Nuclear Cars

tepco_explosion There has always been an envelope of magical thinking surrounding the automobile.  “Auto” means self.  “Mobile” means mover.  But no animal or machine is a self-mover.  To do their work, all require fuel from external sources.  Nevertheless, “automobile” is what we call cars.

Notwithstanding the rosy promises of capitalists, Presidents, and foxy greenwashers, the delusion doubles when we talk about the “electric” automobile.  Electricity, you see, does not come from nowhere.  Just like movement in animals and machines, its creation requires fuel combustion.  So, there is really no such thing as an electric car.

So, given current events, may I, ahem, pose a quick quiz question?

Q: What nation-state is presently home to the most nuclear power plants in the world?

Your answer.

The hard truth of the matter, as Gail Tverberg puts it:

Without nuclear electric power, electric cars seem very unlikely.

We would need more, rather than less, electric power to run electric vehicles. In the years ahead, it may not be all that easy to add electrical power of any kind. If areas were to lose nuclear electricity, they would be at a particular disadvantage.

Indeed, Gail doesn’t quite state this strongly enough.  The real truth is that, if we really think we’re going to be running 200 million “electric” cars, we will need not just nuclear power, but more nuclear power, meaning many more nuclear power plants than presently exist.

Funny, you don’t hear this very often, do you?

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9 years ago

Great idea to re-brand the electric car as the “nuclear car”. It might catch on.

This is what it would mean for the UK to switch to nuclear cars: