We at BetaPeak (https://betapeak.com) are a small team of dedicated developers with passion for side projects and positive social change. We're located in Bulgaria, which currently has the worst air quality in all of Europe, so this led us to think - we sure as hell are not the only ones with that problem, there must be thousands of cities around the globe that breathe dirty air, we definitely need to raise some awareness.
So in partnership with the awesome guys at Oblik Studio (http://oblik.works/), this led us to build Mission Emission, a tool to help you calculate your car emissions and get tips on how to travel more eco-friendly. Our bet is on simplicity, nice and clean UX and informative and beautiful results page, to help punch in the main idea - we need to ditch petrol/diesel cars!
We'd love to know what you love, what you hate, what you "meh" about the tool, and obviously we're ready to implement any cool ideas you may have on how to make this tool even cooler and more engaging.
I don't think it is ignorance, just colloquial terminology coming into play.
I am curious though, is the USA the only place that calls it 'gas'? I've lived and travelled through most places in Oceania, Asia and Europe and almost everywhere else it is called 'petrol' and places that serve it are called 'petrol stations'. To me 'gas' is an entirely separate product, viz LPG gas, which a lot of taxis etc. use at the moment.
For the units, do you mean US Customary or do you really mean Imperial? The gallons are very different.
There is even a difference in miles if you want to be picky, with the US using statute miles in some states and international miles in other states. The international mile is 1.609344 km, and the statute mile is about 1.6093472 km. This isn't a huge difference.
Agreed. On a standard 1080px tall monitor, that "Show results" button requires a scroll. I would make the 1,2,3 cards stack so you aren't wasting tons of screen real estate. Also showing the map at the location entry screen invites clicking on the map which doesn't seem supported.
Otherwise, a cool project! Hopefully it motivates someone to think about their travels and its impact on the environment.
Mine too (55mpg average Skoda octavia which being much like a Passat is in their 'luxury' category). I'm guessing they make assumptions about the mix of electricity on the grid. Seeing as we are able to purchase green electricity here they should let us alter that assumption.
Yes, your assumption is correct, we actually account for the means of electricity production, as well as the car production process emissions related to building a single electric vehicle. It's a great idea to be able to switch those overhead emission calculations if you wanted to, we'll get on that!
It's great you're taking these "external" variables into account. To bandwagon on the environmental costs of car production, it would be cool to see motorcycles added to the lineup. A lot of motorcycles are lax on emissions control so it would be very interesting to see how they compare to hybrids and electrics.
We've actually considered adding it to the list, but as the information we found was either very scarce, unverifiable or unofficial, so we had to make the choice to leave it out for the time being. It's on our task list though, that's for the good idea!
it really depends on how much you drive and how co2 intensive the power you use is (which depends not only on your locale but also the time when you charge your car typically). However one thing in the overhead costs which is often ignored is that a used car battery which might not be suited for a car anymore because of 20-30% capacity loss after a few years can be reused in stationary battery systems, so over the full lifetime of the battery the overhead costs in most calculations are overexaggerated.
getting even somewhat accurate values for that is a rather big problem, as you can't just take average emission values for a country as a base but rather need to look at the daily and weekly recharge distribution of different types of electric vehicles and then look at what the typical power generation structure is in those hours (which also varies seasonally). Its a huge project in itself and I think maybe you should just mention somewhere what values you use to calculate it.
Even so there's good, better, best on a spectrum, right? :)
Or is my '80% renewable' point naive? I think i get what you're saying, if I recharge during peak demand times, there's a chance nonrenewables are being used in higher proportions to fulfil my charge. Conversely if I charge during low-demand hours, the odds are higher that peak generation methods are not being employed.
But even more complicated than that, is the kind of renewables. NZ has a ton of hydro, and during certain times of the year they are drawn down for peak demand, so kinda ideal. Then again during times of drought, no can do and non-renewables may be the only thing that can meet demand.
The fuel consumption by vehicle category is based on averages. We didn't put too much energy into accurate measurements because you can change the consumption on the results page so that it exactly matches that of your car.
I was confused by the results then read online:
"It seems impossible that a gallon of gasoline, which weighs about 6.3 pounds, could produce 20 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) when burned. However, most of the weight of the CO2 doesn't come from the gasoline itself, but the oxygen in the air."
More seriously, how do you calculate the Co2 for EVs? It seems like different power sources used at different times would make calculations like yours almost impossible, since you would need to know when the vehicle was charged and the mix of power sources at the time.
I have a friend who works for the local power company. He told me that at off peak times, our power is almost entirely green. However, at peak times, they use dirty natural gas or coal peaker plants. Even though I don't have time-of-use metered power, I make sure to always charge in the middle of the night for this reason.
I would like more detail on the calculation for their emissions/km number. In California, they list 148g/km, but the Union of Concerned Scientists has the California electric grid at 93g/km. That's a significant difference, and I wonder if they're taking the production profile of the CA grid into account.
148 g/km seems to be the default number. I got that same number for two different routes that were entirely located within British Columbia and Alberta, respectively. The problem is that British Columbia has an electricity emissions intensity of about 30kg/MWh while Alberta's is about 600kg/MWh. Hence, this website does not use correct electricity emissions data.
I don't think this works correctly. It claims my medium sized sedan puts out roughly ~125lbs of CO2 on a 100 mile trip. Unless my car somehow generates carbon out of nothing, that's the equivalent of burning nearly 20 gallons of gasoline (at ~6.3lb per gallon) for a regular drive to a customer site.
Carbon from the gas reacts with air so you need to factor the mass of the oxygen the car uses as well to produce CO2 and other emissions. It's been a long time since chemistry class but you could calculate the end mass of the CO2 using teh atomic weights of carbon and oxygen used in the inputs, or there's probably a website that will do the math for you.
They're amazing little cars. Mines 14 years old and I'm still hard pressed to find a car that makes me feel the same way while driving it. Was the first car I purchased entirely on my own (thanks, Dad!) and I can't imagine ever selling it.
Maybe I'm being overly picky but I've found a bunch of cases where it seems to think you'd be flying out of class D general aviation airports with no commercial routes instead of the obvious class B/C ones nearby when comparing fuel usages to flying.
Do the co2 emissions of petrol, diesel, etc, cars include the co2 emissions of the production and distribution of the fuel? If not then they underestimate the emissions in comparison with electric vehicles.
I’m not aware of anyone that does that calls a truck an SUV. The opposite is quite common though, even in the USA - people call SUVs, vans, and buses “trucks” when they’re used for commercial purposes.
Valid points! We thought about these things, but we had limited time and we couldn't get to them. As for the route suggestion - this isn't up to us. It depends on our data source and what results it returns.
Thanks @GrumpyNI, I'm currently in Amsterdam, you guys sure as hell have a lot of Teslas :) Happy we've hit the mark, although our calculations are based on estimations, we've done our best to keep it as relevant as possible.
I am Hristiyan Dodov, Full-Stack Developer at Oblik Studio and developer of Mission Emission.
I wanted to clear a few things out and say my opinion about the project.
First of all, we're not chemists or scientists and we haven't worked with such either. We've done our best to do these calculations correctly, but there are just so many variables and giving more accurate results
demands more work, time, and information. Although the calculations are rough estimates, they are based on actual facts and research and are not some numbers we made up in our head. We would love to make things more accurate, but we need more support and data. Given that this is a non-profit project, it's a bit overwhelming.
For me, the goal of this project is to raise awareness about air pollution and make you think. Transportation plays a big role in air pollution, while it's an important part of everyone's life, making it easier for people to relate. We display an average estimate of emissions for your journey and then put the numbers in perspective with facts - for example, how much time is needed for a tree to absorb the generated CO2. The goal is to educate people as best as we can and perhaps even change their minds on transportation and make them think about using a greener transport. I don't think it matters how much exactly the air is getting polluted. The problem is that it's a lot, it's getting worse, and things doesn't seem to change. And that's our goal - to provoke a change.
Electric vehicle emissions:
Some people said that the app sometimes shows that electric vehicles produce more emissions than petrol/diesel vehicles. That's correct. Yes, the electricity itself doesn't directly generate emissions, but the way that electricity was created - probably does. Does it sound more eco-friendly to burn 40 kilos of coal to generate X amount of electricity and travel 10 kilometers, or burn 1 liter of petrol for that same distance? I made up those numbers in my head, but I think it illustrates my point nicely. Of course, this greatly varies with how each country or even city generates its electricity. That's also why it's so hard to provide accurate measurements and it's the reason we use average values. Basically, how green an electric car is depends on how the electricity it uses was generated.
The vehicle category determines the fuel consumption value. It's not 100% accurate because it's based on averages from various kinds of car makes and models. We didn't focus much on that because you can change the fuel consumption on the results page and make it match that of your own vehicle exactly. That's also the reason why we didn't include the exact make and model, load, speed, etc. All of these things come down to fuel consumption, which is the most important part of emissions after all. Instead of putting a ton of settings, we simply put a vehicle category to give a rough estimate and then gave you the ability to change the fuel consumption however you wish.
What a great example of technologists using the tools of the trade to do some good for air quality and on the climate fight.
Thanks, Yasen, Hristiyan and the rest of the crew involved.
FYI - I heard about this from James in the #news-discussion channel of the Slack group for ClimateAction.tech. Feel free to join us and introduce yourselves there (in #introductions) if you'd like to be part of an international network of technologists pushing for climate action.