Electric cars and the future of the automobile

What she should have argued is that her flight has to pay carbon emission tax, & (depending on the airline / charter company concerned) that the pax pay carbon offsets too.

Notwithstanding that, what a shot in the foot! :rofl:

Same with electric cars, in isolation, seems very simple & quite green.

However, when you consider the minerals used for batteries (lithium ion - only a few sources of lithium in the world), projected electrical capacity needed in the future (another nuclear power station the size of Hinkley Point C), connectivity to local towns / villages (current distribution structure probably won’t cope with the loading), the inability for multi-occupancy apartment blocks to allow occupants to charge their vehicles at the same time, inability for that many cars to charge up simultaneously at garages (lack of space for 30-60 min charging, especially in towns / cities), huge loss of government revenue from liquid fuel / VED, etc, etc = not so simple & not so green.


Also consider that China owns 98% of the worlds Lithium resources. `

Electric cars are a joke, unless you can spend many thousands.
Aside from the lack of infrastructure, cost of the cars, nothing to say how long the batteries last / cost to replace, ridiculously short range (unless you don’t want to stop), charging times, people forget that the electricity has to come from somewhere and isn’t magicked out of thin air.
When without being overly careful with my driving I can get 300-350 miles on 2/3rds of tank a week and the majority of electric cars won’t do that on a “full tank” they have got a long way to go before I see one as viable option.

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Electric cars are fine for commuting from A to B, depending of course on how far A and B are apart. You then plug them in, and you drive it home when you finish work.

What they are rubbish at is any journey where you can’t quite predict timing/mileage, or where you aren’t going to be able to stop for a couple of hours to recharge.

So, as a practical example, if you were driving from Birmingham to Glasgow the distance (300 miles) is marginal for an electric car, add in any traffic delays - the stretch of M6 from Birmingham to Manchester for a start…) and it’s dicy. If it’s winter you’ll have the air con and heating on, lights on, radio on, and if you get stuck on the M74, you’ll really want the heating on while the snow piles up around you.

In an ICE car you just do a precautionary fill up at Carlisle and it will take you 5 minutes, but in an electric car it will take you a few hours - and you’ve already been driving for 4 hours in crap conditions, so you’re tired and you want to get a move on…


Worth noting that traffic affects the range of electric cars much less than it does ICE cars though.

Winter driving in Canada (so more extreme on the temperature) = about half normal range.

Same for a -10C situation = very limiting.


Electric cars need to go a long way in terms of development, much reduced cost and easier “refuelling” before they become practical as an everyday family car for all people. At the moment they maybe of use in large cities for people who want to just poodle to and from work in something not much bigger than a golf cart. But as a practical family car they are useless.
Just the “refuelling” even with some of the charging times quoted for some electric cars being 30-40 minutes (30-40 minutes sitting still with one or more screaming kids - wonderful), journey times are going to extend massively and based on a report I read last year where a TV presenter used an electric car for a week. It was fine in good weather, but when it was cold/wet/dark so lights, wipers, heater and radio on it was less so. So while a normal car may lose some range ie get low on fuel, it takes no more than 5 minutes to fill up and get going again and you can have the heater/air con, lights and radio on. That’s what they want to get to.
With all the legislation and tolls coming in with trying to prohibit people driving normal cars, I am remined of a sci-fi short story the school librarian let me borrow when I was 14/15 which as I recall had similar overtones of restrictions and penalties and just led to people keeping old cars to really experience driving.

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We can, on some days, manage with no coal power = mainly solar / wind generated power.

However, the demand for home car charging when everyone arrives home from work will not work, even with home battery banks.

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James May did a piece on an Electric car at one point, filmed in USA i think.

His closing piece was straightforward.
the ICE engine is convenient in duration and time to fill up. Nothing will replace it until it tackles those issues.
Although the average journey may only be 20 miles (lets say) and well within the range of an electric car, its is those one off journeys once a month or less often which requires 200-300+ range.

May suggested hydrogen cars would work, a plentiful amount of fuel available, quick to refuel (same as ICE), but the range let the vehicle down (ignoring the price) and why the vehicle in question wouldn’t be considered…

but is this better placed in its own topic?

We’ll soon be at the point where a battery-powered car can run for around the same length of time as the average person is awake, and charge whilst they’re asleep. Once that stage is reached, there will be very few situations for which an electric car isn’t viable.

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Oh yes there is - see above comments concerning additional power generation requirements, local network distribution issues, & multi-occupancy apartment blocks, etc. Even for my household, 5 adults (one is retired, so could charge a car up during the day), but the other 4 adults all have differing work patterns (so separate car required for each, public transport = no go), so come the evening = up to 4 cars to charge overnight.

Even if general house planning requirements change (as they should do) to ensure mandatory solar panels, heat pumps, etc, one typical day’s sunlight will not be enough to charge one electric car overnight, even with an expensive household battery pack.

I did mean viable on an individual basis, but nonetheless - I’d be interested to see the stats on how much extra electricity we’d need if we all charged electric cars at night.

One of the problems with moving to electrical vehicles and personal renewable power is that the existing grid will need a lot of overhaul and new types of transformers being required.

Even now we are seeing power issues where new estates are being built with solar panels on the roofs but the grids are not coping well with them and engineers are constantly having to alter transformer ratios to try and keep them level.

Everything is doable with current technology but the cost is the prohibiting factor

One thing that makes for interesting reading is the amount of electricity used to refine petrol, there will be a surprisingly-large surplus free for EV use if we stop using ICE vehicles.

Until there’s enough of a major enough swing in usage, we will need to create a situation that eventually leads to a surplus of energy production once the use of ICE vehicles is reduced.

The battle between personal and utility is going to interesting in the future - as more and more houses have personal solar installed and other investment is made into energy saving (heat pumps kind of, although there’s a bit of a crossover with gas/electricity for them, LED lighting, smart tech, etc) and energy storage, the providers may have difficulty maintaining control over the market.

I’m all for it. The date given for the ban on selling new Petrol/Diesel cars is currently set at 2040 in the UK. With a target, there will be a rush to development by car manufacturers - an arms race, if you will - and time for energy infrastructure investment and innovation.

The major oil and energy companies are exploring and investing in renewable energy. The cost per Mw is reducing and we’re relatively close to a first clean energy singularity event - where producing energy from renewables is cheaper than traditional. It’s already happened in some places for solar (at least) in certain circumstances (utility over personal).

Tesla reached worldwide sales of 4 million vehicles in 2018, that was double their 2016 “to-date” figure. In August last year, the Model 3 was the 5th best-selling vehicle and highest earner in the US. They sold their first car over 10 years ago.

Great strides are being made in energy storage also.

The new world is coming.

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Not just the UK. If I’m still driving on 31 Dec 2039 (seemingly the last day to legally buy a petrol / diesel car, I’m going to go to a car dealership on that day, & buy the biggest engined turbo / injection / nutter car that I can, & at a massive discount - on the basis that next day, the car will be illegal to buy new! :wink: Liquid fuel will still be available for quite a while thereafter.

I’m sure that car manufacturers will come up with some kind of modified bodywork that will be on both petrol / diesel & electric comparable models, otherwise there will be huge scrappage!

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Lithium ion battery shortages delay Audi e-tron…

Carrying the battery is never going to be the most efficient answer. Real life dodgems / scaletrix is needed!


I think I’ve seen some work on that somewhere…

I think hybrids are currently set to remain permitted, but their time will come.

I’d put money on traditional ICE vehicles going out of production well in advance and probably with very limited stocks if any available within the final 12 months of permitted sale. The last runs will probably be at a premium as well.

Personally, I think the date will be brought forward too. If the conditions are right or almost right (car tech, cost, infrastructure, etc) by 2030 then the cut off will be 2035. Increasing environmental and lobbying pressures could create a perceived need for a future government to strengthen or accelerate the policy.

Batteries will become more and more viable, whereas electrification of the roads will never be cost-effective.