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back to article North East, Nissan to explore e-car promo plan

Regional development agency One North East (ONE) continues to try to make the north east of England the centre of 'leccy car stuff in the UK. ONE and Nissan have agreed to explore the development of a zero-emission mobility programme in the UK. The signing took place in the presence of Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, who was …

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Regional translation

For any West-Country readers, that's equivalent to a 'broggle in the eye with a thatch-peg'.

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Empty words from an empty politico

"Lord Mandelson went a step further by suggesting to Nissan it should make its e-car batteries in the UK"

I imagine that, after he left, the Nissan executives had a suggestion for Mandy, too.

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peep

"acronym foul, penitently blue team"

you can not have a acronym that us just one of the words in it

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Flame

Not zero emission

Although zero carbon-emission vehicles would be great, so far the world's press coverage of this issue indicates little more than a need for journalists to have a better education in physics. The main candidates covered in the various Reg stories include vehicles powered by electric engines and batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, or hybrid technologies.

Since not one of these has zero carbon emission, it is odd that journalists have adopted this description in ongoing coverage of these vehicles. Given the Reg's reputation as a technology information source, it would be a good idea if their coverage was a little less industry propaganda, and a little more science. After all, someone might think the Reg was telling the truth!

The main point of course is that hydrogen and electric cars merely use stored energy generated elsewhere, while hybrids use internal combustion just like all other cars. There is a point in favor of hybrids, which is that the use of regenerative brakes improves efficiency, but these cars still generate carbon dioxide, and some do more than other, more efficient petrol vehicles.

In the case of hydrogen or electric cars, the only way these could be really zero emission would be if the relevant generating authorities used no coal, gas or oil in their power plants. However, this is not the case in any major industrial country. In fact, widespread use of electric or hydrogen cars would increase baseline loads, and most likely lead to more coal-fired power stations.

The situation is even worse when one considers how expensive these cars are, which makes the scam a little clearer. This is merely a way to persuade conservationist consumers to pay car companies to keep polluting in disguise, but with greater profits. It would be better if the Reg would help matters by clearly pointing out that these are NOT, actually, zero emission.

Is there any hope at all? Well, yes, its not impossible. One could of course actually build zero emission power stations (nuclear, geo, hydro, etc). It has also been long established that biofuels like methanol are perfectly usable in internal combustion engines. Since these fuels do not increase the carbon in the atmosphere, they can legitimately be called zero emission solutions.

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@Peter Drummond

the point is a electric car (and I include h2 cars here) is

1. zero emission at point of use

2. potently zero emission

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Flame

Electric cars have TWICE the CO2 footprint!

The British press are either being bribed by someone or they're living in cloud cookoo land.

Electricity from the national grid (i.e. what you would plug an electric car into) creates 0.537 Kg of CO2 per kWh of power.

A petrol engine creates 0.252 Kg of CO2 per kWh of power. That's half the CO2 emissions of an electric car. Electric cars simply move the CO2 problem from towns and cities into country areas where most power stations are based. Britain's CO2 emissions will increase no matter where the pollution is being done.

These are Government figures by the way. Come on, wake up people, especially motoring journalists who are acting as if they have been 'bought' by the motor industry or the government.

There is no point in electric (mains powered) cars until less polluting ways of generating electricity have been invented and put into action.

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Go

@Gary F

A good point (nice to see actual figures). However, to be certain whether or not electric cars ARE actually responsible for causing more pollution we need to consider the total pollution caused end-to-end.

So, how much pollution does an oil rig, tanker (boat), tanker (road), refinery, tanker (road, again), petrol station and, finally, car produce, compared to:

Coal mine, train, powerstation (generation), transmission, car.

I'm not taking the p*ss here - I'm actually curious. Anybody got any figures for this (then we can stop the arguments and look forward to 200mph electric cars - cleaner or not!).

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Stop

@Gary F

Where on earth did you get your figures from?

I don't have absolute figures to hand, but just think about what you're claiming for a minute.

If I put fuel in a car & burn it, 30%(-ish) of the energy produced is turned into useful forward motion.

If I put fuel in a power station, I get around (say) 35-40% out in the form of electricity. That's only to be expected - these things run mostly at constant output, so efficiency gains are possible. If I want to power a car with this, I might lose 10% of that energy in transporting it over the wires and charging the battery. Maybe another 10% lost in the motor if it's really inefficient. So I'm back down to around the 30% mark.

Guess what? Electric vehicles usually work out *about the same* as internal combustion vehicles in terms of energy efficiency. That's hardly surprising, given that they do more or less the same thing and there's no spectacular waste of energy anywhere along the way.

While it's certainly true that a wholesale switch to EVs with the current mix of generation won't save the planet, I can't see how your figures could possibly make sense.

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