A couple of weeks ago the BBC ran a story titled “Climate change: Electric trucks ‘can compete with diesel ones.'” My (admittedly knee-jerk) reaction was that it was obviously a load of nonsense. (The argument is that (counter-intuitively) by shrinking the size of the battery you improve the truck. That reduces the range but supposedly makes the truck more cost effective.) Anyway I reined myself in and thought: “Jit, you can’t just reject the idea out of hand, you have to read the paper the story is based on with an open mind.” So I went to the journal “Joule” but couldn’t access the paper. Then I went to Google Scholar but couldn’t even find the paper. Instead I stumbled across an article called Electric Vehicles and Psychology by Fabio Viola*, lately published in the journal Sustainability. So I began to read that instead. What follows is a brief review.

1. Introduction

Car owners, Viola says, fret about the reduced range of an EV over a good old-fashioned diesel. What psychological tricks can be used to speed up the adoption of EVs? The plan to ban engines had

“…already put the comics industry in crisis, which has not yet found a single onomatopoeia for the noise of the cars. “Brooomm,” “Drooow,” “Vroom,” and “Roammm” are the standard noises, but now we will have to find something more significant than “Zzzz!”. The matter is serious. To solve the problem, the iconic German manufacturer of Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW) performance machines asked for the help of one of the greatest modern composers of movie soundtracks, Hans Florian Zimmer, to create a sound of electric cars worthy of the ICE sisters.”

Yes, that Hans Zimmer^. But there was more. The weedy sound of a Porsche EV could be enhanced by artificially-generated grunt.

“The same philosophy [generating artificial noise for an EV] has been adopted by Porsche in its Taycan luxury electric sports car. The buyer can, in fact, decide to add the Electric Sport Sound to his car, an optional item with a cost of EUR 500, which adds a real soundtrack, both inside and outside the car.”

By soundtrack I don’t think he means REO Speedwagon. An alert is required under EU law, but car makers don’t want people to notice that their car merely exists. They want people to notice that their car is Rarrrghh.

“If the reader is looking for simple answers, the author does not recommend reading the subsequent sections, as few paradoxes are solved.”

Naturally I read on.

2. Finding Early Adopters

Where new tech is concerned you can either be an Innovator, an Early Adopter, in the Early Majority, in the Late Majority, or you can be a Laggard. I’m in the last group, which has to be dragged kicking and screaming to the EV shop:

“The descriptor says it all! Typically, they prefer traditional ICE and will adopt new EVs when there are no alternatives. Laggards are convinced of machinations and have their own ideas on everything, often supported by pseudoscientific reasoning.”

Well, we’ll see. The important people are apparently the second lot, the Early Adopters, the opinion formers, the YouTubers, Instagrammers, etc. There is seemingly a “chasm” between the Early Adopters and the third group, the Early Majority, into which some innovations fall, never to be seen again (possibly the Sinclair C5 did not manage to power itself far enough upslope to even reach the precipice, and the Thingummywig must have crawled into a drain before the Instagrammers latched onto it, or before it latched onto them, face-hugger style). Anyway we need the shiny Early Adopters to cajole, encourage, and generally harass the rest of us into jumping on the EV bandwagon.

3. Chicken or egg paradox

This particular paradox is no paradox at all for anyone who has heard of evolution, because the ancestors of chickens were egg-layers. This particular version of the paradox is that folk are reluctant to get an EV until the charging infrastructure is in place. But no company in their right mind would invest in infrastructure when there are no EVs to charge. Paradox!

According to Viola, the “hegemony of the present” dictates that we human car users want to drive, refuel, and carry on driving. It’s what we’re used to, but it is no good for the Anthropocene. If there was a fighting chance of that being possible for EVs, it could only be done with battery swapping. But that would make the battery less well protected, and we all know what might happen when an EV battery gets bashed (see later).

Viola then enthuses about the panaro, the basket that Italians used to lower down from their windows to receive deliveries of bread. The EV version of the panaro is a jungle of extension leads depending from the high windows of tower blocks down to the street below. Dangerous, but it encourages EV adoption, so it gets two thumbs up. I think the upshot here is that although most charging events will happen at home, the most important infrastructure is still the motorway chargers, so that we stop worrying about…

4. Range Anxiety

If you asked me what my principal objection to EVs was, it might be range anxiety. It might also be that I don’t have a driveway, or that an EV costs more than a normal car, except second hand, when it goes for so little that the only conclusion is that the battery must be shot.

“By range anxiety we mean the anxiety of not succeeding, not reaching the goal, an anxiety of performance.”

This particular anxiety cannot be cured by a rhombus-shaped blue pill. Because the battery is the weak point, we overlook all the good things about EVs. Like the Zimmer soundtrack fitted as standard. Here Viola goes into an interesting aside about the way cars with an internal combustion engine displaced EVs, horses, shanks’s pony, etc, in the early 20th century. Initially EVs were better than petrol cars owing to the lack of reliability of the latter. Then the petrol cars started coming off a moving production line, their power increased by an order of magnitude, they were cheaper… and EVs were just too damn gendered. Men, it seemed, wanted grunt. EVs were not only gentle, they were simple to operate, so they were popular with the ladies (I am paraphrasing the history as given here, don’t shoot the messenger).

“…the limited range of EVs cooled the desire to undertake journeys into the wilderness.”

Where once we crossed the desert on a horse with no name, now we sallied forth in a Model T. Ford, Edison, Firestone and Burroughs went on camping trips, calling themselves The Vagabonds**. Naturally this was done in a convoy of petrol cars, not equines or EVs.

At its simplest, range anxiety happens when we have further to go than the dashboard tells us we can go. This is not usually a problem in a car with an engine that can be refuelled in 4 minutes and when there are petrol stations every 30 miles or so. Naturally when recharging takes a long time, it is preferable to do it at home, or at your destination. This makes abundant sense to me. But there’s a more insidious version of range anxiety, something to do with algae apparently:

“…a phycological anxiety arises “the distance to be traveled is below to [sic] the vehicle’s range, but users irrationally are worried about the possibility to finish the charge””

My apologies to Dr Viola, especially since his English is a hundred times better than my Italian, which is limited to “Ciao, bella!” (probably redundant language these days, even in Italy) and a variety of cussing that I picked up from an actual Italian, but can’t repeat here.

There is though yet another form of range anxiety: rhetorical anxiety. Viola discusses at length Hirschman’s The Rhetoric of Reaction: Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy as it applies to EV adoption. Intransigents, or conservatives, are opposed to innovation, but for irrational reasons. The first excuse we trot out for our knee-jerk opposition is the Perversity of the entire project: EVs are charged by fossil fuel anyway, so what is the point? Second, we cry Futility! Buying an EV won’t change the world, so why the hell should we bother? Third, EVs place us in Jeopardy. They are too expensive: we don’t want to burn money on an EV when we could be spending it on something particularly appealing to intransigents, bills for example. Jeopardy also comes into play with range anxiety, because we fear conking out in the middle of nowhere. All these objections seem perfectly rational to me.

But wait. There’s something we’ve forgotten. Most of our trips are actually quite short, so at least our fears re: conking out are groundless! Hm, yes, but if I want to drive to a city 200 miles away a few times a year, what am I going to do? Drive all that way, pull up in the hotel car park on my last electron, and find that the two chargers are both occupied?

Apparently we intransigents are naught but foxes, who declare that the out-of-reach grapes are unripe. That’s a reference to a fable I don’t quite grok. I mean, if the fox declared that some out of reach hens were unripe, or better overripe, a bit too stringy for his taste, I could see it. But how many foxes eat grapes, even if they’re ripe?

5. Things that go boom in the night (actually this section is called “My Cousin Told Me EVs Explode…”)

Here Viola argues that any crash that would cause an EV to auto-incinerate and cremate its occupants would be severe enough that the occupants would be dead anyway before they were burned to ash. So that’s all right then. EVs are a neat little self-extracting ACME funeral service machine if you crash them hard enough. They leave nothing unpleasant for the emergency services to clear up afterwards.

6. Viking Men Paradox

“(about Tesla) It’s a real housewives’ car. You can put all the groceries in the back, and your handbag between the seats in front. If you haven’t bought the stupid centre console, you can do that, at least. That’s what women wanted: a place to put their bag.”

I think that was a comment by a Viking Man. Men Want Big Truck. Women Want Handbag Place. Or something.

7. Autonomous Silver Vehicles

Crusties are going to be zooming around in robot EVs, statim. I mean the elderly are naturally going to gravitate towards these things, because they want to knit as they go, or they can’t see very well, or something, all very demeaning non-reasons which I reject out of hand.

8. Marriage or Cohabitation?

Don’t have an arranged marriage with your EV. Shack up with it first, and you will grow to love it. Then you can marry it. Try one and you will be pleasantly surprised.

9. Conclusions

“The advent of Tesla connected the male and female worlds: for enthusiastic males, the Tesla was a technological advancement akin to that from a Nintendo Entertainment System (1983) to a PlayStation 3 (2006), while for enthusiastic women, it was a refined place to put the handbag.”

Unfortunately for EV enthusiasts, finding psychological ploys, or even phycological ploys, to make people believe that EVs beat cars with an engine relies on a healthy dose of petitio principii. The assumption made is that EVs are better, and that resistance to them is therefore irrational. Well, I like to think of myself as rational, and I also like to think of myself as a very small part of the resistance. If I ever have an EV, it will be because the fuel duty/VED of petrol cars has become so punishing that they have been completely driven off the road. Or maybe dragged off the road. Or maybe left on the side of the road to rust into millions of sad little heaps. And as an intransigent, even if I can’t drive a petrol car any more, I might just walk instead, and sneer impotently in the direction of that BMW whizzing past with its Zimmer soundtrack blaring out.

REFERENCES

* The paper

**A bit about the vagabonds

^ Perhaps in embarrassment, BMW have deleted the story about Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack for their EVs, so you have to go to Archive.org to find it.

71 Comments

  1. Presumably, ‘depending from’ should be ‘descending from’. Autocorrect can be such a pain.

    I like to think of the introduction of EV as a transportation autocorrect. We know what we mean to do but someone knows better.

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  2. “I want to drive to a city 200 miles away a few times a year” encapsulates the problem with all the clean and green solutions offered. That sums up my problem with ECs – several times a year I take long trips carrying a big load. Elsewhere the Texas electrical system worked most of the time except when the cold every ten year extreme happened – then disaster. Air source heat pumps for my home may work most of the time but don’t work when I need the heat the most. The arrogance of those who think our concerns about 24- 7 reliability are unwarranted is the true irrational position.

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  3. I live in a small market town, so mostly walk around town. I don’t need an EV for local town journeys. I make a lot of long journeys, whether for holidays or visiting and supporting relatives. An EV wouldn’t begin to work for me, as things stand. My diesel car averaged 67mpg yesterday while making a long journey to support my elderly mother, and the journey used about 1/4 of a tank-full. I couldn’t have got there and back on an EV charge.

    Rejecting an EV on those grounds alone is perfectly rational. That’s before one considers the cost, potential problems with batteries, and the problems for the National Grid if we’re all driving EVs and depending on unreliable “renewables” to provide all the extra electricity that will be needed.

    Oh yes, and what WILL the Government do to replace all the lost diesel/petrol duty and VAT?

    And how are people without drives and garages going to charge their EVs without a massively expensive infrastructure of rapid charging points?

    All rational objections, IMO. For those with a garage and/or drive, and the ability to have a charging point at home, who only drive short distances, fair enough, if they can afford the extra cost of virtue-signalling (and it IS extra cost, even after all the poorest taxpayers have helped to subsidise the virtue-signalling). For everybody else, forget it.

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  4. If anyone has read to the bottom but has not clicked to hear the Zimmer “soundtrack,” you must.

    @John, my writing has a number of acknowledged weaknesses. It has a lightness that may be incompatible with the seriousness of the topic at hand. It also incorporates words or senses of words that should have been retired around the same time as the matchlock. The fifth sense of the verb “depend” at the free dictionary:

    Archaic To hang down: “And ever-living Lamps depend in Rows” (Alexander Pope).

    @Roger, I once saw a petrol tank described as “an organic battery that gets lighter as it discharges.” Seemed like the perfect way to power a vehicle to me. You can even keep instant recharges for the “batteries” in the shed in jerry cans, just in case.

    @Mark, one thing I didn’t have room for was Viola’s admission that, in a lot of circumstances, the uptake of electric vehicles has been by middle-class families as a second car. They can drive into town and back without fear of conking out, they can virtue-signal to their hearts’ content, and they still have the Audi A4 to drive to see the rellies up north. No VED, no fuel duty, easy home charging, what’s not to like?

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  5. @Paul. Try putting that search into youtube. It seemed to me that the connection between the archive page and youtube had broken.

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  6. “bmw zimmer soundtrack” retruns a few things in YT – more than 16 secs – with audio commentary. Second choice even longer talking head …

    I like music but not such a fan of BMW tho I had one as a company car …

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  7. “UK must do better over electric cars – MPs”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-57160298

    “The government has no plan to meet the “huge challenge” of persuading motorists to switch to electric vehicles, MPs have warned.

    The Public Accounts Committee said the official target of banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 could be missed without urgent action.

    It also argued that electric vehicles were still too expensive and there were not enough charging points.

    The government said it was on track to meet its targets.

    A spokesman said It was investing £2.8bn to help the car industry and drivers make the switch to electric.”

    Translation: A Government spokesman said it was wasting £2.8Bn of taxpayers’ money to try to persuade taxpayers to buy a product that they neither need nor want, and which in many cases doesn’t work for them.

    “Sales of electric vehicles are by far the fastest growing segment of the car market, but they still only account for only 11% of new registrations.

    The committee warned that this would not get to 100% unless prices fell and charging infrastructure was installed quickly.

    Only 13 electric car models on sale in the UK at the moment cost less than £30,000, its report said.

    It pointed out that the majority of charging took place at home and claimed the government had not focused enough on helping people who do not have off-street parking.

    The committee also said the government needed to develop the skilled workforce and electric power infrastructure needed to support the transition.”

    Goodness knows how much this pointless piece of international virtue-signalling is going to cost in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “Ford launching electric F-150 truck in ‘huge’ shift for low-emission vehicles
    F-150 Lightning will be most powerful version of vehicle in lineup as Biden says ‘The future of the auto industry is electric’”

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/may/19/ford-f-150-electric-pickup-truck-low-emission-vehicles

    “Ford will launch the electric version of its bestselling F-150 pickup truck on Wednesday, a move that automotive experts called “huge” deal for the shift to low-emission vehicles.

    Joe Biden has pushed for the US to become the world leader in electric vehicles and has proposed spending $174bn of his $2.3tn jobs and infrastructure package to promote the transition from fossil fuels.

    Ford’s F-Series has been the US’s bestselling vehicle since the 1970s. Last year the company sold 787,422 of the vehicles, a disappointing slide amid the coronavirus pandemic from the 896,526 units it sold in 2019, but the number still made it easily the bestselling truck in the US.

    The latest version of the truck will be officially unveiled on Wednesday evening, timed for the California market, which is the largest electric vehicle market in the US.

    The new F-150 Lightning is seen as being so important to the electrification of the US car pool that the president visited Ford in Detroit this week to promote his plans to overhaul the nation’s infrastructure and promote electric vehicles.”

    Right at the end of the article:

    “But the US must tackle significant infrastructure issues if the F-150 and other electric vehicles are to become mainstream. While China has 800,000 public charging locations, the US has only 100,000. Meanwhile Republicans are pushing back against the size of Biden’s infrastructure plan.”

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  9. Mark, I dunno much about the F150 Lightning but I have discovered that thanks to a question from Joe Biden we now know the battery will weigh 1,800 lbs.

    I am also quite confident that it will cost more than the regular version. And a pound to a penny not many people who actually need a truck for their livelihood will buy one over an ICE.

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  10. “Car buyers still sceptical about going electric, says Ford boss”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57200593

    “Consumers are still sceptical about electric cars and switching from petrol and diesel remains “a real challenge”, the boss of Ford UK has told the BBC.

    Lisa Brankin said more government support for the electric car market would be needed ahead of a proposed ban on new petrol and diesel sales in 2030.

    Research from energy regulator Ofgem suggests 6.5 million households plan to buy electric cars by 2030.

    But the number of electric vehicles (EVs) currently in use remains low.

    Research from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) found EVs account for just over 1% of the 35 million vehicles on UK roads.

    However, numbers are increasing, with sales of battery-powered vehicles more than doubling last year while the number of plug-in hybrids also grew by more than a third.

    But Ms Brankin, managing director at Ford of Britain and Ireland, told Radio 5 Live’s Wake Up to Money programme many customers were sceptical about buying an electric vehicle. The carmaker is still the leading manufacturer in the UK in terms of vehicle sales, according to 2020 figures from Statista.

    “We did a survey looking at customer attitudes and we saw that just over 10% of customers were actively considering a battery electric vehicle as their next purchase,” Ms Brankin said.

    “Most other people were still concerned about a number of things – range, the charging infrastructure, the lack of information available to customers and obviously the price as well.

    On the cost of electric vehicles, she said: “We do recognise that that is an issue and that’s why we’ve been calling on government to continue to support the whole range of battery electric vehicles.

    The government’s goal to phase out vehicles which generate tailpipe emissions is part of a wider plan to make the UK carbon neutral by 2050.

    The RAC said in May the UK’s charging network would need to grow “exponentially” to cope as electric vehicle sales surged….”

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  11. “£300m investment to fuel electric car take-up”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57225856

    “The UK’s energy regulator has approved plans to invest £300m in low carbon projects including support for 3,550 charging points for electric vehicles.

    Ofgem said the funds would allow energy networks to build robust electricity infrastructure for installing charging points across UK motorways.

    It said while more people are buying electric cars, others are put off due to a lack of charging points near home.

    Ofgem said a wider charging network would help address “range anxiety”.

    The new funding will support the infrastructure needed to support 1,800 new ultra-rapid charging points at motorway service areas.

    There are currently 918 ultra-rapid charge points in the UK which can add a range of 100 miles to an electric car in around 30 minutes.

    The investment will also allow an additional 1,750 rapid charging points to be installed. In addition to motorways, cities and train stations will also see increased network capacity to support more charging points.

    In total, the UK has nearly 24,000 charging points, which have more than 41,000 connectors – or cables – that can be plugged into an electric car, according to electric vehicle app and website Zap-Map.

    “As drivers make the switch from petrol and diesel to electric, Britain’s cables, substations and other infrastructure need a massive upgrade to support this new demand for electricity,” Ofgem said.”

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  12. “This is how many electric vehicles there are in Cumbria”

    https://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/19326218.many-electric-vehicles-cumbria/

    “The number of Cumbrian drivers that are doing green and using electric vehicles has been revealed.

    Statistics from the Department for Transport show that 1,260 ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) were licensed across the county at the end of last year.

    This is an increase of 420 on the previous year when there were 840.”

    A 50% increase! How exciting. Yet out of a population around 0.5M, that’s a risibly small number. Especially when analysed in a little more depth:

    “Overall, ULEVs still only accounted for about 0.4 per cent of all vehicles licensed in Cumbria at the end of 2020 – below the UK average of 1.1 per cent.”

    And:

    “In Cumbria, 697 of the ULEVs licensed at the end of the year were battery electric vehicles – defined as zero emission.

    A further 510 were plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, which combine an electric motor with a petrol or diesel engine.”

    Perhaps the people of Cumbria know which way the wind isn’t blowing.

    Despite the obvious fact that the people of the UK don’t want these things in other than very small numbers (and then only thanks to the subsidy regime), we still get the same old tired nonsense from politicians:

    ““This is proof that more people are moving away from diesel cars, as we build back greener and clean up the air in our towns and cities,” she added.

    “With £2.8 billion of government support to encourage their take-up, there has never been a better time to switch to an electric vehicle.””

    And:

    “”With the climate emergency worsening, increases in electric vehicle sales are always welcome,” said Kerry McCarthy, Labour’s shadow minister for green transport.”

    Then there’s this:

    “Across the UK, about 431,600 ULEVs were licensed at the end of 2020 – an increase of 162,300 over the year.

    The majority of the spike – about 101,800 – were company-registered.”

    So most individuals aren’t buying them, most new purchases are by companies for tax/subsidy reasons. That’s going well, then.

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  13. First the hype:

    “Tesla Model 3 becomes most popular battery electric car on UK roads
    Surge in sales for US carmaker in first four months of 2021 pushes Nissan Leaf into second place”

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/jun/06/tesla-model-3-becomes-most-popular-battery-electric-car-on-uk-roads

    “The Tesla Model 3 has become the most popular battery electric car on British roads after a surge in sales, as the race to dominate the car industry’s new era heats up.”

    Then the reality:

    “As the cost of making electric cars falls, other carmakers are hoping to create truly mass-market cars that are cheaper than the Model 3, which at a minimum of £40,990 is still out of the reach of many. Volkswagen is rapidly ramping up production of its small ID.3 family car, while BMW hopes that the electric Mini, built in Oxford, will repeat the success of its petrol version.

    Despite the barrage of new electric models, the scale of the challenge of electrifying the UK’s fleet of 35m cars – and actually reducing CO2 emissions meaningfully – remains enormous. The number of Teslas on UK roads is only a tiny fraction of combustion engine models. In 2020 there were almost 1.6m Ford Fiestas in use in the UK, and 1.2m Ford Focuses, according to the SMMT.

    An electric car model will have to garner as many as 500,000 UK sales to make the top 10. The market for secondhand electric cars is growing quickly as the first generation of models is passed on but it will take years for electrics to trickle through to people who will not or cannot afford a new car.

    Carmakers also face a significant challenge in ramping up production of electric cars. Nissan on Friday revealed it had to delay the release of its Ariya electric SUV because of the global shortage of computer chips. Cars already use as many as 100 chips to control functions ranging from air conditioning to entertainment touchscreens, while electric cars are even more reliant on chips to control their batteries. Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, this week said on Twitter that prices were “increasing due to major supply chain price pressure industry-wide”.

    The industry is also concerned that efforts to electrify the fleet in the UK and elsewhere will also falter without more public investment in charging points across the country.”

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  14. “As NSW roads minister, I know we have to incentivise electric cars
    Andrew Constance
    A road user charge for EVs should be many, many years off. Not before we have a reasonably priced market”

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jun/10/as-nsw-roads-minister-i-know-we-have-to-incentivise-electric-cars

    “…We can’t spend any more time, or expend any more energy, debating climate change. We need to take action now. It doesn’t matter if you think it’s real or not – regardless of your viewpoint, you will be a beneficiary of the innovation.

    An immediate way we can lead change is to increase the number of electric vehicles on our roads.

    What we have seen in Australia is too much concern around losing tax revenue. There is a belief that as we scale up our electric vehicle market, we will see the dollars coming in from the fuel excise scale down.

    But we need to encourage, not discourage, change for the better. We need visionary thinking to deal with this issue. We need to incentivise the market. We need to see a variation in price points – the notion of electric vehicles as being only for the wealthy must be dispelled – and importantly, we need to do this here and now….”.

    If the people thought it was change for the better, they’d embrace it without the need for a carrot and stick approach from the Government.

    “I travelled to Oslo a few years ago to have a look at what is happening with electric vehicles there. ”

    Yeah, right. How did you get there? Was it really necessary to go? I have a pretty good idea what’s going on in Oslo with regard to electric vehicles, and I found that out on the internet without the need to fly half-way round the world (and back) to find out.

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  15. But how many foxes eat grapes, even if they’re ripe?
    For all your love of archaic language, have you never read the Song of Solomon (Canticles) chapter 2:15?

    John

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  16. An electric coach that was taken from London to St Ives to publicise greenwashingsustainability certificates during the G7 conference has managed to limp back as far as Cullompton, where with luck there’ll be a charging station that can cope with the coach’s big battery.

    3/4 mile from the services! 9% charge… don’t want to celebrate too soon, but…

    URL:twitter.com/ThePlanetMark/status/1404783568614838273

    Arriving into Cullompton Services! Whoop whoop!!!

    URL:twitter.com/ThePlanetMark/status/1404787660737204227

    One of two brand new charging stations at the Jamaica Inn was broken and the other was unsuitable, as was another at Launceston. The driver got the coach as far as Cullompton by doing 30mph on the flat and switching the motor off when going downhill so that gravity could charge the battery a little bit.

    Let’s hope the Cullompton charger works!

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  17. John, foxes are a literary goldmine (they feature quite heavily in Aesop’s fables), but their role in the Song of Songs is a mystery to me. Some of the vegetable references and that to a young hart are a little more obvious, but…

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  18. “UK could be left behind in the electric car race, warns report”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57490100

    “The UK risks being left in the slow lane when it comes to building electric cars, according to a new report.

    Influential green group Transport and Environment (T&E) says as recently as 2018, the UK produced roughly half of all electric cars built in Europe.

    But it claims a lack of investment by UK manufacturers means that by the end of the decade that figure will have fallen to just 4%.

    This comes at a time when the market is expanding rapidly.

    As a result, the Brussels-based non-profit says that, despite being one of the first countries to outlaw the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, the UK will be almost wholly reliant on electric vehicles imported from abroad.”

    Liked by 1 person

  19. “…the UK will be almost wholly reliant on electric vehicles imported from abroad.”

    OR, with a lot of luck, we simply won’t use them, considering the massive grid expansion issues, the massive problems of charging for much UK housing stock, and biblical sized environmental issues their battery production and later dead batteries are going to cause.

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  20. “Electric Cars: Is it time to buy one?”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-48108627

    “Electric cars are increasingly taking to our roads but many people still have reservations. Common worries include the price of the vehicles, where you can charge, charging times and the wider environmental costs of manufacturing them.

    Reality Check looks at how valid these concerns are.”

    I confess I haven’t watched it, but I suspect their idea of reality and mine are somewhat different. The fact that the public aren’t buying them other than in tiny numbers (despite the hype about massive percentage increases – a massive percentage increase on a small number is still a small number) suggests that the public agrees with me, not with the BBC. If they were such a good buy, we wouldn’t need the relentless campaigning to try to persuade us to buy them.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. “Brussels drafts death sentence for the internal combustion engine car
    Targets being discussed would end the sale of carbon-emitting cars by 2035.”

    https://www.politico.eu/article/brussels-mulls-dealing-death-blow-gas-guzzling-cars/

    “New cars powered by diesel and gasoline may have only 14 years left in the European Union, according to new emissions targets under discussion in Brussels.

    Three EU officials told POLITICO that the European Commission is debating setting a zero-emissions target for vehicles sold beyond 2035 — a huge shift from the current trajectory of industry standards that would mark a revolution for Europe’s automakers.

    The details sparked an immediate backlash from the politically powerful German car industry, which has been warning against the Commission’s intentions for months

    “That would not only mean the end of the internal combustion engine, but also the end of plug-in hybrids,” said Hildegard Müller, head of Germany’s VDA car lobby.

    The new rules would come under a revamp of the bloc’s car emissions reduction standards, part of the EU’s Green Deal plan to hit net-zero CO2 emissions by mid-century. The Commission is mulling upping the bloc’s 2030 target to mandate a 60 percent reduction in car emissions, compared to the current goal of a 37.5 percent cut. By 2035, that would rise to 100 percent, the three officials said.

    If the proposal makes it into the final text — due to be published on July 14 — it would then be considered by EU countries and the European Parliament. It’s likely to be heavily opposed by both industry lobbies and countries with economies that are heavily reliant on traditional carmaking.

    While many carmakers are starting to produce zero-emission electric cars, only Volvo and Volkswagen have strategies in place to transition to electric by the end of the decade, according to a new study from green mobility NGO Transport & Environment. VW unit Audi will reportedly stop selling internal combustion engine (ICE) cars in Europe from 2026.

    VW’s German rivals Daimler and BMW are among the least prepared to dump the ICE.

    The industry said the Commission’s plans would force a rapid switch to battery cars, without considering alternatives.”

    Like

  22. The real game plan is slowly being revealed:

    “Climate change: Set target to cut car use, minister told
    By Roger Harrabin
    BBC environment analyst”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57570010

    “Shifting to electric vehicles will still leave the UK with serious transport problems, a report has said.

    The IPPR think tank said emissions will fall, but the number of cars on the road will continue to grow.

    It foresaw a 28% increase in car ownership by 2050, leading to more jams and harm to the economy.

    But the government said it had plans to make transport greener and it was committed to offering people a range of travel options.

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in March that car use must shrink.

    The IPPR said Mr Shapps’ long-awaited Transport Decarbonisation Strategy should harmonise with this by committing to peak car ownership by 2030.

    Unless there is a change in policy, car ownership is expected to be driven up by a growing economy and increasing population.

    The IPPR% said failure to tackle this will have negative effects on:

    Health: Walking and cycling (when practical) are healthier than sitting in a car.
    Resources: An ever-expanding car fleet drains raw materials and energy.
    Urban space: Fewer cars would mean more trees, play space, and room for walkers and cyclists.
    Congestion: Traffic jams damage the economy and lead to demand for more and bigger roads.
    Inequality: Allowing current trends to continue will widen the social divide between those who own cars and those who don’t.”

    I liked the last one. Is the plan to reduce inequality by making sure nobody can use cars?

    Like

  23. “UK car industry ‘could lose 90,000 jobs without new battery gigafactories’
    SMMT says government must increase support for electric car production to German and US levels”

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/jun/29/uk-electric-car-industry-battery-factories-smmt-jobs

    “Up to 90,000 jobs could be lost in UK car manufacturing unless the government increases support for electric car production to German and US levels, the industry body has said.

    Industry leaders accused the government of being long on words but short on action to help the UK build capacity for electric vehicles, both to support the industry and reach climate emergency targets.

    Not only were more incentives needed for multinationals to build electric battery factories in the UK, but grants for consumers to purchase vehicles, and at least 2.3m charging points nationwide before the end of the decade, according to a new industry report.”

    And there I was thinking that the transition was a win-win, cost-free and all that. Instead it appears the taxpayer is going to be forced to pay for the costs of a transition to a form of transport that, by and large, the taxpayer doesn’t want.

    Like

  24. “Vauxhall set to announce Ellesmere Port electric van”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57700749

    Good news if it preserves jobs. I’m not against electric vehicles, just against being told I must have one when that won’t work for me half as well as my current diesel does; also I remain concerned at how the National Grid will cope if we’re forced to be reliant on unreliable “renewables” and we’re all driving electric cars.

    Yet again, though, we learn that taxpayer money is necessary to make this “win-win” work. Not so much of a win-win, then…

    “Fleet operators are increasingly turning to low-emission options because of the tax advantages they provide.

    For Carlos Tavares, the pragmatic and outspoken CEO of Stellantis, it offers a useful compromise. He has been scathing about the UK government’s plans to outlaw the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 – accusing them of destroying his company’s business model in the UK.

    Now there is a new business model – and with Mr Tavares having previously made it clear that future production in the UK would depend on what support the government could offer, it’s likely help from the taxpayer will be part of it.”

    Like

  25. “Electric cars: UK government urged to prevent ‘charging deserts’
    Competition watchdog investigates dominance of one provider across motorway service stations”

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/jul/23/electric-cars-uk-government-urged-to-prevent-charging-deserts

    “The UK’s competition authority has called for the government to intervene in the electric car charger market to prevent “charging deserts” and increase availability in locations outside London, which remain underserved.

    The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) also said it had opened an investigation into the dominance of one provider, Electric Highway, in the fast-charging network at motorway service stations.

    Electric cars are a crucial part of the UK’s plan to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 as part of its effort to alleviate the climate crisis, and the government announced in 2020 that sales of new petrol and diesel cars would be banned by 2030.

    However, the industry has long argued that much more public investment is needed to solve a chicken and egg problem: some consumers are put off from buying an electric car because of poor charger availability but charger companies are unwilling to invest until enough consumers have bought them.

    Forecasts cited by the CMA suggest the public charger network needs to expand by at least 10 times by 2030, from the current 25,000 to between 280,000 and 480,000 public charge points. A quarter of UK households – 8m – will be unable to install chargers at home.

    However, a study by the regulator published on Friday suggested Britons faced a “postcode lottery” for access to public chargers. Outside London there are only 1,000 on-street chargers across the whole of the UK, while within the capital there are 4,700.”

    Like

  26. “Hitting global climate target could create 8m energy jobs, study says
    Researchers suggest net increase would mostly occur in renewables sector, with decline in fossil fuels”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/23/hitting-global-climate-target-could-create-8m-energy-jobs-study-says

    “If some politicians are to be believed, taking sweeping action to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement would be calamitous for jobs in the energy sector. But a study suggests that honouring the global climate target would, in fact, increase net jobs by about 8 million by 2050.

    The study – in which researchers created a global dataset of the footprint of energy jobs in 50 countries including major fossil fuel-producing economies – found that currently an estimated 18 million people work in the energy industries, which is likely to increase to 26 million if climate targets are met.

    Previous research suggests that pro-climate polices could increase net energy jobs by 20 million or more, but that work relied only on empirical data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries and generalised the results for the rest of the world using a multiplier. But the data varies dramatically across regions, driven by differences in technology and rates of unionisation, among other factors. For instance, extracting 1m tonnes of coal in India takes 725 workers, versus 73 in the US.

    The latest analysis, published in the journal One Earth, combined such employment factors across a global dataset (including key fossil fuel, non-OECD economies such as Russia, India and China) with an integrated assessment model, which combines climate and economic estimates to predict the costs of climate change.”

    Apart from the fact that I don’t believe it, does it not occur to them that if they are correct, then either:

    1. More people producing energy means the process is less efficient and makes it more expensive; or

    2. If it isn’t to be more expensive, then these will be low-paid jobs?

    And at the end of the article, we get this:

    “Johannes Emmerling, an environmental economist at the RFF-CMCC European Institute on Economics and the Environment in Italy, another author of the study, acknowledged that the analysis did not account for the gaps in skills.

    People working in the fossil fuel industry do not necessarily have the expertise or the experience to carry out jobs in the renewable sector, but given that there are few estimates of jobs as the world aims to forge a greener future, the focus was on firming up estimates, he said, adding that skills were the next avenue of research.”

    All rather vague and pie-in-the sky, if you ask me. Still, it’s good for yet another headline.

    Like

  27. Mark, as you note, jobs in energy are a cost, not a benefit. You could employ a billion in energy if you wanted to. Give everyone an exercise bike and a dynamo, and pay them minimum wage to pedal as hard as they could. In fact if we get rid of diesel tractors we can increase employment in farming quite markedly.

    That academics can be so stupid, or so committed to the cause that they will just spout untruths deliberately, is a sad sign o’ the times.

    On the electric chargers, I am glad they note the chicken and egg paradox. However, I read today that installing electric charging points benefits from 100% first year allowance. That must soften the blow. Nevertheless, I suspect that there is no money in them. Why? Because nobody would use a motorway charger by choice. The only economic option and the only option reducing battery wear is to slow charge at home. What about long journeys? Well, as the head post notes, a lot of EVs are owned as second cars by folk who use their proper car for long journeys. And too, we hear constantly about how range is increasing. If that is true – I don’t know, but I doubt it – that makes public chargers less profitable. While we must go to a petrol station to fuel our petrol car, we never have to charge away from home if we have a) a home charger and b) sufficient range to get home.

    There were no shenanigans required to build the first petrol stations. Entrepreneurs saw a gap in the market and filled it. EVs are a dead duck.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. We bought a Model 3 Tesla a year ago. Its primary function is for local trips and we have a ICE SUV for longer excursions. I believe we are the low hanging fruit for EV purchases. It is a fun car for those who can afford it and can easily charge at home. We have never used a charger away from home. Tesla have a good network of nifty proprietary superchargers which are great for the wealthy but rather a waste of resources as they can only be used by Tesla owners.

    Once those people who have the wherewithal have bought an EV, I suspect that EV sales will slow significantly. The projections of future EV purchases I suspect are optimistic and should not be based on the rate of take-up by early adopters.

    Like

  29. Is there perhaps an analogy to be made with the replacement of the horse by motor vehicles? The gradual disappearance of stables, food suppliers and veterinarians, and their replacement by garages, petrol stations and mechanics. Some jobs, you could hardly call them professions, like horse dung removers, would go by the board..

    Like

  30. Alan, I think that’s a very reasonable analogy.

    The big difference is that people adopted (petrol-fuelled) motor vehicles en masse, and the private sector rapidly moved in to provide the necessary facilities in the form of garages, petrol stations etc. No Government subsidies, neither carrot nor stick, were needed, because they were so obviously an improvement on the previously available form of transport (horse and cart). EVs aren’t taking off in the same way, nor are charging facilities being rapidly supplied by the private sector, because they lack that necessary element of being an improvement (for most people) on what already exists. For some people EVs are a good idea, and that’s fine. For most people, what we already have does the job better and more cheaply.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. As seen in the Guardian weekend magazine Saturday – an advert for the Renault Zoe at the stellar price of “£199*/month”.

    The * leads to the small print – so small it is almost unreadable:

    Metallic paint shown at £600
    17” alloys not available in the UK

    Then the admission that the offer is certainly well deserving of that *:

    £8,953 deposit
    36 monthly payments of £199
    Optional final payment of £14,228

    Price based on 6000 miles p.a. Excess mileage 8p a mile inc VAT.

    So your £199*/month actually costs you about 9K + 7.2K + 14.2K or about 30 K if you want to own your swanky electric car. Of course this figure includes finance, but it also includes your £2500 plug-in car grant.

    Meanwhile if you would like to consider a petrol equivalent (Clio), it begins at £16,000, not much more than half the cost of the sparky car.

    But what about the cost of the fuel? By the time you’ve accounted for the outrageous duty + VAT that the petrol car gets hit with and the “subsidy” for the electricity that the sparky car gets when it charges at home, you’re still onto a winner, surely?

    Clio 6 l petrol/100 km; 18,000 miles over 3 years = 1740 l
    Let petrol be £1.30/l
    Cost over three years = £2,252

    Zoe 4 miles/kWh; 18,000 miles over 3 years = 4500 kWh
    Domestic rate = 14.4 p/kWh
    Cost over three years = £648
    (Does not include the cost of a home charger, which, by the way, is subsidised by your taxes to the tune of £350 out of the c. £1K cost)

    Public charger rate = 35 p/kWh ish
    Cost over three years = £1,575

    So, as long as you charge at home you’ve made up £1,600 of the 14K difference.

    Aha, but what about the VED? You don’t pay that, do you, on electric cars? What does the Clio pay?
    About £140 in the first year and £155 per year thereafter, so £450 over three years.

    Add both together and you knock £2,000 off the 14K difference, which means that the electric car only costs you £12K more.

    That little asterisk sure was a powerful one.

    And depreciation would be a whole ‘nother can of worms.

    [Edit: missed out the word “print.”]

    Like

  32. “Electric car charging prices ‘must be fair’ say MPs”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57963912

    “People must be protected from excessive pricing for public electric car charging, MPs have said.

    Charging an electric car at home is much cheaper than using public charge points.

    This could put pressure on people who are less able to afford it, the Transport Select Committee said.

    The government also needs to make charging infrastructure accessible and reliable, and make sure people in rural areas have equal access, the MPs added….

    …”Charging electric vehicles should be convenient, straightforward and inexpensive and drivers must not be disadvantaged by where they live or how they charge their vehicles,” said committee chair Huw Merriman.

    In addition, drivers who live in rural or remote areas or who do not have off-street parking “risk being left behind”, the committee said.

    The committee said industry must use pricing “to change consumer charging behaviour to a ‘little but often’ approach and at times when the National Grid can meet total demand”.

    Graeme Cooper, head of future markets at National Grid, said that the energy network operator was “working with government to map out where critical grid capacity is needed to enable the faster roll out of charging points”.

    “There will be an uptick in demand for energy so we need to ensure that we are future proofing, putting the right wires in the right place for future demand.”

    He said National Grid would have to ramp up capacity to help achieve the UK’s net zero goals, both by making it smarter, but also putting in more physical infrastructure.”

    It seems to be dawning on them that there are all sorts of problems associated with this, but it hasn’t yet occurred to them that therefore perhaps we shouldn’t go down this route.

    Like

  33. “Leading the charge! Can I make it from Land’s End to John o’Groats in an electric car?”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/28/leading-the-charge-can-i-make-it-from-lands-end-to-john-ogroats-in-an-electric-car

    “Range anxiety hits hard on the A9 in the Highlands of Scotland. For the uninitiated, this is the fear that an electric vehicle (EV) won’t reach its destination before running out of power. I’m driving through some of Britain’s loveliest landscape – mountains, rivers, lochs and firths – but I hardly notice. I’m focused hard – on the road in front, but mainly on two numbers on the dashboard. One is how far it is in miles to where I’m going; the other is the range in miles remaining in the battery. Sometimes, especially on downhill stretches when what is known as “regenerative braking” means the battery is getting charged, I tell myself it’s going to be OK, I’ll make it. But going uphill the range plummets. Squeaky bum time….

    …t’s the hottest day of the year so far, but I can’t risk the air conditioning, because that immediately wipes about 10% off the range. I’ve heard that opening windows makes a car less aerodynamic, so they remain closed. Sweaty bum time, too. Driving as gently as possible, nursing the car along, barely touching the accelerator or the brake, phone unplugged, radio off, I head north in sweltering, silent panic. Guilt-free, though, on account of being emissions-free at the tailpipe.

    I find myself behind a lorry. I tuck in behind, into its slipstream. Potential salvation by Alsop Transport Services of Oban, Argyll. I’m going to surf this baby all the way home. Well, hopefully, all the way to John o’Groats, because that is where I’m heading….

    …It’s not my Enyaq: it has been loaned to me by Škoda. This one costs £34,495 to buy, including a £2,500 government grant. Still a fair old whack, but EVs are expensive: even a little Renault Zoe costs £27,500. The cheapest Tesla is more than 40 grand.

    …Land’s End is a miserable place: expensive parking before you queue up to pay more to have your photo taken by a signpost. But, more importantly, there is a rapid charger there (Gridserve, 30p/kWh). I can get from low up to 80% in about half an hour, as opposed to hours on a slow charger or at home…..

    …One of the really annoying things about Teslas is that they have their own special superchargers, sometimes at the same site; other stations are for Teslas only. We, by which I mean non-Tesla EV plebs, can’t use them, whereas they can use ours….

    …In Carlisle, I meet Anne-Marie from Newcastle, who is having a weekend away from the kids to go swimming in Ullswater. She loves her five-year-old Nissan Leaf, but gets a range of only 80 miles, so she is stopping off to charge….

    …At Gretna, I meet Sarah and Phil from Sheffield, on the way to Hamilton races, although they are going to miss the first race because they are having problems charging their Jaguar I-Pace. The charger at home was tripping all the circuits in the house, so they had to have that fixed. “Then trying to find a superfast charger when you’re out and about is not always possible, because they don’t always work,” says Sarah. Phil says too many companies offer charging: “It should have been three or four franchises from the government and it should have all gone on one app.” It’s a common complaint: that the charging infrastructure is confusing and frustrating – some are fast, others slow, some require an app (EV drivers have screens full of apps), some don’t work at all.

    My own experience reflects this. In Perth, for example, I identify a BP Pulse point. “Ultra fast charging here,” says the big sign, which, after crossing the Cairngorms, is like reaching an oasis in the desert … Guess what, though? It doesn’t bloody work….

    …There isn’t a lot of room for spontaneity with an EV. A sign to Alton Towers? The Lakes? Or Stirling Castle … No waytime for a visit, because it would mean leaving the route, messing with the plan….”

    This being the Guardian, there are also quite a lot of positive comments and plugs (pardon the pun) for electric cars, but all in all it’s surprisingly down-beat for a newspaper that is constantly pushing this agenda. Maybe actually trying one out has given a long hard dose of reality?

    Like

  34. “This predictable electric cars fiasco highlights the intrinsic problem with green targets
    We are heading for a giant national breakdown – though it will conveniently come after the current crop of cabinet ministers has departed”

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/07/28/predictable-electric-cars-fiasco-highlights-intrinsic-problem/

    “If we don’t tackle climate change, it is commonly asserted, we will through our own selfishness leave behind a horrible mess for our children. The same might be said of Prime Ministers’ promises to slash carbon emissions. They love lapping up the praise for setting over-ambitious targets – while leaving their successors to suffer the consequences.

    How virtuous Boris Johnson must have felt when announcing that the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030 – bringing forward by a decade a target which he had himself inherited from Theresa May. The year 2030 lies just beyond the timescale which Johnson could possibly hope to remain in Number 10, which is just as well given that it is hard to see what his government has done to make it possible to achieve the target. As things stand we have nothing like the network of chargers we would need to switch fully to electric vehicles, nor do we have the electricity grid which could cope if we did. The Commons select committee on transport warns today that owners of electric vehicles may have to be stopped from charging their vehicles during the day for fear of causing blackouts. As things stand, they say, owners of electric cars tend to plug them in between 5pm and 7pm, when they get home from work – and a time when the grid is already facing peak demand.

    UK governments have rushed ahead with proposed bans on petrol and diesel while falling behind on building the necessary infrastructure. Back in 2009 the Brown government announced £20 million worth of seed funding in the hope of building a network of public recharging points by the end of the next Parliament – ie 2015. By January of this year we finally got to, er, 20,000. The government has argued that an extensive network of recharging points is unnecessary because most people will charge their vehicles at home or at work. But that somewhat ignores the 30 percent of motorists who, according to the RAC, do not have anywhere to park their cars except the street. If all 32 million cars on Britain’s roads were to go electric it would mean the owners of approximately 9.5 million vehicles fighting over 20,000 charging points. If, as some people claim, we now have more recharging points than we have petrol stations it rather misses the point – a car only needs to use a petrol pump for a couple minutes at a time. As for recharging, the fastest take half an hour to an hour while most take overnight.

    There is little chance of recharging becoming much easier in the near future. Local authorities are under no obligation to provide on-street chargers, and few have bothered. The district least-supplied with public chargers – Fenland – has just 3.9 of them per 100,000 population. At least motorists there are spared having to push their electric cars uphill when they run out of juice. Even if you can find a charger you face a nightmare of getting it to work. The government has failed to insist on standardisation of the network, with the result motorists face different types of connectors. What about a rule insisting that recharging points will accept cash and cards, and thereby be open to everyone? At the moment, many require apps to be loaded onto smartphones – extending even further how long it takes to charge a vehicle.

    There was an obvious solution: if we were going to go electric, why not encourage hybrids as an interim technology while the recharging network has a chance to develop? You don’t need a hugely powerful engine to constantly recharge the batteries of a car with an electric car, thereby extending its range by hundreds of miles. The job could be done with a small engine powered by biofuels. Instead, the government announced that hybrids, too, are to be banned from being sold new after 2035, guaranteeing that innovation in this field will now cease. Bizarrely, the government is simultaneously introducing hundreds of hybrid trains to the rail network – a form of transport which is vastly easier to electrify.

    Committing to becoming one of the first countries to ban petrol and diesel cars must have felt good at the time. But we are heading for a giant national breakdown – though conveniently enough a little after the current crop of cabinet ministers has left office.”

    Like

  35. “Home car charger owners urged to install updates”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-58011014

    “Security researchers have discovered failings in two home electric car chargers.

    The researchers were able to make the chargers switch on or off, remove the owner’s access, and show how a hacker could get into a user’s home network.

    Most of the faults have now been fixed but owners are being told to update their apps and chargers, to be safe.

    Two home chargers, Wallbox and Project EV – both approved for sale in the UK by the Department for Transport – were found to be lacking adequate security when used with an accompanying app for smartphones.

    Cyber-security researcher at Pen Test Partners, Vangelis Stykas, discovered the vulnerabilities.

    “On Wallbox you could take full control of the charger, you could gain full access and remove the usual owner’s access on the charger. You could stop them from charging their own vehicles, and provide free charging to an attacker’s vehicle.

    “Project EV had a really bad implementation on their back end. Their authentication where it existed was pretty primitive, so an attacker could easily escalate themselves to being an administrator and change the firmware of all the chargers.”

    Mr Stykas says changing the firmware – the programming that is built in to the hardware – would allow an attacker to permanently disable the charger, or use it to attack other chargers or servers.”

    Like

  36. “Climate Change: Half US cars to be zero-emission by 2030 – Biden”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-58101907

    “President Biden wants half of cars sold in the US by 2030 to be zero-emission vehicles, the White House says.

    Achieving this would reduce carbon emissions and help the US compete with China, a statement said.

    Transport accounted for 29% of US emissions in 2019. Sales of zero-emission vehicles in the US lag behind those in Europe and China.

    The three biggest US carmakers have welcomed the target, though it is not legally binding….

    …Only about 2% of US car sales last year were electric vehicles compared to about 10% in Europe, according to the International Energy Agency. Many of the electric vehicles sold in the US are Teslas, with the company reporting surging profits last month.

    Mr Biden’s move does not go as far as the US state of California, which requires that by 2035 all new cars sold be zero-emission vehicles. Cars produce more than half of all the state’s carbon emissions.

    China is aiming for 20% of cars sold in 2025 to be zero-emissions, rising to half by 2035. The EU meanwhile has proposed limits that would effectively end new petrol and diesel vehicle sales by 2035.

    The White House said Mr Biden also planned to toughen fuel consumption and emissions regulations but did not give details….”.

    Like

  37. Meanwhile, as reported at Notalot: https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2021/08/05/stand-up-to-the-climate-fanatics-some-mps-call-to-scrap-2030-petrol-and-diesel-car-ban/

    A GROUP of MPs have come out to condemn the 2030 ban on new fossil fuelled car sales.

    The group of 13 MPs and Lord Lilley have endorsed a ground-breaking new report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Fair Fuel for UK motorists and hauliers. The report lists seven practical recommendations to lower emissions without banning new diesel and petrol vehicles.

    The main recommendation is: “The Government should immediately remove the threat of the ban on the sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles.”

    Liked by 1 person

  38. “Second-hand car sales soar amid shortage of new models”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-58150025

    “Second-hand car sales in the UK have more than doubled in the last few months due to coronavirus restrictions easing and a shortage of new models.

    Year on year, the used car market grew 108.6% in the second quarter, with more than 2.2 million vehicles changing hands, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

    The number of sales was up 6.6% on pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

    But petrol cars made up most of the sales, with uptake of electrics slow.”

    Just wait until 2030 – sales of second-hand petrol and diesel cars will go through the roof.

    Like

  39. “‘I’m just not ready to buy an electric car'” – when you click on it, it becomes:

    “Can Americans pull the plug on petrol-powered cars?”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-58123729

    “US President Joe Biden wants Americans to switch to electric vehicles. Carmakers are on board – but are consumers willing to pull the plug on petrol?

    Tom Beckett, a former truck and bus driver, says he’s driven at least two million miles in his lifetime, and he is all for burning less gasoline to protect the environment.

    But like many Americans, he is “just not ready” to buy a low-emission electric car because of so-called range anxiety – the fear he won’t be able to go far enough on a single charge.

    The 62-year-old lives in rural Arkansas where he regularly has to drive long distances to get around, and electric vehicle (EV) charging points are few and far between.

    “Unless the battery capacity and the range doubles, I don’t think electric cars will ever become a big deal in states like this,” he tells the BBC.

    “People need the confidence to know their cars won’t run out of juice. Otherwise they’ll just stick with gas.”

    Transport accounted for almost of a third of US emissions in 2019 and the White House has pledged to bring this down. But people like Mr Beckett pose a big challenge to a new administration plan to make zero-emission vehicles account for half of all automobiles sold in the US by 2030….

    …But none of it will make much difference if consumers don’t buy in.

    Outside of a few major metropolitan areas, EVs still aren’t very common in the US and the country accounted for just 2% of new EV sales globally last year, compared to 10% from Europe.

    Moreover, while just under half of US adults say they would support a proposal to phase out production of gasoline-powered cars and trucks, a similar proportion would oppose it, according to a Pew Center survey published in June.

    A major concern about low-emission vehicles is price. Even with federal subsidies, EVs and hybrids tend to cost more than pure petrol cars, even though the vehicles are more economical to run….”.

    Like

  40. Mark,

    But I thought that part of the utopian dream was that someday we will all be living in big cities and the countryside would be just left to the wind farms. Problem solved.

    Like

  41. “GM extends recall to cover all Chevy Bolts due to fire risk”

    https://apnews.com/article/technology-joe-biden-business-health-environment-and-nature-bbe51b0c8e644c4448d634fc3c0f3461

    “General Motors said Friday it is recalling all Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles sold worldwide to fix a battery problem that could cause fires.

    The recall and others raise questions about lithium ion batteries, which now are used in nearly all electric vehicles. Ford, BMW and Hyundai all have recalled batteries recently.

    President Joe Biden will need electric vehicles to reach a goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half 2030 as part of a broader effort to fight climate change.

    The GM recall announced Friday adds about 73,000 Bolts from the 2019 through 2022 model years to a previous recall of 69,000 older Bolts.

    GM said that in rare cases the batteries have two manufacturing defects that can cause fires.

    The Detroit-based automaker said it will replace battery modules in all the vehicles. In older versions, all five modules will be replaced.

    The latest recall will cost the company about $1 billion, bringing the total cost of the Bolt battery recalls to $1.8 billion.

    GM said owners should limit charging to 90% of battery capacity. “

    Like

  42. “ChargePlace Scotland: Why the ‘world’s largest’ electric vehicle switchover turned into a ‘disaster’ and how a Dundee team are trying to fix it”

    https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/business-environment/transport/2486779/chargeplace-scotland-why-the-worlds-largest-electric-vehicle-switchover-went-wrong-and-how-a-dundee-team-are-trying-to-fix-it/

    “Massive problems at a Dundee service centre have wreaked havoc on Scotland’s £45m electric vehicle (EV) charging network.

    Drivers are furious with “significant” software issues preventing them from finding and using one of the ChargePlace Scotland (CPS) network’s 1,800 points.

    Scores of existing charging points are missing from official maps, while others appear available but will not work for many customers.

    EV drivers say the problems are so serious they could set the electrical vehicle roll out – key to reducing Scotland’s transport carbon emissions — “back years”.

    The transport sector is currently the greatest contributor to Scotland’s emissions. Road transport is responsible for the largest share.

    Driver Ian Jones said he would not have bought an electric vehicle earlier this year had he known about the problems.

    “Not knowing whether a charger I need to use will be working causes a lot of stress and anxiety. Mainly because the map is not accurate or the network can fail without warning.

    “I am loathe to recommend that anyone in Scotland, or intending to visit Scotland, buy an EV until they have a proven network.”…”.

    Like

  43. Mark, it would be logical, would it not, for governments and manufacturers to come together to define a standard charger, to which all chargers would adhere, and at which any electric vehicle could charge. We do not as a rule have to worry about which petrol station we should stop at, because we know every one, regardless of badge, offers the same products with the same nozzles.

    You should not need apps, or have to register with the owners. Just drive up on your last 3 joules and put your card in, type in PIN, remove, plug in and go and do whatever you want to do for the next hour or three. (Naive question: if I pulled up alongside your charging vehicle, could I just unplug it and plug mine in, thus getting you to pay for my leccy? Perhaps this explains all the added hassle.)

    Liked by 1 person

  44. “Finding Early Adopters

    Where new tech is concerned you can either be an Innovator, an Early Adopter, in the Early Majority, in the Late Majority, or you can be a Laggard.”

    How long will we all have to wait to discover into which of the last 3 categories our #COP26 president Alok Sharma and Extinction Rebellion founder Gail Bradbrook fall?

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/cop26-alok-sharma-climate-diesel-car-b1899950.html

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/08/23/extinction-rebellion-founder-admits-drives-diesel-car/

    Like

  45. Joe, there are 5 categories! But I think it is safe to say that Bradbrook and Sharma are firmly on the downslope of the normal curve. Late Majority or Laggard for sure. (Perhaps, their hypocrisy having been pointed out, they will uncomfortably lurch forward into the Early Majority. We will wait to see.

    ==

    By the way, the paper that originally spurred me to write on this subject – the one about electric trucks being competitive with diesel ones, as reported by the BBC – is now available, except that it is behind a paywall.

    Click to access S2542-4351(21)00130-6.pdf

    The graphical abstract implies that rather than try to match the capabilities of diesel trucks, electric truck designers should instead reduce battery sizes and therefore ranges, and rely on several recharges for every long trip.

    It is not difficult to spot the obvious problems with this plan. But it is apparently difficult for salarymen to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. What a dilemma for fossil fuel company-hating “Greens”:

    “Shell aims to install 50,000 on-street EV charge points by 2025
    Oil firm sets out plans to provide a third of Britain’s network needed to hit climate targets”

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/sep/01/shell-on-street-ev-charge-points-2025

    “The oil company, which has been regularly targeted by climate crisis campaigners in recent years, has pledged to invest heavily in greener businesses and become net zero by 2050.

    This week Extinction Rebellion activists glued themselves to the Science Museum in London in protest against Shell’s sponsorship of an exhibition about greenhouse gases.”

    Of course a target isn’t necessarily the same as reality.

    Like

  47. This reminds us of the new two-tier society we are heading for. According to the front page of the FT (also covering this story) 62% of urban households do not have driveways. Thus, generally below-average income urbanites will be expected to plug in to third-party chargers, costing them more per unit of leccy and causing increased battery wear owing to the higher power.

    Meanwhile, suburbanites with driveways will be able to charge up overnight with their 7 kW home chargers at domestic rates, and preserve their battery life.

    Shell might consider that they will be providing an overpriced service to annoyed people with no alternative, and that the provider of such a service might become less popular as a result.

    Liked by 1 person

  48. At a Shell petrol station in Newark the other day I parked up close enough to the electric charging station to notice the fee: 41p/kWh.

    Now the energy in 1 kWh is of course 1 kWh, or to put it another way it’s 1000 W * 3600 s = 3.6 MJ. How does that compare to 1 l of petrol, I wondered? Referring to the datasheet I put together for Denierland, I find that the energy in 1 l of petrol is 46.7 MJ/kg * 0.692 kg/l = 32.3 MJ/l.

    So for £1.30 you get 32.3 MJ of petrol, and for £0.41 you get 3.6 MJ of electricity.

    Next we must note that of that £1.30, about 50p is the base price, to which 57.95p is added for duty and about 22p for VAT. To be scrupulous we should also note that of the 41p/ kWh for the leccy, about 7p is VAT. The comparison becomes:

    50p for 32.3 MJ (petrol) vs 34p for 3.6 MJ (electricity).

    Now we must acknowledge that EVs are far more efficient at point of use than petrol cars, about 4 times (c. 80% vs 20%). Which in terms of energy at the wheels brings us to:

    50p for 6.5 MJ (petrol) vs 34p for 2.7 MJ (electricity), or

    8p / MJ (petrol) vs 13p / MJ (electricity).

    Of course, once duty etc is added the leccy still wins, at about

    20p / MJ (petrol) vs 15p / MJ (electricity).

    Nevertheless, that sum is already uncomfortably close to parity.

    Like

  49. “Electric vehicle chargepoints set to become next great British emblem”

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/electric-vehicle-chargepoints-set-to-become-next-great-british-emblem

    Electric vehicle chargepoints across the UK could become as recognisable as the red post box or black cab, following the appointment of the Royal College of Art (RCA) and PA Consulting to deliver an iconic British chargepoint design, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced today (9 August 2021).

    Like

  50. Jit: There’s another disadvantage of not having a driveway with an EV. To maximise range and efficiency in the cold, extra steps are required for a Tesla to keep the battery warm and conserve energy. Tesla recommends being plugged in as much as possible when the car is not in use. This uses the charging system, rather than the battery, to retain heat. I have found that to activate the regenerative braking system, our Tesla has to be pre-warmed for about an hour before driving when the temperature is below about 10 degrees C. If you don’t have a driveway with convenient plug so that you can precondition the battery, the range will be reduced in the winter months.

    Like

  51. “E-car chargers will turn off to prevent blackouts”

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/e-car-chargers-will-turn-off-to-prevent-blackouts-jnm2m86pz

    “Electric car charging points in people’s homes will be preset to switch off for nine hours each weekday at times of peak demand because ministers fear blackouts on the National Grid.

    Under regulations that will come into force in May, new chargers in the home and workplace will be automatically set not to function from 8am to 11am and 4pm to 10pm. Public chargers and rapid chargers, on motorways and A-roads, will be exempt.”

    Unfortunately that’s all I can see – the rest is behind a paywall – but we can see enough to get the gist!

    Liked by 1 person

  52. Thanks Mark. The consultation response is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/electric-vehicle-smart-charging

    The bottom line is that new chargers will have to be “smart” and will come with timings such that peak times are blocked out from use. However, the settings will be capable of being overriden. Government are afraid that a) charging EVs will cause power cuts and that b) people won’t engage with the Brave New World and will therefore be disadvantaged because they will have to pay a higher rate for leccy during peak time. Hence the default settings preventing peak time charging “protects” such folk.

    Of course, this implies time of use tariffs for everyone.

    Also:

    Government will mandate a randomised delay function, to help address grid stability concerns arising from smart charging.

    So it won’t start charging straight away when you plug it in. (I almost wrote a cuss word there.)

    And this:

    Load controllers will become an increasingly important group of organisations as we transition to a smarter, more flexible energy system, yet they also present new and growing risks to the energy system and consumers.

    By this they mean entities with the power to turn off your smart charger or to start energy flowing in the other direction. Such entities, having control over the charge points, will wield a power that will require a high degree of oversight (imagine for example if they were owned by foreign powers who might want to punch us on the nose).

    Welcome to the sunlit uplands.

    Like

  53. “…a smarter, more flexible energy system…”.

    I see nothing smart about all this! It’s bonkers.

    Like

  54. “Electric vehicles divide opinion as car-loving Germany goes to polls
    Election has framed future of automobility as showdown between petrolheads and green zealots”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/20/electric-vehicles-divide-opinion-as-car-loving-germany-goes-to-polls

    “As the country heads to the polls on 26 September, all main parties on the ballot apart from the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) say they are committed to Germany reaching net zero within the next 14 to 29 years, and to curbing combustion engine emissions accordingly.

    The promise – and some say fiction – that these parties offer to voters is that such a historic change can be achieved without risking the world-leading status of Germany’s automobile industry. “Our great challenge is that we remain a car nation that is successful at making electric vehicles instead,” Olaf Scholz, the frontrunner in the race, said in a recent interview.

    The outgoing government claims existing subsidy schemes will suffice for Germany to meet its green targets, forecasting 14m electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to populate its roads by the year 2030. The Greens and the Social Democratic party (SPD) are even more ambitious, by another 1m vehicles.

    But the question is whether the enthusiasm required for a pivot to electric vehicles can be mustered in a country as romantically attached to a car culture of old as Germany….”.

    Like

  55. “Ford announces $11.4bn investment in electric vehicle plants”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-58714608

    “Ford has announced a major investment in electric vehicle (EV) production in the US, promising to build its biggest ever factory in Tennessee, and two battery parks in Kentucky.

    Under the $11.4bn (£8.3bn) plan, the carmaker said it will build zero-emission cars and pickups “at scale” for American customers.

    It will also create 11,000 jobs.”

    Will it “create” 11,000 jobs, or will they simply replace the jobs of those workers laid off from building petrol and diesel vehicles?

    And there’s a but:

    “Yet the additional government investment required to make it happen is still in question.”

    And:

    “Outside of a few major metropolitan areas, EVs still aren’t very common in the US and the country accounted for just 2% of new EV sales globally last year.

    The Biden administration hopes to change this with tougher tailpipe emissions rules from 2026 and billions of dollars of spending on new charging points and consumer incentives.

    However, the cash is tied up in two spending bills that Democrat leaders must get through a divided Senate.

    On Thursday, lawmakers will vote on the first – a $1.5tn infrastructure plan – which appears to have enough bi-partisan support to pass.

    But a second, $3.5tn bill – which focuses on widening America’s social safety net – is opposed by every Republican and some moderate Democrats who say it is too expensive in its current form.”

    If you have to force people both to buy them and to subsidise them through Government support, then they’re not as good as the vehicles that they’re replacing, or at least not so fit for purpose for the vast majority of drivers. If this stuff worked for people, they’d be buying them without pressure and without subsidies.

    Like

  56. “UK electric car inquiries soar during fuel supply crisis
    Sellers of plug-in vehicles say petrol shortages are driving people to adopt the new technology”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/27/uk-electric-car-inquiries-soar-fuel-supply-crisis

    Note to Guardian journalist – it’s “enquiries”, not “inquiries”.

    “As petrol stations in parts of the UK started running out of fuel on Friday, business at Martin Miller’s electric car dealership in Guildford, Surrey, started soaring.

    After what ended up being his company EV Experts busiest day ever, interest does not appear to be dying down. This week the diary is booked up with test drives and the business is low on stock.

    “People buy electric cars for environmental reasons, for cost-saving reasons and because the technology’s great,” he said. “But Friday was one of those moments where people said, ‘Do you know what, this is a sign that we need to go electric’.”

    While scenes of chaos play out at petrol stations across the country amid shortages, for many electric vehicle (EV) dealers the fuel crisis has led to an unexpected surge in inquiries and sales.”

    So what’s next? A surge in EV use, surging demand for electricity that’s also in short supply, and blackouts?

    Like

  57. I wonder what proportion of American tradespeople would consider throwing in their existing pickup for an electric version? My judgement of human nature tells me that the large majority would opt for the cheaper, more flexible, reliable, and quick to refuel pickup, i.e. the one that enables them to do their job at maximum productivity without anxiety about the vehicle – which does not mean the EV. Ford can reduce the cost of EVs with the help of government subsidies, but that does not improve their flexibility etc.

    That would mean that for widespread takeup to occur gov’t would have to ban the better option.

    Ford should concentrate on small EVs and try selling them in cities, where they actually have strengths as well as weaknesses. Even there, without coercion, they will remain niche without banning the competition. Sorta like whelks. A whelk stall at a festival would do ok trade, so long as all the alternative food stalls were banned.

    Liked by 2 people

  58. Mark, I’m thinking of writing an A to Zee of annoying Americanisms in British journalism. It will start with ‘alternate’ when ‘alternative’ was intended.

    Liked by 1 person

  59. For purchasers without off-street parking, buying an EV would be like being in a permant queue for petrol. So they would be throwing in a temporary problem for a permanent one.

    I refuse to visit theguardian.com because they wanted me to register before I could read something. I think I left after 0.1 secs when that message popped up, never to return. It would be different if I actually enjoyed reading their climate change ****.

    Like

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