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Electric and hybrid car discussion in parliament on Wednesday 6th July. Some very interesting topics discussed with all ministers agreeing that more charging points need to be introduced throughout the UK. MP's also touch on intervention and requirements for local authorities to be 'obliged' to install charging points in their region so that drivers are never more than 1 mile away from a charging point. Big emphasis on rapid charging and reference to Norway leading the way with electric vehicles is also key.

Electric and Hybrid Electric Cars - Hansard Online
 

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Interesting debate, thanks for the link! I think that crucially it's our energy infrastructure and the strategy behind this that needs the most focus. It was good to hear that grid storage is considered and that they are 'floating' the idea that electric vehicles shouldn't be considered a replacement for fuel tax and that it's current contribution for the treasury needs to be sourced elsewhere.
 

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Interesting read.

I'm not sure about the bus lanes thing. Seems like a fairly pointless gesture to me. Free parking while recharging, on the other hand, should be mandatory for all local authorities. They should highlight the potential advantages of this to local authorities. If EVs can park for free, they can install chargers in less-used parking areas (long-stay?) in order to preserve more lucrative spaces for paying

One thing I do feel they need to look at is Ecotricity and their MSA exclusivity. That business's decision to implement a punitive charging model puts the sales growth of EVs at risk. Being able to recharge affordably when travelling via the motorway network is absolutely essential to the future viability of electric vehicles. It is vital that this network of charging stations is run in such a way that it serves the public interest and the long-term aims of this government.
 

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It was interesting to read the comments of those members who had the opportunity to speak (albeit that some used that opportunity to link in other issues.)

One of the points raised was the need to incentivise the move towards larger battery capacity. Even in the hybrid area this would be a key to reducing urban pollution and out of town it eases the fragmented rapid charge infrastucture.

They acknowledge that there has been no coordinated drive to local authorities and this is why we have seen some areas well provided and others a charging desert. I speculated that this was deliberate so that there would be many different experiments before central government chose a particular model.

The other point that was touched on (and is always mentioned by my EV-sceptic friends) is lack of power capacity for charging. In particular, that without rapid development in renewables and storage developed occurring at the same rate as EV take-up then we would simply be shifting emissions to the already stretched fossil fuel generating network.

Thanks @Robert Byrne for the link. It has been much more refreshing than a select committee I was following 18 months ago when the members did not have the first clue about how EVs operated and the various issues mentioned in this debate.
 

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The other point that was touched on (and is always mentioned by my EV-sceptic friends) is lack of power capacity for charging. In particular, that without rapid development in renewables and storage developed occurring at the same rate as EV take-up then we would simply be shifting emissions to the already stretched fossil fuel generating network.
Shifting emissions? Where does the power (~6kWh per gallon) to refine petrol / diesel come from now if not the same "already stretched fossil fuel generating network"? What about the cost of transporting said refined oil? And extracting it from the ground?
 

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It is good the political class have some knowledge about EVs. However, I suspect progress will be driven by industry, not government. I have always had doubts about the need for a charging infrastructure. I think the electricity infrastructure itself is more important. If all cars are electric a lot more electricity is required. I have no idea how much but presumably a massive amount.
Google, Apple, Virgin, Dyson plus the traditional car companies are all involved now. The are all viewing the car as a means to an end. With autonomous EVs, we (the car occupants) become a captive audience. We will sit in the car for a few hours a day & the companies will find ways to monetize us. They will know even more about us than they know now. Owing a car will come with lots on monthly fees. There will be no more petrol stations so someone will figure out how to make mountains of money from us on electricity consumption. I can even see a situation where we have companies giving away ''free cars'' the same way as mobile phone operators give out (apparently) free phones today. Of course, the phones are not free, you end up paying a fortune for them because of the 3 year contract you need to sign.
Autonomous driving is the key because it means we do not have to look at the road. We can look at adverts instead. When we order something, the retailer can ask if the car should now be diverted to their nearest local store / warehouse to collect the goods. Autonomous driving suits EVs, not ICEs.
I am sure that in 20 years time we will hardly talk about the range of electric cars. Batteries & other storage devices will just get cheaper & lighter. It is already happening as an astonishing rate. Highways will be electrified. This technology has existed even since the electric trolleybus was introduced in the 1880s. Trolleybus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia It is not even expensive to build this infrastructure.
I suspect all the actors know that when we no longer control the vehicle we drive it will no longer be the status symbol it is today. Assuming we can never crash, there will be no need for safety features & this will give great scope for radical new designs. Motors will be in-wheel so the ''car'' will simply be 4 in-wheel motors & a 100kWh battery that weighs 100kg. Making a car really will be similar to making a cell phone.
The surprise for me is that big oil does not yet seem to be involved in the game. Timing will be key for them & I suspect they will buy into the game rather than starting from scratch. All these corporations know that the piece of hardware is no longer important. What is important is the ecosystem they build around the hardware. It is not the apple handset, it is the apple store, the apps etc. It will be the same with cars.
Big business is somewhat fumbling around in the dark now. No one knows if there strategy is correct or what the correct way to make money from us is. Simply put, one of them will stumble on the right business model & they will dominate the space the same as Microsoft did & now google & Facebook do.
Future generations will look back at the 150 years of the ICE car & think we were all completely mad to have ever used fossil fuel to power vehicles.
To conclude. While it is good that the political class discuss EVs I suspect the real debate will be formed by big business. This could all happen very quickly. When corporations with endless pockets stumble on the right business model they can dominate in a matter of a year or 2. I still think the limiting factor is the actual amount of electricity a country can make. Building power stations is not a sexy business & the likes of google do not want to become low margin utilities.
 

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Unless my maths is wrong, we need about 80TW per year to power every car in the UK

35 million cars
8000 miles per year
3.5MpkWh average

80 billion kW needed every year

That's pretty close to double what we currently produce.
 

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Interesting. How much electricity does the refining industry use per year? That's meeting our demand at the moment. It seems odd if EVs would use more than refining a liquid, pumping it off to a fuel station and dispensing it. If they do then we're in bother!
 

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We import a lot of our petrol and diesel, with imports (as a percentage) growing annually. The trend is toward UK refineries shutting down. While I can't find figures for how much energy the refining industry uses, it'll be nowhere near what we need to make cars 100% electric

On the other hand, our electricity need has been falling annually for some time now. Electric or Hydrogen cars appear to be the only upcoming disruption that will increase our need, and they may become more efficient. So we probably aren't talking about doubling production.

I'm almost certain we'll be importing a fair bit of electricity in the future. It'll be interesting to see how long it takes for someone to start building solar arrays in the Sahara, and how long after that a pipeline to Europe starts being built. There's a number of countries fairly local to us that have the potential to export significant amounts of electricity.
 

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Unless my maths is wrong, we need about 80TW per year to power every car in the UK

35 million cars
8000 miles per year
3.5MpkWh average

80 billion kW needed every year

That's pretty close to double what we currently produce.
Your maths is ok but you confuse kW and kWh.

80TWh is one quarter (ish) of what we generate every year, and by the time we need it, consumption will have dropped by more than 80TWh since 2008 (UK record gen), given it's already dropped by 40TWh in the 8 years since
 

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As it goes, the UK's largest generator, EDF Energy, generated 83TWh last year just about enough for all cars to be EVs.
 

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Your maths is ok but you confuse kW and kWh.

80TWh is one quarter (ish) of what we generate every year, and by the time we need it, consumption will have dropped by more than 80TWh since 2008 (UK record gen), given it's already dropped by 40TWh in the 8 years since
Oops. Knew I'd done something wrong, hence the 'if' bit.
 

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Oops. Knew I'd done something wrong, hence the 'if' bit.
Frankly, the units are somewhat daft. The resulting 3.6 factor in there is confusing to a level that I can't stand completely behind :)
 

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Founder of Franklin Energy
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Discussion Starter #14
Unless my maths is wrong, we need about 80TW per year to power every car in the UK

35 million cars
8000 miles per year
3.5MpkWh average

80 billion kW needed every year

That's pretty close to double what we currently produce.
I think the figure is around 8OGW of additional power demand from memory. The current UK maximum power capacity is circa 85GW, meaning we will nearly have double our existing grid capacity as you said. Smart EV charging systems with the ability to temporary pause charging using DSR frequency response technologies and integrate with local renewable energy sources/ storage is crucial. V2G could also play an important role in stabilizing the grid in the near future.

Energy in the United Kingdom - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/447632/DUKES_2015_Chapter_5.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Do you mean 80GW or 80GWh ?

I do wish people would use the correct terminology
GW in capacity terms - I am referring to the additional capacity needed and not the amount of additional energy that will be drawn down from the grid. The likelihood is we won't need anything like that amount as we move towards smart connected homes, cities and virtual power plants that will react to NG signals, and implement future energy storage systems to smooth out energy peaks.
 

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The links in this thread are useful & interesting. I would point out that installed capacity is only an indicative number & it does not reflect the amount of electricity a power plant really produces. If 50% of installed capacity is from solar or wind, the actual production capability will be much smaller than the installed capacity. A wind farm might run at 30% of installed capacity & a solar power plant might produce 15% of installed capacity in the UK. Even coal seems to run at only about 70%. Sunmetrix – What is capacity factor and how do solar and wind energy compare?
I never completely believe quoted numbers as everyone has an agenda but the ones above look about right.
Of course, EVs can really help the grid as pricing can be tweaked so cars are recharged when electricity is produced. This ability to balance consumption with production should allow more efficient use of power plants. One must assume that the energy storage capabilities of the vehicle will be used to power homes too.
 

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Unless my maths is wrong, we need about 80TW per year to power every car in the UK

35 million cars
8000 miles per year
3.5MpkWh average

80 billion kW needed every year

That's pretty close to double what we currently produce.
Yes, but as Robert Llewelyn points out, the oil refineries use far more electricity to produce the petrol & diesel. So if all cars were electric then none would be ICE so we will have more than enough production. It's the distribution that needs improving.
 
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