The Physics of Electric Cars

Some pessimists decry that even electric cars have pollution created at the power plant thus what’s the point – let’s just have our current gas guzzlers. What they forget are their thermodynamics lessons in college. It’s no secret that we have yet to find an efficient way to convert fuel into useful energy. Of that $3 gallon of gas, only around $1 is used to move your car forward. The rest is blown out the tailpipe.

However, the larger the system (such as a power plant) the more efficiently we can create energy. So, if we use power plants to send electricity via the power lines to your electric car there will indeed be pollution, but because of the large scale efficiencies, it will be less pollution than burning fossil fuels in your car’s tiny engine.

Just think of this next time people get all pessimistic on the electric car.