Electric Cars - Saviours of our environment or just another fad?

Don Atkinson posted:

What sort of engines are being developed by RR, P&W, GE etc for attachment to Boeing, Airbus, etc

 

It's not going to be electric any time soon. Mass is prohibitively expensive in aviation. The energy density of kerosene if far better than even the best batteries.

Kevin Richardson posted:

What ever happened to fuel cell cars? About 15 years ago there was a lot of talk about this technology ultimately replacing internal combustion engines.

They have their proponents. The "fuel cell" isn't the engine but an energy conversion step. The fuel, hydrogen, is combined with oxygen in the fuel cell to produce electricity. This drives electric motors just like a battery-powered vehicle. Problem is that the there is virtually no infrastructure for refuelling, and the production the hydrogen is costly and GHG intensive. Transportation and storage also presents significant risk. The only advantage over battery cars is quick refuelling (and slightly higher range for the time being). But my money is on battery swapping as a means to achieve "fast refuelling". Currently there is little demand for this as battery vehicle range is now adequate for 95% of daily driving needs (and increasing).

Don Atkinson posted:
winkyincanada posted:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news...y-senior-merkel-aide

I remain baffled by the inability of the mainstream makers (and Don) to see the game-changer that electric vehicles represents.

From the subsequent posts it seems it's not just me (and the mainstream makers) who are baffling you, winky.

Now my plan to stay over in Chilliwack was changed. So today I wound up leaving Vernon at 07:00 and driving to Vancouver 450 km away for my 12:00 meeting. No problem in the CRV. A quick 15 min stop at Hope to stretch the legs and top-up the fuel to make sure I avoid the pricey stuff in Vancouver. It would need about 50 to 100 recharge points to service the cars I saw, with people spending 45 mins rather than 15. Park in the Sutton Place underground and note there are TWO electric recharge points. If they weren't occupied I guess I could have recharged an electric vehicle, but they were occupied when I arrived. But TWO chargers.......they need more like 102.......  and a 500 km range for a 450 km journey is pushing your luck IMHO.

Meeting over and on my way out of town by 14:30 with another 15 min stop at Hope and back in Vernon in time for supper by 19:30.

Tomorrow, about 600 km to Canmore.

Now I don't do journeys like these too often. So, do I hire  a petrol vehicle for these "special" occasions or do I need two cars, one for the local journeys and the other in reserve for the big ones.

Nah, I'll stick with the CRV for the time being.

Will BC Hydro be able to cope if we all changed to all-electric cars ? Or would they need to import French/Chinese nuclear stations ?

 

Forget the CRV - get a big truck! F350 ... Harley version ��

Fun fact. Tesla sent out a software upgrade to certain of its owners impacted by Hurricane Irma. Turns out when you buy one of the lessor Model S Teslas, in this case a 65 instead of 100, you get the same battery but the battery is software controlled to the lower range. Owners know that they can upgrade to the higher range at anytime by purchasing the extended range. In the case of Irma, Tesla sent out temporary code allowing the extended range to help give owners in heavy traffic sufficient range to evacuate ahead of the storm. In the next week or so the code reverts to the normal reduced range. So our iPhones are watching and so are our Teslas!

Clay Bingham posted:

Fun fact. Tesla sent out a software upgrade to certain of its owners impacted by Hurricane Irma. Turns out when you buy one of the lessor Model S Teslas, in this case a 65 instead of 100, you get the same battery but the battery is software controlled to the lower range. Owners know that they can upgrade to the higher range at anytime by purchasing the extended range. In the case of Irma, Tesla sent out temporary code allowing the extended range to help give owners in heavy traffic sufficient range to evacuate ahead of the storm. In the next week or so the code reverts to the normal reduced range. So our iPhones are watching and so are our Teslas!

If winky continues to chastise motorists on this forum, A quick word with Tesla might soon cut his potential mileage !

ynwa250505 posted:
Don Atkinson posted:
winkyincanada posted:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news...y-senior-merkel-aide

I remain baffled by the inability of the mainstream makers (and Don) to see the game-changer that electric vehicles represents.

From the subsequent posts it seems it's not just me (and the mainstream makers) who are baffling you, winky.

Now my plan to stay over in Chilliwack was changed. So today I wound up leaving Vernon at 07:00 and driving to Vancouver 450 km away for my 12:00 meeting. No problem in the CRV. A quick 15 min stop at Hope to stretch the legs and top-up the fuel to make sure I avoid the pricey stuff in Vancouver. It would need about 50 to 100 recharge points to service the cars I saw, with people spending 45 mins rather than 15. Park in the Sutton Place underground and note there are TWO electric recharge points. If they weren't occupied I guess I could have recharged an electric vehicle, but they were occupied when I arrived. But TWO chargers.......they need more like 102.......  and a 500 km range for a 450 km journey is pushing your luck IMHO.

Meeting over and on my way out of town by 14:30 with another 15 min stop at Hope and back in Vernon in time for supper by 19:30.

Tomorrow, about 600 km to Canmore.

Now I don't do journeys like these too often. So, do I hire  a petrol vehicle for these "special" occasions or do I need two cars, one for the local journeys and the other in reserve for the big ones.

Nah, I'll stick with the CRV for the time being.

Will BC Hydro be able to cope if we all changed to all-electric cars ? Or would they need to import French/Chinese nuclear stations ?

 

Forget the CRV - get a big truck! F350 ... Harley version ��

Good idea.....

Meanwhile we'll stick with the CRV and borrow the kids Tundra crew cab when we need a bit more clearance !

 

winkyincanada posted:
Don Atkinson posted:
 

.....and borrow the kids Tundra crew cab when we need a bit more clearance !

 

Outta my way nature!

Well, it might come in handy if I join the bison cull in the Grand Canyon......

I can still hike more than 12 km per day for over a week with a 25kg back pack and based on the last time I was on a range I could hit a paper plate at 200 yards.

So, environment protection, here I come, Tundra and all........

......some of us really do care about people and the environment !

Don Atkinson posted:
winkyincanada posted:
Don Atkinson posted:
 

.....and borrow the kids Tundra crew cab when we need a bit more clearance !

 

Outta my way nature!

Well, it might come in handy if I join the bison cull in the Grand Canyon......

I can still hike more than 12 km per day for over a week with a 25kg back pack and based on the last time I was on a range I could hit a paper plate at 200 yards.

So, environment protection, here I come, Tundra and all........

......some of us really do care about people and the environment !

Nothings says "I care for the environment" more than driving a Toyota Tundra through the no-longer-wilderness for recreation.

I think car ownership is very likely to change in the medium near future with level 4 and 5 autonomous cars becoming commonly available in the next 10-15 years, probably less. Imagine if you could just whistle up a car using an app to your location then be driven to your destination (if it a long way then you might have to swap vehicles en-route but there will be one waiting for you). Once at your destination it drives itself away, no need for a drivers licence, no insurance and most importantly no parking.  Just think of all the space we could get back in our homes and on our streets if the number of cars was reduced by 50% or even 70%.  Obviously a number of things will have to change our relationship with workplaces, more flexible hours to allow time shifting to reduce peak vehicle demand though not owning a car might mean more car pooling.   Less single occupant cars would be a revelation in and of itself.

Obviously curmudgeonly audiophiles are unlikely to leap to to this option given how attached we are to the physical ownership of items but the young people with their subscription services will lap it up without a second thought.

Also just on the need for additional generation there is practically no demand, should all cars get converted to electricity, the amount of generation now available is there to service the maximum peak demand, a lot of the time that generation is just not required and some cases large consumer (aluminium smelters) are virtually given free electricity to use overnight when there is no demand, some generation e.g. nuclear you just can't turn off.  

A lot of the scare stories about additional generation are just based on out-dated thinking, just because you come home and plug in your car at 7pm doesn't mean you have to start charging straight away, most cars will allow you to program when to start charging so why wouldn't you wait until 11pm when it's much cheaper.  Once the critical mass of electric cars is reached say ~1m in the UK then technology exists to allow the use of some of the cars battery charge to flow into the local grid to help with the 7pm peaks requiring less investing in the distribution network.  There are also lots of options for micro-grid and distributed generation which along with local storage solutions mean that some of the energy distribution businesses I work with, have no idea if they will even have a business model in 10 years.  It's all about making the generation and consumption more aligned through time shifting demand.  Also as an observation fuel refining takes a massive amount of electricity, as less petrol is required then that is electricity available to be used elsewhere, same for car manufacturing.

Finally there are very promising trials using salt as a battery, in fact the professor most closely aligned with the commercialisation of Lithium batteries at Oxford is involved with the team, his 90+ years not withstanding, the current team is based in Texas, Austin perhaps, anyway no need for expensive or rare materials.  There are home based fuel cells that no longer require platinum and can run on practically any carbon based fuel that are commercially available in the UK.

The future holds lots of promise but that doesn't mean the Daily Mail etc won't continue to tell you that is all a terrible nightmare waiting to be come real because that's what they do, they want no advancement.

In many ways that may prove true - and I hope it does - but I think the timeframe to widespread takeup will be much longer than the predcicted 10-15 year availability might suggest. A few observations (not opposing the above thoughts, but practical barriers that have to be overcome):

On the plus side, another theoretical benefit of autonomous cars is the removal of the need for a driver to refrain from alcohol, so people could go out for a drink and simply get into the car and say the equivalent of "home, James". However, at present the only indication I have seen in the UK is that for the forseeable future autonomous cars will continue to require a person in a fit state to drive and ready to take the controls, presumably also insured though that could change to vehicle rather than person based, which defeats the potential advantage, and on a long journey is likely to be more of a problem than a short one as the lack of driving stimulation would be likely to result in inattention at best. I think it will not be until at least the majority of cars on the road are autonomous that this would be likely to change - but I am sure that time will come eventually.

Being wedded to car ownership is quite unrelated to audiophile posessiveness of gear and music, and the impression I have is that young people generally are far more posessive of their cars and right to use them than people of my generation. 

Regarding long distances, for at least a proportion of people that can mean a car packed to the limit with the paraphernalia of the trip, holiday or whatever, and changing cars several times would be neither instant nor smooth, so unlikely to be considered a minor inconvenience, especially if the next cars are not identical.

I have been watching this thread and unfortunately the most relevant discussion has yet to begin. In the future, mankind is going to have to adjust to living with much less available energy. Trying to replace our hydrocarbon energy usage with renewables is mandatory. It's just not possible to achieve a transition that will allow for the same quantity of available energy. In other words, mankind is going to have to adjust to a scenario where much less total energy is used.

Here is a very cogent article explaining my point...

100 Percent Wishful Thinking: The Green-Energy Cornucopia - Resilience

Until this is understood, this discussion completely misses the point.

BB

Global population has increased from 2.5bn in 1950 to c. 7.5bn today and set to increase by another 3bn over the next 40 years.

A much higher % of the current (and future) population is seeking to enjoy Western levels of energy use. 

Nuclear energy is the only solution we have at the moment. Hopefully some bright spark will come up with a better solution in the next few years.

.....and some other bright spark will sort out the food and water .....

.....and.....well, you get the picture.

But winky, spending £100k on a new car is a good start......... 

Just a few small problems with nuclear power, Don...

Peak Uranium: The Uncertain Future of Nuclear Energy - Resilience

World Has Much at Stake in Nuclear Power Decision - Resilience

So there's lots of reading to keep you busy...

There are many folks with much greater knowledge than you could possibly have, who have already concluded that nuclear power is not a viable energy bridge during the necessary transition.

There are many bright "sparks" working on this problem. Unfortunately, using much less energy in the future is the best solution that has come to light so far.

Nice try though...

BB

Don Atkinson posted:

Well, it might come in handy if I join the bison cull in the Grand Canyon......

I can still hike more than 12 km per day for over a week with a 25kg back pack and based on the last time I was on a range I could hit a paper plate at 200 yards.

 

I used to nail a 4" disk at 200 (Win 308 / Sierra Matchking round).

Monster posted:

Just a few small problems with nuclear power, Don...

Peak Uranium: The Uncertain Future of Nuclear Energy - Resilience

World Has Much at Stake in Nuclear Power Decision - Resilience

So there's lots of reading to keep you busy...

There are many folks with much greater knowledge than you could possibly have, who have already concluded that nuclear power is not a viable energy bridge during the necessary transition.

There are many bright "sparks" working on this problem. Unfortunately, using much less energy in the future is the best solution that has come to light so far.

Nice try though...

BB

Nuclear doesn't equate to Uranium; it doesn't even equate to fission (BTW Monty Burns's boat is called "Gone Fission"!).

The answer is nuclear fusion.

And it's only a matter of time before the technical challenges are overcome.

Huge posted:
Monster posted:

Just a few small problems with nuclear power, Don...

Peak Uranium: The Uncertain Future of Nuclear Energy - Resilience

World Has Much at Stake in Nuclear Power Decision - Resilience

So there's lots of reading to keep you busy...

There are many folks with much greater knowledge than you could possibly have, who have already concluded that nuclear power is not a viable energy bridge during the necessary transition.

There are many bright "sparks" working on this problem. Unfortunately, using much less energy in the future is the best solution that has come to light so far.

Nice try though...

BB

Nuclear doesn't equate to Uranium; it doesn't even equate to fission (BTW Monty Burns's boat is called "Gone Fission"!).

The answer is nuclear fusion.

And it's only a matter of time before the technical challenges are overcome.

As I understand things, nuclear fusion is still very much a pipe dream. We need solutions now so we can get started on transition...

BB

Monster posted:

Just a few small problems with nuclear power, Don...

Peak Uranium: The Uncertain Future of Nuclear Energy - Resilience

World Has Much at Stake in Nuclear Power Decision - Resilience

So there's lots of reading to keep you busy...

There are many folks with much greater knowledge than you could possibly have, who have already concluded that nuclear power is not a viable energy bridge during the necessary transition.

There are many bright "sparks" working on this problem. Unfortunately, using much less energy in the future is the best solution that has come to light so far.

Nice try though...

BB

Huge has provide a clear, far more concise response that I could have done.

I referred to nuclear energy/power. That covered fission as we have now and fusion that we might be able to harness in the (near ?) future.

Nuclear fission is the only (medium term) sustainable energy/power source that we currently have, in sufficient quantity to meet our demands or even our essential needs.

Coal, gas and oil are short-term sources - once used, they are gone, and in a relatively short time-frame.

Bio-fuels (wood chip etc) are renewable, but only if we look after the soil in which they grow, and in many cases deny the possibility of other, more useful crops. Quantity is severely limited. The UK was de-forested in the initial industrial revolution.

Wind and solar rely on storage systems that we haven't yet developed in sufficient quantity. The UK has exploited most, if not all of its pumped storage opportunity. Wind and solar rely on nuclear, oil, gas, coal as back-up and as storage. Battery storage is an option but currently very limited.

As I made clear above, we need innovation to identify and develop new, or novel sources of high quality energy/power. I notice in your last post, that you seem to agree.

 

The point I was trying to make is that there are insufficient uranium reserves to fuel nuclear fission expansion at the required scale. That was the gist of the first link I supplied. No company or government will pursue a large expansion of uranium based nuclear power for this reason. As I noted in response to Huge's comment on nuclear fusion, this is still a pipe dream at the present time. We need workable solutions now, not in 20 to 30 years time.

BB 

Monster posted:

As I understand things, nuclear fusion is still very much a pipe dream. We need solutions now so we can get started on transition...

BB

 So what is the solution for transition right now?

If there isn't a solution that presents itself right now; then is it not preferable to have a medium / long term workable plan for a solution rather than to have no plan at all?

Monster posted:

The point I was trying to make is that there are insufficient uranium reserves to fuel nuclear fission expansion at the required scale. That was the gist of the first link I supplied. No company or government will pursue a large expansion of uranium based nuclear power for this reason. As I noted in response to Huge's comment on nuclear fusion, this is still a pipe dream at the present time. We need workable solutions now, not in 20 to 30 years time.

BB 

Uranium availability is not the constraint. Fuel costs for nuclear are very small, and increased demand and price will lead to increased exploration and mining as required, without affecting the economics of power generation by too much.

The reason that nuclear is constrained is purely due to uninformed public opposition, and the government policies that entails. Nuclear is by far the safest form of energy production ever undertaken. Safer even than solar, wind and hydro. And much, much safer than fossil fuels, of which coal is the worst. Unfortunately alarmist opposition has slowed uptake, costing many thousands of lives.

winkyincanada posted:
Monster posted:

The point I was trying to make is that there are insufficient uranium reserves to fuel nuclear fission expansion at the required scale. That was the gist of the first link I supplied. No company or government will pursue a large expansion of uranium based nuclear power for this reason. As I noted in response to Huge's comment on nuclear fusion, this is still a pipe dream at the present time. We need workable solutions now, not in 20 to 30 years time.

BB 

Uranium availability is not the constraint. Fuel costs for nuclear are very small, and increased demand and price will lead to increased exploration and mining as required, without affecting the economics of power generation by too much.

The reason that nuclear is constrained is purely due to uninformed public opposition, and the government policies that entails. Nuclear is by far the safest form of energy production ever undertaken. Safer even than solar, wind and hydro. And much, much safer than fossil fuels, of which coal is the worst. Unfortunately alarmist opposition has slowed uptake, costing many thousands of lives.

We live on a finite planet with finite resources, but hey, enjoy your little electric car. When you consider the energy supplied by hydrocarbons for transportation alone, you will see that electrifying the whole works is simply not possible. If it was easy, we would have done it a long time ago. You must consider ships, planes, rail, and heavy trucks in your calculus, as well as massive upgrading of transmission lines and related systems. The costs are incomprehensible for such a transition. We are far better off not even attempting such a fool's errand, and should spend our effort on mass public transport, electrified rail for freight, and living less energy intensive lifestyles. The era of unrestricted personal transportation will draw to a close, and will be viewed in hindsight as a one time extravagance. You really must do more research, because it's not as simple as "everyone is just going to buy electric cars". I'm no fan of burning hydrocarbons, but there's a reason why we have continued to use them...

I know you will no doubt disagree, especially since you've already bought in to Elon Musk's worldview, but I have better things to do than argue about this. I was having this discussion 30 years ago, and nothing has changed appreciably since then. Says a lot, really...

BB

Monster posted:
winkyincanada posted:
Monster posted:

The point I was trying to make is that there are insufficient uranium reserves to fuel nuclear fission expansion at the required scale. That was the gist of the first link I supplied. No company or government will pursue a large expansion of uranium based nuclear power for this reason. As I noted in response to Huge's comment on nuclear fusion, this is still a pipe dream at the present time. We need workable solutions now, not in 20 to 30 years time.

BB 

Uranium availability is not the constraint. Fuel costs for nuclear are very small, and increased demand and price will lead to increased exploration and mining as required, without affecting the economics of power generation by too much.

The reason that nuclear is constrained is purely due to uninformed public opposition, and the government policies that entails. Nuclear is by far the safest form of energy production ever undertaken. Safer even than solar, wind and hydro. And much, much safer than fossil fuels, of which coal is the worst. Unfortunately alarmist opposition has slowed uptake, costing many thousands of lives.

We live on a finite planet with finite resources, but hey, enjoy your little electric car. When you consider the energy supplied by hydrocarbons for transportation alone, you will see that electrifying the whole works is simply not possible. If it was easy, we would have done it a long time ago. You must consider ships, planes, rail, and heavy trucks in your calculus, as well as massive upgrading of transmission lines and related systems. The costs are incomprehensible for such a transition. We are far better off not even attempting such a fool's errand, and should spend our effort on mass public transport, electrified rail for freight, and living less energy intensive lifestyles. The era of unrestricted personal transportation will draw to a close, and will be viewed in hindsight as a one time extravagance. You really must do more research, because it's not as simple as "everyone is just going to buy electric cars". I'm no fan of burning hydrocarbons, but there's a reason why we have continued to use them...

I know you will no doubt disagree, especially since you've already bought in to Elon Musk's worldview, but I have better things to do than argue about this. I was having this discussion 30 years ago, and nothing has changed appreciably since then. Says a lot, really...

BB

Finite resources - absolutely. Transport systems are just one part of a much bigger issue. But one thing is for sure, sustainable transport will never be possible based on fossil fuels.

So because electric vehicles aren't the whole solution, we should just continue business as usual? Should we all just keep driving V8 monster trucks to the mall? From a public health perspective alone, there is great incentive to change.

It's not "massive upgrading" of electrical supply. A 20% increase in electrical generation and reticulation would easily power all private vehicles if they switched to electric. Heavy Vehicles are about 20% of the total, so in rough terms the increase needed would be another 5% increase in electrical capacity.

I do agree regarding the efficiency and merits of mass transportation. I'd love to see the end of private vehicles. I don't think that's likely in the short-term, though. We love our flexible mobility far too much.

I think there is a transition away from private ownership via shared vehicles. Car-sharing services are expanding in cities. The elimination of private vehicles will be a hybrid of car-sharing and public transport. Cars spend less than 5% of their lives driving. A shocking inefficiency of capital allocation that car sharing and public transit can and must address for sustainability.

But where have I ever said the it's as simple as everyone buying electric cars?  Electric cars may, or may not, be a necessary element of a truly sustainable transport system. But other things must also happen for sure. Efficiency improvements. Low transport lifestyles (live local!). Reduced populations. Public transport improvements. Active transport. Looking far enough ahead, electric cars will probably just be part of a transition.

The reason we've continued to burn hydrocarbons in our cars is because it was the best option for that use - until now. That has just switched. Electric cars 30 years ago were essentially useless. That's far from the case now. Things change. I don't know of a better alternative for private vehicle ownership from this point forward. But yes, we may also look back on the whole era of private vehicle ownership and wonder what the hell we were thinking.

Heavy vehicles are actually more amenable to electrification than are passenger cars. I actually think we'll see a transition in this space even faster than we do in passenger cars.

winkyincanada posted:
Monster posted:

We need workable solutions now, not in 20 to 30 years time.

BB 

Solutions to what, exactly?

Sustainable lifestyles within the inherent limits we are facing. You need to look much farther into the future. If I must tell you this, then you probably won't really understand.

I'm not going to go on and on about this with you. Enjoy your EV.

BB

Monster posted:
winkyincanada posted:
Monster posted:

We need workable solutions now, not in 20 to 30 years time.

BB 

Solutions to what, exactly?

Sustainable lifestyles within the inherent limits we are facing. You need to look much farther into the future. If I must tell you this, then you probably won't really understand.

I'm not going to go on and on about this with you. Enjoy your EV.

BB

I guess I just don't believe that an instantaneous change to sustainable living is likely, or even possible for society. But nevertheless I do believe choices we make have an effect. I don't understand why you think I disagree with you.

Monster posted:

We live on a finite planet with finite resources, but hey, enjoy your little electric car. When you consider the energy supplied by hydrocarbons for transportation alone, you will see that electrifying the whole works is simply not possible. If it was easy, we would have done it a long time ago. You must consider ships, planes, rail, and heavy trucks in your calculus, as well as massive upgrading of transmission lines and related systems. The costs are incomprehensible for such a transition. We are far better off not even attempting such a fool's errand, and should spend our effort on mass public transport, electrified rail for freight, and living less energy intensive lifestyles. The era of unrestricted personal transportation will draw to a close, and will be viewed in hindsight as a one time extravagance. You really must do more research, because it's not as simple as "everyone is just going to buy electric cars". I'm no fan of burning hydrocarbons, but there's a reason why we have continued to use them...

I know you will no doubt disagree, especially since you've already bought in to Elon Musk's worldview, but I have better things to do than argue about this. I was having this discussion 30 years ago, and nothing has changed appreciably since then. Says a lot, really...

BB

Whilst changes in terms of using fossil fuels and causing pollution have been slower than one might like or believe is needed, it is disingenuous to suggest that nothing appreciable has changed since then - witness the very subject of this thread. You may not believe that electric personal transport is an answer, but it is a very substantial shift, and the statement "if it was easy we would have done it a long time ago" highlights the point: it was not easy, but advances in technology are beginning to bear fruit, again witness the scope of the recent crop of electric cars, and the alternative 'renewable' energy sources that are already in use, and present research on others.

I agree that more change is definitely needed, which inludes personal transport (and encoragement of non-motorised transport is one, as discussed in the Cyclists!!!! thread.), as is other transport, and getting whole countries on board (and not backing out as per Trump's moves), etc.

 

Not much experience of actually running an electric car here - I have had a BMW i3 (range extender) for 22 months and 23,000 miles (of which only around 500 miles if that have been on petrol).  We also have a wind turbine (shared between three families) - it does some charging of the i3 but probably not a great deal, as it needs to be v windy for there to be enough to do so (we just get one third of output).  I'd need batteries to soak up all production and make sure I use it

Don's experience of an i3 being only able to do 30 miles?  Cobblers (to put it politely) - so far there have been two different battery capacity i3's sold - mine is the earlier lower capacity model and I have managed 98 miles without the range extender kicking in (it does so at around 6.5% battery left) and regularly manage a 77-mile round trip in the car all year round (though it gets a bit chilly in winter as I cannot do it with the heater on - but that's my choice as I hate using petrol - irrational, but it seems to spoil the point of the car).  The latest models have 50% more range, so I could probably do a 100 mile round trip in winter using the heating full blast. I am averaging around 4.0 miles per kWh (thats an across a full year average) so around 3.5-4p per mile electricity costs (except it's a company car and so I can put that through the company .

Don's experience of people unable to charge? Pathetic - a bit of training and anybody could do it - it's really not that hard.  Would you let someone fill your car up with petrol without any experience, instruction or training?

It is a pain doing longer journeys (though some owners have clocked up very high mileage rates) and sometimes the chargers don't work, or stop charging too soon.  I have done a 160-mile journey in one go (well broken into two bits with a charge in the middle) and it worked Ok but not something I want to do too often.  Around 99% of my charging is at home, overnight - I have only ever filled up the petrol tank in the i3 around 3 or 4 times. Max cost £9-£10. 

With respect to Tesla, I had a test drive of a model S about 3 years ago.  Decided not to get one as the salesman was unaware of the price changes that had been applied the day before the test drive.  And the prices changed again on the next working day.  My conclusion was I didn't really want to buy from a company that couldn't decide how much to charge for its product.

In the leccy car community, the view is that Tesla is nowhere near cutting edge (as far as the powertrain is concerned) - it seems to be the case that the owner has to manage the battery (ie, charge rapidly and run too low too often [necessary for max range] and that is detrimental to it) whereas BMW have put in place lots of technology to stop you wrecking the battery.  It's a but irritating at times as the usable capacity is quite a bit less than total capacity on the i3 (ie you cannot access something like 20% [don't quote me - that's from memory] with a band at the top ad a band at the bottom being rendered unusable so that you cannot speed up degradation on an i3 like you can on a Tesla).  There are Nissan Leafs used as taxis that have clocked up six-figure mileages (with multiple charges per day) and show no degradation on the batteries

It never ceases to amuse me the number of people who claim that everyone getting leccy cars will mean a huge hike in the number of power stations needed to charge them, but they think that hydrogen fuel cells are the answer - vast amounts of energy are needed to generate the hydrogen (or separate it from what it's part of, if you like) which hugely increases the total energy take - incredibly inefficient

Some other random points - comparing the energy take of a leccy car with internal combustion is quite tricky, as you need to factor in:

1. for the leccy car the fuels used in generation of it (including the extraction of the source fuel from a mine or well and transport  of it to the power station etc and the power used in refining / processing etc), the loss over the route from the power source to  the charging point and charging losses

2. for the petrol car you also need to factor in fuels used in creating the petrol (including the extraction of the source fuel from a mine or well and transport  of it to the power station etc and the power used in refining / processing etc), the fuel used in transporting it from the refinery to the petrol station

It strikes me that most people who are against leccy cars just don't like change, and only ever think of the most extreme examples of why they are rubbish.  Looking at the extreme examples is just stupid - it only ever shows that they aren't perfect for all circumstances. Thats called statin' the bleedin' obvious and doesn't prove anything much

The i3 is not perfect (bouncy ride and only four seats and restricted range being the main complaints) but it is super smooth to drive (on a smooth road!), very nippy and has saved me many many trips to petrol stations while I have had it. We have two other cars but if we got our act together could have managed with two (my wife and I will be managing with two when my eldest learns to drive next year as we'll be getting a small manual car for her to learn on) but on man maths grounds I worked out that the i3 would be roughly cash neutral compared to piling miles on a 2010 LR Discovery 4 (and that has proved to be more or less the case), helped by a reasonable tax position - which is eroding over the next 18 months but then coming back in force from April 2020 with 2% x list price for company car bik tax.

I won't get another i3 - too small for us (we often give lifts to wider family who live close by) though it's been ideal for the school bus runs (now around 25 miles per day before taking the children to various evening and weekend activities).  Not sure what I will get (i3 goes back December 2018) - Jaguar i-Pace is a possible replacement but probably quite pricy (£60k or virtually Tesla model S territory) and minimum wheel size of 22 inch (cos some stupid designer thinks they look cool) is a bit incompatible with living in the country and having to go into ditches to prevent idiots coming the other way from bashing their wing mirrors on mine... but we don't need to have two cars that can do long journeys with all four of us in and I would very like another leccy car.  If not December 2018, then April 2020 I will have another - and in the longer run possibly two or three as range and the technology generally improves

living in lancs yearning for yorks posted:

Not much experience of actually running an electric car here - I have had a BMW i3 (range extender) for 22 months and 23,000 miles (of which only around 500 miles if that have been on petrol).  

I used to think electric cars with range extenders were "cheating". But as you demonstrate, even with a smallish battery range, they can run almost exclusively on electric power, yet perhaps still be appealing to a larger market.

I have no time for the true cheats, the plug-in hybrids with tiny NimH batteries, which are mostly just a method used by manufacturers to  circumvent the need to show true fuel consumption figures.

Such an interesting and topical subject.

First the easy bit.  Are electric cars the silver bullet that will solve the environmental issues associate with transport emissions? Unfortunately not.  The challenge is too great and too complex for a single technology silver bullet.  It may be disappointing, especially for sound bite politicians, but there you go, reality bites.

Are they a valuable part of the answer?  Fortunately, yes.  They are wonderful for some vehicles, some of the time, providing part of the environmental solution.

They are great for reducing traditional tailpipe emissions (nitrous oxides, sulphur oxides, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulates) in smaller vehicles (i.e. cars) that spend most of their time in urban environments such as the mega cities that are growing incredibly fast in east and south east Asia.  They are also great in mature cities, so long as you can get the charging infrastructure in to support them.  Paris is a nightmare for electric cars due to the challenge of charge point access, whereas Gothenburg or Stockholm are much better suited.

They are also great for moving CO2 emissions out of the city and to the location of the power station (if it burns fuel to generate electricity).

So in general, electric cars make a lot of sense for urban air quality.

There are downsides though.  First, a huge amount of energy is expended and pollution produced in the mining and manufacture of the lithium ion batteries, the electrical machines and the power electronics in your typical electric car.  It is estimated that 50% of the total lifetime CO2 emissions of an electric car running in western Europe will be generated in its manufacture.  The other half is generated in the fuel burning power stations that make the electricity that charges the car during its operating life.  In France and Scotland, it is more extreme than this because electricity in these 2 countries has a low carbon intensity, i.e. most of it comes from nuclear or renewables (which is a good thing!).  If your priority is urban ground level pollution, then this doesn't matter to you:- stand up most regulatory bodies in the USA + many of the world's city mayors.  However, if your priority is global greenhouse gas emissions taking into account the whole of a car's lifecycle, then electric cars don't look so great.  Ironically, Diesel cars running on sustainable bio-mass to liquid Diesel fuels are far, far cleaner.  Suddenly the Devil's fuel (Diesel) becomes almost saintly!  It's all a matter of your environmental priorities.  Given the scale of the challenge we face, there ought to be room for both.

Second, batteries have a low energy density, i.e. you need a big, heavy one to store a lot of energy, so they aren't great for heavy vehicles that travel long distances.  An example: a typical class 8 truck in North America or 40 tonne truck in Europe has a 500hp Diesel engine and a 1000 mile range from its Diesel fuel tanks.  It will have a payload of 25+ tonnes.  With today's technology, it is possible to replace the Diesel engine, transmission and fuel tanks with an electric drive and a big battery to give equivalent performance and range.  However, the battery pack alone will weigh about 23 tonnes.  Add in the weight of the truck chassis & trailer and you are left with a payload of about 5 tonnes, so you need 5 times as many long haul electric trucks to do the same job as one Diesel truck. Congestion becomes something of an issue at this point.  So does the cost of a 23 tonne battery, as it makes each truck at least 10 times the cost of a Diesel one.  The example of a long haul airliner is even more extreme than this.  They just need a very high energy density fuel.

On the other hand, electric buses make a lot of sense.  Compared with Diesel or natural gas buses, they remove urban ground level pollution (important in a city).  They only drive typically 150 miles/day on defined daily routes and return to the depot at the end of the day, so only need a relatively small and affordable battery and a concentrated, dedicated charging infrastructure.

Third, the economics of charging infrastructure make sense in cities where there are lots of people to use and pay for the the cost of the charging infrastructure.  It's a much harder sell in rural areas, where cars/light vehicles are also expected to tow trailers more of the time.  Towing absolutely kills range for an electric car.

There are many, many other perspectives, considerations and alternatives out there, but I hope this helps, given this deliberately narrow focus on electric vehicles.

Best regards, FT

living in lancs yearning for yorks posted:

Not much experience of actually running an electric car here - I have had a BMW i3 (range extender) for 22 months and 23,000 miles (of which only around 500 miles if that have been on petrol).  We also have a wind turbine (shared between three families) - it does some charging of the i3 but probably not a great deal, as it needs to be v windy for there to be enough to do so (we just get one third of output).  I'd need batteries to soak up all production and make sure I use it

Don's experience of an i3 being only able to do 30 miles?  Cobblers (to put it politely) - so far there have been two different battery capacity i3's sold - mine is the earlier lower capacity model and I have managed 98 miles without the range extender kicking in (it does so at around 6.5% battery left) and regularly manage a 77-mile round trip in the car all year round (though it gets a bit chilly in winter as I cannot do it with the heater on - but that's my choice as I hate using petrol - irrational, but it seems to spoil the point of the car).  The latest models have 50% more range, so I could probably do a 100 mile round trip in winter using the heating full blast. I am averaging around 4.0 miles per kWh (thats an across a full year average) so around 3.5-4p per mile electricity costs (except it's a company car and so I can put that through the company .I should have been clearer - 30 miles each way - 60 mile round trip. The vehicle isn't on permanent re-charge, so at any point during the day it is unlikely to be fully charged. Hence the practical limitations. OK, the 2 gal fuel extender helps, but in general, people need to prepare carefully for anything more than 30 miles away. No body will use it for a "long" journey, eg 50 miles away, it's too much hassle !

Don's experience of people unable to charge? Pathetic - a bit of training and anybody could do it - it's really not that hard.  Would you let someone fill your car up with petrol without any experience, instruction or training? Well, despite their training, I'll let them know they are pathetic. Three sets of cables plus the fuel tank means they rely on others to keep it "fuelled". I guess it's much the same as topping up the oil in a normal car. Mrs D can do it, but she has to think carefully. Which oil ? (we have both diesel and petrol). Some have a dip-stick, some don't, etc etc). Anyway, i'm describing factual experience of ladies that I know.

It is a pain doing longer journeys (though some owners have clocked up very high mileage rates) and sometimes the chargers don't work, or stop charging too soon.  I have done a 160-mile journey in one go (well broken into two bits with a charge in the middle) and it worked Ok but not something I want to do too often.  Around 99% of my charging is at home, overnight - I have only ever filled up the petrol tank in the i3 around 3 or 4 times. Max cost £9-£10. 

With respect to Tesla, I had a test drive of a model S about 3 years ago.  Decided not to get one as the salesman was unaware of the price changes that had been applied the day before the test drive.  And the prices changed again on the next working day.  My conclusion was I didn't really want to buy from a company that couldn't decide how much to charge for its product.

In the leccy car community, the view is that Tesla is nowhere near cutting edge (as far as the powertrain is concerned) - it seems to be the case that the owner has to manage the battery (ie, charge rapidly and run too low too often [necessary for max range] and that is detrimental to it) whereas BMW have put in place lots of technology to stop you wrecking the battery.  It's a but irritating at times as the usable capacity is quite a bit less than total capacity on the i3 (ie you cannot access something like 20% [don't quote me - that's from memory] with a band at the top ad a band at the bottom being rendered unusable so that you cannot speed up degradation on an i3 like you can on a Tesla).  There are Nissan Leafs used as taxis that have clocked up six-figure mileages (with multiple charges per day) and show no degradation on the batteries

It never ceases to amuse me the number of people who claim that everyone getting leccy cars will mean a huge hike in the number of power stations needed to charge them, but they think that hydrogen fuel cells are the answer - vast amounts of energy are needed to generate the hydrogen (or separate it from what it's part of, if you like) which hugely increases the total energy take - incredibly inefficient

Some other random points - comparing the energy take of a leccy car with internal combustion is quite tricky, as you need to factor in:

1. for the leccy car the fuels used in generation of it (including the extraction of the source fuel from a mine or well and transport  of it to the power station etc and the power used in refining / processing etc), the loss over the route from the power source to  the charging point and charging losses

2. for the petrol car you also need to factor in fuels used in creating the petrol (including the extraction of the source fuel from a mine or well and transport  of it to the power station etc and the power used in refining / processing etc), the fuel used in transporting it from the refinery to the petrol station

It strikes me that most people who are against leccy cars just don't like change, and only ever think of the most extreme examples of why they are rubbish.  Looking at the extreme examples is just stupid - it only ever shows that they aren't perfect for all circumstances. Thats called statin' the bleedin' obvious and doesn't prove anything much

The i3 is not perfect (bouncy ride and only four seats and restricted range being the main complaints) but it is super smooth to drive (on a smooth road!), very nippy and has saved me many many trips to petrol stations while I have had it. We have two other cars but if we got our act together could have managed with two (my wife and I will be managing with two when my eldest learns to drive next year as we'll be getting a small manual car for her to learn on) but on man maths grounds I worked out that the i3 would be roughly cash neutral compared to piling miles on a 2010 LR Discovery 4 (and that has proved to be more or less the case), helped by a reasonable tax position - which is eroding over the next 18 months but then coming back in force from April 2020 with 2% x list price for company car bik tax.

I won't get another i3 - too small for us (we often give lifts to wider family who live close by) though it's been ideal for the school bus runs (now around 25 miles per day before taking the children to various evening and weekend activities).  Not sure what I will get (i3 goes back December 2018) - Jaguar i-Pace is a possible replacement but probably quite pricy (£60k or virtually Tesla model S territory) and minimum wheel size of 22 inch (cos some stupid designer thinks they look cool) is a bit incompatible with living in the country and having to go into ditches to prevent idiots coming the other way from bashing their wing mirrors on mine... but we don't need to have two cars that can do long journeys with all four of us in and I would very like another leccy car.  If not December 2018, then April 2020 I will have another - and in the longer run possibly two or three as range and the technology generally improves

 

Don Atkinson posted:

Expanding the subject slightly, Easyjet and I guess a few others, are looking carefully at the possibility of a 120 seat regional jet with a 350nm range with battery powered fan jets. Timeline c. 10 years.

Weight is very costly in aviation, as you know. Unless the energy density of batteries undergoes a step-change, making it lighter than liquid dinosaurs, I'd expect that aviation will be the last place that electric power will be applied. I'm happy to be proven wrong.

Don Atkinson posted:

Expanding the subject slightly, Easyjet and I guess a few others, are looking carefully at the possibility of a 120 seat regional jet with a 350nm range with battery powered fan jets. Timeline c. 10 years.

Indeed, Don. If I understand correctly, it relies on a breakthrough in battery technology.  Work has been going on for years to develop lithium air batteries. If successful, the hope is that these Li-air batteries will have ten times the energy density of current lithium ion battery technology.

 Li-air batteries are also widely seen as being the essential breakthrough technology that enables cheap, ubiquitous electric cars after circa 2030.

Let's see...

Best regards, FT

Foot tapper posted:
Don Atkinson posted:

Expanding the subject slightly, Easyjet and I guess a few others, are looking carefully at the possibility of a 120 seat regional jet with a 350nm range with battery powered fan jets. Timeline c. 10 years.

Indeed, Don. If I understand correctly, it relies on a breakthrough in battery technology.  Work has been going on for years to develop lithium air batteries. If successful, the hope is that these Li-air batteries will have ten times the energy density of current lithium ion battery technology.

 Li-air batteries are also widely seen as being the essential breakthrough technology that enables cheap, ubiquitous electric cars after circa 2030.

Let's see...

Best regards, FT

It would be a game changer. I don't see it as being 100% necessary for electric cars to dominate, though. Even with current technology, electric cars are already better in just about every conceivable way for the majority of driving. The costs of batteries continues to fall rapidly with manufacturing efficiency increasing (economies of scale, for one thing) and incremental technological advances.

Not sure where or when I first became aware of Easyjet's love affair with battery powered aeroplanes but here is an abstract from The Guardian a few days back

EasyJet could be flying planes powered by batteries rather than petroleum to destinations including Paris and Amsterdam within a decade.

The UK carrier has formed a partnership with US firm Wright Electric, which is developing a battery-propelled aircraft for flights under two hours.

EasyJet said the move would enable battery-powered aircraft to travel short-haul routes such as London to Paris and Amsterdam, and Edinburgh to Bristol. Wright Electric is aiming for an aircraft range of 335 miles, which would cover the journeys of about a fifth of passengers flown by easyJet.

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