Electrical Vehicle Campaign

General BVS related area
shelleywalsh
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Postby shelleywalsh » Fri Jun 20, 2008 11:23 am

JonSpence wrote:I just don't think that the 10 year target to achieve oil free transport is possible without HUGE changes.
The 10 year target wasn't in my original blog. I only chose it, because that is what Shai Agassi claimed his scheme would provide. He claims it would only need a 6% increase. If you don't think this is realistic, perhaps you need to look into his claims and debunk them.

But without understanding all the technical details this doesn't sound implausible. As is the transport sector represents roughly 25% of the energy use. Assuming the same efficiency that would take a 33% increase to accommodate all with electricity. But that's going to include air transport, shipping, and haulage, and public transport, when his plan is only about cars, so it's got to be considerably lower, half maybe? Then combine that with the claim I have heard many times of the increased efficiency of electric cars, and yes, it sounds a bit optimistic, but not totally over the moon.

Applying some of the arguments that environmental groups give for why (at least without EVs) we don't need nuclear, there's CHP (combined heat and power) which Greenpeace claims can double the efficiency of our existing power plants in order to buy time for developing renewables. Changing from coal to natural gas in the short term will also help with greenhouse emissions. It cuts them in half, and Norway has plenty of it. Yes, that too is offshore drilling, but gas is a lot more plentiful than oil. There's also CCS to help clean things up. These are things that should be done regardless of whether we convert transport to electricity or not, so we are not talking about a HUGE change coming from oil free transport alone. And perfection isn't necessary to solve global warming, just gradually substantial improvements. So I guess what I'm saying is that I agree with you, but that HUGE change has to happen anyway.

Of course there is the argument that if you are going to get your electricity from gas, why not just use it in your car. In the short time, this actually seems fairly sensible, now that LPG is readily available. (I'm seriously thinking about a conversion for my petrol car. Any thoughts and advice would be welcome.) The advantage of an EV is that it should be greener in the long term, as the electricity gets greener and greener. On the other hand, for the question of what to do with existing petrol cars, I'm gradually coming around to the idea that the best solution is to convert them to LPG. Any better ideas would be most welcome.

Worst comes to worse, though, I know my FoE friends would kill me for this, but it wouldn't be the end of the world if getting off the oil required a little more nuclear for the short term. Nuclear has its problems, but I just can't see that they are as bad as the problems of burning oil.

There is also the matter that EV batteries can be charged from excess power at off peak times. Denmark claims to be able to get the vast majority of their power for them from excess from their wind generators.

But yes, car use needs to be decreased no matter what we do. Even if cars ran on totally clean power like photosynthesizing plants that would be the case. The traffic problems and accidents, and a multitude of other problems associate with them won't go away. The important thing in supporting EVs is to face the fact that car use isn't totally going to go away, so we need to make it as clean and pedestrian friendly as possible so that cars don't take over and breed themselves.

I'm not the first to suggest that we can and should get off the oil asap. Take a look at David Sandalow's Freedom from oil if you get a chance. He analyzes a good number of options and concludes the PHEV is the best, but if you read the small print you see this is a compromise, and he really prefers EVs.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Freedom-Oil-Pre ... 802&sr=8-2

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geekygrilli
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Postby geekygrilli » Fri Jun 20, 2008 11:59 am

Hi Shelley

I too must apologise if I came over a bit rude in my post. I am pleased, however, that it was prompted JonSpence's post on electrical consuption required for the UK running on electric cars...

I also completely agree with the geek/nerd names, in fact a friend of mine said she would happily go out with a geek, but not a nerd!

Best regards

Christopher

bobc
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Postby bobc » Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:30 pm

Quite a few interesting points arising. The geek/nerd thing - the ones that use that sort of term as abuse are the ones who still expect you to fix their computer for them. So I reckon it's a reaction to their own feeling of inferiority due to their own stupidity or sloth. At school the term of abuse was "swot". Same deal. Even at a well respected grammar school it was generally seen as FAR cooler to be good at football than maths; I guess it's pragmatic to have ambitions within ones compass!
I think it's also self evident that oil will be burned all round the world until every last drop is gone & hang the environmental consequences. I'd have more sympathy with a "march" if a) anything would change as a result, b) everyone walked or cycled to it c) I didn't suspect that the main reason for organising it was "to get on telly". I'm afraid I'm one of those who is trying to improve my personal carbon footprint & not become a missionary of the cause!
As to the question of sustainable future transport systems - what about mains electric pickups in the main arterial routes to reduce battery requirements? surely someone must be researching/developing something. I reckon the coutryside will be predominantly rapeseed yellow, mostly for biodiesel & lots of nuclear. Houses will generally have photovoltaic roofing, maybe with integrated water heaters/cell coolers.
Good luck with the "rabble rousing" ;^) 'fraid it's not my cup of tea!

MalcolmB
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Postby MalcolmB » Fri Jun 20, 2008 1:42 pm

Great discussion. Just one point where I have to disagree (as yet another geek :)

There's also CCS to help clean things up.

Carbon Capture and Storage is not the panacea it's made out to be. It's just sweeping things under the carpet. It's unproven technology (except on a very small scale), it will divert massive amounts of money from technologies and incentives that would actually help solve the problems, and it takes even more energy to capture CO2 so it uses up even more resources.

shelleywalsh
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Postby shelleywalsh » Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:23 pm

Reading King and Walker's The Hot Topic got me away from thinking in terms of panaceas. It's about a little of this, a little of that.

But one possible panacea I have heard of, though, but it will take a lot of initial investment, is the idea of a geo-stationary solar power generating space station, transmitting the energy down in the form of micro-waves.

marktime
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Postby marktime » Fri Jun 20, 2008 7:22 pm

Joining this debate a bit late but here's my two penneth.

I'm not the first to suggest that we can and should get off the oil asap. Take a look at David Sandalow's Freedom from oil if you get a chance. He analyzes a good number of options and concludes the PHEV is the best, but if you read the small print you see this is a compromise, and he really prefers EVs.


This is a very telling statement, key word is comprimise, over night conversion of all personal transport to electric would be great but where would the juice come from?

In the interim what we need to think of is a mixed fleet, majority fosil fuel but declining, significant hybrid to help the oil adicts get over their craving,
increasing EV usage combined with increased use of renewables to generate the power and a smattering of alternatives; commpressed air, flywheel (stored kenitic), hydrogen (if you must) and even wood gas.

It will be a long slow process, there may not be enough time to do it painlessly but the best way to lead is by example.

MarkTime
Soft as Graphite, Hard as Diamond, Black as Coal & clear as CO2, It's a Carbon thing!

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qdos
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Postby qdos » Fri Jun 20, 2008 10:15 pm

You know it's really quite simple to make a massive improvement to begin with without having to change anything other than simply get a smaller car or ride a bike.

How many people use a bike ?
How many people actualy need a 4x4 ?
How many people realy need a people carrier ?

If we all simply use an appropriate vehicle for our journeys rather than falling for the sales pitch that bigger is stronger and safer. Then there's the rubbish that is put on to make you feel more important than the Jones' next door now that you have Active supension tuned into your traction control system so that you can go round that courner that tiny bit faster just to get a higher score on your latest Gatso Mug shot We'll all be much beter off.

How many journeys this week did you make with just one person in your car and how many spare seats were there ?

I've gone right down to a 2 cylinder 500cc car and it does me fine. Electric is comming up on the road shortly I hope. I'm not a nerd either as I used to drive BMWs and a Lotus too Mind you that probably makes me more a rude word than a nerd LOL

Oh one other question. When was the last time you got lost? Is a £100 Sat Nav system really neccessary ? I'm sure you're getting the gist of where I'm comming from :wink: What makes the world go around ? Didn't someone once sing a song about it?

JonSpence
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Postby JonSpence » Sat Jun 21, 2008 8:28 am

Where to begin.

Lets start with the fact that I didn't refute the Shai Agassi claims FOR HIS COUNTRY. In fact my back of the envelop calculations suggest that it might be less than a 6% increase in production of electricity for this country. Dare I point out that it is BOUND to be different depending upon the level of car ownership and the amount of electricity a country already generates and uses?

However you might just want to consider one statement that you made.

shelleywalsh wrote:There is also the matter that EV batteries can be charged from excess power at off peak times. Denmark claims to be able to get the vast majority of their power for them from excess from their wind generators.


The term off peak does not mean at night. It means when most people are not drawing lots of power off the grid. To be blunt if all cars were EV then charging them would very likely be peak demand, given the way that the majority of peoples lives are regimented.

In order to get anywhere close to what you suggest we would have to adopt "demand managemant". That entails the utility turning things off in your home when demand is high and turning them back on as demand reduced.

Denmark has done great things on the energy front from reclaiming heat from industrial processes for domestic heating to towns that only use renewable energy. But as Mr Scot said, Y cana change the laws of physics.

However as I think I said, electricity is not the main problem. You just would not believe the shortage of industrial metals. I recognise that you might not want to do the sums but a simple google will show what those dirty capitalists (like me) are talking about. Forget for a moment rare metals like lithium, nickel, cobalt etc that are used in batteries (though they are talking them). Shall we instead consider the coper for the electic motors. It has gone up 300% in three years, because we need more of it and there is less in the ground.

I know that you dislike the oil men, what of the copper men? China just bought a mountain in Peru. They are moving the people off it and are going to level it for the copper in it.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/world/americas/7460364.stm

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Peter Eggleston
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Postby Peter Eggleston » Sat Jun 21, 2008 8:52 pm

Copper mining used to be the biggest industry in Cyprus, but all the copper mines closed down because there was more money in tourism. The is still plenty copper in the ground.
Peter

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Peter Eggleston
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Postby Peter Eggleston » Sat Jun 21, 2008 9:19 pm

As qdos says, the general public have loads of money and love spending it on big expensive cars that drink gallons of expensive fuel. They must, otherwise they would use smaller economical cars which transport them from A to B just the same.
This is not the case with commercial vehicles, where the bottom line is important. Commercial vehicles are finding it increasingly difficult to make a profit because of high fuel cost. That is why I believe that the change to electric road vehicles will be led by the commercial vehicle sector.
On Tyneside we have the largest manufacturer of commercial electric vehicles in the world in Smiths Electric Vehicles which is part of the Tanfield Group. They have a new range of electric delivery vehicles covering payloads of 2 to 12 tons and a range of 100 miles between charges. They have been proved to be more economical and more environmentally friendly than diesel models. All that is needed is for the commercial vehicle operators to overcome their fears of something new and to make the change.
I think this change will occur more quickly in the USA as the Americans are always quicker to adopt something new. As it happens Smiths have just invested millions to open new commercial electric vehicle factories in the USA, so I think the change is about to start and happen.
Peter


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