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back to article UK Govt to spend £100m on three-city electric car trial

On a slightly smaller scale than the planned 'leccy infrastructure roll out Down Under, the British Government will this week announce it is planning to fork out £100m in order to test electric cars and vans in three cities. Details are vague at the moment, but the idea seems to be to invite tenders from car makers to supply …

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Anonymous Coward

Sign me up for the free Tesla Roadsters

though not so much the electric Minis. Come to think of it, they would be ideally suited for that one chain of estate agents that everybody loves so. And burning them out by shorting the batteries is easily going to be more fun than just letting the tyres down and putting sugar in the fuel tanks

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Flame

Duh!

So instead of burning pertrol in a reasonably efficient internel combustion engine we burn Polish coal or Russion gas a hundred miles away then transmit the power over hulking great pylons, transofrming it up a down a few kV on the way, transform it down to 12 volts stuff it into a battery that will only return 90% of the energy, then, expend most of the energy you do get out moving the batteries around.

If this is saving the planet I am off to see AManFromMars about a work visa.

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Alert

load of old B*ll*cks

Why don't they just legalise segways?? I'm sure all those old dears paying 2-4k for a mobility scooter / golf cart would feel a lot less handicapped than they do now!

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Pirate

Nice pin principal...

...but I agree with the reporter here, there are better ways to do this.

But then in my experience what might have been a good idea at ministerial level is turned into hubris by the civil service. Make it too simple, plain and direct and you don't need many people to actually run the damn scheme.

Or to be blunt, the civil service keep more than half an eye on job protection/expansion.

Plus ca change.

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Joke

Greenwash

Pure and simple.

Electric delivery vehicles are a no-brainer, as they can return back to base where they can get recharged, and they are ideal for stop and go city driving. Ooooh, just like milkfloats.

Methinks this is more about showing the EU that we are "Serious" about reducing CO2 emissions.

Oh and the next person who says electric vehicles are "Emissions Free" will get kicked hard in the recharge socket. They don't emit at the point of use, but they all need an electricity supply to recharge. And that in the UK is primarily from fossil fuels.

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Flame

only worth it as a Greenhouse Gas solution if powered by renewables

Using fossil based grid electricity entirely negates the in vehicle efficiency advantages of electric cars. The major potential benefit of electric cars is to allow diverse renewable electricity sources to fuel cars.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_car#Energy_efficiency

i know its wackypedia, but it's right this time

need some vroom anyway

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N

Perfect timing

Just as our electricity bills have been increased by up to 40%

Yet another smoke screen to take the focus away that our glorious incompetent government has spent 10 years making its way steadily up shit creek for Gordon Clown to throw away the paddle.

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Bless them

...they just can't help wasting other people's money.

It's a sickness.

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Even better

They could use the £100M to sort out the busses- or even pay towards converting them to electric!

Electric busses are a great idea as they're always stopping/starting, have a pretty well- set route and so on.

Invest some- or all- of that £100M into installing a high-power inductive charging system (or some sort of safe charging system, anyway) at a good number of bus-stops and you could even keep the battery purchase/replacement costs low while also making it possible for Joe-public to charge up their EV while on the road (again, lowering battery costs).

This trial will be utterly useless and make the electric car even more of a laughing stock while not actually doing anything positive. Like the G-Wiz but more expensive.

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Hot air

Seems a bit of a strange policy when we're about to lose a big chunk of our generating capacity due to old nuclear and coal stations going off line. How many windmills does it take to power a car for 30 miles?

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Coat

Just one part of the bigger picture

The press release refers to changing planning rules to facilitate recharging points.

"Green" electricity generation is being addressed by other parts of government - this is another piece of the jigsaw.

It's a helping hand to car manufacturers who are going through hard times again - Land Rover has just forced a week's shutdown.

Mine's the fair-trade hemp one.

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Go

A greener solution

Refugees and immigrants can be put to work pulling people-carrying carts. The carts can be made from tree farms - they'd be less road wear, a cart would be cheaper to run/maintain and it would create jobs. The 'drivers' wouldn't give off too much pollution.

Buses could be replaced by larger carts pulled by 6-8 drivers, all lashed together with rope.

Hmmmm, I just might submit that idea to Boris.

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Bronze badge

Fine...

...As long as you don't mind doing the opposite to what "green" campaigners have been saying for years and keep all your journeys to below a few miles. Electric cars simply don't have the range to make then viable outside urban areas. Even if you got 100 miles from a battery you usable range would be about 50miles on a long run, as you will have to get back home to charge it. Untill they develop a recharging infrastructure that can charge a battery as quickly as I can refil the tank on my car then i can't see it working.

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Stop

Sign me up for an Electric Range Rover!

As I live in the sticks, miles from any bus stops and down an unmade road with ptholes and puddles. PLEASE can I have one of those prototype electic range rovers!

Or just a rebate on the tax hike I have had on my small 4x4 that I sodding well need to get to my house (or should I just tarmac over the countryside)

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@ Lee T

The following paper;

http://www.stanford.edu/group/greendorm/participate/cee124/TeslaReading.pdf

suggests that even factoring in the CO2 generated at the power station, a tesla roadster emits less than 1/2 of the CO2 of a standard car. Obviously renewables improve this even further.

I know the paper is written by someone from Tesla Inc, but it seems pretty persuasive to me.

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Another £100m not spent on a public transport policy

The government are, as usual, unable to see beyond the car. Electric cars might reduce roadside emissions but they aren't going to solve congestion problems. There are plenty of easy wins that could be made for a £100m but none of them give anything to the car industry or the roads business, so they won't happen.

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Joke

@Michael

You are a lard chariot apologist and I claim my five pounds!

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What an utter, utter...

utter, utter waste of money.

The only *fact* that this will generate is easily obvious already;

If it takes £100 million to conduct this 'trial', it gives you a sense of how much would be required to achieve anything close to a full scale roll out!

BTW, AC, it's not "other people's money", its OUR fecking money, the wastrels.

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Paris Hilton

As nature intended

Could the power of rats running on wheels be harnessed to power an 'leccy engine? They could be like an alternator - and could also recharge the car completely. Your starter motor could just be cheese on a stick, and food/water could be stacked in time-release containers.

Multiple rat-wheels would form your basis of cylinders. So instead of referring to an engine as '6 cylinders' etc you'd refer to it as 6 rat wheels.

When a rat dies just replace it. There are loads of rats.

The only possible downside that I could see is that one day the 'chosen rat'is captured and put to work in a rat-wheel. Slowly, day by day he builds strength into his little rat-muscles and then his owner offers him freedom via a fight to the death with another rat. He wins, escapes into the landfill site and builds a team of rat-warriors to take-on the evil overload (the car owner).

Apart from that it's a flawless plan.

Paris, because I'd be like a rat up a drainpipe...

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Anonymous Coward

Morons.

Step 1. Look up the oldest person in the UK living with noone younger whose house isn't covered with solar tiles.

Step 2. Take some of the interest of the hundred million, and completely cover their house with grid connected solar tiles, for no charge to the resident.

Step 3. Add central heating auxillary, Thermal Store with 4 immersion heaters at 1KW, 3 Kw, 6kw & 12Kw in ascending height.

Step 4. Repeat until done.

I'd manage the whole thing myself for 120 K a year plus petrol, and expenses.

Hey presto. No net residential energy use at all for seven months of the year, 30 years from now.

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Stop

Too Soon

I feel the government is pushing for adoption of electric vehicles too soon. They're just not ready for public consumption yet. They don't yet have the performance and they certainly don't have the necessary recharging infrastructure to make them viable.

Hybrid cars have been a good stepping stone in getting people green-conscious, and the runaway success of the Prius is testament to this. What we should do is build on this. If the rumours are true about the next Prius having a "plug-in" option then this would be the perfect next step. A hybrid car that can use the existing fuel infrastructure exclusively and still get a decent economy, but will also ramp up demand for an EV recharging infrastructure. When this is in place, electric-only vehicles could find mainstream acceptance.

EVs are great, but we're just not there yet. The public and the government should instead be supporting plug-in hybrids - cars that will pave the way for EVs in the future, but are also pratical for use here and now.

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Anonymous Coward

@James Anderson (mostly) & others

Oh no, not again! Must we go through this brainless twaddle every fortnight or so? Internal Combustion Engines are grossly inefficient - roughly (from memory) 30% - not counting the rest of the losses in the supply chain. You all need to google "well to wheel efficiency" - even if the ultimate energy source is fossil-fuel, ICE cars are much less efficient than battery-electric (e.g. 0.28 km/MJ ICE compared to 1.14 km/MJ electric). But (as Lee T says), electric cars offer the opportunity to use non-fossil-fuel sources. They also stimulate competition and innovation in energy generation and delivery. The electricity grid is approximately 92% efficient and conversion efficiencies typically >90% - considerably more efficient than petrol refinement and transport.

Oh, and electric vehicles are emissions free! Yes, that's at the tailpipe - but even if coal is burned, at least there's a chance CO2 can be sequestered, which is not possible at all with petrol. But (to repeat) electric vehicles are MUCH more efficient and can draw energy from renewables or nuclear. How else do you suggest we achieve emissions reduction without resorting to horse and cart? No, don't mention hydrogen - it's far less efficient and more expensive than battery-electric, and most industrial hydrogen sources still emit CO2 (as its mostly derived from natural gas).

Knowing this is El Reg, I expect a good deal of comments above are trolls looking for a reaction. If not, and the above is truly representative of the level of understanding of these problems and potential solutions, then, basically, we're fucked.

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Rob
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Go

Invest in our Electrical grid first...

.... because wide spread adoption of these sort of vechicles will probably bring it to a grinding halt.

This will also be very expensive for the home user for the plain reason we have no price cuts to our electrical bills now, they buy stock of energy from the futures market so even though energy prices are low now our leccy companies have already bought high price stock. Electricity might be the way to go for the environment but it definately isn't the way to go for the consumer.

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Flame

What a waste of taxpayers money

This won't save any CO2 emissions, it won't reduce traffic congestion, It won't improve road safety. Mass adoption of electric vehicles would drastically increase electricity costs if we had the infrastructure to support it, which we don't, as well as create a huge pollution problem from manufacture and disposal of batteries.

So all this will do is keep a few hundred civil servants in work for a bit longer and let GorBrowney claim to be doing something.

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Silver badge

Canadian parking meters

I heard Canadian parking meters have a power socket for your car heater so your car does not freeze up while you are shopping. If that is the case, how about a few of those here connected up to a new nuclear power station?

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Stop

Wiki is wrong as usual

Lee T should have tried checking some of the citations. There are many old power plants in the US, which pulls their average down, but a modern CHP plant runs at 65-90% efficiency. Power line loss is only 5%, not 10. Modern lithium cell efficiency is in the 90%+ range. Doing the sums: 75% (average for CHP) x 95% (power line loss) x 90% (battery) x 95% (drive efficiency) = 61% efficiency. In optimal conditions (constant revs at most efficient speed) an internal combustion engine manages about 40%, less mechanical losses from the drive train (about 15% for manual transmission and 25% for automatic), so that's 30-34% AT BEST. In trafic it falls to much less than this (0% when stationary), while the electric car uses only the power that it needs.

When you've worked all of those numbers out remember that you can capture waste CO2 from a comparitively small number of fixed power plants much more easily than you can capture it from each car on the road.

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Boffin

@Steve

Don't forget any decent car uses a lot of power in addition to the primary drive train: Heating/air conditioning, lights (soon to be mandated as always on) turn signals, wipers, ICE, etc. plus weight of batteries to haul around.

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Anonymous Coward

I read that as

UK Govt to spend £100m on three-city electric chair trial. That's a lot, I thought.

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If they were really serious.....

The government would insist that Royal Mail, the Government Delivery Agency, TfL and others invested in electric vehicles.

But you won't find many private sector users going for them, most fleet vehicles these days are leased over fixed terms tied to contracts, electric vehicles are more expensive and have very long life spans. Look at the age of some milk floats around London!

The maintenance company one of my relatives runs would love to use them, but the market is too competitive, contracts are too short as little as two years, so the lease rates would be astronomic. They only make sense for long term users who don't have to worry too much about their business levels.

BTW can you imagine our favourite estate agents in London swapping their Beetles or Minis for a electric vehicle they had to keep using for 40 years. Ho! Ho!

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