back to article Electric cars to create new peak hour when they all need a charge

At today's adoption levels, electric vehicles' impact on overall household energy consumption is negligible, but grid planners probably need to look to the future sooner rather than later. Research conducted by Matteo Muratori of the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) finds in the medium term …

  1. really_adf

    News just in...

    ... from the Department of the Bleeding Obvious.

    Still, at least the issue is quantified to some extent.

    1. Christian Berger Silver badge

      actually no

      It's just ignoring obvious things, like that people won't use the quick charge option for an overnight charge, or that it's trivial for cars to detect an overload condition of the network early on and reduce their charging speed.

      1. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: actually no

        @Christian Berger

        It's just ignoring obvious things, like that people won't use the quick charge option for an overnight charge

        I agree with most of your post, and certainly that the issue is readily solvable.

        However, the bit above I don't think will be correct, because upon returning home from work people will often need to go back out later in the evening - a night out with friends & family, to go shopping, collect a package fromt he post office etc. They won't always have clear forward visibility of these things and so some people will simply elect for a quick charge as their default charge unless they know they're staying in.

        1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

          Re: actually no

          I can't see this as as serious problem. Even a moderately specced electric car (i.e. anything that's not a Tesla) should be able to do an 45-minute-each-way commute and still have juice left over for a trip to the shops or any of the other in-your-suburb tasks people might want to do on a whim in the evening.

        2. Stu J

          Re: actually no

          As per some other comments, most EVs can cope with a two-way commute plus some nipping about in the evening without a recharge...

          And similarly, per comments about letting the market decide - that's where smart meters come in. My car's configured not to charge between 4pm and 11:59pm, simply because my per-unit rate jumps from 11p to 24p at 4pm, back down to 11p at 7pm, and down to 5p between midnight and 6am. The only way I'm ever going to charge between 4pm and midnight is if I'm desperate... So market forces can, do, and will help spread the "load" (literally and figuratively)

        3. ricegf

          Re: actually no

          Consider a Chevy Bolt, with 238 miles of range, or a Model 3, with 215 miles, or even a 2018 LEAF, with 151 miles (USA EPA ranges).

          The average US commute is 30 miles total. Do we expect drivers (who lack workplace slow charging) to plan over 100 miles of errands in the typical evening?

          On the rare occasion where they will be traveling to a distance city, say for a concert or sporting event, a quick charge replaces those 30 miles of range in under 10 minutes, even at today's leisurely 120 kW charge rate.

          In the next few years, the problem becomes even more moot, with fast charge rates of 350 kW already specified for the Common Charging Standard, and ranges up to 620 miles already announced.

          So, I don't believe this is will be a problem for the vast majority of drivers even in the near future.

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: actually no

            "even at today's leisurely 120 kW charge rate.

            In the next few years, the problem becomes even more moot, with fast charge rates of 350 kW already specified for the Common Charging Standard, and ranges up to 620 miles already announced."

            I see a lot of 50kW DC fast chargers. It varies from about 40kW to 100kW for non-Tesla chargers. Tesla chargers vary too as well as what rate the battery controller will allow.

            Past a certain rate, a really big charger isn't that big of a deal. The voltage has to get very high which means all of the components in the charger and the car have to be able to insulate against that high high of a voltage or the current goes way up and components have to handle that. Fast chargers are going to be mostly used for long trips and it's not not a burden for the car to take 20-30 minutes. The last long road trip I did, I was timing my stops. A visit to the loo, fill the tank, eat something and a walkabout to stretch muscles was a minimum of 20 minutes if I didn't have to wait in line to fill up with petrol. Since I only make a longish road trip no more than two or three times a year, I don't mind waiting a little bit more for an EV to charge up. If I were in a big hurry, I'd take the train or <shudder> fly. Even my longer drives aren't more than about 250 miles which is entirely doable in a Model 3 or a Bolt if it isn't super cold out. I can leave the car plugged in at my destination to fill up. Spending less on "fuel" is a big bonus.

            620 miles of range? Doooooood, that's like 9-10 hours of straight driving and a very expensive and heavy battery pack to lug around. I like to be more leisurely about my driving on trips like that and stop here and there to see the sights. If I really needed to do long run in minimum time and was taking the car because I needed to pack a bunch of kit, I'd rent a high MPG diesel with a big fuel tank. Chances are that a trip like that would be for work rather than pleasure.

      2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: actually no

        How would a car detect an imminent overload of the local transformer? Yes, there'd be some drop in line voltage - but no way to know how much of a voltage drop indicates that an overload situation is occurring. The voltage in a village at the end of a long power run might suffer a 15% or greater voltage drop when everyone switches on their kettles during an advert break on the telly without getting close to overloading the local transformer, while houses close to a transformer might see only a 5% drop by the time the transformer is glowing cherry-red.

        1. teknopaul Bronze badge

          Re: actually no

          The way to detect imminent overload is the way everyone else does it. Half hour billing and let the market decide.

          Businesses pay a different price for leccy every half hour. Producers earn that price.

          Its only if the free market consistently fails or is horribly unfair that regulation is needed.

          That may be the case, but no need to panic.

          A massive fleet of personal mobile energy storage devices that can automatically choose _when_ they purchase, could be, overall, a very good thing for energy markets. In theory when you are working from home your car could even earn money by returning energy to the pool if prices are high enough.

      3. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: actually no

        The easiest fix is already in place. Electricity providers mostly offer reduced rates to EV owners if they charge their cars off-peak in the wee hours. Every modern EV I've seen can be set to start charging at a specified time. Some have a feature to default to the programmed time when at home and to start immediately anywhere else.

        A 45 minute commute each way for work is likely only 30 miles or so one way. There should still be plenty of range for an evening's toodle around the shops or cinema or the person bought the wrong car (ie, a Fiat 500e).

        It's best to thing about charging in terms of how many miles of range are replaced for every hour of charging using different power sources. In the US, with half the voltage, it starts at 5mi/hour for 120V, 25mi/hour for 240V and gobs for dc fast charging that will vary with its power output rating. The slowest rate in the UK is about 10mi/hour. That's got the car topped off from the 60 miles of use to commute in 6 hours. If your charging started at 10pm to take advantage of better rates, the car is all done covering the commute by 4am while you are still sawing logs. Nothing is mandated that you have to completely top up the battery every time you plug in to charge so if you wind up driving more one day, it's not a big deal. The more level 2 chargers that wind up in shopping centers and along the high street, the easier it will be to follow your ABC's (Alway Be Charging).

        Robert Llewellyn has a great show on YouTube called "Fully Charged" and there is an episode from way back where he visits the control center for the national grid. When he asked them about EV charging, he was told that they'd love to have more usage in the middle of the night to fill in the "bathtub" of reduced demand. Keep in mind that refining crude into petrol takes 7.46kWh per US gallon of electricity. Just the electricity to make a gallon of petrol can push a Chevy Bolt EV a bit more than 30 miles. The electricity used to refine 8 gallons of petrol will charge a 60kWh from flat to full. The range of the Bolt is advertised as 240 miles (238 really but I'm rounding off). 60kWh @ .12p/kwh is £7.20. How much is 8 gallons (30L) of petrol to push an ICE car that gets 30mpg that same 240 miles?

        I had the same thought about everybody plugging in and charger when they got home but learned that it's really a non-starter. People get home and put the kettle on without a second thought and that is very noticeable on the grid. You won't like the results of making your coffee or tea at 2am to get a better electrical tariff, but it isn't a problem when charging the car.

  2. jake Silver badge

    I've been pointing this out for years.

    The pro-EV set always shouts me down ...

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

      Don't forget the greenies who gloat about how they will drop air pollution but then get really irritated when you ask "where's the electricity coming from"? And followed by "how much will all this manufacturing of solar panels, extra power plants and fuel impact the environment.". For some reason they don't have an answer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

        Any fool knoa that the extra leccy will come from burning obsolete coal infrastructure!

        Clearly...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

        There are a number of companies out there that sell 100% Renewably generated Electricity. Go look at Ecotricity.com and see for yourself. (there are other Green Energy Companies)

        It does not all come from Coal (<10% these days) or Gas fired power stations.

        Believe it or not, the UK is one of the leaders in Renewable power generation. The likes of Denmark and Norway do better than us but where our little island is located makes offshore wind very economic.

        If you care to do a bit of research yourself, you could see how much of our electricity generation is coming from which source in real time. also, I'd recommend that you go and look at the posts on FullyCharged where the bosses of Ecotricity and Pod-point talk about their businessed. You might find them enlightening but hey, let the downvoting of an obviously derranged EV/Greenie tree hugger begin.

        1. Nial

          Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

          "There are a number of companies out there that sell 100% Renewably generated Electricity"

          Does their supply drop out at night when there's no wind?

          If not then their supply is not 100% renewable. Obviously.

          1. Keith Oborn

            Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

            As with all other electricity "retailers" the green ones balance supply and demand. In the case of the green ones, their total supply to customers is balanced by an equal supply from renewable generators *over time*. At any given instant they may be either buying non-renewable energy from suppliers to cover a renewable shortfall, or supplying surplus renewable energy back to the grid.

            It is a fallacy that there is no point in "going green" unless you can get 100% of your energy that way. Even 1% helps.

          2. ScottME

            Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

            The wind doesn't stop at night. Nor does hydro-electric power, pumped storage power, and various other forms of renewable energy. Obviously.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

              "The wind doesn't stop at night."

              But sometimes it stops for several days.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

                "But sometimes it stops for several days."

                Depends on diet,

            2. LucreLout Silver badge

              Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

              The wind doesn't stop at night. Nor does hydro-electric power, pumped storage power, and various other forms of renewable energy. Obviously.

              Completely agree, however pumped storage is a rounding error on a rounding error of power provision. Hydro we could, and possibly should, do more with. Biogas from food waste is another reasonable possibility to help with load.

              The further through time we go the better the technology gets, so really avoiding peak oil and CO2 emissions is nothing more than a play for time.

            3. Cynic_999 Silver badge

              Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

              "The wind doesn't stop at night"

              It certainly does on many nights - as well as many days.

            4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

              "The wind doesn't stop at night. Nor does hydro-electric power, pumped storage power, and various other forms of renewable energy. Obviously."

              Pumped storage is...erm...storage. Although that does raise an interesting point. Pumped storage is viable because they buy leccy at cheap "dead of night" rates and sell it back it peak demand rates. I wonder how long that will be viable if everyone is charging at "dead of night" rates/times?

              1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

                "Pumped storage is...erm...storage. Although that does raise an interesting point. Pumped storage is viable because they buy leccy at cheap "dead of night" rates and sell it back it peak demand rates. I wonder how long that will be viable if everyone is charging at "dead of night" rates/times?"

                Pumped storage also absorbs over capacity when there is too much wind if possible. Otherwise they have to feather the turbines and "turn them down".

          3. israel_hands

            Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

            Does their supply drop out at night when there's no wind?

            What makes you think there's no wind at night? Where do you think it goes after sunset?

            And as to that meaning a supply is not 100% renewable, you might look into these things called "batteries". This may blow your mind but they allow you to store generated energy and use it later.

            1. Nial

              Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

              > > Does their supply drop out at night when there's no wind?

              > What makes you think there's no wind at night? Where do you think it goes after sunset?

              The point was there's no solar input at night, if there's no wind then renewable input effectively = 0.

              A few slower readers don't seem to have got that.

              1. ricegf

                Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

                Your insults are misdirected. Had the author correctly written "Does their supply drop out at night IF there's no wind?", he would have been understood.

            2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

              "What makes you think there's no wind at night? Where do you think it goes after sunset?"

              I think he's referring to those winter periods when the entire UK can go several days with little to no wind. Solar can't pick up the slack at night, biomass is still small potatoes and we have very little hydro.

              1. ricegf

                Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

                It's not necessary to eliminate all fossil fuels, only to reduce fossil fuel use to where plant life can handle the CO2 load again. It's fine to use natural gas as the last line of defense against a significant voltage drop, though we have other options and potential options to explore first.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

            Umm...night is when there's no SUNLIGHT, not wind!

            Most renewable companies use a variety of sources. Solar, wind, hydro, tidal...it's very rare for them all to drop at exactly the same time.

            Also, haven't you ever heard of batteries? They're used to smooth out the delivery when there are drops in production.

          5. ricegf

            Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

            Not at all obviously. I'm an electrical engineer, and (respectfully) you're confusing power and energy.

            Energy is the potential to do work, such as moving a car. The "power company" sells, and the battery stores, energy measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh).

            Power is the instant motive force that actually stores energy into the battery or accelerates the car, measured in kilowatts (kW).

            The grid isn't the Internet, routing power instantaneously from the wind farm to your house. Power is added to and consumed from the aggregate grid minute by minute in careful balance. So the power feeding my EV battery is "obviously" from a mix of fuels. You're right as rain about that.

            But the energy for which I pay is 100% wind energy. That is, if my EV uses 150 kWh this month, the local wind farm adds 150 kWh to the grid during the month, and I pay them $9. This is what EV owners mean when they say their EV runs on 100% wind energy.

            So, I can power my EV with 100% wind energy without any grid instability at my house at all.

            The UK has actually reached 100% renewable power inputs at slack times, btw. Managing a grid with a large portion of renewable energy requires care, but solving technical challenges is what engineers do. Trust me, it's doable, as is continuing to upgrade grid capacity to continue to track increasing demand. We've been doing it successfully for over a century, and the slow transition from petrol to electricity allows ample time to manage the grid properly.

        2. Adam 52 Silver badge

          Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

          At the moment, just as everyone is about to start their commute (obviously moderation delay means you'll see this lunchtime), the UK is generating 37% from gas and it's the only really short-term scalable option. So short-term the additional load will be taken up by burning gas, ignoring micro-generation. Long-term maybe we'll get more wind or nuclear. Solar isn't really going to help this time of year.

        3. paulf Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

          @AC

          "If you care to do a bit of research yourself, you could see how much of our electricity generation is coming from which source in real time."

          If you want to see the realtime UK electricity demand and what is supplying it this is an excellent resource:

          G.B. National Grid Status. It also has links to historical data as well.

          Right now (10.01 Wed 24 Jan) Wind is supplying 9.94GW of the 39.5GW demand, which is more than nuclear (6.65GW), far more than Coal (1.14GW) but less than CCGT Gas (16.12GW). For context there are strong winds in the South of England at the moment.

          "There are a number of companies out there that sell 100% Renewably generated Electricity. Go look at Ecotricity.com and see for yourself. (there are other Green Energy Companies)"

          OVO Energy is another company that offers 100% renewable tariffs - usually costs about 1.5p/kWh more but YMMV and others are available.

          1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

            Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

            This, definitely. I watch it all the time (sad that way). Then you get to see how narrow the generation margin is on windless days.

            Far from being reassuring, it's scary.

            For example, on 10-11th of January this year, the OCGT was is use for several hours at peak time.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

            "G.B. National Grid Status. It also has links to historical data as well."

            Interestingly, even at 1240am, a time I would expect to be pretty much the bottom of the trough/graph in terms of demand, we are still taking about 10% of the national demand from external interconnects from France, Netherlands etc., although, also interestingly, wind is shown as the largest single contributor at just over 32% and coal at 0%

        4. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

          "100% renewable"

          1) Most "renewable" energy is Biomass. I.e., burning American wood pellets. The process overall (including harvest, processing and transport) generates just as much CO2 as coal.

          2) The remainder comes from unreliable wind.

          So, the 100% figure is a chimera. When the wind isn't blowing, everybody is using electricity from nuclear or combustion.

          This winter, since there was a bit of an outage at a couple of Nuclear plants, they were forced to fire up the Open-Cycle gas turbines when there was approximatey 0.0GW of wind power for several days. Very wasteful, very expensive.

          1. strum Silver badge

            Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

            >Most "renewable" energy is Biomass

            No it isn't.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

            "1) Most "renewable" energy is Biomass. I.e., burning American wood pellets. The process overall (including harvest, processing and transport) generates just as much CO2 as coal."

            Biomass may be on the increase, but it's a long, loooong way behind wind power currently. I can't agree more with the stupidly non-green processing and import of wood pellets from the USA though.

            1. ricegf

              Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

              A tree takes carbon from the atmosphere and sequesters it in wood. You burn the wood and release the carbon. Net change in CO2 this century is zero.

              You burn coal, releasing carbon sequestered millions is years ago. Net increase in CO2 this century is significant.

              The percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere had been rising steadily since about 1950, indicating that we've saturated the ability of plant life to handle the supply.

              We don't know for certain the impact of a higher concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, but "bad" is pretty likely.

              So, investing in not releasing long sequestered CO2 is a very good idea.

              Releasing briefly sequestered CO2 is the better option of the two. Capturing and using fusion power arriving daily from the nearest star is even better.

              Importing wood pellets from the USA is rather suboptimal for the UK, though. :-)

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

          There are a number of companies out there that sell 100% Renewably generated Electricity. Go look at Ecotricity.com and see for yourself. (there are other Green Energy Companies)

          Just how do they do that? Do they have a different set of power lines or do they use the normal grid lines?

          If it is the latter then you are most probably using electricity generated by gas turbines, coal plants and nuclear since, at best in the UK renewable supplies only a maximum of 25% of demand on a good day - much less when the wind isn't blowing.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

            Ummm...you really don't understand how this works.

            Take the Nestle Fairtrade chocolate scheme. They don't make all their products Fairtrade, just some of them, but they don't have entirely separate production lines (You'd need to for Organic, but that's different).

            So, they say "We buy 1.2 million tons of cocoa each year. We need 200,000 tons to make the Fairtrade products, so we make sure that each year we buy 1 million tons of standard cocoa and 200,000 tons of Fairtrade cocoa". They get mixed up, but the fact you're buying Fairtrade has an effect on their practices, so it has the positive result you want.

            It's not an exact analogy because cocoa can vary in terms of nutritional value, whereas electricity is exactly the same no matter where it comes from. But what you're doing is influencing buying practices. If you are on a 100% renewable scheme and use 1000 kWh, then it guarantees that 1000 kWh of green power is put into the system instead of 1000 kWh of non-green.

            The whole "separate power lines" argument is a fallacy - otherwise every time you switched provider they'd need to lay new cables to your house. All the providers run over the same cables, but it's the sourcing that you're changing.

            1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

              Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

              If you are on a 100% renewable scheme and use 1000 kWh, then it guarantees that 1000 kWh of green power is put into the system instead of 1000 kWh of non-green.

              That's what the greenwash vendors would have you believe - but there is ZERO truth in that. That 1000kWh would be put into the grid regardless - the rules on renewables mean that pretty well all renewables get "first bite of the cheery" in supplying demand.

              So wind always puts in all that the windmills produce - and the energy companies will buy it (even though it's very expensive*) because the rules require them to. Ditto solar, hydro, etc.

              So when you switch on your kettle with your greenwash tariff the result (since we do not have any excess of renewables over demand) is that the taps open ever so slightly on whatever generator is doing the dynamic load balancing at that point in time - typically it will be one of the CCGT stations. So your additional load will result in a matching additional generation from fossil fuel. The actual electrons you get will be from a mix of sources - exactly the same mix as EVERY other consumer in the country.

              So seriously, there is absolutely no such thing as a true green tariff - they are all greenwash, getting you to pay ectra for nothing more than a warm fuzzy feeling.

              * Wind IS very expensive. The operators will happily tell you how "cheap" wind is - but what they don't like to talk about are the direct cost (the 30-something pence/kWh subsidy**) or the indirect costs (the massive costs incurred by the rest of the supply industry in mitigating the effects of a highly variable/intermittence supply that has priority on supply).

        6. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

          Believe it or not, the UK is one of the leaders in Renewable power generation. The likes of Denmark and Norway do better than us but where our little island is located makes offshore wind very economic.

          Denmark uses Sweden as a giant battery, which is the only reason they do so well in the stats. Their excess power on windy days goes to Sweden, while their nuclear/fossil generated power comes back down the wire on calmer days.

          It's a brilliant idea, but does muddy the water when looking at the stats.

        7. Jimmy2Cows
          WTF?

          Re: here are a number of companies out there...

          There are a number of companies out there that sell 100% Renewably generated Electricity.

          Wait... I'm confused... do you lay your own cable directly to the renewable plant?

          Or does your supply contract come with a Maxwell's Demon electron bouncer to stop those ne'er do well non-renewable electrons entering your premises?

          Pretty sure everyone gets grid power the same way; a mix of whatever power plants supply the grid at a given time.

          1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

            Re: here are a number of companies out there...

            Except electricity is 100% fungible - there are no renewable or non renewable electrons. So if a company owns, say, a solar plant that puts 1GW onto the grid, it can legitimately sell 1GW of renewable electricity to its customers. And capitalism being what it is there are ways to trade the right to sell that electricity so one company doesn't have to be involved at both ends of the supply chain. It's really not a difficult or abstruse concept - it's just the way things work in any society that has evolved beyond bartering.

          2. ricegf

            Re: here are a number of companies out there...

            They sell 100% renewable energy. You're thinking power, which is a different thing. You shouldn't mock others because you lack a basic knowledge of science.

      3. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

        And, they'll never will. As such an answer would never fit their naritive.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

        "where's the electricity coming from"?

        I'm lucky enough to have enough south facing roof space and don't drive all that much, so I *could* install sufficient solar panels to provide more electricity than I need for my average driving needs, if I had an electric car.

        Pity that when I do the maths on the current feed in tariff, it makes no economic sense for me to buy an electric car and solar panels. Hell, I'm not even convinced the solar panels break even on their own given that it would be extremely difficult to shift my usage pattern to use the 50% of electricity generated that the tariff assumes, and I would be paying to use non-green electricity at night. (If you can use the energy from the panels during the day, the panels can make sense...)

        And, no, I'm not buying a battery pack for the house, the energy used in their manufacture, the relatively short life span (10 years, I believe) and the difficulty of recycling them means that for the time being, they definitely fall into the "not green" box. Very useful for people who live off grid though.

        For the time being, I'm sticking with buying nuclear generated electricity from EDF.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

          'And, no, I'm not buying a battery pack for the house, the energy used in their manufacture, the relatively short life span (10 years, I believe) and the difficulty of recycling them means that for the time being, they definitely fall into the "not green" box. Very useful for people who live off grid though.'

          In the next decade, home battery packs will most likely be ex-car battery packs. A 60kWh battery that has dropped to 40kWh sucks in the car, but it's still a lot of power. The projections now are that many packs will spend 10 years in a car and another 10 years in a stationary application before being recycled. The Cobalt used in the Li batteries is what makes them valuable.

          Visit Sunamp.co.uk. They are making thermal batteries to store excess electrical energy from PV panels as heat for hot water and home heating. I don't know what they cost and seeing a video on them gave me an idea to build my own. I am guestimating that it will be around £300-£400 for 7kWh of thermal storage if I can get the parts I want to use from a salvage yard. I'm still playing with the design.

          1. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

            Visit Sunamp.co.uk. They are making thermal batteries to store excess electrical energy from PV panels as heat for hot water and home heating.

            These are more commonly known as "thermal stores" and have been around for decades. The basic principle is similar to a standard hot water cylinder, with a couple of additions:

            First, the stored water is not used directly, rather you take the heat out using a heat exchanger. This means that you can store it at a much higher temperature (90 - 95C is possible) therefore storing more energy in the same physical volume.

            Input can be from any number of sources. In the same way that a "solar" cylinder will have two coils, one for the solar collector and one for the boiler, a thermal store could have more and be able to accept heat from perhaps a log burner or heat pump as well. Immersion heaters are easy to fit and can take any surplus from PV.

            Because of the use of heat exchangers, you can take as much or as little heat out as you need, reducing the need for blending valves.

            I've been looking at one from Newark Copper Cylinders for a rebuild project we are trying to start. They will build you a cylinder to your exact specifications and it's not as expensive as you might think.

            M.

      5. strum Silver badge

        Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

        >Don't forget the greenies who gloat about how they will drop air pollution but then get really irritated when you ask "where's the electricity coming from"?

        Don't forget the Dirties, who always ignore the results of surveys that show that EVs are still cleaner - even if every watt is produced by coal (which they won't be).

    2. as2003

      Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

      How long have you been yelling at the pro-Eastenders set for simultaneously putting the kettle on after an episode?

      1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

        "

        How long have you been yelling at the pro-Eastenders set for simultaneously putting the kettle on after an episode?

        "

        That's an average of about 2.5kW per house for 10 minutes or so (after which the transformer has time to cool down). Cars being fast charged will draw an average of 10kW (at least) per car for several hours, which makes a huge difference.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

      The premise made in this report (from a pro-coal/gas) organisation assumes that non of the EV users will have things like:-

      - Their own PV System to generate electricity independanty of the major grid suppliers

      - Their own Battery storage system that either stores ther lecy generated by their own PV system or charges itself when grid demand (and thus price) is at its lowest.

      - That the EV users will plug in each night with battery levels approaching 10% ie. needing a 90% charge.

      - That the Utilities do not impliment a form of demand pricing instead of a fixed prise per KWh.

      Other reports to come out of the US do seem to debunk this grid centric report.

      Personally, I charge my EV when the sun is shining and the output of my PV system pretty well balances the drain on the grid for my mains charger (slow trickle).

      In a couple of months, I'll have 34KW of Battery storage and 6KW of PV on my home. My grid use will drop considerably even though I'm upgrading my EV and going from a 30KWh car to a 100KWh car. The larger batter will mean that I don't have to charge as frequently and can wait for the sun/cheap leccy to fully charge my battery system and then use that to give me another 100+ miles of range. Yes, the PV and battery system is a cost but it increases the value of my home by more than the £££ I spent on it.

      However, I can see where you are coming from. I had very much the same opinion as you until I got my EV and PV systems. Now with careful juggling of where and when I charge and a light right foot, the cost of my motoring so far this month has been £42.60 and I've done more than 1000miles.

      I charged using a Pod-point rapid charger recently. This was at one of our major supermarkets. That charger stops at 80% charge but the cost was £6.37. It was done in the time it took me to do some shopping and have a coffee. That gave me another 100miles approx of range. Other places, I charge for free or at even lower cost per KWh (as low as £0.13/KWh).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

        Thinking about this in the context of the Government wanting everyone to be buying electric cars soon ...

        > "- Their own PV System to generate electricity independanty of the major grid suppliers"

        > "- Their own Battery storage system that either stores ther lecy generated by their own PV system or charges itself when grid demand (and thus price) is at its lowest."

        I guess it depends on where you are, but they're pretty uncommon where I live (as are electric cars), and I've seen vanishingly few added to properties after the government slashed the subsidies on them.

        A significant number of properties will find it hard to charge electric vehicles - either they're Victorian-era terraced houses with no off-road parking (no running a power lead across the pavement...), or they're new-builds with a "parking forecourt" even further away from the actual property.

        > "- That the Utilities do not impliment a form of demand pricing instead of a fixed prise per KWh."

        When I changed suppliers, I didn't notice any offering on-demand pricing..?

      2. SundogUK

        Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

        The higher the penetration of EV's get, the less likely it is that a 'normal' user will go through all this. They will expect to be able to plug in whenever they want.

      3. Nial

        Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

        "Personally, I charge my EV when the sun is shining"

        So you're not charging it much this time of year?

        And most people would have their cars at work during the day, how does that work?

        "Now with careful juggling of where and when I charge and a light right foot, the cost of my motoring so far this month has been £42.60 and I've done more than 1000miles."

        This is a single user case with the massive subsidies that you're currently getting (probably a sensible decision for you).

        The report was about what happens to the grid if everyone jumps on board the subsidy wagon. The government will have to replace all the tax lost on petrol/diesel somehow, and the grid won't cope, especially here in Scotland.

      4. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

        the cost of my motoring so far this month has been £42.60 and I've done more than 1000miles.

        Yes, but 61% of road fuel price is tax + duty. No government is going to give up on that, whether you get your power from the grid or home PV. Electric cars are only significatly cheaper to "fuel" because they aren't a big enough market yet.

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: Cost of Electricity

          How will the Taxman work out when I'm charging my EV (in the future) or running the washing machine?

          Raising the taxation level(i.e. VAT) on Leccy will be a sure fire vote loser. It was tried once and quickly reduced to 5%.

          You raise an interesting point. We'll probably all move to a 'pay per mile' model based upon the data all our permanetly connected cars send to HMG/GCHQ. It will also help Big Brother keep tabs on us 24/7.

          1. LucreLout Silver badge

            Re: Cost of Electricity

            How will the Taxman work out when I'm charging my EV (in the future) or running the washing machine?

            He won't, he'll just track your car via satellite and price will vary by mileage and time of day driven.

            I hate this idea, but it is what they're planning on - See Galileo etc.

        2. this

          Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

          True. Look what happened to low diesel fuel tax untill there were enough diesel users 'hooked'.

          It was increased so that the diesel price is now more than petrol. I imagine the increase in diesel efficiency (in mpg) is now completely offset resulting in no loss of income to the taxman.

          The same thing will happen with electricity costs. A way will be found to tax electricity for road use (EERV?) to make up the shortfall. There will only be a brief window where electic cars will be cheaper to run. Death and Taxes.

        3. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

          "Yes, but 61% of road fuel price is tax + duty. No government is going to give up on that, whether you get your power from the grid or home PV. Electric cars are only significatly cheaper to "fuel" because they aren't a big enough market yet."

          There will come a time when you will have to report your mileage and the road tax will be based on that. I expect that the car may do it automatically "for you" and you will be billed periodically.

      5. Dango

        Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

        AC: "Personally, I charge my EV when the sun is shining"

        You've not charged it much since October then.

      6. Nial

        Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

        I missed this bit... "The premise made in this report (from a pro-coal/gas) organisation assumes"

        "Research conducted by Matteo Muratori of the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) "

        ?

      7. WylieCoyoteUK

        Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

        I have a hybrid with about 30 miles electric range.

        I don't charge it as soon as I get home, I set its timer to be charged for 7:30 in the morning, at other times I charge as and when required, (at work for example).

        I also got a free charge point from the electric nation programme, which is studying usage and management of smart chargers to minimise demand peaks.

        One problem I can see is our company has about 20 company vehicles, (only 2 hybrids at the moment) but it due to physical and circuit limitations, we could only install a maximum of 4x 7.2KW chargepoints ( we currently have 2 on the building frontage) without a large investment.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

          One problem I can see is our company has about 20 company vehicles ... but it due to physical and circuit limitations, we could only install a maximum of 4x 7.2KW chargepoints

          Now scale that up to 20million cars.

        2. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

          "One problem I can see is our company has about 20 company vehicles, (only 2 hybrids at the moment) but it due to physical and circuit limitations, we could only install a maximum of 4x 7.2KW chargepoints ( we currently have 2 on the building frontage) without a large investment."

          Easy, install 8 3.3kW charge points. If you work all day at the same location, your car will just be sitting there doing nothing. A 3.3kW charge point adds around 14miles of range per hour of charging. A half a day of charging would be 56 miles of range replaced and you can arrange usage so cars are exchanged around lunch if necessary. A company EV left overnight would gain about 140 miles of range or, with a little fancy lockout switching, those 4 7.2kWh chargers could be made available instead of the 8 smaller ones.

      8. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

        You are either not driving many miles per week, or you are kidding yourself if you believe that the total output of your PV panels in a week can hope to match the amount of electricity consumed by an electric car in the same week. The average electric car consumes 34kWh per 100 miles. The average home PV installation produces an average (but highly variable) 20kWh per week.

        Also (a) how much did the 34kWh storage batteries cost and (b) what is their expected life period?

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

          "The average electric car consumes 34kWh per 100 miles. The average home PV installation produces an average (but highly variable) 20kWh per week."

          Whoops. Error, Redo from start.

          The Chevy Bolt EV will go 240 miles with a 60kWh battery pack (more if you aren't running heat or AC and you don't drive like a mad man). That's .25kWh/mile or 25kWh for 100 miles. A 3kW solar PV installation is around 18kWh/day (lots of variables here so let's call it 10kWh). 10kWh/day is 70kWh/week or 280 miles of travel/week or 1,100 miles per month. If you can get a special tariff for charging your EV in the wee hours for 5p/kWh, forget the panels and set the built in timer.

          The best place to get a home battery is the wrecking yard. Find a wrecked EV with a battery pack the size you want and get a kit to turn it into a home storage battery. There are companies that are going to be making mini fast chargers that use a repurposed car battery pack to store up energy until you dump it into an EV.

      9. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

        "the cost of my motoring so far this month has been £42.60 and I've done more than 1000miles."

        Wow, that's about 1/3rd of my diesel cost for a 1000 miles. On the other hand, I can easily do that same 1000 miles in three days. I've suggested we shift our company car fleet to hybrid, but so far they are still buying diesels. I'm not sure how the expenses claims will work for electric charging, especially from home where I'd be paying for it and HMRC want fuel receipts these days.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

          I do 1000 miles in a DAY two or four times per month (wife co-driver, me doing most or all of the driving). I've done 1000 miles on a bike in a day many times. The wife has joined me on her bike to do the same several times (matching R1150GSs). Our longest was a ~2,300 mile trip from Sonoma, CA to Tucson, AZ and back. In 48 hours. Some of us don't live in a 30x30km box.

          1. ricegf

            Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

            You'll likely be a late EV adopter. No shame in that. Us boxed in types will thus pay for the research that delivers a 1000 mile range EV that recharges in 5 minutes to your grandchildren. ;-)

      10. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

        "That charger stops at 80% charge but the cost was £6.37. It was done in the time it took me to do some shopping and have a coffee. That gave me another 100miles approx of range. "

        At 60mpg, that's not much cheaper than diesel. And there's no 70% duty+full rate VAT on leccy!

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

          "At 60mpg, that's not much cheaper than diesel. And there's no 70% duty+full rate VAT on leccy!"

          A fast charger is an expensive option. It's like the petrol station in the middle of nowhere that charges 2x since they have you by the short ones. You are always better off charging at home/work or a free charger put in by the council if you can. I think there are some shops that will waive the fees if you spend enough money at the store.

      11. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

        the cost of my motoring so far this month has been £42.60 and I've done more than 1000miles.

        Have you factored in the cost of a replacement battery in 7 to 10 years? One of the things holding me back from an EV - apart from the fact that until recently there was nothing that could guarantee me a 100 mile range at motorway speeds on a dark morning in the winter - was the thought of having to replace the battery at some point.

        When I last looked into it the best figure I could come up with was the Renault / Nissan "battery lease" scheme. Leaving aside the fact that I do more miles than the scheme allows, the monthly cost of the battery lease, added to the cost of charging (admittedly low) meant that the overall cost was not a whole load less than the overall cost of running my existing small Diesel car.

        M.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

          "Have you factored in the cost of a replacement battery in 7 to 10 years? One of the things holding me back from an EV - apart from the fact that until recently there was nothing that could guarantee me a 100 mile range at motorway speeds on a dark morning in the winter - was the thought of having to replace the battery at some point."

          You plan to still be driving that wreck in 10 years?

          There are already third party replacements for the earliest Prius'. Nissan's new pack for the Leaf is the same form factor but has more capacity. Chances are very good that by the time you EV battery pack needs replacing, there will be several options available and it's likely that you will also be able to install and even higher capacity one. If you get it from China is will be 18x more wonderful (according to the package). The current EVs have battery warranties from 8-10 years so it will be a while before having to buy a pack will be an issue. At least one manufacturer has said they will finance the purchase of an OEM pack down the road. In ten year's time I expect that EV's will have radically matured and you may just want a new one for all of the new features. If you don't, there will be other people that do and refurbished packs made from those vehicle's batteries will be available for a good price.

    4. Timmy B Silver badge

      Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

      @Jake: "The pro-EV set always shouts me down ..."

      Why?

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: The pro-EV set always shouts me down

        Perhaps they are right?

        All the evidence seems to point that way.

        1. Nial

          Re: The pro-EV set always shouts me down

          "Perhaps they are right?

          All the evidence seems to point that way."

          Perhaps they are involved in the PV/EV subsidy farming and don't want anyone challenging this?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

      Clearly as the adverts keep telling me smart meters will solve this problem.

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

        "Clearly as the adverts keep telling me smart meters will solve this problem."

        They might, too. The problem with smart meters is that they don't control anything except credit. Nobody wants their whole house shut off because there's a local demand peak. It will take a long time before there's a reasonable uptake of appliances that can communicate with the meter and negotiate a power drop.

        It doesn't help that the current set of smart meters aren't at all smart and there's no standard for that negotiation. Given the track record of the industry, it could be a while before there is. But a new, high-drain appliance with a fairly high tolerance for intermittent use is an excellent candidate for a suitable load, at least if smart meters return to their original imagined function - negotiating the best deal with multiple companies for high, non time-sensitive loads.

        1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

          Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

          "Clearly as the adverts keep telling me smart meters will solve this problem."

          They might, too.

          Yes, they will. They are there for the purpose of implementing demand pricing (the whole cut-you-off-if-the-lights-are-about-to-go thing is a strawman) so that power shortage will be fixed by you implementing your own power cut.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

            " power shortage will be fixed by you implementing your own power cut."

            As in "We'll have to wait till midnight to cook dinner".

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

              As in "We'll have to wait till midnight to cook dinner".

              Or just use gas. Oops.

            2. ricegf

              Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

              No. Refrigeration, A/C and heat, water heaters, EV charging, laptop charging, and the like don't require constant power. Demand can be moved around by minutes to balance out spikes in grid demand.

              Appliances that require constant power such as stoves and non-battery electronics obviously get priority access.

              Really, engineers aren't as stupid as you seem to believe. We've solved FAR harder problems than this!

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

          "if smart meters return to their original imagined function - negotiating the best deal with multiple companies for high, non time-sensitive loads."

          I think the key word here is "imagined".

    6. jmch Silver badge

      Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

      "The pro-EV set always shouts me down"

      There are some pretty irrational people...

      however to be fair to them, this is not a showstopper, it just requires reengineering and upgrading of grid infrastructure. It's anyway more efficient to burn fuel in a few dozen giant power stations rather than a few million ICEs around the country, not to mention pollution can be minimized and localised at power stations rather than spewing all around areas close to or in large population centres.

      The grid infrastructure anyway needs to be maintained so refreshing it bit by bit, including the capability of getting power from homes not only pushing, maes perfect sense. It only needs to be clear that this is a gradual 50-year-plus project, which is anyway how long it would take for electric cars to be in a large majority.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

        it just requires reengineering and upgrading of grid infrastructure huge investments

        FTFY

        1. jmch Silver badge

          Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

          "it just requires... huge investments"

          Yes, it does, infrastructure requires large and continuous investments, and if it's scrimped on, you get the US - poorly maintained roads and bridges are crumbling, internet infrastrcture is crap etc. You can't just one-off build infrastructure and leave it untouched.

          I specified a 50-year timeframe exactly because I am aware of massive investment requirement

        2. strum Silver badge

          Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

          >it just requires huge investments

          So does everything. All those old fossil-fuel power stations have a finite lifetime. They'll have to be replaced. The issue is - do we replace them with 20th century fuels (or, indeed, 19th century), or do we acknowledge that this is the 21st?

          1. Nial

            Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

            "All those old fossil-fuel power stations have a finite lifetime. They'll have to be replaced. The issue is - do we replace them with 20th century fuels (or, indeed, 19th century), or do we acknowledge that this is the 21st?"

            This is like asking...

            "Do we want to guarantee keeping our hospitals/ schools/ places of work open, or not".

            Or do you mean building more nuclear (which I'd agree with)?

            1. Martin an gof Silver badge

              Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

              Or do you mean building more nuclear (which I'd agree with)?

              Small, controllable, factory-assembled reactors might do the job. They have been talked about for some time, but for some reason the emphasis still seems to be on the big expensive units.

              M.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

        "It only needs to be clear that this is a gradual 50-year-plus project, which is anyway how long it would take for electric cars to be in a large majority."

        There are several governments that are already drafting legislation to ban ICE vehicle sales by 2025-2030. A load of tosh to do it that way, but city centre congestion charges could go way up for ICE cars and there may be some local bans during peak hours of the day.

    7. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

      The thing I keep pointing out is that an awful lot of people aren't able to bring their vehicles into close proximity to their electricity supply - they park their cars on the street. Even (UK) people with garages typically can't get their cars in because as houses get smaller, the garage gets increasingly full of the stuff that won't fit indoors.

      For a lot of people, quick charging in a shared location will be a necessity - and that brings a different set of infrastructure challenges.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

        "For a lot of people, quick charging in a shared location will be a necessity - and that brings a different set of infrastructure challenges."

        For people that don't have the option to charge at home, they will be the last people that EV's will make sense for. There are some very clever kits that can be installed in light poles where the cord set contains the communications to the service company for billing. The beauty is that the street lighting is changed to LED to free up the capacity needed to charge a car at night when the light is on without having to upgrade any wiring. During the day it's not a problem. It's featured on The Fully Charged Show on YouTube. It's made in Britain too!

        Quick chargers are handy when you are on a long trip, but expensive for use all of the time. The best thing is slower chargers that are all over the place so it's easier for locations to add more slots of charging. If your car is sitting the common 90% of the time, if it's plugged in, it's not a problem to have it on a slow charger. If that's still not enough you can always hit the fast charger every once in a while to catch up.

    8. toffer99

      Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

      ...and we can now see why.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Off peak?

    Pay a premium for charging anytime during peak times. (help pay for upgrades)

    Pay less if charging in the wee hours overnight?

    Simple?

    1. as2003

      Re: Off peak?

      Isn't that already the case?

      Here's an idea: abolish "peak" hours and have cost inversely proportional to line frequency.

      Then you can set your fridges and car chargers to pause when the frequency drops below 60 Hz or 50 Hz. In fact, you could do that without the pricing changes.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Off peak?

        They would pause if the frequency drops below 60/50Hz, the only problem is the user interface would need work as they might signal that they've paused by going up in smoke.

      2. Threlkeld

        Re: Off peak?

        To elaborate a little more, the user could select a priority level. In effect, a frequency-monitoring charger could be set to shed load on line frequency drop if the user was relaxed about getting more charge, or to remain connected (at extra cost) if the user urgently needed it. There would have to be something like this, as a lot of extra load switching in and out at exactly the same frequency point would do nothing for system stability.

        Also, a freezer that has been shut off for a while gradually becomes a higher priority, but I guess that need could also be built in at relatively low cost per unit.

        Who needs smart meters? Just charge consumption according to the prevailing line frequency ... though it would be necessary to ensure that the system wasn't run at an artificially low frequency to produce increased revenue! Now, how to do that?

      3. Nial

        Re: Off peak?

        "Then you can set your fridges and car chargers to pause when the frequency drops below 60 Hz or 50 Hz. In fact, you could do that without the pricing changes."

        So all across the country loads are suddenly dropping out or being applied, with less spinning generation to keep things balanced?

        That's not going to cause carnage or anything, >:-|

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Off peak?

      Pay less if charging in the wee hours overnight?

      Only works if that's a significantly lower demand. Replace all ICE cars by electric and the charging demand over a year will be around 270TWh, about 2/3 that of normal grid use (domestic + business). Night time car-charging demand won't be off-peak anymore, it will be the same as daytime peak. So no discount.

    3. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Off peak?

      "Pay less if charging in the wee hours overnight?"

      Since that would be when all the electric vehicles would be charging, that becomes a peak...

      Think: even 1kW chargers for 10m vehicles becomes 10GW. From GridWatch, we see that UK demand at 1am is about 23GW, demand at 10am is 40GW, so those vehicles easily turn the dead of night into a Wednesday morning.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Off peak?

      The whole point of the article was that charging generates its own peak.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    EVs simply pay more for electricity

    Average 60 litre tank of fuel here costs me $80.

    Charge electric vehicles $25 a full charge.

    Still way cheaper than dead dinosaurs and plants.

    AC, obviously!

    1. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

      Re: EVs pay more for electricity

      Mileage ?

      For the same size vehicles - how many miles for the $25 of electricity and how many miles for the $80 of fuel ? (No comparing a Tesla 3 with a SUV!!!)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: EVs pay more for electricity

        Mileage?

        What's that?

        ; )

        I get about 510 km for my 60 litres.

        Large 6 cyl sedan.

    2. MrXavia
      Mushroom

      Re: EVs simply pay more for electricity

      a full 100KW charge fwould be about £20 i expect for me...

      Tesla Model S is about 400 miles for 100KW so about 5p/mile

      a full 70 litre tank is about £85

      I get around 700 miles out of that £85, so about 12p/mile

      The tesla costs around £90k

      My car cost £45k

      I can drive 370,000 miles on the difference in price...

      My car works out way cheaper, and could run on bio-fuels quite easily, so the only reason it is not 'green' is because of big oil..

      1. as2003

        Re: EVs simply pay more for electricity

        > I can drive 370,000 miles on the difference in price...

        Indeed, but you're forgetting that the two cars retain some of their value and you can eventually sell them. You still make a valid point though.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: EVs simply pay more for electricity

          It'll be interesting to see the resale values of used EVs and how it varies on the types of batteries used. The sort of old ICE banger you can pick up for a few hundred quid and still do 500 miles on a tank of fuel simply won't exist in an all electric world. The cheap bangers will be the ones with badly overused batteries with minimal range/charge capacity and a replacement set of batteries will be more than the car is worth.

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    And I think it's safe to say useage will be *very* uneven

    So yeah, clustering will be quite a big thing.

    OMG Corporations will have to spend money on upgrading their systems for making money.

    Oh noes..

  6. K.o.R

    Clearly the solution is dodgem-car chicken wire above all roads and a collector pole.

    And then some means of making the road conductive for a return path.

  7. Timmy B Silver badge

    Answering a few points in the comments...

    Our EV works out cheaper by far than the car it replaced. We pay less now including the repayments for the car and all fuel and servicing, etc. than we did for just the fuel on the car it replaced. The EV does very similar miles to the old car.

    There are suppliers of electricity that are committed to only using greener methods, such as ecotricity in the UK. They are a little more expensive but even factoring this effect on the anual bill in, the EV still works out a little cheaper than just the fuel of the car it replaced.

    We can pick and chose when the car charges. We can decide to charge it in the wee small hours negating the effect. I think that suppliers may offer EV rates where this promoted. If you have off peak tarrifs then this works out cheaper anyway.

    Ranges, whilst still not up to scratch, are increasing each year with the latest model of our EV coming out this year able to do double what ours can (purchased 2016). I would say that unless you never do trips less than 50 miles you still can't currently run an EV for all journeys or have it as your only car, as you can't always depend on there being a functional charger at the destination. But this is slowly getting better.

    A lot of people do need to get used to the idea that in the lifetime of many readers the only car you can buy will be something that doesn't burn fosil fuel.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Answering a few points in the comments...

      Thanks for the very logical post. It seems that the 'petrolheads' rule around here. Rather sad really.

      Thanks to http://gridwatch.templar.co.uk/index.php

      I can see that the wind is generating 26.38% of UK Power at the time of this posting. Coal is around 2%. As this is distributed around the country and not just coming from a few very large power stations the load on the grid is more evenly distributed.

      This is pretty much the same as what studies in the USA has found and counters the report quoted in the article but that matters little to those who won't take the trouble to educate themselves.

      I will never go back to an oil burner (petrol or diesel). The UK and many other counties have committed themselves to stop selling fossil fueled vehicles. The end is coming for ICE vehicles.

      1. Nial

        Re: Answering a few points in the comments...

        "Thanks to http://gridwatch.templar.co.uk/index.php

        I can see that the wind is generating 26.38% of UK Power at the time of this posting. Coal is around 2%. "

        Thanks to the same web site we can see that on Saturday there was almost no wind, yet they were able to ramp the coal output up to compensate.

        We need 100% conventional backup available for when the ruinables aren't generating anything. This double supply is making all our electricity _much_ more expensive.

        1. strum Silver badge

          Re: Answering a few points in the comments...

          >We need 100% conventional backup available

          Er - no we don't. There are several, unrelated renewable sources. The chances that they all fail - 100% - is infinitesmal.

          1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

            Re: Answering a few points in the comments...

            There are several, unrelated renewable sources. The chances that they all fail - 100% - is infinitesmal.

            Ah, variation of the "wind is blowing somewhere" lie.

            While it's true that having wind AND solar AND hydro all at (or close to) zero at the same time are quite slim - hydro is only a small amount and so can be ignored in practice.

            So lets look at what happens in the UK in (typically) late december. Solar is doing naff all - the days are short, the sun is low, so for probably something like 18 hours of the day it'll be producing nothing worth considering. So that leaves wind ...

            Contrary to what the wind lobby claim, there are often prolonged calms that cover, not just the whole of the UK, but the whole of north west Europe. I recall reading an article (in print (IEE), some years ago, no I can't find it now) where it was pointed out that we have had periods as long as TEN DAYS with effectively no wind across the whole of western Europe. Pumped storage hydro and batteries aren't going to help with that - they'll run out in a matter of hours.

            So while the backup needed isn't actually 100%, it's not far off.

      2. Chemist

        Re: Answering a few points in the comments...

        "The UK and many other counties have committed themselves to stop selling fossil fueled vehicles."

        I thought they'd committed to 'only' allow hybrids to be sold

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Answering a few points in the comments...

        "I can see that the wind is generating 26.38% of UK Power at the time of this posting. Coal is around 2%."

        Yes, at this moment. And tomorrow it's the other way round. Hardly a proof of anything at all.

        "The UK and many other counties have committed themselves to stop selling fossil fueled vehicles."

        Yes, and they'll fail on that. Just like Swedes failed in stopping nuclear energy. Stupid decisisions which just generate huge cost increases to citizens.

        "The end is coming for ICE vehicles"

        Definitely: Crude oil won't last for ever. But replacing that with coal-generated electricity is just stupid. Only benefits the power companies who are billionaires already and enforces their monopoly.

        1. MrXavia

          Re: Answering a few points in the comments...

          "The UK and many other counties have committed themselves to stop selling fossil fueled vehicles."

          What about bio-fuels? why can't we keep combustion engines but ramp up the bio-fuel production and reduce the pollution cars emit.

          EV's have a place, but until a cheap, efficient, bio-fuel fuel-cell is created, combustion works best...

      4. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Answering a few points in the comments...

        It's already been pointed out, and seemingly ignored. So I'll elaborate. In London, the capital of the UK, only the relatively very well off have homes with off-street parking. Ordinary people are lucky to afford a smallish terraced house. Many live on flats or on estates with car parks ( and as yet there's no suggestion of a move to install individual charge points on each parking space). In other parts of the UK there are still an awfully large number of people who can't live in a nice semi with a drive way. So for most of us an EV is no more than a dream.

      5. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: Answering a few points in the comments...

        Thanks for the very logical post. It seems that the 'petrolheads' rule around here.

        I'm a petrolhead, and I like EV. Don't get me wrong, I'm not chopping in the WRX for one any time soon, but we could replace my wifes car with one, and possibly my track day car.

        Before we ban them I have a whole list of engines and cars I need to work through, but given that most people aren't driving a proper car, they're driving what amounts to a white good, EV will work extremely well for most. Given that most people neither like driving, nor are any good at it, autonomous electric vehicles will work even better for them.

        EV isn't about moving everyone in all situations, its about moving most people over in most situations.

        Put another way - I have one car for the track, another car as my main car, and a third for Tesco/Tip runs. Each have different costs and characteristics that make them most suitable for different situations. I can see how a 4th vehicle, and EV could fit in and reduce my oil burn.

    2. Nial

      Re: Answering a few points in the comments...

      "Our EV works out cheaper by far than the car it replaced. We pay less now including the repayments for the car and all fuel and servicing, etc. than we did for just the fuel on the car it replaced"

      How much would it be costingt if you didn't get the £5K (or more?) subsidy to buy it (we're all paying), plus the grant for updating your charging point (that we're all paying) and the goverment started taxing EV charging to recoup some of their lost diesel/petrol taxes?

      As before, with the current level of subsidies EV makes sense now for a lot of people, but if the number of people going electric vastly increases the govt won't be able to maintain the current level of subsidy.

      1. Timmy B Silver badge

        Re: Answering a few points in the comments...

        @Nial

        We didn't get the £5K grant as we didn't buy new - we bought an ex demonstrator.

        We paid for the external charging port - it cost less than the last service for our old car.

        So taking all that into account has already been done.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Answering a few points in the comments...

          "So taking all that into account has already been done."

          You still haven't taken into account VED subsidies and the fact that as EV use increases the tax on road fuels will have to be picked up elsewhere. Your savings are in the avoidance of tax due to successive governments' social engineering. That can't last.

    3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Answering a few points in the comments...

      All of the pro-EV ideas here only make sense while EVs are a tiny minority. None of them scale to full use, due to tax or practical infrastructure issues.

      Our EV works out cheaper by far than the car it replaced.

      I'll bet you got a subsidy, and the "fuel" is charged at domestic 5% VAT, not road fuel VAT+duty of 61%. Remove the subsidy and price your electricty at the same per km as petrol or diesel, as must happen long term, and the cost wil be the same.

      There are suppliers of electricity that are committed to only using greener methods, such as ecotricity in the UK

      But they can't produce the same amount of power as the 'classic' methods. If all cars were EVs the UK would need to double it's annual electricity production to charge them. Can't be done with today's green technology.

      Ranges, whilst still not up to scratch, are increasing each year

      Double the range means double the energy stored in the battery. Inevitably that means double the charge time, or double the charge rate. The former is likely to be even less acceptable, the latter means doubling grid capacity and is potentially infeasible for domestic chargers on safety grounds.

      in the lifetime of many readers the only car you can buy will be something that doesn't burn fosil fuel.

      Entirely possible, but rechargeable battery-electric won't get us there.

      1. Timmy B Silver badge

        Re: Answering a few points in the comments...

        "All of the pro-EV ideas here only make sense while EVs are a tiny minority. None of them scale to full use, due to tax or practical infrastructure issues."

        I agree and in may ways we are benefiting at the moment. I say that we should and will need to pay tax of some sort and that it is not maintainable long term like it is. It would nave to be far in excess of the current system to make it more expensive, though.

        I'll bet you got a subsidy, and the "fuel" is charged at domestic 5% VAT, not road fuel VAT+duty of "61%. Remove the subsidy and price your electricty at the same per km as petrol or diesel, as must happen long term, and the cost wil be the same."

        We didn't get a subsidy as we bought an ex-demo. I agree about VAT and tax as above. It will need to be changed or we'll have loads of car users paying no money to maintain roads.

        "But they can't produce the same amount of power as the 'classic' methods. If all cars were EVs the UK would need to double it's annual electricity production to charge them. Can't be done with today's green technology."

        Agreed - but I am an anomaly in that I am an EV driver that likes nuclear power....

        "Double the range means double the energy stored in the battery. Inevitably that means double the charge time, or double the charge rate. "

        No - a charge for newer versions of my car are the same as ours in terms of time. Improvements in efficiency and battery technology are helping loads - you will, of course, pay more.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: Answering a few points in the comments...

          No - a charge for newer versions of my car are the same as ours in terms of time. Improvements in efficiency and battery technology are helping loads - you will, of course, pay more.

          Electric cars are already pretty efficient, there isn't room for much more gain. As for the batteries, the problem is still the same. No matter how good the technology, to get more range means more energy put into the battery. Of necessity that means charge at the same rate for longer, or a charge at a higher rate, and a higher charge rate is more load on the grid. There's no free lunch.

    4. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Answering a few points in the comments...

      "Our EV works out cheaper by far than the car it replaced. We pay less now including the repayments for the car and all fuel and servicing, etc. than we did for just the fuel on the car it replaced. The EV does very similar miles to the old car."

      Yes, but that is because you are being subsidised, and the petrol/Diesel buyers are being taxed to fund it. An article yesterday said that because there's less tax coming in via fuel duty and VED, people are talking about road pricing again, everyone's hated bollocks. It's reared its ugly head again because LEV are eating the tax man's lunch, and the reality is life will have to get a lot more expensive for you.

      If you do 10k miles/year, in a car that does about 50 mpg, then you buy about 200 (UK) gallons of fuel, costing about £5/gallon, of which about £3 is tax (it's slightly more, but whatever). So such a car pays £600/year to the Exchequer, plus VED, another £100/year or so. So each electric vehicle is avoiding roughly £700/year in tax. These are rough figures, but you get the broad idea.

      That money is needed, both for the road network but also for everything else it subsidises, like the NHS, schools, HS2, Trident replacement, and bungs for the DUP. Since it would be politically difficult to stick the cost on electricity directly, expect an electric vehicle tax of at least £500/year by 2030. How does that make your calculations on upkeep look?

  8. Arisia

    Even our government is years ahead of this lot

    Wow impressively bleedin' obvious research. Equally bleedin' obvious solutions.

    As suggested by our government. In 2011! https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/3986/plug-in-vehicle-infrastructure-strategy.pdf

    There are improved documents with more detail that are newer btw.

    Page 7:

    Recharging at home

    Recharging at home, at night, off-peak, is not only most convenient for drivers, but also maximises the environmental and economic benefits of plug-in vehicles by using cheaper, lower carbon night-time electricity generation. It also makes the best use of available electricity network capacity. To help people charge at home as easily as possible, the Government is:

    • ensuring that smart metering in Great Britain includes the functionality to support smart charging of plug-in vehicles. This will allow recharging to react to price signals, ensuring that it can happen when it is cheapest for consumers and the energy system, subject to appropriate technology in the chargepoint or plug-in vehicle;

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Even our government is years ahead of this lot

      To help people charge at home as easily as possible, the Government is:

      Ignoring the laws of physics?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Even our government is years ahead of this lot

        Since when did the laws of physics apply to the gubmint?

    2. davefiddes

      Re: Even our government is years ahead of this lot

      Well said. There is a spectacular amount of misinformation in thse comments.

      PodPoint sell load shedding intelligent chargers today. Studies were carried out years ago into the localised effect of lots of EVs charging at once (10 nissan leafs in a cul-de-sac with a shared transformer). There was a small problem with excess demand but it was less than forecast and fixed totally by mildly intelligent charging.

      Widespread adoption of EVs is unlikely to cause many problems in the UK according to the National Grids analysis. It's their job to look years into the future...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm not going to be causing this problem

    I've no power points anywhere near where my car is parked, and I'm lucky. I have a car park space.

    Where I used to lived, you were lucky if you could park on the same street as your house.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: I'm not going to be causing this problem

      Here's a thought. Don't buy an electric car.

      1. ZanzibarRastapopulous

        Re: I'm not going to be causing this problem

        > Here's a thought. Don't buy an electric car.

        Yeah, electric cars are for rich people, that's why they have all the tax breaks.

  10. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Coat

    Solution seems simple...

    We need to build our electric cars with giant sails made of photovoltaic cells. They can recharge as they cruise.

    We need a separate fix for places with no sun. *cough * Scotland *cough *

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Solution seems simple...

      We need a separate fix for places with no sun. *cough * Scotland *cough *

      Rainwater tanks on the roof for local hydro generation? Luxury models could use regenerative braking to pump water back up...

      1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

        Re: Phil

        Or we could build massive Holland-style windmills on the roof and harness the wind energy...

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Phil

          "Or we could build massive Holland-style windmills on the roof and harness the wind energy."

          Right now the domestic hydro generation seems the best bet. I wonder if I could source some little turbines to fit on the down-pipes.

  11. Adam 1 Silver badge

    problem is real but pretty easily solvable

    Yes, a lot of people will get home at 6pm and plug in their EVs for the night. Yes, if those chargers start pumping as much energy as possible into the EV battery packs during the evening peak, the distribution networks are going to be seriously tested.

    But who said that all these future EVs need dumb charging? The chargers themselves could have a 3G connection that negotiated charging times and rates with the grid operator in exchange for a small discounted rate during those times. You could have a website where you could for a nominal fee reserve immediate charging time slots if there was a reason you needed a quick top up at volume 11. Better still, auction off those slots to the highest bidder and earmark all profits t from those auctions to distribution network improvements. Finally, incentivise EV owners to let the grid take back a certain number of KWhr over a particular portions of time for grid stability services. For example, let's use some numbers. Assume a 50KWhr battery pack. If you could be paid by the grid for giving back the top 5KWhr (so your available capacity was guaranteed to be at least 45KWhr). They could for example credit 10KWHr free electricity for those 5 you gave back when the grid was struggling.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: problem is real but pretty easily solvable

      Or, I can go the the filling station & tank up in the time it takes to clean my windows and lights & check the oil, water and air. Seems cleaner somehow.

      1. James Hughes 1

        Re: problem is real but pretty easily solvable

        @Jake. Feel free to continue polluting the world until you die coughing, or my children do. Electric is the future, you might not like it, but to get this planet back on the road to long term climate stability, something needs to change. Going electric is one way of doing it, it's going to be a long process, and people like you won't like it. But I guess once the electric vehicles start out performing petrol and diesel across the board, even the most hardened petrol head (and I am one - used to race cars, children race karts) will finally have to admit defeat.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: problem is real but pretty easily solvable

          " Feel free to continue polluting the world until you die coughing, or my children do."

          BS. Modern car doesn't produce anything which is permanently polluting. Hasn't done so for a long time, since lead was removed.

          " Electric is the future, you might not like it, but to get this planet back on the road to long term climate stability,"

          Climate isn't stable. It never has been and never will be. Where do you think ice ages came from? And why they went away? (There has been several.)

          It's called 'climate change' now because warming has stopped and it's actually cooling and 'global warming' doesn't fit anymore: It's not global and it's not warming either, thus a political need to invent something else.

          It means that whole CO2-hysteria and everything related to CO2 is just political BS, invented from one totally flawed "reseach" by IPCC for basis of taxation/regulation power. Nothing more, nothing less.

          CO2 isn't even strong greenhouse gas, but very weak. Water vapour is strong greenhouse gas (and there's a lot of it) but no-one counts it as it doesn't fit in to political goals.

          That research was proven wrong in early 2000 but the politics based on that research still goes strong because of hundreds of billions of tax money. It's as simple as that.

          Opposition is either bought or fired, thus 'non-academic'. EU alone used 5 billion for 'climate reseach': That's a million per researcher and you get the results you pay for. Always.

          In short: Hockey stick curve was BS from the start but the politics solely based on it still exist. Why?

          Money and power. There's the real motivation for lying.

          1. strum Silver badge

            Re: problem is real but pretty easily solvable

            >It's called 'climate change' now because warming has stopped and it's actually cooling and 'global warming' doesn't fit anymore: It's not global and it's not warming either, thus a political need to invent something else.

            Those lies won't ever fix anything. Even the most ardent anti-Earth campaigners have stopped claiming that it's cooling, really.

            Climate change is real, it is predominantly human-made and, unless swiftly reversed, will leave our descendants cursing us.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: problem is real but pretty easily solvable

              " Even the most ardent anti-Earth campaigners have stopped claiming that it's cooling, really."

              Ach, a believer. Nice. I see I have to start from bottom.

              Science is based on non-belief. Either you know or you don't know and none of believers need to know, belief is enough. They also try to convert others to belief, it's important to them: Facts just are, no-one tries to feed them to you. That's problem nr 1: Way too much propaganda without facts.

              Also calling the basis of science, scepticism, "anti-Earth" just reveals the religious status of claims. Burden of proof is on anyone who claims that CO2 alone is warming Earth. So far there's no hard evidence on that. That's problem number 2.

              Also no, they haven't yet started to do so and that's different. Change of course is real, climate isn't constant, never has been. Global average is also cyclic, has been so far and no doubt will be in the future too. About 70 year cycle is just too long for average man to realize.

              I'm old enough to remember when UN (now known as IPCC) predicted in late 70s new ice age by 2015 "if cooling doesn't stop". Well, cooling stopped.

              Because of CO2? No proof of that. Then why? Most probably the Sun but that's non-canon and doesn't fit into beliefs so not accepted. Problem number 3.

              Also "global warming" which happened to use coldest year in last century as a 'normal temperature'. and reference point. Smells very bad from the beginning and not an iota of science involved. Also now re-written as 'not coldest'. Nice, but still Problem(TM) nr. 4.

              Only thing that's actually is rising, is the difference between announced global average and reality. NASA got caught on 'correction factor' added to all measurements and did they stop when they got caught? No, they increased the correction factor again. And again. Nice.

              NASA alone provides more than 50% of all measurements used by IPCC, not much 'correction' is needed. Like +1C every year. Problem nr. 5 here.

              Also, if you haven't noticed IPCC forecasts +0,6C _in next 100 years_. Not average per year but cumulative total. Every time someone predicts a chaotic system to 100 years ahead, they are not guessing, they are lying. And politicians, in this case. That alone is Problem(TM) nr 6.

              But anyway, if that's your definition of 'warming', you may keep it. I call it 'no change' and as climate isn't and won't be constant, that in practise means cooling.

              By IPCC, not me or you. IPCC is a political organization, not science. But conviniently, with new term of 'climate change' cooling is also because of CO2 and CO2-taxes will stay. You can bet on that.

              Also, correlation between CO2 alone and announced global temperature is basically not more than a guess, so I'm wondering why anyone would believe, not only CO2-based warming, but also man-made warming, while totally ignoring the Sun, water vapour and methane. Problems 7, 8 and 9.

              The Sun, yes.

              Anyone knowing thermodynamics knows that a solid in vacuum tends to warm when you increase the heating power. The Sun had directly measured 2% increase in power about 2000-something and IPCC says 'doesn't have any effect' like a politician would say. Absolute bonkers.

              That power surge btw. ended few years ago, therefore cooling is inevitable. 2% btw. means ~6C. That's a lot.

              Too many things totally ignored and too convinient excuses from politicians: That's not science by any realistic measurements, it's politics.

              Anecdote time: Here in North we had a warm period, about that time, 2000-something: +30C in summer and dead grass. That time came and went: Now it's barely +15C in summer, 4th summer in a row. Is that the thing you call 'climate change'? Grass doesn't care about weather so that argument is void.

              And people in US have snow everywhere. Call it warming if you want, but I'm still the sceptic who says it's politics, not a scientific fact. Not even science really: Research is not science, it's just reseach. Problem nr 10.

              Science answers to questions like 'why' and 'how', _based on proven theory_. Which climatologists don't have: Numerical model is not a theory, it's not even hypothesis, it's a curve fitting problem. So they've no idea, literally. And we have a problem nr 11.

              IPCC nor anyone else haven't proven anything so far, not even a good hypothesis exists. Even Darwin had more proof for his theories than IPCC. Despite being one man and IPCC has budget in billions (when local government spending is also counted).

              Also what I do? I have these K-joints in steel beams and I break them to see if the theory fits the practise and what is the error margin. After first 50 we can say that theory possibly is correct. Not my theory and I can just reject it by results not fitting in the theory: I can't prove it.

              Compare that to total guessing of climatology as a whole is and I'll say none of them _know_. A lot of guessing, results not fitting into explanations and hand waving instead. And politics, of course: Money and power.

              That's the motivation of IPCC and any government: Money and power.

              Have you any idea how many billions have been collected so far as CO2-related taxes? And you believe there's actual science behind that? Why would it be needed, any sheeple believes just because authority says so. It's simple like that. Also Problem(TM) nr. 12.

              Any reason to collect more taxes are good reasons for government. That reason being factual is totally irrelevant, it's enough that some people believe it. Like you do. I hope you are getting paid for it like priests usually are.

              I'll start to believe once we have qualified (by actual scientists, not 'researchers') answers to all 12 problems.

              Otherwise thanks, I had a reason to write down the actual scientific problems whole idea has. I didn't remember that there were so many.

              And summary: Change is real (of course it is, it always is, also when cooling) but temperature correlation to CO2 is non-existent, hockey stick curve is and was BS from the start and too much political money to make anything believable. Either you spew propaganda like the others or get fired. Proper science is never possible in poisoned environment like that.

          2. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Re: problem is real but pretty easily solvable

            In short: Hockey stick curve was BS from the start but the politics solely based on it still exist. Why?

            Perhaps because it really, really isn't BS?

            M.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: problem is real but pretty easily solvable

          will finally have to admit defeat.

          It's not a question of victory or defeat. People aren't saying they don't want this, they're saying that it won't work.

      2. strum Silver badge

        Re: problem is real but pretty easily solvable

        >Seems cleaner somehow.

        Seems really old-fashioned.

        At the heart of this, we have blokes (and it is almost entirely blokes) who just don't want the world to change. At all. Doesn't matter that the economics/technology of the 50s (on which most of our transport infrastructure is based) is a long, long time ago - we want to keep on doing the same things, over and over again, no matter how dumb they are.

        Your grandchildren will laugh at you (if they aren't pissing on your graves).

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          Re: problem is real but pretty easily solvable

          "At the heart of this, we have blokes (and it is almost entirely blokes) who just don't want the world to change."

          No, most of the commentards here are pointing out that we don't have the infrastructure to support a massive EV fleet and unless the cost of that, and the tax "benefit" governments currently reap from car use are addressed, the current advantages of EVs are moot and optimism unfounded.

          Yes, they produce little pollution at point of use (ignoring dust from break & tyre ware)

          No, they are not 100% green due to the (1) the manufacturing costs and impact of the battery technology used, and (2) because practically no where is fully renewable (without biomass use, obviously) so some pollution is generated elsewhere.

          Also the cost - for now EV users are getting big subsidies to promote this, sooner or later that will have to change and EV costs will be higher than current IC figure.

          Will we eventually be electric? Probably, but most likely we will have to give up on the idea of everyone having an EV car of their own due to the charging problems (grid capacity, location of charges in areas of terraced houses, etc). Most likely the future will be EV autonomous taxis.

    2. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: problem is real but pretty easily solvable

      Great. And if the grid is busy one night, I can't drive to work in the morning.

      And, "auction off those slots to the highest bidder and earmark all profits from those auctions to distribution network improvements". Did you keep a straight face with that one?

      1. Adam 1 Silver badge

        Re: problem is real but pretty easily solvable

        > Great. And if the grid is busy one night, I can't drive to work in the morning.

        I really don't think you have thought that argument through. If you are plugging in every night, then you are "topping up" only, not doing a full charge. Average km/years in Australia is 15-20K, call it 50Km/day. That's going to be in the ballpark of 10-15KWhr between plugin and unplug. If you charged that evenly from 6pm through 6am, that is going to be an average draw of 1KW, or about the same as a fan heater on low. Still sounds scary? Didn't think so.

        Grids are provisioned to deliver the maximum expected draw, not a typical draw. Due to a regulation failure here, distributers were able to get a guaranteed profit simply by showing they had invested in the polls and wires. The more they spent, the more profit, so of course they carried out upgrades with the slimmest of justifications. This was largely responsible for a doubling of power bills over a 5 year period. So what's that to do with my point? Glad you asked. The figures published to justify the need for this gold plating showed that it was literally needed for 20 hours a year. (Blame air conditioning during the 47°C day we had a few weeks back for a large number of those hours). A typical nightly load does not stretch the distribution networks, certainly nothing happening at 2am comes close. You are never going to be without a full top up over that 12 hour period.

        In fact, it is beneficial to the grid to have these 5KWhr power reserves sitting on every other house. It reduces the load on the generator to local grid connections where many of these bottlenecks are.

        > And, "auction off those slots to the highest bidder and earmark all profits from those auctions to distribution network improvements". Did you keep a straight face with that one?

        We already have auctions for base load, backup, frequency stabilisation, and load shedding, and already have buy backs for PV panel surpluses. Retailers already need to bid for this capacity. It really is just another two markets for emergency load shedding and buy back. Hardly impossible. Or are you pointing out the lack of foresight held by our Muppets-in-charge? You are sadly probably right that they will want a cut. I hope they can see that taking a cut of such slots will result in higher electricity prices and leave consumers worse off than if it was just a direct tax of whatever amount (the difference in that money go round is the lining of the pockets of the generators). By earmarking the proceeds, you eventually kill the need for that market and drive the costs down to an optimal equilibrium.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: problem is real but pretty easily solvable

      "Better still, auction off those slots to the highest bidder and earmark all profits t from those auctions to distribution network improvements."

      Wrong order. You need to make the improvements first.

      1. Adam 1 Silver badge

        Re: problem is real but pretty easily solvable

        > Wrong order. You need to make the improvements first.

        No, you need to do both at the same time. It isn't like one week we'll all toss away our ICE vehicles and start charging our EVs. It will be a decade+ before "most" new cars are EVs (or PHEVs). It's then another 5 years+ until most families have one.

        Auctioning off slots just allows the distribution networks to optimise their loads. People can downvote me all they want, but I have shown my math. There is never going to be a night where the grid cannot top up every EV because across a 12 hour window, the draw during these times is relatively insignificant compared to peak times. The only reason you need to bid for a slot is if you need to leave again with a full charge before the 12 hours. You need to upgrade distribution networks for that. The amount you spend depends on how many people need it.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: problem is real but pretty easily solvable

      "But who said that all these future EVs need dumb charging?"

      The cars don't need, the users need to charge when they need the car. Nothing will change that.

  12. unwarranted triumphalism

    This is exactly why they should be banned. The impact on other peoples' lives will be unacceptable if the grid collapses under the massive load drawn by EVs.

    1. James 51 Silver badge

      The grid infrastructure needs updating in most western countries. Why not just updated it to something that can handle the needs of customers rather than the wants of the suppliers?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Commie

        You are a commie, as you suggest that we should care about the common good and not the benefits of the companies that keep using systems designed in the 70s.

        1. James 51 Silver badge

          Re: Commie

          Why post as AC? You can't use the troll or joke alert icon.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "The grid infrastructure needs updating in most western countries."

        Grids are continually getting updated, partly to replace end-of-life components and partly to add extra capacity. The cost of that is built into existing electricity pricing.

        However adding even more capacity to replace a pre-existing system (liquid fuel distribution) over a relatively short term adds costs entirely outside that built into existing pricing. Could that be recovered from the scrap value of the system being replaced?

  13. Flywheel Silver badge

    Wireless charging pads

    problem arises when motorists gathered in a geographic area began buying these vehicles and plugging them in to recharge upon returning home

    Yes, and if our street is anything to go by, most of the residents will arrive home within the same hour and presumably expect to be able to charge up.

    Another option would be for forward-thinking Local Authorities (do they exist?) to monitor traffic flow and density against time of day, and put big wireless charging pads in the road. This would enable traffic hot-spots to be useful in that they could charge vehicles stuck in the rush hour and on arrival home would only then a short boost of charge. Or maybe not. Most of the M25 could become a giant charging pad!!

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Wireless charging pads

      This would enable traffic hot-spots to be useful in that they could charge vehicles stuck in the rush hour

      I see it now.

      "But minister, if we add another lane to the M6 it will enable traffic to flow more freely, and so people will not be able to charge their cars when stuck in the jams. Then when they get home and plug in, the overload will cause blackouts. No, I'm sorry, but we have to reduce the number of lanes in order to keep the lights on."

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Wireless charging pads

      "Or maybe not. Most of the M25 could become a giant charging pad!!"

      EV's are great for sitting in tailbacks. They don't consume much power if you aren't moving.

      Any sort of infrastructure that is built into a motorway is likely to need frequent maintenance and replacement. The M25 can be bad enough without having to shut parts of it down every night to work on inductive charging units.

  14. JBFromOZ

    because of course, there is no way to charge a vehicle at the other end of the trip..

    logicfail101

    1. jake Silver badge

      But JBFromOZ ...

      ... there very often isn't such a thing as a way to recharge the vehicle "at the other end". Sometimes, it's more efficient to gang multiple "other ends" in one trip. National park, beach, ballpark, the theater, restaurant, grocery store, the airport, the mall ... need I go on? I hit one of each of those over about 11 hours last Saturday. I put nearly 450 miles on my car. This is NORMAL around here.

      And besides, who at the other end pays for the recharge?

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "because of course, there is no way to charge a vehicle at the other end of the trip."

      Could you provide a fully worked example of how a car park with, say, 100 spaces in it could be adapted to provide a charging point for each space, with a connection to the grid for, say 2/3 of them to be charging at any one time?

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "Could you provide a fully worked example of how a car park with, say, 100 spaces in it could be adapted to provide a charging point for each space, with a connection to the grid for, say 2/3 of them to be charging at any one time?"

        Not all of the spaces would need to have the option of charging. The other thing is to offer the lowest level of charging so the greatest number of cars can charge at once and put the charging spaces to the rear of the lot so they don't get "ICEd" as frequently.

        I don't always need to put petrol in my car and when I have an EV, I won't always "need" to charge it. If I can get a few free electrons while shopping, that's a bonus, but I am more likely to have been charging at home and in good shape for having enough range.

        For a multi-level car park or paid parking, you could be asked to pay more for a charing space, a bit more than that for a higher level charging spot or the minimum for a space with no charging. Your choice.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Holmes

    I think it's even worse though...

    Obvious indeed but it's even worse than this though: in most modern cities the whole grid would be overloaded as soon as a majority tries to charge their cars. Because no one seems to bother themselves with the most important question of them all: where is all that electricity coming from?

    Also: how is all that electricity getting generated?

    And this is also the main gripe I have with all those allegedly "clean" ways of energy consumption and the way it's often being executed. Generally speaking it's approached as an "all or nothing" but that usually leaves out some very important details. Take wind energy. An interesting concept for sure but it takes a lot of windmills to even come close to what a regular power station can produce. Another bothering problem is: "What if there's no wind?". When the wind goes out then people usually prefer to continue consuming energy. Ergo: there has to be a backup in place. For every windmill park you have to get a solid backup, which is usually provided through "regular" energy sources. And that's the part of the story people would rather leave out of the story.

    Just like the involved costs to actually get access to these alternative energy sources. Generally speaking it costs more than you get out of it. Now, I'm not saying that this should be a decisive factor perse (sometimes there are bigger concerns than money) but it also shouldn't be completely ignored either as its usually the case.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This:

    "notes that his study didn't include any potential “return to grid” from vehicles' batteries".

    How is that even going to work?

    I'm not charging *my EV then giving that "fuel" back into the grid, no bloody hopes. Once it's in my batteries, it stays there.

    Regenerative braking is fine but that energy is recovered locally, not dumped back into the grid for mw to have to retrieve and pay for again...

    *don't have one, wont have one. Utter con.

    1. mikeyw0

      Re: This:

      (facepalm)

      When you return energy from your car back to the grid you get PAID for doing so. You don't 'give' it back!!

      And the whole point is that you get paid more than it cost you to buy it in the first place. You charge up in the middle of the night when demand (and pricing) is low, and then your car returns some of that energy back to the grid during the 7pm peak for which you earn a much higher rate per kWh than you bought it for.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: This:

        "your car returns some of that energy back to the grid during the 7pm peak"

        At 7pm it's newly returned from a day's commuting. It doesn't have power to return to the grid. It needs charging.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This:

        "And the whole point is that you get paid more than it cost you to buy it in the first place."

        Yea, won't happen, ever. No matter how much people hope for that.

        We also have hard data on this, because of solar cells: When you sell electricity back to the grid you get back the actual price of it. You still pay transfer costs for it and you don't get taxes back.

        Here in North we pay about 5c/kWh to the manufacturer and another 5c/kWh for taxes and transfer.

        You'll get back that first 5c/kWh, but no more. So no, selling electricity back is never generating profit to you: Power company has already taken care of that.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This: @Mikey0

        Eh? Surely when the batteries are full, the charger will turn off, therefore there wont be an excess to return to the grid!

        Facepalm touché.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: This:

      When there is a large number of EVs connected and the V2G technology is implemented, you get paid (or credited) more to put power back on the grid and will also be allowed to set how much you will allow. If you have a big trip planned to begin the next morning, you may want to set your V2G allowance to zero. The estimates right now are that no one car will need to put more than 1% of its charge back on the grid to make the system work.

  17. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

    Street of terraced houses in UK...

    Where are all the charging points?

    1. In the streetlamps? - Only four down one side of our road - and the cables to the cars (see later)

    2. buried in the road? - good luck with that after VM's mess of cable installs. What happens if some b???end parks slightly off one wireless point? Everyone else is off as well and no-one charges..

    3. cables from houses to your car - excellent -look forward to everyone tripping over those at night - I did as some idiot ran his cable along the pavement to his BMW i3, not to mention those with poor eyesight/mobility

    4. what happens if you simply cannot park near your house to charge - either due to parking density or road unsuitable? My house faces onto dual carriageway by-pass for town centre+railway line. I already walk 200ft to the *nearest* parking area.

    The whole charging scenario for EVs is poorly thought out for UK and seems to be based entirely on suburbs with everyone having a drive for two cars/personal parking space outside your house

    And don't get me started on range. How about 30mile commute to then from Liverpool in winter with obligatory 2 hour wait in accident induced traffic jam on the M6 thrown in on occasion...

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: Street of terraced houses in UK...

      As long as you buy a self-drive EV it can drive itself to a charge point and be back in time for when you need it.

      Other fantasy scenarios are available.

  18. SPiT

    Total Load

    I'm more concerned about the total load in 20 years time when we are all (most) supposed to have switched. If my family switched to all electric vehicles then our annual electricity consumption would roughly double. This is a severe threat to all of the electricity delivery infrastructure and hence needs major national development of the entire network as well as the power stations. If on a national basis we can move to EVs and manage recharging to strictly off-peak to even out demand this could all work quite while but that would be a huge undertaking.

    On a more local basis my house has a single 60 amp feed and it would be unreasonable to ever run anything more than a single 7Kw charger off that which would be a major issue for multi-vehicle families who want to charge everything over-night.

    We are a long, long way from a viable solution but it is possible to identify all the problems and start considering what should be done. The biggest issue is that this isn't really happening.

  19. Bangem
    Facepalm

    everybody chill...

    If there is an increase in load overnight we can just burn more fossil fuels at the power stations.

    Problem solved!

  20. mikeyw0

    But EV owners charge their cars overnight when electricity is cheap, and because it's useful to delay the heating effect of charging the battery until shortly before you set off on your morning commute.

    Yes there would be an issue IF all EV owners plugged in and charged at 7pm but they don't do that.

    The end.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "But EV owners charge their cars overnight when electricity is cheap"

      Replace all ICE cars by EVs.

      1. Overnight electricity won't be cheap.

      2. The VED which EVs are currently avoiding would be ramped up to replace the taxation on fuel which EVs are also currently avoiding.

  21. Anonymal coward

    EV manufacturing costs

    One of the things that bothers me about the whole EV question is that the manufacturing costs of EVs tend to be ignored by the Green side of things. An EV takes comparatively huge amounts of rare earths for its electronics etc. by comparison with an older ICE car, substances that are difficult to extract cheaply and which pose a question for recovery. I appreciate that the retail prices of Teslas et al are an indicator but I doubt that they show the whole cost. Although I would be classed as a 'petrolhead' within this thread, I wonder if we are really comparing like costs with like costs when I run an antique petrol hatch-back against, say, a Tesla?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: EV manufacturing costs

      I haven't found an unbiased view on this, but from what I've read rare earths involved in the electronics on a Model S, is actually not that much more than is found in an ICE car. I can't find the article at the moment, but it's basically a couple of laptops worth. As more ICE vehicles are now playing catch up and having GSM/4G connectivty and SatNav, they are now coming towards the same values. As always for some daft reason everything Green and ECO is measured in co2, which the tesla is "co2 neutral" in 3 years (due to some electricity apparently having no co2.). Again I'm always sceptical of some of these claims, but it makes a lot of sense, from a pure electronics viewpoint that Electric cars, aren't much worse, because ICE vehicles are now having to do away with crappy plastic buttons and go touch screen and appleplay or android car or whatever it's called. I do remember that the electric motors have neodignium (or some such thing spelt correctly) which is rare earth. Cobalt (in the battery is a bitch to mine, and the miners employee child labour. (Although tesla say they refuse to buy from those mines).

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: EV manufacturing costs

      It is not the "rare earths" in electronics or big DC/brushless motors that is the non-green aspect for EV, it is the old Devil himself - the battery.

      Range issues, pollution on manufacture, recycle issues, risk of fire/explosion on crash - all come down to battery design. Yes it is getting better with time but it is NOT like the "Moore's law" expectations most have for electronics etc. Probably this will improve, but every year or two we hear of breakthrough technology that apparently came to nothing (most likely engineering issues, I don't believe in the "big oil" hiding it conspiracy theory).

  22. Pink Duck

    Green winner for me

    I recently switched from OvoEnergy who want £60/year more for 100% renewable electricity to Bulb, a 100% renewable electricity offering with 10% biomass. Rather good bonus of £50 each for referrals and they're even paying the exit fees. Obligatory referral link.

    I'll be scheduling my EV to charge from 01:30 to 08:00 and though there's nothing too evident in the UK grid graphs yet, there is a noticeable mini-peak between 00:00 and 01:30 for the Economy-7 users.

  23. Chronos Silver badge
    FAIL

    his study didn't include any potential “return to grid” from vehicles' batteries.

    Won't happen. Anyone who has the slightest knowledge of efficiency will turn that "feature" off. If it can't be switched off, assuming EVs ever become viable at all given all the other massive elephants in that particular room, then someone somewhere is planning on doing brown-out load-balancing with your money while saving short-to-medium term infrastructure cash.

    Which is basically the definition of a politician these days.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Record Downvotes?

    This sort of article has really divided the Yes and No Camps. The sheer number of downvotes is really surprising.

    Let's hope that the debate at the El Reg Seminar next week is as lively.

    TBH, some of the old and well debunked arguments brought up today are astounding. They are strangely similar to the anti Renewable Energy fake news posts put out by the Trump puppets in DC.

    Oh well, the anti renewable propaganda seems to be working then...

    The days of Fossil Fuels are numbered. Even our thick Government has signalled this move. People need to accept that the days of Petrolhads like Jeremy 'it is all about me' Clarkson are also numbered.

    1. bigtimehustler

      Re: Record Downvotes?

      You think? Money will always buy a petrol car if you have 100 grand to splash on one. There will always be enough petrol because most people won't be using it and the government won't be too bothered as it won't include too many people.

      It will only be the poor that are forced to do a certain thing, as always.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Record Downvotes?

      "TBH, some of the old and well debunked arguments brought up today are astounding."

      It's easy to 'debunk' anything if you already are believing otherwise.

      For a sceptic that's much harder and so-called debunkings are just opinions. Everyone has those.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Record Downvotes?

      "The days of Fossil Fuels are numbered."

      Really? How many days, then?

      Oh, we'll eventually run out of them but no-one can say when. And that means the days aren't numbered yet.

      Also: Anyone believing politician committing a political suicide of trying to ban fossil fuels is a bit dumb.

      That's all talk. As usual.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Record Downvotes?

        "Also: Anyone believing politician committing a political suicide of trying to ban fossil fuels is a bit dumb.'

        So, what's your point? Politician's aren't the sharpest tools in the shed. The emphasis is on "tool" when it comes to describing politicians.

        I do a agree that an outright ban would be a tough thing to pass in most cases. Not a big thing in the EU, though, since those bu&&ers aren't directly elected to that body and aren't accountable to a particular constituency. Some people will continue to need a petrol or diesel vehicle. Farmers really do use trucks and 4wd's for their stated purpose and not just as posermobiles.

  25. Electricity_Guy

    The simple solution...

    A simple solution is to have EV charger owners have a separate electricity meter that has a variable tariff that charges more at peak EV charging time, users then have the choice of when they charge their vehicles.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The simple solution...

      But if the cost difference is sufficiently large, as it would have to be, people will just buy knock-off charger adaptors on eBay and bodge them into the main circuit panel to use the cheap electricity instead. Look at the effort that goes into stripping the dye from red diesel, if there's money to be made people will cheat. Always.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The simple solution...

      Not only that, but also different price for compensting the tax losses from gasoline.

      That already happens with natural gas & gas powered cars here in North.

      Also using non-taxed gas is a serious crime.

  26. IanDs

    All the comments about the grid not having enough capacity and needing massive enlargement are just plain wrong -- the grid (and the generation behind it) has spare capacity almost all the time except at short power peaks, because if it didn't we'd get blackouts and power cuts all the time.

    During the night there is massive spare capacity which goes unused, and means generators have to be shut down and restarted which is not good for overall efficiency -- this is where the main energy for charging electric cars would come from. Yes people may get home and plug their car in at 7pm, but mostly they don't then care when it gets charged so long as it's done by the next morning, so they could use cheap overnight power. Yes there will be exceptions to this, and they may have to pay more for power. Yes the batteries of cars which are plugged in and charged can be used as a resource to feed power into the grid at peak demand times when prices will be higher, and then get recharged when prices are lower.

    People who can't park next to a charging station (e.g. at home) will be at a disadvantage until charging at the kerb is rolled out -- but this isn't a reason to say electric cars won't be widely adopted by those for whom they work.

    The simple fact is that petrol/diesel cars are cheap and convenient and quick to fill up and long range -- and also inefficient, polluting, and unsustainable as fossil fuels are phased out and renewable energy takes over, which we'd all better hope happens for the sake of the planet and our children.

    Whinging about how you don't want to give up your petrolhead habits will soon sound about as convincing as complaining because you're no longer allowed to inflict your smoking habits on other people inside cars and buildings.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      All the comments about the grid not having enough capacity and needing massive enlargement are just plain wrong -- the grid (and the generation behind it) has spare capacity almost all the time except at short power peaks, because if it didn't we'd get blackouts and power cuts all the time.

      Don't just guess based on "if", do the calculations.

      The UK grid has a generating capacity, flat out, of ~ 96GW so with 8760 hours in a year it could manage 840TWh if everything ran flat-out 24/7. Annual consumption is around 360TWh, so about 41% of that.

      The energy consumed by road transport is around 270TWh for cars, and an additional 150TWh for road haulage, so 470TWh in total. That'smore than current electricity use, and the total is almost exactly the absolute maximum grid generation capacity.

      There's no way the grid can run at 100% capacity 24/7, not least because demand isn't constant, nor is supply from things like solar and wind. Even without car charging the peak load can reach ~65GW. There is not "massive spare capacity".

      You're also ignoring the simple practicalities of charging. A tank of petrol or diesel holds a lot of energy. No matter what the battery technology is, putting that much energy into a battery in an acceptable time requires levels of current/voltage that are impractical in a domestic situation, and dangerous to handle without training (much more so than filing a tank with petrol).

      Yes, we need a replacement for fossil-fuelled ICE vehicles, but we need one that is more practical than batteries.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "he UK grid has a generating capacity, flat out, of ~ 96GW so with 8760 hours in a year it could manage 840TWh if everything ran flat-out 24/7. Annual consumption is around 360TWh, so about 41% of that."

        You haven't included a deduction for all of the power used in the refining process to make petrol and diesel. Just the electricity alone in one gallon of petrol will allow the Chevy Bolt to go 30 miles.

        I do acknowledge that petroleum fuels are one of the densest forms of energy storage. The downside is they are a finite resource and very dirty to obtain and use. Coal and natural gas aren't totally clean and there are issues with currently used reactor designs but, overall, the electrical grid has a much better chance of getting environmentally cleaner where petroleum fuels have a near zero percent chance. Right now, batteries are the best portable method available for storing and transporting power. People talk about Hydrogen, but it's horribly inefficient to produce and to achieve a large enough energy density for a portable application, it has to be put in tank pressurized to 700 bar.

        I can't see how a car charger would require training. It's not like it can spill from the end of the plug if you don't secure it properly or explode if you drive off with it still plugged into the car (EV's won't allow you to shift into drive with a cable plugged in). Most people will be using non-DC fast chargers for the bulk of their charging needs and people in city centers that have no place to charge won't be purchasing EV's. Relying on fast chargers is expensive and time consuming. If you don't find one available to just pull up and charge, you might be waiting 30 minutes for your turn. If there is already somebody waiting ahead of you, it could be over an hour. That's a distinct possibility in areas where most of the housing does not have private parking. Maybe that will lead to a gradual reduction in housing density. One can only hope.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ".. the grid (and the generation behind it) has spare capacity almost all the time except at short power peaks,"

      False logic. That spare is _still needed_, it doesn't exist just because it's 'spare'.

      When peak comes the grid will fail like a house of cards without that reserve.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wood Fired Autos

    Is it true that some British power stations are burning wood pellets instead of coal now?

    If so, neither sounds like a particularly environmentally electrical source.

    But coal would be my choice of the two. Trees regrow eventually, but in the meantime you've lost a carbon sink.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Wood Fired Autos

      The carbon in a tree has been captured from the atmosphere within the last 20-30 years, so it's a closed cycle that doesn't increase overall CO2 levels. Burning coal is releasing carbon that was trapped millenia ago, it's much less friendly.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wood Fired Autos

      "Trees regrow eventually, but in the meantime you've lost a carbon sink."

      Öhm .... where do you think the carbon in the tree came from?

      Burning trees is carbon neutral as long as you plant a new tree to replace the old one and you know what?

      It's a carbon sink the second you plant it, not after 50 years.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Wood Fired Autos

        I fire up my wood-powered[0] 1915 Case occasionally to plow my largest field. It's the only tractor I've got that can pull the 12 bottom in our alluvial soil. Invariably, some twat in a Prius pulls up & yells at me for polluting the air ... When I point out that'll I'll be done in a couple hours (instead of a couple days with the Kubota, burning diesel), and that the wood would be disposed of in a fire anyway, they tend to get all blustery and sweary ... As I said, twats.

        [0] She makes better power on coal[1], but have you SEEN coal prices? Wood's free[2] for the cutting!

        [1] According to an ancient belt-driven dyno, 70hp at the flywheel on coal but only 65 on wood ... Torque, on the other hand, is in the 1200 ft/lb range regardless of fuel.

        [2] Actually, I run on old scrap wood[3] ... Pre-heat the boiler with propane[4], then switch to wood. Even punky old fence posts burn quite nicely once she's got a good draft and a bed of coals going ... The only issue is I have to screen the ash for metal bits before I add it to the fields.

        [3] No, I don't burn the pressure treated stuff.

        [4] Custom insert, removed from the firebox once up to temp.

  28. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Facepalm

    1995 again

    The same deal happened when offices started using personal computers. A complete desktop computer system used 400 to 1500 watts around 1995. Office circuit breakers kept tripping, electrical closets overheated, and there was not nearly enough air conditioning to pump all that heat out. Local grids overloaded and there were regular blackouts. Power companies panicked at the idea of every home consuming another 1KW for a computer. (And this gave Enron a really bad idea for profit)

    People bought backup power supplies and the wires got upgraded. Desktop were made more power efficient. Happy ending.

  29. Terry 6 Silver badge

    As to night charging tarrifs

    We used to have a day/night electricity tariff for our home. When the kids were little it just about made sense. We saved money and used electricity at night when it was in surplus. But not for long. The problem being that the night cost was cheap, but the day time cost is significantly more than on a normal tariff. So much so that it overwhelms the night time savings. For the electricity companies encouraging more over-night use ought to be a good idea, but apparently they don't see it that way.

  30. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    As with phones...

    All that's required is 1) that the battery pack can typically last at least an entire day, 2) that they are typically parked for the night where there's electricity available in the wee hours, and 3) they can be fully recharged while not requiring more than several hours to do so. With these three, it's solved.

    Justification: People typically sleep at night. Their cars and phones can be recharged overnight.

    For cars (being such high power), they should be included on existing Time Of Day metering, so that the Power Company can shuffle them around as required to balance demand in various areas. That's already an existing technology.

    It needn't be 100%. It's "typically" (x2) because the minority exceptions don't add up to much.

    The upside of having so much battery capacity on the grid is going to be A very Good Thing. Assuming that the charger can also work the other way. Time to write some better standards for this stuff.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As with phones...

      Time to write some better standards for this stuff.

      I'd start by developing some new physics, you'll need that first.

  31. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    This is the same problem as the demands to move to energy supply provision that is all based on electricity. Currently, half of household energy consumption is via the gas mains, there is absolutely no way that can be swapped over onto the existing electricity mains on top of the existing electricity supply.

  32. Bawsnia2

    Hydrogen Economy

    Personally I think building an infrastructure around Electric vehicles is money down the drain. Obviously it is great for business to have a whole new blossoming market with lots of investment and government spending. The simple matter is that electric vehicles are inherently inefficient.

    The specific energy of lithium ion batteries is very poor, compared to petrol or diesel. Any benefit from the roughly 75% efficient electric motors, over the 45% efficient diesel engines is lost due to the specific energy difference of lithium ion batteries vs diesel.

    It is why a model s Tesla basically spends a lot of the electrical energy in the batteries carting around the 540KG of batteries. It is the same reason why drones have very limited flight times compared to petrol/gas powered model aircraft,

    Some solutions would be to accept the limitations and build your day around this. A lot of EV owners do this already. It isn't as much an issue if powered by 100% renewables. In fact arguably the only way you should use electric vehicles. Still an issue of rare earth materials and the supply chain to the renewable energy sector though. How many of SSE's vehicles are electric for instance.

    Smaller batteries and an induction charging system on the road networks may be a solution. Probably very expensive.

    Or...

    We could use the fuel with the best specific energy on the planet, in normal combustion engines. Hydrogen. in before what about the Hindenburg, what about Galaxy note 7 and hover boards. What about every youtube video of someone lighting a bonfire soaked in petrol.

    It is the most efficient fuel for a reason. It contains the most energy by mass. Granted safety vessel for storage and movement will need to be developed and will be.

    But where will the hydrogen come form? Well right now in the U.K we have to have wind turbines turned off as there is too much energy available than demanded by the grid. If that energy was diverted to electrolysis plants we would essentially be storing green electricity from wind in a very efficient and light to transport fuel. But if all the money is spent on putting in street chargers for all the tenement dwellers in Glasgow and 5 story converted warehouse dwellers in Shoreditch, it will never happen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hydrogen Economy

      If that energy was diverted to electrolysis plants

      I mostly agree, but would suggest a liquid end result like alcohol. Use the energy to fuse water & atmospheric CO₂ to make methanol or ethanol. Much less problematic to store than H₂ and can be transported with existing infrastructure.

    2. Farty Penguin

      Re: Hydrogen Economy

      As we all (presumably) know, a hydrogen car is just an electric car with the point of electrical generation brought more locally. So we're postulating here that local generation of electricity is more efficient than centrally generated, locally stored electricity. That feels counter-intuitive.

      Weight wise, it's about the same. Your hydrogen car has a battery (it locally manages the peaks and troughs caused by acceleration and braking) and a hydrogen tank. The combined weight of those (plus the means to generate electricity from the hydrogen) roughly equals out an equivalent BEV. Obviously technology will move on but given their fundamental components (battery and motor) are the same it's likely they will remain broadly comparable. Personally it feels to me like major advances in battery density seem more likely that major advances in hydrogen usage efficiency (given the maturity of those offerings) but that's personal opinion so lets assume weight isn't the issue.

      Note: The heaviest Tesla Model 3 weighs ~100kg LESS than the Toyta Mirai.

      So the argument isn't about weight.

      It might be around charging but for MOST people, honestly it isn't. You've got 10 to 12 hours to charge it in... IF you do your whole range every single day, IF you don't charge at work, IF you don't stop off somewhere with a charging point on the way home. In real life for MOST people MOST of the time they probably only need to charge it 2 or 3 times a week. Therefore plugging it in overnight every night (easy habit to get into) means that it has 10 to 12 hours of time to charge and only needs 1 or 2 at capacity or (as I do it) about 10 at a trickle charge.

      So therefore I suggest you get home and plugin. You tell the grid how much minimum capacity you want in your car for the morning (80% is what we mostly go for) and let the grid handle it. If it's quiet the grid might put you up to 85% and then when it's busy, draw on that 5% to supplement it's other demand. Millions and millions of 50 to 100kwh batteries to draw on are a hell of a thing to help balance demand. If you need 100% one day as you have a big trip you have to remember to tell the grid (probably via Alexa or Google Home - that already works) and if you forget then yes, you've got an extra stop at the services you might not have needed. You'll only do that once!

      Here's why that will work. If you do that, you pay 10p per kwh, if you choose to self manage your capacity, 12p per kwh. You only pay for the NETT of what you have more in your car than when you plugged in, any extra the grid puts in or takes away is invisible to you. The cost savings to the electricity generating companies of balancing the load are greater than any incentive they offer you of course so everyone is happy.

      If hydrogen is so amazing, use that instead of Coal, Gas and then Nuclear to centrally generate such energy. I just don't see how locally generating it would be more efficient (and I think that's been proven to be the case in another white paper).

      If you live in the outback of Australia and have 1000 mile journeys to do and are too impatient to wait for a BEV charge then you might have a good use case for a Mirai or similar. If the use case is there then there will be places you can top up hydrogen but I'd imagine you'll pay for it. Which is fine too, all us impatient folk pay more already and we accept it.

      If you live in a tower block or off street parking and if you have a daily commute from a tower block to a building that can't help you - that's a problem too. I'd imagine you won't be the first to adopt but I also imagine over the next 20 years or so solutions will present themselves. Nothing (apart from war) drives innovation like necessity driven demand after all!

      The National Grid published a paper recently saying they'd done the numbers and they weren't worried. No offence to anyone on this page but I trust them over you - they may even have had the same idea as me!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    They could put the vehicle car parking on the building roof and the management in the basement, (who ever wanted that view anyway) that would allow for charging their vehicles with solar on the vehicle roves.

    or perhaps just add solar to their tower roof top for the exec's lecky vehicles.

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