What should the BVS be for?... in a mass market EV world.

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James Hubbard
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What should the BVS be for?... in a mass market EV world.

Postby James Hubbard » Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:07 pm

I have been thinking. Especially since receiving the last few BVS Magazines. When I joined the BVS five or so years ago, there seemed to be many members who were very vocal about the need for manufacturers to take electric cars seriously, in a mass market sense. "Who killed the electric car" was new and some really seemed to think there was a conspiracy against electric cars. We now know that the manufacturers were working on stuff they just did not want to talk about at the time.

Today, we know that EVs are going to be (are) a fact of life. Yet the BVS review seems to focus on basic DIY EVs, some ideas for future electric vehicles (not all of them likely to ever be manufactured, it must be said) and old electric vehicles (Enfields, Invalid carriages etc). Just recently I was talking to someone very senior at a well known car manufacturer, who expressed interest in the BVS. I was too ashamed of the review to show him a copy, because it is pretty much irrelevant (and very poorly produced).

If this is what the members of the BVS really want, then fine. But I'd like to ask if that really is what all members want though, and ask whether the purpose of the society should be debated and / or redefined? As a member with a modern EV, I find the review mildly interesting but sad to say, increasingly irrelevant. So am I alone in thinking this cannot be what ALL the members want the BVS to focus on?

There seem to be lots of members who are passionate about EVs, but any campaigning fire in our belly possibly disappeared at about the time it became clear that manufacturers were starting to do what we wanted them to
do. Yet there is much to be done to make EVs a truly practical proposition. For example should we not, with all the expertise and passion that exists within the BVS be agitating for nationwide EV charging points? Should we not be seen as THE expert advocates for EVs? Should not news items on EVs regularly feature interviews with our press officer? Do we even have a media-savvy press officer? Should we not be campaigning for standard format swappable batteries? Use of bus lanes? Nationwide charging points? Cheap electricity tariffs for charging EVs?

As far as I know, no other paid-for UK member organisation is taking on the challenge of accelerating the normalisation of EVs. If the BVS is not the right organisation to do this, then who is? Or is it always going to be an organisation focussed on just DIY and classic (dare I say redundant?) electric vehicles?

I know what I would like my membership subscription to support. Anybody else with me on this? Have I touched a nerve? Or am I just out of touch with the vast majority of members?

James

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Night Train
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Re: What should the BVS be for?... in a mass market EV world.

Postby Night Train » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:13 pm

I must admit that I feel the same, especially with the BVS review.

I have been on the forum a while but paid membership last year to see if it produce anything more useful.
I doubt I will pay this year.

I think the BVS does have a presence but it also does seem low key in the grand scheme of things. Apart from the large presence of Berlingo ownership there doesn't seem to be much more then that that would capture the imagination of the average person.

I even get most/nearly all of my conversion and build advice and support from DIY electric car.com

I don't know what the answer is.

Maybe this is a chance to discuss where the BVS could be going before it gets left behind.

clnbrtltt
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Re: What should the BVS be for?... in a mass market EV world.

Postby clnbrtltt » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:49 pm

We are also disappointed with the BVS Review.

We feel that the BVS is not really going anywhere now. Plugged In was great but since then...................

We are seriously thinking about not renewing our membership also.
Proven 6kW Wind Turbine
3.8 kW Solar PV

duxuk
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Re: What should the BVS be for?... in a mass market EV world.

Postby duxuk » Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:53 pm

I agree with the above. I too have strayed to DIY electric cars for advice, help and a sense of community.

I do like the sound of swappable, standardised battery pack though. I thought about it when I first considerd an EV a few years ago but have never heard anyone suggesting that it could happen.

I think the BVS has aged along with it's older members. Unless new blood comes along I'm afraid The BVS will be doomed. Some members seem to have a superior, high handed attitude. Never encouraging or even advising. Just telling you your wasting your time and money.

Does anyone in the BVS have a high mileage, reliable EV other than a Berlingo?

I have built a DIY EV but what we really need is mass produced EVs with ways to OVERCOME the range issue. This will only be partly addressed by a charging network since we can't generally afford to break a journey every 50-100 miles for hours of recharge.

I have seen BVS displays at kit car shows and I must say that however well intentioned the efforts are, they will not attract favourable attention.

What is most likely to happen is that the major manufacturers will compete for market share. The best vehicles will sell in reasonable numbers but I doubt we will see EVs accounting for anything like a majority share of the car market. We may be increasingly held to ransom by unsavoury regimes who posses oil reserves. Public transport can never answer our mobility needs. I would need 4 hours to get to work by public transport. It's only 27 miles but no sensible connections exist. Perfect journey for an EV however! I just hope my self designed, self built effort can make it reliably, day after day. I will recharge at work. I have recently used only my self designed and built ICE reverse trike to do the journey but it's costing me £40 per week for feul alone.

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Jeremy
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Re: What should the BVS be for?... in a mass market EV world.

Postby Jeremy » Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:11 pm

The problem is more to do with society and the globalisation of manufacturing than the BVS, in my view. There was a time, years ago, when a special interest group or society had some chance of being able to influence development of products that were designed and built within the sphere of influence of that society. Nowadays, any special interest society will struggle to exert any influence, unless it has a large global following. Even then, I can't see even a really big group influencing the thinking of major motor manufacturers.

For what it's worth, the BVS is not alone in fading away and becoming an ageing group of people supporting mainly ancient technology. My interest over the past year or so has been in developing a light weight, efficient, electric propulsion system for boats. I now have a working system, after much trial and error, that promises to be around 20% more efficient than anything else around. It uses fairly modern technology, and may allow an inland waterways day boat to cruise on solar power alone. Naturally, I took a look at the BVS' "sister" organisation, the Electric Boat Association. Rather like the BVS it seems to be an association dedicated to keeping old technology alive and well, with little sign of any interest in anything new or novel. The EBA doesn't even have a discussion forum on the web - they still do everything via snail mail newsletters!

It's interesting to see how vibrant some of the truly global electric vehicle groups are. I spend a fair bit of time on the Endless Sphere, because there are thousands of members, spread right around the globe, many of whom are actively collaborating to use new electric technologies in novel ways. There are even members there designing and building motors and controllers, with a real sense of a community of like minded folk who want to cooperate in developing electric power systems. The Sphere isn't alone, either. Some of the electric vehicle forums are almost as well supported, hence the reason for some on here tending to use them rather than this forum.

I think the simple answer is that the world has moved on and the days of a national society are over. The future is global cooperation via the internet, whether we all like it or not.

I let my BVS membership lapse, not because of any strong feeling about the society, but simply because I got several orders of magnitude more from free membership of the Sphere. As a consequence, I'm far more likely to contribute there than here, as the likelihood is that the response will be much greater.

Jeremy

arsharpe
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Re: What should the BVS be for?... in a mass market EV world.

Postby arsharpe » Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:38 pm

I agree that the aim of the BVS does need to be reviewed and also that members should be more involved in the future of the BVS. Hopefully, with the upcoming AGM and the possibility of a new chair-person ;-) , personally I think it will be the make or break for the society. Certainly for me anyway.

tim.strutt
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Re: What should the BVS be for?... in a mass market EV world.

Postby tim.strutt » Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:36 pm

Thnx for raising this - I see this as a chance to discuss and set out an agenda for the future.

Whats the future hold "in a mass market EV world" - You only have to look at the effort some of us are going to to keep the Berlingos going to realise that a new wave of EV enthusiasts are just around the corner who will have a steep learning curve when they go down the DIY maintenance route, as they will.... Then there are those who can not afford to buy a Leaf or Miev, even second hand -whatever they will resell for - but want to take advantage of the new personal transportation epoc we all crave.

So my thought is if we look forward we are at the start of a transitional phase to wider EV ownership, if we can look say six or so years away, I see a real niche for the BVS - Someone commented on here how BVS stood for Berlingo Vehicle Society, imagine what adding a Leaf, Miev and numerous BOYD foras would be like... I'm not suggesting for one moment that legacy, DIY builds, Ecycles are dropped, or even sidelined, but we should perhaps open up a bit to where things are going, and yes if at all possible have a higher visibility.

Mass market is just around the corner, possibly, but in the mean time, heres a quick list of some of the issues I personally have come up against recently - the battle is by no means over, are we about to sit back and let the years of insight / experience contacts network fade away. As an electric vehicle enthusiast, I personally would like them debated, assessed and, if possible taken up - if thats not being too militant :twisted: .

I've recently been in conversation with the SMMT about a plan they have to provide training on how the emergency services need to take into account more EV's on the road. Its planned to come in "for the end of the year", to coincide with the rebates here in the UK starting 2011. I pointed out how that is "ambitious" to get all the FRA's onboard and have all front line staff trained - it takes many months to get a new SOP evaluated, let alone implimented in my experience!....

Taxes - how HMGOV are going to tax EV usage, if we don't organise we will all see telematics devices tracking our every movement, and they (hmgov) may well blame EV takeup - Anyone else wondered about Smart metering, don't trust previous Gov at all. I've toyed with a flat rate charge per mile each year, taken from MOT data, and any local ANPR charges for towns... Infrastrucure already there, and no need for significant additonal technology, or Big brother snooping.

DIY - Am I the only one whos waiting for the first "EV Technician certification" bill? Just waiting for some missive that you will have to have security tags on the varius HV components that need to be inspected at MOT time to stop "tinkering" except by certified technicians...

Anyone else interested/concerned about the "Noise" that Nissan have just announced their Leaf will emit to warn feckless targets, sorry pedestrians that an EV is near? I still carry a bicycle Bulb horn in the drivers door just in case/ for entertainment, but do I want mandated a 1980'S "KIT" swoosh noise on my EVs?

Charging.....

The question is as you quite rightly pose - "what should the BVS be for?", perhaps it should be rebranded as the EVS?

I'd also however like to add a thank you to all those who endeavour to keep the BVS going - thank you.

Its BVS night this Wednesday in Altrincham @ the slug and lettuce - if I have the dates correct. Tim Mary et al, if you're reading this, mines a fat free coke ;-)

Tim.

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Jeremy
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Re: What should the BVS be for?... in a mass market EV world.

Postby Jeremy » Tue Jun 15, 2010 6:58 am

Lots of interesting points here. One thing occurred to me whilst reading this thread over breakfast. What are the most popular battery powered vehicles in the UK and are they represented here?

My guess is that the most popular battery powered vehicles are electric bicycles, as they seem to be popping up everywhere I look.

Second most popular is probably the Gwhizz, again as there seem to be a fair number of them whizzing around town.

Third most popular might be some of the electric scooters that seem to be selling reasonably well now.

I'm guessing that the next most popular battery powered vehicles will be utilitarian vehicles, like fork lifts, milk floats, electric delivery vehicles, self-propelled electric hoists etc.

I suppose we could stretch a point and suggest that hybrids like the Prius, Lexus and Civic are actually battery powered (at least in part) so perhaps they would top the popularity stakes.

I'm reasonably sure that I've probably captured around 90% of the battery vehicle market in the above list, although accept that the order maybe a bit awry (it is just a guess).

Now, the big question is: "How come the BVS doesn't seem to have a strong following from owners of ANY of the above?".

Somehow, the BVS has become sidelined. I know there are strong electric bicycle and hybrid car groups; I've got both an electric bike and a Prius and frequently read and contribute to a few forums dedicated to providing mutual support and help for these vehicles. I wonder why the BVS wasn't the group of choice for owners of these battery vehicles?

Jeremy

James Hubbard
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Re: What should the BVS be for?... in a mass market EV world.

Postby James Hubbard » Tue Jun 15, 2010 2:06 pm

arsharpe wrote:I agree that the aim of the BVS does need to be reviewed and also that members should be more involved in the future of the BVS. Hopefully, with the upcoming AGM and the possibility of a new chair-person ;-) , personally I think it will be the make or break for the society. Certainly for me anyway.


Sorry, I missed the announcement of the upcoming AGM. When and where is it? Thanks.

arsharpe
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Re: What should the BVS be for?... in a mass market EV world.

Postby arsharpe » Tue Jun 15, 2010 2:17 pm

Its in the latest BVR (http://www.batteryvehiclesociety.org.uk ... /vol34_05/) and is Sun 3rd October, 2.00pm - Society AGM (members only), Market Rasen Social Club, Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, LN8 3NR


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