Where does the Electricity come from to power Electric cars?

Look, I think electric cars are a great idea -SO LONG as we allow more energy to be produced, which the big proponents of electric cars, for some reason, oppose. I remember posting about this irrationality before. Allow me to quote myself:

The three main components of Obama’s [energy] plan are:

— Get 1 million 150 mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrids on U.S. roads within six years.

— Require that 10 percent of U.S. energy comes from renewable sources by the end of his first term – more than double the current level.

Reduce U.S. demand for electricity 15 percent by 2020.

Which brings us to this rather comical audio from the Mark Levin show:

“You plug it in at night!”

So I guess magical ‘green’ electricity comes from “the night”…and evil fossil fuels then must come from Dick Cheney.

Seriously though, the real solution is Nuclear power, as environmentalist Gwyneth Cravens (a former opponent of nuclear energy) points out in her book: Power to Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy:

My book is fundamentally about prejudice based on wrong information.

I used to oppose nuclear power, even though the Sierra Club supported it. By the mid-1970s the Sierra Club turned against nuclear power too. However, as we witness the catastrophic consequences of accelerated global temperature increase, prominent environmentalists as well as skeptics like me have started taking a fresh look at nuclear energy….


When I began my research eight years ago, I’d assumed that we had many choices in the way we made electricity. But we don’t. Nuclear power is the only large-scale, environmentally-benign, time-tested technology currently available to provide clean electricity. Wind and solar power have a role to play, but since they’re diffuse and intermittent, they can’t provide baseload, and they always require some form of backup–usually from burning fossil fuels, which have a huge impact on public health.


was surprised to learn that:

  • Nuclear power emits no gases because it does not burn anything; it provides 73% of America’s clean-air electricity generation, using fuel that is tiny in volume but steadily provides an immense amount of energy.
  • Uranium is more energy-dense than any other fuel. If you got all of your electricity for your lifetime solely from nuclear power, your share of the waste would fit in a single soda can. If you got all your electricity from coal, your share would come to 146 tons: 69 tons of solid waste that would fit into six rail cars and 77 tons of carbon dioxide that would contribute to accelerated global warming.
  • A person living within 50 miles of a nuclear plant receives less radiation from it in a year than you get from eating one banana. Someone working in the U.S. Capitol Building is exposed to more radioactivity than a uranium miner.
  • Spent nuclear fuel is always shielded and isolated from the public. Annual waste from one typical reactor could fit in the bed of a standard pickup. The retired fuel from 50 years of U.S. reactor operation could fit in a single football field; it amounts to 77,000 tons. A large coal-fired plant produces ten times as much solid waste in one day, much of it hazardous to health. We discard 179,000 tons of batteries annually–they contain toxic heavy metals.
  • Nuclear power’s carbon dioxide emissions throughout its life-cycle and while producing electricity are about the same as those of wind power.
  • Nuclear plants offer a clean alternative to fossil-fuel plants. In the U.S. 104 nuclear reactors annually prevent emissions of 682 million tons of CO2. Worldwide, over 400 power reactors reduce CO2 emissions by 2 billion metric tons a year.


As I learned more, I became persuaded that the safety culture that prevails at U.S. nuclear plants and the laws of physics make them a safe and important tool for addressing global warming. Clearly many of my beliefs had originated in misinformation and fear-mongering.

5 Responses to “Where does the Electricity come from to power Electric cars?”

  1. Tim Says:

    I believe the ‘at night’ reasoning is because at night there is generally less demand on the grid, so the infrastructure is already capable of filling the extra demand of the car battery charges.

  2. Tim Says:

    Oh, I didn’t listen to the audio, that’s pretty funny. :)

    I do have one more comment. If we were able to convert most cars to electric motors, then it would be a lot easier to make the process cleaner because you only have to optimize the source…a handful of powerplants.

  3. adc Says:

    I think electric cars are a freaking awesome idea – but obviously, we will need to build more clean ways to create energy. From what I have read – Nuclear Energy is the best bet here – especially if you are concerned about greenhouse gas emissions (Nuclear power emits Zero gasses).

    Unfortunately – like I mentioned above, the loudest voices who are pro-electric cars and against fossil fuels, are also against nuclear energy – which doesn’t make much sense.

  4. Bev Moulzolf Says:

    I am for nuclear energy as well but I thought the government wouldn’t allow more power plants to be built and we are not allowed to recycle the waste to use again. Also noone wants the waste to travel by rail through their city or store it when it gets there. So doesn’t the government have to change their regulations on this?

  5. Poster Says:

    more nuclear powerplants, more chernobyl, more fukushima, more nuclear waste. in 100 years the world is inhabited by mutants only.

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