Our Rulers Are Grossly Deluded About Electric Cars By 2030

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We have a statement in The Times of a gross delusion. The idea that the country can or could be ready for the mass adoption of electric cars by 2030. It’s simply not going to happen, it can’t:

Britain can become an electric vehicle country by 2030

Not possible.

The chancellor has promised to respond to the commission’s assessment with the government’s own strategy at the spending review this autumn. Charge points are already being built across Britain, growing from 2,880 in 2012 to 14,160 in 2017. But this is still not fast enough. To allow for 100 per cent of new electric sales by 2030, the core network needs to be in place for the early 2020s. The government hasn’t been sitting on its hands. In 2017, it announced a £400 million charging infrastructure investment fund, including £200 million from the private sector, but this has yet to get under way. More direct and ambitious action is needed to jump-start the change. That means subsidising the provision of rapid charging points in rural and remote areas by 2022, meeting the need where the market will not deliver in the short term; getting local authorities to identify where chargers could most usefully be provided and making the spaces available for them; and it means Ofgem removing barriers to connecting to the network.

That we might have more charging points, fair enough. But the idea that we could be ready for the only new cars to be sold being electric in only 11 years time? That’s grossly delusional. And here’s our problem. That above isn’t from some fool performing the difficult task of outidioting Caroline Lucas. This is from:

Bridget Rosewell is commissioner at the National Infrastructure Commission and chairwoman of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

It’s from one of our rulers, one of the people specifically and directly concerned with this particular issue. And here’s a modest suggestion – a place will not be well ruled if those attempting the task are in the grips of some phantasm, some will o’ the wisp delusion.

From a recent discussion of the issue elsewhere:

Add to that the massive infrastructure upgrade that’s going to be needed to have multiple 400+kW charging points, plus of course the need to more than double the capacity of the standard domestic supply in order to slowly charge vehicles at home… And the extra generation capacity needed, and the upgrade to the National Grid, etc etc etc…

Also odd that they don’t seem to be in a huge rush to do anything practical about it, especially on the infrastructure side where a decade or more of planning time is hardly unheard of. Are we even on track to make enough electricity in 2040 without an electric car revolution, let alone with one, given the nuclear mess?

Imagine the cabling required to be able to support a ‘refuelling’ station with 20 charging points all delivering 400kW simultaneously…

Recharging car batteries will be such fun for those hundreds of thousands in cities who park on the street……. if you can’t get a car space outside your house, tough. No charge-up. If you can, the tinks and scallies will have the copper away in a heartbeat. No charge-up. If you have to run a good many metres of cable to reach your car, just lifting it would be a challenge, let alone affording it.

Plus the report on the BMW / Porsche system I saw the other day indicated that the cable is liquid-cooled but at 430kW I’m not surprised.

Are these the people who expect to be able to charge their car from a 2A street lamp wired up with 80-year-old bell wire?

Bored at work today… 450kVA in solar panel would work out to 36000sq ft or there abouts. 3340 sq mtrs for our non imperial folk

Seriously, to run an all – or even approaching majority – electric car fleet we’ve got to rewire the entire country plus double or perhaps triple electricity generation. To think that we’re going to do that by 2030 is a gross delusion.

Oh, and to those who say that we can just spend money to make it happen. Yes, but that would be expensive – as the Stern Review itself says expensive ways of dealing with climate change aren’t worth doing.

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Quentin VoleJonathan HarstonBarksintheCountryRhoda KlappDodgy Geezer Recent comment authors
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Matt Ryan
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Matt Ryan

Spunking taxpayer money on stupid projects is the raison d’être for the government (see HS2).

Bernie G.
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Bernie G.

My thoughts exactly. Which is why I purchase a new diesel last month – life’s too short.

Bishop Hill
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Some other practical issues of installing charging points discussed here.

Annette Hunter
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Annette Hunter

“double the capacity of the standard domestic supply” I charge my electric vehicle overnight on 16 amps. Your home does not have even this amperage to spare? “Imagine the cabling required to be able to support a ‘refuelling’ station with 20 charging points all delivering 400kW simultaneously” 8 megawatts? Oh my God! A cable the size of the London Tube! An electric furnace runs 80 megawatts. Your telling me they can’t cable that? “Double or triple electricity generation” Show us the math. Miles driven per year, miles per kwh, kwh generated per year. As usual anti-electric vehicle arguments are based… Read more »

Matt Ryan
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Matt Ryan

Address the issue of people parked on the roadside then?

Climan
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Climan

I live in a block of flats, like many others, a rapidly increasing number. We have outdoor electricity, but it is only a lighting circuit, way insufficient to recharge several cars. Its not just roadside recharging that is a problem.

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

An electric furnace runs 80 megawatts. Your telling me they can’t cable that?

Of course we can cable an 80MW supply. The question is whether we can cable enough of them to match every existing filling station in the country (nearly 10,000 of them). Since this about double the total capacity of a typical suburban substation, the answer is “no, of course we can’t”. And you then loftily accuse others of using “invalid arguments”. Which makes you a a pompous tosser.

Dodgy Geezer
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Dodgy Geezer

In rough figures, if we want to charge cars at will we will need perhaps 20Gw more power – about half as much again as we generate currently. And all the infrastructure to support this. If we force people to only use electricity when it is available we could get away with much less than this – with the downside of people having no option about when they could have energy or how much. If we assume that renewables are always generating at full capacity, we could perhaps get away with no extra generation – though we would still need… Read more »

Climan
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Climan

Lets suppose technology improves and it takes only 15 minutes to recharge a car. Does that mean you will only have to wait 15 minutes? Err no, just imagine the queues, it will be 15 minutes from when you finally get to the front of the queue.

Rhoda Klapp
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Rhoda Klapp

I can put 500KwH of petrol in my car in a few minutes. Even at 430KW it would take over an hour. OK, electric cars don’t have 500KwH batteries, but they don’t have 450 mile range either. And once we give up petrol, the fuel duty, some 30bn a year last time I checked, will need to be replaced by electricity duty or road tolls.

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

I run a plug-in hybrid – it has a mid-size battery (12kWh, which can propel me for a real-world 20 miles*, even in the steeply-graded Chilterns) and a petrol engine that takes over seamlessly when the battery’s exhausted. I keep careful track of the relative costs and, broadly speaking, running on electricity is about 1/3 the price of running on petrol. Not entirely coincidentally, around 2/3 of the price of petrol is tax.

* Which means 90% of my trips are electric-only, but only about 70% of my total mileage.

BarksintheCountry
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BarksintheCountry

In the US it will be 2050 before the various environmental studies, reviews, court cases and law changes are identified. Then, the work of producing all the paper can begin. Say another 15 years. Finally, serious thought then possible about what is affordable. The first spade of earth should get turned about the year 2082 (in the dead of winter in Wyoming).

Jonathan Harston
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Jonathan Harston

And on top of that, they want to stop us using gas, so dumping another doubling of capacity onto the electricity supply network.

Eccles: Thinks. Could I top my car up from the oven? Bloonbottle, hand me my cardboard thinking hat.