Electric cars-Conversions

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

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Buying cars (or PCPing cars) at those sort of prices is not a question of "should I buy electric?" and saddling the decision with whether it will "pay for itself" compared to buying an ICE vehicle in the same price bracket. No, its more one of "I like that car and that's what I want to buy".

Poor old Leaf's or Zoe's and the pitifully small variety, albeit growing, of other 100% EV's, have to work a little harder and pass the calculations of whether they will be cheaper to run, tax, insure and finance than a collection of hundreds of competing ICE cars.

Within ICE cars, detailed calculations of relative costs in terms of MPG, insurance, finance, etc are probably less significant in swaying the decision between the different vehicles across manufacturers. Its probably more a case of what you fancy within the price range you can afford, and maybe even a bit of brand preference/loyalty.

Regards Neil

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

Post by Mandrake »

NewcastleFalcon wrote:Buying cars (or PCPing cars) at those sort of prices is not a question of "should I buy electric?" and saddling the decision with whether it will "pay for itself" compared to buying an ICE vehicle in the same price bracket. No, its more one of "I like that car and that's what I want to buy".
The same question could be asked during any new car purchase - "Will it pay for itself ?". The answer is always NO! :roll:

No purchase of any brand new car will ever pay for itself if you already have a working order older car that it will be replacing. Depreciation will see to that. It doesn't matter whether you buy outright, pay off a loan or PCP, and doesn't matter how efficient it is (For example replacing a Petrol with a Diesel) or even if it is an EV. Some running cost savings are possible with EV's but not enough to pay back a brand new car in the time that you will keep it unless your yearly mileage was astronomical!

So the question of whether buying a new EV will pay for itself is kind of a self defeating question with an obvious answer - no it will not, but neither will buying a new more efficient Petrol or Diesel car. I'd have to drive an awful lot of miles a year to replace my £400 Xantia V6 with a brand new £20,000 car that does twice (or even 3x) the MPG and still not be out of pocket for many many years... The only reason to buy a brand new car is because you want to, not because you need to, and certainly not because it makes financial sense.

Can buying a second hand EV "pay for itself" ? If you mean does the cost of paying it off over a reasonable number of years (say 4) work out to less than the running cost difference to your existing Petrol / Diesel car ? If so, the answer is maybe, but only if you manage to find a bargain, and only if you have a large fixed minimum number of miles, or you can substitute driving for more expensive public transport.

Which is exactly what we did with the Ion - at £4150 for 5 1/2 years old and 28k miles I think that's a reasonable bargain (going price for them is around £5000-£6000) and the running cost is stupidly cheap. In fact the numbers worked out so well for us that I can still keep the Xantia as well, as long as I hardly drive it mind you! :lol: If I couldn't keep the Xantia the proposition would not be nearly as appealing as the Ion is definitely square in second car status due to its range and partly due to its smaller load space.

The running cost is cheap enough that it made sense to ditch our expensive train and bus commuting - I found £70 a month parking in Glasgow a couple of blocks from work, the additional driving in place of the train/bus for two of us is 400 miles a month which at 4p/mile costs £16 in charging (and an as yet unknown cost for tyre wear etc) so £86, in place of £57 for bus and £89.50 for train, saving us an additional £70 a month over what we were already saving on other mileage, and gets me home half an hour earlier to boot!

However as soon as you look at a more expensive EV like a Leaf, (say £7000-£8000 for a battery inclusive low mileage model) the numbers no longer stack up to "pay for itself" unless you have a much higher mileage and/or you are willing to ditch your now seldom used long range ICE - I couldn't make the figures work even after ditching the Xantia so we rapidly abandoned any thought of a Leaf and realised it was Ion or nothing at the moment in our circumstances, and decided that we could make do with the range it has - which we have, as the Xantia has only been driven once in the last month and that was due to insufficient load space to pick up my mum from Edinburgh airport with a baby in tow! :twisted:

However I would argue that although I was able to make it pay for itself and thus make it possible for me to buy now, not having it completely pay for itself is no reason not to eventually buy an EV. All cars eventually wear out and become too troublesome or fail catastrophically, so at SOME point we are all in the market for a car whether we want to be or not. And when that time comes then is the correct time to think about "do I buy another ICE, or "do I buy an EV with reduced range but potentially much cheaper running costs as well". If you're in the market for a car anyway, that's when it makes more sense, especially if you are a two car household.

Then the question now becomes not "will it pay for itself" (completely) but "will it be cheaper to run and maintain than this other ICE car I like that is a similar price and spec, and which I would have to buy anyway".
Poor old Leaf's or Zoe's and the pitifully small variety, albeit growing, of other 100% EV's, have to work a little harder and pass the calculations of whether they will be cheaper to run, tax, insure and finance than a collection of hundreds of competing ICE cars.

Within ICE cars, detailed calculations of relative costs in terms of MPG, insurance, finance, etc are probably less significant in swaying the decision between the different vehicles across manufacturers. Its probably more a case of what you fancy within the price range you can afford, and maybe even a bit of brand preference/loyalty.

Regards Neil

The lack of variety is certainly a problem at the moment for EV's - more so in the UK that some other countries. There just aren't that many models around at the moment, and many categories are not covered at all.

Want an estate version of the Leaf ? Doesn't exist! How about an estate Zoe ? Also doesn't exist, to my knowledge. So there is a whole untapped market of estate buyers who are not catered for by EV's at the moment. I'm sure SOMEBODY makes an estate EV somewhere, but I haven't heard of it, and there is no plentiful selection to choose from... Want a white panel van EV ? Nissan e-NV200 or nothing! (Well, perhaps Mercedes makes something, I'd need to check)

The EV makers are targeting family saloon and hatchbacks at the moment, it will take a while for more variety to appear on the market but it will eventually happen.

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

Post by harryp »

I often wonder how many different electric motors we'll see developed. We have many, many different ICE engines developed over 100 years and my mind cannot see a massive proliferation of electric motors, not as we currently know them. I wait somewhat bemused as to what future developments we'll see. It's going to be rather fascinating I think.
The main thrust I see will be battery development. One can never foretell technological breakthrough. My breath is bated :wink: .....
Regards

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

Post by Mandrake »

harryp wrote:I often wonder how many different electric motors we'll see developed. We have many, many different ICE engines developed over 100 years and my mind cannot see a massive proliferation of electric motors, not as we currently know them. I wait somewhat bemused as to what future developments we'll see. It's going to be rather fascinating I think.
The main thrust I see will be battery development. One can never foretell technological breakthrough. My breath is bated :wink: .....
Regards

The difference with electric motors is that they are more or less a "solved" problem already, so there isn't much room to innovate on the motor. They've been around as long as the internal combustion engine if not longer (the 3 phase AC induction motor was invented by Nikola Tesla himself in the late 1800's) and have already reached an extremely high level of efficiency and refinement in commercial/industrial applications.

EV's are just taking well known AC electric motor principles and adapting them slightly to go into a car. The main electric motor innovation in the last 20 years or so is the drive inverter technology which allows an AC motor - which is traditionally a fixed speed motor with usually either one speed (locked to the 50hz mains frequency) or 2-3 discrete frequencies if the number of poles in use can be switched.

The drive inverter in an EV improves on this by generating a variable frequency and amplitude 3 phase AC signal to drive the motor and in the process turns an AC motor into a variable speed motor where speed and torque can both be precisely and smoothly controlled. (The frequency controls the speed and the current controls the torque) The electronics to do this are quite sophisticated and have only been compact and economic in the last 20 years or so, especially at the very high efficiency and reliability now obtained, as well as being able to provide for regeneration, which isn't as easy to do as it first appears with an AC motor, especially a self excited one like an induction motor.

Why use an AC motor instead of a DC motor ? No brushes to wear out like a DC motor. The live windings are all stationary in the stator, and the rotor contains only either a permanent magnet attached to a shaft (my Ion is an example of a syncronous permanent magnet motor) or shorted copper windings used in an induction motor. (Tesla is an example of this type) The only thing to wear out in an AC induction motor is the bearings that support the main shaft.

So although solved quite recently, the drive inverter is also a more or less solved problem. When was the last time you heard about a failed drive inverter ? I haven't heard of any so far so they, like the motor itself, seem to be very reliable.

Predictably its the battery where the most innovation remains to be done, for size, weight, performance, longevity, cost etc... so while on an ICE the manufacturer focuses most of their design energy on the motor and gearbox, for an EV, most of that effort will be focused on the battery development as the motor design is already a solved problem. So any EV manufacturer who doesn't do in house battery development and farms it out to a 3rd party will be at a distinct disadvantage IMO!

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

Post by Mandrake »

I thought this was quite interesting, and an example of what government regulation can do:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos ... SKBN17L1VC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39650588

The Chinese government, by classifying hybrids as ICE vehicles instead of EV's, and also placing very stiff emissions regulations on non EV's has more or less single handedly forced a complete U-Turn from Toyota - the second biggest car manufacturer in the world.

Previously Toyota was focusing on Hybrids in the short term, was one of the main proponents of a Hydrogen fuel Cell car, and was more or less completely anti-BEV but the Chinese legislation affecting such a big market of theirs has pretty much forced them to do a u-turn and work on a BEV for the Chinese market instead.

Interesting times!

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

Post by harryp »

... and what China gets, we too get?

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

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

Not necessarily, and not quickly, but sometimes Corporations need something/someone powerful to make them take a long term view (and to see past their yearly stockholder reports).
Last edited by Hell Razor5543 on 21 Apr 2017, 22:13, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by RichardW »

Leaf: 4445mm overall 2700mm wheelbase
Zoe: 4084mm overall 2588 wheelbase
Xantia Hatch 4440 overall 2740 wheelbase

The Zoe looks pretty well identical to the Clio, with a slightly re-worked front end and lights.

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

Post by lexi »

I have had a few AC Motor failures on compressors and other stuff about 2kilowatt. Can't fix them. I still have them on other equipment here. Elu and De Walt. You can fix DC Motors with brushes and windings. A relative often rewound motors for me. (Armature Winder). The AC brushless is quiet and powerful though IME.

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

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Well it was certainly "Friday Night is Music Night" at the Pickled Egg........

Oops :oops: put this post in the wrong thread......the rest has now been moved to its rightful home at the Pickled Egg :!:

Regards Neil

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

Post by Mandrake »

lexi wrote:I have had a few AC Motor failures on compressors and other stuff about 2kilowatt. Can't fix them. I still have them on other equipment here. Elu and De Walt.
A motor of that size in a compressor is probably built to a price - not designed for a long lifespan like one for an EV which is a critical part of the car... And is probably a single phase motor with a small starting winding and capacitor, and those certainly can go wrong, usually the capacitor. These type of motors are also only air cooled with a small fan blade on the shaft, which doesn't do much.

A true 3 phase motor as used from 3 phase AC in industrial applications is a bit of a different story though, and EV motors are based on those. Additionally all EV motors are water cooled using pumped coolant and a conventional (albeit smaller) car style radiator. This prevents overheating which is the main cause of failure of an AC motor through cooking the windings.
You can fix DC Motors with brushes and windings. A relative often rewound motors for me. (Armature Winder).
The main reason DC motors are easier to fix is because the main cause of failure is problems with the brushes or commutator - parts which AC motors don't have in the first place. ;)

These are parts that have a finite lifetime that will wear out and need replacing to keep it working - and indeed very early EV's with DC motors do need to have the brushes replaced after not particularly high miles. In an AC motor the only parts with a finite lifetime are the main bearings which can potentially last a really long time if they are good quality and should be replaceable if designed to make this possible.

The main cause of failure in this type of motor other than manufacturing defects would be overheating, which might be a result of a faulty cooling system - but in a good design the temperature should be detected and the car put into a limp mode to protect the motor. (The motor in your compressor would have no such protection, and only has a fan blade in the first place)

As for rewinding the armature, while a permanent magnet synchronous AC motor has no armature, (only a permanent magnet) an AC induction motor does actually have an armature winding - which is basically just a set of shorted turns of wire on the armature.

I've been following EV's for a while now and one thing that doesn't seem to crop up is motor failures - it just doesn't seem to be something that is happening, at least not at the age which EV's have currently reached. Check back in another 10 years and see if its still the case... :twisted:

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

Post by white exec »

Mandrake wrote:The Chinese government, by classifying hybrids as ICE vehicles instead of EV's, and also placing very stiff emissions regulations on non EV's has more or less single handedly forced a complete U-Turn from Toyota - the second biggest car manufacturer in the world.
At last! I have been saying for some years now that the Prius (and now a large chunk of Toyota's recent car output) are no more than an ICE petrol cars, with "token" battery ability, and incapable of being recharged except by running its petrol engine.

The Prius, et al, was always more to do with corporate appearances for the huge ICE manufacturer, while at the same time sneaking into the EV market with over-blown credentials. The Chinese have obviously simply looked at the Prius, and noted that many of them spend most of their time running on petrol!

At some point, we may well have a good deal to thank the Chinese for (despite the obvious issues), and one of these could turn out to be focused and decisive government, in the face of their huge environmental problems.

I think Toyota needed this kicking into touch. It's really welcome news.

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Post by Mandrake »

Whoops. Naughty Tesco:


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Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Yes one of the big 4 or is it 5, have felt the full force of my own personal economic sanctions over the last 10 years. I won't even buy their "free air". ( which I found out is now 50p!!). Local Sainsburys still does free air.

Regards Neil

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Post by CitroJim »

I guess Tesco saw no way of making a profit out of it...

Very bad of them though and especially for a company that needs an awful lot of public goodwill...

I rarely shop at Tesco now. I've defected to Waitrose as they have a great 'Quickscan' system that avoids checkout queues...

Only problem is, Waitrose don't sell Camp Coffee :(