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Living with an Electric Car

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PDR
1377514.  Tue Mar 23, 2021 2:32 am Reply with quote

Is that efficiency or just consumption? I suspect the reason the UK figures are so much lower is that we may use more gas and oil for heating and cooking. What you need here is energy consumption per capita rather than just electricity consumption per capita.

PDR

 
dr.bob
1377559.  Tue Mar 23, 2021 9:47 am Reply with quote

That's a good point. Since we're discussing how the National Grid will cope with the extra load caused by EVs, the fact that the UK uses gas and oil for heating and cooking may well be doing us a favour in the short term.

However, if the government is sincere about moving ever more towards a zero carbon future, at some point this energy will also have to be provided in electrical form (unless we figure out a way to run boilers and hobs on hydrogen or something), which may well end up causing more problems for the grid than all the EVs do.

ISTR the National Grid report* mentioned various scenarios for how the grid would develop in future. It would either involve more local power generation (solar panels, windmills, etc), or upgrading the capacity of the existing grid**. Having the government pump money into schemes encouraging people to fit solar panels to their roof may seem indulgent but, when you consider that the alternative is to pump money into upgrading the capacity of the grid, the money's going to have to be spent one way or another.


*I will dig this out at some point, when I'm not so busy

**Of course the reality will probably be some mixture of the two, but it's important to figure out precisely where the dividing line will lie

 
crissdee
1386261.  Wed Jul 28, 2021 6:11 pm Reply with quote

My friend, with whom I just shared a delightful fish and chip supper, and an even more delightful conversation about one A.C.Doyle, gave me a copy of the Sunday Times magazine from 25th July. She saved it for me as it had an article about electric cars, which was worth a read. The main thrust of the article was whether now was a good time to buy such a vehicle, and what the best ones were. Speaking for myself (and who else can I speak for with any authority?), there are two main issues that need to be addressed.

1) With the possible exception of the Rimac;
I really, really, don't f*cking want one.

2) The cheapest they recommend is the MINI Electric at £26,000. In my current position, and in any foreseeable future position, this might as well be £26,000,000,000. I don't have that kind of money, nor can I envisage a scenario where I will have it, certainly not to spend on a car. Unless the government grant is raised from £2,500 to ten times that, I might as well be planning to buy the Batmobile, because the one is as likely as the other.

In all seriousness, what is going to happen to people like me? Short of a lottery win or a substantial inheritance from my mother, a replacement car of any kind is a pipe dream. Even some shonky, third-hand EV built in a garden shed in Kazakhstan is out of my budget. Will there come a time when I just have to give up the idea of personal motorised transport?

 
cnb
1386270.  Thu Jul 29, 2021 3:08 am Reply with quote

crissdee wrote:

2) The cheapest they recommend is the MINI Electric at £26,000. In my current position, and in any foreseeable future position, this might as well be £26,000,000,000. I don't have that kind of money, nor can I envisage a scenario where I will have it, certainly not to spend on a car. Unless the government grant is raised from £2,500 to ten times that, I might as well be planning to buy the Batmobile, because the one is as likely as the other.

You couldn't afford to buy a brand new ICE car either. If all you can afford to buy is 15-year-old cars, then keep buying 15-year-old cars. In a decade's time, there will be 15-year-old electric cars available, and at that point the electric vs ICE question becomes relevant to you. Until then, why are you worrying about it?

 
crissdee
1386273.  Thu Jul 29, 2021 5:00 am Reply with quote

1) I am slightly concerned that, in the rush to get EVs on the road, petrol will become harder to find.

2) From what I have read, 15 year old batteries may not be paragons of reliability, and will almost certainly be expensive to replace.

3) As I said before, I don't really want one at all, not even a cheap one in ten years time.

 
barbados
1386278.  Thu Jul 29, 2021 5:24 am Reply with quote

I would suggest the main blocker is point 3 there.

It's fine, if that is how you feel, as long as you are prepared for the consequences of that.

 
cnb
1386279.  Thu Jul 29, 2021 5:41 am Reply with quote

crissdee wrote:
1) I am slightly concerned that, in the rush to get EVs on the road, petrol will become harder to find.

Eventually that will probably happen, but it's a long way - at least 20 years - off, especially in rural Wales.

crissdee wrote:
2) From what I have read, 15 year old batteries may not be paragons of reliability, and will almost certainly be expensive to replace.

Electric cars are extremely reliable - far more so than ICE cars, especially old ones. The problem with batteries is that they slowly lose capacity (mostly with use, rather than age), so the distance you can travel between charges reduces. Different batteries lose capacity at different rates. Early Tesla Model S cars have very good battery life. There are lots out there that are 8 years old with 200,000+ miles and they still have 85-90% of the original range. Nissan Leaf batteries don't last so long - at similar age and mileage they might have only half their original capacity. This is reflected in the price. A used Leaf is a bargain for someone who only needs a short range vehicle. Replacing the battery is rarely economically viable, just as replacing the engine in a 200,000-mile ICE car isn't viable.

crissdee wrote:
3) As I said before, I don't really want one at all, not even a cheap one in ten years time.

Petrol cars (mostly hybrid, probably) are still going to be sold new for another 10+ years, and then have a 20-year life. Do you expect to be driving beyond 2050?

 
crissdee
1386294.  Thu Jul 29, 2021 10:38 am Reply with quote

cnb wrote:
Do you expect to be driving beyond 2050?


As that will be the year of my 88th birthday, I will be pleasantly surprised if I am, but in reality, probably not....

 
PDR
1386303.  Thu Jul 29, 2021 12:11 pm Reply with quote

Still driving? I'd be surprised if you've got out of the traffic jam on the A5 by then...

PDR

 
dr.bob
1386347.  Fri Jul 30, 2021 9:36 am Reply with quote

crissdee wrote:
The cheapest they recommend is the MINI Electric at £26,000. In my current position, and in any foreseeable future position, this might as well be £26,000,000,000.


You're doubtless not the only person in that position. Other people have talked about the second-hand EV market, so I'll focus on a different aspect.

In the US and Europe, traditional car manufacturers have deliberately targeted the high-end of the market with their new EVs, presumably because that's where they can make the most profit. It's noticeable that there are no readily available budget EVs.

The situation in China is rather different. Car manufacturers over there are also developing EVs, though their customer base are not as wealthy, so there's a strong pressure to develop budget cars. The first meaningful effort is the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV. There are obvious problems with this car, the most obvious being the fact that it's pug ugly. The range is also poor. However, trailblazers always look primitive compared to later models that are subsequently developed.

The cost in China is apparently just £3,400, though a European version is apparently going to be sold at Ä9,999. Either way, this is doubtless just the first foray into the world of budget EVs. Hopefully, with the amount of R&D cash that's been diverted from Diesel cars into EVs, batteries will continue to become better and cheaper, helping prices drop even further.

 
Jenny
1386371.  Fri Jul 30, 2021 2:14 pm Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
Hopefully, with the amount of R&D cash that's been diverted from Diesel cars into EVs, batteries will continue to become better and cheaper, helping prices drop even further.


This is essentially my hope for EVs. The problems I foresee in making their use widespread are:

* the availability of raw materials currently used in batteries, which is likely to run into the same problem as the use of fossil fuels in that supplies may well disappear or become prohibitively expensive.

* the availability of power generated in a sustainable fashion to support the increased demand for electricity.

* the availability of raw materials for building cars and building roads, both of which use fossil fuels.

* the availability of places for people who don't live somewhere they can park a car and charge it readily overnight.

* the technology of fast-charging cars or making readily-changeable batteries isn't there yet.

* and of course the problem of range - current range is fine for people like me who don't often drive beyond the range of currently available vehicles, but many people drive a lot more than I do.

 
crissdee
1386374.  Fri Jul 30, 2021 2:23 pm Reply with quote

This is another thing from the same article. According to the figures they give, if you own an Audi e-tron GT, and can access the best public charger (150kw), then 30 minutes of charging will enable your car to travel 213 miles. I spent no more than 5 minutes fuelling my car in Ipswich the other week, and that took me 435 miles.

Obviously my 50+ litres of petrol cost far more than 30 mins of 150kw electricity, but it meant that I could drive from Ipswich to Harlow, Harlow to Bexleyheath, Bexleyheath to Harlow, Harlow to Builth Wells, Builth Wells to Hereford, and then Hereford to Builth Wells, before I needed to find a petrol station again.

 
barbados
1386382.  Sat Jul 31, 2021 3:07 am Reply with quote

The other alternative is to get one of these
[img] https://media.whatcar.com/400x300/wc-image/2021-04/mirai_18.04.21_leebrimble_192.jpg[/img]
That takes around 5 mins to recharge, and has a range of between 3-500 miles.
Itís also cleaner than the Audi e-tron it has performance to match a 2l 5 series BMW although this one comes with working indicators.
And with a single gear CVT drive chain, you get a smoother ride.

 
crissdee
1386385.  Sat Jul 31, 2021 5:23 am Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
The other alternative is to get one of these

That takes around 5 mins to recharge, and has a range of between 3-500 miles.
Itís also cleaner than the Audi e-tron it has performance to match a 2l 5 series BMW although this one comes with working indicators.
And with a single gear CVT drive chain, you get a smoother ride.


There was a superfluous space in that link...

 
PDR
1386393.  Sat Jul 31, 2021 7:55 am Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
The other alternative is to get one of these
[...]
Itís also cleaner than the Audi e-tron


That's not a straightforward parameter to establish, because it depends how the hydrogen was made. If the hydrogen was produced by electrolysis using power from a coal-fired power station* then its going to be dirtier than a 1950s Fordson tractor!

Quote:
it has performance to match a 2l 5 series BMW


I think you must have misread that whatcar article - what it actually said was:

Autocar wrote:
Thereís no getting around the fact that, with a 0-62mph time of 9.0secs, the Toyota Mirai isnít the quickest luxury car around. In fact, the 178bhp produced by its electric motor canít even match the performance of a base 2.0-litre diesel version of the BMW 5 Series. For the price of the Mirai, there are an awful lot of faster alternatives, including the Tesla Model 3.


Quote:
And with a single gear CVT drive chain, you get a smoother ride.


It's not a CVT drivetrain - it's a fixed-ratio direct drive transmission like all electric cars. Variable-ratio transmissions (whether with gearboxes or CVT systems) are required to mitigate the non-flat torque curve which is a pretty inherent feature of infernal combustion engines. Electric motors have flat torque curves and so don't need variable transmissions in the same sense.

PDR

* Which is still true for ~66% of chinese electricity with a carbon intensity of over 700g of CO2 per kWh, but it's still 182g/kWh for the UK and both of these are averages. In both countries short-term demand top-up is entirely fossil-based. Of course both of tehse are on a downward trend, but I suspect it will be a decade or five yet before the carbon content is negligible

 

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