It is great to see the UK joining the US and a few other countries by investing in private and public car-charging points. The amount is still minimal compared with the $100m invested by the US in the EV Project back in 2009, but £11m over two years shows leadership and will pay dividends for years to come.Will it?
For some critics, of course, it's a handout. They don't see the roads teaming with electric cars yet, so why build charging points? What they fail to see is that the charger/electric car question is the classic chicken and egg issue that even petrol cars faced 100 years ago. Back then, people didn't want cars until they knew there were fuelling stations. And likewise, nascent oil companies didn't want to build petrol stations until people had cars. It took years for "market forces" to sort it all out and in the meantime most people were content with horses. The difference in 2012 is that we don't have time to wait. National defence, oil price volatility and climate change issues are deadly serious. Smart leaders are making sure electric cars are given a true chance to succeed.But Chris, I know where there's two electric charging points. They are at my local Asda, and have been for nearly two years. I've visited it at the weekend, on weekdays off, in the morning, in the afternoon, at night.
And the number of electric cars I've seen plugged in? Zero. Zilch. A bit fat no.
It's a pattern repeated time and time again. When will you realise people don't want electric cars?
Or, to use another avian simile, when are you going to pull your head out of the sand? Or out of your arse, for that matter...
I thought you were supposed to be able to charge up your car at home?
They're making a big mistake anyway. The way forward is exchangeable batteries, you buy a recharged one, pop it in and drive off, then when it goes flat, you take it to the next battery station and swap it for a recharged one etc. That's much quicker than plugging in and recharging for hours and hours.
Chris "in the arse" Paine has a problem with the word "investment".
It is great to see the UK ... investing in private and public car-charging points.
I think "in the arse" means 'spending your money'. And what's with this #teaming#, anyway? Have the Guardian's subs been made redundant?
Mark says when it goes flat, you take it to the next battery station
Carry it? Okay, I am being facetious. You mean going flat. How flat? 10%? 20? On a rainy night in traffic?
I suppose I am soft in wanting a heater in the car, and it's possible to rug up first, so we can save some juice that way. Keeping the screens clear of condensation could be challenging, though.
The other question mark (lol) hangs over the mechanical consequences of swapping heavy gear in and out. Obviously, these transactions would have to be performed a safe distance from any petrol vapours, by a trained operator and with gradual wear on the components.
The most compelling reason for opposing these white elephants is not that it is a waste of my money, but rather, that it makes Chris "in the arse" Paine happy. If they came around and said "Mr Rothmans, we are going to give all retarded hippies transurethral prostate resections but it will cost you £200", I would miss the money, but my glee would be boundless.
Particularly so when they got to the female hippies.
Are these charging points taxpayer funded or built by private companies, either willingly or under duress (i.e. if you want to build that you have to include these)?
Did the nascent oil companies to which Chris refers demand public subsidies or rule changes to help them build petrol stations or did the market make it worth their while?
Many people can't park close enough to their home to recharge there - even right outside on the street would mean a cable trailing over the pavement and how long would you get away with that?
Electric car batteries are not the size of AAs or even standard car batteries - in fact they are so large and heavy that some manufacturors are considering making them an integral part of the car frame to save some weight in the frame.
To change them is a major job, their cost is enormous (pretty much when the battery is dead you might as well get a new car) and for them to be truly exchangeable they would have to be standard over all car makers and types of electric vehicle.
This isn't happening any time soon and certainly not before any breakthrough in battery technology which makes them lightweight, small, cheap and holding a charge sufficient for a similar range to a petrol car.
You can add one of our local Sainsburys to the list, Julia.
They are just a waste of parking space and a ritual genuflection to the Green religious nutters.
Clarissa, the scheme I read about recently would mean a state subsidy to those who choose to install a charging point.
The Green-Left thinks that it can re-shape the world as it would like. The reality is (as Anon above mentions) the technology isn't there yet. Building lots of car charging points isn't going to somehow magic reliable battery technology into existence.
Battery technology has only really been tweaked since Faraday's era.
What part of electric cars actually run on electricity produced by coal and gas does this cretin not understand?
What part of the UK's energy security is well and truly screwed so there won't be much electricity to be had does he not understand either?
What part of it would be faster to travel from Land's End to John O'Groats by pony and trap because it doesn't take 16 hours to charge up Dobbin every fifty miles does he not understand?
Horses aren't an option now cause we've ate em all
Hydrogen tanking stations are similar. At last count, admitadely, a year or two back, the whole Berlin area had ONE(!)
Shameless self promotion.
The Reverse Robin Hood
It is all very well for them to bleat about not enough charging points but the race for green energy will mean rolling black outs and the lights going out when they shut down the coal fired power stations.
I would expect the car charging points would be the first to be cut off, especially near supermarkets with their frozen food storage. Even if they have backup generators they will be rated to supply the absolute minimum necessary if only for economy.
"That's much quicker than plugging in and recharging for hours and hours."
I think, until they make them smaller and lighter, as anon below says, it's not going to work.
"I suppose I am soft in wanting a heater in the car.."
Well, no. So many new gadgets in cars have quickly become indispensable, but are destined to be nothing but a disadvantage in an electric car.
"... either willingly or under duress (i.e. if you want to build that you have to include these)?"
I can't see Asda deciding - on a commercial whim - to build the things. So they must have been leant on.
"They are just a waste of parking space and a ritual genuflection to the Green religious nutters."
I'd love to know what the companies would do if given a free hand. Rip them up, I suspect.
"The Green-Left thinks that it can re-shape the world as it would like. The reality is (as Anon above mentions) the technology isn't there yet."
If the technology was, they wouldn't NEED to do anything - an Apple car? It'd sell itself!
"What part of electric cars actually run on electricity produced by coal and gas does this cretin not understand? "
Perhaps they hope that a demand for Green cars would equal a demand for Green energy - them we'd have Ivan's rolling blackouts and 'you can only drive your car when the wind's blowing'....
"Hydrogen tanking stations are similar. At last count, admitadely, a year or two back, the whole Berlin area had ONE(!)"
Ouch! I bet low-loaders saw a rise in use... :)
"Shameless self promotion."
Oh, spot on!
"This isn't happening any time soon and certainly not before any breakthrough in battery technology which makes them lightweight, small, cheap and holding a charge sufficient for a similar range to a petrol car"
That's not going to happen. "lightweight" and "small" are the opposite of what reality is: Battery-wise. Something lightweight does not have the mass to store a decent charge. The thing also not mentioned is that the preferred battery is the Lithium-ion, which readily burns when punctured. Ask Boeing how good they are, with their entire Dreamliner fleet grounded worldwide because the Lithium batteries tend to burst into flames.
Electric cars - living the lie.
A question I haven't seen answered is how much of their "efficiency" is expended carting around half a ton of batteries?
Similarly how much fuel is wasted by councils' inefficient and badly designed - and signed - one-way systems?
Answers on a five pound note to the usual address . . .
"A question I haven't seen answered is how much of their "efficiency" is expended carting around half a ton of batteries?"
Funny how car manufacturers are hastily putting their conventional cars on weight saving diets TO IMPROVE THEIR FUEL ECONOMY & CO2 EMISSIONS!
There is an old engineering moto: "Add lightness and simplicate"
Hi Julia, most people who park at a supermarket have not driven far. They don't need to recharge.
Charging posts would be most use at motorway service stations.
Personally I would love to own a Tesla.
Mark In Mayenne
"...most people who park at a supermarket have not driven far. They don't need to recharge."
Anyone foolish enough to buy an electric car is ALWAYS be looking for any opportunity to recharge their battery as the consequences of running out of power in the middle of nowhere are so dire.
I remember as a student only being able to afford a relative thimble full of petrol at a time and often having fingers crossed that I could make it home or to a petrol station, coasting down hills, hoping not to accelerate before getting to the crest of a rise.
I'm not keen to return to those days. wondering if I can make it to the next charging point where I can wait for hours, and I doubt many others are either.
Mark In Mayenne
When I stop at a motorway service station it's for long enough to go to the toilet and buy a coffee. Most people stop for half an hour or less - how much further would charging for such a little time get us on the kind of long trips you are usually taking on a motorway?
There's also the fact that to get an effective amount of charge at a supermarket or motorway service station you'll have to park for longer than the usual two or three hour free parking period. Fines galore!
There's a further problem with batteries - getting a REALLY accurate readout of the power remaining. Anyone who's used a laptop away from the mains knows this only too well. In the electric car world numerous reports of reality being somewhat less than the display shows, or finding that an overnight stop in cold weather has drastically reduced the range, simply don't apply to conventional cars. If the tank is half full it will still be half full the next morning, and you know pretty accurately how many miles can be covered, for a given quantity of fuel.
Use of the heater doesn't make any difference, and aircon takes about 5% more fuel, unlike an electric car, where use of either can reduce the range by 30% or more.
There's a further problem with batteries - getting a REALLY accurate readout of the power remaining.
Absolutely. My laptop says it's at 24 % but I'm sure t
Anonymous, you have a point regarding time taken to charge during a motorway stop. Fast
charging is under development but not there yet.
If one is taking a long trip, a meal break of an hour every 4 hours or so would not be unreasonable. Perhaps this kind of journey planning would make them practical
From my personal point of view, the fact that I can't take an electric car on long trip would rule them out from a practical point of view. However I consider them to be highly desirable from many points of view and will get one e when 1 I can afford one and 2 it would offer a practical solution to my travelling needs.
" Ask Boeing how good they are, with their entire Dreamliner fleet grounded worldwide because the Lithium batteries tend to burst into flames."
Yes, I can see how that'd be a drawback..!
"There is an old engineering moto: "Add lightness and simplicate""
And yet they are adding more and more 'gadgets'.
charging is under development but not there yet."
Surely there must be a cost in battery life for that?
"Surely there must be a cost in battery life for that?"
Several problems occur with excessive (fast) charging.
1) Heat, which can warp the positive & negative plates.
2) Further waste of energy, in what is already an inefficient operation.
3) Incomplete charging.
The first will either reduce the life, or cause permanently damage, and with Lithium Ion cells can lead to a catastrophic thermal runaway situation, as Boeing have found out.
The second simply means elecricity has been thrown away as heat, rather than being stored for future use.
Lastly, repeated fast charging will lead to a gradual loss of capacity. You're dealing with a chemical reaction which has to permeate right through the entire thickness of the plates. This takes time - leaving your car lights on, flattening the battery, followed by a "Jump Start" and a quick drive round the block is NOT sufficient. A slow, overnight charge is needed to fully restore it.
How do I know? - 40+ years of "tinkering", plus 5 years wiring and installing electrical equipment on luxury ocean going yachts...
Julia - regarding battery life/fast charging. I don't know, but it would be surprising if there were not some kind of trade-off.
Ultimately we'll have to judge the product when it comes out, and fast charging, battery life, etc all come into play.
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