back to article Humble civil servant: Name public electric car chargers after me

The minister in charge of Blighty's latest driverless car law has suggested that public charging points be named after him. "It seems to me absolutely right that when one drives down a street, one should be able to spot an electric charging point rather as one can spot a pillar box or Belisha beacon," said Conservative MP John …

  1. M7S
    Coat

    Politicians, as honest as the day is long

    If these charging points are perhaps locally solar powered, would any named after him effectively be making Hayes whilst the sun shines?

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Politicians, as honest as the day is long

      Be worth doing just for the pun! +1

      Sadly in the real world we're up against the laws of physics. Serious EV-charging from the mains just ain't gonna happen, and solar would need a hell of a lot of panels unless you're in the middle of the Arabian desert, where demand is somewhat limited.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Politicians, as honest as the day is long

        Strange that between April and October I've charged my PHEV at home. Most of the power has come from my PV Array. If I could have fitted another two panels the PV Output would have exceeded the drain by the mains connected charger. From my observations, I have spent around £3 to charge my car 28 times which gave me around 500 miles of driving.

        I'm getting a 35KWh Battery system installed next month along with further 2.5KWh of PV on my garage roof. It will grab all the PV output and store it for use in the evenings or to charge my new car (Nissan Leaf). Again and by being careful I would expect to drive for most of the year at zero leccy cost.

        But naturally and according to you, I'm dreaming because I'm living at 51N and not at 39N.(lat of Jeddah)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Politicians, as honest as the day is long

          charge my car 28 times which gave me around 500 miles of driving.

          Wow, all of 18 miles on a "tank"...

        2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

          Re: Politicians, as honest as the day is long

          Looks like it will work for you at home - well done. But public points (which is what the article is about)? To recharge many vehicles in a day - from the same PV panels? In winter, in an urban area, when a 1kW peak panel is producing about 100W? No, I don't think so.

        3. DougS Silver badge

          @AC - charging at home

          You have an entire rooftop to devote to charging a single car. Unless these public charging points take a lot more space than I've envisioned, they will have far less square footage to devote to PV and therefore having them powered via solar is non-starter.

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: @AC - charging at home

            You have an entire rooftop to devote to charging a single car.

            I remember that, at one point, Honda were doing a demo of a home-hydrogen generation unit. The idea is that you have solar panels drive hydrogen cracking/storage unit where the hydrogen could be used in a fuel cell during the hours of darkness to generate electricity.

            Any suplus hydrogen could be used to refuel a hydrogen-powered fual-cell car.

            Shame it came to nothing :-(

            1. DougS Silver badge

              @CrazyOldCatMan

              Why is using solar panels to make/store hydrogen better than using solar panels to charge up batteries in your home / in your car? Both have their inefficiencies, but we already have the infrastructure and manufacturing set up for batteries, not so much for hydrogen.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Politicians, as honest as the day is long

          harge my car 28 times which gave me around 500 miles of driving.

          That's nice but if you've only driven 500 miles between April and October, why do you even have a car? Surely a taxi would be much cheaper? And if you absolutely need a car, why not buy an old banger for £500 - would also be much cheaper and less polluting overall than anything remotely new.

          Just curious.

          But 28 charges for 500 miles for £3 - not sure that would work for me. 500 miles in a day is not unusual, and 500 miles a week is a rather slack week.

        5. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: drive for most of the year at zero leccy cost.

          Well, notwithstanding the cost of the PV arrays and the installation of same, batteries etc.

          Noble goal though.

        6. jake Silver badge

          Re: Politicians, as honest as the day is long

          Jeddah is closer to 21N ... Silly Con Valley is ~37N ... I'm ~38N here in Sonoma. Just to give my fellow Yanks a sense of how far North the British Isles actually are, 51N is just about the Southern boundary of Greater London. Calgary, Alberta, Canada is also at 51N ...

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: Politicians, as honest as the day is long

            North the British Isles actually are, 51N is just about the Southern boundary of Greater London. Calgary, Alberta, Canada is also at 51N

            ISTR that Edinburgh is roughy at the latitude as Moscow. It's kept (relatively) warm by the Gulf Stream and North Sea.

            Until the gulf stream diverts itself due to decreasing salinity caused by the melting polar ice cap anyway..

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Politicians, as honest as the day is long

      If these charge point are solar powered then any MP will be able to crouch down in front of one, and within an hour, the car will be fully charged!

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Politicians, as honest as the day is long

      (Where Day == the hours of sunlight available in the Arctic between December 25th and December 26th)

  2. BoldMan

    Its going to be a clusterfuck now that the politicians have got involved...

  3. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Appropriate

    1) of little use to most people

    2) very expensive for what they deliver

    3) will be obsolete in very short order

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Appropriate

      The cars or the politicians?

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Headmaster

        The cars or the politicians?

        Yes.

  4. A K Stiles

    So who is the 'driver' in an autonomous vehicle? How are they to be insured exactly? Will you still need to pass some form of test to 'drive' an autonomous vehicle? Maybe it is more detailed in the Hansard record but frankly, at this point, TL;DR

    1. Justicesays

      Obviously it's government-ese. so hard to say, but reading the act it looks like

      If it's insured, then the insurer is liable.

      If it's not insured, then the owner is liable (unless it's excluded from needing insurance due to being in some government vehicles category, like military vehicles I guess.).

      The owner or insurance company is not liable if someone (who isn't the owner) switched the vehicle to "autonomous mode" inappropriately . In that case that person is liable (unless they are a minor/diminished responsibility etc. then blame the parents/legal guardian).

      If the manufacture is at fault due to making a faulty vehicle/software, they can still be liable/negligent/sued/arrested, but by the insurer / owner /police, not by the victim(s) of the accident.

      It's not clear if the government can just not pay anything in the case of an automated government vehicle running someone down. It seems that way as there is no liability assignment in section 2 for that case, so presumably the manufacture gets directly sued by the victim in that case?

      There are no mention of changes to the driving license system.

  5. Tinslave_the_Barelegged
    Joke

    He really wants this?

    "Just plug in at the Arrogant Arse charger..."

    OK, I'm assuming he wants the name to be what everyone calls him rather than what's on his birth certificate.

    1. Flywheel Silver badge

      Re: He really wants this?

      "Stick your plug where the sun don't shine". That should do it.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Coat

      Re: He really wants this?

      Sure.

      Haven't you slipped your "plug" in a John at least once in your live? *

      Just slipping out to "take the dog for a walk," so to speak.

      As for no liability for the car mfgs. He really does sound like the best politician money can buy.

      *Depending entirely on you PoV to resolve any ambiguities in that sentence.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Chronos Silver badge

      Re: He really wants this?

      I'm not convinced "sorry, love, I'm running a bit late. I need to find a Vacant Bellend Charge Point™" is going to improve the lot of already unpopular electric vehicles, either, especially when they grow another two connections (I2C, I'm assuming, although this is the Government so they'll probably have to spend a quarter of a billion to make a new standard that doesn't work) to slurp your mileage for road pricing...

      Please note that Vacant is part of the name, not the charging facility's actual state. So, to specify one that you can actually use would mean "I need a vacant Vacant Bellend Charge Point™"

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a Good Idea.

    I look forward to plugging my electric car into one of many bell end charge points.

  7. Paul Westerman
    Coat

    hmm

    I don't think 'John' is a very good name for them

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    John Hayes : A Biography of glory

    Basically, he's been shuffled consistently around fairly junior government posts in a wide variety of departments. He seeming has no particular areas of specific interest, or indeed abilities. He's a member of the 'Countryside Alliance', the pro-hunting lobby who are too cowardly to admit it, and pretend to be 'pro-countryside'. He's also a member of the 'Society for the Protection of Unborn Children', and therefore against women's rights to decide about abortion and also bizarrely, against assisted suicide and same sex marriage (which have fuck all to do with unborn children as far as I see, but still). Astoundingly, in the true spirit of Yes Minister's 'Sir Arnold' he's chairman of the British Caribbean Society, which I'm sure he takes advantage of 'during the winter months'. Summary : he's a low achieving bigot who's occupying a safe, rural seat. In short, a classic Tory. Unworthy of having a single shit named after him.

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: John Hayes : A Biography of glory

      Unworthy of having a single shit named after him

      I beg to differ.

      From now on, I will be naming all my shits after him.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If they name it Hayes will it have a shaft to hold the charging port?

    1. Paul Westerman
      Happy

      maybe

      they'll all be painted purple?

    2. Alan Edwards
      Coat

      Hayes

      You'd need to open up a console on the car's display and type an AT command to get it to charge, and then have to have one foot on the ground.

      So I'm the only one old enough to know Hayes modems and the Hayes production code. OK.

  10. I Am Spartacus
    Facepalm

    Because these electric cars won't be internet enabled

    No-One with an electric car will want to drive round looking for a charge point. They will want to look on their cars nav system, see where the charge points are, and see if they are free.

    Don't you just love it when our leaders really get this IT nonsense?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Because these electric cars won't be internet enabled

      And Apps to do this are already available.

      No doubt this plonker will want to tax all chargers and then tax the Electricty they deliver at 20% VAT + 90% Fuel Duty ++++ whatever HMRC can come up with to replace the income lost by decreasing amounts of Petrol/Diesel being sold.

      Then they'll add £400/year onto your Council Tax if you have a CP at home.

      i.e Shoot themselves in the foot but they will get well rewarded by their Koch Brothers (and the rest) paymasters from the Oil/Gas Industry.

      1. Timmy B Silver badge

        Re: Because these electric cars won't be internet enabled

        "And Apps to do this are already available"

        The cars already do it. Our Leaf has a constant net connection and we can just press a button that navigates us to the nearest charging point. It does all kinds of checking on driving, battery usage and range and if it thinks you're in danger of running out of juice will ask you if you want it to find a charger.

        Still - this is of limited use here in rural Somerset. I wonder how many chargers will be seen here?

        1. DaLo

          Re: Because these electric cars won't be internet enabled

          "Still - this is of limited use here in rural Somerset. I wonder how many chargers will be seen here?"

          Already quite a lot: https://www.zap-map.com/live

          1. Timmy B Silver badge

            Re: Because these electric cars won't be internet enabled

            "Already quite a lot: https://www.zap-map.com/live"

            That''s not a lot. The closest publicly accessible one to us is 14 miles away! The closest rapid charger is 21. I can't see Londoners driving from Watford to Richmond to charge. Though it does show that you can still drive electric without public chargers.

            1. DaLo

              Re: Because these electric cars won't be internet enabled

              But you would surely have a charger at home? 14 miles to the next hop doesn't seem too bad. Even the worst EVs can do 14 (0r 21) miles without needing their next top up.

              As many workplaces are also starting to install chargers, for many people covers most of their commuting needs.

              1. Timmy B Silver badge

                Re: Because these electric cars won't be internet enabled

                @DaL "But you would surely have a charger at home? 14 miles to the next hop doesn't seem too bad. Even the worst EVs can do 14 (0r 21) miles without needing their next top up."

                Yes. But who would like to be told that they need to do a 30 or 40 mile round trip to charge? I am fortunate in that I have a drive and a charger at home. What if I lived in a flat?

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Because these electric cars won't be internet enabled

          Still - this is of limited use here in rural Somerset

          (Standard Government answer): "Move somewhere else then"..

    2. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: Because these electric cars won't be internet enabled

      Don't you just love it when our leaders really get this IT nonsense?

      If and when it happens, yes I will. Until then I will continue to slowly shake my head in wonderment at their stupidity.

  11. ukaudiophile

    I can imagine an autonomous vehicle governed by Asimov's laws, but I'd have real issues, if the legislation and charging points were named after him, having to get into a car governed by Dipstick's law and plugging into a plonker's charging point.

    Why did we let politicians get involved in this, it was going well until these idiots got involved, now it's going to be a complete farce.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He must have lost his Marples...

  13. Christoph Silver badge

    Belisha Beacons

    Sometimes it can be fortunate to have a double-barrelled name. The Belisha Beacons were named after Leslie Hore-Belisha.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Belisha Beacons

      Presumably large flashing lamps on street corners allowing drivers to easily locate "hores" were considered?

    2. John Sager

      Re: Belisha Beacons

      The public's attitude to politicians has evolved significantly since the days of Hore-Belisha, as witnessed by many comments here. He is obviously far too far up his own arse to realise this.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Belisha Beacons

        Yes, Doug, we all got that.

  14. lafnlab

    Does, "I need to use the John," have the same connotations in the UK as it does in the US?

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      There was a johnny in the street and I parked next to it.

      That would be slang for "a gentleman's prophylactic contraceptive".

      I don't remember whether "john" is UK or US slang for a prostitute's client. That would be who had left the prophylactic in the street.

      Worth cruising around for? It depends whether you get a charge out of it.

      1. Nunyabiznes Silver badge

        In the US:

        "John" can be a client and also sub for bathroom or more specifically toilet.

        "I'm going to the john to take a massive Hayes."

    2. David Nash Silver badge

      "Does, "I need to use the John," have the same connotations in the UK as it does in the US?"

      No, although we all know what you mean.

  15. LesB

    But what about Pillar Boxes?

    Is he suggesting they were named after some Pillar, or is he just being a pillar(k)?

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: But what about Pillar Boxes?

      That was also my question. Was he thinking of some comely Pilar? There's also the mysterious Mr Pelican of the pelican crossing, not to mention Mrs Zebra. And lovely Ms Amber Light? We need more details. And Sir Level Crossing? Why do we not know more about these illustrious forebears?

  16. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Go

    So

    Car: AT I

    Charging pillar: OK

    1. Steve Knox

      Re: So

      Accompanied by a horrendous screeching sound?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: So

        "Smart Modem" is already taken. I propose "Idiot Charge Point".

  17. 0laf Silver badge

    Fair enough as long as it can be called a "That-twat-Hayes" charger

  18. inmypjs Silver badge

    So 'Twat Charger' it is then

    as title.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Agorrant twat

    We don't need a twat on every corner, we already have enough in parliament.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: Agorrant twat

      Title does not compute, Captain.

  20. Alister Silver badge

    A whole new meaning to the phrase "Hayesing"

  21. PhilBuk

    Beeching Cuts

    Well Beeching got a load of stuff named after him - bet he didn't appreciate it though.

    Phil.

  22. Commswonk Silver badge

    Monty Python Comments...

    He's not a civil servant, he's a very naughty boy.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Politicians are not civil servants.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Politicians are not civil servants.

      They are, however, supposed to be public servants.

  24. Deltics

    Diversionary Tactics

    I don't understand why the article is headlined for a minor, discardable comment made in introducing a far more serious and significant debate around the issue of liability.

    I also don't understand how we reach the conclusion that liability is placed on a driver *or an insurance company*, if the driver is insured. This is a specious misinterpretation of what is proposed which is that the DRIVER is the one held liable. The insurance company is there as a back stop to the driver liability, just as they are when a driver screws up and causes an accident.

    What makes no sense at all is that if the insurance is for the driver in the case of the driver causing an accident, how is it the drivers responsibility to insure against the manufacturer of the vehicle causing the accident through a defect in the control software ?

    If an accident is caused by a failure in a mechanical system resulting from a manufacturing defect in the vehicle then the manufacturer is liable, not the driver and so the driver's insurance is not claimed upon (or may recover their losses from the vehicle manufacturer).

    Why is this different when the defect is located in software ?

    I suspect the answer is to be found in the power of the lobby.

  25. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Belisha beacon

    I wonder if they will Panda to his request.

  26. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Bloody cheek!

    He already has a hucking fuge library of amateur car mechanic manuals named after him.

    He'll be demanding his name on American Y fronts next!

    1. David Nash Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Bah!

      Sorry that's Haynes, not Hayes.

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Bah!

        8o)

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

  27. ThatOne Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    So, the driver of a driver-less car needs a driving license and is responsible for any error the car makes while he's not actually driving it? I think I might be confused here.

  28. Whiskers

    >> "It seems to me absolutely right that when one drives down a street, one should be able to spot an electric charging point rather as one can spot a pillar box or Belisha beacon," said Conservative MP John Hayes. <<

    If there are to be enough public charging points to cater for all cars being electric, we're going to need more or less continuous rows of charging points along all streets where parking is allowed. If there's anything that needs to be clearly marked, it will be those parking places where the charging point is missing or not working. So the 'Hayes hole' will be the one that's of use to almost no-one.

    Where the electricity is to come from, is not at all clear.

    If charging points are only as common as Belisha beacons, we're not going anywhere. Literally.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Couldn't we supply electricity directly to the cars and avoid the deficiencies of battery technology?

      A slot down the middle of each lane could be lined with metal strips and have a small metal brush on the front of a car. The cars could be made autonomous by a series of small boys alongside the road with triggers.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Brushes & long wires are inefficient.

        Onboard diesel-electric is where it's at.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Brushes & long wires are inefficient.

          >>onboard Diesel Electric.

          I bagsie the 2 x Napier D18-25

        2. Baldrickk Silver badge

          Re: Onboard diesel-electric

          It's at this point, I remember Porsche's first attempt at these.

          Quite famous for catching fire when being trialled against the alternative design from another company which lost them the contract.

          Of course Porsche had already begun building a few hundred of them and had to re-purpose them. They still didn't work very well and kept breaking down.

          Interestingly enough, we Brits were also working on the same technology. The vehicle it was mounted in was a failure, but the mechanics worked!

          FYI, yes, I am talking about the VK 4501 (P) and the TOG II*

  29. David Roberts Silver badge

    One small problem

    If they are going to line the pavements with charging points, this is going to stop people parking half on and half off the pavements.

    A good thing some might say, however there are a lot of roads where this is the only way for the residents to park and still leave enough room for vehicles to drive down the road.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Data log access

    "While Knight accepted that insurance companies and the police should "have the right to access the data log", he added: "Will others be able to seek access to it[...]"

    No matter what controls are put in place for this data, local councils will find a way around it so they can monitor every car in town to find out who let their dog crap in the playing field.

  31. Ken 16 Silver badge
    Trollface

    Going to the John?

    I don't see why not.

  32. ZanzibarRastapopulous

    Street furniture...

    We have too much street furniture generally, it creates a very confused view of the road which can be hard to parse while driving a car and trying not to kill pedestrians.

    It'd be better to have ubiquitous charging points that you can assume will be wherever you can park rather than ones with a ruddy great neon sign above them hiding the traffic lights just behind the variable speed limit next to the intermittent bus lane where the double red lines turn into double yellow ones by the start of the congestion charging zone.

  33. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "the bill will, if passed into law in its current form, make insurance companies liable for driverless car crashes – unless the driver is uninsured"

    What driver? It's a driverless car.

  34. David Nash Silver badge

    Electric != Driverless

    Why are these two topics conflated so frequently?

  35. David Paul Morgan

    I know it's not capitalised but...

    ... an MP (member of (UK) Parliament) is NOT a 'Civil Servant' .

    Why don't we call Cats Eyes 'Shaws' in that case!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percy_Shaw

    or even Percys :-)

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: I know it's not capitalised but...

      Why don't we call Cats Eyes 'Shaws' in that case!

      Or indeed - tiddles

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: I know it's not capitalised but...

      We're not supposed to call them "cat's eyes", are we? It upsets children and foreign visitors, or something.

      1. ChrisElvidge

        Re: I know it's not capitalised but...

        I think the notice that upsets most people is the warning "Cats eyes removed"

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