it becomes clear that EVs largely offset this high cost per gallon of efficiency, often with ratings above 100 MPG.

MPG is already good for more than just buying cars. New York City’s MPG mandates have doubled the fuel efficiency of taxis since 2009. (The city also reserves a portion of taxi licenses – medallions – for hybrids.) Uber and Lyft have announced green initiatives, but their lightly regulated status allowed them to avoid MPG standards. .

Smart energy purchases alone will not solve climate change. Energy watchdogs also need to monitor the carbon impact of the power generation and electric vehicle equipment manufacturing industry.

All other things being equal, however, using less energy means less pollution. And common units can steer us towards smart choices that encompass much more than our cars. Should I buy batteries to fill up with electricity when it’s cheapest? Do solar panels make sense? What about better insulation or more efficient devices?

A high MPG vehicle and a house that goes that far on a gallon? Together that would be a solid life choice.


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