back to article Tough on e-vehicles, tough on the causes of e-vehicles

Tough on e-vehicles, tough on the causes of e-vehicles? The Government's ultra-low carbon vehicles strategy,* unveiled this week, seems at best a mechanism for keeping UK electric car development in a holding pattern for the next decade, and at worst a cunning, albeit inadvertent, plan to miss the boat entirely. There will be, …

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Coat

sic?

Do pause at that URL, and note the Department for Transport's ominous inability to spell "vehicles".

Is that the first example of needing [sic] after a URL?

I'll get my coat....I'm in Friday mood :)

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Power Generation

This article appears to be missing the biggest hole of all. Dense charging networks aren't going to be much use if you don't have the electricity generation available. The country is already faced with power shortages in the next decade due to the number of power plants which are to be decomissioned in that time, including most of the nuclear capacity. Given the lead time for nuclear, then we could well be forced into rapif fill-in with fossil-fueled plants just to meet current requirements (pun unintended). I suppose the batteries in the electrically powered cars might usefully soak up some of the peaks from notoriously variable renewables, but I think that's a side-show and would require an intelligent network (and also demonstrated that hybrids will be the real need).

To put the numbers in perspective, if we have 1m cars (a small fraction of the total vehicle usage in the UK) powered primarily by electricity, and these each use 20Kwh per day (enough for a moderate daily commute) then that's 20GWhrs per day of extra generation capacity or over 7,300GWhrs per year. That's approaching the total output of Sizewell B just for a very small percentage of national transport needs.

The power generation and distribution side of this equation had better be considered if more than a few percent of cars, buses and lorries are to be considered.

I have a feeling that a far larger and quicker saving in CO2 usage and energy consumption could be made through policies that promoted efficient cars more quickly. The electric vehicle side of this equation is no quick fix.

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Yes, of course.

Shouldn't one expect "vehciles" from the DfT? Which is pronounced daft, I presume.

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Stop

Yeah

You could do all that, or you could force lazy gits out of their cars with cattle prods. For huge numbers of people, leaving the house = climbing in to the car, regardless of what they are doing or where they are going. That habitual unthinking mentality needs to be broken.

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Misspelling Vehicles

is it that surprising? They're a bunch of imbiciels...

Anyway, Boris' idea is probably going to help quite a bit- having loads of charging stations means that there'll be a standard to work to- and also means that prices can tumble as manufacturers don't need huge expensive batteries.

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Flame

"Low Carbon" ???

Ludicrous. As negligible as UK Co2 emissions are in the World Stage, think about all that extra electricity that would need to be generated from Fossil Fuels(read Co2 emitting hulks) / 'Renewable energy sources.

Oh.. wait, I forgot about that magic wand the Green Dreamers have in their possession.

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Flame

Scum.

Would this be the same government that discourages any fuel saving measures because they will lose out on tax revenue?

"Previously the Department for Transport (DfT) had discouraged the systems which reduce fuel use, resulting in less tax being paid to the Treasury."

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7998182.stm

Fucking scum.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Power Generation

I skipped the generation side, on the basis that a plan that doesn't look like getting a serious number of electric vehicles on the road isn't going to be troubling the grid greatly. But you're probably right about efficiency, and if you look at the two grey bars at the bottom of the chart you'll see that's covered. Given that this is something that will be done by the manufacturers and via EU regulations, in the short to medium term it'll probably have more impact than the DfT crapping on about the UK taking "a lead in this sector."

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Catch the trolleybus

If you do not have to pay road tax, insurance and vehicle maintenance, and you travel alone, you can afford to catch a bus. Once you have a car, taking the bus is out of the question. If we loose road tax (and increase fuel tax to match), and switch to insurance/mile instead of insurance/day, there is some incentive for people to consider buses. Break the bus route monopolies, and prices will become competitive. With lower prices, you get more people one buses, and a more frequent service, which makes buses a useful choice for more people.

More people on buses means fewer cars, so we do not need to widen all the motorways. Divert road widening funds to overhead (or trenched) power cables, and you can run electric buses (with tiny batteries to take divertions when the normal powered route has roadworks).

http://www.trolleybus.co.uk/futures.htm

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Missing it

If the government want to spend £250 million of our money on electrifying something, they should try electrifying the rest of the freaking railways *first*. And maybe put a tram system in every city, for good measure.

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Microwave pyrolysis using wind energy

Though this wouldn't provide all the energy needed for transport, it needs much less in the way of breakthroughs and infrastructure than Geoff and Mandy's plan.

As an alternative to incineration, pyrolysis has the potential to turn domestic and agricultural waste into biodiesel, syngas for peak electricity generation and heating, and biochar. Used for soil remediation in appropriate situations the biochar is both cost-effective and energy efficient in its own right; by reducing fertiliser waste and improving crop yields. It also sequesters carbon.

Though the idea of growing biofuel came a cropper, turning waste into fuels rather than burning it directly to make electricity does have advantages - including the opportunity to store some of the cheap but erratic wind energy that the taxpayer has subsidised.

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New Drivers need not apply.

Has anyone checked the newer licences(last 5ish years).

They specifically DON'T allow new drivers to drive electric vehicles.

So even if they meet the targets ( a long shot), it will only be anyone that has had a licence for a few years that will benefit.

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@blackworx 13:54

Yeah- nobody needs a car. We're all just too lazy to walk 20-odd miles twice a day. Unless of course you're subscribing to the 'everybody in the world lives in London Zones 1&2' worldview.

I think it's your "habitual unthinking mentality" that needs to be broken.

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Go

Need to rethink transport from base up

First one has to question whether there is a need to travel so much. E.g. I could do my work from village just as easy as from a town office,

Second, Have dedicated tracks, then high speed, congestion free, accident free automated driving for the majority of the journey

Third put a power rail on the track so you only need small batteries for the last few miles, have high speeds and unlimited range

Fourth, make the thing VERY SMALL, Almost the old Sinclair C5, but better!

Should be able to turn them out for less than £1,000 each! in volume

Being light the track can be very cheap, and it segregates the light cat away from heavy old stuff.

My calculation indicate efficiencies equivalent to 500miles to the gallon.

It solve congestion too as they take a fraction of the road space.

One or two passenger (Tandem style) will do, You still use the family car and old infrastructure for family trips etc.

Deploy on a commuter route by commuter route basis.

Solved!!!

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Gates Halo

Charging points

Why have batteries and discrete charging points? Just string up some wire mesh over the streets and embed steel plates in the road surface. Then all you need to do is fit a tall pole on the back of the car with contacts on top and underneath. Hey, we could all be driving to work in bumper cars!

Actually, why all this fuss about leccy cars? Surely it would be much more productive to re-introduce trolley buses to out towns and cities.

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Paris Hilton

The hidden analysis?

... will probably be income stream to the Treasury.

And while the spin is on "£5,000" in reality it will be at the lowest level if the strict conditions are met at all. In other words: it's spin, spin and all spin with more commitment to maintaining budget balances than creating low CO2 as a populist event?

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Flame

Clueless idiots

I'm afraid the idea that the government might want to give me 5000 quid to own an electric car just confirms to me what absolute rubbish they're going to be.

Maybe they should impose a huge road tax on electric cars instead - then everyone will want one as a status symbol. Seems to work for the Chelsea tractors.

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Anonymous Coward

Diversion from the economic crisis

As a degree qualified electronics engineer, I can say that this whole idea is complete crap.

An announcement of £5K to be given to people to buy electric cars which don't even exist!

Johnson wants to put in 25,000 chargers, what does he think the peak demand current is going to be? I bet they're assuming that of that 25,000 perhaps only 20% will all be occupied and delivering current at the same time. I suspect in reality, for the Olympics, people will drive to the car parks with the charging points before olympic events, plug in, and then all leave around the same time. And if it's not the olympic games, people will drive to work before 9am, plug in and all leave sometime after 5pm.

So, the chances are, it could be a much higher percentage of the charging points will be in simultaneous use.

So, perhaps 80% of the chargers in use simultaneously?

F**k me, someone do the maths, it doesn't take genius to work it out..but even without doing the calculations I'm willing to bet there's no friggin way on earth the national grid infrastructure can cope with that kind of current!!

So it's not going to be new charging points that need to be built, the 6KV transformers on the street corner will need to be replaced with bigger ones ( and what if there isn't enough space in the current enclosure to fit them?), the understreet cables will need to be ripped up and replaced, or new ones laid down.

The 30KV national grid transmission system is going to need upgrading, new pylons,...planning permissions sought...

If they decide to upgrade existing 6KV transformers, how are you going to do that without interrupting supply to Joe Public, the hospitals etc, companies?

Ah, install new additional higher current transformers...but where's the space to put them alongside the existing ones?

This whole thing is going to be one big can of worms.

And the argument about it's clean, environment friendly.....yes, it will reduce pollution levels in the city, that's the only conceivable reason for doing it.

The argument about climate change is complete BS, we're increasing the generation of electricity and burning coal/gas to do it.

Far better to invest millions into fuel cell technology,

All this is a desparate attempt for the Labour party to cause a diversion from the current economic climate and the mess that Gordon Brown is in with the emails sent by McBride.

It's been put together by a bunch a muppets who don't know the first thing about electricity.

Hey Gordon, do us all a favour, lick your fingers, get a metal knife and stick it into the two lower pins of a plug socket please.

It's ok mate, it's safe, it's only 230V. Knowing my luck he'll have an RCD in the consumer unit and he won't be electrocuted..but..wait..we're talking 10 Downing street..they're so backward they might not have a modern fuse box using MCBs and an RCD.. hopefully!

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Tough on E Vehicles

WHY has no one looked at Electric Bicycles and Scooters. They are ENORMOUSLY popular here in China. They are ultra cheap to run, cheap to buy, used by countless small businesses in thousands of ways, and they are GREEN. Yes they do need a power station somewhere to provide the energy to recharge them but they do their recharging AT NIGHT from the power station base load ! The batteries store that otherwise "wasted" energy and discharge it during day/business hours keeping City streets minimally polluted, reducing traffic volumes, saving car parking space - the benefits are endless!! An electric Scooter in China RETAILS at around £275 !!! Imagine that in Britain. And it doesn't mean scrapping your car - just use it less!

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Generation and reticulation

Steve Jones only identifies a small part of the generation & distribution problem. The assumption made above is that the car recharging can be spread evenly over 24 hours.

In reality that's going to be hard to achieve. 1M cars all get home somewhere between 6pm and 10pm and all get plugged in simultaneously and all want to be charged ready for the morning. That compresses the power consumption into approx an 8-12 hour period meaning that the required generation and reticulation capacity needs to be scaled up by a factor of 2.5 or so.

Sure some "smart grid" thinking can spread the charging a bit, but the cars still need to be recharged in that 8-12 hour window.

Power generators hate peaky power consumption because they have to keep building generation for the highest demand and have them sitting idle during low consumption periods. That really sucks from a use of capital perspective.

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Alert

Miracle plan

That's a classic "Miracle happens here" programme management plan.

Have they noticed the electricity generating capacity of the UK is going to halve in that time? Decommissioning end-of-life nuclear, coal and gas capacity is the result of a critical lack of energy strategic planning over the last 20 years.

The only way we could even consider using the grid for transport energy is rigourous management of energy on the demand-side - that means domestic and office power consumption needs to be about half today's value. .

In the unlikely event of a World Cup with England anywhere near the Final, the resulting power spike at half-time really would bring the country to a standstill.

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UK led the world in electric vehicles

Not sure if this is still true but a few years ago our fleet of electric milk-floats made us leaders in battery vehicles. But yes this is just another bit of political headline grabbing.

Commuting by push bike is faster than bus/car but I live in a hilly area, arriving covered in sweat means a shower and change of clothes and then there's the secure storage problem for the bike once you arrive.

I drive because the bus service is unreliable - and I'm close to routes with allegedly a bus every 10 mins or more. It's unreliable because there are too many cars causing congestion so bus intervals can be 30 mins. For longer journeys I don't use the train because it costs more than driving (certainly for a family of 3), station parking is expensive and insecure. If I've got heavy luggage a taxi to the station adds a lot to the cost, bus dumps me a good half mile away and both taxi and bus add 30 minutes to the journey time compared with driving to the station.

Long distance by coach is cheap but can be slow and there are no parking facilities at the coach pick-up, not even proper drop-off facilities.

What is needed is integrated thought-through plans not addressing the bit of the problem that's going to play well with the electorate (to the idiot in the street it reads like "Government is going to give you £5000").

Individual bus routes should be auctioned - having 3 companies serving the same route in competition is stupidity. Part of the deal should be a service committment with a no-strike deal with the union.

Electric cars do nothing to help reduce road congestion and only shift the pollution problem to power generation facilities and battery manufacture/disposal. I believe there may even be a problem with the supply of the metals used to manufacture batteries - stuff like lithium, nickel, cadmium.

Incentivise commuter season tickets - but with a distance limit. It is just plain stupid that housing is so remote from workplaces, I knew someone doing a 5 hour daily commute, Birmingham to London: car to station, train, tube. I used to live in Bourneville, Cadbury's built housing for all categories of employee and for the related community like teachers and doctors all within about 3 mile radius of the factory. That meant many could walk/cycle to work, decent bus service and not much traffic so those that needed to drive, e.g. doctors making house calls, could do so.

The only losers from making public transport usable are car makers, road builders, and the petrol supply chain. What Government loses from fuel duty it will make up from speed cameras - reduce congestion and we might actually get to the position that it's possible to pass a speed camera travelling in excess of 30mph!

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Anonymous Coward

More "free money" from HMG

And you lot are suprised when another New Labour "great idea" turns out to be more full of crap than an entire slurry farm? Now wait a few days and they'll tell you they are announcing *another* £250 million for E-vehicle stuff, plus another shedload (garage-load?) of jobs to design, build and maintain the e-fleet.

But then they'll buy second-rate junk from overseas that cannot do the job as well as what we've got now, and the OEMs will refuse to let us have the information necessary to maintain them ourselves, and they will continue to reannounce the "new" money every few months until they find another trumpet to blow (or they get kicked out in the next General Election when more people realise what a bunch of useless shysters they really are).

Worked with JSF , hasn't it?

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Oz
Paris Hilton

Vehicles

* Do pause at that URL, and note the Department for Transport's ominous inability to spell "vehicles".

The URL has now been corrected, but not before the sloppiness has been well noted! ;-)

(Paris, cos I bet she knows all about sloppiness)

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Nonsense all round / non-science too

"So you need a dense charging network"

No, what we need is cars that run off Methanol or other easily handled liquid FUEL. Batteries are a stupid idea for most users, and at best a poor choice in the best cases.

@Flocke Kroes

"Break the bus route monopolies, and prices will become competitive"

Price is not the problem for me. It it the fact that busses only come once per hour, often don't come at all, and take one - two hours to do a journey that I can do in 35 - 40 minutes by car. No amount of further de-regulation is going to help that - for one thing, more busses means lower efficiency, and given the long detour that they do, that is already borderline.

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Microwave pyrolysis using wind energy

I like this. Mixing carbon (charcoal?) with shredded paper and cardboard waste to get synthetic oil / fuel gas which are storable and transportable.

Microwave generation is efficient and its *highly* unlikely we will ever run out of household rubbish.

So what's the catch?

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Coat

@Flocke Kroes

“Break the bus route monopolies, and prices will become competitive”

I'm presuming your live in the UK otherwise this will be academic to you.

In point of fact the UK has “De-regulated” the bus system. A legacy of a previous Tory advisor (Alan Walters IIRC) who wanted bus services like the one in Chile, where the bus driver owns his vehicle. To this end any operator could run on any route with no price restriction. Initially a lot of small start-ups did flourish. Stagecoach was one of them. Recognising that they could run their competition into the ground by flooding an area with bus services and operating at or near a loss while doing so they did just that. By the time a complaint was processed by the MMC (as it then was) the complaint maker was out of business. Once in a near monopoly position they could run what they wanted (IE cherry pick high volume routes) and charge what they wanted.

With no overall transport administration to compel or fund uneconomic routes (which act as feeders into the higher volume profit making routes) bus *service* went through the floor.

Things seem to have slightly improved in recent years.

Bottom line. In services which are necessary but only partially economic an unmanaged market gives you a 3rd world service.

Bus and train services make a good case for operating either a state owned service or a state regulated service. The devil is in the details, and the hearts of the owners.

Mine is the one with a report labelled “WTF is so difficult about having an integrated transport policy?” in the pocket.

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