Wednesday, 25 April 2012

If You Build It, They Won’t Come…

An electric car charging point outside council offices has been used for just five minutes in seven months.
Where else? The home of the Green fruitcakes. But it was, for once, a Conservative-led administration that installed the dratted things!
Critics called the points, which cost up to £18,000 each to install, a “green vanity project” .
Of course, they had an excuse for this. Don’t they always?
The local authority said investment in infrastructure was needed to turn people on to electric cars.
And by ‘people’ they meant ‘council staff’, of course. Because that’s who it’s built for:
A council spokesman confirmed that the point outside King’s House in Hove was only for its workers but said the authority “isn’t yet using electric vehicles among its fleet” .
Well, why not?
A council spokesman said: “Low usage initially is inevitable – you have to first install the charging points before people will buy the vehicles and that’s where we are at present. The charging point at King’s House is there for the same reason – to enable the council to use electric vehicles in future.”
It’s YOU who are in charge of buying vehicles for the council, though. It’s YOU who have set up the infrastructure that you are so sure will lead to increased usage of electric cars.

What’s up, can’t persuade your own staff that they are a great idea? If not, how can you hope to convince the public?

9 comments:

Henry Crun said...

Perhaps the senior council officers, starting with the chief exec, should set the example and give up their gas guzzling German saloons and switch to electric cars.

Then, once the electric fleet has been in place for 6 months we can send in an FOI request to check the running costs of the electric fleet vs the fossil fuel fleet.

Captain Haddock said...

Ha ha .. you've got more chance of finding Unicorn droppings, Henry .. ;)

Stonyground said...

Technology that offers an advantage over its rivals and is economically viable becomes popular all by itself, it doesn't need the local councils or government to push it. Electric cars have always been a hopeless non starter, and they don't reduce your effing carbon footprint either.

Anonymous said...

No, but they move it somewhere else and don't leave the footprint in town/s.
That said, they are at the moment a useful status symbol for the entitled rich, what with the government subsidy to buy and the makers subsidy in battery rental (paid for by the government).
Useless for second-hand purchasers because of the 50% reduction in value immediately after purchase.
And useless for people to use to go on holiday/more than 50-ish miles.

David Gillies said...

Who the bloody hell wants to drive around in a sodding milk float, anyway? Let's run some numbers.

Petrol has an energy density of 47.2 MJ/kg or 34 MJ/l (source: Wikipedia)
The energy content, therefore, of a 10 Imperial gallon tank is 1.55 GJ or 429 kWh. Lithium-ion batteries have an energy density of 720 kJ/kg (Wikipedia again.) Thus to store the same amount of energy in batteries as the 10 gallons of petrol, you need 2150 kg of batteries. Even if we assume electric drive motors achieve twice the efficiency of internal combustion engines, that's over a tonne of batteries.

Now charge the thing. Let's assume perfect efficiency of conversion of mains electricity into battery charge. At 12p/kWh this 429 kWh will cost about £50, which is order-of-magnitude the same as at the pump. We'll pull 13A @ 240V out of the mains socket, which is 3120W. That's 137 hours charging. And that is if there are no losses incurred in the process, which of course is not the case. OK, so we draw more current to cut the charging time to less than six frickin' days. This needs installation of expensive, beefed-up wiring in houses, and alterations all the way up the distribution chain.

Electric cars are attractive only to Greens, who can't do sums. Because you can't have a tonne of batteries in a car, you necessarily get less range. Because batteries charge slowly, they take forever to replenish. And they cost an utter fortune.

blueknight said...

What about Thorium laser heated steam cars.
Nuclear power? Well OK then.

microdave said...

Nice calculations, David Gillies!

It confirms my attempts to explain to others using an example of a typical Transit van. Fill one with batteries, and it won't even have as good a range as the normal diesel version. And, unfortunately, you won't be able to carry anything in it....

It would be fun watching Sabine Schmitz try and drive one round the Nurburgring, though!

Macheath said...

These chaps are now said to be considering electric cars for selected staff; since their green policies led to an office with 300 staff being built with 55 parking spaces, I can't see them worrying too much about David Gillies' calculations.

JuliaM said...

"...set the example and give up their gas guzzling German saloons and switch to electric cars."

I think Capt Haddock has spotted the flaw in your plan.. :)

"Technology that offers an advantage over its rivals and is economically viable becomes popular all by itself.."

Spot on!

"Electric cars are attractive only to Greens, who can't do sums."

And who need a visible symbol of their sanctity.

"...since their green policies led to an office with 300 staff being built with 55 parking spaces, I can't see them worrying too much about David Gillies' calculations."

GAH!