May 24, 2017

Is an EV best for the climate? - "It Depends"

The world is hopping on the electric bandwagon. Cities like them because they don't belch soot and other pollution on the road. Owners like them for that sweet kick in the lower lumbar region - electric motors have even more torque than turbodiesels. The climate conscious like them because once the source of electricity is also weaned off fossil fuels, their carbon emissions will be very low.

Right now, though, we are in a transition period: while renewable energy is starting to make inroads, the fact is that it still makes up a small fraction (single digit percentages) of the world's electricity supply. And how clean your electricity is depends largely on where you live.

The total carbon emissions from your car must also include the emissions from its manufacture. Apples-to-apples comparisons are very hard to come by, but there is one car that has three different incarnations: the Renault Fluence was, for a time, available in gasoline, diesel and electric versions (no hybrid). So the cars are identical except for their engines and drivetrains. Renault has done a lifecycle analysis for the three versions (PDF file).

Manufacturing the electric car makes more carbon emissions than the gas or diesel versions - this is often pointed out by dectractors of EVs. However, over the lifetime of the car (defined in the study as 150,000 km or roughly 100,000 miles), the electric car has significantly lower emissions than either of the fossil fuel propelled ones.

May 21, 2017

DYI Car Ad

I have stopped covering car ads released at the Super Bowl because they have become boring. They're not inspiring. They're not very beautiful. And most damningly, they are not funny.

But here is one that fills all of those requirements: A visual effects artist has made a video to help sell his car, a Suzuki Vitara. It's roaringly funny. It's a beautiful send-off of every "serious" car ad you've ever seen. It has been viewed more than 5 million times in five weeks.

And while it may not inspire you to rush out an buy a Vitara of your own, it may just inspire a new generation to get into computer graphics and visual effects.


"#BuyMyVitara"; also viewable on YouTube.



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