back to article Ford giving electric car investment a jolt to the tune of $11bn

American auto enormity Ford will increase its investment in electric vehicles to $11bn (£7.97bn) in the next five years, it announced yesterday at the North American International Auto Show. With its planned doubling of expenditure from $3.5bn (£3.26bn), it will create 16 fully electric cars and 24 plug-in hybrids by 2022, a …

  1. AndyS

    This is good news. I love the look & function of the high-end Teslas, and the practicality and running costs of the Nissan Leafs, but there is an enormous gap in the market for an electric "normal family car." Companies like Ford, Volvo, GM, VW etc indicating that they are moving into this space is great news. Excited to see what will be available in a few years.

    1. Paul

      you mean like the Renault Zoe?

      or the Nissan Leaf (old and new model)?

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Does the US government know?

      I think Ford has had about 3 bailouts from the USG over the years.

      Will this need another of them?

      1. TomG

        Re: Does the US government know?

        As a Ford stockholder and long time Ford vehicle owner I keep track of Ford and I don't remember any government bailouts for Ford. Perhaps you can tell us when these bailouts occurred.

      2. kain preacher Silver badge

        Re: Does the US government know?

        Ford has never needed a bail out. In fact when ford came to DC to get slice of the bail out money they did not like the terms and walked .

  2. Stork Bronze badge
    Go

    Mach 1 battery sports car

    now _that_ sounds interesting (but I wonder if it does what the name hints at).

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Mach 1 battery sports car

      Doubt it, would seem to be a nod to the old performance package on the 'stang.

    2. ArrZarr Silver badge

      Re: Mach 1 battery sports car

      Calling an electric car the Mach 1 makes me very sad, considering how enormously silly the original Mach 1 was - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Mustang_Mach_1

      1. MNDaveW

        Re: Mach 1 battery sports car

        Some of those enormously silly cars are selling for over $100k now.

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Re: Mach 1 battery sports car

          Also appeared in Saxondale.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Mach 1 battery sports car

          "Some of those enormously silly cars are selling for over $100k now."

          Enormously silly price.

  3. wiggers

    If you build them...

    Question is, can they sell them at a profit? And what will the depreciation be like?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If you build them...

      I guess the way to think of it would be: here is the currently model with a revised engine. Once they have the power plant sorted, weight distribution and stuff in place, its no more and possibly less than development than a conventional car. They have everything else. The variation in engine trims will be power output and capacity.

      I would expect depreciation to be on par with the current models given that they are a volume manufacturer. Question is what will be the starting price point; how quickly will that feed into the 2nd hand market; will there be some car-as-a service model where the vehicle is relatively cheap but the battery is the thing you pay for and stuff like that.

      After that then I suppose is the charging market geared up for mass adoption and the tax man.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If you build them...

        I guess the way to think of it would be: here is the currently model with a revised engine. Once they have the power plant sorted, weight distribution and stuff in place, its no more and possibly less than development than a conventional car.

        That's an approach doomed to failure. The existing ICE cars are designed from the ground up around the needs of the engine and a mechanical drive train. Putting a battery pack and electric drive train into that is going to be more expensive than it needs to be and performance compromised. Take one example: the whole front end of the body shell is designed to support the weight of the engine block, control its torque and vibrations, making it far heavier than it needs to be for an EV. The gear box is a heavy, complicated piece of kit that an EV doesn't need (or not in the ICE format), requiring hydraulic or mechanical clutches - again, weight, torque, mechanical links. The front end aerodynamic design of an ICE has is centred around the need to cool the engine - so very inefficient for an EV, or a lot of design work to change that.

        Such an approach can be made to work in technical sense - but it will produce far inferior products compared to starting from scratch with a new model. What can work will be if Ford produce 100% new EVs that occupy the same market niche as a similarly named predecessor, and try and keep the appearance similar to the old model. As for hybrids - waste of time. All the problems of both ICE and EV, double the complexity of either, with the sole benefit being that it addresses range anxiety. That's not the way forward.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If you build them...

      what will the depreciation be like?

      Also what is the cost of replacement batteries or do you have to replace the car when the battery deteriorates as most people have to do with their smart-phones?

      1. Paul

        Re: If you build them...

        what happens when your infernal combustion engine wears out? those aren't cheap either. and you'll spend a fair bit on cambelts, oil changes, spark plugs, etc whilst you're putting 300,000 miles on the clock.

        1. Mike Tyler

          How long is the question

          If the battery lasts as long as a combustion engine, say 20 Years all will be fine, if by chance they last little beyond the warranty of say 5 Years ....

        2. wiggers

          Re: If you build them...

          "what happens when your infernal combustion engine wears out?"

          Current vehicle design is such that the engine should last the life of the car, if properly maintained. So when the engine needs replacement it is generally uneconomic to do so and the vehicle is scrapped. This is factored into the depreciation costs, the assumption is that a new engine won't be required for the foreseeable future.

          There are not nearly enough EVs in the used car market for this calculation to be made, so it is a big unknown. Leasing companies will need to work this out as this affects their rates.

      2. Chemical Bob

        Re: If you build them...

        >do you have to replace the car when the battery deteriorates as most people have to do with their smart-phones?

        No replaceable batteries - these things will have to be *waterproof*, you know...

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: If you build them...

      Add a second question.. Will the industry standardize charging plugs or will every maker go for "proprietary"? I also wonder how fast the electric power industry can ramp up to provide charging points.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: If you build them...

        I also wonder how fast the electric power industry can ramp up to provide charging points.

        They'll cover the whole country, provided you're not more than 4km from a town, and will offer "up to" 30 minute recharges, which may actually take all day when the network is busy.

    4. veti Silver badge

      Re: If you build them...

      The question is, how long will Ford undertake to keep selling replacement batteries?

      If the answer to that is a long time, then depreciation will be very low - much better than most of the conventional range, because there's so much less maintenance needed on an electric car. The battery is the only thing that's likely to become obsolete quickly, and if Ford will undertake to maintain that, the car should be able to go for decades.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: If you build them...

        "The question is, how long will Ford undertake to keep selling replacement batteries?"

        Hopefully, they will use modular packs. Single small pack for a small car, double pack for larger, and maybe triple or quad packs for range/performance. This keeps costs down for them rather than having a unique battery pack for each model.

        Eventually, batteries pack formats and comms to the car may be regulated such that packs will fit multiple makes/models and will communicate their characteristics to the car, eg capacity, charging rates, voltages etc in the same way SATA hard discs tell the PC about their characteristics. This also allows for new battery types/chemistries since the battery will be "intelligent".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If you build them...

          in the same way SATA

          Oohh, now we're getting computer analogies, for cars.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: If you build them...

            "Oohh, now we're getting computer analogies, for cars."

            Sorry, it was too good an opportunity to miss!

            I did wonder if anyone would spot the irony :-)

  4. Jellied Eel Silver badge

    Alas, poor Tesla

    Not checked their share or bond prices, but can't be good news for their investors. It'll be interesting to see what segments Ford targets first, ie high or low end. But Ford and the other large manufacturers understand mass production.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Alas, poor Tesla

      Ford understand how to make a pile of shit and market it nicely.

    2. Geoff Campbell

      Re: Alas, poor Tesla

      Nah. Tesla have made huge advances in the way cars are built generally, and EVs specifically, which it seems none of the current competition recognise. Off the top of my head:

      Custom-built chassis, with the batteries held low and filling pretty much the entire chassis;

      Water-cooled and properly managed battery pack;

      Proper user interface, based on sound UI principles rather than splattering switches and knobs all over the place;

      Regular software updates delivered to all cars OTA, at no cost, with bug fixes and new features;

      Really, really big electric motor(s), giving huge performance;

      Most important of all, the Supercharger network, meaning long-distance travel is trivially easy.

      GJC

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Alas, poor Tesla

        None of those are necessarily advances, or advantages. Chassis design is something ICE makers know all about, so low CoG/CoM to improve handling. Plus they also know a lot about suspension design, so may be able to avoid suspension collapses that seem to affect the Model S. The new Ford GT has a rather fancy and complex suspension system that lets drivers change the handling based on how much blood they want to pee.

        The UI is perhaps more user choice, and personally I prefer having important switches and knobs easily to hand rather than potentially having to look at a screen to check mode, swipe/stab virtual buttons and see a message pop up saying 'Airbags Now Deploying'. And if there's a problem with the screen, a traditional car may still be driven safely. OTA updates is also a feature on other cars, but cost would be included in the TCO. Tesla's burning cash, so may at some point have those updates free while in warranty, and then chargeable as part of an extended service plan.

        ICE makers also know a lot about electric motors. A typical car has a lot of motors for power everything, especially if it's a convertible with automatic roof. Think one Honda had 16 motors just for that, which seemed like a handy way to guarantee future service revenues. So they may also have smaller electric motors that offer similar performance, but weigh and cost less.

        And the Supercharger network is a cost, especially when the EU and other nations are looking to standardise EV charging connectors and rates. That may mean some revenues for charging non-Teslas, but long distance travel isn't 'trivially easy' when it involves much slower charging than for ICE vehicles.

        1. Geoff Campbell

          Re: Alas, poor Tesla

          Those are the things that I personally see as advantages, having driven a Tesla for a few months, and many other makes of cars for decades before that.

          What your message basically says is "yes, but the incumbents can do all of that, even better!". I have no doubt that they can. So why aren't they?

          GJC

          1. TomG

            Re: Alas, poor Tesla

            They have billions of dollars invested in in plants and equipment used to manufacture ICE which will be useless in manufacturing electric cars.

            1. Geoff Campbell

              Re: Alas, poor Tesla

              Mmmmm, indeed. Interesting, isn't it?

              GJC

          2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Alas, poor Tesla

            What your message basically says is "yes, but the incumbents can do all of that, even better!". I have no doubt that they can. So why aren't they?

            Well, they are. Ford already has a Focus EV on sale, and now look to be expanding. BMW has an EV, Citroen, and of course Nissan. Leaf's sold 300,000 compacts whilst Tesla's still hand-finishing their Model 3s. Tesla may have done some pump priming, but now the dinosaurs are really coming.

            1. Geoff Campbell

              Re: Alas, poor Tesla

              Those are mostly compliance cars, made by taking an existing body and bunging a few batteries and a weak electric motor in them. Poor performance, poor range, no support infrastructure.

              The Leaf is OK, and the GM Bolt is showing some promise, but those are the only two I can see as at all worthy, and neither are even close to anything Tesla are doing, and have been doing for years. Battery management in particular is a real problem in most EVs except for Tesla.

              GJC

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Better late than never

    but the Tesla fanbois' are already crowing.... Where's the billion or so to build your own Supercharger network?

    It seems that in the USA no EV other than a Tesla can succeed because no one else has a charging network.{rubbish but there you go}

    Here in Europe with standard CP plugs/sockets this is not so much of a problem.

    {Disclaimer. I am a Model 3 reservation holder but I know that Elon Musk can't walk on water and is not the new messiah.}

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. An nonymous Cowerd

      Tesla & Ford

      I have tested the model-S in my lab, for a week. it was a very nice car at €98K, tho' actually drove too fast around town. I was planning to charge it (with its personalised universal charging adapter dongle , kept in the boot , at ~150KW) but after a couple of cycles at a couple of hours @ ~50KW my lab 3-phase tripped, permanently. Lab is now being rewired.

      Good luck to all city-centres in meeting the demands of the market, it is however nice to see that Ford is rising to the actualité of the near future.

      <mods> I didn't mention toxic nano-particles from d****l engines this time or any particular way that city-centres might also meet the challenges of the charging infrastructure, I will carry on testing. I still think panic! is the correct reaction, but then I am an optimist, and I live in a small village - with fresh air.

      1. Noel Bourke

        Re: Tesla & Ford

        Uh what?

        The onboard charger in a model S & X is only 3-phase 16.5kW. With the UMC (what you call the "universal charging adapter dongle") the limit is 230V 40A or 9.2kW. 9.2kW is a substantial amount of load for a domestic electricity connection (for example here in Ireland our standard and "enhanced" single phase domestic connections top out at ~12kW and 18kW respectively). Depending on where you live these limits are different, Italy, for example, despite often having three-phase in a domestic setting for high powered devices, has very low current limits for each phase.

        The superchargers can supply DC power at up to 150kW. It is not possible to charge at these rates without reverse engineering and emulating Tesla's supercharger protocol and you need an external inverter the size of a fridge freezer.

        For typical consumer use (even for me with my 200km+ daily commute that I've been doing in an EV for four years), 3 to 7kW is sufficient to fill the car overnight. There are multiple EVs in my household and we use load sharing chargepoints which automatically allocate power among themselves based on the available current (pre-set limit) and the demands of the connected vehicles. Even Tesla's basic €400 wall charger has load sharing abilities.

  6. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I think the only viable electric vehicles will be hybrid for the foreseeable future in the UK unless we can charge up full electric cars as quickly as we can refuel petrol and diesel cars. A large proportion of people don't have a don't have a driveway on which to park the car so charging up overnight isn't really an option. Even if i could park directly outside my house, (which I can't always do) I couldn't run a cable from my house to the car as it would have to go across the public pavement and would therefore become a trip hazard. Also the local youths would probably have great fun going round unplugging everyone's cars from the power at night as well, meaning you would wake up to find not enough charge in the battery to get to work the next day.

    1. maffski

      A large proportion of people don't have a don't have a driveway

      Yes, in the same way that the large number of families with children mean there is no market at all for two seat sports cars.

      Just because it isn't the right set of features and compromises for you (or me) doesn't mean that it isn't suitable for enough of the market to be viable.

      1. strum Silver badge

        Re: A large proportion of people don't have a don't have a driveway

        >Just because it isn't the right set of features and compromises for you

        The thing is - Mark 12's circumstance (urban terrace/no driveway) describes a sizeable part of the leccy market. EVs make most sense with regular, short journeys. So, it would help if a method existed for people like him (and me) to recharge overnight.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: A large proportion of people don't have a don't have a driveway

          You'll need to speak to your municipal leaders about that, as you'd need "reserved" parking in front of your own house to insure you are close to where you have trenched a power feed to the curb in a lock box (to keep away freeloaders) or the city will need to install curbside charging (and billing) stations in residential areas. I imagine cities/neighborhoods where parking isn't a problem would adopt the former, and those with more contentious parking situations the latter.

    2. DougS Silver badge

      You have to start somewhere

      If you wait until a product is suitable for 100% of the market you will never release it. This is less of a problem in the US since most people outside big cities have garages, and while the charge rate may be slow with the typical circuits (you could upgrade the typical 115v/15A circuit to 230v/20A without changing the wiring) that's not a problem for overnight - once people get into the habit of plugging in whenever they park.

      Most people in the US wouldn't want an electric as their ONLY car because of range problems - even with a supercharger having to wait a half hour every four hours of driving would be pretty annoying. But replacing one of the two cars the average US household owns, outside of bit cities like NYC or SF, or replacing one car in the whatever percent of UK households have a garage, is not an insignificant sized target market.

      The infrastructure problems for those who park on the street, better charging for long distance driving (or better batteries so it is less of a problem) will get solved down the road (no pun intended)

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      We have that problem (no driveways) here in the States. Then there are those with more than one or two cars and need to part the excess on the street.

      As for the youth unplugging... here they'd probably unplug it, steal the cable and sell it for the copper value.

      I think I'll hang onto my gas powered cars for now.

    4. Aitor 1

      My problem too

      I can either sacrifice my front garden or not charge my car.. and yes, I probably cant put a charging station in front of my house.

      As for batteries being charged in say 5 minutes.. I dont see how this could be done, the amps required would make it impossible.. and add to that the batteries would burst in flames...

      So many things are going to change in the next years.. chargers everywhere I guess.

      1. An nonymous Cowerd

        Re: solved (for one particular case)

        what the (electric) Norwegian fjord ferries do (as the ships were impossible to charge quickly) is to buy two or three battery packs. Battery A moves the ship across the fjord, where it docks with Battery B which has been trickle charged overnight. Then as the cars/parrots unload, Battery B connects and delivers everything it has, as an *almost* impossible busbar melting impulse. The ship then sets off for Battery C back at the home harbour. . .rinse & repeat etc. I have no idea if the resultant charging mag field is what is actually causing the aurora borealis or not - could be co-incidence

        for homes & Ford's not Fjords, the best idea so-far seems to be to offer a street charger per 8 houses or so, a bit more thinking is needed, soon, hopefully, somewhere. I'd probably start with a Mayor.

  7. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Pint

    Give me range...

    ... and give me performance. Together.

    And you can have one of these ----------------->

    And my money.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Give me range...

      May I humbly suggest that you invest your $200,000 (or more) in the new Tesla Roadster.

      Performance is better than an F1 car and it has oodles of range.

      I'll stick with my Leaf. Does what I want it and does not cost me an arm and a leg (or three)

      As for those who demand 2min charging for 200miles before even considering an EV, I've driven the Leaf from London to Edinburgh and back and didn't run out of leccy once thanks to the rapid chargers at Motorway Service Stations.

      I'll be at the El Reg seminar on EV's at the end of the month... Will you?

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Give me range...

        Performance is better than an F1 car

        Err...

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Give me range...

        "I've driven the Leaf from London to Edinburgh and back and didn't run out of leccy once thanks to the rapid chargers at Motorway Service Stations."

        This. The poster above said, it could be pretty annoying having to stop and charge for 30 mins every 4 hours. As someone who drives 1000 miles most weeks, I'd say that encouraging people to NOT drive for more than 4 hours at a time without a decent break is a good thing. Our company policy, in line with Govt/AA/RAC advice is to take a minimum of a 10 minute break every 100 miles.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Give me range...

        I've driven the Leaf from London to Edinburgh and back and didn't run out of leccy once thanks to the rapid chargers at Motorway Service Stations

        I could drive my large comfortable diesel from London to Edinburgh and back without having to stop to refuel it at all.

        1. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: Give me range...

          And spew out lots of asthma and other respiratory illness inducing micro particles as a "bonus"

          I would love to be able to afford an EV car and not be putting peoples health at risk*

          * Yes, potential particulate pollution produced at power station, but EV "power station particulates" far less per mile travelled than diesel or petrol car would produce

        2. Aitor 1

          Re: Give me range...

          But you wont be able to do that in 2020. as you wont be able to use you diesel and:

          a) enter london wothout paying 32£

          b) Same for Edinburgh

          Unless it is an euro VI...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a load of bollocks.

  9. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Stop

    Forget technology - we need a perception check ....

    I will make an informed wager that 80% of the uses cars get put to *today* would be totally receptive to a short range car.

    The trick will be to make the people affected realise it.

    Suppose we progressively taxed cars on their potential range ?

    I agree with a commentard upthread who pointed out that waiting for the perfect solution means forever.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Forget technology - we need a perception check ....

      "I will make an informed wager that 80% of the uses cars get put to *today* would be totally receptive to a short range car."

      But if that means hiring a car for the other 20% of uses, the leccy car needs to be a lot cheaper to own and operate. In my case, it'd have to be a hybrid. My boss is NOT going to buy me a Tesla and currently that's the only thing on the market with the all electric range to come even close to what I need, especially on, say a 400 mile round trip, where I might only be on site for an a hour with no local charging facilities. A couple of 10-20 minute top-up charges each way might make it doable though. But, like I said, he ain't gonna buy me a £30k car :-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Forget technology - we need a perception check ....

        But if that means hiring a car for the other 20% of uses, the leccy car needs to be a lot cheaper to own and operate

        Who is going to make and run those non-electric cars for hire, and maintain the fuelling infrastructure, if they're only needed for 20% of the time?

  10. M. B.

    I'd really like an electric Fusion (Mondeo on the other side of the pond from me) driving all four wheels. After working as a vendor SE for a few years for a large territory, I can honestly say the most comfortable of all of the rentals I've ever taken was the Fusion. It was a great fit with good overall proportions for the family and doing "work stuff". If I'm going to spend Sport money to get the 2.7l Ecoboost AWD, I might as well just get all electric for probably the same money.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      I'd really like a fusion electric!

      1. Paul

        they have a focus electric. it's not that good

        http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/ford/focus/electric-hatchback

        1. Hairy Spod

          hobbled at source

          It's rubbish by design they need to show there is little market for them for as long as possible to minimise shareholder rumblings.

          Men in sheds have been making 'good enough' electric conversions of ice optimised designs for many years.

          All of the manufacturers know they can produce something decent after throwing a small team of engineers teams at the problem in fairly short order.

          With minimal margins no one really wants the expense of pioneering the EV market, but have no doubt every car maker is more than prepared to become a fast follower.

      2. KSM-AZ

        PHEV

        This is the short term answer. Fusion PHEV is now upwards of 50mi on a charge. Pretty impressive. My commute is around 25-30 round trip. Most times thats about my limit for a day. If not, let the hybrid kick in. I'd probably have to force the issue once and a while to keep the gas engine from rusting ;). Interesting times indeed, I think it's exciting.

        Saying 'Ford sells crap' (or any other brand for that matter) is silly. I've seen plenty of junk from all of them, and conversely most car makers have series that have been strong.

        Many (er many many) years ago when my grandfather was still alive ford did a commercial with a pinto and a model T driving up steps. I said something along the lines of 'gee grandpa too bad they don't make cars like they used to!' After he stopped laughing hysterically. . . He said something like 'SON! Those cars came with a tool kit. . . Because you needed it! This caddy will run close to 100000 miles before the engine quits, has a/c, electric windows, leather seats, and takes us down the highway smoothly at over 70mph. I've been watching cars improve for 50 years, these vehicles today are amazing!'

        Today's worst vehicles will run 200kmi, sip fuel, and pollute our environment an order of magnitude less. It will only get better over time.

  11. Badvok
    Mushroom

    Oh no, please no!

    Can't we please forget this electric car nonsense, you'll never beat hydrocarbons for energy density and refill speed and convenience. Let's go with carbon neutral sustainable hydrocarbons that will work with all our current ICE based cars. (FYI: http://soletair.fi/ )

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Answer me this...

    'leccy car tech is great, but if the National Grid currently struggles during the adverts on Coronation Street when everyone switches the kettle on for a brew, exactly how many bricks will it shit when everyone plugs their cars in after getting home from work at 5pm?

    1. Geoff Campbell
      Boffin

      Re: Answer me this...

      The vast majority of EV charging happens overnight. There is *massive* unused capacity overnight, so much so that soaking some of it up will be a benefit for the power companies.

      Then you can start using the EVs as localised storage for the grid, feeding back a little of the stored energy at peak times, which is a further benefit for the power companies.

      There is no problem.

      GJC

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Answer me this...

        There is *massive* unused capacity overnight

        Do the maths. Take the total amount of energy used by petrol & diesel cars in a year (approx 270TWh). Providing that from the grid would require a 75% increase in annual electricity production. Even assuming it could be averaged out over the year, and not just overnight off-peak, that still requires the UK generating system to run at 75%, 24/7. Add power for road haulage into that and you're looking at almost 100%, 24/7. That just isn't possible.

        Then you can start using the EVs as localised storage for the grid, feeding back a little of the stored energy at peak times

        Nice, you plug in to fill up for the holidays, and next morning it's only half-charged, and there's an SMS on your phone saying "sorry, we needed it more than you did".

  13. Jellied Eel Silver badge

    The vast majority of EV charging happens overnight. There is *massive* unused capacity overnight, so much so that soaking some of it up will be a benefit for the power companies.

    You mean solar? That's unused overnight. There may be some surplus capacity now, but that's vanishing as baseload generation closes in favor of intermittent and expensive occasional power generators, aka 'Renewables'. And to meet our Climate Change committments, the UK also has to get rid of domestic gas heating and cooking. That would increase night-time demand, especially during Autumn and Winter. Then there'd be the cost of converting the electricity distribution networks from 'blow' to 'suck' so EVs could be used as STOR devices.

    1. Geoff Campbell

      Sure, but it's not an overnight transition we're talking about. All these things are very manageable over the coming decades.

      Or you could just stick your head in the sand and keep burning liquid dinosaurs for your transport. Your choice.

      GJC

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        I think you mean it's a very expensive and unnecessary transition, with plenty of tricky questions regarding who pays for it. Also not sure why you think we're burning liquid dinosaurs. I don't think many skeletons have been recovered from oil bearing rocks. And if we run out of vintage hydrocarbons, we can always make more. Oh, and did you know Henry Ford's wife had an electric car?

        1. Geoff Campbell

          "Liquid dinosaurs" is a colloquial term, intended to be mildly derogatory. I'm perfectly well aware that liquid hydrocarbons are mostly dead sealife, especially plants and plankton.

          I'm also very well aware of the history of electric cars, thanks. I don't see the relevance to the future of them, though.

          The transition to renewable energy sources is very, very necessary. It shouldn't be too expensive, if it's handled in the right way. The longer we leave it, the more expensive it will be, however.

          GJC

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            The transition to renewable energy sources is very, very necessary. It shouldn't be too expensive, if it's handled in the right way. The longer we leave it, the more expensive it will be, however.

            Nope. Renewable energy has, and always will have problems, either cost or reliability. There's no getting around them. So solar's occasionally useful during the day (except Scotland), but useless for charging EVs at night. Wind is dependent on wind and there can be long, cold periods where windspeeds are low. Pretty much all the evidence shows renewables are massive costs.. Except evidence from the renewables lobby.

            Then there's the necessity, which currently is entirely artificial. So various edicts to have X% renewables, and damn the costs. And for no good reason. Current renewables are expensive and unreliable, and require stand-by generation for night time and calm days. But they're low carbon. So is nuclear, but that's bad. And if CO2 sensitivity is low, and logarithmic, then we can burn pretty much every bit of carbon known and not get any real effect on our climate.

            So then there's EVs. They're allegedly 'green', even though production and disposal isn't. They also add to particulate problems because they're heavy. And of course decarbonising transport massively increases electricity demand. Estimates are 2-3x current generating capacity.. which is an awful lot of money. And of course there are other obvious problems. Drivers stuck for 11hrs on the M74 due to snow, which according to a climate 'expert' would be a 'rare and exciting event'. But one that EVs would struggle with given the need to keep batteries and vehicle occupants warm. And linked to that, challenges with dealing with flat EVs.. Somewhat harder than using jerry cans.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            The transition to renewable energy sources is very, very necessary. It shouldn't be too expensive, if it's handled in the right way.

            That is completely orthogonal to the issue of electric cars. Yes we need to use more renewable energy, fossil fuels are finite and have other uses than just burning them, but that does not mean we should use battery-electric technology for transport, where it's clearly unsuitable. Renewable liquid (or even gas) fuel is much more practical.

  14. FlossyThePig

    EV Mindset

    1 - Charging

    How do you fill the fuel tank of your ICE car? If, like me, you wait until there is about 1/8 left then fill up with as much juice as will fit, as this reduces the number of times you have to visit the filling station.

    The current mindset for charging follows similar lines. However if there were multiple, lower power, charging points at supermarket/public car parks you could add, say, 30 miles to your range while shopping.

    The charging infrastructure needs to be thought out. Charging points built into street lights, parking meters, etc. If you visit the Calvados region in France you are no more that 15km from a public charging point and I believe that there are streets in Paris with multiple charging points.

    The method of payment needs to be unified. If you use a Shell filling station you don't use a Shell card/app which is different from the supermarket card/app. A credit/debit card is all you need to use the "liquid" charging points.

    2 - EV Battery Life

    Although the batteries on mobile phones are superficially like those in an EV, the battery management system (BMS) is less sophisticated. If you never let your phone battery fully discharge and never fully charge it (i.e. keep it in the range 20% - 80%) it will have a much longer life.

    The current estimates for EV battery life is now something like 200,000 - 300,000 miles before major degradation. Nissan have planned to use old batteries for static applications (think Tesla Power-wall) but they haven't got enough used batteries yet.

    Tesla owners have noticed that the charging rate is reduced with frequent use of superchargers as the BMS is protecting the life of the battery

    3 - Power Supply

    The grid doesn't struggle during the adverts on Coronation Street when everyone switches their kettle on as it's an expected surge.

    If everyone switched to EVs there wouldn't be the huge electricity requirement for the oil refineries to extract petrol from crude oil.

    The cost of generating electricity from renewable sources is dropping quite rapidly now. We just need developers to incorporate it into new builds, rather than tack it on as an afterthought. See what's happening in the Orkney islands.

  15. kain preacher Silver badge

    How come no is doing diesel electric cars ?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Because now we know that Diesel is the new Satan of pollution, it's too evil to be used in a "green" EV.

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