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7-state Midwest EVOLVE project to promote electric vehicles; Ford, GM, Nissan initial automotive partners

The American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest announced the launch of Midwest EVOLVE, a three-year project to promote electric vehicles in seven Midwestern states: Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota.

In partnership with eight Clean Cities coalitions, Midwest EVOLVE (Electric Vehicle Opportunities: Learning, eVents, Experience) will demonstrate the performance and environmental benefits of plug-in electric vehicles through showcases, ride and drives, and events in communities throughout the seven-state region.

The Lung Association and the eight Clean Cities coalitions will host more than 200 events, large and small, over a three-year period, in brand-neutral settings that will give Midwestern drivers an opportunity to get behind the wheel of electric vehicles. The first events will be held in the spring of 2017.

The Midwest is often overlooked as a market for electric vehicles. The goal of Midwest EVOLVE is to build awareness and visibility for the advantages of electric vehicles, and to help the Midwest rediscover the automobile again, this time with a plug.

There’s no better way to learn about the performance and environmental advantages of electric vehicles than personal experience. By participating in existing major consumer events throughout the Midwest, hosting ride and drives, and conducting seminars, we are working with local Clean Cities coalitions to get the word out.

—Lew Bartfield, president and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest

The Midwest EVOLVE educational program will target the general public, fleet decision makers, and dealership personnel. Showcases will occur in major metropolitan areas of the seven states providing hands-on experience by:

  • Allowing motorists to test drive a variety of locally available electric vehicles.

  • Educating consumers about vehicle charging at home, work, and public stations.

  • Helping people determine the best vehicle and charging options for their needs.

The Midwest EVOLVE project initially launches with three automotive partners, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Nissan, as well as more than 60 other partners throughout the Midwest, including Argonne National Laboratory, utilities, state agencies, municipalities, dealerships, and dealer associations. The partners support the project through donations, vehicles for test drives, and in-kind support.

In addition to helping the public learn about electric vehicles, Midwest EVOLVE is focused on fostering the rollout of additional charging stations throughout the Midwest, including public-charging stations and employer-based workplace charging. Nationwide, there are more than 40,000 public-charging stations in the United States.

The Midwest EVOLVE project is based upon work supported by the US Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), under Award Number DE-EE0007743. The American Lung Association in the Upper Midwest and Twin Cities Clean Cities oversee the program.



Well done, anything that reduces unnecessary chronic illness is to be applauded. The savings to society can be enormous.

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Then again Ford CEO just told Trump to scrap existing environmental laws for cars as they make the cars more expensive to make. Fords argument was that 1 million jobs could be created in the auto industry if they dropped pollution mitigating equipment from the cars so they would be cheaper and therefore demand would increase. The old auto industry wants cheaper more polluting gassers that sell better. They are not interested in making zero emission BEVs. Not a single old car maker has made any real effort to mass market an attractive BEV. The Bolt from GM is the best attempt so far but it is too expensive for what you get and they only plan to make 30,000 per year and this is 1/10 of what is needed to call a car a mass market car. Tesla’s Model 3 will be the world’s first attractive zero emission car that is mass market.

Model S and X are not mass market but they are still the world’s first attractive BEVs that are capable of outselling the competition in their segment of the market.

If Musk was not on Trumps industry advisory board Trump would never hear the other side of the story. That pollution matters and that there exist solutions that can get rid of it and create jobs at the same time.


Interesting that ALA would promote BEVs in the markets with the dirtiest electric grids in the U.S.

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The grid is not a problem for much longer. It is going green very fast. For example, new data for the us shows that 65% of all new electricity capacity (adjusted for capacity factor) was CO2 neutral.

The rest was all natural gas that is much less co2 intensive than coal that nobody built anymore. The trend is that solar and wind power is taking over the grid not just in the USA but everywhere on the planet.

We have much more work to do with making BEVs. Only about 400,000 BEVs made in 2016 in a total market of 86 million vehicles. This is only 0.5%.


According to the latest data from EIA (Q3 2016), over 50% of electricity generation in the states mentioned was from coal. There's still a long way to go before it becomes clean enough to promote BEV there.

It's not just about GHG emissions. There are also VOC, NOx, PM2.5, and SOx emissions, all of which cause damage to public health and the environment, some more than others.

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Even with 50% coal power BEV pollute much less indirectly than gassers. And it gets worse for gassers because you need to spend about 6kwh to make one gallon of gas. It is not just the oil. The average car gets about 24 miles per gallon. The Model 3 will be able to drive 24 miles on 6kwh so the gas it saves means its contribution to net electricity demand is zero!

But I agree it is odd to see the old auto industry on a tour to promote BEVs in places that are the least interested in BEVs and they also do not offer any attractive BEVs. That tour will sell zero BEVs. The only thing they do with dedication is to influence the lawmakers so that they can pollute more and save costs. Their “clean” diesel and going green campaigns are just an attempt to lie themselves to a better image.


I fundamentally disagree that EVs charged in a grid that's over 50% coal-generated electricity has lower environmental damages than gasoline vehicles. It doesn't really matter that an EV can drive 24 miles or whatever on what it takes to make a gallon of gasoline, because electricity in those generation mixes produce much more conventional pollution like NOx, PM2.5, and SOx than emissions produce in the production of gasoline. Again, it's not just about GHG.

The paper I linked ("Are There Environmental Benefits from Driving Electric Vehicles? The Importance of Local Factors") essentially updates the same conclusions reached in a 2010 study by the National Academy of Sciences ("Hidden Cost of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use").

Based on Argonne National Laboratory's GREET model and published damage factors, an EV charged with electricity generated in the Midwest grid would cause 75% more health/environmental damage than an equivalent gasoline vehicles, and over twice the damage of a (compliant) diesel vehicle, from a full life-cycle perspective.

I agree that BEV is beneficial in clean grids like California, but its dubious that there are any health/environmental benefits in the current Midwest grid.


It has been shown that an EV charged with mostly coal fired power is cleaner than a gasoline car, but not a hybrid.


I've seen that claim, and it's in GHG emissions, not the conventional pollutants. They are FAR higher in 100% coal-generated electricity, at least according to GREET.


Here is the upstream (well-to-pump or mine-to-plug) emissions of gasoline/diesel/electricity per million BTU in the current average U.S. mix (which is down to about 30% coal generated per EIA) according to GREET (includes well drilling/infrastructure). Energy is BTU per million BTU of product produced, and emissions are in terms of grams/million BTU of product:



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Carl you still don’t get it. Even if all vehicles in the US was converted to BEVs they would consume zero net kwhs as what they consume is equal to what they save in electricity used for making gasoline and diesel that will no longer be needed. So you have zero increase in CO2, NOx etc from using BEVs regardless of how dirty the grid is. However, you do get a zero emission vehicle that replaces a highly polluting gasser or diesel.

You can also have it this way. If all vehicles in the US were replaced with BEVs you would not need to add any new power capacity as you would save enough electric power from not having to make any diesel and gasoline to power the entire new fleet of BEVs.

Off cause changing the society to BEVs only would save us from all of the pollution that happens when vehicles burn 10 million barrels of gasoline and 4 million barrels of diesel every day in the US.


You're right, I still don't see how an EV that uses "fuel" (electricity) that takes over 1.2 million BTU to make 1 million BTU of electricity can negate a diesel vehicle which takes less than 250,000 BTU to make 1 million BTU of fuel (diesel), even if the EV gets 3 times better "mileage" than a diesel vehicle. By the way, it takes even more energy to produce electricity in the Midwest grid which is the topic of discussion here.

I invite you to download the GREET model (just requires registration (free)), "Fuel-Cycle Model" and "Vehicle-Cycle Model" available at

Here are screen captures of WTW emisisons of gasoline (GDI - E10), diesel (ULSD), and electric (current U.S. mix) that I get: (emissions from vehicle manufacturing/recycling)

Let's see if you get comparable emission factors.


"electricity used for making gasoline and diesel that will no longer be needed"

Refineries are 80% efficient using mostly heat and not electricity. The data shows per million BTU, one million BTU can generate over 140,000 watt hours with 40% efficiency, car engines are not that efficient in general.

If you take one million BTUs of natural gas to make electricity versus using that gas in a vehicle directly, you get more efficiency in the EV, but not that much more. They are both combustion directly or indirectly, the plants have scrubbers the cars have converters.

The big difference is electricity can be created many ways, nuclear, wind, solar, geothermal all provide energy without carbon.


Most of this discussion is irrelevant. At the rate of growth in clean energy, proportion of coal will decline significantly over the next 5-10 years, with or without Trump. Waiting until then to put EVs on the road makes no sense.
As for developing countries, do you think they are more likely to build refineries and infrastructure to distribute gasoline, or install local wind and solar? I can take my guess, you make yours.


Sell and run as many EVs as you can, no one is stopping you, but after 10 years less than 1% are EV, not an overwhelming rush.


@SJC - fully agree. I would only add that liquid fuels can be created in many ways also, e.g., renewable diesel which has extremely low upstream emissions ( DME from biomass has negative GHG in some scenarios.

@JMartin - you may be right. My concern is that a significant market penetration of EVs in high coal grids like the Midwest will almost ensure that coal generation will remain, even if the marginal generation is non-coal.


I am a fan of DME for buses and trucks. Paper mills and other wastes can be turned into jet fuel. LOTS of moves we could make but don't when fossil fuels are abundant.

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Carl the numbers you give are also the wrong ones. As you say they are emissions from well-to-pump meaning they do not include emission from the diesel car or gasser itself. To compare that with emissions from power production for zero emission BEVs is like comparing apples with bananas.

I dig a little more into the 6kwh used for making one gallon of gasoline. It is the total energy used not just electricity used as I admit I first thought when I saw a statement by Musk about it. This is for ordinary refinery of sweet crude oil. If you consider Canadian Tar sand oil you need the energy of one barrel of oil to make one barrel of gasoline. That means about 37 kwh used to make one gallon of gasoline from Tar sand!

Northern USA will mostly use Tar sand gasoline so really any BEVs you can sell there will be enormously beneficial for the environment.

@SJC true it is only 1% of new sales today that are plug-ins. However, it started in December 2010. We only had 6 full years with plug-ins. See

Remember all great things have small beginnings.

BEVs will eventually take over 100%. They grow at 50% per year and they will soon get the upper hand with autonomous driving that will make BEVs cost superior to gassers in a taxi driving/sharing use scenario and also solve the problem with range and long charging time as you can get a new fully charged driverless taxi if the first one you ride is running out of electrons. The autonomous ability will make BEV growth go much higher.

By 2027 all new cars made will be fully driverless. Not all will be BEVs but every car maker that want to survive at that time will invest every penny they have in making more BEVs as this is where the new demand and money is in 2027. Gassers will be a rapidly dying industry.


@Change - yes I know the energy and emissions I posted are WTP. I was trying to show that the energy to produce electricity was far more than producing gasoline or diesel, even if you consider the far higher "mileage" of EV.

Have you had a chance to look at the GREET model? It takes all emissions, WTP, PTW, and emissions produced in manufacturing/recycling a vehicle, into account. It also takes tar sand petroleum production into account.

Do you dismiss the AEA study (


Something missing from this discussion is the issue of the lifetime of capital assets. Cars last on average 24 years, power plants 50 plus. But we are comparing the impact of new cars (24 years life left) with ageing coal power plants at the end of their useful life. I.E. the cars will outlast the coal plants, and still be there to run on renewables in the not too distant (we hope) future.


For the first time (in 2016) EU countries produced more electricity with wind than with coal. Wind power is now cheaper than CPPs. The trend to REs (Wind and Solar) will continue and CPPs will be phased out by 2030/2035.

The move to REs is also accelerating in China, Japan, So. Korea, India and many other countries.

USA may not have a choice to do the same as REs become cheaper than CPPs, NGPPs and NPPs.

Large wind turbines installed on higher towers cost relatively less and capture more wind to produce more energy at lower cost. Large Solar farms are also gaining in efficiency and can produce clean 24/7 energy at lower cost. USA has both high quality wind and sunny places. CPPs will be phased out by 2030/2040?

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