Electric cars-Conversions

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

Post by Mandrake »

NewcastleFalcon wrote: When I first started driving in the 70's you would not (probably could not) buy your petrol from a supermarket but these days 9 times out of 10 I will buy fuel at Morrisons/Sainsbury's/Asda, and the other occasion it will be a treat of ESSO..(probably because the garage in the village I spent my childhood in sold ESSO and you could get tiger tails and football coins, and "The Esso sign means happy motoring" as the jingle went).

One of the assets which all supermarkets have is a large number of "stalls" ie car parking spaces, and a period of time when the car is just sitting in the same "stall" doing nothing. If the direct charging model is adopted for an electric vehicle support network, it would not be surprising to see the major players in that network being the big supermarkets/retail parks rather than the traditional pull in at a forecourt service station arrangement.
That's quite an insightful comment and not something I had really considered. Funnily enough I had noticed some time ago that even our small local Asda had two EV charging points in the middle of its car park - presumably to gauge interest.

I'm not sure that it makes sense for anything other than a quick top up at a supermarket like Asda or Tesco though because you're not really there long enough to get a decent charge as typical visit time would only be 20-30 minutes, which unless it was a Tesla super charger (>100kW) doesn't give you that many miles of charge. A lot of EV's and charging points currently only do 20-40kW which would only give you 30-60 miles extra range in 30 minutes at most.

However for a full retail park I think it makes a huge amount of sense. Many families would spend over an hour at a retail park, possibly a lot more if there is a movie complex or arcade as well. You could pull into an EV compatible park, plug the cable in, swipe an NFC fob on your key ring at the machine which would immediately identify you for billing purposes (perhaps with a pin as well to prevent misuse) and start the charging process. While you go off to watch your movie, have lunch, shop, your car is charging up.

It might even make EV's practical for those with no off street parking - a major issue for electric vehicle adoption in the UK where so many people don't have a driveway and only have a small stretch of pavement to park on if they're lucky. Go to the retail park a couple of times a month while you do your shopping and catch a movie and get your car charged for the month.

Of course electricity runs under the pavement along every UK street so in theory one day you could have public charge points along the street just like you have fire hydrants, so if you choose to charge while you're parked on the street you can do so, even if it happens to be while you're visiting a friend.

All it takes is a critical mass to kick the whole thing off, and that critical mass seems to be upon us.
white exec wrote:That makes a lot of sense, Neil. Wonder how much scope there might be for inductive charging, so all you'd have to do is park the car in a slot, without making a physical connection. Couple that with intelligent billing (car and its owner's account identified automatically), and it could be a pretty painless operation.

I think the original Mr Tesla wrote a thing or two about wireless power transmission...
The problem with inductive charging is inverse square law losses. The loss in efficiency just from the 6-12 inch gap between the ground and the underfloor of the car would be huge, and completely throw away the efficiency gains of the electric engine.

A little bit disconcerting looking but here is one possible alternative: :-D




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

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

There is enough infrastructure at the moment for what I would describe as quite a few people to make electric vehicles work out here in the Northumberland Countryside, commuting 30-40 miles into Newcastle, charging up at home, and in town, with the ubiquitous vehicle of choice being a Nissan Leaf.

Looks like if I dont come up with my "rechargeable casette", and a series of industrial scale manufacturing and recharging plants, fleets of specialist "tankers" to take them to filling stations and pick up the "empties", and make sure all vehicle manufacturers/battery manufaturers build their electric vehicles to be compatible with my cassettes.....then the flow of the infrastructure expansion is going to be more charging points. :-D

Regards Neil

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

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

I am interested in some of the older electric vehicles, which weren't made in that great quantity, were probably not commercially successful at the time, and were ditched, and may be priced now in a more accessible range.

The good old workhorse the Citroen Berlingo Electrique may be a case in point. Decent Wiki page on it here..
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citro%C3% ... 9lectrique

I'll not quote huge chunks out of it its all on the link, but the bit on maintenance was interesting..
Battery watering must be done at regular intervals (approximately every 4,000 miles (6,400 km), depending on usage) and this can be done either at a dealership or by using a kit provided by a third party.

Brush replacement should also be done according to the maintenance schedule, as serious damage will result if it is overlooked.
Regards Neil

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

Post by white exec »

Watering and brushing . . . We're back to those horses, again!
Neil, it will be interesting to see what happens to those early recent EVs like the Berlingo.

If you've seen "Who Killed the Electric Car" and its sequel "The Revenge of the Electric Car", you'll know that Toyota did their best to reclaim the early electric RAVs, but some owners simply refused, or 'disappeared'. Not as drastic, though, as what GM got up to. RAV4.1-EV has quite a following in the States.

The second of those two films is terrific background to Elon Musk (who nearly bankrupted himself) and Tesla, and also to the enthusiasm of Renault-Nissan for EV development.

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Post by NewcastleFalcon »

...and a dedicated website here

http://www.berlingo-e.co.uk/

Including a link to the full 116 page original handbook....everything you wanted to know about the Citroen Berlingo Electrique but were afraid to ask!

Citroen Berlingo Electrique Full Handbook

Regards Neil

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white exec wrote:Watering and brushing . . . We're back to those horses, again!
If you've seen "Who Killed the Electric Car" and its sequel "The Revenge of the Electric Car", you'll know that Toyota did their best to reclaim the early electric RAVs, but some owners simply refused, or 'disappeared'. Not as drastic, though, as what GM got up to. RAV4.1-EV has quite a following in the States.

The second of those two films is terrific background to Elon Musk (who nearly bankrupted himself) and Tesla, and also to the enthusiasm of Renault-Nissan for EV development.
The Revenge of the Electric Car is currently available on youtube and I look forward to setting side an hour or so and watching it all! I haven't seen the first one but I like the tone of the second one better so I'll start with that :!: :-D



Thanks Chris

Regards Neil

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

Post by RichardW »

We don't have enough generating capacity to keep the lights on at present - there is no room for loads of electric cars. They only 'move' the pollution from the car to power station in any case (unless its' running on renewables, but they're not very consistent!) - but I can see there are advantages to this from City air quality point of view. However, the biggest bar is cost. Only a very few people are going to fork out £25 grand for a 70 BHP supermini, with a range of only 100 miles or so, that is going to save them maybe £100 / year in fuel costs (or alternatively over £100k for a Tesla with a decent range). And once a move is made to E-cars, and the dino fuel tax starts to dry up (which is what makes it 'expensive'), HMG is going to start looking elsewhere. Oh, electric cars, they must need a 'fuel' tax.....!

I do 15k miles a year, for a current cost of £1700 diesel - even if I saved 80% of this, it's going to take a loooooong time to re-coup the cost of an E-car. And I'm not sure it would manage the 60 mile round trip in deepest darkest cold wet Scottish winter.

I still need a lot of convincing!! Although I'd jump at a Tesla if I had £100k burning a hole in my pocket. Sadly, I don't....

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

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Speaking for myself I seem to be developing a boyish enthusiasm, at the potential of a significant change-over to electric vehicles, and very much fancy "pioneering" with an entry level vehicle (yes one of those Berlingo Electriques would do nicely as a learning vehicle bit like my first Mini and how that taught me so much about maintaining and repairing cars) Then again the economics of a secondhand contemporary electric vehicle, lets say a Nissan Leaf for around £5,000 may be an entry level vehicle for some.

The thousands of conversions in the EV Gallery I have linked to also very much capture my interest. "Practical classic's" with all the stylish lines intact, often more poke than the original, and if you get it right something mechanically more reliable, and hopefully without the oil-leaks!

Yes and the more use of renewables, and generation at home the better(Elon Musk and his solar-tiles get a big thumbs up from me :-D ) Whether the tiles on our roofs will generate enough energy to power our house and car right now may be some way off, but "Teslas Tiles" are a decent enough start, and look much better than solar panels, and probably dont have the same Newport Pagnell pigeon problem :!:

Regards Neil

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

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

Well, Birmingham University have developed something unusual, which is a hydrogen fuel cell narrow boat;

http://www.grannybuttons.com/granny_but ... Barlow.jpg
https://www.yumpu.com/en/image/facebook/20765202.jpg
https://ourbirmingham.files.wordpress.c ... l-boat.jpg

Although I have not seen the vessel in operation, I have been past where it was moored (twice) when Mum and I were out cruising for a few days on her narrow boat "The Black Cat" (named after the book that paid for her).

It is fitting, to my mind, that Birmingham has developed such a vessel, as it was the narrow boats that helped make Birmingham the industrial heart of Great Britain.

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Post by Gibbo2286 »

So you will bee familiar with the Gas Street Basin then James.

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Post by Hell Razor5543 »

Yes. Near to the Mail Box and the Sealife Centre. My Mum currently has moorings in Netherton.

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It's where the IRA bombers are supposed to have planned their murderous deeds in 1974.

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

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

I would not know about that. Here is Mum, on her narrow boat "The Black Cat" heading back to her home (for now) moorings, after dropping me off in Birmingham to catch the train back to Reading;


Image

That is "Broad Street Tunnel" just behind her.
Last edited by myglaren on 14 Dec 2016, 23:33, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Image link fixed

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

Post by Mandrake »

Some good points and concerns Richard, however lets see if we can talk you around with a bit more analysis and number crunching. :-D
RichardW wrote:We don't have enough generating capacity to keep the lights on at present - there is no room for loads of electric cars.
Lets crunch some numbers to see how much electricity use it would take if I was to start driving a Tesla Model S tomorrow - which as electric cars go is a big heavy car and therefore has a relatively low miles per kWh figure compared to a smaller car.

It averages about 3 miles per kWh and I'm currently doing about 300 miles a month. Our current existing electricity usage (thanks to a loop energy monitor) is approximately 320kWh per month, I say approximately as I haven't had loop a full month yet. :)

Charging the car at home would use 100kWh per month, requiring me to charge the car at least once a month and increase my monthly electricity use to 420kW/hour - a 37.5% increase, which is quite significant but not earth shattering in the big picture. At our current rate of 12.8p per kW/hour this electricity would cost me £12.80, however this would be in lieu of about £90 worth of petrol.

If I had dual rate electricity I could set the car to charge off peak during the night at roughly half the cost again and help to avoid overloading of the grid during peak hours. I would wager that if everyone charging their EV's did so during off peak times like the middle of the night the current grid could cope as is, as it is underutilised in the off peak hours, not to mention that everyone is not going to suddenly switch over to EV's at once - it will be a gradual process that gives time for the electricity grid to keep up.

Also smaller cars like the Tesla Model 3, Chevy Bolt etc should do significantly better miles per kWh than a big heavy Model S.

So I don't see the ability of the electricity grid to keep up as a significant hurdle. As far as generation capacity goes - if you're not burning all that oil as refined petrol and diesel then (short term) you can burn it to generate the required electricity needed for the EV's while renewable sources are built out, which segways nicely into your next point...
They only 'move' the pollution from the car to power station in any case (unless its' running on renewables, but they're not very consistent!) - but I can see there are advantages to this from City air quality point of view.
This is a massive but often quoted fallacy - that you're only shifting the pollution and problem upstream to the power stations which are "probably" burning coal or other polluting fuel source. There are multiple solid points against this line of argument that I can think of just of the top of my head, so here goes:

1) This argument assumes that power generation continues to rely on nuclear and fossil fuels in the same mix as today. When vehicles are widely electrified there is much more incentive to build more renewable resources like wind farms because then these sources of energy can power the nation's transportation. Fossil fuels can be (temporarily) burnt to provide electricity to power EV's during a transition period, but renewable energy generation cannot be used to create fossil fuels to power diesel/petrol vehicles. (Ignoring the electricity used in the cracking and refining process - but electricity alone doesn't get you petrol and diesel out of thin air) So the transition to more renewable's will follow car electrification rather than preceding it.

2) This argument completely and utterly ignores the fantastically higher efficiency of an AC induction motor vs an internal combustion engine and conventional gearbox. I could write a whole article on this point alone.

The best state of the art 60MPG diesel engines today mated with a manual gearbox will get you AT MOST 30-35% efficiency from chemical energy in the fuel to wheel horsepower. And this is over a narrow set of "optimal" driving conditions, eg constant low speed in top gear. (about 40mph) As soon as you accelerate hard efficiency goes way down. As soon as you use lower gears efficiency goes way down because your engine RPM is high relative to the road speed. As soon as you sit idling in a traffic jam or at a stop light your efficiency goes down to ZERO percent. Every time you press the brake pedal to slow down in stop start traffic energy is thrown away. Add an automatic gearbox in place of a carefully driven manual and efficiency goes way down especially in stop start traffic.

In short even 30% is a fairy tale figure - average efficiency over typical driving is probably more like 10-15% when idling, stopping and starting, accelerating and use of low gears is taken into account. But lets just pretend for a moment that it is 30%.

Contrast this to an AC induction motor as used in a Tesla - which has over 90% efficiency under almost all load conditions with very little change in efficiency from slow speeds to fast or low loads to heavy acceleration. That's at least 3x the best efficiency a diesel can give you right there. Battery charge to discharge losses I believe are under 20% so the majority of the energy you charge with does reach the motor. Now factor in regenerative braking, which can be over 80% efficient at recovering kinetic energy to charge the batteries, with a maximum of approximately 50kW of instantaneous regeneration ability on a Model S. It's perfectly feasible to drive the car without even pressing the brake pedal regeneration is so good. Regeneration will further contribute to effective efficiency versus a car where braking energy is thrown away.

In short the total amount of energy provided by the power station to do the same number of miles is 3x less - so even if the power station was just burning petrol or diesel straight away you've reduced your emissions by a factor of 3x - which is not to be sneezed at. But it gets even better...

The 30% efficiency figure of a diesel car could only be achieved under ideal driving conditions - eg not very often. But a stationary generator in a power plant doesn't have to worry about starting and running cold, operating under widely different loads and engine RPM etc..It also doesn't have to be designed to be light, compact and cheap. It can be designed to run at a specific optimal RPM, with an optimal load and be designed to be very efficient there. It turns out that a fossil fuel stationary generator can reach efficiencies of up to about 60% due to being optimised for such a specific operating condition.

So you have a further 2x improvement in the use of fossil fuel by burning it in a large, specially designed stationary engine instead of in millions of car engines. So now we have a 6x improvement in fuel use over just burning the fossil fuel in a diesel car and probably 12x over a petrol car.

As far as pollution goes - its far easier to control pollution from a large power plant sized stationary generator that is under proper controls and regulations than it is to control the pollution from millions of individual car engines. A good example is a catalytic converter in a car - an ingenious invention that has done a massive amount towards reducing pollution, with one major flaw - it doesn't do anything until it warms up... so while the emissions from my Xantia are very low when hot, the first few minutes of driving have high emissions due to the cold cat. In a car that does lots of small trips this is a major issue.

Also cars frequently have faults like faulty coil packs that cause high emissions, how many of these go unnoticed until the MOT failure a year later, meanwhile pumping out extra pollutants unchallenged.

A stationary engine can be running all the time with an always warmed up and much more sophisticated catalytic converter and emissions control system. So even if it burned the same amount of fuel (instead of 1/6th) the pollution would still be less.

Yet another gain is you don't have to burn diesel to drive a fuel tanker that is carting thousands of gallons of fuel to service stations...once the electricity infrastructure is in place, you can "transport" that electric energy across the country essentially for free, rather than transporting physical fuel.

In short, centralising the burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity for EV's improves efficiency and reduces emissions dramatically compared to spreading it across millions of potentially poorly maintained (de-FAP'ed anyone ?) vehicles, even if more renewable sources were not added.

So I completely refute the notion that electric cars only push the problem further upstream, even in the short term.
However, the biggest bar is cost. Only a very few people are going to fork out £25 grand for a 70 BHP supermini, with a range of only 100 miles or so, that is going to save them maybe £100 / year in fuel costs (or alternatively over £100k for a Tesla with a decent range).

And once a move is made to E-cars, and the dino fuel tax starts to dry up (which is what makes it 'expensive'), HMG is going to start looking elsewhere. Oh, electric cars, they must need a 'fuel' tax.....!

I do 15k miles a year, for a current cost of £1700 diesel - even if I saved 80% of this, it's going to take a loooooong time to re-coup the cost of an E-car. And I'm not sure it would manage the 60 mile round trip in deepest darkest cold wet Scottish winter.

I still need a lot of convincing!! Although I'd jump at a Tesla if I had £100k burning a hole in my pocket. Sadly, I don't....
I don't know where you're getting 70BHP from for £25k :) I don't want to be a Tesla fanboy but I'm pretty familiar with their tech and not that familiar with most other brands.. but the Model S is an expensive car competing with high end luxury cars - not something you or I would ever afford... :lol: It's also a bit big physically for the UK market - its a full foot wider than my Xantia so it wouldn't even get through my gate, let alone fit in Asda car parks! :twisted:

But take the smaller Model 3, due in 2018. Entry level price is said to be $35,000 US, so lets be pessimistic and call that £35,000 as well. For this you get a car with 215 miles of range and a 0-60Mph time of less than 6 seconds. It will probably still weigh about 1800-1900Kg (vs the Model S's 2400Kg) so to do that sort of time its going to be at least 250-300bhp. (The top of the line AWD Model S is 770bhp) For acceleration even the entry level Model 3 will kick my Xantia V6's arse and do it with a fraction of the running costs. It won't be any 70bhp slouch that's for sure...

It would have absolutely no trouble doing your 60 mile daily commute with a top up each day or a full charge every 3-4 days.

As for recouping the cost of the car - I could apply exactly the same argument to replacing my £500 20 year old gas guzzling but otherwise seemingly reliable Xantia V6 with a brand new £25,000 diesel car. As I do only 6000 miles per year in terms of ROI it would be a massive loss that probably wouldn't ever pay itself back even if I ignored financing costs - I'd get 2-3x the MPG but it would never come close to offsetting the purchase price of the car. Comparing a brand new electric car (even at £35k) against our old petrols and diesels on a ROI basis is just as unfair a comparison.

But take that £35k electric car and buy it when it is £5000 and 10 years old and still uses a tiny fraction of the energy of a diesel, and now you have a no brainer, especially when diesels will be outlawed in many large cities by then...

People like us just need to wait patiently until cars like the Model 3 are well into the second hand market, by that time the economics of switching will be undeniable.

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

Post by Mandrake »

I'm rather embarrassed to admit but I made a major error in my efficiency calculations above... #-o :oops:

The 3x improvement in efficiency of the electric motor over a diesel cannot be multiplied with the 2x improvement of efficiency of the stationary fossil fuel generator when the source of energy is fossil fuel to make 6x.

If you go from a 30% efficient diesel engine to a 60% efficient stationary generator and then a 90% efficient electric car net efficiency would only be about 55%, so just under 2x as good, not 6x as good. Whoops.

However all the other points about regeneration, efficiency in slow stop start traffic, (only one high gear ratio on most electric cars) consistently high efficiency in varying load and speed conditions and lower emissions of a stationary generator all still apply. It's still a big net win even when fossil fuels are the source of energy.