back to article The UK is running on empty when it comes to electric vehicle charging points

The UK needs to increase the number of charging points across the country tenfold if it is to support an electric vehicle (EV) economy starting with the ban on new petrol and diesel cars from 2030. As it stands, access to EV charging points is a "postcode lottery" with London streets ahead of every other part of the UK. So …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm....

    On a coach that was made in China, no doubt with extremely lax environmental controls when it came to production of all parts.

    Electric cars are no doubt great to drive, and will be important going forward, but the idea that they [vehicles made using current battery technology] need to replace all cars, and will improve our environmental footprint if we do so, is misguided.

    1. Andre Carneiro

      Re: Hmm....

      I disagree, provided that we don't bin current ones to replace them with EVs.

      If current ICE offerings get replaced with EVs as they come to the end of their natural life then I cannot fathom how they can be environmentally worse over their lifecycle, even with current battery tech (which will hopefully improve significantly over the next decade).

      Couple that with a better grid management system (which, admittedly, is not without its challenges) and we have the makings of a very powerful tool for emissions reduction.

      As usual, you can find a study to quote whatever your opinion is but as the grid goes greener (admittedly with increasing difficulty if we don't invest in decent nuclear) then transport-related emissions should go down even more.

      DOI: I drive an EV and cannot ever see myself willingly go back to ICE.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmm....

        >I cannot fathom how they can be environmentally worse over their lifecycle, even with current battery tech

        I think you're suffering from a lack of imagination, in that case.

        An ICE is basically a lump of metal, that is easy to recycle into high-grade products at the end of its life. It also produces airbourne pollution, which is not great.

        An EV needs lithium and cobalt, among other things, to make its battery pack. The mining of those minerals is incredibly destructive and unsustainable in its current form, and the disposal and any potential recycling are currently unsolved questions. We also have to condsider all the additional electronics present in an EV, as well as all of the charging points, all of which take a lot of energy and resources to manufacture, and have no good way to be recycled. To see how we "recycle" electronics, take a look at some of the e-waste "recycling" centres around the world. Don't forget the obligatory smartphone, as you can't go anywhere without the car's app! On the upside, EVs make very little pollution at their point of use.

        1. Andre Carneiro

          Re: Hmm....

          You seem to be ignoring the just-as-equally incredibly destructive, unsustainable and energy-intensive process of drilling for oil. And not just the oil you burn, but all the lubricants over the course of the ICE's lifetime (EVs do use some, obviously, but only a fraction).

          EVs are just as much of a lump pf metal, with a smaller, less heavy drive train. The battery pack is the "big lump of metal" that really needs improvement, but that's happening gradually.

          ICE vehicles use just as many electronics as EVs, how do you think you can get the insane levels of precision and fuel-air ratios in current ICEs?

          I don't know about the recycling of charging points, especially compared to the recycling of petrol pumps? Do they fail often? A petrol pump is a mechanical device, so I would expect it to fail relatively often as well (but, as I said, I have no data to make up my mind on that one).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hmm....

            >You seem to be ignoring the just-as-equally incredibly destructive, unsustainable and energy-intensive process of drilling for oil.

            No, drilling for oil is not great, although the actual extraction process in most places is relatively environmentally "clean". It's also not energy-intensive in the way that producing an EV battery pack is. Oil provides its own energy source (and it's only a few % that get used between well and petrol pump).

            Mining, refining, and assembling an EV battery pack takes a great deal of energy from an external source. When I see the first lithium plant powered by solar and wind turbines, then I'll change my mind.

            Point is - EVs are not a clear environmental win.

            > The battery pack is the "big lump of metal"

            An EV battery pack is not a "big lump of metal". It's a metal box containing all sorts of complex structures and compounds, that is practically impossible to recycle. At the moment, what pilot recycling plants do exist usually don't bother extracting the lithium, as it's just not feasible. If you say "it'll be feasible once natural deposits start running out", then you're also agreeing that the price of EV battery packs will also go up.

            >ICE vehicles use just as many electronics as EVs

            ICE cars do have a lot of (in my opinion) un-necessary electronics, including all the infotainment systems and the like. If we really did want ICE engines to be run to within an inch of their lives for emissions reasons, the actual amount of sensor data processing required is fairly trivial and could easily be performed by practically any microcontroller. All the rest is just the junk that we seem to demand when buying cars.

            EVs by their very nature have a whole lot more electronics - how do you think the battery pack and motor is controlled?

            >Do they fail often? A petrol pump is a mechanical device, so I would expect it to fail relatively often as well

            It's interesting how many times this idea is trotted out, despite the overwhelming experience most people have that it's the electronics that fail and cause an item to be scrapped, and not the mechanicals. Again, the bulk of a fuel pump is metal, which is actually recyclable, unlike electronic devices.

            1. Adair Silver badge

              Re: Hmm....

              So let's all just walk, eh? Problem solved.

              In practical terms the ICE system is reaching the end of the road in terms of technical sophistication and efficiency, but EV technology is just getting going.

              If we must have personal transportation vehicles capable of shifting us and our friends 500km cross country then, on the face of it, there seems a lot more potential for doing that relatively sustainably using electricity than using hydrocarbons.

              Or, we could all just walk - it really would sort out a lot of our problems.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Hmm....

                Electric motors powered by batteries is very old tech. I'd be curious to know exactly where you think any efficiencies could be gained. All of the steps in the power transmission and conversion are running at 80%+ efficiency, and using the latest in SMPSU tech (which is also from a long line of development).

                The only real remaining potential development is battery technology. As it stands right now, it's not clear exaxctly how we are going to get enough minerals to make all of our EV battery packs, nor what we will do with those packs at the end of their lives.

                >So let's all just walk, eh? Problem solved.

                If we are really living through a climate catastrophe that needs immediate and drastic action to save the planet, it would be much more credible if we were asked to walk, instead of all going out and buying fancy new cars.

                You are right - the unsustainable part is our expectation that we can sit inside a heavy metal box and convey ourselves as far as we like quite cheaply. I suspect that the drive towards EVs is just a (fairly expensive, for the end users) way to adjust our expectations of how far we can personally travel. I already cycle everywhere if possible, so I'd like to skip that step.

                1. Flywheel Silver badge
                  FAIL

                  Re: Hmm....

                  sit inside a heavy metal box

                  Actually, that's one thing that's always intrigued me about the current EVs; how much they resemble the traditional ICE vehicles.

                  And before someone calls me out for being a twat. why on earth are we not making smaller lightweight EVs built out of modern, strong materials that will still carry a battery but will be more suitable size and weight. Maybe we could achieve more mileage/less anxiety if we did.

                  Seriously do we really need an electric version of the urban tractors we apparently need now?

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Hmm....

                    Indeed. Funny how the answer to the Climate Catastrophe appears to be "you need to radically change how much you spend on things", and not "you need to radically change your lifestyle".

                    1. Potemkine! Silver badge

                      Re: Hmm....

                      Whatever we do in Europe will have a small effect on Climate, because Europe produces relatively few CO2. Even if Europe is tomorrow totally eradicated and doesn't produce CO2 anymore, India and China would "fill the gap" in 2030.

                      But let's pretend it does matter:

                      Transportation represents 1/10 of CO2 production in Europe. Cars are a fraction of that. The new hype is to replace ICE by EV. EV produce when running much less CO2, but what will be the impact in term of CO2 production of building a whole new infrastructure? Also, EV cars are hardly recyclable, it's a new burden for the future.

                      I believe that as often we do not focus on the important parameters. The frenzy on EV is just to convince us to buy new things to replace the old things. Also, in 10 to 15 years, battery-powered EV will be replace by fuel-cell cars.

                      What are IMNSHO the things to do?

                      - Close in the next 5 years all power stations using fossils fuels. If possible worldwide.We'll have also to stop burning wood.

                      - Favor local electricity production: solar, wind... each new house should produce a part of the electricity it uses.

                      - Put lorries on trains on continental Europe. No more country traversal allowed for trucks, as Switzerland did.

                      - Invest heavily on R&D for CO2 capture

                      - And most important, reduce natality. The 'one child' policy of China was the good one. We are far too many on this planet, and it's getting worse every day.

                  2. Adair Silver badge

                    Re: Hmm....

                    Because the 'car industry' is fundamentally conservative, i.e. much prefers to maintain the status quo while it wrings every last penny out of the infrastructure it has very expensively put in place, whilst maintaining shareholder interest.

                    There is much more scope for 'disruption' by radical players using electric tech than there is with ICE technology, but then the 'customers' tend to be conservative too. It can be a difficult chicken and egg conundrum to break through.

                    Witness British housing as another example of the unholy symbiosis between 'big developers' and 'customers'. People's idea of what constitutes a 'house' is generally very restricted, something that is actively reinforced by the big developers, who are loath to do anything that might endanger their ability to build and sell crap houses at rip-off prices. The 'market' knows what a 'house' is, and has very low expectations, because, on the whole, they know nothing else.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Hmm....

                      True, although it must strike you as odd that the car manufacturers seem to be doing just fine, as they sell (and increasingly, rent) us ever more expensive cars.

                      I also don't see how "radical players" can "disrupt" the EV market. The supply chains for all the essential EV components are truly huge and global. If anything, you could argue that it will favour the entrenched incumbents.

                      In summary, the idea that the "legacy" car manufacturers are quaking in their boots at the introduction of EVs is pretty silly. Do you really think VW, BMW, and Mercades-Benz are going to be totally broadsided by each round of new EU regulations??

                    2. Roland6 Silver badge

                      Re: Hmm....

                      >Because the 'car industry' is fundamentally conservative, ...

                      There is much more scope for 'disruption' by radical players...

                      Clearly, Tesla are also fundamentally conservative and not a radical player...

                      1. sabroni Silver badge

                        Re: Tesla are also fundamentally conservative and not a radical player...

                        Having a mouthy prick run the company is not radical, it's par for the course.

                  3. JohnG

                    Re: Hmm....

                    "And before someone calls me out for being a twat. why on earth are we not making smaller lightweight EVs built out of modern, strong materials that will still carry a battery but will be more suitable size and weight."

                    Early EVs were closer to this and were deeply unpopular and expensive. But battery packs are heavy and it is hard to make a small, light, sensible EV for a sensible price. Tesla decided it was easier to compete at the top end of the market, where the price of an EV battery pack and drivetrain is comparable to their ICE counterparts. Where people have money to burn on cars that can reach 60 mph in under 4 seconds, it is easier to make an EV with massive torque and acceleration, despite weighing over 2 tonnes. As battery prices fall, Tesla and other EV makers are heading towards more sensible cars.

                    Interestingly, Renault and some Chinese manufacturers have produced some very cheap (e.g. $9000) EVs for the Chinese and Indian markets but these models are not available or type approved for Europe.

                2. Adair Silver badge

                  Re: Hmm....

                  'Electric' doesn't just mean 'battery', nor does it imply a 'heavy steel box' - that is mere convention, and convenience for the mass producers.

                  'Battery' tech may be, as you suggest, near the limits of its development - it's been around longer the ICE - but we don't really know, because real R&D has only been spent on it relatively recently.

                  'Fuel cell' tech may have considerable more scope for development, but again, we don't really know.

                  What we do know is that ICE tech, short of switching to sustainably produced hydrogen, is almost certainly at the end of the line - technically and ecologically.

                  Bikes are great - I use one myself, but struggle to cover 500k in a convenient length of time, much less with family on board, plus the luggage.

                  My God, we may have to change the way we live to save the planet - say it isn't so!

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Hmm....

                    My God, we may have to change the way we live to save the planet - say it isn't so!

                    It would be great if that was the official line, and not "you need to buy all this new tech so you can keep your existing life".

                    I've already made changes to my life that I believe make a significant reduction in my environmental impact, and I resent being forced to buy new things.

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Hmm....

                    "because real R&D has only been spent on it relatively recently."

                    nope, at least 40+years.

                    where do people get this bollocks from?

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Hmm....

                      These are the same people base their opinions on technology on how "modern" they think it is, all the while forgetting just how old most of this stuff is. Cars powered by motors and batteries predate internal combustion-powred cars! Surely we need to replace this "old, legacy, fully mature" tech??

                      What's old is new, and people have short memories.

                    2. Adair Silver badge

                      Re: Hmm....

                      In the history of battery technology 40 years is practically yesterday, i.e. 'relatively recently'.

              2. heyrick Silver badge

                Re: Hmm....

                "shifting us and our friends 500km cross country then"

                And how many affordable electric cars can manage a range of even half of that? Sure, my journey to work and back is 30km which is well within range of any electric car, but going shopping is twice that, and this is where things start to fall down with some cars claiming 75km but that's in perfect conditions with a new battery, not "rain and a bunch of roundabouts and hills with a two year old battery".

                Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution? User electric for the short hop stuff, and switch to dinosaur juice for range.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Hmm....

                  >Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution? User electric for the short hop stuff, and switch to dinosaur juice for range.

                  Frankly, that makes no sense. You'd be asking a tiny battery and motor to lug around all of the ICE stuff too, just for a few miles. You may as well buy a small EV and a larger ICE. Or, an ebike and an ICE. Or, just cycle.

                  1. vtcodger Silver badge

                    Re: Hmm....

                    Downvoted because I feel that you aren't thinking things through. Yes, hybrids are a complicated solution. But for rural residents they at least represent a solution. And for rural residents in colder climates, the hybrid ICE component provides waste heat to warm the cabin and defrost the windshield -- something that would otherwise have to be done by an already marginal battery system. Hybrids do demonstrably use significantly less fuel (of which there is not an unlimited supply) than pure ICE in similar vehicles.

                    I'm not against electric vehicles BTW. There are many use cases where they look like a quite good idea. What I am against is the practice of setting ambitious (i.e. almost certainly unrealistic) goals without anything that remotely resembles competent planning. Where, for example, will the electricity to run all these green vehicles come from? Almost certainly not from wind and solar. The problems with those as a dominant energy source are legion. My fear is that it will come from hastily planned and built nuclear power plants. I'm not against nuclear power either. But the prospect of a world with perhaps 10,000 or 20,000 hastily built nuclear plants does make me just the slightest bit nervous.

                    Do keep in mind that most of the human race currently lives in developing countries and THEIR energy demands will surely increase dramatically in future decades -- a reality that tends to be ignored.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Hmm....

                      But for rural residents they at least represent a solution.

                      How so? What does 30 miles of electric range get you, if you live out in the country? And why are you using the use case of a small minority of car users, to justify an entire class of car?

                      And for rural residents in colder climates...It would still be more efficient to run an EV, and have a little diesel heater in the cabin.

                      Do keep in mind that most of the human race currently lives in developing countries and THEIR energy demands will surely increase dramatically in future decades -- a reality that tends to be ignored.

                      It sure does. Where on earth (literally!) is all of the energy and raw material going to be found, to provide every human with an EV?

                      FWIW, I'm much more on the "we need to drastically change our lifestyle" side of things, than "we need to buy shiny new things that might fix the problem". I own an ICE car, and my annual mileage is probably half the UK average. That alone is as good as buying an EV for the average person!

                    2. NerryTutkins

                      Re: Hmm....

                      I am in the process of buying my first electric car (VW ID4).

                      I would disagree re rural residents. Electrics work best if you have a driveway and can charge at home. Then you get electricity at domestic rates, and have the convenience of never having to go to buy fuel. Just come home, plugin in when not using it. Modern electric cars can easily do 250km on a single charge even in bad weather, and there are few rural residents doing more than each day.

                      Much harder if you are in a city and park on street so would need to use public chargers. Although in slow city driving, you may well get 500km on a single charge.

                      We're 40 mins south of Lisbon, we can charge at home, and the longest journeys we regularly do (few each month) would be into Lisbon, which we can easily do and probably only take 30% of the charge. A long journey might be a trip to the Algarve to stay with family few times a year, that's 2.5 hours on motorway. We normally stop with kids anyway at motorway services for picnic, there are ionity fast chargers there, so we can plugin and fully charge about 35 mins from our destination, then do a top up on way back. The electricity is much more expensive at these fast chargers, but they get us by on longer trips. For 98% of our journeys, we use cheap home electricity.

                      We also have a small solar array installed by our energy company. So we will actually charge our car during the day, primarily using this.

                      I am not sure there is a shortage of electricity generation capacity for all these cars. They have batteries, and can store electricity. So you can have them charge when demand on the network is least. Normally in the UK that would be overnight, which for most people would work just fine.

                      Our solar array is small, 1.5kw, but will easily keep our car topped up for daily use, school runs, odd trip into Lisbon few times a month, plus adding some power to our house.

                      Also worth noting that one of the issues of renewable energy is storage - you cannot choose when to increase generation, mother nature decides. Some EVs now have options to store and then output electricity, all these hooked up could potentially help the grid meet peak demand by using that stored electricity (if the clients agree for their cars to be used in this way of course).

                      And once batteries in cars are degraded, they can be repurposed for domestic use, where weight/size is not such an issue. Even if they drop to 60% of original capacity, stack of a few of those would provide cheap and useful domestic storage. Though battery tech is much better now and not losing capacity over time.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: Hmm....

                        "I am in the process of buying my first electric car (VW ID4)."

                        "The electricity is much more expensive at these fast chargers, but they get us by on longer trips. For 98% of our journeys, we use cheap home electricity."

                        so which is it? both statements are contraditory

                        or are you just spouting hopeful bollocks?

                        the rest is just dreamland bollocks.

                      2. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: Hmm....

                        Some EVs now have options to store and then output electricity, all these hooked up could potentially help the grid meet peak demand by using that stored electricity (if the clients agree for their cars to be used in this way of course).

                        So instead of one charge cycle per day, you are doing multiple, for the same mileage. Will these "clients" (funny name for the owner of a car) be compensated for their batteries wearing out several times quicker?

                        Our solar array is small, 1.5kw, but will easily keep our car topped up for daily use, school runs, odd trip into Lisbon few times a month, plus adding some power to our house.

                        You must have a magical array. Optimistically, a 1.5kw array will produce 6kwh per day. That's enough for 20 miles of driving per day, and nothing else. Or, your school run and other daily trips are within easy walking distance, especially in the pleasant climate of Portugal.

                        1. NerryTutkins

                          Re: Hmm....

                          We have an app from EDP, our energy company so we can track the actual power produced, in real time too, which is nify..

                          At present (admittedly, best case since long summer days and clear skies) we get about three hours a day where we're actually at 1.5kw. Tails off either side of that. Even at 6pm in evening, we're producing about 800w. So we are producing about 9-10kwh per day. It really is very sunny here (Lisbon is officially Europe's sunniest capital city. That is about 50km of range easily in the kind of driving we do locally, which is not at motorway speeds.

                          My school runs each day are maybe 15km absolute tops, few km more on shopping days if we go to supermarket. So over the course of a week, even a couple of trips to Lisbon (50km or so each way) a month we'd easily handle on solar alone. And this is a small 5m2 array on top of bbq area in the garden.

                          1. Anonymous Coward
                            Anonymous Coward

                            Re: Hmm....

                            That's great. How is it sustainable? At the rate you're driving, it'll take nearly 10 years to pay off the extra CO2 generated by the manufacture of the battery pack and other extra electronics in your EV. That's to say nothing of the 2 year payback period needed for your solar panel to pay back the energy used to manufacture it.

                            Surely, if you've only got 10kwh per day, you should be using it for much more essential things?? Maybe your kids could ride the few miles to school.

                      3. keithpeter Silver badge
                        Windows

                        Re: Hmm....

                        "Some EVs now have options to store and then output electricity, all these hooked up could potentially help the grid meet peak demand by using that stored electricity"

                        @TerryNutkins

                        Thanks for taking the time to describe your car use/strategy.

                        Non-driver so no big views on the OA except that a move over to electric drive for inner city vehicles means cleaner air for me.

                        I've often wondered if having batteries of some kind in houses with appropriate spare space could help smooth out electricity demand curves and thus reduce (not eliminate!) the need for base load stations. I've also wondered if there is research on low power density batteries that don't use rare earth-like metals: perhaps even good old lead acid as space in a static installation is less of a problem.

                        It strikes me that even if only (plucking a figure out of my nether regions) 40% of households and some office/shop buildings added a battery that could store 24 to 36h power use the result would be significant efficiency gain for the grid.

                        Icon: my life-style change contribution

                    3. Tagware

                      Re: Hmm....

                      Wake up everyone. The Guys here have already put forward the scheme. https://tagware.info/2021/03/are-we-being-silly-just-trying-to-meet-the-national-grid-30-42gw-targets/

                      Which of course the world Government's ignore due to their paymasters being in the Petrol & Coal industrials. https://youtu.be/1oVrIHcdxjA for those who like a video explanation.

                      The National Grid has already stated that they will have no problem powering the EV UK Fleet in 2018. You have all of those batteries filling up over night at home or at the office. When most people are asleep and the National Grid is trying to find people to use electricity. These 50,000 x 50K batteries become a useful place to put the additional electricity. Even got a like from the National Grid on this article: https://tagware.info/2019/09/the-uk-national-grid-to-crash-when-electric-vehicles-charge-all-at-the-same-time/

                      Batteries use LESS COLBOLT than the Guys producing the Diesel and Petrol do to remove the Sulphur. They forgot to tell you this off course. :o)

                      The rest is FUD from the parties that are finding out about Stranded Assets. When you don't have the Gas Turbines running over 55% the time. Which is how they are financed, then you go down a finical spiral to Bankruptcy. With Wind and PV forcing the generation of electricity down will happen.

                      Finally, it's cheaper for the EV chaps to recycle than to dig out of the ground. Just need the volumes which 0.5% of the fleet don't make it yet. But, economics will prevail. TESLA has paitanted a low impact way of get Lithum from the salts that lay in the USA using Salt water.

                      When you compare the TESLA cooling system with FORD's you can see that the OEM's still have not got the message of LESS is best.

                      Just watching this will show you. https://youtu.be/m1kHsd3Ocxc

                      Enjoy the rest of you day everyone.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: Hmm....

                        I should know better than to argue with apparently crazy people on the internet who capitalise and mis-spell random words, but there we go.

                        Batteries use LESS COLBOLT than the Guys producing the Diesel and Petrol do to remove the Sulphur. They forgot to tell you this off course. :o)

                        Says who? Some guy on Twitter The relatively tiny amount of EVs currently in existence already use 50% of the world's annual production of cobalt. If there were as many EVs as petrol cars, just how much bigger do you think that number would be?

                        https://www.globalenergymetals.com/cobalt/cobalt-demand/

                        https://www.usgs.gov/centers/nmic/cobalt-statistics-and-information

                        You're spreading misinformation.

                      2. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: Hmm....

                        another idiot living in la la land.

                        where do you dig up this bollocks?

                        loosen the tinfoil hat, your stopping blood getting to your brain cell.

                      3. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: Hmm....

                        When most people are asleep and the National Grid is trying to find people to use electricity.

                        Stop with the handwaving "everything is wonderful" FUD and do the math. The numbers just don't add up.

                2. cyberdemon Silver badge
                  Boffin

                  Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                  Not sure why all the downvotes for this.

                  Personally, the technology I am waiting for is the gas-turbine series-hybrid. Basically an EV with an extremely compact high-speed generator.

                  Gas turbines can be much more power dense than ICEs because of their speed. Previously, power electronics was not fast enough to make a synchronous motor work at gas turbine speeds, but now they are becoming feasible thanks to GaN semiconductors etc.

                  The big problem with EVs is as TFA says: Charging them. And this is not just a lack of chargers, but a lack of generation and distribution capacity to power the chargers themselves.

                  If the UK had 230,000 EV chargers, the grid would fall over in an instant if even 1/5 of them were in use at any one time.

                  Therefore for EVs to be really practical we need decentralised power generation. Either from a compact gas turbine on the car itself (which could burn hydrogen or biofuel, at high temperature with very low emissions except CO2), or a lot of domestic wind and solar, or both.

                  Don't forget that if you are charging your EV when there isn't a surplus of renewable energy on the grid, then most of that energy is coming from gas turbines (and sometimes diesel generators) anyway. With a good 50% generation-and-distribution overhead before it even gets to your 97% efficient DC charger, 90% efficient battery, and 90% efficient inverter/motor. That puts it on a par with a 40% efficient ICE in terms of carbon emissions.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                    That would be great! Jaguar tried it a while ago, with the C-X75. Now there's some exciting new tech!

                    Sadly, we'll never get it, as the only legislative focus now is on removing combustion engines from cars.

                    1. cyberdemon Silver badge
                      Devil

                      Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                      Yes, just like the legislative focus is on removing gas boilers from homes and businesses.

                      I mean seriously? Using electricity for bulk heating? It couldn't get any more stupid than that.

                      The national grid is already at breaking point as just one of three main energy distribution networks - the others being the gas grid, and petroleum distribution. The amount of gigawatts needed to replace these two shouldn't be underestimated.

                      Legislative focus seems to be geared towards "let's pile everything on top of the electricity grid" (the one that's most overloaded and most prone to sudden and complete failure, and is most difficult to restart if it does fail completely)

                      In fact I'd say that legislative focus is steering the RMS TitGreat Britain so hard towards the iceberg of future economic collapse that I wouldn't be surprised if it is being lobbied mostly by powers who wish to sabotage the economic future of the UK and Europe.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                        Who could possibly benefit from making us dependent (by law!) on semiconductor- and rare earth- laden goods, cheaply manufactured? Good question!

                        But - how dare you question another country on their CO2 goals! We just need to reduce our CO2 production at any cost, even if that cost involves directly causing another country to manufacture all of the "renewable" crap that is apparently going to save the planet!

                      2. Fursty Ferret

                        Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                        >> The national grid is already at breaking point as just one of three main energy distribution networks

                        Not according to the National Grid.

                        https://www.nationalgrid.com/stories/journey-to-net-zero-stories/can-grid-cope-extra-demand-electric-cars

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                          "https://www.nationalgrid.com/stories/journey-to-net-zero-stories/can-grid-cope-extra-demand-electric-cars"

                          The pratt who wrote that is day dreaming, that's just trying to "wish" it into being.

                          no calcs no explanation of the actual problems, and bollocks examples.

                          a toilet break takes 5mins, not fucking 2 hours, dim fucker

                          1. rtfazeberdee

                            Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                            It was written by the National Grid - who better to tell you what the National Grid can or can't do. No wonder you posted anonymously.

                            1. cyberdemon Silver badge
                              Holmes

                              Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                              It was written by a PR mouthpiece on behalf of the National Grid.

                              Graeme Cooper holds an MBA in "energy" from a Business school, and a BSc in Building and Construction Management from Oxford Brookes.

                              No engineers were consulted in the production of that document. Except perhaps to say "Stop whining, you lowlife engineer! I have money to make. Who cares if I have sold impossible promises, I'll have a yacht by then and I can sail away from this blackout-stricken island"

                            2. Anonymous Coward
                              Anonymous Coward

                              Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                              it's national grid marketing wank, nothing to do with real engineering or work.

                              I post anonymously, due to understanding how many stupid fucking lunatics are on the internet.

                              so I'd rather not let loonies try to do something stupid to me or my family.

                              and I'm not a narcissist.

                            3. Anonymous Coward
                              Anonymous Coward

                              Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                              who better to tell you what the National Grid can or can't do.

                              The guy who wrote that is paid by the NG to tell everyone that of course the NG can do it. He cherrypicks his numbers, and uses his imagination for the future. I'll bet he expects us all to be charging our EVs from fusion reactors by 2040. It's pure marketing BS.

                              1. Anonymous Coward
                                Anonymous Coward

                                Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                                Now that's unfair...

                                He watched the documentary series "Back to the future" and has some ideas of how we can generate energy in car to lessen demand on the grid

                      3. SImon Hobson Silver badge

                        Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                        and is most difficult to restart if it does fail completely

                        Indeed, and they learned that lesson the hard way back in the 1940s - i.e. too long ago for most people, and definitely any engineers still working, to remember. I note that according to Wikipedia, Drax was opened in the late 70s, so it's no wonder the engineer writing that doesn't remember a "real" nationwide black start.

                        It's a tale my dad used to recall when a suitable subject prompted it.

                        When they built the grid, they'd worked on the assumption that "there'll always be power" - and most of the power stations were designed on that basis. As that article points out, power station need power in order to start up - to run control systems, pumps, fans, etc, etc. So when we had a nationwide blackout - it was " a bit of a problem" getting things going again.

                        AIUI they had to manually visit substations, disconnecting loads so that what power stations could start up could power up the grid without being overloaded by everyone wanting their lights back on. Thus, they could route power to the blacked out stations can get them online - finally reconnecting loads as power became available.

                        After that, they had a program of retrofitting small gas turbines at most power stations to provide power for a black start. As a bonus, these were later useful for peak lopping - this was when the bulk of generation was coal which is slow to respond, and TV was watched live so when the ad-breaks came, millions of kettles went on at once.

                        Sadly I can't find any references to this online - my searches either come up with modern events, or wartime stories.

                  2. NerryTutkins

                    Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                    Here in Portugal, a 5k EUR solar array can easily charge my electric car for daily needs. It's a 50k EUR car, so that's hardly a huge investment in comparison. We have a few panels on the roof of our barbecue area.

                    Hard in cities, but in rural areas, I would expect the market for micro generation to be huge in the coming years. Lots of wind, and even solar works in UK though at a somewhat lower rate. If designed properly, these could be cheap, quiet, clear and reliable. With all those electric cars, you also have a massive capacity for storing electricity which could (with suitable agreements) help out the grid at peak times.

                    Batteries may be old tech, but the amount of research money going in now is pushing things forward way, way faster than any gains possible from ICE engines. With solid state batteries and various other new materials, in 10 years time we may very well have cars with the same range as petrol now, which can be charged in the same time it takes to fill a tank. And they'll do 0-100km/h in 2 seconds without waking up the neighbours.

                    Electric cars are smoother (no reciprocating motion in engine, so basically zero vibration), quiet, clean and instant torque which comes smoothly as no gears. Once you've driven them, ICE cars can never compare. It's true that at present much of the electricity still comes from fossil fuels (at least in the UK, less so here in Portugal) but the UK has more than enough wind and sea to generate more than enough electricity, and the great thing about electric cars is they can store electricity so can be charged when it suits.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                      So you use the entirety of your power generation to drive about 50 miles a day? How is that not a perfect picture of just how scarce energy would be, if we all went solar?

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                        I mis-read your comment, and read another of yours above. You actually have a 1.5kw array, which will produce around 6kwh per day. That's 20 miles of driving, per day.

                        5000 Euro, converted to gbp, gets me enough fuel to drive my old petrol car 27,000 miles. I also spent 1/10th the money on my car than you did.

                        You are, probably without knowing it, a perfect example of green energy economics. That is, after spending an extortionate amount of money, you can drive in a day about as far as you could walk.

                        1. John Robson Silver badge

                          Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                          Ah yes the my fourteenth hand petrol car is cheaper than your new electric car.

                          Well, D'uh.

                          20 miles a day is more than most people drive on average, so isn't an unreasonable target.

                          When you compare a new petrol car with a new electric car... then you end up with a much smaller difference in initial cost, and the running cost is still much cheaper than for the EV than an ICE - It's also significantly cheaper in terms of environmental costs, both globally and locally.

                          These newfangled petrol cars will never catch on, they don't run on oats, and my old horse is cheaper.

                          1. Anonymous Coward
                            Anonymous Coward

                            Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                            It's also significantly cheaper in terms of environmental costs, both globally and locally.

                            I'll ignore the stuff about new EVs costing nearly the same as new petrol cars, because it's demonstrably false, and just stick with this one.

                            How is it cheaper in environmental costs? It is the rub of my entire issue with the "sustainable" electrificaion of everything - it is absolutely terrible for the environment, in many ways. Yes, what we are doing now is also bad, but switching to electric and carrying on as before is absolutely not the answer.

                            When I see an EV battery factory powered solely by wind and solar, then I'll change my tune. As it is, China and other Asian countries happily burn millions of tonnes of coal to manufacture all of the "sustainable" crap we by, as it is all very energy-intensive to produce.

                        2. NerryTutkins

                          Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                          My 1.5kw array produces 1.5kw for at least 3 hours per day. Tails off either side, but we get a good 9kwh per day at present, sometimes 10! Portugal is really, really sunny. Will be less in winter (only had panels a few weeks so no figures yet), but we get 300 sunny days a year, so won't be as bad as you might think. This is not southend where it pisses down every other day, even in August!

                          Also, I checked with the mrs (she did the setup), and we actually pay 47 EUR per month for the panels, for 5 years, so actually only 2800 EUR or so. Not only that, but EDP also discount the electricity we get from the grid by 10%. So for the next 5 years, with the electricity we produce, plus the discount on what we use overnight and above what we make, the panels are pretty much not costing us extra over what we paid before. After 5 years, we own them, and then it's basically free electricity.

                          Electric cars are more expensive of course. However, here VAT is 23%, and for full electric cars, all of this can be reclaimed. So that's about a 10k EUR rebate on a 50k EUR car.

                          Of course I could end up spending far less if I just kept our 10 year old diesel golf. But since we're in the market for family SUV and one that drives really nice, when you compare costs of RAV4, Honda CRV, even the Tiguan, new (apples with apples) then electric really is the way to go, for our use case. The fact the car is unbelievably smooth and quiet, and not pumping out fumes and particles, is just a bonus really.

                          1. Anonymous Coward
                            Anonymous Coward

                            Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                            So you bought a lot of shiny new toys. How are you saving the planet? It'll take you 10 years, at the rate you drive, just to pay off the additional CO2 debt that the manufacture of an EV creates.

                    2. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                      The greenwashing BS keeps coming!

                      the UK has more than enough wind and sea to generate more than enough electricity, and the great thing about electric cars is they can store electricity so can be charged when it suits.

                      Once we've thanked China for burning the millions of tons of coal needed to power the manufacture of solar panels, EVs, turbines, etc etc, the entire wind output of the UK (65Twh) would be enough to cover 2/3rds of the 300 billion road miles driven per year. That is, assuming all of those miles are driven by cars useing 300wh/mile. We would need to find quite a bit of extra power for commercial / HGV traffic.

                      Even if we did, we would be using 15% of the UK's entire electricity production just to move around. Seems like a waste of power, when there's homes to heat, lights to keep on, businesses to run, and food to cook.

                      in 10 years time we may very well have cars with the same range as petrol now, which can be charged in the same time it takes to fill a tank. And they'll do 0-100km/h in 2 seconds without waking up the neighbours.

                      Isn't the future a wonderful place? I'm still waiting for my nuclear flying car.

                    3. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                      one moment.

                      another post of yours say you in the process of buying your first EV?

                      now you are talking like you have had it for ages.

                      so which is it? or are you just talking bollocks

                      1. NerryTutkins

                        Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                        We are still waiting for our car. Apparently there is a chip shortage.

                        Have a loaner ID4, lower spec model until then. Same drive train, but no panoramic roof or fancier seats.

                        Had the solar array in place about a month so far.

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                          Funny how the "sustainable" great new future involves fancy seats and panoramic roofs. There's a climate catastrophe, don't you know?

                          Surely the chip shortage gives you a inkling of just how precarious this "sustainable" solution really is?

                    4. Ben Tasker Silver badge

                      Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                      > a 5k EUR solar array can easily charge my electric car for daily needs. It's a 50k EUR car, so that's hardly a huge investment in comparison.

                      As an additional investment, it's another 10% on top - that's quite sizeable percentage increase. It just sounds like a small investment because one's in 10's the other's in units. If we normalise down - your car is 5000, and for solar you need to spend another 500, would you feel quite the same way?

                      If you got a 10% raise at work, you'd probably be delighted.

                      > If designed properly, these could be cheap, quiet, clear and reliable

                      Personally, I'm of the view that all new build developments should have on-street chargers, and a specific %age of area set aside for solar (whether that's solar on the houses, or a "communal" area feeding back into the grid, or both)

                      But, I also don't think it'd be cheap or reliable in practice.

                      > and the great thing about electric cars is they can store electricity so can be charged when it suits.

                      I'm not sure I follow here - my ICE car can also store energy. If I fill the tank, that fuel's still there when I come back to it.

                      Left long enough, petrol might go stale, but diesel doesn't *and* as far as I'm aware, you'll see a discharge rate from that leccy battery.

                      That's not to say there aren't other arguments for EV's, I just don't think this one is one

                      1. NerryTutkins

                        Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                        Wife did the the panels, she says it is actually 47 EUR / month for 5 years, so 2800 EUR or so. Lot less than I thought turns out.

                        My point re charging is that people tend to look at the fact the grid is close to the limit of generation capacity at peak times, then consider EVs on top, and suggest that we need X amount more generation. But they are failing to consider that there is plenty of spare capacity overnight and other non-peak times, so EVs can be charged with that capacity, they don't need to consume electricity from the grid in real time when they are moving, which may well be during peak times.

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

                          Assuming that the National Grid does have enough off-peak capacity to charge the country's EVs overnight (which, if we run every power generation and transmission asset screaming at 100% 24/7, might be nearly true), where does that night-time power come from? Not solar, that's for sure. You can't measure the grid's peak capacity during the day time, given how much solar we use, and say that will be available at night.

            2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

              Re: Hmm....

              unlike electronic devices

              This is a huge problem. Actually many devices could be easily recycled if manufacturers were forced to give away documentation. I can give a classic example of Apple proprietary charging chip that it was only changed from a commonly available one, to restrict 3rd party repair. Imagine how many of those motherboards gets disposed of instead of recycled. If there was documentation available for those chips, these could be easily removed and put back on the market and repurposed.

              Another problem with electronics is that it is difficult to get such recycled parts back into new products.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Hmm....

                you obviously have no fucking clue about electronics.

                have you ever tried to remove modern chips from boards?

                1. Wellyboot Silver badge

                  Re: Hmm....

                  Indeed, removing the silicon sliver and electrical connections from inside the plastic is even harder.

            3. David 164

              Re: Hmm....

              Turning that oil into products is energy intensive.

            4. David 164

              Re: Hmm....

              EV are a clear environmental win for cities, they will lead to cleaner air and a quieter environment.

            5. ian 22
              Unhappy

              Re: Hmm....

              There are no petroleum spills in your world? No petrol leaking from aging underground tanks? No yobs dumping spent ICE lubricants down convenient sewers?

              Sadly, these things happen constantly in my world.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Hmm....

                I didn't say oil was without problems, I said that EVs are not a clear win environmentally.

                Are there no tailings dam failures in your world? No persistent pollution from the creation and disposal of electronic components? No children being forced down hand-dug mines in some hellhole in Africa?

                I suppose really, the answer to my question is "no", because all of those things are happing far away and out of sight. That really is the main benefit of EVs - we externalise all of the pollution and other issues, and clap ourselves on the back that we are helping to save the planet.

                1. rtfazeberdee

                  Re: Hmm....

                  "I said that EVs are not a clear win environmentally." still far better than anything fossil based even if the grid is totally coal powered.

                  "No persistent pollution from the creation and disposal of electronic components?" - thats an ICE vehicle problem too some ICE cars, like BMWs, have miles of wiring in them.

                  "No children being forced down hand-dug mines in some hellhole in Africa?" - they could be getting the cobalt to help refine oil into sulphur free diesel, petrol refineries use the same amount of electricity as a small city to refine their product . EV battery production gets its cobalt from proper verified sources.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Hmm....

                    still far better than anything fossil based even if the grid is totally coal powered.

                    On what planet do you live? EVs charged by coal would be the very worst of all worlds. For a start, the well-to-wheels efficiency of this scheme would be WORSE than just putting petrol in a car.

                    And on that note, why is everyone suddenly talking about cobalt usage in petrol? Did someone just tweet or something? Over 50% of the world's cobalt production goes to making EV batteries, and that's at the miniscule numbers that are currently produced.

                    I also don't drive a diesel car, so am I ok??

                    petrol refineries use the same amount of electricity as a small city to refine their product

                    Now we're just getting silly. No, they don't. They use some fraction of the incoming oil to power the process.

                    EV battery production gets its cobalt from proper verified sources.

                    Of course they do. I bet they come with a little certificate too!

                    1. Steve K Silver badge

                      Re: Hmm....

                      Also as cobalt is a catalyst it doesn't get actually used up in the process

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: Hmm....

                        As far as I can tell, someone tweeted something about "petrol cars use cobalt too!" and now all the thoughtless online crazies are taking it as gospel.

          2. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Hmm....

            >I don't know about the recycling of charging points, especially compared to the recycling of petrol pumps? Do they fail often? A petrol pump is a mechanical device, so I would expect it to fail relatively often as well

            Charging points are also mechanical devices. A big difference, however, is that a petrol pump can still be used with a bent nozzle, whereas a charging point with a bent pin can't.

            Given petrol pumps are operated by for-profit garages, I expect problems to be quickly resolved whereas a free charging point...

            Additionally, we need to look at how we handle failure. With a failed ICE vehicle (well pre-OTT electronics) it is a relatively simple matter to move it to the side of the road or to tow it, with many modern cars and EV's they are effectively immobile and so will block roads and junctions (the more common location for failure) until such time as they either be restarted or a recovery truck turns up.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hmm....

            "EVs are just as much of a lump pf metal, with a smaller, less heavy drive train"

            lol, the battery is part of the drive train, and weighs much more than an ice engine, like half a ton more

          4. Jaybus

            Re: Hmm....

            And don't forget that more than half of that electricity is coming from burning fuels, mostly natural gas. Yes, yes, only 38% is from gas and 1% from oil/coal, so some have claimed that renewables have for the first time overtaken fossil fuels. I suppose that is technically true, however 12% of the total is from biomass, and renewable though it may be, it is nonetheless another carbon-based fuel that is burned.

            Not saying that EVs aren't a good thing, just that powering them is nowhere near zero emission. A bigger question is where is the needed additional electricity going to come from?

        2. rg287 Silver badge

          Re: Hmm....

          An EV needs lithium and cobalt, among other things, to make its battery pack. The mining of those minerals is incredibly destructive and unsustainable in its current form, and the disposal and any potential recycling are currently unsolved questions.

          Recycling is largely solved. It will be completely sorted in the next 5-10 years, which is actually fine. Obviously there's a lot of virgin material extraction at the moment for the growth market, but that will tail off as the market growth slows and recycled material makes up a larger share.

          Battery lifecycle will look something like:

          * New cells deployed in cars

          * Car reaches EOL; battery cells (with at least 70% capacity) redeployed to grid-scale battery farms

          * Genuinely knackered cells recycled into fresh cells.

          We also have to condsider all the additional electronics present in an EV, as well as all of the charging points, all of which take a lot of energy and resources to manufacture,

          Additional electronics? Have you any idea how many sensors and black box electronics are packed into ICE vehicles? The current semiconductor shortage isn't just affecting EV production!

          As for charging points... they take about the same energy and resource to manufacture as a petrol pump. The benefit is that you don't have to send tankers full of flammable liquid (which occasionally crash) to fill holding tanks (which sometimes flood or leak into the environment).

          They also fit conveniently into existing car park layouts or onto the exterior wall of a house instead of having to set up a dedicated forecourt facility.

          One might argue that petrol stations are a "sunk cost" in hardware terms, but this isn't really true as pumps are upgraded and replaced periodically and also require a great deal of maintenance.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hmm....

            Recycling is largely solved.

            That's nice. I'd like to hear of any current companies that claim the same, especially any that have found a way to economically extract the lithium from used cells.

            Battery lifecycle will look something like:

            * New cells deployed in cars

            * Car reaches EOL; battery cells (with at least 70% capacity) redeployed to grid-scale battery farms

            * Genuinely knackered cells recycled into fresh cells.

            You're a true optimist if you think anything like that can be achieved in 5-10 years. How do you envisage used battery cells being incorporated into grid-scale storage? Despite assurances that all the latest emissions regs are for our own good, there's nothing at all mandating manufacturers make compatible battery packs, which is absolutely key to making EVs anything like environmentally friendly or sustainable. You certainly wouldn't be able to dis-assemble them to extract the cells. It would take too long, and the cells within are of vastly different designs as well as lifecycle state. Not only that, but packs are generally not designed to be disassemblable, and you can't just go at them with hammer and chisel.

            You might be able to plug the entire pack into different grid storage sections, arranged by pack manufacturer, but the problem of balancing 10,000's of packs of all different states of life is quite considerable. You'd also need the pack manufacturer to make you some kind of enormous custom charging system.

            Finally, the fire/explosion risk of a site running humungous numbers of used lithium cells as a giant battery would just be off the scale.

            There is also absolutely no sign of anything like this being planned or implemented, which I would say is the greatest obstacle to it actually happening within a decade (or two).

            You then make recycling sound easy. I refer you to my first sentence in this comment.

            Additional electronics? Have you any idea how many sensors and black box electronics are packed into ICE vehicles? The current semiconductor shortage isn't just affecting EV production!

            I do, and almost all of them are un-necessary. Oddly enough, new regulations keep demanding things like mandatory backup cameras and the like, which only makes things worse. The amount of electronics needed to actually run an ICE, even one equipped with all sorts of sensors, is minimal. All the rest is junk that we don't need, yet somehow seem to want or end up with anyway.

            1. Adair Silver badge

              Re: Hmm....

              While others are no doubt on the optimistic side, you seem determinedly pessimistic. There's no particular reason why battery packs cannot be cost effectively recycled. As far as I am aware the technical know-how is already well known, what is missing is the investment, the infrastructure and the legislation to make it happen - in which case there is still a lot of work to do.

              There also remains the question: are 'cars' as we currently know them, really the way we should continue to go?

              Most people, most of the time, don't really need anything much more than a powered shopping trolley, or something capable of handling the daily commute. Instead we have thousands of pounds tied up in something that spends most of its life sitting still, and when it moves it just pootles 'around the block'.

              All those advertisements of wide open spaces and the thrill of the 'open road' is just marketing bollocks - and we fall for it every time.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Hmm....

                I'm pessimistic, because I see a radical lifestyle change being mandated upon us that will not achieve its supposed aims (that is, "save the planet"), but will most definitely make a select few much richer.

                There's no particular reason why battery packs cannot be cost effectively recycled.

                There are plenty. It's practically impossible to disassemble an EV battery pack safely, especially if you wanted to run the process at any kind of scale. The components within are mechanically and chemically combined in a way that makes the raw materials very hard to extract (as I already suggested, almost no-one is claiming to be able to extract the lithium from these cells).

                Given a chemistry lab, you could strip down one cell, but not at any kind of economically-viable scale.

                You are absolutely correct about what people actually need, and making those things is relatively easy. If all of these environmental laws were actaully about the environment, why is that not happening, instead of people buying lots of big shiny new toys?

                1. Adair Silver badge

                  Re: Hmm....

                  It's very clear why it's 'not happening' - people don't like change, they especially don't like change when their existing investments are at stake.

                  Greed and selfishness - the human condition - but just wait for when fear kicks in.

                  1. cyberdemon Silver badge
                    Mushroom

                    Recycled battery risks

                    @Aldair

                    https://technode.com/2021/06/24/china-to-ban-large-energy-storage-plants-from-using-retired-ev-batteries/

                    I don't think China would make a move as drastic as this against the use of recycled batteries without good reason. They are EXTREMELY dangerous if you don't know exactly what you are dealing with.

                    Trying to use old batteries is extremely hazardous, and disassembling and remanufacturing them is even worse. (trust me, i'm an engineer)

                    Your best hope might be to crush and incinerate the batteries in some controlled way, and then mine the ashes for raw materials. But that would be extremely polluting, and especially hazardous to staff dealing with all of the toxic waste from combustion products of electrolytes.

                    The sad fact is, Green tech is some of the most polluting tech on the planet: Lithium batteries (Li, Co mining, electrolyte production, fires), solar PV (large scale silicon wafer manufacture is HORRIBLY polluting), EVs and Wind power (neodymium & copper mining), and don't get me started on Biomass..

                    TBH, the world would be in a much better place if we hadn't killed off Nuclear!

                    1. Adair Silver badge

                      Re: Recycled battery risks

                      Bollocks! It's all the same - physics and chemistry. If it can be made it can be unmade. The only question is whether we believe it's worth the cost in money, time and whatever we think we gain.

                      High level nuclear waste is just the most 'expensive' to 'unmake' - the less we have of it the better, especially in the midst of greedy, foolish, selfish human beings.

                      So, what wil human beings choose, in the face of global warming and ecological breakdown - life, or business as usual?

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: Recycled battery risks

                        EV packs can be "unmade" - just at huge cost. Obviously that can't be admitted, because we're all being told that recycling old EV batteries will make them cheaper, not more expensive.

                        1. Roland6 Silver badge

                          Re: Recycled battery risks

                          Also the green credentials of EVs rely on the battery packs being recycled.

                      2. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: Recycled battery risks

                        "Bollocks! It's all the same - physics and chemistry. If it can be made it can be unmade."

                        FFS, seperating molecules can be done, but it's not fucking clean or easy without making a shit ton of really fucking bad by products.

                        it's not like unbolting parts from an engine.

                        why do fucking idiots think chemistry is simple?

                        1. Adair Silver badge

                          Re: Recycled battery risks

                          Who said it was simple? The fact remains: if it can be made it can be unmade.

                          The financial expense and overall 'cost' in time, energy, environmental impact, etc. all has to be factored in (which too often it isn't), and then decisions made about the 'value' being gained, against the 'cost'.

                          High level nuclear waste is probably about the most 'expensive' stuff human beings make, and that cost continues to be paid long into the future, because we aren't prepared to pay it up front and unmake what we have made.

                          EV battery packs? Of course they can be unmade, they only question is whether we are willing to pay the actual costs of doing it in a way that dosen't shove those costs onto our descendants, especially in ways they will curse us for.

                          1. Anonymous Coward
                            Anonymous Coward

                            Re: Recycled battery risks

                            So EV battery packs will become more expensive, as we shift from easily-available mineral resources to costly recycling of battery packs?

                            Thanks but no thanks, I'd rather walk or take my bicycle.

                            1. Adair Silver badge

                              Re: Recycled battery risks

                              At this stage I don't think we are in a position to say what the costs of recycling battery packs will be in 20 or 50 years time. It may be as unaffordable as burning hydrocarbons, OTOH R&D may come up with an acceptably 'cheap' solution - stranger things have happened.

                              Once upon a time people seriously believed there would never be more than a dozen or so 'computers' in the world due to their vast costs - but then transistors were discovered, then integrated circuits, and look where we are now! Hmmm, maybe we should have thought that through, and quit while we were ahead?

                              Anyway, it's early days; with EVs we may be simply rehashing the same mistakes we made with ICE tech (we tend to be very slow learners), but we can't yet take that as a given.

                              1. Anonymous Coward
                                Anonymous Coward

                                Re: Recycled battery risks

                                So along with everything else about the long-term "benefits" of EVs, recycling and future costs are unknown? You'll forgive me for taking a hard pass.

                                It may be as unaffordable as burning hydrocarbons, The base cost, in money, of petrol, is currently very low. Please don't tell me you forgot that we are taxed on fuel at around 75% in the UK.

                                You can make the argument that oil is going to run out, but that's a whole different discussion.

                          2. Anonymous Coward
                            Anonymous Coward

                            Re: Recycled battery risks

                            "Who said it was simple? The fact remains: if it can be made it can be unmade."

                            you did: "Bollocks! It's all the same - physics and chemistry. If it can be made it can be unmade."

                            saying "if it can be made it can be unmade" is just simplistic bollocks, ignoring the true complications.

                            and you repeated the same simplistic bollocks just now.

                            unfortunately not got time or patience to point out your inaccurate bollocks about nuclear waste.

                            (all the problems are actually to do with fuckwits not understanding "radiation" and nimbys)

                            1. Adair Silver badge

                              Re: Recycled battery risks

                              Wow, maybe try saying that to the mirror.

                              The 'bollocks' comment is simply because you are making assumptions about how the future will be on the basis of what you understand about the present, and that has a long history of being a mug's game.

                              The fact that something is 'hard' or 'complicated' today doesn't mean it's those things tomorrow, as I'm sure you know full well if you look back on the history of technological progress.

                              If you think something with a lethal half-life measured in thousands of years is something to cheerfully bequeath to your descendants because we can't be arsed to deal with it properly now, we'll look around. We're busy inheriting the results of other people's greed and ignorance right now.

                              Saying that EV battery packs can't be recycled safely is no different to saying high level nuclear waste is somebody else's problem. They are both our problems and the fact that we made them means we can, if we choose, find effective ways to 'unmake' them.

                              Not necessarily easily, or inexpensively, but that's called taking responsibility for the consequences of our actions. If we really need this stuff we really need to find ways of dealing properly with the downsides, even if that means deciding to drop the idea and take a radically different approach.

                              Unfortunately greed and power have a nasty habit of getting in the way, until things really have got out of hand - and even then greedy and power hungry people continue to make selfish stupid decisions that ruin other people's lives.

                      3. IanRS

                        Re: Recycled battery risks

                        Take a balloon filled with hydrogen and poke it with a lit match. You will have produced a cloud of water vapour. Now return that to separate hydrogen and oxygen. You all allowed an energy budget equivalent to one match.

                        Physics proves through the laws of thermodynamics that there is a preferred way for things to go, and that going back costs more energy than going forward. You can reverse things, but only at an energy cost, and eventually you (and the rest of the universe) run out of energy.

                        1. Adair Silver badge

                          Re: Recycled battery risks

                          Absolutely true, but then electrolysis by sunlight leaves a lot of headroom for final entropic stasis when set against the scope of human existence.

                          1. Anonymous Coward
                            Anonymous Coward

                            Re: Recycled battery risks

                            "Electrolysis by sunlight" would be less energy efficient than growing trees and burning the wood for heat.

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Hmm....

                    I'm invested in lithium, I'm gonna do just fine.

                    We're also not going to stop extracting oil any time soon (probably ever, until it runs out). It's far too valuable as a raw feedstock for all the plastics and related materials we need.

                    Exactly who do you think is losing financially with the switch to "renewable" power? I'll tell you who - the end user, who will end up paying through the nose to "save the planet".

                    1. Roland6 Silver badge

                      Re: Hmm....

                      >We're also not going to stop extracting oil any time soon (probably ever, until it runs out).

                      This means there will be a supply of gasoline... It is funny to think that in the early days before the ICE, gasoline was seen as a waste product from the oil refining process.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: Hmm....

                        Wouldn't it be funny if, in our brave new sustainable world, we all drive EVs while the unwanted gasoline is burned off?

                  3. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Hmm....

                    You also missed my point about why it "isn't happening". The reason that the environment is not being saved, despited the huge changes in lifestyle that will be mandated in the near future, is because those laws are greenwashing BS. We do actually need big change, but instead we are being told that we need to buy all sorts of "renewable" tech, and can carry on as normal.

                  4. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

                    Re: Hmm....

                    If people did not have “grid and selfishness”, they all would be dead and humanity would not exist.

              2. Roland6 Silver badge

                Re: Hmm....

                >There's no particular reason why battery packs cannot be cost effectively recycled.

                Need to be careful about just what you mean by "cost effective"; it doesn't necessarily mean energy efficient or environmentally friendly or that the process will scale.

            2. Potty Professor
              Windows

              Re: Hmm....

              That's why I run a 27 year old car. Even so, it has three separate computers in it, one for the fuel injection system, one for the ABS, and one for the Air Suspension. The ignition system, while electronically triggered and amplified, has no computing power in it, timing is set by mechanically positioning the distributor. I am currently (no pun intended) looking for an even older car, one with absolutely no electronics on board at all (except, perhaps, for a radio). Anyone know where I can get a good, cheap, Mk1 Escort?

            3. rtfazeberdee

              Re: Hmm....

              rg287 is pretty much correct. Not all 2nd life batteries go to grid storage but more to stationary storage for things like UPS. Nissan and Renault run their own operations doing this for their batteries.

              "There is also absolutely no sign of anything like this being planned or implemented, which I would say is the greatest obstacle to it actually happening within a decade (or two)" check out the FullyCharged Show channel on youtube, they've got a trip around a battery recycling facility. Once the current batteries have finished in the car and then finished the 2nd life job, they will be recycled,. Batteries with their clever battery management systems are lasting a lot longer than predicted, there are plenty of examples out there with EV taxis with 300-400k miles on them.

              "The amount of electronics needed to actually run an ICE, even one equipped with all sorts of sensors, is minimal." not really, they are needed to help manage emissions by keeping the car corrected tuned all the time before the extras come into play. A lot of sensors are monitoring the engine.

          2. Adelio Silver badge

            Re: Hmm....

            One thing I think people are missing is Companies like tesla where the batter will be part of the cars structure and I guess almost impossible to remove and re-use.

            Much like almost anything apple. Not designed to be repaired, just replaced.

            1. rg287 Silver badge

              Re: Hmm....

              YMMV with different manufacturers but in many cases the battery is not part of the car's structure - the battery compartment is part of the structure, preventing things like battery-swaps on long distance journeys.

              In the case of Tesla however, the batteries themselves are comprised of thousands of individual 4860 cells.

              When the car is EOL the compartment can be opened, these cells can be removed and repackaged into PowerWall, UPS or grid-scale battery farms until they are truly knackered and then go for chemical recycling.

              1. Roland6 Silver badge

                Re: Hmm....

                >When the car is EOL the compartment can be opened, these cells can be removed and repackaged into PowerWall, UPS or grid-scale battery farms until they are truly knackered and then go for chemical recycling.

                Did you notice how Musk and others go all handwavy and vague on this?

                I suspect it is because it is largely greenwashing. ie. they hope this is what will happen but have no idea whether it is possible or viable.

                The best form of 'recycling' is to properly manage the battery units so as to maximise their life to the point where the majority of individual cells are "truly knackered" then send them to some poverty-stricken country for the children to separate. Why do I say this, well the evidence is from the market in high-tech. Lets take HDD's as an example, we have RAID which given its original intent, would be well suited to running grid-scale disk parks formed of used HDD's, but we don't instead we use new HDD's and high quality one's at that and run them until they go EOL and become scrap metal.

                Whilst we don't need to have a battery recycling industry in place today, we will by 2030 when the volumes of "knackered" batteries start to become significant.

        3. Hairy Spod

          Re: Hmm....

          on the topic of that nasty nasty cobalt, the biggest user of it is the petro chemical industry who use it the make it their city fuels 'less polluting'. The nasties simply get moved into ship and bunker fuel where they get burned anyway so the net global benefit is close to 0.

          It's true that car traction batteries are not currently recycled effectively, however, this isn't because it isn't possible its because we don't yet have sufficient quantities of them to create a viable recycling market!

          The recyclable content of the thousands of gallons of fuel used over an ICE car's lifetime is exactly 0%!

          A considerable amount of electricity is required to pump crude out of the ground, to and from refineries often over very considerable distances and then as part of the refinement process (along with lots of heat energy). It may surprise you to find that electric cars use little more electricity (and in some use cases less) than ICE vehicles.

          I'm also pretty sure its not electric cars that are responsible for giving me black snot after walking round London

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hmm....

            on the topic of that nasty nasty cobalt, the biggest user of it is the petro chemical industry

            Interesting claim, one not supported by any evidence. The USGS says this: " On a global basis, the leading use of cobalt is in rechargeable battery electrodes."

            It is used as a catalyst to remove sulphur from fuels, but is only consumed at a very low rate (of the order of one pound of cobalt per millions of gallons of fuel).

            this isn't because it isn't possible its because we don't yet have sufficient quantities of them to create a viable recycling market!

            It is not viable, because EV battery packs take a huge amount of time and effort to strip down into component parts. It's currently much cheaper to use virgin mineral resources. Once those start running out (predictions vary, but it doesn't look good), it may become financially viable to recover lithium from old EV packs. However, this is only because the value of lithium has increased, which means that EV battery packs will become more expensive.

            The recyclable content of the thousands of gallons of fuel used over an ICE car's lifetime is exactly 0%!

            This is a ridiculous mis-direction. You are conflating the materials used to manufacture a car, with the fuel used to power it The recyclable content of the gas-fired power stations that recharge your EV is 0%. Solar panel recycling is problematic, and dominated by the "recyclability" of the front glass panel, which makes up the bulk of the weight and leads to claims like "90% of solar panel material can be recycled!". The rest of the solar panel, made up of silicon doped with all sorts of nasty elements (just like any other semiconductor), is as recyclable as any other piece of electronics. That is, not at all.

            A considerable amount of electricity is required to pump crude out of the ground, to and from refineries often over very considerable distances and then as part of the refinement process (along with lots of heat energy).

            No, it isn't. Oil provides its own energy source! Yes, it is non-renewable, but your claims are factually inaccurate. Even those few wells that are powered by electric pumps, don't need much energy. Most wells are either powered by geologic forces (ie, the oil just squirts out by itself), or it is "mined" using energy provided by that very oil (ie, shale sands, etc etc).

            It may surprise you to find that electric cars use little more electricity (and in some use cases less) than ICE vehicles.

            I would be very very surprised to discover that, as it is demonstrably false.

            A considerable amount of energy is needed to manufacture an EV battery pack, of the order of 60kWh per 1 kWh of final pack capacity. That means a 100kWh Tesla battery pack took 6MWh to manufacture.

            Where does that power come from? If we dedicated all of the UK's 60GWh annual wind generation to manufacturing "sustainable" EV battery packs, we could make 10,000 per year (and, obviously, not have any wind power for anything else). It would only take 3,000 years to make an EV for every adult in the UK!

            Obviously, the only way we can consume such an enormous amount of energy to manufacture things we "need" is to burn a load of fossil fuels to do so, which is exactly what happens.

            I'm also pretty sure its not electric cars that are responsible for giving me black snot after walking round London

            Sounds like the solution is to encourage more people to walk or cycle (which is what I do).

        4. rtfazeberdee

          Re: Hmm....

          "An EV needs lithium and cobalt, among other things, to make its battery pack." - they are producing EV batteries now that do not use cobalt. cobalt is also used heavily in the refining of fossil fuel so its "don't throw stones when standing in a glass house" argument.

          "The mining of those minerals is incredibly destructive and unsustainable in its current form, and the disposal and any potential recycling are currently unsolved questions. " Mining is destructive in all forms but there is a chance for a circular industry and reduced need for mining in the future due to the recycling of the materials in a battery.

          "the charging points, all of which take a lot of energy and resources to manufacture, and have no good way to be recycled" - how do you know this? can you cite a study?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hmm....

            50% of the world's cobalt production is used in EV battery pack manufacture, and that's with the relatively tiny amount of EVs currently on the road. I'm not the one currently stood in a glass house.

            Yes, cobalt is used as a catalyst to remove sulphur from fuel, but as it is a catalyst in the process, it is consumed at a very slow rate (around 1kg per millions of litres of fuel).

            Mining is destructive in all forms but there is a chance for a circular industry and reduced need for mining in the future due to the recycling of the materials in a battery.

            The recycling of EV batteries is much harder and more expensive than using virgin mineral resources. Thus, a battery pack made of recycled materials will also be much more expensive than currently.

            the charging points, all of which take a lot of energy and resources to manufacture, and have no good way to be recycled - how do you know this?

            Go and look at one. It is largely comprised of semiconductors (in the form of power switching and regulation), and whatever touchscreens and the like it apparently needs. Semiconductors take an incredible amount of energy to manufacture, and are not recycleable.

            Do you work in government?

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Hmm....

        It's not just the charging points but the additional supply of electricity required to allow them to charge. The solution for this is to replace the batteries with fuel cells, but expect a few more rounds of subsidies before that happens.

        1. David 164

          Re: Hmm....

          An where is the electricity coming from to produce all that hydrogen? There plenty of capacity in the grid over night to handle electric cars, there will be even more once we start shutting down those soon to be redundent refineries.

          1. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Re: Hmm....

            Most refineries burn byproducts to power the site, not that long ago unwanted gas was just vented and burnt for all to see.

            Refineries will be refining crude into products other than petrol/diesel for a long time, if they stop burning the byproducts they'll need to use more grid power not less.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Hmm....

              Most refineries burn byproducts to power the site, not that long ago unwanted gas was just vented and burnt for all to see

              They do, but they also buy electricity as the get a really good wholesale deal for off peak and it's cheaper than making their own.

          2. Matthew 25

            Re: Hmm....

            I am not sure I agree with you there. If you swap hydrocarbons for electricity you'll need an awful lot of the stuff.

            Currently there are 31.7 million cars and 4.2 million LGVs on uk roads according to the rac foundation.

            Average EV battery capacity is 62kWh(apparently).

            Given not all of these will need to charge every night let's say half. That is still 982GWh of electricity on top of what we currently use. I doubt we will have the generation capacity for that and our European allies will not be able to top us up, as they do each winter, because they will be struggling too.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Hmm....

              Don't forget we all need to heat our homes electrically, too!

              Total UK energy usage for transport and domestic uses is around 1000TWh per year.

              This number does not include commercial/industrial energy usage, and ignores the energy required to manufacture all the stuff we import.

              A little bit of maths (which I did in another comment) tells us that we'd need to cover 1/10th of the entire UK in solar panels to produce that much power, as well as some truly gargantuan storage facilities to cover night-time and winter energy needs. I also calculated that China would have to burn 0.2% of its coal reserves, or 280 million tonnes of the stuff, to power the manufacture of those solar panels.

              When I see a solar panel factory powered entirely by solar panels, then I'll change my tune.

              1. Tagware

                Re: Hmm....

                I think you will find that most Data center's (Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Tesla).... are powered via renewables. Not necessarily on-site. But they buying the Solar/Wind power from others. Even the Aluminum crew which supposedly is impossible have managed. So, think your in the 2010's and not 2021. :o) Chilled Compressed Air is also a very economical way of holding surplus energy. But, that's only been around for 40 odd years. There is little reason for the hold up except for the Government not know what they are doing. But, that's nothing new is it. :o)

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Hmm....

                  they can pretend to buy it all from those sources.

                  means shit all as they are not filtering out the bad electrons from coal or gass power on the grid.

                  It's just green washing as usual.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Hmm....

                    I'd really like to know if the number of "Carbon Credits" currently floating around bears any resemblance to the amount of "renewable" power actually being generated.

              2. John Robson Silver badge

                Re: Hmm....

                Heat pumps are easily 400% efficient, EVs don’t need to be charged to full from empty every night, an average car does 20 miles a day (7400/year) so you need ~5kWh a day.

                Really, people just don’t like change so they. That’s the problem here.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Hmm....

                  No, sensible people can do maths.

                  Here's a report from someone who fitted a 18kw air-source heat pump:

                  https://myhomefarm.co.uk/verdict-on-air-source-heat-pumps-in-the-uk

                  They report that, on a Janurary day of 8 degC, they used 53 kwh per day for heating, and on a January day of 3 degC, they used 67kwh per day.

                  The average, daily winter gas usage in the UK for a medium sizes house is around 40kwh

                  https://selectra.co.uk/energy/guides/consumption/average-consumption-uk

                  Why would anyone want to use more energy to heat their homes? The other significant issue is that the efficiency of a heat pump is directly related to air temperature, so you can insulate your house all you like, but if it's really cold out, there's just not much heat to extract from the air.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Hmm....

                    They report that, on a Janurary day of 8 degC, they used 53 kwh per day for heating, and on a January day of 3 degC, they used 67kwh per day.

                    I've seen winter days here (mountains in S. France) where it never gets above -10C, and can be -18C at night. Gas heating is cozy, I wonder how an air/air heat pump would cope?

                  2. John Robson Silver badge

                    Re: Hmm....

                    I said heat pumps, not necessarily air source ones. But one house taking more than average amount of energy to heat doesn't mean that it took more energy to heat because it was using a heat pump. A ferrari takes more fuel than the average car to travel a mile, that doesn't mean it isn't better without a hole in the fuel line.

                    In fact: "As soon as the temperatures start to drop below 3C, we notice a difference in the ambient temperature in some of cooler rooms, which we have put down to insulation, because the flow temperatures are still at 45C."

                    So the loop was fine, it was the insulation that wasn't - put a hole in the fuel line of any vehicle and it will use more fuel.

                    To get less energy out than you put in would be a remarkable feat indeed (though well designed heat pumps often do dump the waste heat externally)

                    We all have heat pumps that work at extracting heat energy from a location with a temperature significantly below freezing - it's called a freezer. Their peak efficiency is found with a relatively small delta between the temperatures, but that's all we really need...

                    If you live in an area where the air temperature is routinely 30 below then you probably want ground source rather than air source, since ground temperature is generally significantly warmer (in the winter months) and cooler (in the summer months) to allow easy reversal of the heat pump.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Hmm....

                  an average car does 20 miles a day (7400/year) so you need ~5kWh a day.

                  For each and every one of the 31m cars in the UK. Your figures are slightly on the low side, if all cars were EVs, we'd need between 100TWh and 150TWh per year to charge them. Even taking the lower value that's still 3.2 MWh per car per year, or around 10KWh per day, best case.

                  1. John Robson Silver badge

                    Re: Hmm....

                    Nope - my figures are based on the current national average mileage (rounded up), then 250Wh/m, which is not a particularly difficult figure to achieve if you don't drive like an arse - I even manage it most of the time in my MG ZS, which is about as aerodynamic as a brick.

                    So no... I don't think my maths is out by a factor of two.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Hmm....

                      Our hard-working ONS freely publishes this information (something we really should be grateful for, as it's very hard to find out anything like the depth of information we have in the UK, anywhere else).

                      https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/928350/2020_Energy_Consumption_in_the_UK__ECUK_.pdf

                      UK transportation uses 55 million tonnes of oil equivalent per year, with one barrel containing 11MWh.

                      That works out to 600 TWh, per year. Your maths is out by a bit more than a factor of 2. It seems your figure of 250wh/mile is wildly optimistic, when you take commercial and HGVs into account.

                      1. John Robson Silver badge

                        Re: Hmm....

                        Or you are assuming that electric drivetrains are as horrifically inefficient as ICE ones...

                        250Wh/m is pretty easily achievable for cars, since that was what being discussed, and the mileage figure I quoted was for cars.

                        A gallon of gasoline (so probably a US gallon) contains approximately (and I'm rounding up) 40 kWh, and will move a car ~40 miles (yes, some cars are more efficient, and some are less efficient - this is a guess at my end and it makes the maths easy.)

                        That guesstimate puts an EV drivetrain at four times the efficiency of an ICE one, so you can divide all your numbers by four easily (my assumption here is that the same saving would be achieved on a larger vehicle as well, which isn't unreasonable - though larger engines do tend to be marginally more efficient, the difference in scale is actually fairly small amongst road vehicles).

                        1. Roland6 Silver badge

                          Re: Hmm....

                          >Or you are assuming that electric drivetrains are as horrifically inefficient as ICE ones...

                          Yes, I think the electric v. mechanical drivetrain is something that gets overlooked in the EV v. ICE debate.

                          I'm not sure about whether it is more 'efficient' in pure terms, however, it does provide a number of significant benefits that were exploited decades back by diesel-electric locomotives, namely improved traction - 4 wheel drive is much simpler with an electric drivetrain (although I'm not sure whether I would want to drive an vehicle with an electric drivetrain through a flood).

                          So I think the real question isn't so much EV v ICE (with mechanical drivetrain) but Pure Battery EV v. Hybrid EV (with electric drivetrain).

                        2. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: Hmm....

                          You missed the bit where I talked about commercial and HGV, or do you think everything will be transported by Nissan Leaf?

                          1. Anonymous Coward
                            Anonymous Coward

                            Re: Hmm....

                            Hmm, do you not like the idea/tech/etc behind EVs perhaps? Let me guess: Angry Boomer? Time to think ahead past the last century.

                            1. Anonymous Coward
                              Anonymous Coward

                              Re: Hmm....

                              Ha try again.

                              Just not a greenwashed idiot. The idea behind EVs is to sell us extortionately expensive new toys with the line that we are "saving the planet".

                          2. John Robson Silver badge

                            Re: Hmm....

                            You appear to assume that an HGV is just a leaf with a tow bar.

              3. tiggity Silver badge

                Re: Hmm....

                Not just solar though, home heating options include heat pumps (of various sorts), community wind, community river or tidal depending on geography.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hmm....

            Refineries don't use electricty to do the refining. Handy hint - oil supplies its own energy source!

            At least where I am in Wales, we are planning to shift steel production to electric arc furnaces (because they are more "CO2 neutral"). Our electric grid is going to become very strained, very soon.

          4. Charlie Clark Silver badge
            Stop

            Re: Hmm....

            I'm not a fan at all of hydrogen as an alternative fuel: too difficult and too expensive. Synthetic hydrocarbons make much more sense. Pity so little research is being done on them but kudos to Toyota for the work they've done.

            But the problem is peak capacity. It's great if you can plan for every vehicle to recharge at some point over night, until you realise that this for anything above around 10% this will need additional high power infrastructure and beyond 25% still won't give you enough time. But there will still be pleny of vehicles wanting to charge quickly during the day. Yep, the power generation industry has woken up to the "opportunities" this brings…

          5. Potemkine! Silver badge

            Re: Hmm....

            You don't necessarily need electricity to produce hydrogen. You can use algae for instance.

      3. Adelio Silver badge

        Re: Hmm....

        The current premium for buying an EV is just too great.

        Look at the EV and IC equivelant of a corsa, £5k more for the EV.

        But also the number of EV car models are still very small, most seem to be small cars with little range or exceedingly expensive.

        When EV's are the quivelant of a ICE in price then i will look.

        Please do not tell me that the long term running costs will make EV cheaper. IT still does not make it any cheaper to buy an EV compared to an ICE.

        I have a 4 yr old Mazda 3 diesel which just works and does over 40 M.P.G. Paid for so only running costs.

        Now i am nearing retirement I see little point in replacing my ICE cars any time soon. My mileage use to be about 12k miles per year, with COVID it dropped to about 4k, once i retire it will probably be less than 6K miles a year. Just no pint at the moment and i have better things to spend my money on.

        1. macjules Silver badge

          Re: Hmm....

          It can be a LOT more than that. Having been a very early adopt of EV (Tesla Model S in 2014) I would hope I know the pitfalls of buying an EV but I am still astonished at the truly extortionate charges most car manufacturers are hitting users with, as well as the baldfaced lies they are telling to force users to switch.

          By the way, as a consequence of 'charging panic' and having to plan a journey by where I might be able to beg friends for use of their outside power socket I would never consider an EV now until I am absolutely forced. It is going to be an exercise in futility how to organise charging points for 40 EVs parked in one street in London.

          1. Tagware

            Re: Hmm....

            How many Petrol Stations do they currently have? ZERO

            If 8,380 petrol stations look after the ICE fleet for the UK which have a 300 mile range on average. Why would you need more than 83,000 charge points?

            Think about it. Everyone worries because they think they are going to run out of electric. How many ICE run out of petrol per year? "More than 800,000 drivers a year run out of fuel" are they are the better option then?

            You just have to do what you currently do and not run down the tank/EV to below the 20% line. But that's using commonsense.

            Cheers.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Hmm....

              Why would you need more than 83,000 charge points?

              Because it takes so much longer to charge an EV.

            2. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Hmm....

              There are already several hundred potential charging points in homes all over the country.

              1. Wellyboot Silver badge

                Re: Hmm....

                Not for residents living above the ground floor

        2. Hairy Spod

          Re: Hmm....

          re The current premium for buying an EV is just too great. vs the running costs of the 4yr old Mazda

          I bought a used 2015 Leaf with only 12K miles on the clock on a PCP in 2018 for £155 / month using only a knackered 2007 Nissan Note as a deposit

          Parking used to cost me £6 a day but was free for EVs and I definitely used to spend more than £10 a month in fuel in that Note and thats before I paid road tax servicing and cost of replacement parts..

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hmm....

            So you've spent thousands on a car with an 80 mile range?

            Great, sign me up.

            1. Hairy Spod

              Re: Hmm....

              I'd did yes, like many I'm lucky enough to live in a 2 car household and used the hybrid for longer trips.

              Turns out we did a lot less long trips than we thought we did! Instead of being the intended 2nd car though the Leaf was used for the vast majority of family outings and almost all local errands. The negative impact on my lifestyle for going electric was 0.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Hmm....

                So all we need to do is to adjust our expectations of travel to something like your own current lifestyle, and spend many thousands on a fancy toy to do the job that could be done by a car costing £500 (but has the unfortunate downside, in this case, of being able to do 400 miles on a tank), or maybe by a bike costing £200 (which is what I do, as best I can).

                I'm being facetious, but hopefully it's clear to people that EVs are also a way to slide in pretty huge changes in people's expectations of personal travel. I am already fully aware of that fact (and have a lifestyle to match), so I'll skip the very expensive lesson.

                1. Roland6 Silver badge

                  Re: Hmm....

                  >do the job that could be done by a car costing £500 (but has the unfortunate downside, in this case, of being able to do 400 miles on a tank),

                  £500.. trusting but a year's really cheap motoring if that is basically an MOT'ed and fully serviced car.

                  Personally, I've found circa £2k to be money well spent and a little more reliable...

                  >or maybe by a bike costing £200 (which is what I do, as best I can).

                  Well ebay/gumtree and bike forums are your best bet, but you do need to know your stuff. But for £200~300 you will basically be able to buy an aluminium framed bike that originally sold in the £1400~2000 bracket.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Hmm....

                    True, but if I'm doing the kind of miles an EV owner is doing (funny how many of them say "after getting an EV, we found we didn't drive as many miles as we used to!"), a £500 banger is not going to be much of a problem. I really splashed out for our main family car, and spent £3000.

                    I do happen to know a lot about bikes, but £200-£300 would have gotten you a decent 2nd hand hybrid bike. Saying that, you probably wouldn't find that right now, as demand for bikes has gone through the roof and the supply of new bikes and parts has been very disrupted.

                    Point is, I own cheap old petrol-powered cars and a collection of 2nd hand bikes, minimise the amout of travel I do, and do significantly better for the world than those telling me to "just buy an EV".

                    1. John Robson Silver badge

                      Re: Hmm....

                      It's more - we don't drive as many long distances as we thought, but the milage each year is the same...

                      Besides you are again complaining that a new car costs more than an end of life car. This petrol stuff will never catch on. It doesn't run on oats, and my 35 year old horse is cheaper.

        3. Tagware

          Re: Hmm....

          Guess what. They don't need you personally to change your car. You only travel 6K. They want the commercial Van's, Buses, Taxis and company fleet (Car & Vans) that actually travel 80-150k a year to change. They also will see the biggest benefit to the bottom line as far as the company is concerned. Wait until 2025 and you will find a nice EV at around 12-20K with 250-300 miles. If you pop on that Holiday Cruise (P.O) then that EV car purchase would be wasted with the amount of CO2 they let out. :o)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hmm....

            I'm sure the commercial vehicle owners are champing at the bit to buy a new EV and run through its expected battery life in one year.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmm....

        "current battery tech (which will hopefully improve significantly over the next decade)."

        Only minor changes occur.

        main problem is it's chemistry, and that poses limits that no amount of "belief" will change.

        Did you notice how Musky improved his new batteries capacity?

        New amazing chemistry that doubled storage density? nope, they made them bigger, that's it.

        Don't get fooled by all the battery hype wanking, it's bollocks.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hmm....

          In the last 10 years, EV batteries have roughly doubled in energy density for a given physical size, and are around 1/10th the price per kWh.

          Granted the improvements will slow over time, that tends to be a natural trend with improvements, so I wouldn't expect another doubling of capacity over 10 years, at least not without something completely revolutionary, but I don't see why we couldn't continue that improvement at a slower pace.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hmm....

            1/10th the price per kWh.

            So a 2011 Tesla cost around $400,000?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Hmm....

              and the battery shrunk to 1/2 it's size?

              thats why miniture tesla's exist, so cute

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Hmm....

                Yes, you're right. I remember those 2011 Teslas. They cost $400,000, and were the size of a small truck.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Hmm....

                  "Yes, you're right. I remember those 2011 Teslas. They cost $400,000, and were the size of a small truck."

                  They were about $100000 and were based on the Elise. Not as knowledgable as one is trying to make out, is one?

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Hmm....

              In 2010, batteries were well over $1,100 per kWh

              By 2017 this had dropped to a little over $200 per kWh

              By 2019 this was just over $150 per kWh

              By 2020 it hit just under $140

              It's expected to hit $100 per kWh around late 2022 or into 2023

              These are based on industry averages Li-ion batteries, not one specific brand, and the trend is slowing (as expected), so beyond $100 is likely to be difficult and therefore slower.

              $100 per kWh is considered a bit of a magic number, a holy grail for EVs, and is being targeted by Tesla, and everyone else producing batteries.

              Bloomberg and others have stated that once batteries get to <$100 per kWh, that would make EVs directly price-competitive with ICE cars on a like-for-like bases (i.e. same spec and range).

              One other issue to take into account, many EVs seem to be over priced currently, and by that I mean people have done component cost breakdowns, and the cars are still too expensive, even taking into account battery costs etc. The assumption is that some car companies are simply trying to gouge cash out of their customers, whilst demand is high for EVs (compared to what they produce atm), so companies are simply keeping the money from the price drop in batteries, to increase profit, rather than passing those savings in to the sale price. More competition will eventually resolve this (or a few investigations/public call outs etc).

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Hmm....

                I wonder what will happen as lithium deposits get depleted, and we switch to the much more costly recycling of lithium batteries (if such a thing is even possible).

                The raw mineral cost is already climbing

                https://mineralprices.com/battery-metals/

                1. Roland6 Silver badge

                  Re: Hmm....

                  >I wonder what will happen as lithium deposits get depleted, and we switch to the much more costly recycling of lithium batteries (if such a thing is even possible).

                  There was a recent article (*) about lithium reserves, basically they are substantial however, the more pressing problems are:

                  - Environmentally friendly extraction - ie. avoid turning large swathes of land into quarries and strip mines.

                  - Dealing with the increasing pile of spent batteries in the absence of viable recycling schemes.

                  >The raw mineral cost is already climbing

                  There was an article on this a while back. Basically, the mineral companies scaled up extraction in expectation of increased demand from the EV manufacturers, only for EV sales not to take off as expected. So currently there is a glut of lithium in the market. The price increase is due to business returning to normal. However, we can expect further price increases because there is a huge mismatch between lithium production and the forecasted increase in demand for EV's. This is just another reason why hybrids are such a good idea: A hybrid EV (HEV) produces less pollution than a conventional ICE, but because they require less lithium, you can get more of them on the road for a given amount of lithium than a full EV.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Hmm....

                helps the price, does fuck all for energy density.

                so still huge and fucking heavy.

                energy density has barely moved.

                musky made it look like their new batteries had higher capacity, they did, but not by increasing energy density by any amount that would make a difference, he just made them bigger.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm....

      Made in China - along with all the other electronics and cabling for the millions of charging points you would need to actually run a country of EVs. Obviously, we would be repeat customers, as electronics (especially those left outside) don't last very long.

      Makes you wonder exactly for whose benefit we are doing all of this.

      1. Fonant

        Re: Hmm....

        We're trying (and failing) to stop the Climate Emergency.

        Things are going to have to change very fast in the next decade, or less. Be prepared!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hmm....

          How are we going to stop the Climate Emergency within a decade, if first we have to manufacture a huge number of solar panels, EVs, etc etc??

    3. Dabooka Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Hmm....

      Oh not this again.

      No one believes the creation and roll out of EVs is 100% 'clean', at least no-one with a modicum of knowledge.

      However the benefits speak for themselves in other ways often overlooked; far fewer moving parts, significantly less servicing, noise, cleaner air at point if use, disposable of waste is easier to maintain and manage... it really isn't a simple black and white analogy.

      Yes there are new problems to fathom out, many of which you highlight especially the environmental impact of those elements. However in time they will be extricated and recycled effectively and efficiently. The issue of self servicing and right to repair (although that's increasingly a problem now anyway).

      I cannot wait until we're ready to get our first EV in a year or two, and that's coming form someone who owns 2 petrol cars, a 2500cc V6 and a 2500cc flat 6 turbo. Not efficient at all but both well beyond expected end of life (a '99 and a '56 respectively) and are greener than scrapping for a 'new' car. And a lot more fun to boot.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmm....

        far fewer moving parts

        Hard to believe this keeps coming up, when most people are fully aware that it's usually the electronic parts that fail and cause an item to be scrapped, not the mechanical parts. As a piece of more concrete evidence, Tesla gets horrible ratings for reliability.

        disposable of waste is easier to maintain and manage

        How is that even close to true? Large-scale EV battery recycling is a currently unsolved problem, and then you have to deal with the huge amount of extra electronics that usually get shipped to an e-waste dump in some craphole and then burned for the copper wires.

        If you're going to invoke future tech as a solution to all of this, then I'm going to keep driving my ICE car because in the future we're going to solve the CO2 capture problem.

        1. Dabooka Silver badge

          Re: Hmm....

          far fewer moving parts

          Hard to believe this keeps coming up, when most people are fully aware that it's usually the electronic parts that fail and cause an item to be scrapped, not the mechanical parts. As a piece of more concrete evidence, Tesla gets horrible ratings for reliability.

          Well they do, that's pretty much hard to argue. And when they do fail it's much more of a bolt on replacement, much more akin to modern marque dealerships anyway

          disposable of waste is easier to maintain and manage

          How is that even close to true? Large-scale EV battery recycling is a currently unsolved problem, and then you have to deal with the huge amount of extra electronics that usually get shipped to an e-waste dump in some craphole and then burned for the copper wires.

          Well it will be [future tense]. You even say 'currently unresolved' so I don't see the problem here?

          If you're going to invoke future tech as a solution to all of this, then I'm going to keep driving my ICE car because in the future we're going to solve the CO2 capture problem.

          Did you miss my comments about my old petrol engined inefficient cars? I love 'em. They're great! I enjoy tinkering and driving them. However they'll be my weekend toys, not driven into the city and town as our commute and social activities, air will improve (we saw that for lockdown FFS). As ICE usage reduces those of us that still enjoy them will be able to continue to do so but for those who see cars as an A-B box on wheels, why would EV / hydrogen not be a better option? Yes the examples of wiring being burnt off and the impact of mining all needs to be resolved but that needs to happen irrespective of the shift to EV, you can't park that at their door.

          I cannot believe those of you on a tech site who refuse to understand it takes time, demand and innovation to change things in the future, and simply knock change because the infrastructure isn't there right here, right now. Maybe it's an age thing I don't know. We saw this with SMS 'it'll never take off, I'd rather call someone'; home delivery for shopping 'it'll never work, I like to browse'; WFH can't function 'because my broadband is crappy' etc

          Understand that just because it doesn't meet your personal interpretation and requirements it'll happen anyway. Will it by ideal? No. Will it bring problems of it's own? Absolutely. Will it create another industry? Probably, so what?

          EDIT.

          Oh, and for you using Tesla as a benchmark for reliability... yeah, no response required there.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hmm....

            I cannot believe those of you on a tech site who refuse to understand it takes time, demand and innovation to change things in the future, and simply knock change because the infrastructure isn't there right here

            I don't think you're reading those comments properly. Never once have I (nor most of the people commenting here) complained that the biggest issue is infrastructure. My biggest issue, by far, is that the promised techno-utopia where we all drive EVs and can charge in 10 mins wherever we like will be HORRIBLE for the environment, as well as significant (and probably insurmountable) problems with the sustainable supply of raw materials and energy needed to bring this "utopia" about.

            Maybe those of us on a tech site have a good grasp of the basic, technical realities of energy generation and usage which tells us this is pretty much greenwashing BS.

            Well it will be [future tense]. You even say 'currently unresolved' so I don't see the problem here?

            The problem is that we are being sold (at great financial cost!) something that doesn't even do what it is supposed to, and we apparently just need to wait for some technical development "really soon" that will fix all those issues. Forgive me for being cynical, but I'll wait.

            you can't park that at their door.

            I sure can, when "sustainable" tech creates demand for all sorts of new minerals.

            And when they do fail it's much more of a bolt on replacement, much more akin to modern marque dealerships anyway

            Fantastic. Let's welcome the new future where electronic components get swapped at gerat cost, to fix some undiagnosable electrical fault. Don't forget to send all those potentially failed parts for e-waste recycling, those boys in Gambia really know how to recycle properly! They'll even send you a nice little certificate that your junk has been transformed into new and shiny things.

            Oh, and for you using Tesla as a benchmark for reliability... yeah, no response required there.

            Got any other suggestions? There isn't much to choose from, if you want more than a few years of data. I suppose there is the Nissan Leaf.

            From carbuyer.co.uk:

            "In our 2020 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, the Leaf was rated 24th for owner satisfaction overall. A surprisingly high 22.6% of respondents reported one or more faults within the first year, with electrical glitches the most common issue. "

            1. Dabooka Silver badge

              Re: Hmm....

              I'm not daft enough to think that we're getting some kind of utopia, far from it. What's clear is something has to change and for now this is the best we've got. I still see few arguments expand past the current situation not being able to support it. Well quite, so do we do nothing then? FFS I even acknowledged it'll inevitably bring about other challenges and probably solutions, some of which may create new industries. That's progress right?

              I still maintain a lot of the challenges you've faced about recycling exist anyway and won't be unique to EV or hydrogen. Yet somehow you seem determined to maintain that's a challenge bought about by the potential move to EV. The nonsense regime we do now with plastics to Turkey, electronics to Gambia 9as per your example) is abhorrent now, today. If you think you're the only one that knows this you're being very dismissive of other members of the public and the reader base ion here. It needs resolving regardless. Recycling and repairing has to get better regardless of what propels our horseless carriages.

              RE: Satisfaction. If you know anything about cars and I guess you do, you'll know Nissan are nearly as appalling as JLR, and the electrical issues above is not the EV tech; their other ICE products (Quasqai and Juke for example) are riddled with electrical foibles. My point is a car maker is not a reflection on the reliability of the EV potential, it's a reflection on their own QA practices. I'll readily concede we'll be getting more and richer data over the next few years, and the likes of the Koreans, Toyota etc will be interesting to watch. Those who stand by their products should far better.

              But I'll happily assume I'm wrong on everything what's your proposed solution? Any ideas we've overlooked or are we just conceding defeat then?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Hmm....

                what's your proposed solution?

                Drive less. Walk/cycle more.

                What's clear is something has to change and for now this is the best we've got.

                You haven't explained exactly how this "change" will be powered, in a very real sense. I've already detailed just how much extra energy will be required to manufacture all this "renewable" tech. If the best we've got is "use more energy", then we're doomed.

                Yet somehow you seem determined to maintain that's a challenge bought about by the potential move to EV.

                I guess I didn't make it clear - as you say, we are already going in the wrong direction with a wasteful society producing lots of junk we just throw away, and as far as I can see, the move to EVs is accelerating this process. If our gracious, environmentally-concerned overlords were really writing laws to protect the planet, then why did they miss out probably the most key element - repair/reuse/recycling?? As a consequence, we are being herded into vehicles that are less repairable and more throw-away than ever.

                I'll readily concede we'll be getting more and richer data over the next few years

                So the reliability of EVs is, at best, an open question. Again thanks, but I'll pass.

                1. Dabooka Silver badge

                  Re: Hmm....

                  Drive less and cycle more. Absolutely, and in many cases I (we do) Can't for work though. I distance manage more than ever but sometimes I am required to travel, as are many of my team. A lot of travel is work related of course, and not all of that can be removed.

                  The solution isn't just use more energy is it, it's about how and when it's generated and used. As for the solution I do not understand why you expect me to have the answers of that, I have already conceded many, many times that something has to change and it should but a lot of solutions still need finding and addressing. You don't want to even try and start the conversation though, you're just killing everything off. Why is that? This is about trying to o something over the next 10, 20, 50, 100 years.

                  Repair, reuse and recycle; couldn't agree more, not sure anyone on here has said otherwise. Regarding cars though they're simply too cheap here, anything over 100k miles is virtually worthless (in the grand scheme of things) and is a disaster waiting to happen for the owner. This is why I drive older cars a few hundred quid and a few hours and most problems are resolved. I still have confusion why EV are any less repairable, you'll need to explain that one.

                  And finally, the reliability. I think you're passing on EV for many reasons but reliability is not one of them. My point was clearly aimed at the issues facing car production, not those around EVs. We need data on EV failure (drivetrain in particular) rather than a JD Power one measuring loose trim, faulty sat navs and corroded alloys in the same way as EV specific problems.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Hmm....

                    The solution isn't just use more energy is

                    No, but if we all need an EV and solar panels, we have to find the energy to make them from somewhere. That's the crux of my issue - how can we call those things "sustainable", when we have to use up a whole lot more energy just in their manufacture? How about we live without them?

                    I still have confusion why EV are any less repairable, you'll need to explain that one.

                    You've hinted that you do car repair. Your EV ECU fails. Your EV battery won't charge. Your phone won't connect to the car app any more, and it won't charge at full rate. Suddenly your dash shows a big drop in battery charge. Can you diagnose the root cause and fix any of those?

                    Unless you are highly trained, electronic repair is much harder than mechanical repair, and requires a lot more specialist tools. Any faults related to the power/battery electronics are an instant no-no to anyone but a highly trained specialist, and I say that as an Electronic Engineer.

                    There is practically nothing in the EV powertrain that could be repaired by homeowner Joe on his driveway, and homeowner Joe has spent many years stripping ICE engines for fun.

                    1. Dabooka Silver badge

                      Re: Hmm....

                      Nope.

                      Cars are being made anyway, the energy in making them is being used anyway. I think you're expecting too much of the move to EV / hydrogen.

                      I do fix cars to a degree. The issues you mention are beyond most people anyway and things such as ECUs borking have been a problem for nearly twenty years. Not a sole EV issue. This is actually something I agree on 100%, and touches on the RRR mentioned earlier (did you know some models even have wiper motors coded to the car so you can't swap one over for a scrapper should it break. Madness!).

                      I agree many of the problems won't be solved by the driveway mechanic, but as they'll generally be more reliable anyway you're looking at a long time down the road before that's an issue. Besides it'll give me more time on my classic petrol engined car of choice by then.

                      However even if you're 100% correct is that any reason to continue with ICE? It isn't is it.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: Hmm....

                        EVs take significantly more energy to manufacture than an ICE, with most of that being the battery pack. I find it hard to believe that someone who thinks we need to move to EVs to "save the planet" is also arguing that "we're consuming resources anyway, so we may as well continue it".

                        as they'll generally be more reliable anyway

                        Reliability data that is currently available (Tesla and Nissan are about the only manufacturers with more than a year or so of data) is pretty bad for EVs.

    4. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

      Re: Hmm....

      371 comments? Bloody hell. Construction company & climate change bots out again?? ;)

      As a colleague recently told me, you can charge your eCar at home for £0.14 per kW (~ £7 for a 400 mile range).

      At one of these commercial/service station sites they will charge £0.30 to £0.50 per kW....... so basically anyone able to park outside their home will get a far cheaper commute.

      Home charging is cheap because it doesn't have the absurd petrol taxes (is the price of petrol basically 80-90% tax?).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmm....

        What a loophole! Somehow the government hasn't noticed that people are charging EVs at home and not paying any tax on fuel! They must be really dumb.

        Nice that your colleague has a driveway to charge his car.

    5. JohnG

      Re: Hmm....

      The Union of Concerned Scientists (USA) made a study in 2015 and published this report:

      Cleaner Cars from Cradle to Grave

      How Electric Cars Beat Gasoline Cars on Lifetime Global Warming Emissions

      https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/cleaner-cars-cradle-grave

      Their data is based on EV technology and US electrical generation of the time e.g. more use of coal in generation. Essentially, once you add in the production, storage and distribution impact of petrol or diesel (or hydrogen), battery EVs win hands down on well-to-wheel lifetime impact and the impact of battery pack manufacture is offset in six to sixteen months of driving.

  2. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Of course there's the question of if the supply cabling and substations will handle the load (Hint, without massive overbuilds it's unlikely and exploding footpaths are probably going to become more common)

    1. Andre Carneiro

      Well, the National Grid employ clever people that do this sort of thing for a living and they seem to think that this is achievable so I'm not too worried.

      1. itzman

        Well you should be. The national grid is about to lose its independence and be nationalised, bringing it under full political control.

        Anyone who murmurs that it can't be done will be sacked for 'negative attitudes'.

        Name one big government sposnsored infratstructure project that has actually delivered what it was supposed to, on time and on budget, if at all..

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          You thought we all needed liberating from the nasty Big Oil companies - just wait until all of the power we need to move around, heat our homes, and eat is controlled by the government!

          1. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Just like the 1970s then..

            ... poo

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Just bought me a horse.

              Nowhere to tie it up at the office.

              And there's poo.

              1. TimMaher Silver badge
                Windows

                Re: "poo"

                It's not poo. It's fertiliser.

        2. R Soul

          "Name one big government sposnsored infratstructure project that has actually delivered what it was supposed to"

          Er... the national grid and the national gas pipeline network. Though they probably didn't get delivered on time or on budget because projects of that scale never do. Besides, only a government could afford to run power lines and gas pipes to every building in the country.

          The sweaties got their new bridge over the River Forth on time and on budget. It hasn't collapsed and it carries shitloads of road traffic.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      And then there's the question of do you have enough power generation to supply all those chargers without shutting down power to households ?

      I'm all for EVs, but I am still waiting for the proof that batteries are 100% recyclable and not a gigantic pile of noxious chemicals waiting for the landfill.

      1. Andre Carneiro

        Again, the National Grid seem to suggest we already have enough supply for the EV transition. Distribution is probably the bigger challenge.

        The battery recycling is an interesting one. They're certainly reusable and Tesla seem to indeed suggest they're 100% recyclable but there aren't enough of them out there to recycle because they're lasting a lot longer than expected, especially when you take reusing into account.

        Recycling needs to be made commercially viable for manufacturers otherwise we'll be walking into a complete disaster indeed.

        1. Wellyboot Silver badge

          N-G didn't have the supply last year when one power station & one wind farm borked at the same time resulting in blackouts, currently the UK is taking 3GW (or a complete Hinkly Point Nuke plant) permanently from across the channel. These lines were originally a backup plan to allow power sharing to cover odd events like sudden unexpected shutdowns, now they're not.

          100% recycling of batteries could be possible, what about the chemical residues used in the process?

          Mundane engineering realities often get in the way of great ideas.

        2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Again, the National Grid seem to suggest we already have enough supply for the EV transition.

          Citation, please?

          The figures I've seen show that just for light vehicles, charging would require that all the UK power stations run at full capacity 24/7. That's totally unfeasible, the grid can't get that power to where it will be needed anyway, and it doesn't even begin to address HGVs.

          1. Steve Foster

            "The figures I've seen show that just for light vehicles, charging would require that all the UK power stations run at full capacity 24/7."

            And your cite is...? (he who lives by the "citation please" dies by the "citation please" <g>)

            1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              And your cite is.

              The UK Government figures show that road transport consumed about 40mtoe (million tonnes of oil equivalent) in 2019, of which about 12m is petrol cars, and 11m diesel cars. That's about 270TWh.

              Let's assume that EVs are almost twice as efficient as ICE in terms of getting input energy turned into movement, so it would take around 150TWh of grid electricity just to meet current car transport needs.

              From the same source, total UK supply in 2019 was 346TWh, of which 325TWh was generated in the UK and 21TWh was imported.

              Total UK generating capacity in 2019 was 78GW (down from 83GW in 2018), and of which 22GW is from intermittent renewables. Over the 8760 hours in a year, total possible generation (every source running 24/7) would be between 490 and 680 TWh depending on wind/sun. The max is clearly impossible because renewables are intermittent, and other systems gave to be taken offline for maintenance.

              With non-transport UK electricity demand of 346TWh, and 150TWh for car transport, demand would rise to just under 500TWh, just barely possible if everything is running flat out, and without considering the 100+TWh that would also be required if diesel lorries were replaced by electric.

              .

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                And that's only the start! Obviously we need to heat our homes electrically. Total UK annual energy usage for transport and domestic use (which is excluding industry) is around 1000TWh.

                I don't think people have grasped at all the enormity of the problem, and that really it's all about drastic reduction in energy usage. Or going 100% nuclear power.

          2. Andre Carneiro

            Citation?

            Sure, from he NG itself.

            Have a blast.

            https://www.nationalgrid.com/stories/journey-to-net-zero-stories/can-grid-cope-extra-demand-electric-cars

            1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              Sure, from he NG itself.

              "an extra 100 terrawatt hours from our current 300 terrawatt hours consumed."

              The "Transport Decarbonisation Director" who plays down the figures (see my previous post), doesn't even know the correct units and blithely claims "the growth in wind power from the extra offshore wind farms being developed will adequately meet the future demand for electrifying transport " without any figures?

              Wishful thinking, I fear.

              1. Andre Carneiro

                Ah, and here we get into which figures are right. Why would "The Government" know more than the NG?

                And, obviously, your answer would be "And why would the NG know more than the government".

                I don't know which one is the authoritative source, but I would (naturally, because it substantiates my point) tend to believe the people who run the thing more than "The Government", whoever they are... :D

                Also, you assume the generating capacity will remain static (which it doesn't have to). Even if all cars sold in 2030 are EVs, there will remain ICEs in circulation for a long time after, so the transition will be slow enough that generating capacity can be brought online to more than supply the increased demand.

                Ideally nuclear generating capacity, IMHO, but sadly I suspect I'm more likely to win the lottery two weeks running than THAT happening...

                1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                  Why would "The Government" know more than the NG?

                  And, obviously, your answer would be "And why would the NG know more than the government".

                  No, actually. My answer would be: Because it's the government who collects the information to set policy. If it doesn't know at least as much as the NG, then it has no business legislating on things which require NG co-operation.

                  I would (naturally, because it substantiates my point) tend to believe the people who run the thing more than "The Government", whoever they are... :D

                  Understandable, but if you look at the report I referenced it is far more detailed than the flyer from the NG which can't even get the terminology correct. NG is a private company whose main aim is to make money, and for obvious reasons is not going to say anything which would suggest it isn't all set for any future demands.

                  Also, you assume the generating capacity will remain static

                  No, not at all, although it would be better if it weren't falling as it has over the past year. The problem is that to increase capacity in a useful way (i.e. not by simply throwing gas turbines at the problem) takes years of planning. To meet an "all new cars much be EVs" directive by 2030, NG should have had it's plans for new capacity ready & approved by government back in 2010 if not before, with construction well under way by now. Does it? We're talking of HS2-level construction, with 20+ year lead times.

                  Ideally nuclear generating capacity, IMHO, but sadly I suspect I'm more likely to win the lottery two weeks running than THAT happening...

                  Yeah, me too, and I don't even play the lottery... :-)

          3. Hairy Spod

            Again, the National Grid seem to suggest we already have enough supply for the EV transition.

            Citation, please?

            https://www.nationalgrid.com/stories/journey-to-net-zero/5-myths-about-electric-vehicles-busted

            to cut a long story short, getting rid of CRTs switching to LED lightbulbs and the loss of some heavy industry means that if every car went EV overnight we would only be using a similar amount of electricity as we did in the early 2000s

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              bollocks

              "https://www.nationalgrid.com/stories/journey-to-net-zero/5-myths-about-electric-vehicles-busted"

              thats nothing but wishful thinking bollocks.

              How the fuck did he get a job doing more than cleaning pig stys?

        3. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

          I am not sure it really does.

          It seems this idea about National Grid is based on some text written, judging by its content, by an intern and published for political reasons.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Again, the National Grid seem to suggest we already have enough supply for the EV transition."

          they are talking bollocks, they are barely keeping the lights on, nevermind adding EV transportation.

          expect a lot more of this:

          https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/jan/05/cold-snap-sees-uk-electricity-market-prices-reach-new-high

      2. AndrueC Silver badge
        Happy

        And then there's the question of do you have enough power generation to supply all those chargers without shutting down power to households ?

        As long as there is technology to 'stagger' the demand it should be fine. Don't forget that this will require a mental shift with respect to 'fuelling' your car. Instead of the current 'run the tank to nearly empty then fill it back up' we will switch to 'top the battery up when you get home'.

        Current EV technology only needs 15 minutes to recharge after a typical 20 mile commute so even if you can only charge one car domestically at a time you can still recharge 48 cars in between 'getting home from work' and 'leaving for work'. And I'm pretty sure the current domestic supply can already handle more than one EV at a time on any given substation so we just need the ability for chargers to take turns. That should mean any typical number of private vehicles can be accommodated overnight.

        ..and that's just charging at home. Extend the concept (as we should) to 'charge any time you're parked' and the load gets even more spread out. There might even turn out to be less need to cater for those who don't have off-road parking. They just charge when parked at the shops, or work, or school.

        1. Wellyboot Silver badge

          >>>chargers to take turns<<<

          Except that people will expect that plug in means charge now, I might be going out again in an hour.

          It may have to handle hundreds during the early evening when they all come home, plus the cooking & heating requirements in our all electric future.

          Hundreds of gigawatts of power usage is moving from direct liquid & gas burning onto electric cables.

          1. Fonant

            When we get an EV with car-to-house capabilities, we'll be able to charge it from our solar PV during the daytime and then run the house off the car battery in the mornings and evenings. In the summer months we'll rarely need to use grid electricity at all. In the winter we'll use some, but at a nice steady base load - perfect for big power stations to provide.

            LESS load on the grid. Massively distributed energy storage, even LESS demands on the Grid.

            1. ThatOne Silver badge
              WTF?

              > we'll be able to charge it from our solar PV during the daytime

              Wishful thinking? Charging your car entirely through solar panels would require more than an average suburb roof surface (or some technology we don't have yet). But the biggest problem is that during daylight time your car will be away with you, not charging in the sun.

              .

              > and then run the house off the car battery in the mornings and evenings.

              We were talking about the problems charging your EV in the first place, and now you want to waste its precious-yet-insufficient charge to heat your shower water and cook your dinner? Now that's a case of having your cake and eating it too!...

              Your home needs x kWh a day to keep you warm, fed and clean, and your new EV needs an additional y kWh to be able to get you to work/shopping/chauffeuring the kids around. The sum of both has to remain smaller than the amount of available energy (grid, solar, whatever), which might get tricky for households with more than one car.

              (Didn't downvote you though.)

              1. Andre Carneiro

                "Charging your car entirely through solar panels would require more than an average suburb roof surface"

                Depends on the time of year. In the spring/summer my average suburb roof surface produces far in excess of what would be required on a daily average commute.

                But you're right, only in exceptional cases would solar cover all the transportation needs of the average person.

                It does help significantly, mind you...

                1. ThatOne Silver badge

                  > In the spring/summer my average suburb roof surface produces far in excess

                  So in spring/summer you can use your car, and in fall/winter you walk?...

                  Besides, there remains the biggest issue: During the day you're using your car, so it won't be able to use your solar electricity, and during the night there is no sun.

            2. Adelio Silver badge

              I really want whatever you are smoking.... Sounds great.

              Who pays for the solar arrays. They cost a lot and you need (I am told) sufficient roof space facing the right direction to make them useful.

              Now in the USA houses are much larger (outside of the city) and the sun is stronger and there is more chance for a payoff...

              In fact with the size of a lot of the UK housing stock I doubt many houses have the space to install Solar panels, power walls and replace gas heating with electical heating. Ground Heat pumps need LAND space to install, my sons house has ZERO garden front/back so no chance there. Air heat pumps require outside walls and heat exchangers.

              Now new builds can be designed to have all the best of these tools, but they will have been designed from the start. All the rest of us are going to struggle. What cost to replace gas heating with something at least as good. £10k or £20k plus the cost of insulation.

          2. AndrueC Silver badge
            Meh

            Except that people will expect that plug in means charge now, I might be going out again in an hour.

            Unless their next trip is hundreds of miles it won't matter. Most domestic vehicle travel is 20 minutes or less. So if you miss your chance to catch up after the school or work run you still have enough charge to pop out to the cinema for the evening.

            It just means you'll need a bit longer when your car finally does get a charging slot. Since your abeyance from charging earlier in the evening probably means that another vehicle got an early charge there will likely be a later slot to ensure everything is fully charged by the morning.

            You seem to have fallen into the classic human fallacy of 'black and white thinking'. It's not a choice between 'one big fill up' and 'lots of small fill ups'. There is a middle ground of 'Mostly small fill ups with the occasional slightly longer fill up and possibly an occasionally really long fill up'. Nuances are wonderful things ;)

            1. AndrueC Silver badge
              Happy

              Actually since EVs can trickle charge we're probably not talking about slots anyway. We can allow EVs to trickle charge together and likely that just means you typically only need it to be left on charge for three or four hours at some time during the evening/night. Whether that's 6pm to 10pm or 1am to 5am doesn't matter for most people.

              1. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

                And then someone calls you unexpectedly at midnight and you have to go, but you can’t. Because your car have not started charging yet.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              There is a middle ground of 'Mostly small fill ups with the occasional slightly longer fill up and possibly an occasionally really long fill up'

              And Murphy's law will guarantee that the long fill up will just have started when your teenage daughter phones from the airport "Dad, the flight was late and I missed the bus. Can you come & fetch me?"

        2. Fonant

          Indeed. EVs will normally have "a full tank of fuel" automatically every morning, ready for the commute. Not many fossil-fuelled cars can do that!

          There is already battery-to-grid technology working and it won't be long until vehicle-to-grid will work too. The availability of tens of thousands of high-capacity high-charge-rate high-discharge-rate batteries connected in a highly distributed way to the National Grid reduces Grid loads and power generation costs massively.

          But we're going to need to forget using SUVs for every trip. Lightweight, efficient, electric bikes and the like will use much less power and need smaller batteries.

          1. heyrick Silver badge

            "Not many fossil-fuelled cars can do that!"

            Not many need to do that. Range is not a question when you can stop at any petrol station and fill up instantly.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              And your range is around 600 miles...

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            EVs will normally have "a full tank of fuel" automatically every morning, ready for the commute.

            Unlikely, since neither the grid nor the generation capacity could meet that sort of peak demand overnight.

          3. Adelio Silver badge

            hard to do your shopping on a bike!

            Travelling to visit my father (270 miles) would take me quite some time as well.

            And as i live in the UK riding a bike for most of the year is not the most exciting prospect. Rain is quite common you know.

        3. Roland6 Silver badge

          >so we just need the ability for chargers to take turns.

          Sounds do-able, however, I doubt the current generation of smart meters and electricity supply infrastructure is up to the job.

          For chargers to take turns, it will require all chargers on the same supply circuit to negotiate their slot etc.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            For chargers to take turns, it will require all chargers on the same supply circuit to negotiate their slot etc.

            "Ohhh! darling. Quick, the baby's coming!"

            "Sorry dear, you'll have to hold it. We can't plug the car in until 8pm"

    3. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Sooner than many think.

      The ban is for non-hybrids by 2030 and only pure electric/hydrogen after 2035.

      Rolling these dates into the model release schedule requires that any 'new*' models arriving now are hybrid (if not already at 2035 spec) because having engine & gearbox plants running at reduced capacity for years isn't economical and manufacturers will want to be rid of them asap.

      I expect overnight charging on cheap rate tariffs to be history long before we get to 2030 followed by the rapid disappearance of petrol filling stations due to simple business economics, they've already been thinned out a lot in the last twenty years.

      * New - not the pretty tin dressing but the floorpan & basic shell that is designed around the fuel/motor/transmission system.

      1. David 164

        Re: Sooner than many think.

        Except most models arriving now are pure electric. An pretty much all manufactures are focusing on pure electric. Come 2030 I suspect there will very few if any hybrids being sold in the UK, they simply won't be there to buy.

      2. ThatOne Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Sooner than many think.

        I'm wondering if hybrids are really good for the environment: I was checking out the new hybrid version of my current car: My car is 15 years old, yet its (official) fuel consumption is way lower than that of the brand new 2020 hybrid version!

        Seems to save the environment, one should buy petrol cars instead of hybrids... Not only do they guzzle less fuel, but they don't require those extremely polluting batteries...

        (Yes, I know my sample size of 1 is weak, but it shows (to me at least) that one shouldn't take marketing blurbs at face value. I guess hybrids are bound to consume more since they have to lug around those heavy batteries on top of what the pure petrol version does. That's okay, just please don't tell me they are "cleaner".)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sooner than many think.

          Careful, don't go thinking about it too much! Hybrids are definitely better for the environment - after all, they pass all the latest tests and petrol cars don't!

          They are definitely not mandated product obsolescence on wheels.

        2. AndrueC Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Sooner than many think.

          My Toyota Corolla 1.8 has about the same performance as my old Honda Jazz (slightly more if I choose to abuse it). Certainly I drive it on the same journeys in much the same way. My Honda Jazz averaged low 50s throughout the year. My Corolla is over 60 mpg (Covid means I can only base that on one year's driving).

          Now those are figures for someone who has always taken saving fuel seriously (I hate using my brakes for anything other than stopping) and I drive with half an eye on the ECO gauge that Toyota provide but nonetheless I'd say that's a pretty good improvement at least on a day-to-day basis. What means over the entire lifespan of both vehicles is harder to quantify.

          Based on industry information provided by Toyota no part of my car (including the battery) is likely to wear out faster than that of any other car.

          1. ThatOne Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Sooner than many think.

            > My Toyota Corolla 1.8 has about the same performance as my old Honda Jazz

            You're comparing apples and oranges (all right, Toyotas and Hondas...): Different chassis, different engines. I'm comparing the same model, of the same manufacturer, with the same ICE engine (well, a more modern version of it). Also the consumption figures I'm comparing are the official, standardized ones, not what I manage to obtain myself (I'm usually nowhere near).

            Now I admit many things can have an influence on fuel consumption: I changed my tires for a different (big) brand and my consumption all of a sudden went up a little bit (at least according to the car's computer). But I do wonder how the same car with the same engine and an additional 50-100 kg load of batteries can be less polluting. Yes, electricity doesn't pollute, but generating that electricity certainly does. The unavoidable losses during generation and storage would even make me think that using the ICE engine simply for propulsion can't be much more polluting than using that same ICE engine to also make electricity, which you use to charge batteries, which you then use to run the hybrid's electric motors to occasionally propel the whole mess + those heavy batteries.

            I'd be happy to be explained otherwise, though I don't react well to blind faith and "everybody knows" type arguments.

            1. AndrueC Silver badge

              Re: Sooner than many think.

              But I do wonder how the same car with the same engine and an additional 50-100 kg load of batteries can be less polluting.

              If I'm undertaking the same journeys in the same way and consuming less fuel then it's less polluting. There's nothing complicated about that.

              But I do have some idea of how that efficiency is achieved:

              The unavoidable losses during generation and storage would even make me think that using the ICE engine simply for propulsion can't be much more polluting than using that same ICE engine to also make electricity

              You're overlooking the fact that ICE engines do not have a linear performance curve. In particular ICE engines are horribly inefficient under light load. What Toyota's system tries to do is charge the battery at times when the extra load pushes the engine into a more efficient part of its power curve. Thus, at that moment in time the engine is doing more work than it needs to but it's extracting more energy from the fuel than it would have been. The surplus energy is stored in the battery for later use.

              Later use can be:

              * To allow the ICE to be switched off at low loads.

              * Allow a smaller/more efficient engine to be fitted with the battery providing a boost if the driver needs more power. The engines used in Toyota's hybrid synergy drive run on the Atkinson cycle.

              But the bottom line is that my driving habits, journeys and journey times are the same as they were before but I consume less fuel. It is undeniable that Toyota's hybrid system works.

              1. ThatOne Silver badge
                Unhappy

                Re: Sooner than many think.

                > charge the battery at times when the extra load pushes the engine into a more efficient part of its power curve

                That's all fine and dandy in a perfectly loss-free world, but in reality it doesn't address the simple arithmetic problem of:

                ICE: Distance = Fuel energy - combustion engine losses

                Hybrid: Distance = Fuel energy - combustion engine losses - conversion losses - storage losses - electrical engine losses.

                The losses of the second cycle are higher, and will remain so no matter how much you optimize production. Given all amounts are inevitably bigger than 0, the sum of A+B+C is bound to be always bigger than A+B alone.

                Now I do accept that your current Toyota might consume less fuel than your old Honda, but I can't take this observation as proof, given it kind of opposes the quite severe laws of thermodynamics.

    4. rg287 Silver badge

      Of course there's the question of if the supply cabling and substations will handle the load

      The UK Grid used to peak >70GW. These days peak demand is 30-40GW. Unless capacity has been actively reduced during substation replacement or other maintenance work, there's a decent chunk of capacity there.

      It's reasonable to suggest that new large scale installations (such as at service stations) will come with associated grid/substation works.

      Likewise once gas heating is banned on new builds, new estates will have electrical provision appropriate for electric heating plus charging.

      At the end of the day, the majority of people do < 20miles/day and will just barely trickle charge overnight. The people doing serious mileage will be destination or rapid charging at service stations, which will be appropriately provisioned.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        If you have a gas boiler check the manual for the KW/h power rating*, that's the additional load your home supply will use. ditto for gas cookers.

        *Often it's in the model name.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Meh

          Although ground/air heat pumps and better insulation could mitigate that.

          1. Adelio Silver badge

            if you live in a flat, or like my son who's house has ZERO back garen and about 10 sq feet of front (Concrete). He lives in a 90 year old mid terrace. then heat pumps, insulation are not going to be much of a thing. They still need to find money to re-wire.

  3. David M

    Some things that would help the situation

    Some things that would help the situation:

    1. Standardised cables/connectors so any EV can charge from any charger.

    2. No 'account' or special card needed, so you can just turn up, charge and pay, just like with petrol.

    3. Breakdown services (AA, RAC, etc.) have a mobile recharging service, so that if you do run out, you can call them out and get given enough charge to make it to the nearest charging point (or, alternatively, just get towed there).

    1. Andre Carneiro

      Re: Some things that would help the situation

      1. Already exists. CHAdeMO is a dying standard. Type 2/CCS is the standard connector in Europe

      2. Very much agree, I suspect this will be coming sooner or later. Hopefully sooner.

      3. There is some suggestion that V2V (vehicle to vehicle) DC charging may become possible so at least you can give your mate a jumpstart. I believe most of the breakdown service already have emergency battery chargers for just such a situation :)

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Some things that would help the situation

        "Type 2/CCS is the standard connector in Europe"

        I was watching a review of a Renault Tweezy (weird looking thing) being driven by a woman in London. One of the main things that stood out (other than the uselessness of a car in Britain where windows are optional!) was that when she got to a charging point, it wasn't compatible. As she validly pointed out, she might not have had the capacity to drive off to find a compatible charging point...

        1. hardboiledphil

          Re: Some things that would help the situation

          Twizzy just needs a standard 3 pin plug....

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Some things that would help the situation

            Twizzy just needs a standard 3 pin plug....

            3pin? Surely it's not earthed?

        2. Steve Foster

          Re: Some things that would help the situation

          The Twizy has such a small battery that they fit it with a standard domestic plug. There are a few public charging points that offer 13A sockets, but they're going the way of the dodo.

          There is a Type 2 to 13A socket adaptor available that lets it use a wider range of charge points.

    2. Piro Silver badge

      Re: Some things that would help the situation

      The first is indeed basically done.

      The second is such a no-brainer, that's it's utterly absurd that we've landed in a situation where there are "smartphone apps" and other crap for each charger type. It should basically be outlawed. Debit card scan, nothing more.

      However, it brings me on to a point that's worrying - the cost of electricity at the chargers. We need to be very careful that we don't overcharge for electricity.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Some things that would help the situation

        However, it brings me on to a point that's worrying - the cost of electricity at the chargers. We need to be very careful that we don't overcharge for electricity

        That would be shocking :)

        1. SuperGeek

          Re: Some things that would help the situation

          @AndrueC "That would be shocking :)"

          Add it to the list of "current" affairs "amp"lifying life ;)

          OK, OK, I'll get my coat. Mines the one with the multimeter in the pocket.

      2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Overcharging for Leccy

        Motorway Services impose a surcharge on almost everything over off motorway prices.

        The only exceptions seem to be things like Newspapers, Books and Magazines AND

        EV charging.

        Electic Highway charges 30p/kWh everywhere even if the charger is not on a Motorway.

        The same goes for Ionity but they are fast pricing themselves out of the game with 69p/kWh.

        I don't mind paying a bit extra for a faster charge but some companies have the nerve to charge the same for a 7.5kW AC charge as for a 50kW DC charge. That is taking the piss... Are you listening Geniepoint?

        (and others) who charge 32p/kWh for a 7.5kW charger and they impose a 65minute time limit. It is any wonder that no one used them?

        Many charging networks take contactless but the next step is 'Plug and Charge'. That requires implementing the ISO standard. FastNed has done that in the Netherlands etc. No cards or app, just plug the car in and charging starts. The back end systems take care of the billing.

        1. Steve Foster

          Re: Overcharging for Leccy

          Ionity charge 69p/kWh for open access. It's deliberately priced so that almost no-one does, but lets them claim to be open "unlike Tesla" (though I keep coming across rumours that that may change).

          If your car comes from one of the manufacturers in the Ionity consortium (BMW, Ford, Hyundai, Mercedes, VAG), you'll be able to get a much better rate.

          The supermarkets with rapid chargers are about the cheapest - Lidl are at 25p/kWh, Tesco at 27p/kWh - and their slow chargers are usually free (I don't see that being sustainable!).

          1. tiggity Silver badge

            Re: Overcharging for Leccy

            @Steve Foster

            " their slow chargers are usually free (I don't see that being sustainable!)."

            UK supermarkets often very competitive on petrol prices, a good way to get people to the store so likely to buy stuff (so more profit).

            I assume similar logic on slow charge, a car "captive" at a car park charge point - owner quite likely to spend some of the charge time shopping.

            .. Also, currently in UK, EV driver usually means quite well off given price premium on EV, so added bonus of getting potentially higher spending customers...

            .. essentially a loss leader

        2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Re: Overcharging for Leccy

          FastNed has done that in the Netherlands etc. No cards or app, just plug the car in and charging starts.

          From their website:

          Tip: It can still be practical to keep the app and/or EV charge card at hand in case Autocharge does not work as expected.

          Setting this up also doesn't not seem to be too straightforward for someone who is not tech savvy. You still need to faff around with an app.

          Then it's a matter of time you'll have skimmers installed on those charging points and problem with people being charged for someone else's cars.

          1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

            Re: Skimmers on Charging Points

            In the FastNed (and Tesla) systems, the Car sends its VIN (or another number) to the charging system using the comms channel contained in the charging cable connectors.

            Your VIN number is plainly shown through the windscreen of many cars. I strongly suspect that there is other information sent from the car to the charger. Pretty hard to skim IMHO.

            1. Down not across Silver badge
              Trollface

              Re: Skimmers on Charging Points

              How long until that is hacked enabling you to enter VIN of your choice for charging and you can just collect VINs from few streets and use those to charge your EV?

              1. dajames
                Trollface

                Re: Skimmers on Charging Points

                How long until that is hacked enabling you to enter VIN of your choice for charging and you can just collect VINs from few streets and use those to charge your EV?

                Indeed. I look forward to reading in the news that some hapless soul has been billed for charging his non-electric vehicle!

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Some things that would help the situation

        I'm struggling to see how the cost of electricity is not going to rise. The need to increase generating capacity, plus increase the capacity of the grid to distribute it (especially to group charting points, such as roadside service stations - which won't disappear just because they don't sell petrol and diesel) will be partly offset by the greater demand. I don't see how the level of investment will be absorbed without an increase per kWh.

        But that's only part of the story. The cost of petrol and diesel at the pump is mostly tax (in Europe, at least) and governments would be unlikely to give up that revenue stream, else it has to shift the burden elsewhere (e.g. increase VAT or income tax, both unpopular with the voter, or corporation tax, unpopular with those who have influence over policy). With the need to recover the costs from the pandemic already putting pressure to increase tax revenues, taxing electricity used for transport looks to be a no-brainer.

        Administering via public points should be fairly straightforward ("should" as I'm sure they'll manage to muck it up); taxing home charging should also be straightforward. Of course, it's probably even easier to shift the tax issue onto the vehicles themselves by the addition of a mandatory mileage tax - but that requires something absent in government.

        1. Wellyboot Silver badge

          Re: Some things that would help the situation

          Governments are seldom lacking in the ability to find new ways of extracting our cash.

      4. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Some things that would help the situation

        We need to be very careful that we don't overcharge for electricity.

        Who is "we" ?

        More than half the pump price of petrol/diesel is tax & duty, and no government is going to forego those billions. The price of of electricity at the charging point will have to be per-mile comparable to that of petrol, or else other taxes will go up to compensate.

      5. David 164

        Re: Some things that would help the situation

        Even that more complicated that it needs to be, you should be able to plug your car in and charge, No need for cards or apps.

    3. Steve Foster

      Re: Some things that would help the situation

      1. "Type 2" connectors are pretty much universal for AC charging (generally for slow charging, but can support rapid charging at 43kW [for compatible combinations of charger and vehicle]). For rapid DC charging (50kW+), there are two main connectors - CCS (VHS!) and ChaDeMo (BetaMax!). CCS has essentially won this particular war (it helped that CCS is an extension to Type 2, so a single port covers all charging options).

      2. The charge networks are rapidly moving towards contactless payment as the main method. It'll be interesting to see if their membership schemes (which usually give lower unit prices) survive.

      3. They do (or is that what you were saying?).

    4. Persona Silver badge

      Re: Some things that would help the situation

      The "standard" charging point in the UK is a normal 13A socket. Very useful to have and often all you have access to but limited to 3kW. Next up for UK home use is a 7.4kW dedicated outlet. If however you are out and about and perhaps driving a Tesla their superchargers run at 480V DC with powers of 72 kW, 150 kW or 250 kW.

      The good thing about standard cables is there are so many to choose between. A range of cables are needed.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Some things that would help the situation

        >The good thing about standard cables is there are so many to choose between. A range of cables are needed.

        Sounds like we need USB-EV, which uses a single plug-socket but is totally confusing as to the capabilities of the cable and attached devices

    5. David 164

      Re: Some things that would help the situation

      1 - Done, Already mandated by the government legislation.

      2 - Done, the law now require all charges to take chip and pin

      3 - Done RAC already have mobile car battery rechargers https://www.rac.co.uk/innovation/ev-boost

      So all your demands are being met already. Anything else you want to add on to your list.

      1. WonkoTheSane
        Headmaster

        Re: Some things that would help the situation

        2 - Rapid chargers don't take chip-and-pin. They take contactless payment

    6. ThatOne Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Some things that would help the situation

      > 2. No 'account' or special card needed, so you can just turn up, charge and pay, just like with petrol.

      You're kidding? What about customer lock-in, and all that juicy personal information to resell? Never gonna happen.

      No, serious, the Wild West days where you just went wherever you wanted and paid without giving a full resume and your full contact information are over. You're a resource, you have to be monetized, period.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Some things that would help the situation

        customer lock-in is already here for non-electric vehicles with supermarket petrol stations and loyalty cards and the major petrol chains having their own loyalty systems (some of which handle pay at pump)

        So even if all charging points are debit card there will still probably be loyalty card (app) systems

        1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: Some things that would help the situation

          Morrison's have changed all their petrol pumps and no longer take loyalty cards. I used to get a good fraction of my groceries from the credit built up on my card.

          1. tiggity Silver badge

            Re: Some things that would help the situation

            @J.G.Harston

            Morrisons are just going all in on pissing off loyalty card users in as many ways as possible.

      2. Boothy Silver badge

        Re: Some things that would help the situation

        In the UK at least, it's already a requirement [*] that all new chargers since 2020 include a 'pay as you go' option via a standard debit/credit card.

        * Technically it's a 'should', and it's not actually a legal requirement, but the UK gov did state if the charging networks don't do this voluntarily, they will implement legislation to force them.

  4. BogBeast

    its not just the public charging

    After two years of Tesla ownership, it is evident that non-supercharger public charging is a joke. Even the Tesla network will be borderline useful as the number of Teslas increases (and the network opens to 3rd parties). Anyone who thought that an electric bus was a good idea to send to Cornwall as some sort of demonstration is an evil genius or thoroughly incompetent and should be sacked.

    Ninety percent of my charging is done at home. Whilst public charging needs to be fixed, building and planning regs need to be updated urgently to support the charging of multiple electric cars at home. New houses need adequate drives and/or garages, together which large electricity incomers to support the number of cars needing to be charged in the house (bear in mind that households are increasingly multi-generational with parents and kids potentially having cars). Why solar panels are not mandated as part of the new builds is lost on me..

    1. Mast1

      Re: "Why solar panels are not mandated as part of the new builds is lost on me."

      Suggest you look at https://gridwatch.co.uk/

      And find the graph marked Last Year (Day Averages).

      Look for the yellow line amid all the other colours.

      From a northern European perspective, the chances of functionally charging your car on solar power between October and March are negligible.

      1. Andre Carneiro

        Re: "Why solar panels are not mandated as part of the new builds is lost on me."

        Well, yes. But I still produce about 9MWh on my solar array at home every year. That is far more than the house "burns" and does provide some commutes on solar power.

        Adding £8k worth of solar to a new build doesn't seem to be a very high cost intervention and the impact may well be quite significantly when averaged out over the year.

        Absolutely the intermittency and unreliability problems of solar still apply, but those are imminently solvable as storage tech improves.

        1. Fonant

          Re: "Why solar panels are not mandated as part of the new builds is lost on me."

          We have 4.2kWhp installed and generate an average of 13 units per day averaged over a year. Our household usage is 12 units per day averaged over a year.

          To be free of having to buy mains electricity we just need storage. Hey, if we got an EV with a 40kWh battery and an inverter we could easily survive the summer months without importing any power at all. We could even survive a few days with no solar generation at all, assuming no long car trips needed.

          Multiply by, say 50% of the car-owning households and you have a very useful distributed energy generation and storage system, just what the National Grid needs.

          1. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Re: "Why solar panels are not mandated as part of the new builds is lost on me."

            Averaged over a year doesn't work with only 40KWh storage unless you live in the tropics.

            I also have 4KWh of panels, they produce maybe 2KWh per day in winter (UK).

            I use 100% of my home heating in the 8 months with the least sunshine, during which I use 1.5MegaW/h per month in December through February.

            I'd need about £1m worth of storage and the neighbours plot to put it on.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Why solar panels are not mandated as part of the new builds is lost on me."

          Adding £8k worth of solar to a new build doesn't seem to be a very high cost intervention

          There has been a spate of roof fires around here caused by defective photovoltaic panels. From what I've read some of the new PV panels introduced in the 2013-2015 period are prone to cracking and water ingress due to the effect of the sun on the plastic (d'oh!). If that continues it won't do much for the cost, your insurance will go up if you have PV on the roof.

        3. John Sager

          Re: "Why solar panels are not mandated as part of the new builds is lost on me."

          as storage tech improves

          I never stop laughing at that. If storage tech improves to the point where grid storage chemically is practical, then the EV battery problem is likewise solved.

          A nodding equaintance with M. Carnot and other luminaries of thermodynamics would rapidly disabuse you of such notions. I read recently that Musk's battery tech is pretty close to theoretical limits for that technology. There are technologies with better specific energy density both by volume and by mass, but they are still in the lab and have been for a couple of decades.

          And are we really, really sure that all this is absolutely necessary because all sorts of horrible things will happen if we don't? Far too much wailing and rending of garments in this argument for any kind of sense to prevail.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Public charging for real

        Quite rightly said. If solar power were a serious proposition then electricity would be cheapest in the middle of the day, not the middle of the night, and so charging points would be popping up in car parks where cars mostly live while people work/shop/play/etc. I'd advocate for charging parks too because installing 100 chargers in one place has to be easier than one charger in each of 100 houses where an installer must negotiate to gain access to and upgrade the mains supply. The article mentioned maintenance and that too would be easier if charging points were centralised.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Why solar panels are not mandated as part of the new builds is lost on me."

        You are right that's why there are many dual rate tariffs that give you cheap leccy in the middle of the night. That's when I charge my car should I need a fullish battery the next day. This cheap rate power also charges my home battery system (32kWh) so I rarely use any premium rate leccy in the year.

        Solar, Heat Pumps and Batteries are the way of the future. Builders don't care. All they want to do is throw up 'little boxes' with rooms where you can't swing a cat and move on to the next load of suckers... sorry new house owners.

        The negativity towards EV's, renewable etc shown by commentrards in a supposedly techy forum astounds me. More than that, it makes me sad.

        Have we been invaded by Q anon and flatearthers?

        1. Wellyboot Silver badge

          Re: "Why solar panels are not mandated as part of the new builds is lost on me."

          >>>Have we been invaded by Q anon and flatearthers?<<<

          No, just cynical engineers who spend their working day swatting great ideas with techy knowledge & maths.

          I like electric but I also think that performing a complete change in the countries power sources* over a couple of decades will take more than sockets on street lamps & solar panels everywhere.

          *Going from gas to electric in my home will multiply the mains requirement by about 10 times in winter and that's before the car gets included.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Why solar panels are not mandated as part of the new builds is lost on me."

          Maybe it's because us techies can do the basic energy maths that tells us it's all greenwashing, and apparently designed to empty our pockets.

          1. dajames

            Re: "Why solar panels are not mandated as part of the new builds is lost on me."

            Maybe it's because us techies can do the basic energy maths that tells us it's all greenwashing, and apparently designed to empty our pockets.

            It's not designed to empty our pockets. It's just that it WILL empty our pockets if we expect to continue to live in the same way that we have been.

            Methinks TPTB find it easier to say "you just need to buy this expensive new tech and everything will be all right" than to say "you're going to have to change your lifestyle, because you can't go on the way you were without poisoning the planet, and you can't afford to buy the tech that would enable you to maintain the lifestyle without the toxicity".

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "Why solar panels are not mandated as part of the new builds is lost on me."

              So you're telling me that it's possibly a goal of those pushing EVs to make it so expensive, we'll all just end up sitting at home staring at a shiny electric box on wheels that we can't afford to drive anywhere? And that will help us learn what is sustainable? Are you trying to promote EVs, or are you telling us they are a scam?

              Thanks, but no thanks. I don't need to pay through the nose to learn that lesson, and I've already changed my life in such a way that it is considerably more sustainable than most.

      4. itzman

        Re: "Why solar panels are not mandated as part of the new builds is lost on me."

        Better still look at the real sute - not the rip off trademark infringing copy site designed to make money - and go to gridwatch.org.uk

      5. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: "Why solar panels are not mandated as part of the new builds is lost on me."

        Round were I live there is a lot of new warehousing barns going up, none of which have solar panels on their vast roofs. However, also around me are lots of fields that are now covered in solar panels. It does seem there is a lack of joined-up thinking.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: its not just the public charging

      Why solar panels are not mandated as part of the new builds is lost on me..

      1) Because houses are already unaffordable to all but the top 30% of the population by income for first time buyers, and Politicians are starting to get ponder that they are already losing votes (and might eventually get hung off the lamp posts) if they continue to push house prices up even higher. The Guardian claims that two thirds of adults from 20-34 still live with their parents, which sounds about right.

      2) Because solar panels produce power during the day when your not home to use it unless your a pensioner or allowed to work from home 100% of the time because your part of the top 10% by income or so who write the rules.

      3) Solar panels only worked economically because the feed in costs the electricity company has to pay you is in excess of what it costs the power company to produce power from a biomass (aka tree burning "green" power plant), or gas or nuclear. So you feed in power to the grid during the day and get paid for it, but don't reduce the demand by an extent that allows companies to turn off a gas plant which means that they are basically paying for nothing. But in the evening when you come home and put A) your electric car on charge, B) your dinner in the electric oven and C have a shower using an electricity heated shower etc then the power still comes from the grid because your battery system can't supply this amount of juice.

      Therefore you get paid for putting power into the grid in small amounts that doesn't get used resulting in you paying lower power bills which you see as a benefit. This means that everybody else has to pay higher bills; this form of "taxing the poor for the rich" scheme only works if you are in a very small minority.

      If a majority of people had them then the system collapses because everybody would have to get paid more than the generation cost of the electricity.

      For this reason new entrants for the scheme were blocked in 2019 so that only the existing people would keep getting payments. This means that new solar panel installations benefits are limited to what you can collect and store, which is not enough to take most people off the grid, and so it makes them questionable financial investments.

      Can't dispute this rationally but are enraged by offensive facts? Consider a downvote. :)

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: its not just the public charging

        Have a beer, sir. Sounds like you need it!

        As someone with a very good job but nevertheless unable to buy a house within 20 miles of the (Oxford) office, I couldn't agree more.

        However, for those who already own a 600k terraced house in Oxford, a few solar panels are a Great investment. Greenwashing it for some virtue signalling millionaire mugs could help turn it into a 700k terraced house in Oxford.

        And it is these who the tory government are working for.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: its not just the public charging

          However, for those who already own a 600k terraced house in Oxford, a few solar panels are a Great investment. Greenwashing it for some virtue signalling millionaire mugs could help turn it into a 700k terraced house in Oxford.

          And it is these who the tory government are working for.

          Really? Are Boris/Jacob/Priti/Sajid/Dominic/Matt/etc working for anyone except themselves and the rest oftheir Bullingdon chums? Assuming you accept the premise these tossers are doing any work at all.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: its not just the public charging

            Assuming you accept the premise these tossers are doing any work at all.

            They do more work than their counterparts in the misnamed "Labour" party.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: its not just the public charging

              "They do more work than their counterparts in the misnamed "Labour" party."

              what attracted you to a party lead by a fucking lying clown?

              nice fucking morals.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: its not just the public charging

                what attracted you to a party lead by a fucking lying clown?

                Nothing, that's why I didn't vote for Corbyn.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: its not just the public charging

                  clap....clap...clap..

                  ahh, boris the clown for you, you like a proven liar.

                  bet you love brexshit

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: its not just the public charging

                    bet you love the pingdemic.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: its not just the public charging

                      thats a weird 90 turn.

                      you one of those covid19 lovers that are too much of a baby to wear a mask?

                      or an anti-vax twat?

                      If you voted boris the clown, you got what you deserve, a fucked over country that let a virus needlessly kill thousands, with corrupt twats filtering cash to their mates.

                      Congrats on the winning...

                      fuck the lot of you unpatriotic arseholes.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: its not just the public charging

              True. It takes some effort to collect backhanders from dodgy donors or mates who got government contracts for iffy PPE, a ferry company with no ships, etc, etc.

              As for the Liebour party, fuck 'em. They're a different bunch of worthless tossers. Not as corrupt or incompetent. Or lead by a lying clown who can't organise a pissup in a brewery. But tossers nonetheless.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: its not just the public charging

          However, for those who already own a 600k terraced house in Oxford, a few solar panels are a Great investment. Greenwashing it for some virtue signalling millionaire mugs could help turn it into a 700k terraced house in Oxford.

          And it is these who the tory government are working for.

          And yet the solar feed in tarrif was a scheme put in place by Labour, and ended by the Tories. Don't buy the bollocks that one party is better than another; they are both owned by the rich and run for the rich.

          Incidentally the whole wind thing has been a total waste of time and money which has massively benefited certain groups that made large political donations, pushed up electricity prices by ~50% and which has largely failed to generate useful electricity when it's wanted. We have ~30GW worth of wind turbines installed which have generated more than <a href="http://gridwatch.templar.co.uk/>5GW on 3 days of this month according to gridwatch.</a>

          Almost anybody who read into it even slightly could see this coming; the wind is unpredictable and anybody who's played with even a 2" square solar panel and a multimeter knows that you only get useful amounts of electricity in direct full on summer sunlight without clouds; which is far from a common occurrence in the UK.

          The sane workable option of generating electricity would be to reinstate every waterwheel ever installed in the country with a small turbine attached, and do further installations on every weir in the country. While installation is more expensive than wind turbines this would generate reliable baseload electric power as long as the rivers keep flowing (which most people will agree is a considerably more predictably reliable occurrence than the wind blowing strongly or bright summer sunlight with no cloud cover) but the aim of green schemes is and appears to have always been to extract the maximum amount of money from the taxpayer in subsidies and deliver it into certain groups pockets, rather than to deliver a useful set of baseload electrical power to the grid at the minimum environmental cost.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: its not just the public charging

        >1) Because houses are already unaffordable to all but the top 30% of the population by income for first time buyers

        And that is almost wholly down to government policy over many decades.

        - Encourage mass immigration - but don't build any additional housing.

        - Encourage foreign investment/speculation - but don't put in any safeguards to enable residents to afford houses.

        - Encourage centralisation of work eg. London, to create local demand imbalance.

        - Encourage the cult of low wages - why pay someone the right rate (for someone living in the UK) when you can off-shore or pull in some cheap foreign worker.

      3. dajames

        Re: its not just the public charging

        For this reason new entrants for the scheme were blocked in 2019 so that only the existing people would keep getting payments. This means that new solar panel installations benefits are limited to what you can collect and store ...

        Not true. The energy companies still pay an "export tariff" for electricity exported to the grid.

        It's only around 5p a unit, which is nothing like as much as the old feed-in tariff, but at least it's not nothing at all -- and the prices of solar panels have fallen dramatically and the cost of installation has also fallen.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: its not just the public charging

          The day I see a solar-powered solar panel factory is the day I'll recant everything I've said on this news story so far.

      4. David_Woodhead

        Re: its not just the public charging

        @AC: The Guardian claims that two thirds of adults from 20-34 still live with their parents, which sounds about right.

        No it doesn't. It claims that two thirds of single childless adults from 20-34 do this.

        1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: its not just the public charging

          As 90% of adults 20-30 are single and childless, by first approximation, the claim is correct.

      5. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: its not just the public charging

        I would like solar (have some South facing roof area & a housebound relative lives with us so daytime solar power would be useful) but the upfront costs make it a no go when you are not wealthy.

        The older system that made it less of a financial burden was scrapped at bad time for us (had to move house to somewhere larger than our old small box house to accommodate relative we needed to have stay with us to be cared for but move too late for the old system to be on offer)

    3. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: its not just the public charging

      "Ninety percent of my charging is done at home. Whilst public charging needs to be fixed, building and planning regs need to be updated urgently to support the charging of multiple electric cars at home. New houses need adequate drives and/or garages, together which large electricity incomers to support the number of cars needing to be charged in the house (bear in mind that households are increasingly multi-generational with parents and kids potentially having cars). Why solar panels are not mandated as part of the new builds is lost on me.."

      This is the problem with some EV owners. The solution to your problem is to get something new. New builds, mandate solar panels on new builds. NEW NEW NEW.

      What about poor Joe Soap who lives in a terraced house in Bristol, Birmingham, or Newcastle that doesn't have a driveway, doesn't have mandated on street parking? Shall we knock down the terraced houses and build new detached/semi-detached homes that are built (in some respects) worse than those that stand there now? Are we going to mandate that it's legal to run an extension cable from their front window to the car across the pavement?

      Charging your car at home is a lovely idea to those who have a driveway, or the means to move in to a home with a driveway. I'm one of them, and I have a plug in hybrid on the driveway with said extension lead until I can either save up or get hold of a sparky to install a charging point on the house. I've plenty of friends in flats, or in these terraced houses, that don't have this luxury without having to move.

      Given the state of the housing market, given the state of planning regulations, given the state of the waton lust of developers to cram as much as they can on the little bit of green belt their brown envelope managed to get them from the council, simply saying "build more new things" isn't a solution. Especially given the destruction and pollution these new builds introduce to the environment. Those 20 tonne excavators aren't ever going to run on electric, and even if they did they'll be charged from diesel generators the size of shipping containers.

      No. The real solution to these issues is to improve the technology to a point that an EV owner can stop their car at a local petrol station, charge it for 10/20 minutes, and have done with it for a week. Like you would with a petrol or diesel car. That's the solution, but that's so far away.

      So, really, the only real solution to this is to go to hydrogen. Everything else, these plugin hybrids, plugin EV's, are stop gaps or dead ends when it comes to meaningful transportation solutions to the common person.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: its not just the public charging

        simply saying "build more new things" isn't a solution

        But this is something very much the Keynesians want. Imagine how many jobs knocking down terraced houses and building new shiny smaller terraced houses but with drive way will create...

        Whether this is going to create any value, it's another story...

      2. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

        Re: its not just the public charging

        Yes , thank you. I'm one of those in a terraced house and it's a dual carriageway outside my front garden. No drive. Where do I charge my leccy car?

        Or do I (we) become the disenfranchised wrt transport

        "sorry chum, You're Shanks Pony or the bus. No transport out if the rain for you"

        1. Roland6 Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: its not just the public charging

          But look how much better off you are - that dual carriageway will be full of electric cars - no nasty diesel or petrol exhaust fumes(*)...

          If you want to charge your car then just drop into your local supermarket (I'm sure there is 24hr one near you), go watch a film, go out for a meal, stay in a hotel... basically do anything other than stay in your own home.

          (*) Interestingly, there was an article recently about lead in the environment and the discovery that there is still significant amounts of lead in the atmosphere of our cities even though it has been decades since lead was added to petrol...

        2. J.G.Harston Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: its not just the public charging

          Don't you understand? Plebs like you and me aren't supposed to have cars.

      3. Pete B

        Re: its not just the public charging

        "So, really, the only real solution to this is to go to hydrogen."

        Have none of the proponents of Hydrogen seen films of the Hindenburg ;-)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: its not just the public charging

          Hydrogen embrittlement of steel and other metals is a much more significant problem, along with the truly terrifying pressures needed to store any kind of useful quantity of the stuff.

          Last I heard, they were developing carbon-fibre tanks to store hydrogen at 10,000psi in the back of the car. Thanks, but no thanks.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    EVs are not the plan

    >The UK needs to increase the number of charging points across the country tenfold if it is to support an electric vehicle (EV) economy starting with the ban on new petrol and diesel cars from 2030.

    Don't be silly. In 2030, everyone will be driving some form of hybrid, which they won't bother to ever plug in, because they are much cheaper and do what we expect (you fill your tank in 5 mins and then drive 400 miles).

    You could say that the batteries and motor of a hybrid car are just what is needed to meet the specified EURO emissions tests at the point of production, and will be a useless and heavy load on the car for the remainder of its life.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: EVs are not the plan

      Hybrid cars, especially self-charging ones without any plug-in capability, are not going to achieve the emissions reductions required by this program.

      They will still be generating CO2, and if the 'greenness' of the Prius's that have been around for a while is anything to go by, aren't much better than the pure ICD vehicles they are replacing. They will be the next thing on the target list for being banned, which will make people living in rural locations (for whom hybrids are currently the only real way forward) even worse off.

      The problem is that we will probably be suffering from the 80-20 rule, where the existing policies will meet the needs of 80% of the people, with the people pushing these programs conveniently forgetting the other 20%.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: EVs are not the plan

        >Hybrid cars, especially self-charging ones without any plug-in capability, are not going to achieve the emissions reductions required by this program.

        Yes, they literally will. Hybrid cars are exactly how car manufacturers are going to meet the next European fleet emissions requirements. And yes, hybrids are not much better than pure ICE vehicles, but them's the rules.

        And yes, eventually they might be legislated out of existence, and we'll all have to buy another new car.

        1. Wellyboot Silver badge

          Re: EVs are not the plan

          >>>we'll all have to buy another new car.<<<

          Only those that can afford the cost.

          At some point in the future the number of hybrid & older cars on the road will drop below the point where it's profitable to provide the fuel*, almost overnight several million vehicles owned by the poorer members of society (mostly outside of major cities) will become unusable & worthless, they won't be happy with the only options of spending several hundred per month on permanent rental plans or possibly buying the few older electric cars with degraded batteries that would cost thousands to replace.

          *Refining, transport & storage of volatile liquids is expensive.

        2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: EVs are not the plan

          The regulations you are referring to are for fleets. There are other regulations, such as the upcoming Euro 7 emissions rules which may well stifle hybrids before 2030 for all uses, including fleets.

          But, excuse me for being idealistic. I thought that the rules were designed to reduce emissions, not to provide loopholes to allow for vehicles that may end up running on their range-extender ICD for most of the time (fleet vehicles generally are involved in journeys greater than the pitiful 30-55 mile range of the 'Best plug-in hybrids 2021' according to Auto Express).

          If the rules really will allow for this, then don't expect to get very much life from your hybrid, because as soon as it becomes apparent that the measures are not achieving the stated goal, they will be changed!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: EVs are not the plan

            I think you might be misunderstanding what "fleet emissions" means, in the context of EU emissions regulations. "Fleet" means the total range of cars produced in a particular time, by one manufacturer. It's why Aston Martin rebadged some cheap Indian smart-car like things, to offset their sports cars. It also means if you get enough people to buy your EVs, you can keep making ICE (or hybrid) cars for everyone else who doesn't want to change their driving habits.

            But, excuse me for being idealistic. I thought that the rules were designed to reduce emissions

            Oh, they do! According to the stringent tests that new cars must meet, a purely ICE-powered car will fail, but a hybrid will pass.

            because as soon as it becomes apparent that the measures are not achieving the stated goal, they will be changed!

            Already in the works! By 2035, it will be essentially impossible to make a car with an ICE engine.

            don't expect to get very much life from your hybrid

            Oh, I don't (I also don't own one, and plan to avoid it if at all possible). Anyone paying attention knows this. But don't worry, it's all for our own good and to save the planet.

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: EVs are not the plan

              >By 2035, it will be essentially impossible to make a car with an ICE engine.

              So I build a 'hybrid' which only has the batteries installed; the customer purchases and installs their preferred ICE in the front "storage bay"...

              I'm waiting for the electric tank and army EV; now if Russia converts their tank fleet to electric, we don't need to worry about an invasion, as the tanks will only be able to make it a few miles down the road before needing a recharge...

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: EVs are not the plan

                I like the way you think, we should go into business.

                If the only goal is to meet emissions regulations, how small does the pack in your proposed "hybrid" need to be??? I think there are some great opportunities here.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: EVs are not the plan

                  I think an AAA cell will be enough

                2. Roland6 Silver badge

                  Re: EVs are not the plan

                  > how small does the pack in your proposed "hybrid" need to be???

                  Well, given a hybrid is basically a petrol/diesel-electric, the pack only really needs to big enough to start the engine. However, since the engine is only being used as a generator, a larger battery is desireable to better handle demand fluctuations.

                  Because the battery requirement isn't so great and we already have mass production of engines (and a fuel delivery infrastructure), the hybrid is a natural development towards full EV. Naturally, in principle it is only a very small step to replace the ICE with an additional battery pack. Purists don't like it, but since the railways have been using diesel-electric locomotives for decades the principles (and benefits) are well understood.

    2. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: EVs are not the plan

      Don't be silly. In 2030, everyone will be driving some form of hybrid, which they won't bother to ever plug in, because they are much cheaper and do what we expect (you fill your tank in 5 mins and then drive 400 miles).

      Not all hybrids have a plug. Those that don't can be quite a bit more environmentally friendly if the owner is sensible. My Toyota Corolla averages around 60mpg over the course of a year compared to around 50mpg for my previous Honda Jazz driven in the same way on the same journeys.

      And I think that the reason your comment is not 'silly' is because the incentive was given to fleet drivers. Most of those are salespeople or managers who just don't care about little stuff (or lack the capacity to care) and hence the debacle that ensued.

      I have (some) faith that when Mr & Mrs Wibble buy their next car and choose a plug-in hybrid they will do so in the full understanding of how to use it. It will be plugged in whenever it is practical to do so and will significantly reduce their running costs (financially and environmentally).

      The concept of a plug-in hybrid is a very good one(*) it's just that the government targeted their incentive program at the wrong people. Oh and possibly PHEV was just a little too late with full EV taking over sooner than expected.

      (*)The one drawback is lack of storage space. I looked at getting a plug-in but they all had vastly reduced boots. Unless I switched to an SUV I seemed to have nowhere to put my golf kit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: EVs are not the plan

        >Unless I switched to an SUV I seemed to have nowhere to put my golf kit.

        My nightmare image of the future of British motoring is upon us. We will all be driving big hybrid SUVs down tiny country lanes, distracted by phones and screens, because it's "environmentally friendly".

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: EVs are not the plan

          Nah. It's only a problem with PHEVs. EVs don't have an ICE taking up space under the bonnet so the batteries can go in there. I haven't actually checked but I'd hope that EVs have just as much boot space as an ICE car.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: EVs are not the plan

            I haven't actually checked but I'd hope that EVs have just as much boot space as an ICE car.

            Usually less, the boot floor is generally 10-15cm higher because of the batteries (which are also often packed along the floorpan). By and large you're replacing ICE engine + fuel tank with a much larger volume of batteries.

          2. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: EVs are not the plan

            >EVs don't have an ICE taking up space under the bonnet so the batteries can go in there.

            Not an accident safe design, remember batteries aren't inert and lithium one's if damaged can rapidly get hot and ignite or explode.

            1. Tagware

              Re: EVs are not the plan

              Tell me how many ICE vehicle fires do we have?

              Around two cars out of every thousand registered in the UK catch fire each year. It is often the case in accidental auto fires that the bulk of the fire is (at least initially) contained in the engine compartment of the vehicle.

              I'll let you Google how many EV fires there have been. Considerably less per 10,000.

              Cheers.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: EVs are not the plan

                I'm gonna do "the thing", and accuse you of spreading misinformation. I did my googling. Did you mention the fact that over half of vehicle fires are deliberately started? Or maybe that hybrids and EVs catch fire at a much GREATER rate, in accidental fires?

                https://www.fleetnews.co.uk/news/manufacturer-news/2020/11/27/vehicle-fire-data-suggests-higher-incident-rate-for-evs

              2. Roland6 Silver badge

                Re: EVs are not the plan

                >Tell me how many ICE vehicle fires do we have?

                I was talking about accidents, remember much about car design and a contributory reason to why we now drive around in 2 ton boxes instead of 1 ton boxes is due to safety considerations...

                For your typical ICE fire, passengers stand a reasonable chance of getting out of the car (due in part to the design of engine compartments with respect to fire containment) and the fire service can liberally apply water, for your EV...

                >Around two cars out of every thousand registered in the UK catch fire each year.

                With 38.4M cars, that's an average of 210 per day...

                >I'll let you Google how many EV fires there have been. Considerably less per 10,000.

                As more people buy EVs we can expect the EV figure to rise.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: EVs are not the plan

      So you are driving a hybrid with say 20 miles of range that you never use.

      Ask yourself how much will you be playing for dino juice then? £3.00 a litre? more?

      That sort of increase will make a lot of people sit up and take notice.

      The future is Electric and it will be here sooner than most people think... like now.

      I wish that people here would just stop moaning and grasp what is happening all around them. Petrol and Diesel is a finite resource. producing and using it also pollutes the atmosphere, makes people ill yet people are still promoting it. Madness

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: EVs are not the plan

        I am fully aware of what is happening around me. I minimise my dependence on cars, as much as possible.

        The basic energy maths also very clearly tells me that it's not possible to power our current lifestyle using solar and wind. When someone can explain to me how we can power the manufacture of all the goods we use every day (EVs included!), as well as heat our homes and charge our EVs, using only solar and wind input, then I'll moan a bit less about greenwashing that appears designed to empty our pockets.

        Talking of fully aware, do you really think that as the government loses tax revenue from fuel, they will just shrug their shoulders and ignore EV charging?

  7. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Elephant in the room

    It is often conveniently omitted how long it takes to charge such car.

    It's about 8 hours to fully charge a car and may take like 30 minutes to "top up" using rapid charge station.

    Then you'll have an issue of battery life decline from rapid charging.

    Then you'll have an issue with cars on weak batteries and owners not having money to replace, so people will have to charge more and more often.

    I can only imagine the queues and chaos this could cause if everyone had an electric car.

    We don't seem to be building nuclear plants to service all this coming increase of demand.

    Can imagine that people will be towing a fuel powered energy generator to keep charging their cars as they go.

    1. Andre Carneiro

      Re: Elephant in the room

      The 8 hours charging are a non-issue if done when you're at home or at work. This is the most common gripe from ICE drivers but, in reality, is a non-issue. Also, 8 hours is nearly 50kWh, so you'll need to have a pretty huge commute to burn that much juice every day. In reality, most people can top-up their commute at home in a couple of hours. Topping up on long journeys does take longer but it's not an issue because you can factor it in to your journey calculations and most people rarely do journeys that are longer than their EV range anyway. For those who do, then I agree, EV tech may not be quite there yet, but will be "soon" enough.

      Battery life decline is turning out to be a far lesser problem than originally expected. There are fleets of 10 year old Tesla Model S with 85% to 90% of their original rated capacity still available, and that's with 10 year old tech. It seems many EVs may well "die of old age" around the battery pack rather than needing it replaced.

      Agree on the underbuild of nuclear, I really don't know how the transition to low-carbon sources can be made without nuclear and with the current energy storage technology available (although that should hopefully improve over the next decade).

      That last statement is just silly :)

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Elephant in the room

        The 8 hours charging are a non-issue if done when you're at home or at work.

        This assumes everyone lives in a house with a nice driveway and their workplace will have a charging point for every worker.

        This is a pipe dream.

        In reality, most people can top-up their commute at home in a couple of hours.

        So you will be queueing for a charging point for a couple of hours to top up? It seems like people lives will be revolving around charging.

        Battery life decline is turning out to be a far lesser problem than originally expected.

        Not sure if "premium" car example could be representative? Surely when people will have no choice but to have an EV, we will get cars with cheap batteries that don't last long, unless there is a proper regulation. But then it may become too expensive for most people.

        Also capacity is not a whole story. My phone can show 80% battery and it will last quite a while until it reaches 50%, then it drops rapidly.

        1. Andre Carneiro

          Re: Elephant in the room

          You're absolutely right that not everyone has a place to charge at home or work, but I suspect a significant proportion already do. Workplace charging is not common at the moment, but can become so in due course.

          The "couple of hours top-up for standard commute" was assuming a "normal" charger at home. 2 hours at home can be done in 10 minutes at a rapid charger, which hardly seems unreasonable.

          I'm not sure that Tesla being a "premium" car actually is significant in the battery pack. My comment applies to most of the industry (with the infamous exception of the original Nissan Leafs due to their lack of thermal management).

          With regards to your last statement, I wasn't mentioning the displayed energy capacity, I was referring to the actual battery capacity. Also, your phone's battery is a completely different beast to an EV's so I don't think you can make a very meaningful comparison.

          1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

            Re: Elephant in the room

            2 hours at home can be done in 10 minutes at a rapid charger, which hardly seems unreasonable.

            It is unreasonable if there are two or three cars in front of you.

            In my residential area there is not a single charging point and people don't have allocated parking spaces.

            Let's say I'll invest in a charging point, then come back from work and someone has parked in "my" space. Given that I was only rapid charging, sounds like the next day I would have to take time off and wait until someone drives away and quickly push the car to my charger? Or do I call AA for emergency charging?

            Not sure why do you say it is a completely different beast? Car battery contains multiple small batteries - for example Tesla is using 18650 Panasonic batteries (you can also use such batteries in portable devices - I have such battery in a torch).

            The problem with non-linear discharge is probably only masked because you have many of those batteries in a cell.

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Re: Elephant in the room

              In my area, there is currently 1 charging station with 2 outlets within a 5 minute walk of my house. I live in a dense part of a town on the outer edges of the London sprawl. There are around 1,500 cars parked up on the terraced streets within a 5 minute walk of the charging point I would estimate. The charging point costs three times the domestic electricity rate, by the way.

              During lockdown we lost our electricity supply on no less than six separate occasions lasting for more than an hour each time. Two of the occasions resulted from failure of a component in a substation and four of these were a result of cable burn outs in the underground street supply. We regularly (probably fortnightly) suffer from brownout cycles that take out everything but the laptops for a moment whilst they reset. This is on top of all the thousands of new flats going up everywhere.

              We are paying today for the reluctance to invest in future proofing in the past.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Elephant in the room

                That can't be true! After all, the official spokeshole of the National Grid was only recently saying just how ready our grid is for mass EV charging!

                1. TRT Silver badge

                  Re: Elephant in the room

                  The main distribution network might be, but it's that damned last mile again. The street came onto the electricity grid sometime around the 1930s I think... it appears to have been replaced around the 1950s or 60s, and the house was rewired at the same time and various spurs added throughout the 70s and 80s. The wiring internally was substantially replaced in the late 90s. Whenever they dig up the street to fix one of these burnouts I take a look in, but it's kind of hard to tell how old the cable is unless it was laid after the 00s - before then, they all look mostly the same - rusty, steel armoured and muddy.

          2. ChrisC Silver badge

            Re: Elephant in the room

            "The "couple of hours top-up for standard commute" was assuming a "normal" charger at home. 2 hours at home can be done in 10 minutes at a rapid charger, which hardly seems unreasonable."

            10 minutes sounds entirely reasonable. Until you consider that

            a) the average ICE car can manage a couple of weeks-worth of average commutes on a single tank

            and

            b) there's currently a good chance that the rapid charger isn't located wherever your car is parked up normally, so you'll probably have to go out of your way to recharge

            so

            c) you'd be replacing a once a fortnight trip to the filling station with a once a day trip to a charging station

            so

            d) you've replaced 10 minutes at the pump (plus the time taken to drive there/back) every other week, with 10 minutes at the charging station (plus the time taken to drive there/back) every day...

            ...and that's the point at which the average ICE driver is going to go, "yeah, no thanks".

            I agree that IF you're in the position of being able to charge an EV at home or at work, without needing to change anything about your daily commuting habits other than remembering to plug in whenever you park up, then EVs make perfect sense. And once I'm in a position to be able to afford to get an EV that I consider to be an acceptable replacement for the sorts of ICE cars I drive, then I'll be only too happy to make the switch myself.

            The problem is that, right now and for the near future, there isn't enough being done around the charging side of things to genuinely encourage (carrot) enough people to buy new EVs such that in the slightly longer term future there'll then be enough EVs filtering down into the used car marketplace so that people like me can then have a genuine choice of EV vs ICE, rather than having to make the choice between yet another ICE that meets all our needs vs an EV that's compromised in enough ways to rule it out of any fair fight, and where it's only still in the game because of the increasing pressure (stick) being put on people to ditch ICE - low emission zones, diesel bans etc.

          3. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Elephant in the room

            >I'm not sure that Tesla being a "premium" car actually is significant in the battery pack.

            It is. There is/was a website (forgotten details) that is wholly focused on EV battery tech. and they evaluated batteries particularly with respect to life span. What was clear those manufacturers who implemented sophisticated charging/discharging and thermal management systems had batteries that showed the slowest degradation over time. However, your typical mass market car didn't have such sophisticated battery management and so showed rapid battery decline.

            What was interesting about Tesla, they actually prevent both full charging and full discharge operating the batteries in the 20~80% charge bracket. To help people to leave Florida ahead of a storm, Tesla did a software update that permitted the battery to be drained to circa 5% on the basis a one-off occurrence would not massively impact overall battery longevity.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Elephant in the room

              There's also the fact that, as designs progress through their lifecycle, value engineers have a better and better understanding of just how little is needed to meet a particular spec. That means that all of that excess value gets trimmed away. It's the same effect as "they don't make things like they used to". No, they don't, because they have a much better understanding of exactly how little is needed to meet a particular spec, leaving no excess margin for things like extra longetivity or resilience to stress. But that's progress.

        2. rg287 Silver badge

          Re: Elephant in the room

          This assumes everyone lives in a house with a nice driveway and their workplace will have a charging point for every worker.

          This is a pipe dream.

          ~75% of the population have offroad parking. So as far as commutes go, they can trickle-charge at home. A huge proportion of the remaining 25% live in city centres - mostly London - and don't actually own a car.

          There is then a difficult bit in the middle for car owners reliant on street parking in central areas. There are solutions coming for that including lamp-post charging. But again, based on the normal weekly mileage, charging during the weekly shop, at work, or utilising other destination-charging stations.

          People say that workplaces won't offer charging, but you don't have to go back all that far to find a time when workplaces didn't offer car parking - because how much were you paying your staff that they could afford a car? These days it is considered a standard "cost of business" that you'll need to double the footprint of a site to provide employee and/or customer parking. The car parks of my nearby supermarkets all have a larger square footage than the store they serve... often prime city-centre real-estate. Business invests a huge amount of money supporting car usage. Times change, the workplace will catch up.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Elephant in the room

            Like a lot of other people, I do not live in London. I live in a cul-de-sac of about 80 Victorian terraced houses, with no front gardens. Parking is only allowed on one side of the road and on that side there are 2 street lights. (There are only one or two on the other side). I cannot guarantee to be able to park in my road, let alone near my house. This is part of a fairly large area of dense housing. I cannot see how to arrange charging at home in this situation.

          2. ChrisC Silver badge

            Re: Elephant in the room

            "~75% of the population have offroad parking."

            The figures I've seen (provided by a pro-EV company, so unlikely to be pessimistic) suggested that it was actually 60% of households, and when taking into account the number of people who drive Vs don't drive, the effective percentage rises to around 72% of *drivers* who have access to off road parking.

            Still not a bad number, but not quite as good as you're making out here. And 25% of drivers not having easy access to home charging is a bloody huge number of people for whom EV ownership will continue to feel like a pipe dream whilst the availability and convenience of charging points elsewhere lags behind expectations/desires of people used to the ease with which an ICE vehicle can be "recharged"

            1. rg287 Silver badge

              Re: Elephant in the room

              And 25% of drivers not having easy access to home charging is a bloody huge number of people for whom EV ownership will continue to feel like a pipe dream whilst the availability and convenience of charging points elsewhere lags behind expectations/desires of people used to the ease with which an ICE vehicle can be "recharged"

              There is indeed a long-tail of edge cases.

              BUT - this is a 20+year process. In 2030 when sales of ICE-only cars end, you will still be able to buy a hybrid if you want. By 2040 there will still be millions of dino-juice cars floating around the used market.

              We can already see supermarket and destination charging taking off. By 2030 it will be practicable for most people to simply charge whilst doing their weekly shop if they can't charge from home (more convenient than shopping and then stopping to fill up on your way home). In some places that is practicable now.

              There are many wails of impending disaster, but cars that run on dino juice will be sold for at least another 14 years until hybrids start being phased out and will predominate on the used market for another decade after that.

              1. dajames

                Re: Elephant in the room

                By 2030 it will be practicable for most people to simply charge whilst doing their weekly shop if they can't charge from home (more convenient than shopping and then stopping to fill up on your way home).

                Hmm ... Methinks the people who live in urban centres, don't have off-street parking, and can't guarantee to be able to park near enough to charge at home are mostly the same people who only have to walk for a few minutes to do their shopping.

          3. 42656e4d203239

            Re: Elephant in the room

            >>~75% of the population have offroad parking.

            The South Wales Valleys are laughing at your wild assertion.... as are the Yorkshire mill villages/towns... Manchester in general... and any city centre dwellers (though you could, rightly, argue that they don't actually need personal vehicles).

            75% of the population in affluent areas may well have off road parking - here in the Valleys nearly every house has two cars becasaue public transport is flipping atrocious (serpentine valleys mean slow trains, when they actually bother to run, and the bus service is a joke outside of 0900-1600 which works well for people starting work at 0730).

            Basing UK wide decisions on a wild assertion that only actually applies to a small percentage of the population is crazy and disadvantages everyone in poorer areas... but then the whole EV/Greenwash legislation thing isn't aimed at people who live in houses unaffordable by anyone with less than £100k income anyway.

            1. rg287 Silver badge

              Re: Elephant in the room

              75% of the population in affluent areas may well have off road parking

              No wild assertions here. Solid facts and figures. I never claimed they were evenly distributed, and that is indeed a problem in itself (but also one which is reasonably assumed - e.g. city centres have many flats, few detached houses. I shouldn't need to spell that out).

              But more than half of households are detached and semi-detached houses, which pretty much universally come with off-street parking. 27% of households are terraces. This is a bit of a toss up. If you live in a terrace like mine you have enough space to park one and a half cars where the front garden used to be, and there's a back roads to the garage at rear. Fitting a wall-charger at the front, or in the garage is a perfectly viable option. There are of course those terraces which open directly onto the street and have no rear parking. That's a tricky long-tail, but not relevant to the general direction of travel.

              20.9% of households are in flats. Many city centre blocks of flats have no parking, but equally the block my partner used to live in had an allocated space per flat. Getting chargers installed would have needed the landlord to pull their finger out, but there was no physical impediment to the work. Just the mater of who was paying for it.

              Yes, there are clusters - such as terraces in the valleys where there are no good answers yet. They'll be running dino juice cars till 2035, by which time public charging infrastructure will have developed - or ideally the number of cars in use will have declined thanks to the South Wales Metro pushing out and reducing the need for two-car households.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Elephant in the room

            "~75% of the population have offroad parking"

            please point to who told you that crock of shit

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Elephant in the room

        bollocks,

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbrIQioiv8k

        so 10 year old tesla's are worth $0, good luck with that

    2. Fonant

      Re: Elephant in the room

      And also often omitted that EVs can be ready with a "full tank of fuel" every morning, automatically.

      Yes, many people don't have driveways, but solutions to that are already being put in place (e.g. lamp-post chargers, trailing lead channels, workplace charging, carpark charging, etc).

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Elephant in the room

        Are you okay with high power cables lying around on pavements? What if someone cuts the isolation open and there is rain? Will you trust that RCD will work? Who is going to be testing every charging point for safety?

        1. Wellyboot Silver badge

          Re: Elephant in the room

          Also, are large car park owners going to wire their concrete towers with vast numbers of charge points and an incoming feed to match?

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Elephant in the room

        Street lamps are already being retrofitted with LEDs to reduce the amount of power they need. There's no way the streetlamp power infrastructure in residential areas could cope with 7kW+ being drawn from every lamp-post in every street, all night.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Elephant in the room

          When a street lamp is replaced with LED do they rip up the electricity supply to the post and replace it with lower rated cable or leave the existing one in place?

          1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

            Re: Elephant in the room

            Is the existing cabling rated to sustain 7kW?

            1. graeme leggett

              Re: Elephant in the room

              Char.gy say up their lamppost chargers deliver up to 5kW depending.

              a random selected council specification says cable supply to street lights should be minimum 6mm² and laid in ducts.

              In a domestic situation 6mm² Twin and Earth is rated from 23 to 47 Amps depending on insulation level.

          2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

            Re: Elephant in the room

            "When a street lamp is replaced with LED do they rip up the electricity supply to the post and replace it with lower rated cable or leave the existing one in place?"

            If a street lamp is replaced by replacing the head, then it will still be on the 100-year-old bell wire it was wired up with originally.

            With most street lamp replacements the new post is in a different location to the old post - part of the saving is that with the new laps you need fewer of them, so it's pointless putting them in the same place. And when the new ones are put in, yes, they are wired up sufficient to supply the lower capacity LED head set.

            Lamp-post charging will require digging up pavements and putting 100A (or even just 60A) supplies in to them, along with the metering equipments.

    3. rg287 Silver badge

      Re: Elephant in the room

      It is often conveniently omitted how long it takes to charge such car.

      The average electric vehicle has a range of 180-350miles.

      The average weekly mileage of UK vehicles is ~190miles. The average journey is ~8miles.

      The 99th percentile will trickle charge their EVs at home off a 3kW or 7.5kW wall socket, possibly overnight on an Economy-7 plan. It will be a rare thing for them to dip below 75% capacity.

      For that one time a year where you go on a long trip, you can rapid charge in 30-45minutes, which is actually fine, because 200miles is 2.5-3 hours driving. As a matter of best practice this is often considered the maximum stretch one should drive before taking a break.

      Moreover, a 30-45minute rapid charge would give you a full charge, giving you another 200+miles of range. In reality this is unlikely to be necessary.

      Most people who need "more than 200miles" actually need 250miles of range, so assuming they haven't just bought a car with a "long range" battery pack which will do 300miles, a quick top-up mid-journey is more than sufficient and then you can destination charge wherever you're going - do 150miles, stretch your legs and top-up for 15minutes, then complete the trip. You might drive away without 100% charge, but that's because you don't need 100% charge.

      There will be someone along in due course saying they have a pressing need to do 500-700miles/day, which of course means they're either exceeding the driving hours in the Working Time Directive (which admittedly only applies to HGV and Passenger Carrying Vehicles, not to high-mileage reps who drive a lot but are not employed as drivers. Arguably it should apply to anyone driving for work) or they're breaking the speed limit.

      Neither is a very good look, nor a use case which manufacturers care about. Those sorts of duty cycles are bad for people's health and should be phased out. They used to be outright impossible because older cars/roads simply didn't allow it. Businesses should structure themselves to minimise travel.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Elephant in the room

        The average journey is ~8miles.

        Makes you wonder why we're not all being encouraged to walk, cycle, or eBike, instead of buying shiny new cars.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Elephant in the room

          Apart from being encouraged to walk, cycle (those hireable bikes and scooters have turned up in my neighborhood) we are also encouraged to take the bus (comfy seats, wifi, )

        2. rg287 Silver badge

          Re: Elephant in the room

          Makes you wonder why we're not all being encouraged to walk, cycle, or eBike, instead of buying shiny new cars.

          Why indeed.

          Interestingly in the Netherlands car ownership runs about the same as the UK. Although they have a healthy cycling habit and some excellent tram networks, they'll say "Well I'm not carrying my weekly shop home from the supermarket".

          It's certainly a thing to move towards - cycle more for commutes or local travel, move towards one-car households and halve the traffic. Save the car for transporting shopping & goods.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Elephant in the room

            Save the car for transporting shopping & goods.

            Right, and if we did that, it would do so much more for the world than buying a shiny new EV stuffed full of the latest and greatest in rare-earth minerals.

          2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

            Re: Elephant in the room

            The Netherlands is flat, and has the advantage of their neighbours shifting all those pesky buildings out of the way 70 years ago.

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Elephant in the room

        The average electric vehicle has a range of 180-350miles.

        The average weekly mileage of UK vehicles is ~190miles. The average journey is ~8miles.

        True, but irrelevant. You need to consider the total energy consumed per year by the transport fleet, and then work out where that energy is coming from. It doesn't matter if it's a 20 minutes fast charge, or an overnight slow charge, it's the total energy use that counts.

        The 99th percentile will trickle charge their EVs at home off a 3kW or 7.5kW wall socket, possibly overnight on an Economy-7 plan. It will be a rare thing for them to dip below 75% capacity.

        If everyone is charging overnight that will become peak time, and "Economy 7" will disappear.

        1. rg287 Silver badge

          Re: Elephant in the room

          True, but irrelevant. You need to consider the total energy consumed per year by the transport fleet, and then work out where that energy is coming from. It doesn't matter if it's a 20 minutes fast charge, or an overnight slow charge, it's the total energy use that counts.

          Not even slightly irrelevant. It is your comment which is valid but entirely off-topic.

          Travel and Charging habits are entirely relevant to a discussion which started as "It is often conveniently omitted how long it takes to charge such car." Which is a misnomer because in normal usage the 99th percentile of drivers will never need to fast charge from empty. They're only tootling around locally.

          T&C patterns are also relevant to the discussion of "But how will the grid cope". 20minutes at 400Amps or 8hours at 13Amps makes a significant difference when considering local supply/substation provision, cable diameters and peak vs. base loads.

          What you're raising is the related but separate issue of overall generating capacity across the year, which is a bit naughty. To say that "it's the total energy use that counts." is simply wrong - do you want 50kWh supplied in an week, or in 20 minutes? Is demand flat or peaky? Having enough is important. Having enough at the right time even more so.

          If everyone is charging overnight that will become peak time, and "Economy 7" will disappear.

          Possibly yes. But you haven't explained how that is relevant to the discussion of:

          "It is often conveniently omitted how long it takes to charge such car."

      3. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: Elephant in the room

        > have a pressing need to do 500-700miles/day

        No, but I have several times a year the need to make 500-600 miles trips. I definitely wouldn't want to make those trips in 200-miles installments, a day is only so long. Now it happens those trips (and the weekly trip to the supermarket) are the main reason I have a car (I use my bike to drive to work, even when it rains and snows).

        I admit my needs are special and certainly not very common, but they do exist. Don't assume majority = totality.

      4. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Elephant in the room

        >Most people who need "more than 200miles" actually need 250miles of range

        Nice try but doesn't fit my lifestyle.

        Whilst that may work for some people most of the time, for others, such as myself it doesn't.

        A big issue that we are going to have to adjust to is that travelling any distance is going to get a lot slower, plus we are going to have to think differently.

        Currently, my main car is doing circa 80 miles per day, so well within the budget calculation, the problems arise on the second day when I may have already driven 120 miles and now have need to do a circa 200 mile round trip.

        With an ICE vehicle things are very simple: set off and pick up additional fuel before return trip, which should leave me with sufficient fuel for my normal travel tomorrow.

        With an EV the thinking has to be different. Firstly, it seems I have a choice, find a charging station immediately (ie. do the 'mid journey' top up now) and then do another topup when I reach my destination (as opposed to filling up on my departure from my destination), followed by another topup when I get home so the car is ready for tomorrow. Alternatively I could set off immediately and hope that there is sufficient charge to get me to my destination and find a (working) rapid charger without a queue; otherwise I will be looking for a hotel with overnight charging and making my return journey the following day....

        Given it looks like I will be making regular trips to Exeter for the next few years (circa 210 miles each way), I think my main car will remain ICE.

  8. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    West country

    I chuckle at the coach trip, but it highlights a serious point.

    I live in West Somerset, and to my knowledge there are three double charging points in the town that I'm in, with another 6 or so associated with hotels and guest houses, and a few in scattered businesses around the general area. I can see that there are a number of people who have their own charging infrastructure, but from a tourist point of view this makes this tourist area a desert.

    As all of the major towns are over 25 miles away, and tourist attractions tend to also be similar distances, this makes many of the lower range EVs impractical unless you plan a charge when in town. And to go further can be a real problem.

    So, as an entry barrier, you have to drive an EV with a longer range than many town drivers have to consider. Longer range=higher initial cost and longer charging times, and as West Somerset already has some of the lowest per-capita income in the country, this makes it a triple whammy when it comes to EVs (lack of infrastructure, distances and price).

    Even having 30% margin on the effective range of a vehicle is not sufficient. Because the road links are so poor, you can find that if there is one of the major roads closed, you may face a 20 mile, or sometimes even more diversion, and the last thing you want when driving with range anxiety is it go onto the backroads where you can guarantee that there is no hope of picking up any charge. The police will also have to be aware of this when signposting diversions, as often you don't know where a signposted diversion will take you, or how much range you will need to follow it.

    I can see that, as long as you can still get them, the future for EVs in places like where I live will be self-charging or serial hybrids, hopefully with a plug-in capability to maximize low carbon electricity use. There is just no other option.

    I currently do occasional (because of Covid, it used to be a round trip every week while staying away from home) round trips of 250 miles to where I work in a day, and at this time, only the most expensive of EVs would meet my needs, as where I work have not installed any charging infrastructure. Otherwise, on top of the day's work, and the travel time, I would have to factor in a stop at a public charging point and spend additional time for the car to recharge.

    Whilst I have been thinking about what I could do in regard to an EV, it's just currently not practical for me yet. By 2030, I will be retired, so maybe the calculation will change.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: West country

      If the parking space for street chargers is limited to 2 hours, say, like the ones round my way are, then it presents a problem for touristy hot spots etc... I mean, staying within "nipping back to the car" range limits one's options... a pleasure beach, or a big National Trust house and gardens that might take a 4 or 5 hours to wander around... Even theatres, plays and cinema trips can take longer than 2 hours.

      Will we see the rise of a service industry for this? Drop the car off and leave the keys so some car jockey can shift it when the charging is done?

  9. katrinab Silver badge
    Megaphone

    "The issue is not so much the general lack of charging points as there are more chargers than petrol stations already."

    1. Petrol stations typically have more than 1 pump. My local suburban petrol station has 8. My local supermarket has 16.

    2. Petrol pumps push out 50 litres per minute, which means that most people do their "charging" in less than a minute, or maybe a few seconds over. The rest of the time is driving into position, unlocking the cap, puting the nozzle in place, removing it, locking the cap, and paying, which is pretty much the same for an electric charing session. But, there is no way you could charge your car in a minute. You would need something in the order of a 10MW charger to do that. Tesla superchargers put out 150kW. Other chargers are a lot less. The ones at my local Tesco are 7kW.

    "It's just been announced that as many as 800 Shell electric vehicle charging points are to be installed in up to 100 Waitrose shops across the UK by 2025."

    1. Note the use of the words "as many as", and "up to". Both mean "less than".

    So, less than 8 charging points per Waitrose. My local Tesco has 4 charging points, and about 500 parking spaces, and the aforementioned 16 petrol pumps. Last time I visited, on a very quiet evening when it was not at all busy, 3 of those charging points were in use. If we want to go all-electric, then all of the parking spaces need to be charging points. That would requite a huuuuuuuuuuuuge upgrade in the mains supply capacity to the store.

    1. Andre Carneiro

      Don't for get, though, that currently every single car has to go refuel, whereas with EVs it's possible that less than half of them will (most people will charge at home most of the times) so that problem is already somewhat mitigated.

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        I don't refuel every time I visit Tesco, whereas I think if I had an electric car, I would refuel more often.

        Usually I go to an Asda that is just off the motorway between home and work to refuel.

        My point is, with the current market share of electric cars, which is very small, 3 were using the chargers on a very quiet evening, so if I went there at a busy time, probably 4 chargers isn't enough for even current demand.

      2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        It seems obvious that, if you have an EV and you park in a space with a charger, you'll get into the habit of plugging the car in, just to be sure.

      3. ThatOne Silver badge
        Devil

        > currently every single car has to go refuel, whereas with EVs it's possible that less than half of them will

        It's actually the other way round: At a given point in time most petrol cars won't need refueling due to their long ranges, whereas EVs will need constant "topping up" because of their tiny ranges and long charging times...

      4. Roland6 Silver badge

        >Don't for get, though, that currently every single car has to go refuel, whereas with EVs it's possible that less than half of them will (most people will charge at home most of the times) so that problem is already somewhat mitigated.

        Effectively, with an ICE people fuel up for several days - I visit the petrol station once a week with my main car. However, what you are proposing/suggesting is that practically ALL EV's need to be charged everyday, which for most people will be overnight. So it looks like we need to build a charging infrastructure that spans both public charging points and at home charging points which enables circa 80% of the nations EV fleet to be attached to it from circa 8pm to 8am everyday.

        From my experience of filling the car(s) up with petrol, I don't expect my other half will suddenly start remembering to plug the car in every night, especially on cold or wet nights when her focus is on getting into the house quickly... So far, only twice in 30 years has she parked the car with insufficient fuel to get to the nearest garage (8 miles), I suspect with an EV I won't be so lucky.

    2. Roger Greenwood

      Nail meet head:- "all of the parking spaces need to be charging points".

      If you could add 500 miles range in a minute or so, then yes service stations are the answer. But they can't so every parking place needs to be a charge point, adoption is easy and service stations are top up in transit.

      The last UK hotel I stayed at a couple of weeks ago had spaces for hundreds of cars but no chargers - that has to change.

      Once every car park space has a charge point your car just gets charged on schedule, simples.

      Every house has a 60A to 100A supply, luckily we are not all cooking at the same time so charge scheduling is the answer (and yes, the grid will still need reinforcing but not as much as the worst predictions).

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Meh

        If you could add 500 miles range in a minute or so, then yes service stations are the answer. But they can't so every parking place needs to be a charge point, adoption is easy and service stations are top up in transit.

        How often do you drive 500 miles in a single journey? How often do you think most people do?

        Most people drive their car 20 minutes (often less) in the morning then 20 minutes in the evening. It takes about half an hour to top the battery back up and if you have a charger at the office that's fifteen minutes at home.

        1. Fonant

          Cars spend something like 95% of their time parked. A good time to top them up with fuel!

        2. Mike 137 Silver badge

          ??

          "Most people drive their car 20 minutes (often less) in the morning then 20 minutes in the evening."

          Clearly you don't commute round the M25 in the rush hour. Average speed c. 5 mph if you're lucky, so at worst several hours of stop start driving. That would tax a battery hard as getting going from stationary draws a lot more current than running at speed

          1. AndrueC Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: ??

            Curiously (and I know it's comparing apples with oranges to an extent) but my Corolla hybrid actually gets much improved mpg in stop-go traffic. I once had the misfortunate to be trapped outside(*) Abergele on the A55 for nearly an hour in exactly the same kind of conditions. When I arrived at the back of the queue the car's dashboard display was showing mid 60s mpg. By the time I finally cleared the queue it was nearly up to 70 mpg.

            For the record what the car started doing was running the engine for a minute or two at about 1,200 rpm to charge the battery two about a third full then switching off and letting the battery move the car, run the A/C and the radio until the battery dropped to a quarter full. There were probably times when the engine was also helping move the car if it started to charge the battery when I got a chance to creep forward but most of the time it was just the battery pushing the car.

            Whether 'most of the time it was just the battery' was coincidence or actually the result of ECU programming I don't know. But my Corolla can go a surprisingly long way (or does it just feel like it, lol) at low speed purely on the battery and it doesn't seem to care whether it's slow crawl or stop/start (though I always try to moderate my speed to avoid stop/start anyway).

            (*)On the plus side at least I wasn't trapped inside Abergele itself :)

        3. Annihilator Silver badge

          "How often do you drive 500 miles in a single journey? How often do you think most people do?"

          It doesn't matter how often you need to do it - all that matters is I know I'll want to do it a few times within the life of the car, and I won't be able to do that with an EV, therefore it won't work for me yet.

        4. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          "Most people drive their car 20 minutes (often less) in the morning then 20 minutes in the evening. It takes about half an hour to top the battery back up and if you have a charger at the office that's fifteen minutes at home."

          I'd like to see actual sourced information about that.

          I only started to drive ten years ago, every job anybody has been prepared to give me has required much more driving than that. With no other information to compare with I have just assumed that that was "normal". What is "normal"? What is the spread? In my current job I drive 1hr15mins to work and the same back home. The JobCentre insists that claimants consider any job vacancy within 1 hour's travel from home, so based on that I am directed to seeing my travel time as close to "normal". HMRC rules say any travel allowance scheme is only to apply after 50 miles distance to work, I work 52 miles from home, based on that I am also directed to seeing my travel distance as "normal".

          What is normal?

    3. Steve Foster

      It's interesting watching the EV charging environment dynamically changing. I imagine it's not that dissimilar to how petrol forecourts developed in the post-war period as car ownership took off.

      The crucial difference is that almost anywhere a car can be parked can potentially have some charging capability (even if it's only 3kW).

      I suspect that eventually it'll be routine to plug cars in whenever they're parked, and that rapid chargers will be mainly used on long journeys.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        I suspect that eventually it'll be routine to plug cars in whenever they're parked, and that rapid chargers will be mainly used on long journeys.

        How much money this is going to cost? Can't imagine pulling a debit card every time I park somewhere and then mess with charging cables.

        It's almost like having to go to a petrol station every time you have to stop, but it takes longer.

        1. katrinab Silver badge
          Meh

          Park the car. Plug it in to the charger. Tap your card on the card reader.

          ... Do your stuff ...

          Unplug the car

          Drive off

          Don't think that's how it works at the moment, but it could be very quick and straightforward.

          1. AndrueC Silver badge
            Happy

            Or just link your car's unique ID to a payment system and have the car identify itself to the charger when it's plugged in.

            No need for the driver to carry payment around and possibly no need to even bother with a PIN. Just rock up, plug in, wait, drive off. Payment all handled seamlessly in the background.

            1. Andre Carneiro

              You’ve just described the Tesla Supercharger experience.

            2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              link your car's unique ID to a payment system

              Permit be to be sceptical, given the current state of ioT security. I'd give it 5 years before "clone" boxes were available from China over the internet. You charge, some other poor sucker pays.

              1. Emir Al Weeq

                First thoughts would be something akin to a relay attack as used on keyless entry vehicles today. A small extender fitted over the socket relays the victim's charging transaction to another unit on the plug belonging to perpetrator's car (which can link to a nice big antenna hidden in the car to read weak signals from the extender). As per keyless, clever encryption doesn't matter: you just relay the encrypted signals and once the victim's authenticated, juice starts to flow.

                If there is a warning that the car is not charging then the victim will likely blame the charger and try another, especially if the helpful chap (aka perp) next to him says "that one didn't work for me either".

                OK, I've never actually used an EV charger so this probably has holes in it. Anyone care to plug* them.

                *Pun intended.

          2. Steve Foster

            That's exactly how I charge my car on long trips using rapid chargers at Rugby services, Toddington, Baldock, and a couple of others I've used.

            At work, I just plug in (13A socket).

            When shopping, I plug in (7kW charging point). If I do nothing else, it'll only give me a 15 minute charge and then stop, but if I use an App (ugh) or log in online, it'll charge for as long as I'm there.

            In some places I shop, there's a rapid charger option which is then back to "plug in, tap to pay, do stuff, unplug" again.

        2. rg287 Silver badge

          How much money this is going to cost? Can't imagine pulling a debit card every time I park somewhere and then mess with charging cables.

          It's not like you'll be obliged to charge. *rolls eyes*

          If you typically charge at home and are just nipping 3miles to the shops for a couple of things then you won't bother. After your 6-mile round trip you'll leave it plugged in at home. Or indeed not bother if - like most Brits - your weekly mileage is so low that it doesn't really matter so long as it gets plugged in one night a week.

          1. katrinab Silver badge

            Maybe, but most of the miles driven in Britain are driven by people with high mileage, and most vehicles on the road at any given time are vehicles that do high mileage.

            That's what matters, not what the average person does. I mean the average person doesn't even own a car. 32.7m cars in the UK, Population is 66.7m. Some people own more than one car.

            1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

              25% of "people" are children. You have to start by removing that number from your dodgy maths,

  10. IHateWearingATie

    When was the last time you got to a petrol station and found that it was closed / broken so you had to go somewhere else (as opposed to just having to wait longer as a couple of the pumps are broken) ?

    My main car won't be replaced with an electric one until reliability of charging points is such that them being broken is really rare. My mate has a Tesla, and his experience is that it would be a real pain running an electric car without the excellent Tesla only charging network.