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So in 10 years from now new EVs
  • WILL have a battery pack with a density that is insanely higher than 200 Wh / kilogram
  • WILL therefore weigh considerably less than today's EVs
  • WILL be able to charge to 100% (forget about 80) in 15 minutes or less
  • WILL have a true motorway range of 500 km or more
  • WILL be able to tow a caravan and MIGHT be able to have an extra battery pack in the caravan that feeds into the car's charging port for extra range
  • WILL LIKELY be able to charge through induction chargers that are built into parking spaces in streets, shopping malls, railway stations etc. as well as slow onstreet chargers for overnight charging
  • WILL have batteries that last a lifetime
  • WILL be almost as cheap as / cheaper than comparable ICE cars
I am sceptical about a few of those (particularly the first two), but let's come back in 10 years and see how many have come true.

Also, sorry for those who like to tow a caravan, but personally I would be happy if EVs killed them off :LOL:
 

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I am sceptical about a few of those (particularly the first two), but let's come back in 10 years and see how many have come true.

Also, sorry for those who like to tow a caravan, but personally I would be happy if EVs killed them off :LOL:
Isn't it against the discrimination laws to suggest killing off caravans?

If not it should be!!
 

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The caravan issue is quite a big one. Adding a skateboard of batteries to a caravan and a motor to reduce the effort required to move the caravan might be one solution.
Currently though the cost of an EV drive train and batteries makes that unlikely. If battery costs fall dramatically it might become possible, but then the best use of those cheaper batteries is probably fitting them into the EV and beefing up its towing capability range.

But a lower cost option for caravans or other towed loads might be something like a REx, so fit a generator onto the caravan chassis to supply the EV when it is towing. Always thought it was a shame that the early ideas of a towable REx were abandoned, could have been very useful.
 

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But a lower cost option for caravans or other towed loads might be something like a REx, so fit a generator onto the caravan chassis to supply the EV when it is towing. Always thought it was a shame that the early ideas of a towable REx were abandoned, could have been very useful.
Or maybe just rent a caravan at your destination?

Why haul it all that way?
 

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1. The 30% of the UK housing stock that does not have off street parking.
How are they going to charge overnight.
Converting lamp posts into charging stations is pie in the sky given that these are only cabled to carry the lighting loads. It's a bit like someone suggesting you connect your cooker into the 5 amp lighting circuit.

2. For the 70% that does have off street parking how to get the power to them. The national grid may be OK in terms of power and transmission - but the local distribution network: - transformers, switchgear and local cabling certainly is not.
Hi there. Mind if I provide a few facts?
So far around 3,000 lamppost chargers have been installed in the UK.
(If this is our moonshot, then "the pies have landed" might be the saying of the day. Or perhaps "one small plug for EVs, one giant leap for an EV driver without a driveway". ;)). I jest.
There are now over 2,400 ubitricity ones and the rest are from our competitors. To date the rollout has concentrated mainly on London, but that's mainly because TFL and Go Ultra Low Cities have made it easier for councils to deploy networks of lamppost charge points, which is how they work best.

Most street lights have a 25 amp incoming supply. The lighting circuit, even without the lantern being upgraded to LED, uses a smidgen of that capacity. 1 amp is typically sufficient and the installation of the charge point upgrades the fusing of the lighting circuit.
That's how we're able to provide 5.5kW from +90% of our charge points.
Where the incoming supply is smaller, we're able to fine-tune the capacity in 0.3 amp steps (most of our competitors use cheaper components and can't do that which why some are set to 3.6kW only). And we can adjust the power rating remotely, i.e. no need to send an engineer with a screwdriver. (Again, most of our competitors use cheaper components...)

I understand your skepticism. Why would a street light have such a large supply allocated in the first place? But the reality is lamppost charging at ample power for overnight charging is technically viable. An average BEV charge is around 25kWh but it is not uncommon to see charge sessions of 65kWh. There are also lots of PHEVs charging taking only 6-8kWh.
See for yourself. Click on our map and you'll see the power rating of each charge point.

Hope that helps answer your concerns in point one. For your second point...

Lamppost charging (much like driveway charging) offers a huge potential benefit to the grid. That is the ability to shift the load required to charge millions of EVs to the wee hours of the morning when the grid has plenty of spare capacity and there is an abundance of electricity generation. All forms of low power, controllable charging make achieving the EV future cheaper because the grid needs less reinforcement. If you have 2 minutes, watch this video which explains that.

By comparison, charging at hubs tends to increase the burden on the grid. That's because people tend to charge during their commute which coincides with the peaks on the grid in the morning and especially the early evening. So these either need extra batteries on site or back up on-demand power generation which is typically fossil fuel (gas fired power stations or diesel back up gennerators).
Clearly there is no single solution and we need a mix of charging to cater for all forms of journeys, but the balance between low and high power charging has major implications for the total cost of infrastructure. And that has a major implication for all our electricity bills (or taxes) because that is how infrastructure costs are ultimately socialised.

It will be interesting to see what comes out in the Spending Review next week, but right now, this is where the government money is going for public charging.
  • There is £500m set aside for Project Rapid / the Rapid Charging Fund. This is the plan to enable more rapid chargers by funding upgrades to the grid. It funds the electrical supply upgrades only. So you don't actually get any charge points for that money, just the place to put them. As far as I'm aware, this scheme hasn't actually started yet.
  • There is £20m allocated to help councils provide on-street charge points for residents without driveways. The On-Street Residential Charging Scheme (ORCS) funds 75% of the total cost of the charge point, the installation works, and a full on-site warranty. Councils can choose what kind of charge points they support - rapids, free-standing kerbside charge points with a dedicated power supply, or lamppost charge points. They get a lot more bang for buck with lamppost charging.
There are other virtues inherent to lamppost charging.
It takes up much less pavement space. It is quick to deploy (physically). It reduces what councils call "refuelling journeys", i.e. a source of congestion. The charge points can be easily moved if the streetscape changes (e.g. new cycle lanes removing parking spaces). A network of many plugs is more resilient than a network of only a few. It enables PHEV drivers to do more of their miles on electric power as most PHEVs can only charge at 3.6kW.

Admittedly I am a little biased 😬, but I'm not blind to the challenges. The main one is they are easily blocked by other cars. We're working with councils to try address this problem. The answer is either:
  • install more so wherever you park on a street, you're within reach of a charge point
  • or dedicate the parking space next to it for EVs only.
Both of those have their pros and cons and are right for some areas and not others. Still early days and we are working it out.

Sorry if I've waffled on a bit. Hope that provides a constructive contribution to the debate.
 

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You have never toured with a caravan have you?
No. How did you guess?

I normally tow even more useless things:
137416


That trailer actually used to be a caravan, until we took an axe and welding torch to it!

(The family that used to live in it are safe and well, if a little scared).
 

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  • There is £20m allocated to help councils provide on-street charge points for residents without driveways. The On-Street Residential Charging Scheme (ORCS) funds 75% of the total cost of the charge point, the installation works, and a full on-site warranty. Councils can choose what kind of charge points they support - rapids, free-standing kerbside charge points with a dedicated power supply, or lamppost charge points. They get a lot more bang for buck with lamppost charging.
What does £20m buy in this space? For a national infrastructure project that sounds like an incredibly small amount of money.

My scepticism isn't that it is impossible to install on-street overnight charging across the UK, it's that it will cost a lot of money and I don't know where that money is coming from.
 

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Thanks to SLR for a very useful post, and I'm sure lamppost charging will become an important part of the solution, but I share loggamatt's concern about the actual resources allocated.

My nearest city (Portsmouth) has a reasonable number of ubitricity charge points looking at Zapmap, and I see that for just turn up users the rate is 23p per kWh which I have no issue with. But I've been unable to find out from their web-site the potential charges available on their range of 'mobile electricity contract and tariff'. Even during the day on Agile I could normally charge in the 8/9/10p range [although I don't ;-) ] and there is still the concern that on-street charging will penalise that group of users.

Unless I am getting one of the ferries I usually get to the centre of cities like Portsmouth and Southampton by train, which highlights that we have an issue with transport solutions, not just car charging.
 

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so fit a generator onto the caravan chassis to supply the EV when it is towing
Less polluting to fit the caravan with a bank of batteries to extend the range of the towing vehicle. Batteries can then be trickle charged at the campsite. No need for a prototype, it's already been done in America about 4 years ago.
 

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Less polluting to fit the caravan with a bank of batteries to extend the range of the towing vehicle. Batteries can then be trickle charged at the campsite. No need for a prototype, it's already been done in America about 4 years ago.
Agreed that's the green way to go.

A couple of snags, though. It will increase the weight of the caravan by a fair amount so increasing the necessary size of the tow vehicle and probably creating trouble with the present license restrictions of gross train weight.

Still a great business saving opportunity for a caravan manufacturer.
 

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Yes, there’s probably a market for a Powerwall type installations in caravans. Maybe even deployable solar.
 

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Less polluting to fit the caravan with a bank of batteries to extend the range of the towing vehicle. Batteries can then be trickle charged at the campsite. No need for a prototype, it's already been done in America about 4 years ago.
Is it less polluting? Caravans aren't like cars being used every day, many will see a lot less miles, being used several times a year to go away on holiday and spending most of the rest of their time in storage, to the point where you'd have to ask whether the carbon footprint from a battery pack would be covered by the CO2 savings from relatively few journeys during their life.

This idea that electric vehicles are less polluting relies on the higher upfront manufacturing emissions being covered by lower lifetime emissions, which relies on a vehicle doing sufficiently high mileage during its life. But when you get to edge cases like vehicles doing low mileages, or being used very occassionally them sometimes the balance tilts in the opposite direction; using a technology with lower production emissions but higher in-use emissions.

In reality the huge cost of fitting an electric drive train and battery to a caravan means this is unlikely to be viable for many years to come, people will just stick with a diesel.
 

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No. How did you guess?

I normally tow even more useless things:
View attachment 137416

That trailer actually used to be a caravan, until we took an axe and welding torch to it!

(The family that used to live in it are safe and well, if a little scared).
Is that a troll corpse on the trailer, or a live one? Unless it's an ogre?
 

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Is it less polluting? Caravans aren't like cars being used every day, many will see a lot less miles, being used several times a year to go away on holiday and spending most of the rest of their time in storage, to the point where you'd have to ask whether the carbon footprint from a battery pack would be covered by the CO2 savings from relatively few journeys during their life.

This idea that electric vehicles are less polluting relies on the higher upfront manufacturing emissions being covered by lower lifetime emissions, which relies on a vehicle doing sufficiently high mileage during its life. But when you get to edge cases like vehicles doing low mileages, or being used very occassionally them sometimes the balance tilts in the opposite direction; using a technology with lower production emissions but higher in-use emissions.

In reality the huge cost of fitting an electric drive train and battery to a caravan means this is unlikely to be viable for many years to come, people will just stick with a diesel.
I think that the idea was to have additional batteries in the caravan and connect them to the car. No drivetrain in the caravan.

However the bulk of the production emissions would be in the batteries anyway.
 

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Caravans - is that likely to turn out to be the biggest obstacle to EV ownership? Most get used 2 or 3 times a year an either blot the view parked outside houses or gather moss in a field.
I much prefer a touring holiday staying at budget hotels, so the sooner they all get charging facilities the better.
 

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There is already gathering momentum for delivery vehicles to switch to electric (I saw my first one the other day - UPS I think) so why do people believe that in ten years time it won’t be possible to have an electric car capable of towing a caravan? Doesn’t sound much of a challenge to me.
 
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