Can someone explain electric cars to me? *UPDATED*

People hostile to American consumerism (that would be the AGW/Green crowd), as well as vegetarians and PETA people (often the same people as the AGW/Green crowd), like to point out that Americans, by buying their meat neatly packaged at the grocery store can ignore the living, breathing animal behind that ready-to-cook slab of meat.  They can also ignore the slaughtering process, and the slicing and dicing that follows slaughter.  American consumers are also mercifully separated from the pollution that the whole meat industry creates, whether at the farm end or in the abattoir.

With that in mind, can someone explain to me cars that are entirely electric, such as the Chevy Volt or the Nissan Leaf.  Hybrid cars create their own electricity, but these 100% electric cars need to be plugged into an outlet, in exactly the same way as that energy sucking computer or electric dryer.

Sure the cars run clean at the car end, but aren’t they the car equivalent of packaged meat?  The electricity that powers them has to come from somewhere and, unless you can tell me otherwise, I’m assuming it comes from coal or fuel burning power plants.  Likewise, I understand that the process of making these cars’ batteries is pretty darn dirty, not to mention so expensive that the only way rich people can afford to buy them — or are willing to buy them — is with hefty government subsidies.

So, what’s the difference between a Volt and a nice slab of this:


UPDATE: Having read everybody’s contributions, I’ve concluded that government machinations preclude an accurate answer to this question.

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  • Dan5

    The gas infrastructure, it kind of sprang up organically (Before my time though, but I remember my father telling me about that).   More or less, the gas “stations” were formed from pharmacies and other local stores, groups of people with cars got together to get discounts on the fuel, bought in bulk, needed some place to store the fuel and account for the use and that’s how they formed.  The gas suppliers got involved and started making businesses out of it. 
    I think it’s going to be hard to form such an organic distribution network for any type of alternate fuel now.  The only one I can think of is Co-ops concerning bio-diesel (free feedstock for used grease).  It would be highly difficult to do it with natural gas simple because of the laws and licenses required (John Q Citizen purchasing a truck full of propane may set off some flags with the police, FBI, CIA, and DEA), not to mention the place to store it.  Also, if you got it from your local gas supplier, if you “filled” up your storage tank one month, when they submit the bill they may think there’s a huge leak.  100 years ago no one really cared and there weren’t zoning laws related to gasoline. Also gasoline can’t be used for other stuff like LNG can be (precursor to certain drugs).
    As for roads, some roads were built privately, some publicly some toll, some free. The roads were already there from the horse and buggy days and just expanded- at least until the 40’s and 50’s.  I remember driving my car on some cobblestone roads. 
     

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  • Ron19

    Tonestaple 13:

    You sure got that one right!   

  • Ron19

    Ymarsaker #14:

    Your analogy is comparable to saying that all martial arts schools are collections of homocidal maniacs led by crazed power hungry cannibals.

    Please, more research before you make statements like that.   

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    All Martial Arts schools didn’t cause a bloody rebellion called the Protestant Reformation. Obviously “somebody” got pissed off in a day and age where you and I had yet to be born yet, Ron. Maybe that’s the history you need to do more research on.

  • Ron19

    Of course.

    I should do more research before you post a comment.