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Electric car for London?

 
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PaulS



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 602
Location: Cottage Farm,Cornwall

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 5:22 pm    Post subject: Electric car for London? Reply with quote

How about the G-Wiz, Just plug it in overnioght and forget petrol prices

http://www.goingreen.co.uk/

And you get parking and Congestion charge exemptions. Amazing. Pitty I live so far.
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fishertrop



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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Location: Sheffield

PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2005 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't forget how we generate electricity in teh UK - if 5 people buy electric cars THEY benifit.

If everyone switches to electric cars we all loose.

We need FAR LESS car use (or any type), period (imo).

NIce concept tho.
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isenhand



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2005 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

<< We need FAR LESS car use (or any type), period (imo).>>

Hmm ? that will take some major rethinking of our urban environment and the way we work.

Something like Arcosanti? Or Sky city?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arcosanti

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sky_City


Smile
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RogerCO



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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Location: Cornwall, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2005 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fishertrop wrote:
Don't forget how we generate electricity in teh UK - if 5 people buy electric cars THEY benifit.

If everyone switches to electric cars we all loose.

We need FAR LESS car use (or any type), period (imo).

NIce concept tho.

Good point, but both from the point of view of getting people to proceed one step at a time, and also from the pov of personal individual transport being a desirable attribute of a post-oil advanced civilization I think this is a very good start.
If you couple it with using a renewable electricity supplier (Good Energy/Ecotricity) you will also drive up demand for and investment in renewable generation (of course as I said elsewhere the actual unit cost will also go up over time - not a bad thing)

- so much so that I've booked a test drive for Monday (assuming central London is re-opened by then) on the basis that at the current price (?7k special offer) with a 4-5 month lead time it might be that by December the fuel price and possibility of import difficulties from India will have driven both the price and desirability of this little toy upwards and I might be able to sell on at a profit.
Even if I were to keep it, it currently would be the cheapest form of transport in London (better even than train and tube) on a per mile basis for a single user - with the personal and door-to-door advantages.
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fishertrop



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2005 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RogerCO wrote:
..and also from the pov of personal individual transport being a desirable attribute of a post-oil advanced civilization ..


Desireable? Hell yes.

Realistic if not self-propelled? Doubtfull.

Personal transport is both one of THE most power individual demands and one of the most unsustaibale and unrealistic if it's anything but self-powered.

One the most difficult things people in the Uk are going to have get to grips with, the thing mostly likely to insight civil unrest (after food shortages) is restrictions on or loss of of the personal car.

The personal car is one of the cornerstone, fundamental reasons why we are in such a mess today and it makes even less sense to have such in a post-peak world than it does now.

There are approx 25m cars in the Uk today, I bet you could work out the electricity needed to charge up 25m electric cars or even 12.5m and it would be a spectacular number, and one that the Uk grid could not supply today, let alone in a post peak world.

The Uk currently gets the bulk of it's electricity from fossil fuels, in a post peak world we'll either burn more coal or get by with less electricity - hopefuly the latter.

Even 5m cars using anything like current technology and needing charging daily would require more electricty then will be available in a low-fossil, highly renewable (plus nuclear) generating world.

The push bike or similar man-powered transport (+ public transport) is the only thing - in my view - that adds up in a post peak world.

Of course, in your case, today, you can save money on petrol and road charges so it could be a good choice for you personally - but I think that's probably as far as it goes.
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GD



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 1099
Location: Devon

PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2005 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

isenhand wrote:
<< We need FAR LESS car use (or any type), period (imo).>>

Hmm ? that will take some major rethinking of our urban environment and the way we work.

Something like Arcosanti? Or Sky city?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arcosanti

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sky_City


Smile


Very nice...

Have you seen also Bill Dunster's Flower Tower and Velocity?

Really cool!
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RogerCO



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2005 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you are broadly right Fishertrop. In the long term human or possibly animal (- prepare for tomorrow, learn to ride a horse!) powered personal transport is the only sustainable way.

But the challenge as I see it, is about how we get from here to there.

Start by acknowledging that transport and mobility is a benefit to society, now start to make the transition to sustainable mobility. I think that during that transition electric vehicles have a major role to play - it may only be viable for 5 years but it introduces a shift in peoples behaviour and thinking.
It gets people off immediate fossil fuel burning (albeit still with an indirect element), and also confronts them with some of the inconveniences that will take them to the next step - less use, and human powered use.

Remember these things (Gwiz) do not have good performance or range, they rely on lead-acid cells which have significant enviromental impact themselves and a limited life (same is true of all other battery technologies).

You have to provide a path for society to change - it ain't all going to happen at once without destructive disruption, so take it one step at a time. Just the sight and existence of these things on the street can make people start to think about what they do...
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fishertrop



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2005 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RogerCO wrote:

But the challenge as I see it, is about how we get from here to there.


I would agree with you 100% that this is a major challenge.

RogerCO wrote:

Start by acknowledging that transport and mobility is a benefit to society...


I'm not sure I would agree with that, at least not without qualification.

Mobility is a luxury for most people. Some limited mobility is probably a genuine benifit but I would say the amount of mobility actually needed for real societal benifit is not that great.

But it sure is a great luxury.

RogerCO wrote:

..now start to make the transition to sustainable mobility. I think that during that transition electric vehicles have a major role to play - it may only be viable for 5 years but it introduces a shift in peoples behaviour and thinking.


I think I would have to disagree with you on this Roger.

Sure we have to transition to a form of viable mobility, but I would say that use electric cars is a VERY expensive way of doing it.

Tooling up to produce these cars, diverting resources to build them (esp the batteries) and using resources to power them for (say) a 5 year transition window is very high price to pay for what is in effect moving people psychologically from one paradigm to another.

RogerCO wrote:

It gets people off immediate fossil fuel burning (albeit still with an indirect element), and also confronts them with some of the inconveniences that will take them to the next step - less use, and human powered use.


It would be intersting to compare both the money cost and CO2 cost of running 25m electric cars (or half that number) instead of the same number of current cars.

Are we going to use less electricty in other areas during this period, or generate more power? If the latter, then with what, Nuclear, more fossil fuels?

It seems to me like you have a huge gulf, lets say on a scale of 1 to 100 where 1 is where we are now and 100 is where we need to be, you have this gulf and the electric car moves you to like 10 or 20 on the scale at most and costs the Uk a FORTUNE in money and resources.

RogerCO wrote:

Remember these things (Gwiz) do not have good performance or range, they rely on lead-acid cells which have significant enviromental impact themselves and a limited life (same is true of all other battery technologies).


A powered car similar to what we have today (with less fast and with less range) is not adjusting people to realities it's perpetuating the current one, albeit in a slightly less stylish and sporty way.

RogerCO wrote:

You have to provide a path for society to change - it ain't all going to happen at once without destructive disruption, so take it one step at a time. Just the sight and existence of these things on the street can make people start to think about what they do...


I totally agree that you need a path for change.

I think it might happen all at once and whilst that will be harsh in the immediate term it could be much better in the medium and long term.

It not happening all at once is like saying "lets pay more to get to the same ultimate end".

I also agree that what people see changing in their society can influence them - like the Prius vs the Hummer trend and the impact of Live8 - and I do agree that people today would be more easily led down a path of nice little steps of small change but I fear two main things:
1) It will cost the Uk a HUGE amount of money and reosurces to get to the same ends
2) People would stop inching along the progress scale when they got to the bit where you have to leave your car-shaped powered vehicle for the next thing that isn't powered and/or isn't car-shaped.

I think we have painted ourselves into such a corner that nice incremental progress that is painless has ceased to be an option and the longer we delay starting something (even large Gwiz programme) the harder and more harsh the change is going to be.

At the end of the day I don't think we in the Uk have a hope of changing fast enough to avoid a shock - as a society we have not demonstrated anything that shows we can, or even want to.
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RogerCO



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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Location: Cornwall, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2005 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fishertrop wrote:
RogerCO wrote:
Start by acknowledging that transport and mobility is a benefit to society...
I'm not sure I would agree with that, at least not without qualification.
Mobility is a luxury for most people. Some limited mobility is probably a genuine benifit but I would say the amount of mobility actually needed for real societal benifit is not that great.

There we do differ - I think personal mobility (which could be virtual - through communication systems) is a very real benefit and helps the creation and maintenance of a civilization. Broadens experience, enables wider interactions. Sure we could go back to an earlier form of civilization where mobility - and thus knowledge and power - was concentrated in the hands of a few supported by a serf or slave class. I would like to see a post-oil civilization that maintained some of the democratic and personal freedom benefits that we acquired during the industrial period.

fishertrop wrote:
Sure we have to transition to a form of viable mobility, but I would say that use electric cars is a VERY expensive way of doing it.

Tooling up to produce these cars, diverting resources to build them (esp the batteries) and using resources to power them for (say) a 5 year transition window is very high price to pay for what is in effect moving people psychologically from one paradigm to another.

It would be intersting to compare both the money cost and CO2 cost of running 25m electric cars (or half that number) instead of the same number of current cars.

Taking London as an easier example where it is relatively flat and journeys are relatively short - say 7M population with 2M electric cars each using a full charge (40miles) a day - thats 10kWh per car per day - mostly used at night. Charge rate is 1.5kW so you are needing 3GW (2million times one and half thousand) generating capacity available for 6 hours each night as a peak load. Spreading it out over the day that's an average load of 750MW - one largeish power station as against 40miles times 2million divided by 40mpg (optimistic for city driving) giving 2 million gallons of refined petrol used per day.
As I understand (please check or dispute figures) 2Mgallons oil (less refined) burnt in a powerstation would give you well over 1GW generating capacity - maybe even over the 3GW peak load - its a much more efficient use of oil as an energy source for personal transport.
And you could feasibly do it (750MW) with new renewable (wind) capacity.

These are back-of-a-fag-packet straw-man numbers that need checking and validating - I think its in the right area though.

I agree about the batteries though - that is a problem. There is only a finite supply of lead.

fishertrop wrote:
2) People would stop inching along the progress scale when they got to the bit where you have to leave your car-shaped powered vehicle for the next thing that isn't powered and/or isn't car-shaped.

My thought is that moving to a vehicle with a relatively short range gets you away from long distance travel by car (use trains), then it is easier to see that you can do without altogether - a lot of people are discovering today that it is possible to walk home from central London.

fishertrop wrote:
At the end of the day I don't think we in the Uk have a hope of changing fast enough to avoid a shock - as a society we have not demonstrated anything that shows we can, or even want to.

Sadly, yes, I agree.
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isenhand



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

<<Have you seen also Bill Dunster's Flower Tower and Velocity?

Really cool!>>

Nice step in the right direction but a bit too little greenery for me.

<<There are approx 25m cars in the Uk today, I bet you could work out the electricity needed to charge up 25m electric cars or even 12.5m and it would be a spectacular number, and one that the Uk grid could not supply today, let alone in a post peak world.>>

How often would then need to be charged? Most cars spend most of their time doing nothing. Given their potential use and actual use the load factor on a car is very low making them very inefficient.

What about a communal car system? You just book in a time for a car and it?s delivered to your door when you need it. Drive it to work and then the car is delivered to the next user. At the end of the day it will be back ready for you to drive home. Of cause a scheme like this would need staggered work / use hours to minimise peak usage and would have to be part of an overall plan for society that minimised the need for travel and the reorganised the way we work. You can not move to a sustainable mobility without considered how we work, how we build our cities and how we move around and why. All are interlinked (not every thing comes in pairs).


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fishertrop



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Roger, thanks for the stimulating debate.

RogerCO wrote:

There we do differ - I think personal mobility (which could be virtual - through communication systems) is a very real benefit and helps the creation and maintenance of a civilization. Broadens experience, enables wider interactions. Sure we could go back to an earlier form of civilization where mobility - and thus knowledge and power - was concentrated in the hands of a few supported by a serf or slave class. I would like to see a post-oil civilization that maintained some of the democratic and personal freedom benefits that we acquired during the industrial period.


Perhaps we are talking in just different degrees of the same thing.

When I am saying "personal mobility" I am essentially meaning today's powered-cars used in the way we use them now.

I do think you have to qualify where the lines are drawn for individual mobility as a benifit to society - without qualification we could be talking about a 2500 mile road trip in a hummer as a benifit to society because we see some intersting stuff on the way and make a few new friends. I think you have to weight the cost of any mobility against it's real returns.

I do not think this means that knowledge and power would be restricted to just a lucky few.

RogerCO wrote:

Taking London as an easier example where it is relatively flat and journeys are relatively short - say 7M population with 2M electric cars each using a full charge (40miles) a day - thats 10kWh per car per day - mostly used at night. Charge rate is 1.5kW so you are needing 3GW (2million times one and half thousand) generating capacity available for 6 hours each night as a peak load. Spreading it out over the day that's an average load of 750MW - one largeish power station as against 40miles times 2million divided by 40mpg (optimistic for city driving) giving 2 million gallons of refined petrol used per day.
As I understand (please check or dispute figures) 2Mgallons oil (less refined) burnt in a powerstation would give you well over 1GW generating capacity - maybe even over the 3GW peak load - its a much more efficient use of oil as an energy source for personal transport.
And you could feasibly do it (750MW) with new renewable (wind) capacity.

These are back-of-a-fag-packet straw-man numbers that need checking and validating - I think its in the right area though.


Unfortunately I'm pushed for time so I'll have to leave these numbers to one side for now and take them as read. All I would say is that 10kwh is the current average daily power consumption per household in the Uk, and your example talks about doubling that ! Furthermore, the 750mw for london-only (2m cars) seems to do what I alluded to in my opener - that one person (or one city) can do it to their benifit but we all can't do it.

750mw for 2m cars = 9375mw for 25m cars ??
So either you say some people have to do without a car, in whcih case, who?
Or you say only london can use this scheme, in which case, what do the rest of the Uk do?

RogerCO wrote:

I agree about the batteries though - that is a problem. There is only a finite supply of lead.

And the processes to create the acids, the processes to build a LOT of actual batteries and, most importantly, the processes to recycle the batteries and their contents.

RogerCO wrote:

My thought is that moving to a vehicle with a relatively short range gets you away from long distance travel by car (use trains), then it is easier to see that you can do without altogether - a lot of people are discovering today that it is possible to walk home from central London.


I don't disagree, only that it strikes me as a very expensive way of achieving that mind-shift.

I think London is a good example of how you can have useful mobility without any car - the public transport system is fairly good.

My own take on personal mobility is that it should be a combination of a self-powered machine and public transport.

I don't want to see a return to the dark ages either and I agree that some mobility has value but I think that it has to be viable, sustainable and that any form of personal powered transport (with any current technologies) does not add up.
But I also ask, what's wrong with a push bike?
You can easily do a round-trip commute of 20m a day, which in a post-peak (more localised) world should be more than enough to get you to your place of work.

Since it's likely that a post-peak world will have less metropolis like london, the need to travel long distances often will be greatly reduced.

I agree that electronic communications can and should play a big part in the future - they can offer huge transfer of information and knowledge witout the need to transfer people to different places.

If you imagine a future UK with a more distrubted, localised, infrastructure where people live and work within (say) a 10m radius and most food and goods are produced in that local, then there is no reason why such a Uk cannot very high levels of science om technology skills, universities, centers of excellence, culture - it's just that you don't travel to most of these except under your own steam.

Holidays and occational trips to other parts of the Uk are viable using public transport so long as everyone doesn't want to do it all of the time.

I would like to think that the UK could transition to such a sustainable future, but as we have concurred, this seems most unlikely.

In which case we seem to face sleepwalking into a crisis - a shock - out of which can come many things, one of which is a revolutionised transport paradigm.

In the end then, I still do not see how Uk-wide electric powered cars fit into either the "we won't change now not ever" current mentality nor into a post-shock transportation world.

Inspite of my reservations tho, I would wholeheartly support the introduction of Gwiz-type cars as part of a national strategy of change, since I think this change is better than no change!
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beev



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2005 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps the main reason why overall energy consumption figures look better if everyone in London drove a G-wiz is because they would all be accelerating a lot more slowly.

Is it correct that electric cars don't need to use energy when they are idling at the lights?

Three things that are definately good about the G-wiz: they are quiet, they are small, and they don't fill the streets with fumes. If everyone driving in London changed to one, it would be a far nicer place to be, no question.

It's easy to speculate about how different things would be if everyone used a G-wiz, public transport, or a bike, but don't forget that folk often need to shift things around the city. Your friend gives you his old couch, for example, or you are shifting your latest sculpture down to the gallery. This is where we really need car sharing (or rather van-sharing schemes). With these available to everyone in every area, it need not involve a lot of vans and it need not be expensive. A pay-per-use scheme would be simple and fair. More people would then be free to switch to a bike, bus or a small car like the G-wiz.

Bring on the electric vans!
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fishertrop



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2005 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beev wrote:
This is where we really need car sharing (or rather van-sharing schemes).


Van-sharing - what a great idea!

They don't nesseccarilly need to be electric - limited oil-powered transport that is public or shared is still an option for well into the post-peak downslope.

It's individually owned and frequently used private motor transport that has got to end.
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