toshtosh

Electric vehicle recharging - the way to the future?

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I appreciate that currently the majority of Prius drivers do not require an external charge, but it is only a matter of time before many convert to either plug-in hybrids or full EVs. Even standard self-charging hybrid drivers will soon find themselves being lured to EV driving as they become more practical.

I have recently joined the plug-in (Prius PHV) club (after 2 hybrids) - and it is a revelation - electric cars are a delight to drive (quiet and smooth up to 84 mph) and at 15p per Kwh (household charge) cost about 3p per mile. The ICE (internal combustion engine) element of the PHV eliminates the range anxiety, but I find driving the PHV in EV mode is better than HV mode, although HVt is still good

Although having only an 8.8 KwHr EV Battery with 30 miles or so range the PHV easily does local work and shopping runs on EV and is recharged at home in about 3 hours on a standard domestic socket. However on longer runs it is nice to top up the electricity, especially as it can be free or low cost. Obviously if your car is all electric then it becomes essential to access charge points. OOI a full EV typically requires 25KwHr or more to give a range of 100 miles, which takes as long as 4 hours on the less powerful public connectors (and up to 12 hours on a standard 13 amp socket.) The PHV takes about 2 hours to refill from empty on a public charger.

And this is where the limitation on the growth of EVs becomes apparent - public charge points.

There is a multitude of providers, physical connectors, fees and charge rates. Many of the current points are poorly signed, often occupied by non-EV cars and frequently out of action. You also get EV users who simply connect and leave the vehicle for several hours, especially when linked to free parking - the connectors lock in place until released by owner. So in a town with only a couple of connectors your chance of finding one available is poor.

So should the government step in and standardise EV charging or should it remain a commercially driven activity? 

Cheers

 

Tony B

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I also forgot to mention that the way of paying and activating varies, from mobile phone apps to contactless debit cards. Some companies offer a fixed monthly charge with unlimited use, some charge by the visit, some charge by connection time and some charge by the electric used. 

As an example, one local supermarket charges £5 a visit, but I only need 6 units of electricity for my PHV (90p). Another is free - as long as you have a mobile phone app to activate the station. Another (a famous Swedish furniture outlet) is simply plug in and go shopping.

Cheers

Tony B

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I personally think in a few years time electric cars will be obsolete as the amount of electricity we need to generate will be impossible to keep up with demand. I can see us ending up with a fuel such as hydrogen or some other type of fuel. It seems to be the trend in this country to sway people towards a certain type of fuel,then when the multitude opt for that method opinions suddenly change leaving people not knowing what type of fuel to go for and spending thousands of pounds in the process. It seems to be about generating lots of money from the population and using the car emissions as an excuse to get it.

 

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Hybrid is the best compromise at the moment.

Just spent a week on holiday in and around Gloucester, didnt see one charging point.  Good job I wasnt 100% electric, I was happy using little fuel yet going lots of miles on hybrid.

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1 hour ago, Catlover said:

Hybrid is the best compromise at the moment.

Just spent a week on holiday in and around Gloucester, didnt see one charging point.  Good job I wasnt 100% electric, I was happy using little fuel yet going lots of miles on hybrid.

Yes, as you say the best compromise. They come up with these ideas but never have the infrastructure in place for it to work properly.

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The charging 'infrastructure' is a disgraceful mess. I'd nationalise it, but then I'd nationalise all our major infrastructure because I'm a bit of an old lefty on that particular issue.

That said, it won't be a significant barrier to increased uptake now that the latest EV ranges are 250+ miles. Combined with home charging, that will negate the need for public charging in all but the most exceptional of circumstances for most people. Although we then hit the next problem - battery shortages - which currently makes it pretty impossible to actually buy one of those latest EVs unless you're prepared to wait months or years for delivery. 

2 hours ago, TP49 said:

I personally think in a few years time electric cars will be obsolete as the amount of electricity we need to generate will be impossible to keep up with demand.

Or it will finally drive the investment we should have made in renewable generation over the last two decades, but in typical British short-termist fashion have failed to do so. Wishful thinking, I know - regular rolling blackouts are probably more our style! Hydrogen doesn't look like the answer either, as that currently needs a whole ton of electricity to obtain and requires yet more investment in distribution infrastructure.

All of which leads to Joe's sensible conclusion that hybrids are the best compromise at the moment, and will continue to be for many years to come.

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I thought a few years ago my next car (before the last one) would be an EV.  I tried the BMW i3 with Range Extender (which I believe is no longer sold in the UK due to tax changes), but what scuppered it for me was my irrational, unshakeable insistence on having a spare wheel.  Plus, it wouldn't have worked for me because the Range Extender bit was really only for emergency use and would be impractical for long journeys.

I actively considered a Tesla Model 3, which with the largest Battery was supposed to manage 300 odd miles (this was 4 years ago, and the lack of spare wheel could be cured by buying a full size one and storing it in the front trunk, leaving the main boot free for luggage).

What mainly scuppered it was the lack of charging in the East of England, where I make most of my longer journeys, sometimes doing a 500 mile trip in a single day, or occasionally with an overnight stay.  For a common trip from the Norfolk Suffolk border to Hull, I found no charging stations on my route (by observation on a couple of trips, and using the locations maps available at the time.  There were no Tesla Supercharging stations this side of the A1, although there is now just one half way to Bedford (another regular trip).  The latter are really desirable for a car with such a large Battery, because a domestic power point would result in a 20-25 hour charge time to return from Hull!  Plus the 300 mile range somewhat evaporated with keen acceleration, speeds above 55 mph and use of heating or A/C.  At the time, I couldn't find a single hotel near Hull with charging facilities.

Which brings me back to Plug-In Hybrids.  I would argue they are the best compromise right now, expect in my case I couldn't find any with a spare wheel - a price for larger batteries of course.  Even a first Gen Plug In Prius would have been brilliant for me, because most days I could manage on little or no petrol.

So last Friday I took delivery of my latest Hybrid, and in all probability this will be my last car.  I do so love that my last Prius and my current car can manage 600+ miles on a single tank, so every journey I make can be achieved without refuelling away from home.

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That's good you've found a car that suits your needs. As you have proved the infrastructure isn't there to support the move to all electric cars, I don't believe it will be in the future either. 

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14 hours ago, toshtosh said:

 ..............electric cars are a delight to drive (quiet and smooth up to 84 mph) and at 15p per Kwh (household charge) cost about 3p per mile.

This is the trouble.

3p per mile isn't much less than a petrol car doing 60mpg.

Round figures: 4.5L per Imp Gallon for 60miles x (4.5 x £1.28) = 9.6p per mile.

Considering the price of EVs and the lack of range and infrastructure (and the Renault system of Battery rental) EVs aren't attractive at all.  Renault Zoe Battery rental cheapest is £40 per month for (I think) 5,000miles per year.  That's another 9p per mile on top of the 3p per mile to charge it.

Mick.

 

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13 hours ago, Catlover said:

Hybrid is the best compromise at the moment.

Just spent a week on holiday in and around Gloucester, didnt see one charging point.  Good job I wasnt 100% electric, I was happy using little fuel yet going lots of miles on hybrid.

I came from a Renault Zoe and I dont regret leaving the EV behind at all.

The Prius gives me all the things I liked about the Zoe i.e. smooth quiet commute without out any of the down sides i.e. approx 40% reduction in range in the winter and having to plan for a longer trip.  In fact its just great not having to even think about plugging it in.

I will have 'Percy' for many years to come.

Another great thing about Toyota's hybrid system is its reliability, I have not worries when my warranty is up which is not something I could say about the Zoe.  I had  numerous issues with it, but non connected to the Battery.  Electric cars may have fewer moving parts, but when they go wrong, boy does it cost.

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I think hydrogen is the only way forward. Whilst a Battery vehicle may be great for shortish journey, a lot of vehicles regularly do 1000s of miles per month.

Let’s look at delivery drivers, taxi drivers, HGVs etc. How much would it cost in time to recharge or swap the Battery many times a day. Even if they could be recharged the amount of electricity which would need to be produced would be huge. The amount needed would be far greater than the levels currently produced.

Furthermore there would need to be a huge increase in charging stations for both the commercial and the general public. The power cables would need to be upgraded too, just imagine the amount of power an entire street (assuming they had off street parking) would consume charging cars and lets don’t forget some households use more than one vehicle too.

I think hybrids are a useful ‘stop-gap’ for the current levels of technology but ultimately hydrogen suits our current way of life. 

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23 hours ago, Catlover said:

Hybrid is the best compromise at the moment.

Just spent a week on holiday in and around Gloucester, didnt see one charging point.  Good job I wasnt 100% electric, I was happy using little fuel yet going lots of miles on hybrid.

I live just outside Gloucester and know that there's certainly one in the public car park at the bottom of Westgate Street in Gloucester. Provided it's serviceable of course...:wink:

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On 6/26/2019 at 12:05 PM, Cjohnston1982 said:

I think hydrogen is the only way forward. Whilst a battery vehicle may be great for shortish journey, a lot of vehicles regularly do 1000s of miles per month.

Let’s look at delivery drivers, taxi drivers, HGVs etc. How much would it cost in time to recharge or swap the battery many times a day. Even if they could be recharged the amount of electricity which would need to be produced would be huge. The amount needed would be far greater than the levels currently produced.

Furthermore there would need to be a huge increase in charging stations for both the commercial and the general public. The power cables would need to be upgraded too, just imagine the amount of power an entire street (assuming they had off street parking) would consume charging cars and lets don’t forget some households use more than one vehicle too.

I think hybrids are a useful ‘stop-gap’ for the current levels of technology but ultimately hydrogen suits our current way of life. 

I think that last sentence is the precise problem with hydrogen. It might suit our current way of life, but not our future way of life. Nobody would choose to have to visit a filling station - it's just what we do because Oil-based power demanded it! 

The range issue for BEVs is not far off being a solved problem now. The Kia e-Niro can do 250-300 miles of real world driving. Solid state batteries will only add to that when they come on stream in a few years. Once they do, a range closing on 400 miles will negate the need for any massive increase in public charging stations, especially as charging times will also plummet. Taxis, buses and local delivery vehicles then become the perfect use case for BEVs, because on the rare occasions when 350-400 miles of range might not quite be enough, they can top up at the rank or depot when the driver's on a break. Even long-distance HGVs make sense to go EV at that kind of range, because of compulsory rest breaks.

I entirely agree with your concerns about our electric generation infrastructure being able to keep up, but that needs major investment anyway and if that happens it would benefit everyone, not just drivers. I would therefore suggest it would be far better to put the money into expanding microgeneration and renewables for electricity than trying to built out a proper hydrogen refuelling network. Especially as hydrogen generation - using current methods at least - requires electricity anyway!

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and it probably helps that many domestic users charge overnight and this can be further encouraged with more favourable tariffs. 

A couple of people I know of charge at least one of their EVs with their own wind turbines.

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And many people have solar panels now, that coupled with recycled HV batteries in the home, to store the energy generated during the day, would ease the burden on the grid.

If only there was some way to turn rain into electricity (or hydrogen) we'd be laughing in the UK with the weather here.

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I am convinced that plug-in hybrids are a viable option for the next few years, but subject to a major investment in public charging stations, electric only cars for the masses are Unicorns.

My Prius plug-in on a mixture of home charging and occasional top-ups at public points is easily doing 1000 miles on a tankful of petrol, with the electricity costing about £15.

Thankfully the required quantity of electricity to give me a full top-up is only 6Kwhr, which at its maximum rate takes about 2 hours.

Anybody with a full EV with a 40kwHr Battery (Nissan Leaf) on a 7KW public charger (the most readily available) will take about 6 hours to get a full charge, and be able to cover a further 150 miles or so. As pointed out earlier, home charging on the maximum rated home charger will take about 12-16 hours to charge a 40KwHr Battery - and they cost many hundreds of pounds (even after the government subsidy).

Finally it seems that the electricity needed is available.

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/electric-vehicle-car-infrastructure-charging-point

 Malcolm McCulloch, head of Oxford University’s Energy and Power group, says that if car charging could be done intelligently, then only 20 additional megawatts of power would be needed- that’s the equivalent output a reasonably sized offshore wind farm. If not, then the capacity of the National Grid would need another 20 gigawatts, which is double the amount of energy currently generated by all the UK’s nuclear power stations. In short, with good strategy, it’s an issue of power, not energy.

Cheers

Tony B

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On 6/25/2019 at 5:07 PM, TP49 said:

I personally think in a few years time electric cars will be obsolete as the amount of electricity we need to generate will be impossible to keep up with demand. I can see us ending up with a fuel such as hydrogen or some other type of fuel.

But where does hydrogen come from? Either natural gas (more fossil fuels) or electrolysis which requires a lot of electricity - it's more efficient to put that electricity directly into your car. Storage and infrastructure are also incredibly expensive and are just not there - you already have electricity in your home.

On 6/25/2019 at 9:43 PM, PeteB said:

Which brings me back to Plug-In Hybrids.  I would argue they are the best compromise right now, expect in my case I couldn't find any with a spare wheel - a price for larger batteries of course.  Even a first Gen Plug In Prius would have been brilliant for me, because most days I could manage on little or no petrol.

My Prius Plug-in works fine with no spare wheel :)

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On 6/25/2019 at 5:07 PM, TP49 said:

I personally think in a few years time electric cars will be obsolete as the amount of electricity we need to generate will be impossible to keep up with demand. I can see us ending up with a fuel such as hydrogen or some other type of fuel. 

 

Hydrogen is already here and fuel stations are around the M25 South Wales, Midlands, Liverpool and Scotland

The fuel supermarkets have cottoned on to the fact you don't have to buy any "product" as such, only electricity, water and a bit of chemistry. You then sell the Hydrogen and make a profit. I am sure that in the near future you will see more and more (particularly) buses and lorries using Hydrogen. It is made on site and stored quite safely, it is only a matter of time, when the vehicles are produced, you will get the supermarkets jumping on the bandwagon 

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Even though technology is moving quickly I still think public charging is the current issue preventing the future move to EVs.

As EV range is extended to 400 or so it will become impossible to recharge a long journey on a domestic supply, given that domestic circuits have a low amp limit.Based on the Prius PHV about 5 miles per KwHr seems fair. So 400 miles would require 80KwHr.  On a single phase 240 volt system rated at 13 amps that equates to about 24 hrs. Even at 30 amps you are looking at 10 hours. So although you may use an uprated home charger to pre-load your car before your holiday you would still need a high capacity public charger (150 amp plus) to keep going, and they are currently very rare and often expensive. Even at 150 amp it could take an hour or more to put in enough for a couple of hundred miles.

So far most of the public chargers I have found have been 30 amp (7 Kw) maximum, therefore requiring several hours. You won't get many cars a day on that charge station.

So what next for the EV world? 

OOI Hydrogen currently costs £12 per Kg and that covers about 55 miles per Kg (Hyundai Nexo data). Electricity for 55 miles costs about £2 (5 miles per unit at 18p). Over 10000 miles per annum Hydrogen costs £2400 and an EV costs about £360 - A hybrid at 80mpg would cost about £650.

So Hydrogen fuel may have a future but not yet. (Only 10 refill points in UK).

EVs are OK for those who can work around home charging once prices drop to a fair (affordable) price, and once public charging is mature then the long range will be viable.

In the meantime Plug-in hybrids will be a great interim low carbon solution for those who have a daily routine of a few 10s of miles and, just like the latest Gen 4 Prius/Corolla, an excellent long distance choice.

Cheers

Tony B

 

 

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18 hours ago, toshtosh said:

As EV range is extended to 400 or so it will become impossible to recharge a long journey on a domestic supply, given that domestic circuits have a low amp limit.Based on the Prius PHV about 5 miles per KwHr seems fair. So 400 miles would require 80KwHr.  On a single phase 240 volt system rated at 13 amps that equates to about 24 hrs. Even at 30 amps you are looking at 10 hours. So although you may use an uprated home charger to pre-load your car before your holiday you would still need a high capacity public charger (150 amp plus) to keep going, and they are currently very rare and often expensive. Even at 150 amp it could take an hour or more to put in enough for a couple of hundred miles.

You don't use standard 230V AC chargers during long journeys - that's what rapid chargers are for. These are at least 50 kW, going up to 350 kW (like the new Ionity chargers), around 500V DC, though most current BEVs only charge at around 50-100 kW (Tesla Model 3 is 250 kW). These are the type found at motorway services and the likes. The infrastructure has a long way to go, but it's well ahead of hydrogen stations.

PS The notation for kilowatt-hour is "kWh", please respect James Watt by capitalising his initial ;) (neither "kilo" or "hour" are proper nouns).

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I stand corrected on kWh, but the point is still that high capacity chargers available for 400 mile range cars are few and far between.

So far the majority are for specific brands only (Tesla) and even as the network increases their recharging cost is likely to be significant as the capital and running cost of the unit have to be recovered from maybe 10 customers per 5 hours (Unlike a petrol pump that can serve 10+ cars per hour).

I have a plug in Prius PHV and most of the public chargers I have seen are 240v only - And yes I know that many deliver more than the PHV can take, but future 80kWh BEVs will take 2 to 4 hours to give even 100 mile using all these 240 volt chargers can deliver, so my point on time taken to recharge a 80kWh car at current charge points (including home chargers) remain valid.

Just for the record I visited York last week and finding a usable charger was a joke - one had a 2 hour limit (or an £80 fine), one had a 90 minute limit (Waitrose), One was so tight that I couldn't get into the bay and then open my door, 2 were ICE'd and 2 were out of action. The rest had cars that were connected and no sign of the drivers. We only saw one charger that was anywhere near a rapid category, but that was able to take all sizes of connector so a slow charging BEV could use it for several hours - You got free parking whilst connected so tourists disappear for many hours.

One had 2 parking bays but having negotiated a tight entrance I found there was actually only one connection point and I would have to wait for the other car owner to return........

Cheers

Tony B

 

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Bear with me here.....

11706847-34E9-492A-9702-2259CFF89016.thumb.jpeg.b40dc86ee6b9817f20845589d59a6fe2.jpeg

Do you remember compact fluorescent bulbs we had back in the 90s and 00s. They were ok but had lots of drawbacks like they take a while to “warm up”, they were quite large, full of mercury and it was very difficult to use a dimmer with them. They were introduced as they were “more environmentally friendly” using old technology. Basically quite a few drawbacks and they weren’t particularly popular.

Then in 2010s the world was properly introduced to LEDs. These bulbs can easily replace traditional bulbs, were available in many colours, used less energy and lasted much longer. The only drawbacks was the high price though now they’re much more popular the price has plummeted and they’re absolutely everywhere.

My point is that if the world was offered a genuine alternative to a traditionally powered car that could travel at least 300 miles per “tank” and only took 5 mins to fill up again the market would absolutely explode within 5 years.

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6 hours ago, Cjohnston1982 said:

My point is that if the world was offered a genuine alternative to a traditionally powered car that could travel at least 300 miles per “tank” and only took 5 mins to fill up again the market would absolutely explode within 5 years.

This is the root of the problem, but I would add another bit.

The price of these vehicles have to drop considerably too.  Hopefully they will due to economies of scale.

Mick.

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Announced this morning that Jaguar cars will no longer be made with petrol nor Diesel engines. The whole plat in Castle Bromwich will be shut down for 6 weeks whilst the production line is change. That’s a massive commitment, will be interesting what the response will be in the uk for the need for charging points to become readily available. Will we see a charging point outside no 10? Well, the prime minister, and other officials, have Jags at their disposal, in the past one senior government minister had 2. 😉

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Re car charging... if electric cars used some form of universal battery with a quick release mechanism then maybe swapping a flat one for a fully charged one could be a simple two minute operation at a petrol filling station.

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