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My weekend included an EV disguised as a hummer and a two page EV attack

Date
05 July 2011
My weekend included an EV disguised as a hummer and a two page EV attack

By Robin Haycock, Head of Transport, The Climate Group. 

What a fab weekend in London town. Art galleries, cycling across parks and a glimpse of an electric vehicle the size of a G-Wiz disguised as a hummer! I will have photographic evidence to use in a slide pack soon!

The Saturday Telegraph had yet another challenging two page attack on the electrification of transport but this time, it has allowed me to roll out one of my favourite explanations of why EVs represent the future, and one of the few ways by which 9 billion people will travel around on our planet with reasonable mobility.

Sadly, most of these types of articles work on a narrow view based on a status quo going forward, where in reality, in 30 years’ time,  we can only guarantee that the human race will have to be using majority clean energy. This is why EVs basically represent the future and we should stop banging on about how grid carbon intensity is x or y and therefore the vehicles are only marginally better…

The second and more important issue to consider with this type of comparison between a 100 year optimised diesel engine and a new emerging technology of the EV is that energy security, and more crucially an energy constrained world, will also become the norm as we head out to mid 2020s.

This is not suggesting it is all doom and gloom, as I am not a believer in this theory. And we can resolve all that lays in front of us because we are humans and we always have. No, the reason for the discussion on energy efficiency is that we will not be able to waste it as we go through the 2020s, so I suggest that throwing away approximately 70% of the energy in a diesel or gasoline vehicle through cooling and exhaust is fundamentally a flaw that the EV does not suffer from.

It is almost impossible to use heat in a moving object, but it is possible to produce a lot less heat in a stationary generator – by percentage – but also it is possible to use the waste heat in various applications at the end of the process of burning fossil fuel. With this simple and fundamental point, I rest my case on the drive and logic for EVs.

So what about the article? Well it complains about Government analysis being selective then does the same itself! The evidence suggests that people charge overnight so this is the correct assumption. UK carbo intensity still chows a carbon benefit,  but if we look to other countries, or even where we need to be in a few years time, the debate becomes pointless, as the diesel car will never get close and this ignores the health issues that are associated with combustion engines in city centres, and the correlation between asthma and main roads.

Perhaps we should look at the graphs on this, and then we might start thinking the EU white paper suggesting banning combustion engines in town by 2050 is a good idea.

I guess that when we reach high percentages of EVs on our roads we will have to start taxing electricity by some means. This is an obvious argument, but then we will establish the correct tax system to ensure that revenue to the exchequer is indeed balanced but around the fundamental premise that the polluter pays, which will keep the cost of EVs running on renewable energy low compared to the fossil fuel burning inefficient combustion engine.

Oh dear… I thought the argument about grids exploding due to demand had gone away by now. We are going to be doing a lot of things with the grid over the next 20 years and EVs will be both absorbed by and form part of the energy storage solution to renewables. 

The Telegraph really ought to keep up with the research going into smart grids, tariff modelling, and trends on storage, vehicle to grid, and many other business cases being trialled rather than the tired old argument they have put forward.

I so love the challenge of this great future we have! 

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