If we can build enough electric cars we can create more need for electricity. And since the majority of electricity in the US is produced via coal, we can burn more coal and create more pollution. All of a sudden the green car is not so green. But who cares, makes everybody feel good.
China produces 70% of its energy from Coal.
Stunning Photos Of The World's Future Energy Source.
Not to mention their power plants are less efficient than the Western nations, and their power plants aren't made to block as many types of pollution as those in the West.
Note: From half a world away 14% of the mercury in the Great lakes is from China. The US is 32%.
From the Great Lakes Echo.
China second largest source of Great Lakes mercury pollution.
Electric motors of yesteryear aren't much more efficient than gas. But, the new brushless DC motors fair as much as 85-90% efficiency. This is where no petroleum based cars can never match.
If a powerplant uses a fuel to heat a boiler to turn a turbine. (Oil, NG, Coal Nuclear) the boiler/turbine is around 35% or less efficient. (Assuming Western developed nation) A combined cycle can be higher but most are not CC.
In China they are about 32% efficient and ROW about 30%. (Efficiency costs)
There are older ones that are less efficient.
The synchronized AC electric motor used in Tesla is even better than the brushless DC motor. It gets the same high 90% efficiency but does not use rare earth which is mostly produced in China now and needs to use very dirty refinement process. All you need for the Tesla motor is some copper wires.
Don't forget Duty Cycles of a DC motor versus ICE. I agree with you, but also think ICE looses out because like rbg5r points out further down ICE much less work then what the gasoline potential energy contains.
Where does the rest of that energy/work go....... Heat and thus it kills an ICE's long term durability. Hence how much of our ICE cars are spent trying to keep it cool and extend life with oil that does not break down. Don't get me wrong the modern ICE is a marvel, but it can't hang with a well designed brushless DC motor.
To be fair as an engineer, the EV's hurdle is not the DC motor, but the battery. There is risk, but the beauty of Tesla's situation is a TON of other industries have a vested interest in battery life, durability and technology so they get those R&D benefits without having to spend as much money.
If BMW wants a better ICE they pretty much have to do that development on their nickle.
Model T got 26 mpg, Ford Exploder gets 18 mpg today. Humm.. put men on the moon, rover on Mars, can talk and see people real time around the world on a hand held device, map the human genome, etc, etc., but can't go fwd on gas mileage in 100 years? Yep, so 1920's