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

Tony Lockhart posted:

So, even a house in a dark valley in Northumbria would, by law, have solar panels fitted? Or a house built in the shadow of office blocks? Or built on the wrong side of a hill? Or... or... or.....

An efficient solution may be that an owner could elect, in lieu of actually installing solar cells, to invest in a renewable energy fund to provide capital for renewables development elsewhere. The requirement could be that the investment had to remain for, say, 10 years, or until retirement age, whichever came first.

There have been a couple of posts about mandating solar cell installation on all new houses. Whilst I don't believe this is a bad idea (where it is practical which is not in every case) it will really only become useful if decent (10KWH+) battery storage is also included. I believe that renewable (and other) electricity generation should be done on a local basis as well as on a national basis with house and community wind farms and solar arrays. The use of battery storage means that energy can be captured at peak sunlight/wind times and used at peak demand times which can't happen now (in fact wind turbines are often turned off when it is very windy as they would put too much electricity into the grid). This is going to mean a complete rethink in electricity distribution as well as requiring a change in battery economics (which might be driven by demand like data storage technology improvements).

We did look at the Tesla PowerWall but decided against it because it cannot provide a back up when there is a power outage (due to current regulatory reasons) and cannot support drawing power from the grid only at off peak times.

Tony Lockhart posted:

I doubt very much whether that'll make it through a local MP, let alone parliament.

You're right. See my previous post about us all being too selfish. We want more stuff (hifi, cars, fashion, cameras, TVs, overseas trips, bigger houses etc) now! The cost to future generations hardly features in our choices.

In answer to Don's point about the issues faced by those, like his daughter, who cannot charge electric cars at home (due to having to park in the street or in communal parking for flats etc); this is a very real problem and there is not yet the public charging infrastructure to support this real need.

There are some Tesla owners who have courageously  bought whilst having nowhere to charge at home. However, I would not yet advise anybody to buy an electric car unless it can be charged at home as this is where most EV charging happens.

winkyincanada posted:
Tony Lockhart posted:

I doubt very much whether that'll make it through a local MP, let alone parliament.

You're right. See my previous post about us all being too selfish. We want more stuff (hifi, cars, fashion, cameras, TVs, overseas trips, bigger houses etc) now! The cost to future generations hardly features in our choices.

It's the cost to us now not just future generations. We could all save money with renewable energy production. The problems are that our politicians and civil servants do not have sufficient understanding of scientific/engineering matters and the former only have a thought horizon of the next election. Also, there are too many vested interests lobbying for the status quo. Finally (rant nearly over), the 'green energy' industry/lobby has been hijacked by those who are motivated by making more money from government grants rather than actually doing good.

PeterJ posted:

There have been a couple of posts about mandating solar cell installation on all new houses. Whilst I don't believe this is a bad idea (where it is practical which is not in every case) it will really only become useful if decent (10KWH+) battery storage is also included. I believe that renewable (and other) electricity generation should be done on a local basis as well as on a national basis with house and community wind farms and solar arrays. The use of battery storage means that energy can be captured at peak sunlight/wind times and used at peak demand times which can't happen now (in fact wind turbines are often turned off when it is very windy as they would put too much electricity into the grid). This is going to mean a complete rethink in electricity distribution as well as requiring a change in battery economics (which might be driven by demand like data storage technology improvements).

We did look at the Tesla PowerWall but decided against it because it cannot provide a back up when there is a power outage (due to current regulatory reasons) and cannot support drawing power from the grid only at off peak times.

You're right, PeterJ.

The management of the grid is becoming problematic in places with significant renewable supply. The inability of solar to turn-off, and the inability of fossil fuel stations to ramp up/down fast enough mean that renewables can be financially inefficient, often having to actually pay others to take the power at times of surplus supply. This is financially, but not practically inefficient (transmission losses notwithstanding if the power is ultimately consumed very far away).

Turning off wind farms is of course both financially inefficient and practically inefficient (wasting free fuel).

One of the features of the grid market is that there is a price for voltage and frequency control. Suppliers that help stabilise the grid by fast response to surplus and shortage are rewarded handsomely. This incentivises things like battery storage (expensive, but super-fast response) and relatively flexible fossil fuel plants (gas turbines are quicker than coal plants). Hydro is pretty fast too.

Technical control of the grid is improving, but the complex financial contracts need to keep pace for the most efficient overall outcome for consumers.

The connection of electric cars to the grid has the potential to be a smoothing factor, with cars "choosing" to charge during periods of surplus and limiting consumption during periods of otherwise high demand. The cars effectively form a large, dynamic distributed storage system. If cars that are charged, but not immediately needed, can actually feed back into the grid, then benefits are even greater. Imagine arriving home in the evening, plugging in your car that's still 75% charged and using it to power your home during the evening (down to, say, 40% in case you need to run our for beer). Your car then charges from midnight on using off-peak power. In a world with much more solar, lowest prices will perhaps often happen during the day when the sun is shining. You use that cheap power to charge your car when at work (or wherever). The point is that with many electric cars, the consumption of electricity can be spread more evenly if we're smart enough. The batteries in most electric vehicles are far larger than the ones in Tesla's Powerwall 2 (which is just 13.5kwh)

Another aspect of solar is that in hotter parts of the world (think Arizona) the demand and supply are well-matched. The load of a million of AC systems is at a peak during peak sunshine hours.

 

 

winkyincanada posted:

Nice one winky ! (generally, a useful article)

Looks like i've been a bit ahead of the game.................

.........good to see that others are starting the conversation about revenue streams from motorists.

Sooner or later, they might extend it to all travel-related activity ! eg taxi, bus, train, plane and even cycl............. (i'll leave it at that for the moment )

Don Atkinson posted:
winkyincanada posted:

Nice one winky ! (generally, a useful article)

Looks like i've been a bit ahead of the game.................

.........good to see that others are starting the conversation about revenue streams from motorists.

Sooner or later, they might extend it to all travel-related activity ! eg taxi, bus, train, plane and even cycl............. (i'll leave it at that for the moment )

The problem with a combination of incentives and taxes to get people to do the 'right thing' is what happens if/when it works? So loads of people driving electric cars reduce fuel duty revenue and congestion tax as well as costing in benefits such as reduced local authority parking charges (Westminster for example).

The fair and proper way to deal with this is to charge for usage. Perhaps the usage charge would vary by time, vehicle size and vehicle pollution.

The interesting thing will happen when self driving cars become a reality and people move from an ownership model to a rent on demand model for cars.

PeterJ posted:
Don Atkinson posted:
winkyincanada posted:

Nice one winky ! (generally, a useful article)

Looks like i've been a bit ahead of the game.................

.........good to see that others are starting the conversation about revenue streams from motorists.

Sooner or later, they might extend it to all travel-related activity ! eg taxi, bus, train, plane and even cycl............. (i'll leave it at that for the moment )

The problem with a combination of incentives and taxes to get people to do the 'right thing' is what happens if/when it works? So loads of people driving electric cars reduce fuel duty revenue and congestion tax as well as costing in benefits such as reduced local authority parking charges (Westminster for example).

The fair and proper way to deal with this is to charge for usage. Perhaps the usage charge would vary by time, vehicle size and vehicle pollution.

The interesting thing will happen when self driving cars become a reality and people move from an ownership model to a rent on demand model for cars.

In another thread (which I started) I have suggested (on a few occasions) that the fair and proper way is to charge for "occupation". Not too dissimilar to your "usage" basis.

However, taxation is a wide subject and is driven by a number of factors including politics, incentivisation to do the "right thing" (as you say), so-called "sin-tax" (eg cigarettes, alchohol, VED (based on emmissions), ease of collection (fuel duty, income tax, VAT) etc

Non-the-less, a young friend of mine has a "box" installed in his car which tracks his journey routes and time of day or night,, speeds, accelerations and decelerations, and allocates "permitted usage" (ie distance per month). It's all to do with reducing his insurance costs. Quite easy IMHO to extend this to all vehicles and cycles with the money for usage being automatically deducted from the associated bank account direct to Inland Revenue !!

The linked report indicates it's early days. And suggests to me that the dick-heads in the discussions are playing at politics rather than congestion management. Whilst I wouldn't go so far as to suggest they HAVE lost their minds, it certainly doesn't look as if they have carefully considered cycling and subsequently dismissed it as a potential revenue stream. More like it hasn't crossed their tiny minds, which are more focused on the politics.

Sooner or later they MIGHT get around to considering cycling and if so, it will be interesting to see whether they would like to encourage it and make infrastructure provision to make it viable and safe. Also how it would be funded ? eg from the mobility tax levied on motorists ?

Back to Electric vehicles........

Yesterday our neighbours had a visitor. Arrived in his EV without enough power to get back home.

Had to ask our neighbours to hook up to their 240V 3-Pin domestic supply to re-charge before leaving.

Didn't mention this until he was about to leave.

IMHO he's either a dickhead for not knowing or not planning, or a scrounger for not getting re-charged before setting out ?

I can't ever recalling the need to ask my host for petrol or diesel before leaving ! Perhaps he should have just driven off and called into the nearest re-charging station for an hour or so ?

Or called the AA

Don Atkinson posted:

The linked report indicates it's early days. And suggests to me that the dick-heads in the discussions are playing at politics rather than congestion management. Whilst I wouldn't go so far as to suggest they HAVE lost their minds, it certainly doesn't look as if they have carefully considered cycling and subsequently dismissed it as a potential revenue stream. More like it hasn't crossed their tiny minds, which are more focused on the politics.

Sooner or later they MIGHT get around to considering cycling and if so, it will be interesting to see whether they would like to encourage it and make infrastructure provision to make it viable and safe. Also how it would be funded ? eg from the mobility tax levied on motorists ?

 I'll spell it out again for you, Don. The congestion/road pricing is intended to discourage activity that is costly to society, like driving private vehicles into the city, and encourage more beneficial activities, like cycling as a means of transport. So, like every other other city everywhere, cycling is seen by people who actually understand such things as part of the solution, not the problem.

One of the problems caused by motorised congestion is pollution, hence it is common to exempt electric and low emissions vehicles. Just like they are allowed to drive in HOV lanes in many jurisdictions.

No city in the world currently implements any sort of charge on cyclists for road occupancy, with the possible exception of Sydney, where (using a slightly different approach) eye-watering fines for minor cycling transgressions are successfully, and as planned, eliminating cycling altogether.

In the UK, there were even tax breaks for people purchasing commuting bicycles. When I lived there it was open-ended allowing expensive high-end carbon race bikes to get the benefit. I believe it has subsequently been capped.

You'll be glad with all the heat that our Mayor Gregor receives for congestion-causing cycle lanes for freeloading cyclists, and rejoiced his decision to retire.

Oh, and yes people are definitely playing politics. That's how it works. (But why "dick-heads?"). The city and roads aren't yet owned by a large corporation where the CEO gets to make the call in the interests of shareholders, rather than residents.

Don Atkinson posted:

Back to Electric vehicles........

Yesterday our neighbours had a visitor. Arrived in his EV without enough power to get back home.

Had to ask our neighbours to hook up to their 240V 3-Pin domestic supply to re-charge before leaving.

Didn't mention this until he was about to leave.

IMHO he's either a dickhead for not knowing or not planning, or a scrounger for not getting re-charged before setting out ?

I can't ever recalling the need to ask my host for petrol or diesel before leaving ! Perhaps he should have just driven off and called into the nearest re-charging station for an hour or so ?

Or called the AA

Well your friend didn't plan too well, did he? But I've had to siphon fuel from friends once or twice when I was a poor student. And I did have to borrow a couple of dollars for food on a long bike ride once.

Your neighbours' friend may have had to be there for several extra hours waiting for his car to charge. They only charge fairly slowly from a 240V AC supply.

Anyway, I'd definitely offer/encourage friends with electric vehicles to hook-up for power while staying at our place if they needed to for the return journey. I'd actually see it as being a good host. The friends we do have with an electric car (Tesla 70D) would be highly unlikely to take me up on the offer as they have plenty of range, although they might be dropping by after a day of very extensive driving.

For many people, the time spent waiting for their electric vehicle to charge is close to zero. The same can't be said for the time spent waiting for a ICE vehicle to refuel. Not for you, though Don. We know you regularly drive vast distances.

winkyincanada posted:
Don Atkinson posted:

The linked report indicates it's early days. And suggests to me that the dick-heads in the discussions are playing at politics rather than congestion management. Whilst I wouldn't go so far as to suggest they HAVE lost their minds, it certainly doesn't look as if they have carefully considered cycling and subsequently dismissed it as a potential revenue stream. More like it hasn't crossed their tiny minds, which are more focused on the politics.

Sooner or later they MIGHT get around to considering cycling and if so, it will be interesting to see whether they would like to encourage it and make infrastructure provision to make it viable and safe. Also how it would be funded ? eg from the mobility tax levied on motorists ?

 I'll spell it out again for you, Don. The congestion/road pricing is intended to discourage activity that is costly to society, like driving private vehicles into the city, and encourage more beneficial activities, like cycling as a means of transport. So, like every other other city everywhere, cycling is seen by people who actually understand such things as part of the solution, not the problem.

One of the problems caused by motorised congestion is pollution, hence it is common to exempt electric and low emissions vehicles. Just like they are allowed to drive in HOV lanes in many jurisdictions.

No city in the world currently implements any sort of charge on cyclists for road occupancy, with the possible exception of Sydney, where (using a slightly different approach) eye-watering fines for minor cycling transgressions are successfully, and as planned, eliminating cycling altogether.

In the UK, there were even tax breaks for people purchasing commuting bicycles. When I lived there it was open-ended allowing expensive high-end carbon race bikes to get the benefit. I believe it has subsequently been capped.

You'll be glad with all the heat that our Mayor Gregor receives for congestion-causing cycle lanes for freeloading cyclists, and rejoiced his decision to retire.

Oh, and yes people are definitely playing politics. That's how it works. (But why "dick-heads?"). The city and roads aren't yet owned by a large corporation where the CEO gets to make the call in the interests of shareholders, rather than residents.

No need to spell it out - Which is simply your take on the situation anyway. The report indicates the discussion has a long way to go.

 

winkyincanada posted:

https://seekingalpha.com/artic...-unprecedented-sales

This is pretty bullish on the Tesla Model 3. (Our delivery date is still showing late 2018, but I expect this to push back into mid 2019, given production ramp-up delays.)

Recent article in UK motoring press highlighted a dangerous period Teslar are currently enduring.  Their business model relied upon them being up and running with the Model 3 much sooner than they appear able.  The huge monetary investment has reached the point where it now needs to be paying back through sales to ease finance pressures. The importance of the time line is compounded by the inevitable huge wave of cars which will be coming to market in the next year or two from the main stream Europeans (Mercedes, BMW, Audi, VW) who will all be fighting for EV market share.  I really hope that Musk succeeds with this incredibly massive endeavour and that Teslar are not stampeded onto the sidelines by the 'Establishment'.  Central to this is getting production of Model 3 up to speed, and soon.

Peter

northpole posted:
winkyincanada posted:

https://seekingalpha.com/artic...-unprecedented-sales

This is pretty bullish on the Tesla Model 3. (Our delivery date is still showing late 2018, but I expect this to push back into mid 2019, given production ramp-up delays.)

Recent article in UK motoring press highlighted a dangerous period Teslar are currently enduring.  Their business model relied upon them being up and running with the Model 3 much sooner than they appear able.  The huge monetary investment has reached the point where it now needs to be paying back through sales to ease finance pressures. The importance of the time line is compounded by the inevitable huge wave of cars which will be coming to market in the next year or two from the main stream Europeans (Mercedes, BMW, Audi, VW) who will all be fighting for EV market share.  I really hope that Musk succeeds with this incredibly massive endeavour and that Teslar are not stampeded onto the sidelines by the 'Establishment'.  Central to this is getting production of Model 3 up to speed, and soon.

Peter

One thing to consider is that the market that Tesla are now (or soon to be) competing in is the "vehicle" market, rather than the "electric vehicle" market. The Model 3 is intended to move them into the mainstream. The Model 3 is intended to compete with Passats, A4s, Series 3 bimmers and C-class Mercs etc. (The Model S has already beaten the big three Germans for large vehicles in every major market). They don't really give a rats @r$$ about Chevy Bolts, or Nissan Leafs. They can increase sales by a couple of orders of magnitude and still not be anywhere near the sales of the "conventional" manufacturers. The market has plenty of room. If the Model 3 gains mainstream acceptance, then the entry of other electric vehicles into that space is of far smaller concern. I think the Model 3 is already better than the ICE competition in every way that matters to the vast majority of potential customers (Don notwithstanding).

None of the mainstream manufacturers seem in any hurry to enter the true BEV space in any case. They are stepping slowly with plug-in hybrids, which may slowly morph over time via increasing battery range into proper BEVs. It's a path, for sure. but not one that needs to bother Tesla. Tesla is also the only game in (out of) town for electric vehicles for extended journeys with their (currently) unique supercharger network.

But you're right, cash burn is a major concern. They need to gets some sales happening, and soon.

What I believe will accelerate the mobilisation of the Euro Establishment manufacturers is the recoil they are facing against their diesel engine technology.  Politicians are at play again, no less than in UK where I think we saw a 17% reduction in diesel car sales last year, and approx 30+% decrease year on year in December.  In the short term we are likely to see the shift towards petrol engines (and hybrids) which will start driving CO2 emissions up again.  All the greater incentive for the big players to get on board the electric technology.

Incidentally, one thing which continues to puzzle me is how Teslar were able to push on with their project when companies such as Toyota/ Lexus who have been making hybrids for the last decade appear to have missed a trick.  When I was switching from diesel to hybrid, the salesman advised that Lexus have stuck with the old generation of battery technology because of concerns about the thermal attributes/ potential instability of the lithium batteries.  Perhaps that is true or perhaps towing the line until they take a step forward.

Peter

I have this neighbour's Model S parked on my street and must say I thought it was a Maserati at first.  Nice looking car  but, as other have said, the competition is now wide open and with Mr Musk investing heavily on his space touring ambitions ,  I wonder how long before his terrestrial venture takes second place to his Space X venture.

winkyincanada posted:
northpole posted:
winkyincanada posted:

https://seekingalpha.com/artic...-unprecedented-sales

This is pretty bullish on the Tesla Model 3. (Our delivery date is still showing late 2018, but I expect this to push back into mid 2019, given production ramp-up delays.)

Recent article in UK motoring press highlighted a dangerous period Teslar are currently enduring.  Their business model relied upon them being up and running with the Model 3 much sooner than they appear able.  The huge monetary investment has reached the point where it now needs to be paying back through sales to ease finance pressures. The importance of the time line is compounded by the inevitable huge wave of cars which will be coming to market in the next year or two from the main stream Europeans (Mercedes, BMW, Audi, VW) who will all be fighting for EV market share.  I really hope that Musk succeeds with this incredibly massive endeavour and that Teslar are not stampeded onto the sidelines by the 'Establishment'.  Central to this is getting production of Model 3 up to speed, and soon.

Peter

One thing to consider is that the market that Tesla are now (or soon to be) competing in is the "vehicle" market, rather than the "electric vehicle" market. The Model 3 is intended to move them into the mainstream. The Model 3 is intended to compete with Passats, A4s, Series 3 bimmers and C-class Mercs etc. (The Model S has already beaten the big three Germans for large vehicles in every major market). They don't really give a rats @r$$ about Chevy Bolts, or Nissan Leafs. They can increase sales by a couple of orders of magnitude and still not be anywhere near the sales of the "conventional" manufacturers. The market has plenty of room. If the Model 3 gains mainstream acceptance, then the entry of other electric vehicles into that space is of far smaller concern. I think the Model 3 is already better than the ICE competition in every way that matters to the vast majority of potential customers (Don notwithstanding).

None of the mainstream manufacturers seem in any hurry to enter the true BEV space in any case. They are stepping slowly with plug-in hybrids, which may slowly morph over time via increasing battery range into proper BEVs. It's a path, for sure. but not one that needs to bother Tesla. Tesla is also the only game in (out of) town for electric vehicles for extended journeys with their (currently) unique supercharger network.

But you're right, cash burn is a major concern. They need to gets some sales happening, and soon.

I'm pleased to see you recognise that based on my practical experience with a Teslar Model S I have not been hood-winked (there's a pun in there somewhere)  by Teslar's offerings to date.

The future might be different.

Don Atkinson posted:

I'm pleased to see you recognise that based on my practical experience with a Tesla Model S I have not been hood-winked (there's a pun in there somewhere)  by Tesla's offerings to date.

The future might be different.

Yes, your seemingly insatiable desire to always be somewhere that you are not is certainly an exception to the notion that electric cars are extremely practical for the vast majority of motorists.

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