Would you buy a plug in electric car?

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Would you buy a plug in electric car?

Post by Craig64 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:17 pm

Would you buy a plug in electric car?

I am interested to know your thoughts on moving over to a plug in electric car (not Hybrid), one purely reliant upon a battery powered electric motor.

Is it something you would consider switching to now, or perhaps in future?

In the UK in 2018, out of the 2.37 million cars registered, just 60,000 (2.5%) of them were plug in electric cars. The UK government appears to be aggressively promoting the move over to electric cars, and pressurising manufacturers, who seem to be investing huge sums in developing this technology, and promoting such vehicles.

To kick this off for anyone interested, these are my current thoughts:

In a nutshell, I cannot ever see myself ever wanting to swap my Diesel or Gasoline powered car for a plug in electric car. These are my reasons and concerns about these vehicles:

1) The UK government tried to convince us all, that diesel was better for the environment, then got that wrong and changed their minds. Will the same happen with their current push towards electric vehicles?
2) In the whole scheme of things, are battery powered electric vehicles really better for the environment? What about the highly toxic components in batteries, and disposal of the bits that cannot currently be recycled? Also, the electric supply for recharging is not without environmental impact, in terms of how it is generated at source.
3) Will the availability of key metals for batteries (such as Lithium, Cobalt and Nickel) be sufficient to support a massive move to electric powered cars? If these metals become scarce, it will make their price rocket down the line.
4) Cost: Current initial high purchase prices will no doubt come down in time. However, the cost to recharge the car battery system, will I suspect, move from being currently very cheap, to much more expensive. I suggest this for two reasons: Firstly, once enough people move over to electric only cars, the current “free” charging points, will quickly evaporate. Secondly, a long term increase in the demand for electricity will naturally push the unit KWH price upwards. To what extent is an unknown.
5) The big one for me, is the “range anxiety” factor. These cars are quoted as having a range of, let’s say 200 miles. We all know how such official figures are always exaggerated. Consider using such a car during night time, winter at sub zero temperatures. Lights on, heater going full blast, air con, heated seats etc. How long would it be then, before you risked being stranded at the road side?
6) Charging of the batteries. I find the idea of having to pull in, and wait say 30 minutes on a journey to get a battery charge, really bad, compared to a fraction of the time it takes to fill a traditional fuel tank. More significantly, if electric vehicles become common place, existing service stations will need to expand their forecourts 10 fold to avoid massive queues of cars waiting to get a charge.
7) Degradation of Battery performance with age: Traditional Petrol/Diesel engines can go for many miles and years with no noticeable degradation of performance or fuel consumption. Does that hold good for the battery packs powering electric cars?

I will be very interested to hear your thoughts.....
Regards
Craig

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Re: Would you buy a plug in electric car?

Post by atnits » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:21 pm

It's an interesting topic. I'd like to know more about them (as regards impact on the environment as a whole). By the time I am able to afford one, I expect everyone will be moving on to hydrogen-powered vehicles or something.

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Re: Would you buy a plug in electric car?

Post by what-time-is-it » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:25 pm

Would only buy a pure electric car when the realistic range is 200 - 250 miles in all weathers and the charging infrastructure has sufficient capacity.

We had a new Nissan Leaf from 2015-17 (less than £100pm on PCP with low deposit), great car but only at the right price and if it's a good fit for your circumstances.
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Re: Would you buy a plug in electric car?

Post by H0rati0 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:13 pm

Not a chance with current or currently visible technology. They make sense as a second car only for short journeys (eg city) if lifetime cost is not a restraint which it currently is for people who have to pay for themselves.

A Hybrid, yes, preferably paired with a diesel (though I much prefer petrol engines to drive). Just more propaganda that diesels are unequivocally bad.

Oh and forget about fast chargers = dramatic reduction in battery life.
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Re: Would you buy a plug in electric car?

Post by Mikkei4 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:17 pm

The lithium battery for my golf trolley has given up retaining a full charge after just under 5 years. Imagine that multiplied up on an electric car.

Where is all this newly required electricity going to come from if the population of electric cars rises? Fossil fuel power stations are due to close and the UK's plans for nuclear power stations are in a total mess and anyway who wants more nuclear power stations, especially after watching Sky's Chernobyl! I can't imagine that we've not had a few incidents that have been kept quiet in our present nuclear stations. And I can't see environmentally friendly sources producing enough for tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of new electric cars.

Plus all the other points made by the OP.

Nice idea, shame about the reality but then maybe we'll be forced into these eventually due to various local, global, political or financial circumstances.

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Re: Would you buy a plug in electric car?

Post by Briggy » Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:52 pm

There are two other issues for me which make me totally against the new hybrid and 100% ev’s.

1. Electric really only describes the movement of energy from energy source (oil / nuclear / gas /coal/ wood burning (drax), renewables), to electric storage at the point of delivery - lithion iron battery.

It means the same sources of (mainly carbon and fossil and nuclear) energy provision essentially remain. So it is a fallacy that ev vehicles are any more green than current vehicles. If we go with batteries, we add in the use of additional scarce, dangerous and expensive limited raw materials such as cobalt, as someone has mentioned.


Do wonder if the whole business has been thought through???

2. Modern LATEST Eu compliant Diesels are supposed to be less polluting than petrol vehicles.

Finally I’d hate to sit on a lipo battery in a crash!

Sorry, but I can’t see a justification for seeing such a rapid change towards a short term transport policy motivated by supposedly green politics rather than common sense and longer term planning.

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Re: Would you buy a plug in electric car?

Post by Lavaine » Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:39 pm

what-time-is-it wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:25 pm
Would only buy a pure electric car when the realistic range is 200 - 250 miles in all weathers and the charging infrastructure has sufficient capacity.
Your desired range is already available, albeit expensive. A Tesla model 3 with the large battery has a 325 mile range. This should easily translate to 250+ all-weather miles throughout most of Europe, possibly slightly less in Northern Europe. There are other 300 mile EV's on the doorstep. For myself, being in Northern Canada, where it gets bloody cold, and cities are the equivalent of 2 European countries apart, I'm looking for a real world range of AT LEAST 500km. This is roughly the max range of anything currently available. I would need a stated range of 650-700 km for an EV to be a reasonable alternative for a sole vehicle. A more realistic alternative for countries with a low population density and resulting less-robust charging infrastructure is the range-extending EV. The motor-generator in a range extender is significantly more efficient than the same motor in a Hybrid, , as it is not driving the wheels, but only running a generator at constant speed and load. For whatever reason, this tech has not caught on, with the only current examples being the Chevrolet Volt and BMW i3. It is, however, a very well proven technology, having been used in diesel-electric locomotives for more than a few years.
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Re: Would you buy a plug in electric car?

Post by Lavaine » Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:47 pm

Briggy wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:52 pm
There are two other issues for me which make me totally against the new hybrid and 100% ev’s.

1. Electric really only describes the movement of energy from energy source (oil / nuclear / gas /coal/ wood burning (drax), renewables), to electric storage at the point of delivery - lithion iron battery.

It means the same sources of (mainly carbon and fossil and nuclear) energy provision essentially remain. So it is a fallacy that ev vehicles are any more green than current vehicles. If we go with batteries, we add in the use of additional scarce, dangerous and expensive limited raw materials such as cobalt, as someone has mentioned.
I hear this argument a lot, and it's only partially true. Yes, the same energy source MIGHT be used, but in a different and more efficient manner. Electricity generation via turbine is significantly more efficient than an internal combustion engine. Even an ICE generating electricity will be much more efficient than a car engine, as it can run at a constant speed and load, where it is most efficient. Also, parasitic losses are minimized compared to a car engine. If an alternative power source is used (hydroelectric, solar, wind etc) then the game is changed entirely. With the UK moving towards wind on a massive scale, there is zero argument that EV's aren't more efficient.
A second plus for EV's is that the pollution generated by power generation (which is lowered due to the increased efficiency, and improved mitigation technologies) can be moved outside of congested urban areas, reducing local air pollution. Kind of a big deal if you live, for example, in Beijing or Mexico City.
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Re: Would you buy a plug in electric car?

Post by jtc » Sat Jul 20, 2019 11:10 pm

WLTP has solved quoted vs actual mileage figures.

Most large battery manufacturers are reducing the amount of "bad" chemistry. Tesla is leading the way with Panasonic.

Charging is being standardised, so that'll help prevent any future racketeering. Battery memory isn't a problem as there is clever software managing charging, heating, cooling, regenerative power, etc. There are Teslas in the US that have done over 100k miles and the battery packs are over 80% efficient. Once removed from a car (all manufacturers, not just Tesla) the batteries are still serviceable for decades in other power infrastructure - solar/wind power storage as one example). Fast charging is possible (and works) through advances in battery technology and the understanding of how to manage the health and performance of cells within batteries.

When it comes to generating energy, what's better - 100,000 small fossil fuel generators or one big one (with renewable support in the grid)?

The above thread reads like it's based on electric cars of 5 or more years ago. Check out the Fully Charged channel on YouTube to learn a lot more than what's possible in a forum post reply!

As for price, let's face it, you're not going to get a new electric car for the same price as a Dacia. However if you're looking at the £30k+ pricing (BMW, Mercedes, top end Ford/Honda/Nissan) they're very comparable.

Mercedes has invested tens of billions in their electric future. For a brand like that to go "all in" I'd say the future is already here. Elon Musk has succeeded in his vision of accelerating the move to electric cars, driving competition with Tesla.

My next car will be electric.

If you're unsure, try a test drive in the new Nissan Leaf. Then try a drive in the old one. It's night and day and wholly represents how quickly the segment is moving.
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Re: Would you buy a plug in electric car?

Post by what-time-is-it » Sat Jul 20, 2019 11:17 pm

Lavaine wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:39 pm
what-time-is-it wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:25 pm
Would only buy a pure electric car when the realistic range is 200 - 250 miles in all weathers and the charging infrastructure has sufficient capacity.
Your desired range is already available, albeit expensive. A Tesla model 3 with the large battery has a 325 mile range. This should easily translate to 250+ all-weather miles throughout most of Europe, possibly slightly less in Northern Europe. There are other 300 mile EV's on the doorstep. For myself, being in Northern Canada, where it gets bloody cold, and cities are the equivalent of 2 European countries apart, I'm looking for a real world range of AT LEAST 500km. This is roughly the max range of anything currently available. I would need a stated range of 650-700 km for an EV to be a reasonable alternative for a sole vehicle. A more realistic alternative for countries with a low population density and resulting less-robust charging infrastructure is the range-extending EV. The motor-generator in a range extender is significantly more efficient than the same motor in a Hybrid, , as it is not driving the wheels, but only running a generator at constant speed and load. For whatever reason, this tech has not caught on, with the only current examples being the Chevrolet Volt and BMW i3. It is, however, a very well proven technology, having been used in diesel-electric locomotives for more than a few years.
Agreed about the Tesla, but far too expensive when compared to to the Leaf.

I do still keep an eye on the electric car market and the Hyundai Kona was a significant newcomer although only available in limited numbers. I've also had a BMW i3 for a few days which was available with the range extender (petrol motorbike engine) as a generator and thought that was a good option.

The charging network is difficult. It was under pressure in the UK 4 years ago and somewhat unreliable and needs a major upgrade in all areas, problem is somebody needs to pay for the infrastructure, but when cars can be charged at home, and battery tech improves to the point that only long journeys require a charge, most chargepoints may not be needed as much as now.

Appreciate this relies on people being able to charge at home which isn't practical or possible for all.
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Re: Would you buy a plug in electric car?

Post by Lavaine » Sat Jul 20, 2019 11:52 pm

what-time-is-it wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 11:17 pm
The charging network is difficult. It was under pressure in the UK 4 years ago and somewhat unreliable and needs a major upgrade in all areas, problem is somebody needs to pay for the infrastructure, but when cars can be charged at home, and battery tech improves to the point that only long journeys require a charge, most chargepoints may not be needed as much as now.

Appreciate this relies on people being able to charge at home which isn't practical or possible for all.
Huh? EV's have always been able to be charged at home. Most EV owners (at least in North America) will choose to install a level 2 charger at home. Even without a level 2 charger, you can charge from any standard 15 amp wall outlet. A Model 3, for example, can add approx. 30 miles of range overnight, which is enough range to recharge from an average daily commute.
As for the charging infrastructure, I've seen two build-out options. Manufacturer (such as Tesla Superchargers) and gas stations. When we were in Iceland all the major highway gas stations had multiple charging stations. It's a bit of a chicken and egg scenario for privately funded chargers. Companies won't build them until there is a critical mass of cars, but people won't buy cars without a charging network. I think right now it is incumbent on the manufacturers to build out a charging network (preferably collaboratively, so that they can support each others vehicles) in order to stimulate sales, so that private industry will see sufficient demand to make charging stations as common as gas stations.
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Re: Would you buy a plug in electric car?

Post by what-time-is-it » Sat Jul 20, 2019 11:58 pm

Yes home chargers are available, but the public charging network is poor.

Let's say typical range is currently below 200 miles so on longer journeys you need to charge from the public network which isnt great in the UK.

My point was more public chargers are needed, that requires investment, but public chargers may be more of a necessity now than perhaps they will be in the future when vehicles have longer ranges.
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Re: Would you buy a plug in electric car?

Post by FloridaPhil » Sun Jul 21, 2019 12:03 am

The main things that discourage me are:

1. Lack of range. In the USA, a range of 100 miles or less is laughable. Get it to 500 miles, I MIGHT consider one.
2. Lack of charging infrastructure - most people won't even drive 2 miles out of their way for cheaper fuel, never mind having to meticulously plan a route to be able to recharge. The sheer expense of this element will stall full electric implementation. Government agencies seem to think it will happen organically!
3. In my car, if I need additional range, e.g in a hurricane evacuation situation, I can load 3x5 gallon spare fuel cans. What do you do in an electric car? Standardized, modular batteries that can be swapped out at a recharging station would be the best alternative but I don't see that happening.
4. The length of time it takes to recharge. A petrol/gasoline car can refuel in a couple of minutes. An electric car takes significantly longer
5. Replacement costs of batteries. What is the actual useful life of a battery array? How much will it cost to replace it?
6. I am not convinced about the environmental claims for electric cars. As has been said already, all it's doing is moving the impact somewhere else. Add in the environmental impact of disposing of exhausted batteries.

So, would I buy one? No, not at the moment, nor in the foreseeable future.
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Re: Would you buy a plug in electric car?

Post by Thegreyman » Sun Jul 21, 2019 8:36 am

I agree with most of what Phil has said above.

EV cars are more than likely the future, but not quite yet the present.

Until battery technology at least say doubles so that we can double the range for a given size/weight of batteries, then I don't believe they are convincing enough to move the majority away from petrol/diesel engined cars.

The charging infrastructure is also massively away from where it would need to be should we all suddenly start buying EV's. Would the national grid be able to handle such a massive increase in demand for electricity.

Too many questions still to be answered. My next car will not be an EV.
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Re: Would you buy a plug in electric car?

Post by PaulJS » Sun Jul 21, 2019 12:38 pm

I have also been contemplating this issue as the prospect of changing one of our cars looms. My thoughts as follows:

1. Call me cynical, but ultimately EVs will have to generate as much tax as petrol and diesel vehicles so there is a small window to reap any financial gains, if there are any when everything is factored in.

2. We live in a consumer driven world whereby governments attempt to drive demand through legislation. Pound to a penny it will not be very long ( in product lifecycle terms) before the battery production process is damned as being even more environmentally catastrophic than the combustion engine. Then it will be all shift to the next magic solution - hydrogen fuel cells which actually do look a better prospect than battery technology. At the end of the day the world's economies are driven (no punn intended) by manipulating us all to constantly replace and change, not to stick with the same thing for decades.

3. Which brings me to the electric / hydrogen issue that seems to have more than a whiff of the old VHS / Betamax battle. For those too young to remember VHS was inferior but prevailed because the big boys got behind it.

4. Sadly I suspect that our petrol / diesel cars will be vilified and priced off the roads long before they reach their natural end of life.

My conclusion is that, far from now being the time to buy an EV, now is the time to buy that beast of a 5 Litre V8 that you have longed for!

TVR Chimaera here I come!

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