Joe Public sent in the following:
“There are approx 26m taxpayers in the UK.
There are approx 31m cars on British roads.
There are approx 10k electric cars on British roads.
Each of those ‘leccy-cars received a £5k “subsidy”, paid for by all existing taxpayers / road-users, just to arrive on our roads in the first place.
These ‘leccy-cars are new & expensive, so by definition, they’re unlikely to be owned by society’s poor.
Now, our Government in its infinite ‘wisdom’ (?) has decided to throw another £37m to those ‘leccy-car owners in the form of highly-subsidised public & private charging points. Apparently, installing a charge-point in a home costs about £1,000-£1,500, so our masters want to give away a 75% subsidy. WTF!!! – B & Q sell a 45m extension cable for £40.
The public already knows electric cars have a woefully limited range. Top Gear tested & publicised the fact. Tesla sued and lost, then sued again, and lost again. But credit where it’s due – Tesla are nothing if not persistent. They’ve also enriched the legal community on the other side of the pond where the New York Times have recently publicised their cars’ inadequate range.”
I’m not sure where JP got his numbers, but from what I’ve read that “10k” seemed too big, so I checked on Wikipedia and found a rather more sobering figure of 4,415:
It’s well known that Wikipedia is far from a reliable source, but in view of the recent case of moderator William Connelly deliberately altering/deleting entries to favour the global warming agenda, I think this is likely to be accurate. A domestic extension cable will also be of limited use when re-charging electric cars, due to the enormous amounts of power required. It would suffice for the overnight charging of more modest examples, but for the “fast charge” stations which are being planned, it’s a whole different ball game. The 480-volt Supercharger stations mentioned in the NYT article (linked above) require a large, heavy cable and plug. The general public being let loose with this sort of voltage also fills me with dread – it’s lethal and can cause hideous arcing and burns if a cable were to be damaged.
This is also where the Green panacea of an enforced “Zero Carbon” transport future goes into the realms of fantasy. Quite apart from the physical and chemical impossibility of fully recharging a battery in minutes (unlike refuelling a conventional car), if every service station was to be equipped with large banks of fast chargers, the grid as we know it would collapse. The suggestion of “quick change” battery packs is never going to happen, as it would require all vehicle manufacturers to standardise, and would further limit the design and range of sizes available.
Perhaps this is the answer?
So we come to overnight charging at owners homes. I hardly need point out that lots of car drivers don’t have off-street parking spaces, and the thought of hundreds of charging posts sprouting in every street is comical. Have our “leaders” not heard of vandalism, to say nothing of “Elf & Safety” ? But even if this wasn’t a consideration, the problem of supplying the power still looms large. I’m sure most of you are aware of “Smart Metering” – which is being promoted as a way to “encourage” energy efficiency, and give customers “control” of their bills. Sorry, but that’s utter bollocks – it is a necessary part of the future electricity supply, and is the ONLY way that the huge increase of Renewable Energy planned will ever be able to integrated into the grid.
The more astute of you are aware of the BM Reports website, and other real time monitoring facilities – and will also know how rapidly and by how much the output of wind turbines varies. This is already giving grid managers headaches, as they attempt to control conventional power stations to keep the frequency within limits. The closure (next month) of several older plants is going to further reduce the spare capacity. These factors will require a means of limiting demand when there is simply not enough power available. They envisage a whole range of “Smart” domestic appliances which are able to communicate with the supply meter, and national control centres. It will result in energy guzzlers, such as washing machines and tumble dryers being shut down during peak periods, or if you have to use them, a considerable increase in the rate you are charged.
A “Smart Grid” will also be needed to integrate large numbers of electric vehicles into the equation, and manage the network to avoid sudden overloads. Fine until there is a typical winter high pressure zone, leading to negligible output for several days…. Then you will find your car isn’t fully charged the next morning! Proposals already exist for this magical fleet to act as distributed storage for the grid, enabling surplus energy to be collected, and then taken back when demand peaks. It’s envisaged that your typical driving habits will be recorded, and the amount of charge available each day matched to your likely usage. Wonderful if you have a domestic emergency, and need to travel some distance… I am not making this up – I’ve read several government and industry documents which have examined the idea in detail. One I’m still working my way though is entitled “Electric Vehicles: charged with potential” by the Royal Academy of Engineering. You can download it (PDF, 56 pages) here.
This report is sceptical of the current governments commitment to the ridiculous 2008 Climate Change Act, introduced by our old friends in the Liebor party:
The challenges to 2020, and onwards to 2050, are of an extraordinary scale and complexity, way outside ‘business as usual’
Another interesting bit is the following:
5.4 Can EVs reduce transport CO2 emissions?
A car comparison website lists the CO2 emissions for all of the UK’s major new cars. The average CO2 emissions rating is 173g/km (grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre driven), the lowest being 89g/km and the highest 500g/km. The 2020 target for average emissions is 130g/km. It is expected that this figure will be reduced progressively and some experts are talking about a long-term target of around 80g/km for 4-seat internal combustion engine vehicles.
Results from electric vehicle trials show that EVs equivalent to a small petrol or diesel four-seat car use around 0.2kWh/km in normal city traffic. CO2 emissions from power stations vary from year to year and also over the daily cycle as the carbon intensity of generation changes: in 2009 it was 544g/kWh. Thus the emissions related to an EV are about 100g/km. Trials on a small fleet of four two-seat Smart Move vehicles have shown average CO2 emissions of 81.4g/km using
electricity of the same carbon intensity.
On this basis, it is difficult to see how EVs fed from the present UK electricity generation mix are significantly better in terms of carbon emissions than petrol or diesel vehicles. To have a major effect commensurate with the 2050 target, the introduction of EVs would need to be accompanied by almost total ‘decarbonisation’ of the electricity supply.
Bearing in mind this was written in 2010 it is worth noting that several cars emitting less than 100g/km are already on the market, and continuing research will reduce this still further. BUT… we are talking about conventional cars with ranges of 300-600+ miles, able to maintain high speeds with either heating or air-conditioning running, AND capable of being fully refuelled in a few minutes! Now contrast that with the Tesla Model S which is the subject of the latest spat between the manufacturers and a journalist who took 5 hours to make a one hour journey, which was completed on the back of a tow truck!
The future doesn’t look very bright for purely electric cars right now…
By the way, I see others have commented on the rather worrying “privacy” issues related to that spat between Tesla and the NYT: Will cars eventually need a “Do Not Track” option?