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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The current Coronavirus situation has got me thinking again about the way supply chains and infrastructures are very brittle and easily disrupted, (and that this is not well understood by the public or governing bodies) and whether being able to drive a BEV or ICE vehicle is more at risk in exceptional circumstances like we have now or will soon have if things really lock down.

I have both a BEV and petrol ICE (which with rather amusing timing is sitting at a garage waiting for a new air conditioning compressor from Germany - we'll see how that goes... :oops:) and my initial gut feeling is that if you have a BEV with home charging which has adequate range for your daily needs (and certainly for emergency trips for supplies if you're off work) that this is a significant advantage over relying on an ICE vehicle in these exceptional circumstances.

Provided that your house doesn't lose power (which seems unlikely even in a severe lockdown - or is it ?) then you can always fuel your car up at home and have a full charge for the day. No need to go to a service station and come into unnecessary contact with other people including the cashier, (as many stations still don't have pay at the pump) no need to contend with any panic buying of petrol/diesel which might result in long queues or service stations running out of fuel etc...(look at the panic buying of fuel in the US a couple of years ago during a natural disaster)

Petrol and Diesel are physical goods which don't arrive at forecourts by magic, there is a long supply chain to deliver them, and that includes having to have a cashier to keep the shop open and take payments, lorry drivers who drive the tankers to deliver the fuel to the service stations and so on, all the way back through the supply chain to the refinery and beyond. How many lorry drivers are required in the UK to keep local fuel supplies up ? What happens if one member in each of their families is infected and thus their entire family is quarantined and they can't drive their lorries ? What if there is nobody to man the service station ? etc.

On first glance it seems that the electricity infrastructure is likely to be more robust against these kind of virus epidemics than the fuel infrastructure, for two main reasons:

1) Electricity is not a physical good that has to be delivered by people on trucks or tankers over the last (hundred) miles. As long as the transmission lines stay up and the power stations stay functioning you will get electricity to your house.
2) Electricity is such an essential service that is required to keep things like hospitals running, internet connectivity and communication/phones etc running, I suspect it has a very high priority in these emergency situations. The national grid going down would be a complete disaster outside of not being able to charge EV's, so can't be allowed to happen.

Of course people are required to man gas/coal/nuclear power stations to keep them operating, but I wonder whether many of them can be reduced to an extremely low skeleton staff in an emergency, and largely remotely managed, as a control room of people sitting in front of screens could theoretically largely work from home with few boots on ground if elective maintenance works are also temporarily suspended. And wind and solar generation could theoretically continue to operate without physical manning, as long as someone is watching and managing their output on a computer screen somewhere...

On the other hand processing and delivering fuel is very much a boots on the ground physical job that needs people to do which can't be "done from home".

What do others think about the vulnerabilities of the petrol/diesel supply chain vs the potential vulnerabilities of the electricity supply chain, and are you glad to be driving a BEV in a situation where we could foreseeably see shortages of fuel supply in the coming weeks or months ? Have I missed anything in my analysis ?
 

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There are significantly fewer vehicles on the roads today whether that be BEV or ICE powered, so unless this is a prolonged lockdown I doubt that either fuel will ever become short of supply as the demand for fossil fuels is likely to reduce significantly over the next few months. Therefore, if there is less demand for fossil fuels there will be more slack in the system than there is at all other times. The only way I could envisage a reduction in fossil fuels availability is if the bulk shipping supply lines break down somewhere in the future, but that is clutching at straws for now.

What will be interesting is seeing how much pollution levels fall during this lockdown period and how that changes the number of respiratory problems people of al ages suffer. It will be a good indicator of where the western world needs to go over the next few decades as we "try" to reach nett zero CO2 and give ourselves a fighting chance of saving ourselves from err......ourselves.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
There are significantly fewer vehicles on the roads today whether that be BEV or ICE powered, so unless this is a prolonged lockdown I doubt that either fuel will ever become short of supply as the demand for fossil fuels is likely to reduce significantly over the next few months. Therefore, if there is less demand for fossil fuels there will be more slack in the system than there is at all other times. The only way I could envisage a reduction in fossil fuels availability is if the bulk shipping supply lines break down somewhere in the future, but that is clutching at straws for now.
Yes there is already a big reduction in traffic - about 50% of normal driving to work today.

But reduction in demand doesn't solve the problem I'm proposing - having sufficient fuel "available" somewhere in the country with reduced demand doesn't help you if the service station is closed because all the cashiers are sick or isolating or the local fuel station has had no deliveries for 2 weeks because there are no lorry drivers available because they are sick or isolating.

Just like supermarkets, service stations operate on a just in time basis - they only keep a few days of fuel supply on site at best, (I think 2 deliveries a week is typical) so if demand is 50% of normal but there are no deliveries for a week they're still going to run out. I'm not suggesting it IS going to happen, just that it is a concern, as is unnecessary exposure to other people while fuelling up.
 

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What will be interesting is seeing how much pollution levels fall during this lockdown period and how that changes the number of respiratory problems people of al ages suffer. It will be a good indicator of where the western world needs to go over the next few decades as we "try" to reach nett zero CO2 and give ourselves a fighting chance of saving ourselves from err......ourselves.
Indeed. There is already a dramatic change in the higher atmosphere with the lack of contrails from 'planes - something similar happened after 9-11. Sadly though we may balance this by increasing our pollution by heating our homes more whilst we "work from home".
 

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The current Coronavirus situation has got me thinking again about the way supply chains and infrastructures are very brittle and easily disrupted, (and that this is not well understood by the public or governing bodies) and whether being able to drive a BEV or ICE vehicle is more at risk in exceptional circumstances like we have now or will soon have if things really lock down.

I have both a BEV and petrol ICE (which with rather amusing timing is sitting at a garage waiting for a new air conditioning compressor from Germany - we'll see how that goes... :oops:) and my initial gut feeling is that if you have a BEV with home charging which has adequate range for your daily needs (and certainly for emergency trips for supplies if you're off work) that this is a significant advantage over relying on an ICE vehicle in these exceptional circumstances.

Provided that your house doesn't lose power (which seems unlikely even in a severe lockdown - or is it ?) then you can always fuel your car up at home and have a full charge for the day. No need to go to a service station and come into unnecessary contact with other people including the cashier, (as many stations still don't have pay at the pump) no need to contend with any panic buying of petrol/diesel which might result in long queues or service stations running out of fuel etc...(look at the panic buying of fuel in the US a couple of years ago during a natural disaster)

Petrol and Diesel are physical goods which don't arrive at forecourts by magic, there is a long supply chain to deliver them, and that includes having to have a cashier to keep the shop open and take payments, lorry drivers who drive the tankers to deliver the fuel to the service stations and so on, all the way back through the supply chain to the refinery and beyond. How many lorry drivers are required in the UK to keep local fuel supplies up ? What happens if one member in each of their families is infected and thus their entire family is quarantined and they can't drive their lorries ? What if there is nobody to man the service station ? etc.

On first glance it seems that the electricity infrastructure is likely to be more robust against these kind of virus epidemics than the fuel infrastructure, for two main reasons:

1) Electricity is not a physical good that has to be delivered by people on trucks or tankers over the last (hundred) miles. As long as the transmission lines stay up and the power stations stay functioning you will get electricity to your house.
2) Electricity is such an essential service that is required to keep things like hospitals running, internet connectivity and communication/phones etc running, I suspect it has a very high priority in these emergency situations. The national grid going down would be a complete disaster outside of not being able to charge EV's, so can't be allowed to happen.

Of course people are required to man gas/coal/nuclear power stations to keep them operating, but I wonder whether many of them can be reduced to an extremely low skeleton staff in an emergency, and largely remotely managed, as a control room of people sitting in front of screens could theoretically largely work from home with few boots on ground if elective maintenance works are also temporarily suspended. And wind and solar generation could theoretically continue to operate without physical manning, as long as someone is watching and managing their output on a computer screen somewhere...

On the other hand processing and delivering fuel is very much a boots on the ground physical job that needs people to do which can't be "done from home".

What do others think about the vulnerabilities of the petrol/diesel supply chain vs the potential vulnerabilities of the electricity supply chain, and are you glad to be driving a BEV in a situation where we could foreseeably see shortages of fuel supply in the coming weeks or months ? Have I missed anything in my analysis ?
I think that your analysis is about right.

We are in a more condensed version of your position with our PHEV. I filled it up last week so should be OK for a good while. Usually gets filled once a quarter but since we are confined to barracks (being ancient) I think that should last us the duration.
 

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Providing I don't run out of electrons and have to call out a recovery truck to get me to the next charging point, I think using my Leaf over my wife's ICE would lessen the risk of catching the virus while filling up. I normally charge at home, and if I need to use a public chargepoint I intend to apply sanitising gel (I have some, but it is very old) to my hands before and after handling the charging connector.
 

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Yes there is already a big reduction in traffic - about 50% of normal driving to work today.

But reduction in demand doesn't solve the problem I'm proposing - having sufficient fuel "available" somewhere in the country with reduced demand doesn't help you if the service station is closed because all the cashiers are sick or isolating or the local fuel station has had no deliveries for 2 weeks because there are no lorry drivers available because they are sick or isolating.

Just like supermarkets, service stations operate on a just in time basis - they only keep a few days of fuel supply on site at best, (I think 2 deliveries a week is typical) so if demand is 50% of normal but there are no deliveries for a week they're still going to run out. I'm not suggesting it IS going to happen, just that it is a concern, as is unnecessary exposure to other people while fuelling up.
Good.
Lets hope they do indeed run out of fuel, there's far too many vehicles on the roads anyway. It might (doubtful I know) make people realise how privileged they are to be able to wantonly destroy the planet at everyone elses expense.
It's only in the last 6 months that I've become a car owner again, a decision I will continue to regret for the next 18 months until my I-Pace lease expires, having managed perfectly well for over 20 years without one.
It's quite easy to live a car free life regardless of whether it is BEV or ICE and we'll all have to adapt over the next decade or two.
 

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I'd think rural areas might be hit with issues as rural dwellers generally need more fuel to do their daily activities than city dwellers. Public transport is frequently not an option.

I'm glad I have both really. There seems to be some sign of fuel supply issues in Scotland already.
 

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It's quite easy to live a car free life regardless of whether it is BEV or ICE and we'll all have to adapt over the next decade or two.
Maybe in a large city (I managed without a car when living in London), but in rural areas it could become a real hassle - I was recently looking at the possibility of travelling from near Shrewsbury to Ludlow for a meeting that started at 1.30pm. While there is a nominally hourly bus which passes our door which would get me there, I would have the choice of one which would arrive at 1.47pm, or the earlier one which would arrive at 12.12pm (there is a 90 minute gap at lunchtime to allow the driver to have his lunch break) - and then, once the meeting has finished I could have up to an hour's wait for the next bus home (and the last bus of the day leaves Ludlow at 5.50pm). Much easier to take the Leaf.
 

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Petrol stations do seem to be struggling. My local Costco fuel station had no diesel yesterday and a huge queue of cars tailing back along the road still hoping to get petrol. And the station closest to my home were talking about their worries of running out shortly when I called in to send a parcel this morning.

This is probably just like the supermarkets though. Lots of panic buying which will likely stop soon and then mean nobody is back in the coming days to buy more, and suddenly there's too much being supplied for a while.

I have to admit even in an EV the panic has got to me a little bit too. I usually didn't worry about charging until the battery was low but I found myself making a somewhat unnecessary rapid charger visit this morning and plugged in to the charge points at the supermarket yesterday for extra range, just in case (in my defence, I can't easily charge at home though, so slightly more justified)
 

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Well... for me there is really one clear advantage having BEV in current situation. You can drive and park your car in London instead of using public transport. Parking in Westminster costs next to nothing (£1.62 for 8hrs). It is way more expensive for ICE (parking + CC) or risky using tube/bus.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Good.
Lets hope they do indeed run out of fuel, there's far too many vehicles on the roads anyway. It might (doubtful I know) make people realise how privileged they are to be able to wantonly destroy the planet at everyone elses expense.
I think that's a bit harsh given the circumstances. What if the person who can't get any fuel is trying to deliver groceries or medicine to their self isolating parents or grandparents, and because of that lack of fuel they are forced to catch a bus there risking bringing an infection to them ? (Assuming there is even a bus running there, maybe they can't get to them at all without fuel) What if the person who can't get fuel is a doctor or nurse who can't get to work to save one of your relatives ?

Let's leave the whole "people should use something other than cars to get around" argument out of this discussion and try to think a bit more considerately about the circumstances some people may be in due to this situation.
 

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Maybe in a large city (I managed without a car when living in London), but in rural areas it could become a real hassle - I was recently looking at the possibility of travelling from near Shrewsbury to Ludlow for a meeting that started at 1.30pm. While there is a nominally hourly bus which passes our door which would get me there, I would have the choice of one which would arrive at 1.47pm, or the earlier one which would arrive at 12.12pm (there is a 90 minute gap at lunchtime to allow the driver to have his lunch break) - and then, once the meeting has finished I could have up to an hour's wait for the next bus home (and the last bus of the day leaves Ludlow at 5.50pm). Much easier to take the Leaf.
Indeed, but you've chosen to live in the sticks.
Don't get me wrong, I do too, in the Derbyshire Dales and use the local train line from Matlock to Derby to get to work, but that still entails an 8 mile journey to get to the train station in Matlock which I cycle whenever I can as my work place is another 3 miles away from Derby train station, so it's bike and train or drive the whole distance, which would be a 45 mile round trip.
They have a train station in Shrewsbury and Ludlow, so there is an alternative if you choose to use it, but.......
 

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People panic - or rather they normally live a hand to mouth existence, but when they are warned they may be confined at home for 14 days or longer they very sensibly think it would be wise to have some spare food on the shelf - just in case they get it bad and cannot get out to get some more food. Repeated several million times and shelves empty.
The same could easily happen in the short term with petrol or diesel if a few million owners think it might be wise to top up the fuel tanks instead of running under half all the time - and the media emphasises panic buying and alarms everyone else into topping up.
The electricity supply is likely to be much more stable then fossil fuel supplies in this situation. And as others have said, it is quite likely that the virus will disrupt the fuel supply chain over the next few weeks. for example if the virus spreads round a hauliers drivers or their families at the same time if they have to go into quarantine for 14 days.
Hopefully the researchers will produce an antibody test for covid19 fairly soon that would be quick enough and low cost enough to avoid false alarms taking people out of work - and allow people who have been exposed but recovered without symptoms to get back to work as soon as possible.
One suggestion that I haven't seen mentioned very much is to increase ventilation in vehicles, places of work, homes to the maximum. The virus seems to spread fastest in confined spaces.
 

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The current Coronavirus situation has got me thinking again about the way supply chains and infrastructures are very brittle and easily disrupted, (and that this is not well understood by the public or governing bodies) and whether being able to drive a BEV or ICE vehicle is more at risk in exceptional circumstances like we have now or will soon have if things really lock down.

I have both a BEV and petrol ICE (which with rather amusing timing is sitting at a garage waiting for a new air conditioning compressor from Germany - we'll see how that goes... :oops:) and my initial gut feeling is that if you have a BEV with home charging which has adequate range for your daily needs (and certainly for emergency trips for supplies if you're off work) that this is a significant advantage over relying on an ICE vehicle in these exceptional circumstances.

Provided that your house doesn't lose power (which seems unlikely even in a severe lockdown - or is it ?) then you can always fuel your car up at home and have a full charge for the day. No need to go to a service station and come into unnecessary contact with other people including the cashier, (as many stations still don't have pay at the pump) no need to contend with any panic buying of petrol/diesel which might result in long queues or service stations running out of fuel etc...(look at the panic buying of fuel in the US a couple of years ago during a natural disaster)

Petrol and Diesel are physical goods which don't arrive at forecourts by magic, there is a long supply chain to deliver them, and that includes having to have a cashier to keep the shop open and take payments, lorry drivers who drive the tankers to deliver the fuel to the service stations and so on, all the way back through the supply chain to the refinery and beyond. How many lorry drivers are required in the UK to keep local fuel supplies up ? What happens if one member in each of their families is infected and thus their entire family is quarantined and they can't drive their lorries ? What if there is nobody to man the service station ? etc.

On first glance it seems that the electricity infrastructure is likely to be more robust against these kind of virus epidemics than the fuel infrastructure, for two main reasons:

1) Electricity is not a physical good that has to be delivered by people on trucks or tankers over the last (hundred) miles. As long as the transmission lines stay up and the power stations stay functioning you will get electricity to your house.
2) Electricity is such an essential service that is required to keep things like hospitals running, internet connectivity and communication/phones etc running, I suspect it has a very high priority in these emergency situations. The national grid going down would be a complete disaster outside of not being able to charge EV's, so can't be allowed to happen.

Of course people are required to man gas/coal/nuclear power stations to keep them operating, but I wonder whether many of them can be reduced to an extremely low skeleton staff in an emergency, and largely remotely managed, as a control room of people sitting in front of screens could theoretically largely work from home with few boots on ground if elective maintenance works are also temporarily suspended. And wind and solar generation could theoretically continue to operate without physical manning, as long as someone is watching and managing their output on a computer screen somewhere...

On the other hand processing and delivering fuel is very much a boots on the ground physical job that needs people to do which can't be "done from home".

What do others think about the vulnerabilities of the petrol/diesel supply chain vs the potential vulnerabilities of the electricity supply chain, and are you glad to be driving a BEV in a situation where we could foreseeably see shortages of fuel supply in the coming weeks or months ? Have I missed anything in my analysis ?
Call me a paranoid panicker, but I would not want to handle a pump nozzle, or public charge lead with bare hands today, and I don't have to!
 

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Yes there is already a big reduction in traffic - about 50% of normal driving to work today.
Not where I am, still morning carnage with busy roads. And no parking space for me, as a dad walking kids to School each day I have grown accustomed to never getting an all day space, and having to move my car at lunch time. Car park was still rammed when I moved at lunch time, got a space but it was the only free one.
 

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I would say it can be both.
Dont forget some people have solar so could be charging their car easily and powering their house somewhat incase the grid failed.

However i do also miss having an ICE sometimes. The old 2.5td XM Estate ran on almost any old crud i threw in the tank, even down to mixed in engine oil with the veg. It wasn't fast but was a comfy old barge and loads of space :)
 

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I think that's a bit harsh given the circumstances. What if the person who can't get any fuel is trying to deliver groceries or medicine to their self isolating parents or grandparents, and because of that lack of fuel they are forced to catch a bus there risking bringing an infection to them ? (Assuming there is even a bus running there, maybe they can't get to them at all without fuel) What if the person who can't get fuel is a doctor or nurse who can't get to work to save one of your relatives ?

Let's leave the whole "people should use something other than cars to get around" argument out of this discussion and try to think a bit more considerately about the circumstances some people may be in due to this situation.
It was meant to be harsh.
We've become over reliant of our cars.
Can I only post on this forum if I believe driving everywhere is the solution?
As it is my other half is a doctor and is working every hour God sends to ensure your relatives and anybody else is afforded the best attention and care they can receive under the circumstances.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Not where I am, still morning carnage with busy roads. And no parking space for me, as a dad walking kids to School each day I have grown accustomed to never getting an all day space, and having to move my car at lunch time. Car park was still rammed when I moved at lunch time, got a space but it was the only free one.
It probably depends very much where you are, I drive west bound on the M8 into Glasgow and I'd say the traffic was <50% of normal for a Tuesday. Lower even than school holidays...
 

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