When it comes to the use of oil in the automotive industry, our thoughts – quite naturally – tend to turn to gasoline, especially with the continuing push toward renewable energy in our day-to-day transport needs. Averaged out, Americans use 1.2 gallons (4.5 liters) of gasoline per day, per person. But oil and its by-products in fact have many uses in automotive production beyond gasoline – including the manufacture of electric vehicles, which we tend to think of as a clean energy solution – in the form of petrochemicals.
Many of the materials that our industries rely on for manufacturing products – from plastics to synthetic rubber and lubricants – are derived from petrochemicals, the most common of which are ethylene, propylene, benzene, toluene, butylene and xylenes. The use of polymers and plastics derived from oil production may be of concern to those dedicated to green energy causes, but they actually have a number of advantages in terms of materials engineering. They are lightweight, strong, inexpensive, durable, easy to form and flame retardant. Today, oil-derived plastics make up around 50% of an average vehicle’s volume – but only 10% of its weight.
We may think of plastics in manufacturing as a relatively modern phenomenon, but in fact Rolls Royce first incorporated phenol formaldehyde resin into its car interiors as early as 1916, while Henry Ford was experimenting with integrating plastics on top of a steel framework – cutting the weight of a car in half – in 1941. Now, the average car utilizes over 1,000 plastic parts in its construction.
Today, light plastic materials are an important part of electric vehicle construction. Lighter vehicles directly correlate to improved fuel efficiency – for every 10% weight reduction, a vehicle’s fuel economy increases by up to 7%. There is an increased priority for this in electric vehicles in comparison to traditional gas or diesel vehicles, due to the relatively high weight of electric batteries – most of which weigh over 1,000 lbs. Electric vehicle manufacturers – as well as the producers of traditionally fueled vehicles – can reduce the weight of cars by increased reliance on materials such as plastics, engineered polymers and fiber-reinforced composites.
Even with the relatively recent advent of fuel cell and electric vehicles, we are not done with plastics and the by-products of oil production. The good news is that there are plenty of plastic recycling mandates for automotive manufacturers, who really don’t have many solutions to what might be argued to be an ecological and moral dilemma. Also, there is already a logistics network in place in the automotive industry, so capitalizing on that network should not be too much of a difficult task. Think of it as the “Recycling Smart Grid”
However, if petrochemical components ultimately feed into more eco-friendly solutions by facilitating greater fuel efficiency, it could be time to ask what might help electric vehicles achieve greater victories in terms of renewable energy. Here at Clean Energy Enterprises, we are dedicated to clean energy technologies that are economically viable and that actively protect the environment. The question arises: would vehicle manufacturers be willing to establish collection points equipped with our Advanced Waste-to-Hydrogen solution that would safely, ecologically and responsibly break down plastics to create a clean, useful hydrogen and further contribute toward ecologically friendly automotive transport?
Source article: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/how-much-oil-electric-vehicle/