Early Adopters

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From our Swindon Correspondent:

From the Guardian

A couple from Kent have described how it took them more than nine hours to drive 130 miles home from Bournemouth as they struggled to find a working charger capable of producing enough power to their electric car.

Linda Barnes and her husband had to visit six charging stations as one after another they were either out of order, already had a queue or were the slow, older versions that would never be able to provide a fast enough charge in the time.

While the couple seem to have been “incredibly unlucky”, according to the president of the AA, Edmund King, their case highlights some of the problems that need ironing out before electric car owners can rely on the UK’s charging infrastructure.

This is often the problem of being an early adopter. Even if the technology itself works, an ecosystem has to exist to support it, and that works in steps. The original cars were a rich man’s thing, which required them to have their own driver (who also maintained it) because there weren’t garages. As more people started buying them, those drivers set up garages. Once there were enough motorists, the likes of the AA and RAC appeared. Petrol stations became more common. All of this had to happen in step with growth.
“We left Bournemouth with 45 miles of range left and followed the car’s navigation system to the nearest fast charger, plugged it in but nothing happened,” she says. “A parking attendant told us it had been out of action for weeks.”

When they arrived there, a woman who was using it told them she had only got it working by calling the helpline and that the call centre was about to close.

So, because there aren’t enough customers, it’s not worth running a call centre night shift for the odd person using it, because that’s a big expense. Only when you have enough customers is it worth doing it. But that’s then somewhat of a chicken and egg situation – you need the customers to boost that, but people generally won’t adopt until it works.

None of this means that we won’t transition to electric cars, but adoption/infrastructure is like left/right walking, where one side has to wait for the other.

It’s the sort of thing that the wretched planner politicians never think about. And I have no doubt that between now and as we get more electric cars, others will emerge that no-one has thought of. Some of which may derail the whole thing. If you want to stop people doing a thing, tax it (Pigou taxes) and let the market figure out how.

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Boganboy
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Boganboy

Still remembering the diesel back ups that South Australia had to put in after blowing up the coal fired power station and switching to renewables. One really doubts how such a system can possibly sustain a huge fleet of electric vehicles as well as present consumption.

Its present approach seems to be screaming:

why won’t you buy our surplus power when the sun shines and the wind blows

why don’t you provide us with back up power when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow

we’re sacrificing for YOU when we have renewable power. Where’s the money. NOW!!!!

Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

The UK has recently fired up its coal power stations because the wind stopped blowing, to in part power or in this case not power this couples’ electric car, all in pursuit of lower CO2 emissions. The irony would be side splittingly funny, if it wasn’t for the fact that Germany has in recent years increased its burning of lignite, a high CO2 emitting fuel, wind or no wind and its economy marches, or perhaps in the time of Corona more accurately limps, forward more assuredly than does the UK’s. Meanwhile the UK could be sitting on perhaps as much… Read more »

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

If you check Gridwatch, last week coal-fired power stations (despite being a much reduced energy production sector in the UK) generated more energy than solar and wind combined.

swannypol
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swannypol

At present electric cars only marginally make sense because of the massive state subsidies.
You get £3k off at purchase
You don’t pay car tax
Electric Company cars are income tax free
Electricity get 5% tax rather than the c 200% tax on petrol.
And they still sort of only just sometimes make sense.
Not particularly cleaner for the environment though – pollution equals off at between 50k and 100k miles and the electric car pollution is all front loaded, plus battery and motor production involves little kiddies strip mining african rare earth metals.
It does enable one to be rather smug though.

Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

Odd that domestic electricity incurs 25% tax, presumably someone in government could explain the disparity, I certainly can’t.

jgh
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jgh

We’re trying to stop carbon dioxide production, yet at the same time the covid vaccine rollout is threatened by a shortage of carbon dioxide.

John B
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John B

If, as an entrepreneur, you want to open a roadside filling station, you need the capital, the premises, planning permission, get the equipment, then you phone a wholesale supplier of motor fuel and arrange your deliveries of fuel which arrive by tanker.

If on the other hand you want to open a roadside electric charging station, who do you phone to get the electricity delivered and how do they bring it?

Pat
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Pat

Something tells me that this couple didn’t choose an electric Porsche for practical reasons.

TD
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TD

“It’s the sort of thing that the wretched planner politicians never think about. And I have no doubt that between now and as we get more electric cars, others will emerge that no-one has thought of. Some of which may derail the whole thing. If you want to stop people doing a thing, tax it (Pigou taxes) and let the market figure out how.”

And there’s your problem. If you ask one of the wretched planner politicians they’ll say you can’t do that because you never know what the bastards might come up with.