Electric vehicles-Conversions

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Mandrake
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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by Mandrake »

I think you're being a little bit too cynical Chris, a modern smart grid is a bit cleverer than that at balancing the load.

Yes its true that at any given moment the electricity you're personally receiving almost certainly has not come from your suppliers preferred wholesaler, especially if they happen to be at the other end of the country from you, that just can't happen because of the nature of an electricity grid and the way power flows. If we ignore transmission losses (mainly resistive) the grid network is a zero sum game - generators connect to the grid at many locations and put power in, subscribers connect at many (many more) locations and draw power out. Apart from those losses there is a zero sum - power that goes in has to come out somewhere, and power can't be drawn out without it going in somewhere.

Individual subscribers declare how much power they are withdrawing from the grid through their meter readings, usage of those subscribers "belonging to" a certain retailer (yes it is an accounting exercise) will be summed up by that retailer and then that retailer will pay the generating stations that they "use" in proportion to how much they get from each generator. As far as I know the retailer doesn't pay the national grid directly for the cost of generation like you suggest they ONLY pay them for the cost of power transmission, they pay the generators directly and separately for the cost of generation in proportion to the balance of generation they have chosen.

You can see roughly the proportions between Network & Distribution (Grid) and Wholesale (Generation) here in a blog post from Bulb:

https://blog.bulb.co.uk/wholesale-energy-market-update/

When it comes to balancing supply with demand the national grid won't just be randomly grabbing for the most convenient coal generator to meet peak demand - their computer systems will have all the details of which retailers offer which generation source percentages and how big the customer base of those retailers is, and also whether a certain supplier is "flexible" in each source of energy or not. Then from that they can calculate what balance of generators to call upon to meet the current load requirements.

What I mean by flexible is that for example a retail supplier could specify that while they don't prefer it they would allow some degree of use of coal to provide during peak times, this would be added to the pool of suppliers who allow use of coal and is thus "on tap" should the national grid need to tap into that power. They could specify their preferred power generation mix, but be flexible on the specifics over the short term. On the other hand a provider like bulb could say "we won't use anything except renewable" so their customer usage quota cannot be allocated to some other generation source so it would be up to someone else's flexible quota to temporarily bridge that gap in overall usage during a peak.

At the end of the day all the generation sources know what they have generated and provided to the grid, they know who their customers (retailers) are and what amount of that generation will be divvied up amongst each those retailers since those retailers have given customer usage data, and therefore they know how much to bill each retailer. The retailer also pays the National Grid for transport.

It doesn't matter one iota if the electricity actually at your door was generated somewhere else (up here in Scotland it might be Hydro or Nuclear nearest to me for example) so long as the total percentage proportion of generation of the country averaged over a time period like a week follows the proportions "sold" by the retailers in proportion to the size of their customer base. "Your" renewable energy may be powering the house of someone who doesn't pay for renewable just because they are closer to where it is generated.

If enough people switch to a renewable provider then those renewable generation sources will get more money from those retailers and the non-renewable generators will get less money, this will cause market incentives that encourage more renewable generation, so it would still have the desired effect.

So in one sense electricity retailing is a bit of an "accountancy exercise" as you put it, but I don't see how it could be any other way given how a grid links everything together. As long as what goes in one end comes out the other end and is accounted for properly it doesn't really matter where the electrons go...

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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by elma »

Mandrake wrote: it doesn't really matter where the electrons go...
Sorry to be pedantic but on an AC network they really don't move very far.
I find that part quite fascinating, transmission by oscillation down a conductor, it almost defies logic.
With the resolution of laser imaging becoming so much greater it is now possible to view electrons in real time, well for an elite few anyway.
I am very much hoping to see this myself as it excites me so much. I believe the field of Chemistry will eventually overtake Biology and Physics for growth once we can watch electrons in real time in a uni/commercial Laboratory environment.
Who knows what that kind of technology would do for batteries?

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CitroJim
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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by CitroJim »

Chris, I agree with all you say above...

Simon, despite being way down south I'm with Scottish Power. Have been for years and generally faultless. Your post on the percentage of renewable generated by each company was rather interesting...

Never forget we get a good bit of power from France via the DC link and most of that is likely to be nuclear so maybe that's why EDF are so high on the nuclear percentages...

Speaking of nuclear, it's gone awfully quiet on the Hinkley Point C front recently. Is it going ahead or not?

I continue to follow this thread with great interest and enjoyment; I'm learning a lot still :)

Keep it coming all of you ;)

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white exec
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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by white exec »

Simon, thanks for the very detailed reply. It really is an accountancy exercise - mega - now vastly complicated by so-called "competition" factors.

Last time I looked at what might be saved by 'switching suppliers', the answer was about 2%. I believe the average saving in the UK is usually not much more, and was being quoted on BBC tv last week as 'about £200 a year'. Hardly a figure to get folk rushing to the phone/PC.

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NewcastleFalcon
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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

CitroJim wrote:
I continue to follow this thread with great interest and enjoyment; I'm learning a lot still :)

Keep it coming all of you ;)
I agree with that Jim.

Here's another aspect of "electrification" which requires a bit of vision....tackling Road Freight. I may be wrong but I can't imagine huge battery banks powering road freight around the country, or lorries calling in at service stations to plug in and recharge.

Is this going to be the vision which is to be followed

http://www.itsinternational.com/Easysit ... mSizeId=18

Looking at Rail transport development electrification and all the associated infrastructure is the norm now but a massive capital investment initially required to make it happen.

Unlike in the pioneering days of the railways, any new rail developments seem to take forever to get off the ground, and roads are the "vehicle of choice" for the transport of goods around the UK.

I wonder if the "grid" of electricity distribution if you started with a blank sheet of paper today would follow the same routes, or whether it would reflect the road network more, and facilitate a new demand along the length of the major motorways to power road freight.....then what next....power units like road locomotives and road trains, standardised containers....and driverless distribution operated like hornby train set :!:

regards neil

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CitroJim
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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by CitroJim »

That's an interesting concept for electric lorries but it's not a solution, just another dead-end sticking plaster...

Surely ways to remove freight from the roads is needed and alternatives sought. Only urgent freight should ever need to be moved by road and that might include food and mail but generally a lot heavy freight is far from time-sensitive and could be moved by rail, ship or even canal.

Agreed, there has been far too much faffing around with railways. Acts need to be got together to really push electrification, new signalling, infrastructure to permit higher speeds and building of new lines to serve the needs of the freight industry. Then there needs to be a push to move as much freight to rail as possible. At the same time dismiss spurious protest from NIMBYs and tree-huggers. There's far too many 'Swampy's about. Who now regrets the building of the Newbury Bypass? It's blended in well with the surroundings.

On the subject of pointless use of road transport: in Wolverton there is a massive Electrolux depot housed in former railway works buildings. It is right by the West Coast mainline and faces a former railway marshalling yard. That former yard is now a marshalling yard for lorries. No, nobody urgently needs a fridge so why move them by lorry? Train would be perfect, or even the canal which is very close by!

Also, what about looking to decentralise? Every morning I see a big lorry delivering bread to shops in the town. That lorry has likely travelled bloody miles. Why not have town bakeries again and rail in the ingredients and then distribute the bread in small fuel-efficient vans - electric ones would be perfect. Ditto dairy products and fruit and veg and in the case of fruit and veg, get used to seasonal stuff...

It can be done, it just needs a bit of thought and a willingness (and the balls) to change established ideas and kill off a few vested interests.

And then work hard to get people travelling short distances by any other means but car. I see my neighbours driving their kids to school barely a mile away - they should walk it. It's criminal. It would do them and their kids a world of good and also likely keep them out of the doctors so much.

Being freed from the tyranny of the daily commute by car is a blessing for me and if I never had to drive anywhere again, except for pure fun and pleasure, I'd be even happier...

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white exec
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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by white exec »

I won't mention that, at one time, the UK had a standardised rail network that went more-or-less everywhere.

Image

And now we wish we still had it.

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CitroJim
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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by CitroJim »

white exec wrote:I won't mention that, at one time, the UK had a standardised rail network that went more-or-less everywhere.
Yes, indeed. People universally blame Beeching but in truth he was just doing exactly as he was directed to do by the government of the day...

He had no (or at best a Hobson's) choice so don't vilify him.

Many lines that closed along that time were not a result of his so-called axe but rather a great keenness by
BR to close lines. The 'Varsity' line between Oxford and Cambridge was an example. It is so badly needed now and is slated to be re-opened by 2024.
white exec wrote:And now we wish we still had it.
We do as they would now be the perfect solution.

Gibbo2286
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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by Gibbo2286 »

The railways problems stemmed from WW2 they were in effect commandeered by the government for war work and worked to death, instead of returning them to their private owners the post war government decided that the state should own and run everything and they just fell into an even worse state of repair.

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CitroJim
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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by CitroJim »

Gibbo2286 wrote:The railways problems stemmed from WW2 they were in effect commandeered by the government for war work and worked to death, instead of returning them to their private owners the post war government decided that the state should own and run everything and they just fell into an even worse state of repair.
Yes, the war wore them out...

And little or nothing was done to repair them once nationalised.

It could be seen now as an act of vandalism by the government of the day.

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NewcastleFalcon
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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

BMW and their Partners Scherm and Dutch firm Terberg have already put a 40 tonne Electric Truck on the roads of Munich transporting parts between the BMW factory and Scherm. This article is from 2015

BMW puts a 40 Tonne Electric Truck on the Road

It would be interesting if the Diesel ban in the Major Cities by 2025, has plans for electric goods vehicles only within the designated areas.

Another article...again from 2015

Tesla Co-Founder says its electric trucks not electric cars that matter

Lob in some more up to date stuff if you can find it :-D

Regards Neil

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bobins
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Post by bobins »

Just to throw something different into the discussion, many many years ago I can remember a very limited shuttle bus service being trialed in Churchill Square in Brighton that used no form of onboard electrical motor or internal combustion engine to propel it. It ran on a flywheel energy storage principal, but not of the type where you use the flywheel to generate electricity and power a traditional electric motor. This one merely tilted the flywheel in the direction you wanted to travel, and the bus moved in that direction !! The flywheel was 'charged' up at the bus stops via a kerbside motor using friction on the flywheel to spin it up, and it had to make it to the next bus stop before it 'discharged' !! It was run on 'rails' - little more than plates laid down to guide it. It only ran a few hundred yards in each direction and was, basically, a proof of concept model. No idea what happened to it, or the concept.
It goes without saying that it had limited practical uses at the time as you had to make sure it could get to each charging station before the flywheel ran down. :)

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white exec
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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by white exec »

Neil - and Jim and Peter,

On the same C|net page about the BMW 40-tonner was this link...
http://www.cnet.com/au/news/electric-ro ... hey-drive/

Just look at that inductive power-transmission figure stated: 60kHz, 180kW, 6.5 inches, 5-15% of the road, and intelligent vehicle recognition!

Perhaps the original Mr Tesla wasn't far off the mark.

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Zelandeth
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Post by Zelandeth »

Remember there was a "hybrid" bus based around a Volvo Ailsa double decker back in I think the early 80s which used a huge flywheel as an energy storage device to recoup braking energy, with drive from it running a hydraulic motor if I remember rightly...Sadly I had to dump my issues of Route One a couple of years back so I don't have the article to hand...

Seem to recall it got pretty impressive fuel saving figures based around the intended urban use.

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bobins
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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by bobins »

I'd presume that the 'flywheel' one in Brighton was restricted to use on level or downhill roads only. Bit of a limiting factor, that one :-D
There seem to be plenty of positive things to say about flywheel stored energy concepts in general, but only really to do with using the stored energy to power motors or pumps.