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Thanks to @Mark J Constable on twitter yesterday I became aware that this was happening.

I haven't had chance to fully catch up, but I did take a glance at the "written submissions" to the future inquiry. The list of companies and groups making submissions so far makes it look like EVs and plugin vehicles really do have a fight on their hands (not that we didn't know this already).

Probably something all of us interested in the future of motoring should be aware of and taking an interest in...

http://www.parliament.uk/business/c...the-future/?type=Written#pnlPublicationFilter

 

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Interesting what the BPA say...

"Electric cars are becoming more common in Britain; however, the take-up of these vehicles is being hampered by the fact that there are not enough public charging points, particularly in car parks. Selling these vehicles is one thing but without the proper investment in infrastructure to support them, they serve no purpose."

I clicked onto their PDF in the hope that they were going to reveal that they would be installing charge points in their car parks as opposed to criticising the fact there aren't enough by a long chalk.
when someone claims "they serve no purpose" what they are really saying is, I (the writer of this piece) have no understanding of what ownership of an ev entails. Unless I am talking nonsense again, most ev miles come courtesy of domestic supply i.e. the ev owners' homes. That is how they serve a purpose.
 

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Interesting what the BPA say...

"... Selling these vehicles is one thing but without the proper investment in infrastructure to support them, they serve no purpose."
Investing in infrastructure that is not maintained or subject to unreasonable barriers to use also serves no purpose.
 

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I am about 1/3 through the submission pdfs and half way through the second day of the committee video. Still some way to go but I will have to save it to a laptop or tablet for viewing whilst charging later in the week.

The first thing is that fuels are peripheral to the main issue of "The government made a plan to introduce driverless cars in January 2015 and it is not likely to happen. Why?. The inquiry has broadened its scope but every now and then they have to steer it back to the main topic.

It is clear from the evidence given by the academics that the charging projects so far undertaken are akin to experiments. They threw the matter out to various authorities in the knowledge that each would go about in in a different way. Some would clearly fail and others hopefully would succeed. Some, we know, have adopted that familiar failure avoidance strategy of doing nothing:(. We also know that some organisations have spotted the flaws and exploited them. The witnesses have also ducked the question about whether they think OLEV is doing a good job. " there have been many changes in personnel.....:oops:."

I still have a long way to go and I will report back when I have got a better picture. Unless someone else here is mad enough to go through the various corporate wish lists that are clothed in submissions before I can:D.

I feel that the Guide dogs charity slightly missed the point and uses the enquiry to complain about the state of pavements (which is valid in itself) but misses out on the important issue that truly autonomous cars could empower some blind or partially sighted persons with mobility they currently cannot enjoy.

We should keep an eye on the committee as I am sure there is a lot more evidence to be heard over coming weeks (maybe months).

In the meantime if you want one enlightening insight into the future of cars see the submission of Pupils 2 Parliament gleaned from the wonderfully honest opinions given by 30 year-5 children. What they really want is toilets in cars and a time travelling car, and a seat that converts into a bed...What they hate is the smell of petrol:cool:
 

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In the meantime if you want one enlightening insight into the future of cars see the submission of Pupils 2 Parliament gleaned from the wonderfully honest opinions given by 30 year-5 children. What they really want is toilets in cars and a time travelling car, and a seat that converts into a bed...What they hate is the smell of petrol:cool:
Brilliant! @Paul Can we open this forum to some real 5 year olds - they may be able to raise the level of some of the conversations on here :p
 

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Brilliant! @Paul Can we open this forum to some real 5 year olds - they may be able to raise the level of some of the conversations on here :p
They were aparently "Year-5" pupils i.e 9-10 years old. That said I fully agree with the need for them to play a greater role in what is after all their future. Get them on the Parliamentary committees now!

Going back to the linked video I got nearly to the end (about 17:13) and they touched the nerve of charging infrastructure. The witnesses identified the problems of manufacture where being handled by the car manufacturers as well as they could be. Some have been innovative in their marketing (mentioning no names):D whilst others had just tried the same approach as with existing cars (also mentioning no names):rolleyes: with much less success. No Sweeties for guessing which was which:(.

Infrastructure however was suffering from the fact that those who were early into the market had laid out money for hardware and had no revenue stream at present. I guess we can all imagine that there is no revenue stream for most charge providers but I wonder who has really forked out for their hardware. Sorry children but I'm not awarding any sweeties for such an easy quiz:(.

Finally they mentioned that the difficulty is that with free parking and free charging it has been difficult for a commercial model to be accepted. We need to be weaned off the freebies. It almost sounded as though he was saying that the lack of viable infrastructure was down to us, the users.:mad: Now children, if you have too many sweets now you can only look forward to trips to the dentist and weight loss surgery in middle age.

BUT. (yes capital letters required). It was compared to the overnight shut off of incentives for LPG just as it was on the verge of major take-up. What was needed was a tapered reduction.

In answer to how incentives could be paid for especially in the light of a drop in VED from ULEVs being sold in larger numbers. (Funny I always thought the taxes went into a big bucket and were not earmarked for motorists). The response was that the adoption of EV's would be more than justified by the health improvements in our inner cities due to deaths and illnesses arising from particulates.

So the evidence ended with two large helpings of common sense. Hope somebody listens. Can I have some more please...
 

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It almost sounded as though he was saying that the lack of viable infrastructure was down to us, the users.
That's not quite fair. I believe the point was that it is difficult to build a viable business in an environment where users have been accustomed to getting something for free.

It's a point I agree with. If users had become accustomed to paying for charging earlier then it would be easier to attract investment for the deployment of chargers and we would most likely have better networks to show for it.

The other interesting point is how worthless all the data on usage patterns is because of cross-incentives like free parking. Nobody really knows if drivers were attracted by the charging infrastructure or just the ability to park somewhere handy for free. So in effect we've learnt very little from the free incentives as to what is really needed to encourage take-up.
 

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That's not quite fair. I believe the point was that it is difficult to build a viable business in an environment where users have been accustomed to getting something for free.

It's a point I agree with. If users had become accustomed to paying for charging earlier then it would be easier to attract investment for the deployment of chargers and we would most likely have better networks to show for it.

The other interesting point is how worthless all the data on usage patterns is because of cross-incentives like free parking. Nobody really knows if drivers were attracted by the charging infrastructure or just the ability to park somewhere handy for free. So in effect we've learnt very little from the free incentives as to what is really needed to encourage take-up.
Except of course for the large price premium vs equivalent Ice car that early adopters have paid to EVs/PHEVs. Depite the the so called "freebies" and recent increases the take-up of EVs and PHEVs has been woefully low due to this price premium. It's only when this premium disappears (or even reverses) will take-up accelerate to significant levels.

Having no incentives and high prices would have killed EVs/PHEVs from before they could really get established and they are still not at a level where incentives (including subsidised charging) can be removed.

There is no commercial charging model that makes sense until EVs are at mutiples of current volumes so if EVs are deemed the way forward they will need to continue to rely on subsidised infrastructure for the forseable future i.e. the next 10 years.

Given the support and subsidies enjoyed by the fossil fuel industry this only helps level the playing field.
 

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That's not quite fair.
I agree. That's why I said "it almost sounded as though..". First time I heard it I was taken aback and thought the worst. On the second time through it was clear he was moving towards the business argument. There may be one or two who hear it the first time and don't give it a second chance. Also why I used BUT in capitals to start the next sentence.

I'm still getting used to the immediate nature of this communication and the multiple ways things can be interpreted:). Could do with a few extra smileys - like one with a halo maybe? (and the opposite with a barristers wig?).
 

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Except of course for the large price premium vs equivalent Ice car that early adopters have paid to EVs/PHEVs.

There no argument against that - incentives of some form are required, but it would be nice if they were introduced in a way that we could learn something from what works and what doesn't.

Maybe free parking is all that is required. Maybe reducing the cost (by removing VAT) is all that is required. Combining free parking with free charging just resulted in data that shows people like to charge and park for free in city centres. Did we really need to subsidise the charging to get the same level of uptake?
 

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There no argument against that - incentives of some form are required, but it would be nice if they were introduced in a way that we could learn something from what works and what doesn't.

Maybe free parking is all that is required. Maybe reducing the cost (by removing VAT) is all that is required. Combining free parking with free charging just resulted in data that shows people like to charge and park for free in city centres. Did we really need to subsidise the charging to get the same level of uptake?
What proportion of Olev funded charging provides free parking as an added benefit (as opposed to the parking being free anyway) - I don't think it's the majority? I remember quite a few years ago that free parking (and charging) used to be offered in car parks in the City area of London and quite a few people working in the City bought a G-Wiz just to commute into the City and park for free. When free parking was removed G-Wiz sales fell off a cliff. The people buying them certainly valued the free parking much more than the free charging! This was obviously not sustainable even in the short term given scarcity of parking spaces in the City and free parking in areas where parking is expensive to me seems like a short term incentive that should be removed before subsidised charging (particularly rapid charging).

I do agree that most city centre slow charging has been a waste of taxpayer funds given low utlisation levels and would have been better left to market competition amongst hardware providers. Perhaps then we would not get situations where taxpayers are charged £12,000 for a 32A charger.
 

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Common sense is most unusual, normally there are too many vested interests ;)

The monitoring has been entirely pointless, as @fenlander quite rightly pointed out, the free parking is far more significant than the cost to charge.

Personally I believe that there is a viable business model for charging stations, but (and its a big but) like any industry that is in its formative stages, you have to bear the losses until the market catches up (Amazon being a good example). So in reality the pricing should start low to attract people to EV ownership, and slowly ramp up to a sustainable level over a 10 year period. In reality day zero wasn't very long ago (2011 probably), so we have another 7 years of subsidised charging whilst the user base grows.
 

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I still have a long way to go and I will report back when I have got a better picture.
As promised I have been through the rest of the submissions.

As is usual with this type of enquiry, the respondents often say what they want to say (it is their opportunity) rather than necessarily answering the questions set. On the other hand the questions don't ask for all of the information that is relevant to the issues in question. I have come across this before with various possibilities. In some cases it is due to a genuine lack of understanding of the topic that leads to restrictive and potentially misleading questions. The cynical may consider it is an attempt to steer the responses down a pre-determined path:rolleyes:. I don't think this is the case.

There seems to be a view that more government intervention is needed but equal reports that intervention seldom achieves what is needed.:confused:

One of the shortest and most relevant responses was from a cerebral palsy sufferer who not only highlighted the case for the disabled but put in some other valid points for the committee to consider in meriting autonomous vehicles.

I think that the committee could have done themselves (and readers) a favour and set a maximum length for the answers to specific issues which allowed respondents to introduce the essential additional subjects but not waffle on (as I am doing now:()

I suspect that it is only by reviewing the responses to the enquiry that the committee may actually discover which are the questions to ask.

It's a bit like asking for the answer to Life the Universe and Everything.

"I'm afraid you're not going to like it at all".:oops:
 
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