back to article What will drive our cars when the combustion engine dies?

It’s the end of the road for the internal combustion engine, right? Volvo will only make electric and hybrid vehicles after 2019 while Britain, France, Germany and others have pledged to stop the sale of diesel and petrol vehicles during the next 20 years. But while there’s political will, can the technology deliver the way to …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
    Unhappy

    fossil fuel - we're addicted.

    There is only one question to answer about when we stop using the internal combustion engine:

    Where will the watts come from?

    All that other shit about "ooh , oh no , i dont want to wait to charge" , " i havent got the range" " the batteries need renewing every x years", " they cost too much" dosent matter -

    There Wont Be Any Fucking Electricity To Put In Your Car.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

      Where will the watts come from?

      There is ONLY one long term near indefinite source which has little or no environmental effect. In fact, the little effect it has is in the exact opposite direction to global warming so it is likely to be beneficial too. It is not fusion, nuclear, solar and not even wind (which is actually somewhat of a proxy for this).

      It is the Tropical ocean thermocline. Unfortunately, we are nowhere near extracting that technologically and politically. Our energy extraction tech has always been optimized for hot/cold differences in the hundreds of degrees. Our energy transportation tech is also fairly primitive. Even if we figure out how to pump energy efficiently out of a 25C hot/cold difference, we also have to figure out how to store that energy into a transportable form in the middle of let's say Indian ocean and ship it to somewhere where it is needed.

      Once we have figured how to tap into this we will have little to worry about for a few hundred years which should be enough to figure out how to harvest energy in space into a transportable form and ship it earthside (no, microwave and laser is not the answer here - you will be producing NOx at insane rates along the beam route).

      1. Toltec

        Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

        @ Voland's right hand

        "It is the Tropical ocean thermocline."

        Isn't that basically solar power?

        1. Hairy Spod

          Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

          >>> @ Voland's right hand

          "It is the Tropical ocean thermocline."

          >> Isn't that basically solar power?

          Yes, but only in the same way that petrol and diesel are solar power with a few extra processes thrown in together with built multi million year time delay.

        2. Stu Mac

          Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

          It's bollocks anyway.

          The entire equatorial land belt is ideal for vast amounts of solar energy. Solar cells or reflective arrays. All the energy that mankind requires.

          Of course having all the energy right there isn't much use, so it needs to be used to produce fuel which can be transported. Synthetic hydrocarbon or liquid hydrogen for instance.

          1. PMJ

            Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

            We don't need that. We can take all the oil tankers and install vast batteries in them. :)

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

        "It is the Tropical ocean thermocline"

        nice pipe dream, but just one problem: when you alter the thermal characteristics of the ocean, will it create YET ANOTHER ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEM? I say "probably".

        Keep in mind that MANY of those behind shoving electric cars up our as down our throats are really the elitist types that will ALWAYS "have theirs", but to feel good about their 'rich guilt' they foist their idealism upon THE REST OF US, like it's for our OWN GOOD or something.

        The best potential technology for portable energy that can be easily transported, stored, and dispensed at a filling station, is hydrogen with fuel cell systems. Those would be electric, but the battery requirement would be significantly smaller, and efficiency WAY higher than a standard hybrid.

        but fuel cells have some logistical problems _LIKE_ cold weather. and hydrogen has potential being stored as "complex hydrates" but the temperature extremes needed to extract and/or force it to store cause some problems.

        In the mean time, before this tech becomes _absolutely_ _necessary_ (and not the 'artificial' 2040 time frame), why don't we just keep burning dead dinosaurs and dead prehistoric plants?

        At some point, it will no longer be cheaper to dig it out of the ground or drill for it and frack to break up the rocks so we can extract nearly all of it [instead of just the first 50%].

        When the price of gasoline is in the $5-$6/gallon range in the USA, it starts to become viable to produce fuel from GARBAGE. On an industrial scale, organic waste can be turned into oil, and then fuel.

        Also, gummints and enviro-wackos need to STOP IT with their opposition to nuclear energy. Make it SAFER, sure. But stop getting in the way. We *NEED* the nuke plants if you don't want COAL and OIL and GAS plants to be producing electricity for those electric cars _EVERYONE_ will have to drive by 2040...

        So many feely "solutions" without thinking things through, and it's JUST gonna screw average people's lives all to hell... so a bunch of elitists can "stop feeling guilty" about having those things that make life easier (when the rest of us no longer can).

        icon, because, SAD

    2. ratfox Silver badge

      Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

      Fusion!

      Just kidding. Plain old fission, probably.

    3. Dan White

      Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

      Factor in the staggering amounts of energy for all the infrastructure required to drill, extract, pump, refine, transport and dispense petrol and diesel. Then imagine that you didn't need to use all that energy any more, and that it could be used for another process, say, charging car batteries...

      For example, a 2008 study estimated that the energy use in the refining stage alone was equivalent to 6kWh lost per refined US gallon of petrol. For an average 50 litre fuel tank, that's about 80kWh, enough to fully charge a Tesla model 3 almost twice over.

      When you add in all the other infrastructure costs involved, it really is a no-brainer. Then you get the added bonus of reduced particulate emissions, reduction in respiratory diseases, NOX emissions, smog. etc, etc etc.

      -NAS (2009), Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use, The National Academies Press, www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12794&page=1

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

        I think you're missing the point Dan.

        Its true you need to to drill, extract, pump, refine, transport and dispense petrol , extracting and pumping being the most variable .Oil dosent jump out of the ground anymore , it has to be pumped . The EROEI - Energy return on Energy Invested has been dropping for years (from about 24:1) as Oil gets harder to find.

        BUT - your Tesla needs all that as well (except the last stages) , where do you think the electricity comes from?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

          And where does all the plastic come from to make the 'cruelty free and vegan' interiors of Teslas?

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

            And where does all the plastic come from to make the 'cruelty free and vegan' interiors of Teslas?

            And what do we do with that highly flammable distillate, leftover from the 'plastic' refining process, which if we aren't going to be putting it into millions of combustion engines will rapidly become rather a large waste problem.

          2. JDX Gold badge

            Re: And where does all the plastic come

            Solving that problem is much easier. We can already make many plastics without needing fossil fuels and this will doubtless get better with research.

            And then consider the amount of plastic used in a car, with the amount of fuel burnt over it's life time. The argument electric cars are bad because they use many kilograms of plastic is either horrendously ignorant, or deliberately manipulative.

        2. JDX Gold badge

          Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

          I think Prst you're missing the point.

          For a start, you now only need to distribute fossil fuels to one location not all over the place. For a second, you can burn the fuel far more efficiently and cleanly in a huge power station.

          For a third, the Tesla doesn't care where the Watts come from. We can burn things, use fission and renewable sources in whatever mix we can manage. So a Tesla can consume energy from any power source - including petrol - whereas your combustion engine is inflexible and inefficient.

          "Electric cars still need fuel to be burnt" is a daft argument anti-electric people use trivially, and largely, ignorantly.

      2. jmch Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

        "staggering amounts of energy for all the infrastructure required to drill, extract, pump, refine, transport and dispense petrol and diesel"

        I believe that for some supplies such as tar sands it costs 9 units of energy to produce 10 units, which is a terrible waste. However it is still providing net +1 unit. Same with all other hydrocarbon sources, however much is wasted, there is still a net positive output that, if hydrocarbons are no longer used, needs to come from somewhere else. So massive increase will be needed in solar, hydro, geo, plain old fission and pretty much every other technology that can be thrown in because we're going to need a lot of everything, plus probably major grid upgrades to tie it all together.

        What will help hugely is efficiency in the vehicle itself. Besides all the refinery etc energy requirements, ICEs are about 30-35% efficient. Electric motors, battery charging and high-voltage transmission all have efficiencies in the 90s, so even combining the losses, net efficiency would be in the high 70s, more than double that of ICE. Even if electricity is produced by hydrocarbons, best combined-cycle turbine efficiency is in the high 40s, so will in any case be at least as efficient as the most efficient ICE. So moving to electric vehicles greatly reduces the energy consumption required.

      3. DainB Bronze badge

        Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

        GGE is 33.41 kWh/gal so 6kWh is less than 20% loss, which is not that far from average 8-15% loss in electric grid.

        For an average 50 litre fuel tank, that's about 400 kWh of stored energy in case you can't use basic math.

        And if you think you can store more energy in a solid battery without turning it into explosive you're out of luck, next step up from lithium in energy density is a gunpowder and after that it's TNT and that's still 10 times less than gasoline, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_density

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

          Not to mention the 30%-40% loss at the power station between the fuel in and electricity out, and the fact that getting the fuel to the power station requires similar amounts of energy to getting petrol to a petrol station.

        2. Steve Todd

          Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted. - @DainB

          You're ignoring the conversion inefficiencies of the IC engine. You may have 440 kWh of potential energy in a 50 litre tank, but it has taken another 80 to get it there, and you'll be lucky to get much more than 130 kWh of energy out of it. 520 kWh of potential in to get 130 kWh delivered to the road isn't a good ratio.

          1. DainB Bronze badge

            Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted. - @DainB

            I actually never said that burning fuel to run ICE is the most effective use of petrol and there is lots of space for advances in getting that stored energy back rather. But liquid fossil based fuel is not going anywhere, we just need to learn use it more efficiently.

          2. Jakester

            Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted. - @DainB

            And assuming that 130KWh delivered to the road requires about 370KWh of energy at the generating station to generate that 130KWh of energy for your electric car (assuming 35% efficiency at the power station) - and that doesn't include the energy to mine the energy source or deliver it to the electric generating station. That also is not a good ratio. So, don't ignore the inefficiencies on your side of the IC/electric debate.

        3. Adam 1 Silver badge

          Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

          > For an average 50 litre fuel tank, that's about 400 kWh of stored energy

          The vast amount of this stored energy is used to warn the air just behind the vehicle. Of the remaining, a rather substantial proportion is used to warm the brake pads. Only a very small fraction is actually able to be used for propulsion and running ancillary systems (A/C, radio, lights etc) which we would consider as "useful work".

          Unless an EV needs to replicate such wastefulness, it doesn't need that sort of energy density. Frankly, a 1 minute fast charge is a pipe dream, but a 1 minute swap and go is not beyond our engineering capabilities today. Creating a non patent encumbered standard that is somewhat future proof and workable for all manufacturers. That's a much tougher nut to crack.

          1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

            I don't know about iithium/ion batteries, but I know that producing your lead-acid car battery is so environmentally fraught that in the U.S. it basically costs more to shut down and decontaminate a lead acid battery factory than it does to keep it running. So basically you keep it running and hope that the battery manufacturer doesn't go bankrupt and leave a big brownfield Superfund site in your town/city.

        4. Stu Mac

          Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

          Good points.

          The only possible REAL alternatives are liquid hydrogen, used in fuel cells or IC engines or battery swap tech.

          In any direction the UK would need another 50 nuclear power stations to charge the batteries or crack the H2O.

          So if you want cleaner but not horses it's cleaner petrol engines or LPG engines for 50 years to come.

          1. Roger Mew

            Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

            Whoa up there, LPG is not good, not good at all. The particulate from LPG is very small and gets right into the pores of lungs. Some years ago Calor in the UK did some experiments with Calor into diesels at max speeds and found the particulate was not good but the engines ran clean, guess where the particulate went!

            Bring back trolley buses and there is no reason why lorries cannot run for delivery in say central London at night!

        5. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

          "And if you think you can store more energy in a solid battery without turning it into explosive you're out of luck, next step up from lithium in energy density is a gunpowder"

          I had a minor LiPo 'scare' the other day when I was doing some battery capacity/behavior testing on a device. I soldered up what SHOULD have been a simple current monitoring 'thing' that went between the battery and device, so I could do long-term measurements with a microcontoller. Unfortunately, even under the magnifier, I couldn't see a tiny solder finger that shorted out the LiPo battery. Within 10 seconds it swelled up like a balloon and started melting the vinyl covering on the table it sat on. I rapidly disconnected it, and when the swelling didn't go back down, I quickly ran with it to a nearby sink and doused it with water (and within a few seconds, it suddenly collapsed to being 'flat' again) until it was 'cool to the touch'.

          Unfortunately the battery couldn't be charged any more (must've melted inside). I really didn't need the thing blowing up in my face, so I'm glad it stayed "contained". THAT was only a 400maH battery. I can't imagine what the battery of a vehicle would be like, if something shorted it out [like a traffic accident?]

          icon, because, that's almost what happened. having a fire extinguisher handy is helpful, but I'd rather not use it. Having a shower nearby to wash the burning lithium off won't be that much help, either.

          just putting it into perspective...

          /me points out, safe LiPo disposal: cut battery in half with scissors, drop into plastic cup with water in it. When bubbles stop, you can rinse the lithium out and toss the rest in the garbage. at least, that's what I'm inclined to do...

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

        And in 40 years time...

        ...Factor in the staggering amounts of energy for all the infrastructure required to drill, extract, process, refine, transport and package Lithium batteries. Then imagine that you didn't need to use all that energy any more, and that it could be used for another process, say, just moving oil around.

        /sarc

        Seriously though, have you seen how awful the manufacture of current battery technology is for the environment? It's not just the energy costs, it's the toxic byproducts as well. Electric cars are not a panacea for our environmental problems, they're just part of an overall picture of unsustainable human activity. Solving this isn't going to be as simple as just choosing a different means to power your car.

      5. Jakester

        Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

        No, all that energy can't be used to charge batteries. In 2016 in the U.S., sources for electricity were about:

        1% - Petroleum

        15% - Renewable (geothermal, hydro, biomass, solar, wind)

        20% - Nuclear

        30% - Coal

        34% - Natural Gas

        source: https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=107&t=3

        So, that electric car is belching fossil fuel by-products from at least 65% of its energy sources. Mining of coal, nuclear feedstock, natural gas all take energy. Electricity production from various heat sources appears to be about 35% from what I could glean from the U.S. EIA data.

        I didn't look long and didn't find reliable data on efficiency of internal combustion (IC) engines, but they are probably in the range of 20 to 36%. So, in the best case of comparing the electric to IC, they are about equal in converting heat into energy. Electric cars will have the advantage in slow stop and go traffic as energy is only used as needed. The IC engines typically will be constantly running in all types of traffic. Modern IC engines are quite clean, although here in the U.S., not as clean as other countries because of stupid laws that require emissions measurement in percentage rather than gm/mile.

        So, yes, you could use all the energy to charge batteries, if you didn't have to use it to generate electricity and mine energy sources to generate the extra electricity to charge those batteries.

        Your electric car burns coal, natural gas, biomass, etc. My IC car burns just gasoline. I know of several individuals who have converted their cars/trucks to run gasoline, natural gas, or LP, depending on what is available. Natural gas and LP are much cleaner than gasoline and decreases engine wear.

        Pick your favorite, but don't force me to use your choice.

    4. LeeE Silver badge

      Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

      What we want from batteries is so far away from what we can get from them, and will probably remain that way for a very long time, that I think we'd be better off putting more effort in to fuel cell systems.

      1. rmullen0

        Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

        Fisker says it has a solid state battery that has a range of 500 miles and recharges in a minute.

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

          "Fisker says it has a solid state battery that has a range of 500 miles and recharges in a minute."

          That means a capacity of somewhere in the order of 300kWh, which is equivalent to 30 litres of petrol. To recharge that in one minute, you would need an 18MW power supply. At 230V, that would mean 78kA of current.

          1. Steve Todd

            Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted. @katrinab

            Where did you get that math from? A current Tesla Model S will get you between 280 and 320 miles from 100 kWh. 500 miles should need between 150 and 180 kWh.

            There's also no way you'd use 240V for charging at those power levels (though a suspect a 1 minute charge to be a pipe dream).

            1. katrinab Silver badge

              Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted. @katrinab

              "500 miles should need between 150 and 180 kWh"

              OK, so a 9 - 10.8MW supply then. Still a lot more than the 3kW you get through a domestic plug.

              1. jabuzz

                Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted. @katrinab

                "OK, so a 9 - 10.8MW supply then. Still a lot more than the 3kW you get through a domestic plug."

                But if your car can do 500 miles on a charge then you don't actually need to charge it in a minute. In fact over night is more than good enough for 99.999999% of people. Put another way if I could recharge a car overnight and get 500 miles of range then in my entire life that would have been more than adequate for *EVERY* journey ever I have ever made in a car including all the journeys when I was child.

                For a 500 mile range from an overnight charge to be insufficient you would need to tag team drive, because 500 miles cruising at 70 miles (aka the speed limit) is over seven hours journey time. At a minimum I would need out the car for a comfort break even if tag team driving. So the opportunity to boost the charge with a supercharger or similar. Though like I said the number of times one would need to do that in your life is zero for the vast majority of people.

                1. JEDIDIAH
                  Linux

                  Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted. @katrinab

                  The "overnight charge plan" only works if you are nothing but a commuter. Do anything else and your approach to batteries becomes completely unworkable.

                2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

                  Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted. @katrinab

                  500 miles range, but I'm guessing that's *just* for driving the vehicle. Any *real* trip is going to have the additional need for AC or heat, your radio/CD/digital audio player/GPS/Nav systems, the DVD player(s)/handheld game(s) for the kid(s),

                  I think it's time to make the roofs of cars out of solar panels. And we need small-size windmills for our houses.

                  1. Roger Mew

                    Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted. @katrinab

                    We frequently do an all round trip of 1500 miles, going 750 one day, and return 2 or three days later. now if we were to rely on public transport, bring our shopping back would be untenable, we would not be able to recharge, and the whole thing will be a fiasco as pubic transport would take as at present at least 3 days going, no hotels available, I am disabled, impossible to carry ought, frankly a no no. Therefore the whole thing is going to crash.

                    Incidentally, aeroplanes eg Cessna run on 101 grade gasoline, they have to fly at 10,000 feet. The guarantee is for this fuel to be available for about the next 40 years. Now heres the rub, currently the fuel has a life span and after expiry has to be destroyed, so it is burnt. Yes burnt, at least 10,000 gallons a month, in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and so on. Why cannot the fuel be used in vintage cars! No its far more politically correct to burn it. Now let us go 1 step further. You have put shit gasoline eg with bensol in it and after about 3 weeks it should not be used due to water absorption and such like. so where do you dispose of this time expired gasoline. You cannot. I know how dangerous this shit is, I am badly burnt through it. I can go on but believe me it is politically better for you to be burnt than use time expired leaded gasoline.

              2. Steve Todd

                Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted. @katrinab

                Why would you need to recharge from a domestic plug? Even current EVs don't do that. If it's at home on your driveway then a 32A 240V charger then you should be able to add 200+ miles on an overnight charge.

                At a an on-route charging point you can charge a local battery at a constant rate and dump the charge into a vehicle on demand. Allowing the time to drive up, connect, charge, disconnect and drive off you should be fine with a 2-3 MW supply from an industrial feed. That's assuming you ever charge at that speed in the real world. I suspect 5-10 mins would be quick enough for most people.

                1. katrinab Silver badge

                  Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted. @katrinab

                  The claim was that there exists a battery with a 500 mile range that can be charged in one minute. I was exploring how practical it would be to implement this in real life, not whether or not we need the technology.

                  An average petrol pump can dispense 50 litres of petrol per minute, and depending on the car, that would probably give you around 500 miles of range, so such a battery, if it is possible, would make electric competitive with petrol in that respect.

                  1. Danny 14 Silver badge

                    Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted. @katrinab

                    the UK is on a collision course for brow outs in the late 2020's and we will be expected to have hundreds of thousands if not millions of cars charging from the grid? righto.

                    1. Hairy Spod

                      Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted. @katrinab

                      no we are not, not even the national grid say this.

                      Forget the made up analysis based on what we currently produce and use and what we might use

                      There's a reason for the limited overhead and that because the overhead costs money and is pure waste.

                      The national grid will always only ever and deliberately have the tiniest amount of spare capacity, when it gets too big it gets cut back, when it gets too small it gets added to.

                2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

                  Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted. @katrinab

                  "If it's at home on your driveway"

                  What driveway?

              3. Stu Mac

                Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted. @katrinab

                PER VEHICLE CHARGING

                Say 16 charge points per "garage".....

            2. PMJ

              Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted. @katrinab

              We have a dedicated 30A circuit to charge our Model S 75D. It charges at 7.5KW and is usually charged overnight. The actual range for a full charge varies from about 150 miles in the winter to 250+ miles in warmer times all depending upon journey length (less power is used when the battery is warm). On the road we can charge from a Tesla and it takes about 45 minutes for a full charge. The few minutes charging rates speculated are pure fantasy. Even charging it in 5 minutes would require nearly a MW of electricity (meaning a rather thick cable).

              1. Roger Mew

                Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted. @katrinab

                Thats good for you, however as we have night storage electricity, live in the country, have a limit on the amount we can have, and need the vehicle to get to the store some 10 mile distant, it seems that we will be phucked, worse I am registered disabled.

                Can some one PLEASE tell me why all these city types that are totally stupid have not legislated that by next year every town and city bus route will start to be converted to trolley bus working. Little infrastructure problems, minimal other problems and the biggest hit on less pollution as buses in town cause more than most other REGULAR traffic! OH the reason why not, well its like this, it is government money, causes government problems with lack of electricity, and does not create any where near as frightening scenarios as saying the car has to bear the brunt.

                I have an answer. everybody forsake the towns, do not visit, use out of town shops, get bosses to move businesses out of town and then there will be no town, just an empty derelict area with no pollution, magic!

          2. Stu Mac

            Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

            Stop confusing them with inconvenient facts lol

        2. Stu Mac

          Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

          I have a small wager that will be a capacitor not a battery /pedant.

          And this new electricity grid 4 times the current capacity......

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

      "There is only one question to answer about when we stop using the internal combustion engine:

      Where will the watts come from?"

      An alternative question for the long term is where will the fossil fuels come from?

      We keep using them where other alternatives exist instead of confining their use to situations where there are no effective alternatives.

    6. Scally53

      Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

      From solar and wind power mainly, with a dash of hydro and tidal energy perhaps. My 16 solar panels supply enough power to drive my Nissan Leaf 8,000 miles a year.

      Actually you might be surprised how much electricity is used by oil refineries: enough to power a decent sized city, so that's a saving.

    7. StargateSg7 Bronze badge

      Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

      Actually, a Canadian company located in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada called "General Fusion" (look it up on Wikipedia) is using a technique called "Magnetized Target Fusion" compression to create the high-enough pressures to super-heat CHEAP and EASY-TO-MAKE fuel into a plasma which is compressed by a pulsed or continuous magnetic field at enough energy to create VIABLE fusion!

      The beauty of this technique, is that it is SCALABLE DOWNWARDS to the size of a beer cask which means it can eventually be put into any lorry, car or caravan! The first tests at a larger scale are being done NOW and within 5 years the first large lorry size versions will be Alpha tested and after that another 5 years until a typical saloon-size car version will be tested.

      Fusion-power for cars and homes is coming MUCH FASTER than many people realize all because NEW fusion techniques which DO NOT NEED megawatt lasers to start the heat-producing fusion process!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

        @StargateSg7

        Yeah RIGHT!

  2. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

    for the Misses birthday.

    In 1912 or thereabouts the Electric Tram Company could replace a battery in 3 minutes. This is more than enough time to buy some flowers and a box of sun whitened chocolates and queuing for the loo key and is probably the way forward if someone can produce a standard.

    1. TWB

      Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

      This is where I think we'll end up - standardised 'intelligent' batteries in cars, automated swapping at 'fuel' stations, some bulk moving of batteries for recharging at mega centres, some charging of these batteries at the 'fuel' stations - but probably not all. At the same time, charging of batteries/cars possible in many places BUT dynamically priced to help control the grid and generation loading - and this will be the same at home if you have it - the cheapest charging will involve the risk that it might go off when more important demand increases. Guaranteed charging will be more expensive etc etc.

      It'll be a nightmare for many consumers who will not understand it. I imagine the consumer TV and radio programmes will talk of little else.

      Current petrol/diesel stations will migrate to the battery swapping systems over several years as many are already ideally placed.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

      if someone can produce a standard

      Producing it isn't the problem, convincing manufacturers to use it will be. They'll always want proprietary shapes, sizes and connectors to get a market edge.

      In any case, since these swapped batteries will still need to be recharged, all you do is move the problem. "Filling stations" would need to keep a stock of batteries on hand, and recharge the ones that are swapped out, so they'll need muti-MW grid connections with all the associated problems of supply and handling.

      I can't see recharageable-electric ever being more than a niche. We'll probably end up using a renewable liquid fuel like alcohol or bio-diesel.

      1. Ledswinger Silver badge

        Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

        I can't see recharageable-electric ever being more than a niche. We'll probably end up using a renewable liquid fuel like alcohol or bio-diesel.

        That was always the most sensible approach, because we'd then only have to crack the problem of where the renewable energy comes from, and we could many existing assets and technologies, and blend fossil and renewable chemical fuels. There's a token amount of that with biofuels, but those were poorly conceived as being fuel-crop derived and too often at the expense of food crops. And now government policy is actually trying to force increasingly Heath Robinson solutions for electric-everything, including the complexity of storing electricity, and we still haven't resolved where the energy will come from for existing electricity demand, never mind transport and heating use.

        Sadly I think that the opportunity for renewable synthetic chemical fuels has mostly been lost, because the arts graduates leapt on the idea of electric-everything, combined with an obsession on zero emissions at point of use. Zero emissions at point of use is idea which has merit, but should have been a separate problem to renewable energy. We might see synthetic fossil fuels (some long way hence) being used to power aircraft, grid back up, shipping, but that's about it.

        As always, government's intervene, start picking winners, and then we have stupid outcomes like the vast, subsidised solar PV farms in the UK, crappy, plus the cost inefficient household PV, subsidies left right and centre to EVs, and still no nearer to solving the real problems of renewable energy.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

          "arts graduates leapt on the idea of electric-everything"

          And also shied away from nuclear because - well it's complicated and it might explode at any minute.

          1. Ledswinger Silver badge

            Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

            shied away from nuclear because - well it's complicated and it might explode at any minute

            Arguably the Areva EPR is a financial Chernobyl.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

            Quite apart from being very expensive and I should know I used to crunch the numbers for it.

        2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

          Sadly I think that the opportunity for renewable synthetic chemical fuels has mostly been lost,

          I'm more optimistic, especially with technologies like this being investigated:

          https://www.ornl.gov/news/nano-spike-catalysts-convert-carbon-dioxide-directly-ethanol

          Consider a modular factory that takes water, electricity, and CO2 (from the air) in, and pumps out fuel? Plant a bunch of them at the coast, hooked up to wind or solar farms, they can use renewable electricity at it's source, with no major concern about predictability since they just make alcohol when they can, it's easy to store. Sell them to the greenies as atmospheric CO2 scrubbers.

          1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

            Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

            The thing is we technically already have the two stages of use technology. Trees/plants for high density biofuels and hydrogen for ease of production.

            It is more a social problem (money and political) and breaking the current trends (or reinvesting over a centuries worth of existing tech and money) that prevents a switch to the benefits of either.

            Plants produce energy at a good density, hydrogen is an easy *artificial* storage means. But crude oil is both easy (free from the ground) and hogh density.

            I cannot see an artificial means ever beating nature really. Batteries have great potential, but we would have to be willing to give up some conveniences.

          2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

            Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

            Expect to be leafletted if you live nearby:

            "The giant multinational company destroying wildlife by removing CO2* from the atmosphere for profit**! Less crops will be grown and we'll all starve!

            * Who said the greenies have to be consistent?

            ** For profit is somehow bad

        3. Blotto

          Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

          In Europe all fuel is retail petrol or diesel is blended with biofuel, I think it’s 5%

        4. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

          There's a token amount of that with biofuels, but those were poorly conceived as being fuel-crop derived and too often at the expense of food crops

          Plants like duckweed and algae would be much better biofuel sources. They they readily grow like weeks (they are, essentially) in otherwise unused or under-utilized waterways. They especially like to grow in water contaminated by various phosphates, so intentionally harvesting them can *also* serve to clean up other environmental issues.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

        "They'll always want proprietary shapes, sizes and connectors to get a market edge."

        For the ancient zinc carbon battery and its descendants the range of standard sizes has worked very well. Products are designed to fit around them. (Some of us even remember standard sizes for bricks to power the heaters in portable valve radios and the even larger 90V bricks to power their HT.) Anyone trying to produce their own would find a different meaning to "market edge".

        Where standardisation works as an enabler vendors get dragged into line whether they want to or not.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

          For the ancient zinc carbon battery and its descendants the range of standard sizes has worked very well.

          That's true for basic functional technology like torches or radios, ane even milk floats if it comes to thta, but cars have never been that sort of consumer good. Thank more of the mobile phone or laptop market, how many of them have a standard battery size or type? The phone makers only standardized on charger connectors because theywere pretty much forced to by law.

          There'll always be an Apple (or BMW) who'll do something different to cater to the "special"people.

          1. davemcwish

            Re: "special" people

            @Phil O'Sophical

            Correct; and those "special" people will pay a "special" price to have their "special" batteries changed at their local dealership.

          2. Steve Evans

            Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

            That's true for basic functional technology like torches or radios, ane even milk floats if it comes to thta, but cars have never been that sort of consumer good

            Depends how far you dismantle them... eCar battery packs are nothing but a collection of standard 18650 cells, the same as you have in torches, e-cigs and laptop batteries, just a lot more of them!

            Unfortunately they're boxed up with control/protection circuitry and cooling systems so swapping out the individual cells would be far slower than just recharging the whole lot overnight!

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

            I don't think equating cars with mobile phones is particularly valid. Phone batteries may not be standardised, but they have two or three OS, and they all connect, via standards, to the same networks. They do that because you wouldn't buy a phone with a weird OS (sorry Ubuntu...) and certainly not one that only connects to it's manufacturer's proprietary network. Standards have a sort of 'tipping point' at which it costs more to avoid than accept. Given the way car making s concentrated in a few big consortium, with globalised commodity supply chains, I'm not sure that a standardised battery is insurmountable.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

          Where standardisation works as an enabler vendors get dragged into line whether they want to or not.

          What I have found surprising is that after several decades of product development, mobile device vendors still insist on using different battery sizes - often unique to specific phone models, even though the economies of scale that arise from standardisation are obvious.

        3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

          For the ancient zinc carbon battery and its descendants the range of standard sizes has worked very well. Products are designed to fit around them.

          I've thought the various electronics manufacturers have been stupid in not devising a set of standard power adapters for laptops, printers, etc. If they all got together and devised a standard set of 5 or 6 power bricks (from your simple 5.5v 2A router plug to a 24v 20A laptop brick) they could save by economies of scale by not having to design, source and stock hundreds of different models. It isn't as though power adapters are a profit center (despite the outrageous prices some charge for spare/replacement adapters). Devise a standard plug configuration for the "transformer" end (different size/shape for each V/A combination) and we could even start having wall outlets that would directly output the right spec.

      3. The Mole

        Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

        The difference is that filling stations will keep a stock of batteries and therefore don't need to recharge them quickly, they can take advantage that the demand for replacement batteries is lower over night or on different days and therefore charge them at a much slower average pace - and probably include doing it with intermittent local power supplies such as wind/solar when available. They also have the option of shipping a new container worth of batteries in if they can't keep up with demand.

        Still lots of challenges, not least that with petrol you get consistent mpg from each tank, where as mpb (miles per battery) will vary depending on the health of the battery which makes big issues for billing and user experience.

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

          It also screws over people who can't afford a full tank of petrol.

        2. Not also known as SC

          Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

          "The difference is that filling stations will keep a stock of batteries and therefore don't need to recharge them quickly,"

          According to https://www.quora.com/How-big-is-a-gas-stations-fuel-storage-tank a filling station has around 20,000 gallons of fuel. Assuming that a car fuel tank is around 10 gallons then that is enough fuel for 2000 cars (this seems far too low compared to the number of cars using our local supermarket filling station). Storing 2000+ battery packs would take up a lot of space http://www.electricvehiclewiki.com/Battery_specs gives dimensions of 61.8 x 46.8 x 10.4 in. (1570.5 x 1188 x 264.9 mm). This is also without considering the logistics of physically moving the batteries around the storage facilities so the fully charged ones are always available.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

            I think you need to do some more maths. Lets assume 100,000 litres of fuel in storage. If we accept that as 2000 'refills' (it might be more as does everyone put 50 litres in?) we then need to factor how many days does that 110k litres last - 2 or 3 days or a month? Presumably 2 days at your urban supermarket, and a month at Nowheresville's convenience store. In the urban case that's 1000 battery packs/day , but that assumes you can't charge any. Lets make another assumption - customers arrive at a steady pace 40/hour, and we have access to a rapid 2 hour charger. That would only need a stock of 80 batteries (and a big cable). The rural case would be 6 batteries an hour, so you only need 12 in stock, and a smaller cable.

            But will anyone swap their batteries at a supermarket? No They will drive home and charge overnight. So you only need your major battery swap facilities at motorway service stations and other long distance routes.

            What is it with electric vehicles that so encourages the harrumphing' it can't possibly work' knee-jerk response?

            1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

              What is it with electric vehicles that so encourages the harrumphing' it can't possibly work' knee-jerk response?

              They knee-jerk response is the one that says "it's cheap, we'll all be doing it by 2025".

              The "can't possibly work" is the calculated response.

              In the UK, total energy consuption for transport, per year (2016), is 12m toe (tonnes of oil equivalent) for petrol cars, 11m toe for diesel cars, and 13m toe for HGV/vans/buses. In more familiar units that's 140 TWh petrol, 130TWh diesel, and 150TWh for haulage. A total of 420TWh for road transport. UK annual electricity consumption is 360TWh, so to recharge all those vehicles from the grid would require more than doubling electricty production. UK generating capacity is around 100GW and there are 8760 hours in a year, so all the existing power stations would have to run flat out, 24/7, to meet that demand, and that's assuming it could be spread out evenly across the year. Some 56% of that comes from gas/coal/oil, not so green.

              Now, electric cars can be more efficient than IC engines, but that has to be balanced across losses in the grid for power transmission. Even if you could reduce by half the energy requirements of transport due to more efficient energy use the numbers still don't add up.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

          they can take advantage that the demand for replacement batteries is lower over night or on different days and therefore charge them at a much slower average pace

          Half, which isn't really much slower.

          They also have the option of shipping a new container worth of batteries in

          With a nice big diesel-powered lorry?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

            Nope, a Tesla truck hauled lorry.

  3. TWB

    Well done!!!

    You have remembered to list the location of the talk in the text (rather than hidden discreetly away somewhere....)

    I might have to come along now...sounds interesting.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Forget cars, how does international travel work without fossil fuel? Sailing ships and Zeppelins ?

    1. LeeE Silver badge

      Bring back the horse-drawn Zeppelin!

      1. Dominic Shields

        I was thinking that the engines would be electrical

        1. DainB Bronze badge

          Electric jet turbine ? That'd be interesting development.

          Of course you can create electric propeller plane to replace turboprops but how do you get them achieve speed required for long haul flight ?

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        "Erm - sailing ships use the wind."

        I think that was his point. Wind is not a fossil fuel , nor will it run out.

        1. muddysteve

          I realised my mistake and withdrew the comment.

    3. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      how does international travel work without fossil fuel? Sailing ships and Zeppelins ?

      Pretty much yeah , thats how we did it before fossil fuel, but not for a quick break in the Maldives - only if you were starting a new life on a new continent.

      Without fossil fuels the world will get a lot bigger - globally and locally. People will have to learn to live where they work , and get their food from somewhere near where they live and work too, and when they move around their new small little locality - dont do it in a 5000lb BMW Steel box - its a lot of weight to lug around without the stored energy of a million years of sunlight in crude oil.

      That little windfall is over.

    4. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Using fuel

      We can create fuel from plants etc. It is not the most economical way of using the energy from the sun, but can be done.

      It will mean more expensive plane tickets, but no that more expensive.

      For other uses, like trains, it will be more rational to use electricity. Mind you, it is more energy efficient (and cheaper) to use a diesel locomotive than an electric one, but the diesel one is dirtier.

      As for changing batteries as other people are stating.... it makes no sense today.

      The reason for it not making sense is battery density.

      With todays technology, the best available batteries for vehicles are Lithium Iron Phosphate, and those have a slightly initial energy density than regular Lithium Ion, but way longer calendar and cycle life. Anyway both have way lower energy density per volume than gasoline or diesel.

      This means you have to use more volume.. so the batteries are distributed over the chassis.

      This smart way of distributing batteries is what makes cars like the Tesla have such nice ranges.

      If you put them on single/dual modules, you end up with a car like an electgric vw golf. Forget about 500miles range, say hello to 150 mile range. Yes, you can change these pretty quickly should you design a standard system for doing so, but people would rather have 500mile range and wait 30 minutes at the charging station.

      As for using Hidrogen.. well, hidrogen is not a fuel source but a vector, and either you burn it or use it inside a fuel cell. Burning it is not as efficient energy wise, but the fuel cell is extremely expensive.

      On top of that, hidrogen is quite tricky to work with, and very expensive to produce. As the cheapest way of producing it is using natural gas, you might as well just burn said gas....

      Finally people complain about the source of all that electricity. And well, we can have more eolic + hidraulic + megahidraulic storage: pumping in reverse, and also mega batteries to soothen the loads. Not ideal, but workable.

      1. Mark York 3 Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Using fuel

        For other uses, like trains, it will be more rational to use electricity. Mind you, it is more energy efficient (and cheaper) to use a diesel locomotive than an electric one, but the diesel one is dirtier.

        The diesel engine on a locomotive is used as the power source for the alternator that produces the electrical energy to drive the locomotive.

        That's my train spotters anorak, being put back in it's cupboard.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: Using fuel

          hydrogen is piss cheap to produce if you have lots of heat and seawater. or lots of cheap electricity and seawater. places such as iceland could corner production.

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Sailing ships"

      Fusion powered gas turbines.

    6. Jim84

      "Forget cars, how does international travel work without fossil fuel? Sailing ships and Zeppelins ?"

      Ammonia. You can burn it in an ICE to power cars, ships, planes. You can produce it inexpensively if you have a heat source greater than 500 C. Current fission rectors have a lower output temperature due to being water cooled, the upcoming molten salt reactors or other advanced 4th gen reactors will not have this problem.

      It is a bit trickier to use in an ice than petrol. You want to crack 2% of it into hydrogen on the way to the motor, and run the motor at pretty much one speed to avoid needing to alter this percentage. But with a hybrid car with an ammonia ICE that problem is solved. Hybrid ships and planes may follow.

      Hydrogen is too expensive to store and transport. Synthetic hydrocarbons for the transport industry would need a huge carbon source (using the minimal amount in the air is not cost competitive). Ammonia can be made from seawater and air with energy.

    7. Scally53

      Air travel will be in two main forms: battery electric for short haul flights and biofuels for long haul. Ships will probably run on a mixture of biofuels, hydrogen, solar, wind (such as kites and vertical rigid fixed metal 'sails) . This is already happening.

  5. jms222 Bronze badge

    > It is the Tropical ocean thermocline

    It's still solar (fusion) power.

  6. Jellied Eel Silver badge

    We won't be driving them, they'll be driving us.

    Apparently. A utopian vision where we'll step out in the morning, find our carshare car quietly humming, ready to get us to the office in the morning. And who doesn't like a nice humming first thing?

    But despite the billions it'll cost us to decarbonise transportation, just to avoid fines for failing to hit self-imposed targets.. It'll be a price worth paying. And one where I'd want to do my part. So if folks could see their way to funding a little project for a mobile battery charger, I'd like to build a 6wd/all-wheel steering unit powered by a Steve Morris Devel 16. The Battery Emergency Assist Service Team needs your help!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We won't be driving them, they'll be driving us.

      Good for you, but my vision of utopia doesn't include any bloody commuting. Working remotely is far greener than any method which involves schlepping yourself to whatever hell hole your employer saw fit to rent an office space in. The problem is that remote working (even where possible) is always viewed with suspicion by management, and commuting costs are always somebody else's (i.e. the employee's) problem.

      Tax incentives to encourage remote working then? Hardly - how much tax do you think the government extracts from making the proles scurry to and fro across cities every day? And paying for lunch at overpriced sandwich bars? And from the business rates levied on commercial properties?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: We won't be driving them, they'll be driving us.

        "The problem is that remote working (even where possible) is always viewed with suspicion by management, and commuting costs are always somebody else's (i.e. the employee's) problem."

        The half-way house is to break down the large agglomerations of work places into smaller units that can then be placed in walk to work distances f to where people live. This, of course, reverses the whole of post-war planning police which has produced this mess.

        The only problem is the practical one that the best sites would be the old industrial sites which provided that walking distance employment. These are the sites which have been called brown-field and used for housing for workers to commute long distances into the cities.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: We won't be driving them, they'll be driving us.

          The half-way house already exists, sort of. So various off-shoring/outsourcing/downsizing and the rush to build officces has left a fair chunk of empty office space in a lot of towns. Thanks to some creative planning changes, that's allowing new forms of cubicle dwellers as it's converted into 'Luxury 1-bed Apartments'. Corner office/apartments still attract a premium. So workers can buy/rent those and then commute to their new offices.

          Car-wise, that's an issue, because there's generally not enough parking spaces either end. Either by intent, ie planning regs won't allow a parking/charging space per employee at the work end, and sometimes at the living end. Building owners can probably look forward to additional service charges for providing charging spaces.

          And we'd still need to do something about vehicles running out of juice. Especially this time of year, with 'Snowmageddon 2017' approaching. EVs stuck in snow using juice for heating people and batteries. And no equivalent to a safety-approved jerry can carried by highway patrols, police or other breakdown services. The most practical solution is likely to be a decent sized generator on a truck. Or in a car, as I propose. With sufficient funding, I could do for EV charging as Uncle Enzo did for pizza deliveries!

      2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: We won't be driving them, they'll be driving us.

        "

        Good for you, but my vision of utopia doesn't include any bloody commuting. Working remotely is far greener than any method which involves schlepping yourself to whatever hell hole your employer saw fit to rent an office space in.

        "

        How do you manufacture cars, TV sets, toasters, ships remotely? How do you build roads and bridges remotely? How do you build houses remotely?

        Would you be happy if you had a serious illness and all the hospital staff were sat at home interfacing with you remotely?

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: We won't be driving them, they'll be driving us.

          or teach. Wont anyone think of the childrens!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We won't be driving them, they'll be driving us.

          Well looking around me, my car, TV set, and toaster (i own a little canoe, but it's hardly a ship) were all manufactured remotely as far as i'm concerned, and actually the robot's that will probably build them in the future can prob do it without me. And as for houses, a nice little 3d printer on caterpillar tracks, a bucket of concrete and a good 4g connection and we're sorted.

          As for illness - depends. Would I want to be in hospital if i was having open heart surgery. Yes please. Do I want to schlep into town to have my blood pressure monitored and see a doctor for 60 seconds to be told 'come back in a month' - no thanks.

      3. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: We won't be driving them, they'll be driving us.

        "Good for you, but my vision of utopia doesn't include any bloody commuting. Working remotely is far greener"

        Good for you, but my vision of utopia doesn't involve working.

  7. katrinab Silver badge

    "Volvo will only make electric and hybrid vehicles after 2019"

    The and hybrid bit is important here. It will still run on petrol. It just has a bigger battery and a bigger electric motor, and maybe there is a more convenient way to attach a charger to the battery than using crocodile clips.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: "Volvo will only make electric and hybrid vehicles after 2019"

      which is a much better idea. plugin for town. petrol for range.

  8. RockBurner

    Shirley we don't need to move as much?

    Isn't all this just treating the symptom, not the disease? (in a manner of speaking).

    I remember over 20 years ago everyone was talking about 'tele-commuting' and being able to work from home. That must be far easier now than it ever was, and yet we still trudge to and from offices run by petty-minded middle managers who don't believe that people will do useful work unless watched like a hawk.

    Obviously 'some' travel is necessary (goods etc), but there's a huge amount of travel that can be cut out completely, and it's high time this was incentivised properly if only to reduce the travel headaches for those mandatory journeys.

    (and don't call you Surely, I know)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sigh

    some of the comments so far are just unbelievable even for this site.

    Today, the sun is shining and my EV is charging from the electricity I'm making from the sun. This comes via the Solar Panels on my Roof.

    I should get 40-50 miles on pollution free, cost free driving from the sun today.

    In summer it is more like 130-150 miles.

    As a result, I rarely have to charge my car away from home.

    Yes, the solar panels cost money but they have increased the value of my home and will payback my capital cost in 3-4 years.

    Due to the panels, my consumption of grid generated electricity (all from renewable sources by the way)has fallen by 50%. That's more Watts for other people to use to charge their cars etc.

    Electric cars are the way of the future like it or not!

    Downvote this all you like but look at what happened to the american buggy whip makers when internal combustion engined vehicles appeared on the scene... They went out of business.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sanctimonious Sigh

      Yes, the solar panels cost money but they have increased the value of my home and will payback my capital cost in 3-4 years.

      Only because the rest of us are unwillingly paying you a ludicrous subsidy. If you're in the UK, that's the Feed in Tariff scheme, for which the politicians and civil servants responsible should be drowned in a bowl of petrol.

      1. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Sanctimonious Sigh

        "Yes, the solar panels cost money but they have increased the value of my home and will payback my capital cost in 3-4 years.

        Only because the rest of us are unwillingly paying you a ludicrous subsidy. If you're in the UK, that's the Feed in Tariff scheme"

        Sure, and if the panels were not subsidised theeir cost would take 6-8 years to recoup. Lifetime is 15-20 years so it's still a good investment even without subsidies.

        Oh, and If you want to gripe at a stupid government subsidy scheme, have a gander at Spain, where following pressure from electricity suppliers the feed-in-tarriff was not only scrapped but reversed, so you have to pay to get your surplus electricity onto the grid, AND you can't have them off-grid. i know which country's scheme I would rather be in place

        http://www.theolivepress.es/spain-news/2016/04/16/solar-panel-law-in-spain-could-cost-thousands-of-independent-energy-producers-millions-in-fines/

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sanctimonious Sigh

          Sure, and if the panels were not subsidised theeir cost would take 6-8 years to recoup.

          Then do it your effing self out of your own pocket instead of sponging off the rest of us, maybe?

          Out of curiosity, where will your power come from on a dark winter's night, when if you're lucky your crappy solar panels will have got 20% of the energy they can collect in summer?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sanctimonious Sigh

            My Solar Panels will soon charge my own 26KWh Battery system. When that is installed, I will be able to go 'off grid'. That system and another 5KW of Solar Panels will be installed in January.

            No more FIT payments for me but I will not use any generated power renewable or not.

            I'll join a microgrid with my neighbour.

            This is the way of the future

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sanctimonious Sigh

        The returns from the FIT payments are around £250/year for my system(I'm the AC you are replying to), Using that figure alone, my ROCI would be 30years.

        Compared to the amount of Petrol/Diesel that I'm NOT buying it is trivial.

        Please get your fact right before you post comments like this. Your point about the FIT being excessive is not the case these days.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sanctimonious Sigh

        Except the subsidies have worked haven't they? They incentivized the development of technology and industry to the point where it's cheaper per watt to go solar than coal, so the subsidies aren't needed.

        And if you want 'ludicrous' subsidy I think the feed in one is somewhere at about 856 on a list of 1000. Just between cheap booze in the House of Common's bar and paying oil sheikhs to farm grouse on Scottish moors.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Sigh

      "my consumption of grid generated electricity (all from renewable sources by the way)"

      Really? Do you sit there checking the origin of individual electrons or do you use Maxwell's demon?

      "Downvote this all you like but look at what happened to the american buggy whip makers when internal combustion engined vehicles appeared on the scene... They went out of business."

      Familiar one. Perhaps you would remind us of the actual scale of the buggy whip making industry of the late C19th.

      1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Sigh

        @Doctor Syntax

        Thumbs up for referencing Maxwell's demon. I'm always pleased when that little tinker shows up.

        {I know... He should be opening and closing doors, not holding coats}

    3. Patrician

      Re: Sigh

      If you had to pay the full installation cost of you solar panels, with no subsidy, it would take you many more years to recoup the cost; and I am surprised that even with a subsidy you will recoup the costs in that short a time. I have a friend that has solar panels across one side of his roof and reckons to recoup the cost in around ten years.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Sigh

        i live in a flat with 10 other families. how will that work out?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sigh

          Gosh, a crowded flat. Sympathies. I live in a 20 room mansion on 10 acres, so pretty well ty. and your point is?

  10. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    If you want to see what's happening with Electric Vehicles

    Then this is a good place to start

    http://www.fullychargedshow.co.uk/

  11. MrGutts
    Happy

    I am holding out for Unobtanium or Dilithium crystals powered devices.

  12. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Boffin

    Not to mention investment...

    Who will pay? When financiers can get large and rapid returns from funding the development of, say, an app that superimposes cat ears onto people's pics why would they pump money into something dull and boring like energy infrastructure?

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Not to mention investment...

      why would they pump money into something dull and boring like energy infrastructure?

      The same reason they're slinging up wind turbines, building loads of PV farms, or building new grid links, because there's subsidies that make it worthwhile. Some are direct cash (feed in tariffs), others are requirements on suppliers to buy renewable energy regardless of the cost (renewables obligations), and in the case of grid links, the operators just agree with OFGEM that they need to build a new billion quid link, and they get that permitted as a regulated investment.

      There's plenty of money to pay for the investment, and the costs just get added to your electricity bill.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Not to mention investment...

        "he costs just get added to your electricity bill."

        And your taxes.

        1. Ledswinger Silver badge

          Re: Not to mention investment...

          And your taxes.

          Not in the way you think. Almost all UK energy policy costs are met by subsidies, supplier obligations, or regulated investment. Very little comes from general taxation (note 1).

          In Germany, which has mostly similar policies, the additional costs are recovered through a range of different energy taxes, and people can easily see that about 40-45% of the cost of electricity is government impositions. The UK Government realised that the public wouldn't want to see either a 45% energy tax, or a rise in general taxation to recover the circa £6bn a year costs of all their renewable follies. Doing it the way they have, suppliers get the rap for the near doubling of residential electricity bills between 2003 and 2017, but there's no single figure or easily attributable figures for what the policy costs are. So the suppliers (who are useless and greedy anyway) can't point to anything substantial and say "look, that's what government have made us add to your bill". Some companies have done and published quite respectable analysis, but due to the complexity of the issue that falls on deaf ears, most of whom want to blame the suppliers anyway.

          Where energy policy does (slightly) impact your taxes is that government charge 5% VAT on your bill. By adding £6bn a year to your electricity costs, government receive a quarter of a billion quid extra in VAT. Looking forward, you can see that government are besotted with "leading the world in saving the planet", and are committed to "decarbonising" heating and transport, as well as the existing electricity sector. We have Hinkley Point already the most expensive single construction site in all recorded history; But government plan to close all the remaining 7 AGR reactor sites by 2030, and that's without electric cars, electric heating and the elimination of mains gas by 2040. The additional load on the distribution system will cost around £12bn to meet, and there's new transmission requirements, plus new interconnectors costing billions under a bizarre joint government and EU plan to transfer spare electricity from other EU countries (who are mostly in a similar pickle, so won't have spare electricity).

          Realistically, due to the policy direction that government are absolutely set upon, it reasonable to reckon that having nearly doubled already, electricity costs will need to increase by at least a further fifty percent (eg to pay for the proposed fleet of mixed and unproven reactor designs). The substitution of gas by electricity for heating will probably triple like for like heating costs for a typical household currently using gas. And the costs of electrifying transport will be a further multi-billion pound overlay.

          Note 1: - the main "energy" cost paid from taxation is nuclear decommissioning costs, but although treated as an energy cost, 90% is down to the nuclear weapons research and manufacture programmes of the 50s, 60s and 70s. This is managed by the department formally known as DECC, and runs at about £250m a month.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not to mention investment...

            "the elimination of mains gas by 2040"

            woah, I missed that one !

            Surely gas is a more efficient way to generate heat than electricity from any source ?

            Although if the intention is to keep raising the price of electricity then I can see why the gas has to be turned off.

            1. Ledswinger Silver badge

              Re: Not to mention investment...

              woah, I missed that one !

              Been muttered about a few times. AFAIR the first "official" mention was in the DECC 2012 paper "The Future of Heating". Since then, I think it was the clueless arts graduate Amber Rudd who allowed that research paper to be declared as part of official policy, I think back in 2015.

              Note that eliminating mains gas doesn't preclude using it to generate electricity, its just you and me will have to completely replace our heating and hot water systems (including all hot water storage tanks and radiators), and then use unicorn juice to power the "whatever" that we've installed instead. The Climate Change Priests think that air source heat pumps will do the job, but the cost will be enormous, and in very cold weather the systems will struggle to work at all. Don't worry though, you and I will be the ones paying.

              There's some other laughable tripe in The Future of Heating, like (IIRC) around 20% of homes being heated by nuclear powered district heating systems by 2040. Sadly the politicians and civil servants know less than the square root of jack all about any of the technologies required, or the cost.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Not to mention investment...

      Nobody is talking about the deadweight "West" in any of this and Chinese are pretty tenacious.

      Cat ear financiers will get a bullet and the rest will be told to do their job.

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Devil

        Re: Not to mention investment...

        It's easy to turn on a dime when you can execute civil servants for not being up to snuff and you don't have to worry about silly things like democracy or civil liberties.

  13. M7S

    Given how long it took to agree new nuclear power plants in the UK

    Is all this talk of electric vehicles just horsing around?

    Mind you, that could probably be very necessary in a couple of decades......

  14. rmullen0

    Let the whining begin. Waah, electric vehicles have this problem or that. I'm sick and tired of listening to it. The planet will be uninhabitable and completely trashed and people will still be complaining about it in comments sections across the Internet. I am sick of oil company shills and naysayers holding back progress. I have an electric vehicle. It works fine for me. And batteries have already gotten better since I bought mine 3 years ago. Fisker is claiming they are working on a battery with a 500 mile range that is solid state and can be charged in a minute. Also, it will be 1/3 the cost of current batteries. I guess people would rather boil to death and have mass chaos ensue than make any sacrifice at all. And as far as I'm concerned. Electric vehicles are vastly superior to ICE. If you want to be a luddite, go back to horse and carriage.

    1. Fading Silver badge

      And the food you buy is delivered...

      How again?

      Yes for a subset of individuals an electric car makes perfectly good sense. For goods delivery, trade and actual work (where a car is a necessity and not a luxury) electric cars are not such a good fit. Have you calculated the amount of lithium required to replace even just the new cars sales rather than the entire fleet of vehicles on the road? Where is all this going to come from (give you a clue there is not enough on planet earth with current battery tech to do the replacement). This is not "shill" speak to hold back progress this is black hat (Edward deBono not IT security) practicalities.

      If EVs were "superior" to ICE than ICE would have lost to EVs back in the beginning (Porsche produced their first Hybrid back in 1898) . EVs are to ICE as DAB is to transistor radio - more expensive, not suitable for all uses, uses more resources to create and uses more electricity to run.

      Given https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/2017_christy_mcnider-1.pdf we have plenty of time to replace ICE with something better.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And the food you buy is delivered...

        Well there are differing views on Lithium reserves , some fairly sound science suggests we have enough to power a billion cars - and geology has proven pretty good at finding new reserves given an economic incentive. You are also assuming EV == Lithium, and discounting other battery technologies.

        What happened technologically 120 years ago isn't really an argument for what happens today. After all for a 100 years after the invention of the ICE, steam engines 'won' economically and practically. Do you still drive around in a steam powered car? Things change!

        And if you believe Watts and Christy on climate change can I interest you in a bridge, with towers, going really cheap?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The downvotes on your post

      show how this site is populated by Luddites and/or Oil Company shills.

      I wonder how many will take the trouble to go to the Forum in London?

      Like it or not people the days of the polluting ICE are nearly at an end.

      Governments around the world are putting laws in place to initiall restrict ICE's and then ban them all together.

      Norway is the leader with over 30% of new cars sold each month either a PHEV or a full EV.

      Stop sticking your heads in the sand and go stand by a major road junction. Then take a deep breath and breathe in all those PM10's and PM2.5's. Enjoy the pollution.

      1. Fading Silver badge

        Re: The downvotes on your post

        EVs will not save the world from particulate matter.

        http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/bitstream/JRC89231/jrc89231-online%20final%20version%202.pdf

        Sticking your head in the sand probably won't either.

      2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

        Re: The downvotes on your post

        show how this site is populated by Luddites and/or Oil Company shills.

        Or perhaps just sensible people who feel the idea of a battery which can do 500km and charge in a minute is as likely as free nuclear electricity, rocket boots and flying cars, as 'promised' in the sixties.

        I expect most have taken the idea seriously, looked at what they can afford and what's available, and figured that it's just not going to be practical for them and others like them.

        We use cars for a reason. And not because we are sadomasochists, the other alternatives being better.

        Yes; for some people electric vehicles will be ideal. But for many others an all-electric solution creates serious problems. It is fantasy to think we can change our culture and infrastructure so completely in just a couple of decades to make it work.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The downvotes on your post

          Never say never. In 1900 London streets were effectively 100% horse powered. By 1920 ICE's rule the roads. The fantasy is assuming that things as they are is in any way immutable, technologically, socially or politically. Or are we in some way qualitatively different to every other human generation? No boom and bust, no crash, no wars, no inventions.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The downvotes on your post

        The downvotes to a number of very informative posts here show how badly this event is needed.

        I hope that is will give all the nay-sayers an eye opener.

        We (mankind) have screwed up the climate of this planet. If we don't stop burning fossil fuels now then we are doomed, really doomed.

        But the Petrolheads will carry on boasting about their 0-60 times for their Polo or Peugeot 105 with large bore exhausts.

        But every ICE car has been blasted into oblivion in this area by the new Tesla Roadster. 0-60 in 1.9 seconds.

        https://cleantechnica.com/2017/11/30/head-head-comparison-tesla-roadster-vs-mercedes-project-one/

        But carry on polluting the air that we breathe. It won't end well.

        EV's are here to stay. ICE's are on their way out. No matter how many downvotes this post attracts, it won't change that fact.

        1. Ledswinger Silver badge

          Re: The downvotes on your post

          We (mankind) have screwed up the climate of this planet. If we don't stop burning fossil fuels now then we are doomed, really doomed.

          You should go back to the Guardian web site. No matter how much fossil fuel gets burned, we're not doomed. Humans have affected climate since we invented the axe and could chop down trees. When we built cities we invented the "urban heat island". When we domesticated and bred animals we increased methane emissions. Indeed, the bloody bacteria, insects and dinosaurs affected the climate. And all around us, the climate has changed for astronomical and geological reasons, and will continue to change, whatever we do.

          However, we certainly will be doomed if idiot politicians, worshipping at the altar of climate change destroy the economic surplus that an advanced society is built upon. That's where we're headed at the moment. I'd certainly support (and I'm sure most people would) a focus on research to move away from fossil fuels - but the current Chicken Little panic is promoting wrong, ineffective and unaffordable solutions.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The downvotes on your post

            Oh yes, because that economic surplus is benefiting us all - think of all the brass plate manufacturers in the Cayman Islands who might get thrown on the scrap heap of history.

            But more seriously ignoring your ignorant spiel about 'climate has always changed' [hint - not recently at this pace, and never at this rate when there are 7.6 billion humans living on the planet] what makes you think that transitioning to clean energy costs the economy? Is our existing ICE world subsidy free? No. Do solar panel makers pay taxes? Yes. Oh, but your household is paying about £150 a year in green taxes, which is clearly way more damaging than £150 a year per household to replace and run Trident.

        2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: The downvotes on your post

          But every ICE car has been blasted into oblivion in this area by the new Tesla Roadster. 0-60 in 1.9 seconds.

          Nope. The Eel Roadster does 0-60 in 1.5s. Of course that, like the new Roadster doesn't exist. If 10,000 people give me a deposit of $50,000.. It might be available around 2020, like the Roadster. Recharging mine would be simpler as the infrastructure exists. Servicing and maintaining it would be easier and cheaper as those skills and workshops exist. Mine would almost certainly beat the Roadster in 10 laps of the Nurburgring. Especially on a hot or cold day. And I look forward to see Teslas dominating the Le Mans 24hr.

          Ok, so they're perhaps extremes of things ICEs do routinely, and EV's don't. That's nothing new. Nor are EV's. The Electrobat hit the streets in 1894, but was soon displaced by ICEs as they're just more practical, efficient and cheaper.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The downvotes on your post

          EV's are here to stay. ICE's are on their way out. No matter how many downvotes this post attracts, it won't change that fact.

          It's not a fact, it's an untenable supposition.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The downvotes on your post

        Governments around the world are putting laws in place to initiall restrict ICE's and then ban them all together.

        Not any government that I elect.

        Norway is the leader with over 30% of new cars sold each month either a PHEV or a full EV.

        Only because buyers pay no sales tax on them, that can't last.

        1. Stork Bronze badge

          Re: The downvotes on your post

          Yes, and Norway also seems to have a surplus of electricity due to abundant hydro power.

  15. Badvok

    Combustion engine dies?

    It'll never happen! The combustion engine will live forever, or at least until a mechanism is found for conveniently storing energy at a higher density than hydrocarbons. Of course we will probably move away from mining hydrocarbons but there are multitudinous ways of making them from sunlight, from growing stuff to direct catalytic conversion of water and CO/CO2.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Combustion engine dies?

      It will never happen. The epitaph on the grave of pundits since Pompeii, and still going strong.

  16. Patrician

    ...."It’s the end of the road for the internal combustion engine, right? Volvo will only make electric and hybrid vehicles after 2019 "...

    Hybrid vehicles still use an internal combustion engine as a part of their power train; so hardly "the end of the road".

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Hybrids

      are an interim step.

      In 5-6 years there won't be any new Hybrids coming to market.[1]

      300miles per charge will the norm as will charging to 80% in 30 minutes (as with Tesla at the moment)

      [1] I see a role for Hybrids for a while and that is when you are towing. Towing hits your range dramatically but as most of us don't do that on a daily basis it really does not matter that much.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Steam powered

    Modern electric vehicles are just the same steam powered vehicles of old. Except this time the steam is in the power station.

  18. x 7 Silver badge

    Which day???

    Mixed up dates.........

    "On January 30, 2018, the National Physical Laboratory’s Dr Gareth Hinds will join Reg readers to discuss what the end of the combustion engine and the ban on diesel and petrol cars by 2040 means for the future of transport..........

    "The venue is the Yorkshire Grey on Theobalds Road, London, on January 31"

    Which day????

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Which day???

      The tickets say Tuesday 30th January 2018

  19. Jim84

    Good summary on ammonia vs hydrogen here

    https://www.agmrc.org/renewable-energy/renewable-energy/ammonia-as-a-transportation-fuel/

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Good summary on ammonia vs hydrogen here

      Good summary on ammonia vs hydrogen here

      Why have either? At an industrial scale, if you've got the raw energy to start with (a very big IF), then you may as well synthesize methane, LPG or any other convenient form of chemical vector. And then you don't have to dick about trying to do difficult stuff like invent reliable, production ready, long lived fuel cells, or create hydrogen burners, both of which are big, big challenges.

  20. Peter2 Silver badge

    Ok, let's consider the EV charging thing.

    There are 244,400,000,000 miles travelled a year by cars in 2014 in the UK according to the UK government statistics. EV's have roughly a 300 mile capacity, so that would require 244,400,000,000 / 300 = 814,666,666.6 battery charges. Dividing that by 365 gives you effectively 2,231,963 full charges required a day. Assuming 3Kw chargers, you therefore need an additional 6,695,889kw available while charging. Which is actually "only" an additional 6.6GW. (assuming my maths and assumptions are correct)

    According to GridWatch (http://gridwatch.templar.co.uk/) we currently have about 15GW worth of capacity unused overnight, so assuming all EV's are charged overnight in a semi managed way then we don't actually have a seriously severe problem unless people want to charge their cars at day, in which case in winter we could have problems of the powercut variety if we don't build sufficent additional capacity.

    I actually expected it'd be a lot worse than that, comments welcome as to my math and assumptions. I guess the most two most serious flaws are:-

    1) this assumes that there are 2.2 million full charges required daily and doesn't take into account that it's probably going to be more like 20 million 5% charges, so there is going to be a much bigger spike for about an hour. (which could be managed by a lower charging rate or staggering the hour worth of high rate charging over 6 hours)

    2) I'm not taking into account transmission losses and charger efficiency, but how much does this skew things, 30-50%?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Your figures like many

      omit the ability of people to charge their cars from the electricity generated by their own PV system.

      I do this almost all the time. I estimate that 70% of my EV's 32,000 miles has been powered by the leccy that I generate at home.

      May I humbly suggest that your estimates are way, way out of kilter.

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: Your figures like many

        So, your totally offgrid, in that the electricity from solar panels is going to batteries and your then drawing that power from the batteries at night to drive an inverter, which pushes the power into a step down transformer to charge another set of batteries. Many of us actually here of course are IT Professionals and have setups capable of delivering many kilowatts at 240 volts at work for keeping servers online for mere minutes, so we know:-

        1) How much it costs to deliver multiple kilowatts from batteries for long enough to fire up a generator, let alone to deliver this sort of power for multiple hours.

        2) How much physical space the transformers and batteries require.

        3) How much this lot weighs and how much structural reinforcement is required to put them on the first floor of a building.

        4) Misc things like the amount of hydrogen generated from the battery charging requiring either spacing or ventilation to avoid a fire risk, the maintenance required, and the cost of new batteries when used frequently.

        You may suggest that your doing this, but I don't beleive you, sorry. Especially when you need to say that as an Anonymous Coward. Nor do a lot of other people, judging by the downvotes. We don't beleive you because we know full well that most modern houses barely have enough room for the people to live in, let alone have space to fit this sort of equipment anywhere but the loft space, which is made from wooden beams in most houses, which is rather more flimsy than the reinforced concrete that we have to get reinforced to take the weight of large UPS systems.

        If you were doing this then it'd be because your very, very well off and can afford equipment our companies can't (plus the room to install it, which our companies couldn't in offices which are much bigger than homes), and you'd understand that:-

        A) it's not a solution viable for any significant percentage of the general population as the cost of the equipment is much greater than the yearly income of the richest 10% of the population.

        B) The usual setup with solar panels is that you sell the generated power via the feed in tarrif scheme during the day for profit, and then buy electricity from the grid when you are at home. The feed in tarrifs are greater than the normal cost of electricity so your use in the evening is paid by the power sold in the day resulting in payments from the electricity company, rather than you making payments to them. This is then recouped by pushing everybody elses electricity bills up, so the old and poor who can least afford it pay more for electricity to pay for your electricity.

        C) The power that you, and all other well off/rich people with solar panels on the roofs generate is not enough to turn a real power plant off during the day, so the electricity still has to be generated centrally both during the day and in the evening meaning that your input doesn't significantly change my very, very rough estimate as to how much power is required from the grid.

        I expect that my estimates are way out of kilter, as I note with things like not taking into account that there are likely to be 20 million vehicles needing charging at about 5% rather than 2.2 million at 100%, but your input doesn't add anything to a reasoned debate on this, sorry.

    2. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Which is actually "only" an additional 6.6GW. (assuming my maths and assumptions are correct)

      @ Peter2

      Much as I'm enjoying your contributions, there is SOMETHING I don't follow in your figures. EVs typically get about 3.5 miles per kWh, depending on size, efficiency, ancillary load, driving style. So at 244m miles annually, that would be a total energy use of 70 billion kWh (excuse my non-SI approach to the units). In turn that's 191 million kWh per day, and over an assumed seven hour charging period we're talking an EV charging load (before network, and charging losses that total around 15%, maybe more) of over 27 million kW, or 27 GW.

      Whilst we do have 15 GW of currently underused overnight capacity (although in winter, and at the moment that surplus is much reduced) between now and 2025, government plan to shut all c10GW of coal and 4.5 GW of existing AGR nuclear plant. So by 2025, we still won't have Hinkley C's 3.2 GW, and the overnight surplus will have gone. We will therefore need to build ten Hinkley Point C's just to support the charging demand for all UK car transport (and probably another 30% if we electrify commercial vehicles).

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        @ Ledswinger

        <sobs> I can only give you one upvote, Sorry!

        You can see my extremely slash and burn methodology to getting those figures, which was never going to be particually accurate. I think your methodology is a lot better than mine, honestly and likely to result in figures a lot closer to reality.

        Personally, I think the charging losses alone are going to be over 10% (it's 10% between about 30% and 75% but the resistance increases at >75% capacity in a lithium battery so probably actually more than this in total) and the national grid publishes the offical transmission losses at 1.77%, which seems inprobable given that you'd expect more variance than that from summer to winter and through running through step up and step down transformers, so I think there might be some stat fiddling going on there with definitions. 15% is probably a figure that is widely acceptable though personally I think the real figure is going to be far more than 20%.

        And yeah, totally agreed with you on the generation situation. On the bright side when the green induced power cuts, price hikes and "sorry I can't come to work today, my car couldn't charge overnight" starts hitting then the green movement is going to end up confronting reality or face pitchforks. Those of us with UPS's at home for the essentials and fuel burning cars shouldn't be too badly affected. I see a growth market in supplying generators on trailers for electric cars...

        1. Ledswinger Silver badge

          national grid publishes the offical transmission losses at 1.77%, which seems inprobable

          I think that's credible for transmission, but don't forget the majority of network losses are in the lower voltage distribution system which are not in National Grid's figures. Overall electricity system losses and "own account" use is about 14.1% according to the most recent government figures. Electricity losses have been rising in recent years, I suspect entirely due to higher losses on the renewable links (mostly connected via relatively low voltage links, and some of those links can be quite long). The losses should also include the parasitic loads for renewables - in one study, a monitored wind turbine was found to consume 8.3% of its gross measured output, although it is possible that the UK government data is net renewable generation.

          When I look at the dismal load factors on renewables, the rising system losses, and the charge/discharge losses on batteries, I conclude that the concept of having any sizeable fleet of renewable powered EVs really hasn't been thought through.

          1. Peter2 Silver badge

            If transmission is defined as "while on the 50kv cables" as opposed to "between the generation of the power and the delivery to the plug of use" then 1.77% is certainly credible. ~15% lost in transit in total sounds far more beleivable. As Charger efficiency is 85-90%, depending on the level of charge in the battery and a transformer on the charger is going to lose 2-5% so we probably need something like another 35% capacity on top of your original figures. Plus maintenance spares.

            Thinking positive, the remaining coal plants that haven't switched start burning wood are being converted, not closed.

            http://www.powerengineeringint.com/articles/2017/06/drax-mulls-coal-to-gas-instead-of-biomass-conversion.html

            Apparently they were planning to go biomass but are now looking at converting to gas so that 10GW of capacity won't vanish so we "only" need to come up with about 15-20GW worth of additional capacity. Note at the end of that article above that Drax is expecting to triple their earnings by 2025. :/

            But no, I don't think that either the existing power mix or the EV's have been thought through. Frankly, I think they've been implemented by people incapable of understanding the issues involved even as far as we've gone on a back of the envelope calculation.

            1. Ledswinger Silver badge

              Apparently they were planning to go biomass

              There's six generating units at Drax, the original plan was indeed to convert all to biomass. The reason that they didn't was that government removed some of the subsidies that Drax had been getting (LECs, to be specific), and without those the business case for biomass was poor to non-existent. The fall of sterling against the pound also really hammered Drax, because the biomass (woodchip) source is the US.

              Personally, I'm not sure they'll be able to do a gas conversion that is economic - in design terms this is a power station built to burn UK hard coal grades. A gas conversion gets a cleaner, higher grade fuel, but unless they replace the entire thermal units with CCGT, they'd have a very inefficient process. And very few companies have been able to make the case for new build CCGT in the UK market in recent years, because the costs loaded onto generators, the low wholesale prices, and the loss of running hours to the part-time renewables means that the business case is not viable. And because of the incompetent stop-start policies, any sane investor wants to have quick payback and high margins, because they know they can't trust the government to create a stable investment climate.

              1. Peter2 Silver badge

                Well, having thought about it for some while, I can see that you could reuse certain parts of the coal plant. OCGT's (Open cycle gas turbine) are as so far as I understand gas turbines without steam plant because steam plant is relatively expensive.

                In a CCGT (combined-cycle gas turbine) you have a gas powered boiler and then multiple levels of steam plant.

                So in a coal plant you have a coal powered boiler and then multiple levels of steam plant to wring as much power out of the steam as you can before it condenses back to water and goes back to be reheated. If Drax is looking at doing a conversion then presumably it's possible to rip out the coal plant and replace with a gas turbine and then reuse the existing steam plant, which (presumably) is the expensive bit of a CCGT plant given that OCGT exists.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Assuming 3Kw chargers, you therefore need an additional 6,695,889kw available while charging. Which is actually "only" an additional 6.6GW. (assuming my maths and assumptions are correct)

      A 3kW charger (i.e. a 13A socket) can deliver 72kWh in a day. A Tesla battery, which you'd need to get your 300 mile range, is 85kWh, so will take closer to 100kWh to charge, allowing for losses. You couldn't fully charge it in a day.

      Even assuming an 8-hour overnight charge you're looking at 4x the power requirements (12kW) or an extra 25GW average load. And that's only for cars. Add in vans & other read transport & you're at twice that. An extra 50GW is a 50% increase on the UK's current generating capacity.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Guess I'm screwed

    I live in a flat with officially on street parking only, from the third floor up how am i meant to charge an electric car :-(. I think there's a hell of a lot of people like me

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Guess I'm screwed

      Your situation is a known problem.

      There are chargers that fit in a lampost.

      However, many supermarkets, shopping malls and petrole stations already have Charging points. Some are actually 'Open' i.e. Free Charging points.

      Liverpool is doing something about it

      https://cleantechnica.com/2017/11/29/liverpool-england-install-100-ev-charge-points-introduce-anti-idling-pilot-scheme-create-clean-air-zone-bid-cut-air-pollution/

      zap-map has a pretty uptodate map of UK Charging points.

      You might be surprised at how many are in your area.

      Sadly there are some virtual deserts. East angia is IMHO very badly served by CP's.

      This will improve over time.

      1. Ledswinger Silver badge

        Re: Guess I'm screwed

        There are chargers that fit in a lampost.

        How will that help? At the moment with few EVs, and few lampost chargers, it's fine. In a more extensive roll out you immediately hit problems because the street lighting cables aren't designed for high current, having been designed around LP sodium lamps of 30W for most minor roads, and so can't support either high numbers of chargers (other than a handful off each circuit serving ten or twenty streetlights), nor can these circuits support fast charging, so cars needed to be connected for extended periods of time.

        Given that on-street parking is concentrated in high density residential areas, you end up with ratios of of 15-30 vehicles parked per streetlight. Even if only a third needed charging, and trickle charged at a miserable 7 kW, you'd need 35 kW per streetlight column, compared to that design load of 30W.

        1. Ledswinger Silver badge

          Re: Guess I'm screwed

          and trickle charged at a miserable 7 kW

          Oops. Should have been "miserable 3.5 kW" referring to a 16A connection, and then the lower boundary becomes about 18 kW per streetlamp with five cars charging. Still well above the design assumptions for the cabling.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Guess I'm screwed

          Gosh - we'll have to dig up the road and run new cables? How will we do that, I wonder? Yes it will cost money/ need investment/ be disruptive. maybe they can lay fast fibre broadband while they are about it.

          1. Ledswinger Silver badge

            Re: Guess I'm screwed

            Do the maths, anonymous idiot.

            Find out how much it costs to remove and relay a cable in made up ground. Work out how many miles will be needed. How many lampost charging units will be needed, and at what cost. Work out where you'll get the skills when the construction industry has run out of electricians and navvies. And then come back and tell us your assumptions, the total cost and where the money will come from.

            And after that, you can tell us where the magic energy tree is to provide all the 70 TWh of additional electrical from non-fossil sources.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Guess I'm screwed

              Well we do have a magic money tree, the aftermath of the last election showed that. and Brexit fantasies are almost totally built out of the assumption that one will sprout up.

              One, we don't need the cables everywhere for everyone. Two, electricians and navvies can be trained. And three, how did we ever build anything with miserable pessimists like you around?

              "A network of steel rails to carry horeseless carriages to every major town in the country? Ridiculous - there isn't that much steel in the world, and anyway all our engineers are busy building canals, It's impossible I tell you, impossible!"

              And perhaps more seriously, just because a problem is difficult it doesn't mean that it doesn't have to be faced up to. The externalities of the ICE are biting us in climate, health and the economy. We have to address that fact. Whinging that it's difficult won't help. Realistic estimates of the infrastructure cost to support EV in the UK are in the order of 40 Billion over 40 years. So that's about 1 Brexit worth, or we could give the armed forces a holiday for a year (unpaid I'm afraid) or, heaven forbid, scarp Trident.. Or put up taxes by about £30 a person/year. My preferred solution would be to send the navy to the Cayman Islands and just scoop it out of the vaults."Oh - the money isn't in the bank any more Apple? How did that happen? I guess you should have put it somewhere with enough tax revenue to afford an army and police force"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Guess I'm screwed

      And your point is? Your personal circumstances are unique? Typical? Insurmountably difficult?

      Maybe you'll have chargers on the street. Maybe you'll sell your car and rely on Uber. Maybe your self driving car will self drive itself to a charger on an industrial estate when it needs a top up, and then scoot back to you in time to run you to the pub.

  22. RareToy

    What source will be our next fuel?? Where will we get it? Same place we get Soylent Green from. :)

    *dawns tin foil hat* That or we'll finally listen to our alien advisors and make the exotic fuels they've been showing us how to make that are pollution free.

    1. Mark York 3 Silver badge
      Headmaster

      My wife doesn't have a tin foil hat.

  23. Mark York 3 Silver badge
    Holmes

    Inductive Charging On Motorways

    An inductive power transfer system that is analogous to an air - core transformer to power\charge vehicles on newer roads.

    Use the batteries, when you exit the motorway, dual carriageway or during your local commute.

    https://horizon-magazine.eu/article/electric-roads-charge-your-car-you-drive_en.html

    1. Fading Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Inductive Charging On Motorways

      I'm pretty sure large electro-magnets crisscrossing the nation will cause havoc with the navigation of a large number of migratory species - but probably safer than tesla coils (C&C Red Alert style).

  24. Richard Scratcher

    Traffic Flow

    A flow battery (aka redox flow battery) might be the future answer for electric cars. These use two tanks of liquid electrolytes that produce electricity as they pass along a separating membrane. The battery can be recharged by pumping the liquids back along the membrane while electricity is applied. They have an extremely long life and can be rapidly recharged by replacing the “spent” electrolytes with some that has been “charged”

    For example a car could charge at home overnight or pull into the equivalent of a petrol station to quickly swap out the electrolyte. The station could use its own flow battery to recharge the "spent" electrolyte and add it to its tanks ready for another customer.

    The (main) problem with this technology is that it currently has a very low energy density and is better suited to large stationary back-up PSUs and not nippy little sports cars. However, new types of electrolytes are showing promise for future use in cars.

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Traffic Flow

      There's many different battery chemistries in development, and the current focus on lithium ion is simply an outcome of all the effort put into mobile phone batteries. As a rule, its 7 years from lab to shop, so there's things that are known to be better, but will take time to "productise".

      I very much doubt that in a decade we'll be seeing cars using anything like current lithium technology.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fools are we all

    Plain old Hydrogen.

    The electric Car has a horrible carbon footprint, those batteries are awful.

    But Big Oil owns everything so, whatever the own they will pitch and sell next.

    Freedom of choice is an illusion.

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Fools are we all

      Anonymous commentard,

      offers us Haiku

      But shit it is.

  26. W Donelson

    What makes you think we will have a civilisation, much less cars, 20-30 years from now?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Windows

      The assumption is always "linearity", now sprinkled with Hollywoodian "magic dust" to reach fantasy takeoff velocity. (You just need to keep the Nazis at bay and all will be fine.)

      People are dumb like that.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Coat

      What makes you think we will have a civilisation, much less cars, 20-30 years from now?

      Technically I think that "civilised" means "living in a city", where there will be public transport. I'm happy to remain my uncivilised self, with my private car...

  27. Jtom Bronze badge

    Just like a magician

    You do know how a magician succeeds, right? Misdirection as to what he is doing. You are all being misdirected by those in high government positions. Do you see any plans to reinforce the grid to provide sufficient electrical power for millions of electric vehicles? Do you see any plans for recharging stations, or to provide people who live in apartments or have no off-street parking to recharge their cars? No, but they are distracting you by the technology, promises of super batteries, or saving the planet, as you can see by reading all the other comments. They are achieving their magician's trick of making your cars disappear.

    Take a look at existing traffic, lack of parking, constant road-widening projects. Now factor in the expected growth rates. What would the future look like if the middle and lower classes were continued to be allowed private car ownership?

    They have no intention of you owning a car in the future. Oh, private cars won't be illegal - after all, they want their cars. They are simply going to make it too expensive for you to own one, without actually telling you you can't have one. Electricity will cost too much. So there is no need for an infrastructure to support mass ownership of electric vehicles.

    They will have empty roads and plenty of parking, but it will suck for the rest of us. Our future will be mass transit, bicycling, and walking. So go ahead, and cheer the transition to electric vehicles in twenty years. Just don't expect to own one.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: Just like a magician

      Hanlon's razor: "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

      Which is more likely, incompetence and stupidity on the part of politicians during a panic when they have to produce and publish a plan quickly to reduce emissions to get air quality out of it's currently illegally poor state due to the high popularity of german vehicles on our roads which are still producing literially hundreds of times the allowed emissions in the real world, or a deliberate 20 year long plot to get rid of the cars of the poorest in society?

      I think incompetence and stupidity, personally.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just like a magician

      They will have empty roads and plenty of parking, but it will suck for the rest of us. Our future will be mass transit, bicycling, and walking. I see what you did there - mass transit, cycling and walking suck? Sitting getting diabetes in a depreciating tin box staring up the backside of a pipe spewing particulates is the the smell of freedom. Your dystopian vision might well be a lot of other peoples utopia.

      Of all the journey's we make each day how many are actually 'productive'? And commuting from A to B to tap fatuous emails into a PC about the quarterly team review of paperclip stocks and reading El Reg isn't 'productive'.

  28. Kaltern Silver badge

    When ET's come to visit the 3rd planet from the star in this solar system, not really that long from now, they're going to find a planet which died, an unnatural death. Remnants of civilisations will litter the surface,and alien archaeologists will be stunned to find out why everything died.

    "They knew the planet was being destroyed.... but they decided that this thing called 'money' was far more important."

    They'll go back to their home planet, and on their version of a talk show, the one burning question will be debated.

    "Why didn't they put money to one side, and just fix things?"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or just fix things? It wasn't even that expensive.

      But then they''ll find a USB stick in the car park with the El Reg forum archives:

      "Oh - It was because a set of evolved monkeys who were using technology every day that wasn't invented when they were born, decided that any further change was unimaginable, and everything should be done in the same way for ever more"

  29. Nick Pettefar

    Bike!

    Stuff the cars, I want a decent electric sports/tourer motorbike. 150HP, 500 mile range range, 0-60 in 2 secs, etc.

    And for a reasonable price!

  30. Roger Mew

    Other power, trolley, Veggy oil and methylated spirits.

    Hi, currently I am looking at renovating gasoline powered vehicles, they will be in demand especially for vehicles that burn vegetable oil straight form say lidls and those that run on methylated spirits. It is not hard for me for example to convert my land rover of 1969 vintage, I just put it in which is exactly where our used chip pan oil goes, now I am looking at motorcycles, not FI types but older ones that run on carburetors.

    it will not be economically worth while to stop vehicles like that as they will be vintage by then and changing regulations for old vehicles will just not be worth it! However, as unfortunately I am 72 I guess that will be a problem for the future horse and cart brigade. You are aware that the pollution from horse buses was worse than the diesel.

    Incidentally, when are trolley buses being reinstalled, one bus creates a lot of pollution and the diesel engines in a bus are not being run economically or ecologically!

  31. toffer99

    Its odd to think that in a few short years, only museums will have fossil fuel cars in them. Alongside Jeremy Clarkson.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019