* Posts by Peter Richardson

11 posts • joined 2 Jul 2009

The STEALTH Plug-in Hybrid: Audi A3 e-tron Sportback

Peter Richardson

Re: What happens to the grid ...

I did say take it with a pinch of salt! :)

But I would say, be careful here - you're talking about aviation fuel, not petrol or diesel - different fractions of the refining process. I'm no expert, but my understanding is that aviation fuel is cheaper to make, therefore uses less energy refining. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

What (perhaps) could be more helpful is to see how much electricity is used for a whole barrel of crude and then break that down into the distilled fractions. TBH, I'm struggling to find that number and would love to see it if you have it.

Peter Richardson

Re: What happens to the grid ...

One of the things that happen when people switch to using electricity as a road fuel is that less electricity is used to refine oil into petrol and diesel.

I'm loathe to quote numbers here because this is a contentious issue, but some folks (possibly biased) claim that as much as 2 kWh of electricity is required to refine just 1 litre of fuel. You might want to take that with a pinch of salt, but clearly energy is used in the refining process, and that could be used to power EVs directly.

It may not solve the problem entirely, and it would be naive to suggest that an EV uses less electricity to travel distance X than the energy cost of refining oil for a diesel car to travel distance X (and some people do claim this - not me), but obviously there are savings to be had by not digging oil out of the ground (modern techniques can rely on energy heavy methods to extract the oil, e.g. fracking), transporting it to refineries, refining it into road fuel and transporting the end product to garages all over the country.

Peter Richardson

Sounds good...

...but I'm not sure I'd like to own one out of warranty. A plug-in Prius is not as quick and may be no more efficient (maybe), but one thing is for sure, this Audi is a complex beast. The Prius has no flywheel, no clutch, no real gearbox to speak of and no turbocharger. All of those items can break with four figure bills, and the DSG gearbox in particular can be an issue with VAG cars - although some versions do seem better than others.

I'd definitely have this Audi as a company car, but out of warranty as a second hand buy? Not with my money, thanks.

My HOUSE used to be a PUB: How to save the UK high street

Peter Richardson

With you on this

The thought also occurred to me a few years ago. The main obstruction to development and renaissance of town centres appears to be local councils. They are generally full of ancient career councillors who know very little except how to play local politics to keep themselves in their cushy job.

My own local council seems to think spending £1-2m quid every few years on laying a new surface on the high street will solve the problem. Strangely, it never does. Funnily enough, ridiculous parking charges don't help either.

They have now resorted to knocking down particularly unpopular or useless buildings to try and stimulate new development, only to find the developers lose interest very quickly when it becomes clear nobody will occupy the new shops, restaurants and other half baked ideas the council has, all firmly rooted in the past.

Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid: The plug-in for plutocrats

Peter Richardson

Re: Needs a boggler boggler noise..for stealth mode

I regularly drive the missus' Prius, and yes, when it's operating at low speed (stealth mode) you do find people stepping in front of you etc. Car parks and busy towns with narrow pavements are the worst spots for this.

You soon get used to it mind and start to develop a sixth sense and find yourself taking extra care in these scenarios. That actually isn't a bad thing, as I reckon many of us rely too much on engine noise to announce our presence and expect people to get out of our way? Perhaps it should be the other way round anyway?

So, what IS the worst film ever made?

Peter Richardson

The Quest

Jean-Claude Van Damme's lowest point, which is really saying something. Somehow Roger Moore got dragged in for the worst cameo appearance ever too.

RIP: Peak Oil - we won't be running out any time soon

Peter Richardson
Alert

The other elephant in the room

I can't believe that nobody has brought up good old Albie Bartlett yet:

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function"

Produce all the oil (substitute any other non-renewable resource here) you like - it will get used up and then it's gone. The faster we produce it, the quicker it goes. We need to find ways to get off this planet ASAP, as Stephen Hawking has sagely observed. Or at the very least, look for means of bringing energy and raw materials out from the cosmos back onto Earth in a economically viable fashion, here looking towards a space elevator concept perhaps?

Satnav blunders blamed for £200m damages

Peter Richardson

Re: Re: Maps

"Then I go there with all that in my head, the printed reminders, and an AA map in the seat pocket. It works well enough 70-80% of the time."

Exactly what I do too. I found four problems with sat-navs: not all locations on are them, particularly if you don't have a postcode for something, it can take minutes to get a signal, they are poor at getting you to specific locations in the countryside, where postcodes cover large areas and they reduce your own ability to navigate, thus leaving you utterly inept if a sat-nav isn't handy at all times.

I found using sat-navs regularly left me dependent on them as I couldn't learn new routes easily. So when ours broke and we couldn't afford to replace it straight away, I was lost... Now, using a combination of maps, street view and road signs I can get almost anywhere without any fuss at all. I spend about 4-5 minutes studying my route, about as long as it takes to find, plug in, program and wait for a signal on a typical sat nav...

I may be lucky though, I appreciate this is a skill that varies from person to person. Some folk could look at a map all day and not make any sense of it at all.

OTOH, in a busy city that I don't know, having a sat-nav in glove box is a handy back up!

Teen net addicts pee in bottles to stay glued to WoW

Peter Richardson

Pee bottles in the office?

Errm, no. These kids will be too busy playing WoW to be bothered with trifle inconveniences (oops) like working. Not that they can get a job anyway...

Record numbers of readers flock to The Register

Peter Richardson

re: Huge jump in US readership?

Yep, that's me too. Very much in the UK, but all my internet traffic at work goes via a proxy in the US.

How I enjoy getting adverts on the BBC news site! I did get to see Google's logo blacked out yesterday, made my little day, such as it is.

Porsche bites back at e-car proponents

Peter Richardson
Thumb Down

Let's see now...

"beyond saying that it’s looking at standard and “extended range” battery packs."

Standard - gets you to the corner shop?

Extended - gets you back home again?

Can't wait, fastest way to buy a load of bread ever seen. Bugger all use to get anywhere else I expect.

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