Electric Dreams

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From our Swindon correspondent:

From The Guardian:-

Boris Johnson is understood to be planning to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars within a decade, with reports that the ban will be brought forward by five years.
And we’re going to buy what instead? The Tesla with the £42,000 price tag? The Audi with the £60,000 price tag? The Nissan Leaf with a £30,000 price tag.
OK, let’s go with the Leaf. You want a day trip to Alton Towers from Swindon with the family. That’s not going to give you the quoted 168 mile range, but for a family doing around 65mph, more like 107 miles. You leave Oxford, travel to Bournemouth and that’s about 90 miles gone. You’re going to have to find somewhere to park and charge it. Even if you charge on a fast charger and go for 80% (maybe you drive home at more like 50mph to make it), that still means charging your car for an hour. How are we going to do all of this? Reconfigure all the car parking to allow the space for chargers? Have filling stations where you sit around for an hour and then drive off and enjoy your day?

Then there’s the use cases that ain’t even close. Antique dealers who put clocks and ornaments in a big estate car, people who tow a caravan, people who live in the country and want a 4×4 for icy and muddy roads, sales reps with a 300+ mile daily range.

The government hopes the policy will energise the market for electric cars in the UK and help the country achieve its climate targets, including reducing emissions of greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050.
You can’t “energise the market for electric cars” without fixing either the range or charging time problem. And as lithium ion batteries were invented 30 years ago, and have been worked on by  countless PhDs I’m going to guess that most of the low hanging fruit of improving them have been grabbed, and it’s more about tiny improvements to both. Which doesn’t mean a gamechanging improvement won’t come along, but you can’t bet on it.
I predict this is either going to end up with an embarassing climbdown, or would be suicide for the Conservatives. People in marginal seats in the regions are not going to welcome this at all. The only people who will are the sort of people who are solid Labour or Green, so why look after them?

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decnine
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decnine

There are also some minor challenges in sourcing enough cobalt and other metals in sufficient quantities – ethically.

Bloke on M4
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Bloke on M4

This is the sort of reason (and many thousands of others) why you let markets evolve. This is planned economy stuff by the government and there’s a thousand things that you and I haven’t thought of, things that are spotted as people try and do them.

James
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James

I justed checked the pre subsidy price of the all electric Nissan galaxy clone against my Ford Galaxy and it is comparable. Price probably won’t be such an issue in 10 years time. But range is, I might just be able to get to Alton Towers from my house in London with the kids. However the charts in this article show we are still gaining the benefits of the experience curve. https://cleantechnica.com/2020/02/19/bloombergnef-lithium-ion-battery-cell-densities-have-almost-tripled-since-2010/ I think that the most underrated aspects of electric cars is the reduced opportunity for servicing fraud and lower running costs. This will result in cheaper leases. Is… Read more »

decnine
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decnine

After Johnson has knifed us in the back over Brexit, why would a second electoral suicide matter?

Bloke on M4
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Bloke on M4

Another way of writing that is that densities doubled in 8 years. And if you drew a line with those dots, I’ll bet it’s flattening.

Even with that, is anyone going to have a BMW 3/Mercedes C size car in 10 years? Even if we double battery density in 10 years so that’s practical, those car companies have to design, engineer and test the cars. The naivety of the government about kickstarting this, is that there are physical limits, and that cars take considerable time to develop. Oh, and no car maker cares just about the UK market.

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

The ‘tripling’ was almost entirely due to batteries replacing nickel with lithium. What are we going to replace lithium with, to get a similar increase? Battery technology is bumping up against the theoretical limits imposed by electrochemistry.

jgh
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jgh

The next metal along is metallic hydrogen – which has its own problems – and then you run out of elements.

decnine
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decnine

Back in the early days of the digital telecoms revolution one expert that I met described New York as the largest potential copper mine on earth. That was because of all the copper telephone cable that had been installed.

I suspect that car thieves will come to recognise electric cars as the largest potential cobalt mine on earth…

Bloke on M4
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Bloke on M4

Can someone easily trade cobalt?

Something I thought about is that I drove to a gig in Cardiff recently and left late at night and I’m guessing the electric version of that means parking my car up, plugged into a station as I go to the gig. But who is going to watch all of these? Can someone just unplug and put it in their car?

The thing when tech grows is that you get new problems that you have to address.

Boganboy
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Boganboy

I have noticed that governments usually try to pander to the opposition.

With me in Oz, my latest peeve is the start of the witch hunt for the wicked war criminals amongst our soldiers. Needless to say, I don’t support the government on this one.

Of course, if I ran our strategy, there’d be no war crimes. The response to any problem would be massive and prolonged thermonuclear bombardment.

Bloke on M4
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Bloke on M4

One thing the Conservatives are really bad at (because they’re overwhelmingly One Nation losers) is the game of politics. They think they can win votes everywhere. The truth is, you’re just not going to get some young, metropolitan eco greenie voting Conservative, and what you are going to do is lose marginal voters in the suburbs of provincial towns like Swindon, Northampton and Nuneaton who rely on their cars.

Esteban
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Esteban

Seems a bit of an empty promise. “In 10 years I won’t permit petrol cars to be sold.” Umm, excuse me, but won’t somebody else be PM before then?

Bloke on M4
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Bloke on M4

Normally, I’d agree, but normally people make these nonsense promises 20 or 30 years away. So, no-one cares. Not something to even think about. 10 years is much closer.

roger d'dog
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roger d'dog

No plan survives first contact with the enemy, the enemy in this case being reality. Not just the laws of physics either. To make up for the “loss” of £40 billion or so extracted from real cars, it would appear that the per mile road use surcharge is being looked at again (i.e. an excuse has been found) Err, wouldn’t this apply to milk floats as well? And given that there are supposed to be fewer of them doing less miles the charge per is going to have to be pretty eye watering I would have thought. After all, they… Read more »

decnine
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decnine

The COVID ‘Plan’ has survived contact with reality quite well. Unlike the cannon fodder.

Spike
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Spike

No, that plan never had contact with reality. Objective was to “control the spread” or “eradicate” a pathogen. Means was to compel the troops to cower in the barracks until the risk passed, or until a new reason was devised to compel us to do so.

John B
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John B

Most people use the residual value of their motor vehicle to offset the cost of its replacement. ‘If’ everyone starts to sell their ICE vehicles to switch to magic electric, there will a) be a glut of cars on the second-hand market, b) a shortage of people willing to buy a second-hand ICE vehicle for which they will only get scrap value in a few years and dealers won’t want them as trade-in. The resale value of cars will plumet, many will not be able to afford a new vehicle electric or not, others will require bigger loans to finance… Read more »

Spike
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Spike

Sure! another Cash For Clunkers, where we clean up earth not by detecting and fining actual polluters but pay people to destroy productive capital that’s statistically likely to be a polluter. This program laid waste to the resale market almost as well as a ban.

I share your conclusion. We are not to ask, we are increasingly unable to ask, whether anything makes sense.

TD
Guest
TD

In California the governor recently signed an executive order banning the sale of gasoline cars after 2035. Of course, someone else will be governor by then, and it does not ban the use of existing cars or purchasing gas cars out of state, so expect some large car dealerships just across the border. I had a discussion with someone recently on the range issue, having just done a 4,000 mile road trip. That took several gas station stops where I was able to fill up in under 10 minutes. I was told that in the future we’ll just have to… Read more »

Bongo
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Bongo

Good points – I guess car dealers in Dundalk and Monaghan will be looking forwards to the increased business. And thanks to Joe Biden’s interpretation of the Good Friday Agreement there will be no hard border to stop you driving across with a trade-in vehicle and a wad of euros and driving back with a new petrol BMW.

Quentin Vole
Guest
Quentin Vole

I strongly suspect that this press release really means only hybrids and electric vehicles will be sold after 2030 (or ’35 as may be). If it actually means all cars after 2030 will be pure battery electrics, that’s absolutely barking – but this is government, so I don’t dismiss the possibility out of hand.

David Morris
Guest
David Morris

The point being missed is that there will be very few private vehicles.
Taking the family 100+ miles to Alton Towers will not be an option, for example.
People need to realise that the age of personal transport will soon be over.
Public transport too, will not exist in its current form.
Agenda 21/30 tells us that we will be living in small, agrarian communities, whilst learning to love Big Brother

MrVeryAngry
Guest
MrVeryAngry

What’s more the whole ball of wax is based on the lunacy of environmental alarmists whose ‘faith’ has more in common with the medieval catholic church than actual ‘science’. And that ‘climate science’ is being more and more effectively debunked. Essentially Johnson is trying to sell one big giant indulgence and forcing us to pay for it. What’s more a modern diesel ICE in a LIGHT small car is very very clean. Ad Blue and DPF’s scrub out pretty well all the nasties. Even my 1850 Kg Disco Sport is relatively clean -and I need it as I tow a… Read more »

jgh
Guest
jgh

It’s not going to work until I can buy a 20-year-old secondhand leccy car for 500 quid.

Quentin Vole
Guest
Quentin Vole

You might eventually be able to buy such a thing, but the chances of it having a usable range above double digits are slight. Batteries don’t improve with age – you can replace them, but they’re getting on for half the value of the vehicle.

Bloke on M4
Guest
Bloke on M4

I won’t buy that old, but I want someone else to test out and use the technology for a decade and iron everything out.

I’ve had a thought about buying a nice BMW for a while now, and I will probably get one before the end of the decade that I can run for years, while everyone beta tests electric cars.

Tim the Coder
Guest
Tim the Coder

So we’ll end up like Cuba then, all driving around in carefully repaired 25 year old clunkers.

Alternatively, boom time for petrol/diesel powered “commercial” vehicles with 4 seats.
Or is Doris suggesting commercial vehicles are banned too, and supermarkets restocked by a man on a bicycle towing a 35 tonne trailer?

Time that Priness Nut Nuts aka the Green Witch was given her marching orders. New bedwarmer required.

john77
Guest
john77

The ban is on *new* petrol cars. So lots of you have got it all wrong.
The existing petrol cars will retain very high second-hand values which may actually increase over the years as any car that can drive from London to Glasgow in a day will become a precious rarity. Travelodge on the M6 will have as many recharging points as bedrooms.

Alex Noble
Member

I gather petrol and diesel road vehicles in the United Kingdom currently consume about 453 TWh of energy each year. To put that in context, the total UK electrical energy production in 2018 was about 335TWh.

So Boris Johnson must be planning to more than double our electrical energy production. And double the grid capacity. And re-wire the streets. All in 15 years or so.

And perhaps only 20% of car owners can park on their drive – the batteries will need to be removable for most car owners to charge them.

It all starts to look a bit “nonsense on stilts”?

jgh
Guest
jgh

As is the intention to ban the use of gas for domestic heating. Currently UK energy usage is split (very) approximately 50/50 gas/electric, so as well as that 335TWh of juice going through the wires, there’s 335TWh (ish) of juice going through the pipes. If you want to shut off the pipes that means the wires are going to have to take on the juice going down them and carry 700TWh of juice. The cables under the pavements are going to melt, and that’s before adding on 450TWh of juice for vehicles.