Home Tech Electric Vehicles The electric revolution: Will the infrastructure be ready by 2032?

The electric revolution: Will the infrastructure be ready by 2032?

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Is this what the Government thinks of the motoring public?

Before I wrote the two articles on my choice of an electric Jaguar I-Pace (see link below), it crossed my mind that readers might not be interested. It is rather off-message, even though I had chronicled my time with the Nissan Leaf back in 2015 and these articles brought forth some interesting comments.

Then I reminded myself that Macfilos has its origin in technology, rather than the current focus on photography which has been the draw for most readers over the past few years. EVs are at the forefront of automotive technology and, clearly, strike a bell among readers.

Jaguar has adopted the technology, in particular the modern driving assistance wizardry, without sacrificing the traditional look and feel. This is one advanced car and it provides a thoroughly modern driving experience.
Jaguar has adopted the technology and, in particular, the modern driving assistance wizardry, without sacrificing the traditional look and feel of the premium vehicle. This is one advanced car and it provides a thoroughly modern driving experience.

As it happens, I have been astounded by the amount of interest in the last story in which I recounted my recharging experience when visiting the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, which is also home to Jaguar Land Rover. So far, this article has clocked up 60 comments and I think this is a record — it is certainly a record for this year with only two articles (Tom Lane’s Yosemite and my Nifty Fifty) coming anywhere close, with 40 comments each. I realise that these figures may sound modest in the general blogosphere, but our comments are of high quality and spam is ruthlessly culled. Every single one is worth reading.

Encouraging

Nonetheless, this level of interest is surprising and, at the same time very encouraging, especially since most of the comments came from existing readers rather than from casual visitors brought in by the subject matter. I even found one long-time reader, Tony M, who has owned an I-Pace for six months and had some encouraging words to say.

On the day of collection: The I-Pace was nine months old, with 2,800 miles on the clock -- a sensible acquisition with a chunk of depreciation already written off.
On the day of collection: The I-Pace was nine months old, with 2,800 miles on the clock — a sensible acquisition with a large chunk of depreciation already written off.

It is significant that this article came at a time when the British Government seems hell-bent on a race to the bottom in banning the internal combustion engine. Since the article, the EVocalypse has now edged even further forward to a worryingly close 2035. The legislature, feeling the heat from lobbyists, is now thinking of lopping off a further three years to bring the date to 2032. Even worse, hybrid vehicles, which have up to now been encouraged with allowances and benefits, have been written off as bigger polluters than the more efficient modern petrol burners.

To some extent, this doesn’t surprise me since the all-electric range of the majority of PHEVs (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles) is not much more than 20 miles. Research tells us that many owners never bother to charge them and drive all the time on fossil fuel while reaping the advantages of their eco-credibility. But it is hard on those who bought plug-in hybrids and now find them sidelined.

All is clearly not well. Will it end in tears? Or, more likely, in a pragmatic postponement of deadlines as the country remains unprepared for the big chance?

Delighted

I remain absolutely delighted with my new electric car. I’ve now done over a thousand miles in three weeks. Not only is it a fabulous car to drive, but it is also well built, futuristically styled and has up-to-the-minute driving safety aids (one of my primary motivators, incidentally).

Last week I visited the New Forest, a round trip of 160 miles, driving mostly at 70 mph, and got back with 60 miles left in the tank, thus confirming the 220-mile winter high-speed range — it could be ten per cent higher in a British summer without heating or air-conditioning. On shorter trips, away from highways, it is likely to return even better figures. This is fine by me. I can live with it and it is only on much longer journeys that I will need to use public charging facilities. In this respect, despite the low numbers of fast chargers, so far I have not found it too difficult to find vacant “pumps”.

I have, however, changed my opinion in one respect.

After the discussion following the previous article, and having pored over several dedicated websites and forums, I have realised that the term “range angst” is misleading. I don’t anticipate suffering from range angst because, frankly, after 200 miles I’m ready for an hour’s break over a coffee or lunch.

No, it’s not range angst, it is rather “charger angst” that bothers me. Will I find a charger at precisely the service spot where I plan to stop for lunch? Will it be free? Will it be working? Once the charging infrastructure is sorted out (as Tesla has already done) all the angst will be a thing of the past.

On the broader front, I abhor the war being waged against diesel- and petrol-engined vehicle owners and the pressure this is about to place on the general motoring population.

The goalposts keep moving back and forth and there is not the slightest chance the British Government will be fully ready for compulsory electrification in 2032 — or even 2042, for that matter. The task is monumental and the cost is astronomical.

Five years ago I had my first electric car, a Nissan Leaf with a modest and pretty useless range of only 85 miles. Strangely, the number of Ecotricity charging point at motorway service stations does not appear to have increased, although the power delivery has been upped.
Five years ago I owned my first electric car, a Nissan Leaf with a modest and pretty useless range of only 85 miles. Still, it was great fun to drive and sowed the seeds of my recent conversion. Strangely, the number of Ecotricity charging point at motorway service stations does not appear to have increased, although the power delivery has been upped in some cases to 50 kWh.

I bought an electric car not to make a statement, certainly not to display my eco creds, but simply because I like them. Electric cars are super fun to drive and the power delivery is something entirely new — seamless, gear-less and full of torque. My car promises 400 bhp and that power is on tap from the minute you touch the throttle (or, perhaps, we should now talk about flooring the rheostat). The torque is amazing, and regenerative braking is the key to genuine one-pedal progress. The simple fact is that driving an electric car is something else, an absolute buzz.

At the moment, nevertheless, electric vehicles are mainly for those who can afford them. Buyers currently pay a big premium for their altruism. Forget the (currently) cheap electricity, forget the lower road tax and, in the case of Londoners, the exemption from the £11.50-per-day congestion charge.

When you take into account the extra cost of electric vehicles, the depreciation and standing charges more than offset any financial advantage. The Jaguar, for example, is some 20% more expensive than an equivalent petrol-engined car equipped to the same high specification — and that’s based on a desirable car such as the Porsche Macan. It’s a big pill to swallow in order to make your electric statement.

Simply put: After all the encouragement, all the apparent savings, an electric vehicle is more expensive to run than a petrol or diesel equivalent.

Back in 2015 public charging stations were mostly rated at 7.2 kWh and this was almost acceptable for the Nissan’s small battery. But with 90 kWh under the hood, the Jaguar needs 12 hours on 7.2 kWh and about 90 minutes on the newer 50 kWh pumps. Fortunately, 100-plus kWh ultra-fast chargers are on the way and this will be a boon for long-distance drivers

The electric premium

What of people who can’t afford the electric premium or, perhaps, have to buy cars that are a few years old rather than new? The situation is not going to get better.

A majority of motorists on the road are financially are excluded from the EV rush and, for the foreseeable future, ICE cars are going to be much cheaper to buy and much cheaper to run.

Of course, the current relative boom in electric vehicles will percolate through to the second-hand market. Older EVs will become more affordable and people will undoubtedly trade in their ICE vehicles. There will be premium even on the used market, but there is a hidden factor to be considered in the cost of battery replacement and this could hit long-term residuals.

The batteries in the I-Pace are warranted for eight years but, during that time, they will degrade as all batteries do, so the range will gradually reduce over time. And after eight years, the cost of replacing those batteries will be prohibitive in relation to the residual value of the car. Vehicles will probably have to be scrapped unless the industry comes up with much cheaper third-party battery packs.

Will we be able to pop down to the local KwikFit for an infusion of new batteries at a bargain price? Probably not, and it could well be far cheaper to buy a younger electric car than replace the batteries in an eight-year-old jalopy.

This has implications for depreciation if electric cars are known to have such a short lifespan. Currently, a quality car has a useful life of 15 or more years. I own a 15-year-old Mercedes A-class that is still in excellent condition and still has a good few years up its exhaust. It’s still reliable and good to drive, but it’s now worth peanuts. If it had been electric, I suspect, it would have been scrapped already.

Challenges

But those worries are for the buyer. For governments, the biggest challenge is in providing the means for car owners to charge their EVs and, more alarmingly, to provide the necessary power.

Is this what the Government thinks of the motoring public?
Is this what the Government thinks of the motoring public?

First, the provision of charging facilities: We are already well behind schedule even in providing chargers on the main highways. As I showed last week, you are still likely to find just one fast charger at most service stations (unless you own a Tesla when you could find up to 16) and there seems to be no immediate prospect of that improving.

While public charging points are of vital importance, especially to underpin longer journeys, it is home charging that holds the key to the viability of electric vehicles. And, at a rough guess, I would say that in Britain probably fewer than half of all car owners have the ability to install a 7.2 kWh charger outside their home. You need a private drive or a garage to be able to install a charger. Most people, especially in big cities such as London, park on the street or live in apartment blocks where they would be very lucky be able to install a charger.

If the Prime Minister intends to position Britain as a global leader in a ‘net zero’ project….. then he ought to have the courage to spell out the implications. Does he agree with cost estimates? He won’t say. If he’s serious about the 2035 electric car target, how does he plan to equip Britain with enough charging points? Are there plans in place to build an energy grid large enough to power the nation’s electric cars? There is no answer.

Editorial in The Spectator

If this grandiose scheme for electrification is to succeed, local authorities will need to install charging pods alongside every public parking space on all streets in every town and city. The mind doth indeed boggle.

We’ve seen the sort of thing already — a charger unit squeezed into a lamppost where there is already a convenient source of power. Yet to extend this to cater for all kerbside parkers will require the laying of new cables, the rebuilding of substations to cope with the load and, above all, the generation of hundreds of megawatts of extra electricity. It has been estimated that Britain would need three or four new nuclear stations to cope with the demand. And nuclear power wouldn’t suit environmentalists either, to that’s out. Where on earth is all this power coming from? At least we have a lot of wind, both from government and from the Atlantic and the North Sea.

Plugging your car into a standard household socket is only part of the answr. Using a cable similar to this, the Jaguar I-Pace would take 30 hours to fully charge on a 16-amp 240-volt supply. A home charger pod, running on a 32-amp circuit will charge it in 12 hours, a reliable overnight boost.
Plugging your car into a standard household socket is only part of the answer. Using a cable similar to this, the Jaguar I-Pace would take 30 hours to fully charge on a 16-amp 240-volt supply. A home charger pod, running on a 32-amp circuit, will charge it in 12 hours, a reliable overnight boost.

As usual, governments are blundering into rash promises in order to assuage lobby groups. There isn’t a cat in hell’s chance that we in Britain will be ready for universal vehicle electrification by 2032 and to suggest otherwise is a massive misleading of the motoring public.

While we are on the subject of the motoring public (which means most of us, by the way), it is a long-suffering demographic. Back in the 70s and 80s, the lobby groups decided that diesel was the great saviour.

Everyone must henceforth drive diesel cars and, in some countries (but not in Britain), massive incentives were introduced. For a time diesel was half the cost of petrol or gas. Diesel was attractive (and still is, let’s be honest) because it uses less fuel per mile and therefore extends the range and reduces cost. At the peak of dieseldom, these cars accounted for over 50% of registrations in Britain.

However, once “green” diesel had become the preferred mode of propulsion, suddenly it was demonised and we must turn to petrol. Now petrol is in the doghouse and the new Messiah of propulsion is electricity.

Again, however, once we’ve all electrified (if we can) governments will realise that all their tax revenue has disappeared. So electricity costs (for the vehicle use at least) will soar; gone will be the days of installing a home charger and using domestic rates. We’ll all have to have new meters for the car and will pay through the nose for the privilege. Then, no doubt, the lobby groups will turn their attention to the evils of electricity generation and the disposal of batteries. The poor old motorist cannot win and, frankly, some people won’t be happy until we have readopted the horse and cart.

Contrarian

The real answer, perhaps, is to buy one of the last diesel or petrol cars and run it into the ground. That should take you to 2055 or even later, assuming you can still buy fuel.

In the meantime, I chose my electric car because I wanted the experience and I am an inveterate early adopter. I knew I would love driving it (having owned an electric car before) and I welcome the challenge of running it occasionally over longer distances, perhaps two or three times a year. I am happy, I don’t plan to go back to fossil fuel, but I do worry about all the plotting, scheming and grandstanding that is going on. I am a good example of a carrot buyer, rather than a stick buyer.

We will not be ready in twelve or fifteen years and, whatever the outcome, the huge cost of the project will fall on the motorist and, also, on the general public in the form of taxation.

Government intervention and direction is necessary for many areas. That’s what a civilised society is all about. But the current level of knee-jerk reaction to pressure groups is seldom the answer. These things need a lot of thought and planning and unrealistic targets only make matters worse. The British Government (and it isn’t alone in the world) has just made a solid rod for its own back. I forecast it will end in tears, despite my pioneering optimism.


More on Mike’s Jaguar I-Pace experiences

More on the earlier joys and tribulations of owning a 2015 Nissan Leaf

39 COMMENTS

  1. Great article Mike, thanks.

    Your mention of “charger angst” must ring a bell amongst all motorists who at one time or another have found themselves running on vapour and hoping that the next bend will reveal an open petrol station?

    As to the lack of infrastructure, as I mentioned elsewhere, I reckon that there will be a great deal more “private hire” of the Uber kind and that will solve that problem pretty quickly.

    What is more, since the very first horseless carriages, the government have been irked that the population has been able to move around so freely, so it kills another bird stone dead.

    • Thanks, Stephen. I agree Charger angst is akin to running low on fuel. However, the big difference is that (in this country at least) you can usually find a fuel station in time. This isn’t so with chargers, where you need to plan ahead and know where you are heading. I would not be happy to get below a 40-mile range unless I knew precisely when and where I could recharge.

      I agree on the expansion of private hire. I suspect the driverless pod that you summon to your door and command like some four-wheeled Alexa, isn’t too far from reality. Everything could change, as it does so rapidly these days, but the need for a charging infrastructure depends on good old fashioned digging and laying and there is the bottleneck — not to mention the cost.

  2. What “government”..?

    There’s an egomaniac megalomaniac in charge (Cummings), and another egomaniac megalomaniac fronting for him (Johnson), and assorted “yes-women” and “yes-men” who have no idea about anything! ..It’s all guess-work and posturing, slogans and “Get (insert project here) Done!” ..with no comprehension of how much anything costs, nor how to do anything, except mis-inform and dissemble, and with no connection with ‘citizens’ but only with corporations.

    It’s a madhouse here.

  3. A very interesting article Mike, thanks. I agree completely with your conclusions. Much of my working life has been spent living between my client’s wild aspirations, about how much is achievable at how low a cost and within such a short timescale, and the engineering and political realities. At some point, eventually, common sense rears it’s ugly head and the realities become, well, reality. The question is simply when that will happen. However I don’t think it will be soon.

  4. Another excellent article on your EV experience, Mike. As with your vast photographic expertise, I feel knowledgeable by proxy in this new area as well and will doubtless adopt your conclusions as if they were my own! Gratefully yours!

  5. I would not worry about the deadline as it is arbitrary based on political pandering. A sensible reality will have to appear over time. Neither the government or environmentalists are pragmatic. The private sector will come up with a solution but this will take time.

    • You are right on this, Brian. I just wish they would spend the time in carrots, putting forward a positive and logical case for EVs instead of beating the stick and setting unrealistic deadlines.

  6. Mike, it has been very interesting to follow your articles in the light of my 18 months research into buying an electric replace ment for our 8-9 years old Suzuki Splash. I particularly looked at hybrid EVs at the outset and at CO2 emissions. The most interesting thing was to add the CO2 emissions involved in producing two drive trains and discover the extra CO2 involved and how many years driving it would take before a. hybrid began to overtake a petrol engine. If I remember rightly, the figure was in the region of four years. Then if purchase price played a role in one’scalculations (frequently double the cost) there would be many more years before a break-even point in terms of money would be realized. These figure would be considerably less for a purely EV car, but then the issue of usable range raises its ugly head. There is, however, a third (or fourth) option, and that is what is called a “mild hybrid”. It was only when I had done the above calculations (though I no longer have the exact figures stored in my mind) that what is more properly called a “battery assisted ICEV” began to be interesting. In the end I bought a Suzuki Ignis mild hybrid which so far is giving me an average fuel consumption of between 59 and 60 mpg. as opposed to 50.9mpg for the most economical “ordinary” petrolversion – in other words 20% better fuel consumption. This also equates with a modest lowering of CO2 emissions. When I also factored in probable remaining driving years of my life (ending with disability or coffin!), then this makes a mini-SUV mild hybrid a very realistic proposition. Modest capital outlay, improved fuel consumption and a little greener. Not as quiet as a fully electric vehicle, but civilized and nippy, a delight to drive unless one has to have a big car.
    Sorry, this is a bit rambling, but anyone interested can do the research.

    • Seems like a logical decision, John. I understand that cars in Denmark are more expensive than anywhere else in Europe. Norway, on the other hand seems to have put a lot of effort into subsidising EVs.

  7. Many years ago I studied electrical power generation and distribution at a time when coal ruled. Over time, as my career changed direction, I have watched how the industry has grappled with change and has been operating at full capacity for a long time. I recall we were a world leader in nuclear power generation. However, those with the power and authority to make decisions and implement them operate in their world of unrealistic time scales. In consequence, costs spiral out of control. Decision-makers can only think and operate in short time scales, five years at most. Totally incompatible with that needed for major projects. (Would we have built our famous cathedrals with today’s creators?)

    I entered this world when the products of Victorian entrepreneurs, engineers and industrialists were still a backbone of our economy. We exported our railway building skills worldwide. And today? Who will build our controversial new railway systems?

    Until we can devise a national system capable of managing major projects, straddling years, and managing their costs, I fear politicians’ dreams will remain just that – dreams. Meanwhile, for my modest road mileages nowadays, I will continue to use my late teenage petrol-powered Volvo, with no further depreciation, if there will be space on the roads for me.

    There, I think I have managed to write without mention of the ‘P- word’. Enjoy your E-pace.

    • You have probably made the right choice to run a good, reliable car until it gives up the ghost. I admit that I did consider keeping my perfectly enjoyable diesel Macan until it dropped. It would without doubt have been the most economical choice.

  8. Filthy batteries mereley exchange one form of pollution for another. Hydrogen. Put in the infrastructure and just do it. It’s what the Japaese are doing. Probably why Honda are to stop making CRVs here. What happens when all the Lithium and Cobalt are used?
    Also fly a lot less. Travel by Train more. Travel less!!
    Grump, grump, grump.
    Off Topic: Also having mouthed off that Leica need an IBIS I bought an M10 Mono and it doesn’t. I was wrong! And the image quality is fab. Might just cause me to give up film… A roll of TMAX 3200 is washing as I type this…

    • Hydrogen is interesting. Haven’t studied the subject so I can’t add anything to the discussion. But an alternative such as this would be welcome.

  9. This might be a very naive comment, but thinking about lens to camera body adapters I wonder when non-Tesla cars will be able to use Tesla outlets. Just google “Tesla to J1772 adapter” – it might happen. Will require the commercial returns to be worked out.

    • Yes there are adapters, although I thought (perhaps wrongly) that Tesla uses the standard CSS connector, just like my Jaguar. The problem lies in getting the power. I believe Tesla cars handshake with charger and that the bill is handled by Tesla. An alien vehicle would need access, just as I have six or seven different RFID cards to work with various chargers. There must be some reason all those Tesla chargers aren’t besieged by the likes of me with their Jaguars.

  10. Hi Michael. Yes, that’s what I meant about “commercial returns to be worked out”. Better phrase would have been “commercial arrangements to be worked out”. Someone will find a way to arrange it. A dedicated Tesla power supply spin out subsidiary?

  11. That is a great idea, but with all the hurdles I sceptical. I can see it working in smaller countries where most of population are in cities. I think once you start looking at distances between east coast and west coast like Canada or US, unless somebody can make sufficient $ on putting these chargers in and maintain them it going be dead issue. Not being political but you can’t get governments to agree on climate change legislation or a plan. I have horrible thought will the car come with different adapters if you go Canada they us to central or South America, or would the car come w 5 adapters ? I look at what GM announced today about pulling out of Australia and surrounding countries, I wonder where the automotive industry going?

    • There seems to be a general acceptance of two adaptor systems, the Japanese CHAdeMO and the European CSS. Most “pumps” have both cables (at least, here in the UK). CSS is a variation of the Menekes system, with two extra heavy-duty prongs for the higher load. Most cars, including the Jaguar, will accept the combination plug for fast chargers while the standard Menekes plug (without the added prongs) also fits and this is used by slower chargers.

  12. I live in the USA and thought long and hard about what to purchase when I needed to replace my aging Audi A4. After looking at a series of traditional ICE vehicles, I drove the Audi e-tron and was immediately convinced to buy an electric plug in. While I would have preferred to stick with Audi, it was the Tesla charging network and range that in the end convinced me to buy a Model 3. I could not be happier so far and see this as the future. When I get in one of our gas guzzlers, it feels like stepping back into the previous century.

    • I think your decision to go with Tesla based on the charging network is one that many, many buyers have made. Frankly, Tesla is walking all over the competition because of this. I was strongly tempted to go with Tesla and was on the point of going for a Model 3. It was the single iPad control system that put me off. I do like to have basic information right in front of me, and the Jaguar’s HUD display (which Tesla doesn’t offer) is perfect. I would have preferred the Model S from a control perspective — it is less austere than the Model 3 — but it is just a bit too long and wide for my taste (and London parking bays).

      The rest of the industry is really suffering because of the haphazard charging arrangements which I have highlighted in my articles. I really cannot understand why they haven’t got together and formed an association or committee to oversee a joint scheme to mimic Tesla with its charging infrastructure. If Tesla thinks it needs 10 or 15 chargers in a particular location, the rest of the industry needs at least as many — not the one or two we find at the moment. Such an association could also standardised payment arrangements — ideally this should happen as the car is plugged in and data is transferred. I think this is what happens with Tesla and it is the way forward.

      All this said, in a densely populated area such as southern England, charging for non-Teslas isn’t such a problem as it would be in more sparsely populated locations. I’m hoping to cope well, not least because for 95, if not 99, percent of the time I will need to charge only at home.

  13. Great article and a lot to unpack from it. I’ll stick to one point (or two) and that is countries enabling the charging infrastructure. It’s hard to imagine how that is going to happen (beyond Tesla anyway).

    The second point is the source of all that energy and where in the world it will come from. That’s hard to imagine too. Here in California we have a bankrupt, inept power company – PG&E – that is hardly interested in maintaining much less investing in improving and modernizing our power grid. They’d rather turn the power off in certain seasons than do anything to mitigate the risks from it.

    Like you say, all those ambitious goals will just get pushed out in time. A few of us may adopt early, but the long tail will be very long indeed.

  14. Terrific article – very thoughtful as always.

    I had some interesting conversations recently about this topic following on from your previous articles.

    1) Can manufacturers agree on plug standards? At the moment it’s like being a global traveler and needing the just the right plug for the right socket.

    2) Could manufacturers agree on standardized batteries with defined capacities? We have AA and AAA, so why not the same for car batteries.

    3) This leads to…easily interchangeable batteries. Maybe you swap out batteries at charging centers rather than charging.

    4) Instead of charging posts why not inductive charging pads embedded in the road? These would remove sidewalk/pavement clutter. They could be clearly marked, you note the number, park on top of it. Enter the number and your car registration into the app that already has your credit card details. You charge by amount or “full”

    Many thanks again!

    • Hi and thanks for the thoughtful comment. In answer:

      – As far as I am aware there are two main plug standards, CHAdeMO and CSS, with CSS gaining ground among European manufacturers. Most “pumps” here in the UK have two cables, one for each standard, so the situation could be worse. Eventually, I believe, the ISO must legislate to bring everyone to the same standard.
      – Batteries: I touched on this in the article, the idea of standard batteries that could be swapped at a tyre or exhaust fitting shop. I have no idea if this is feasible, but it would offer a way of reducing costs by the economy of scale. In any event, I suspect batteries will become cheaper over time.
      – Induction charging is already being used for buses in some countries, including China, and I see no reason why it could not be extended to cars. However, there are practical problems in agreeing to standards and coping with the need to convert existing EVs. Above all, installing induction charging on every road in a city would probably be even more expensive than erecting charger posts. Such posts exist and they can be made compact by dispensing with a tethered cable. Instead, all that’s needed is a socket. All EVs come with a cable which can be plugged into the car and into the charger, although in most cases the tethered charger cable is used. If this could be combined with a payment system, where the network recognises the car’s handshake and automatically bills the owner’s credit card, so much the better.

  15. I’m in the USA, and have been waffling over electric vs. ICE for a while. From the engineering people I’ve met:
    1. Interchangeable batteries- probably a non-starter. The battery pack is an integral part of the frame design for structure, safety, and fitting in with a proprietary assembly line. In a crash, one would not want all that stored energy unleashed on the occupants. I can’t see any manufacturer trading off what they think are the best characteristics (eg, not getting sued), and something that’s a significant sales differentiator.
    2. Inductive charging- If the power grid can’t handle it now, with IC the losses are so great there’s no hope for the infrastructure. At the power levels for EV’s, the air gap between charger and battery pack would have to be on the order of 3 ~ 5 mm. I don’t know how you could do that curbside- maybe the pack has to physically lower to the charge coil? What about trash on the street – that can get pretty grim. Perhaps we would have brooms and snow shovels (remember snow?) alongside the spare?
    3. I can’t imagine Tesla would share their chargers without a hefty $$$ adder for non-T vehicles. I witnessed what they went through with planning boards in my town. I give them credit- chargers are a strategic necessity, and they followed through.

    Great site- Bob

  16. Well I’m reading this while looking out the window at my Landcruiser Prado with 180ltr tanks which came as standard on my 2008 model. I live on northern NSW in the land of Oz and will be setting off to the outback opal mining town of Lightning Ridge tomorrow and can do the return trip without refilling. The entire trip including tootling around the area will total about 1600km – easy!
    I usually only fill up with diesel once a fortnight.
    I am only aware of one ev recharging point within 250km.
    What you are talking about seems a total fantasy when you live in the Aussie bush…….

    • Couldn’t agree more, Mark. Europe (in more densely populated parts and some areas of the US (California for instance) are EV ready. But vast tracts of the world are not. We can’t write off fossil fuels in the world just because some
      Governments issue their edicts.

  17. Nice read, Mike. What I personally wouldn’t bother about at all is the eight year warranty on the battery pack. That doesn’t mean at all you have to sell the car or even replace the batteries after eight years. The car will still drive after eight years, especially when you have taken good care of the battery pack (load preferably only up to 90% and preferably don’t go below 10%, or something in that range), and don’t crash it. And even then, after 8, 10 or maybe even 12 years I will be happy just to buy a new battery pack and drive again for many years, which will be much cheaper than having to buy a new car, and is way better for the environment. Not to mention that the new battery pack will be cheaper and more powerful than the original one. In principle these kinds of car could be a once in a lifetime buy, provided the companies keep producing the necessary spare parts for all those years (legislation needed), because who drives more than 1.000.000 kilometers in their lifetime?

  18. I suspect that at some point, some genius will come up with a way of the vehicle self charging while it’s driving (now that would be revolutionary). A combination of something solar panel type thing in the body work, or paint work, alongside say the front wheels driving, while the passive rear wheels are pushing a charge back at the batteries, or dare I say it, a different type of storage mechanism other than a battery.

    There is a long way to go on this one, and I suspect in a decades time we may start to see the true potential of the systems as they evolve. If you think about it the basic engine principle started as a steam powered entity, and then evolved over time to become the vehicle changing design we see today, which as evolved to its current state. I suspect the electric only car will go the same way, we are still in the steam era, and while we evolve technology wise a lot quicker now, it will no doubt have an evolutionary leap where we can go where we like, when we like and not have to worry about filling up.

    The future’s bright.

    • The good thing is that external circumstances, for whatever reasons, are making it possible for the development of electric vehicles. The reduction in pollution in cities is welcome, although we have a sneaking suspicion that the pollution will simply be transferred to the generating side. However, if electric vehicles can make as much of a difference as did the phasing out of coal fires in the 1960s, then it will have been worthwhile.

      However, success will come not by wielding sticks and banning internal combustion engines, it will come through making electric vehicles more attractive and cheaper until they become the natural choice for everyone — not just those who buy on a whim because they can afford it and who can also afford a second car in any case.

      It should be an interesting decade and a half, I think.

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