Refuelling an electric car

One of the things that makers of electric cars need to improve to encourage more  potential buyers of them is their range and how easy it is to refuel them. Because the battery needs so much power to recharge it can typically take 12 hours to recharge a near flat battery from a domestic mains supply. It means some use electric  cars as short distance transport to and from home so they can rely on the long overnight charge.

If they wish to travel longer distances owners need to plan ahead to see where there are  fast chargers available, or whether there are overnight facilities where they are going that would allow the usual long overnight charge. Some of the charge points now available do not have the right connectors for every type of electric car.  Tesla has their own network. Apparently you can face the need to download an app, supply a lot of data and enter into a supply contract with monthly sums if you wish to recharge at some charge points. This is more intrusive and complex than simply buying a few litres of fuel for card or cash.

Gradually more charge points will be installed, and possibly more will accept the range of vehicles and charger links they have on them. There is then the issue of how long it takes to put enough charge in to the vehicle to continue your journey. I can refuel my vehicle in five  minutes to give another 450 miles range from anyone of around 20,000  filling stations. This is convenient. Even with a fast charger you will not get anything like  450  miles of range for 5 minutes at the filling station.

There is also the issue of effective range. The electric car will give you an estimate of how far you can travel before a new charge. This may prove optimistic. If you get into heavy traffic, if it starts to rain and you need wipers, if you need the heater or if the light wanes and you need lights, your effective range can contract visibly.

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  1. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    As a lot of people can only park outside their houses on the road, does this mean the pavements are going to be covered with electric cables overnight? An accident claim lawyers utopia.

    • glen cullen
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      It is against the Law to drap a power cable across the public highway/pavement without a work order, risk assessment, method of work statement and authorisation from local counci, and payment of any associated fee / licence….it is also an enfringement of health & safety Law to lay anything on the floor creating slips trips & falls hazard

      So no you can’t charge your EV outside your house on road

      • Hope
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        The idea of electric cars needs to be stopped now. At most have some form of electric tram or cars in main cities, leave everyone else alone. Stop mass immigration.

        Tell us how long a tractor will need to charge, road diggers, JCB s.

        Better still tell us when your fake Tory govt will scrap the Climate Change Act scam? Fake Tory govt uses diesel generators (STOR) to back up electricity supply when the useless wind machines do not work, which is a lot of the time. Why has your govt not examined clean coal, Fracking stopped by Johnson! But electric financed by China allowed! Idiots. Complete idiots.

        • glen cullen
          Posted July 17, 2020 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

          good summary….this Tory government just don’t get it

    • Mark B
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      Good point Bigneil.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      Environment issue

      The spiralling environmental cost of our lithium battery addiction and the little matter of disposing potentially of billions of auto batteries globally is a major concern.

      As the world scrambles to replace fossil fuels with clean energy, the environmental impact of finding all the lithium required could become a major issue in its own right. Toxic chemicals are needed in the manufacturing process of lithium. The release of such chemicals through leaching, spills or air emissions can harm communities, ecosystems and food production.

      For a simple example: when mobile phones/Cameras/laptops, tablets, watches, calculator batteries are thrown into the household rubbish, batteries end up in landfills. As the battery casing corrodes, chemicals leach into the soil and could eventually make their way into our water supply. These are relatively small batteries. Lithium batteries for Electric vehicles on the other hand are quite another matter altogether.

  2. Ian Wragg
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Unless you re write the laws of physics you won’t get anything like the range and flexibility of the ICE.
    Battery driven cars will only ever be good for short commutes.

    • NigelE
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      You are quite correct, Ian. I will not be getting on this bandwagon in the near future, if ever, for all the reasons Sir John outlines. Plus I wonder what the additional weight does to our block paving driveways? And I cannot see the price coming down anytime soon.

      Electric cars are a great concept but the practicalities have a long way to go. I’m reminded of a cartoon I saw printed in a Canadian newspaper in the early 90s: two guys stand in front of a showroom for electric cars, one saying, “hey, that’s a good price!”. Only when you closely examine the price label on the car do you read “Batteries not Included”.


    • Richard416
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Maybe the way round it is to change batteries for charged ones. If they were a standard type.

      • Hope
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        Ian you are right. A good gimmick for London and the like. This Westminster group think needs to change. I think the only way is to get rid of the two main parties. Both longer fit for purpose. Oh, for a Donald Trump to shake things up.

      • NickC
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        Richard416, Even if the batteries were standard (they’re not) would you want to exchange your nearly new, cared for, battery for a pool battery of doubtful heritage? A dodgy battery could leave you stranded, your car unsafe, and its value reduced.

      • David Brown
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

        Its interesting we have lots of new technology – the list is endless. Yet the humble battery was invented in 1800’s and the current batteries in 1950’s. The basic principal of a battery has not changed for over 60 years, and this is the key problem.

  3. formula57
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink


    Quite often advocates of EVs who point out many journeys are over short distances overlook the opportunity benefit bestowed by ICE vehicles that means unplanned long journeys can be undertaken easily and without preparation.

    Perhaps we ought to be more Norwegian-like, with EVs for local virtue signalling and powerful gas guzzlers for serious traveling.

  4. Nigl
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Excellent. It would be good if politicians acknowledged that they are of limited use. I sense that we are being forced towards something that is not fit for my purpose nor wallet. As no doubt other correspondents will point out again, they are not emission free and there are serious question marks about the battery life and sourcing of the rare minerals needed.

    You appear to me to be the only (a few?) politicians both listening to the voter and accepting its limitations. What about hydrogen or LPG?

    Off topic. The fact that the Russians (And therefore presumably others?) can hack sensitive HMG docs indicates that the Cold War you have started against China has little to do with security but all about politics and American, mainly, protectionism. Huweii is the biggest company in its sector in the world and Trump doesn’t like it.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Errr… it would appear that China infected us with a disease which has killed thousands of our people, very nearly our PM and destroyed our way of life before this Cold War started.

      How else was it going to go ?

  5. Bryan Harris
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Self charging technology is the real answer for electric cars …

    There are self charging hybrids on the market but how effective they are is a big question.

    Once we have all electric cars, what is to stop the traditional British rip-off to come into play to pay for the electricity?

    • Know-Dice
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Aren’t all hybrids “self charging”?

      Even an early Prius would self charge and I would guess [without Googling it] that even plug-in hybrids self charge as well

      It’s just a marketing scam…

    • glen cullen
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      Costs of cigarettes has gone up in direct proportion to the government ban of cigarettes (govt still get the tax revenue & companies still get profit)

      Cost of household energy has gone up in direct proportion to the government home insulation grants (govt still get the tax revenue & companies still get profit)

      Cost of EV charge point (and renew battery) unit energy will go up in direct proportion to the government ban on Internal combustion engine vehicles (govt still get the tax revenue & companies still get profit)

      Swings & roundabouts

    • NigelE
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      I can guarrantee that in the long run when effective subsidies are removed, we will pay as much fuel duty for electricity as for petrol/deisel. The govt will still need to fill its coffers.

      • glen cullen
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        100% correct

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      What about friction from the wheels?

      Yes I know it would take a major change in technology to get there, but it should be on our wishlist

    • John E
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Sounds like someone has swallowed the marketing line that implies these things have discovered perpetual motion.

    • graham1946
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      Self charging requires an ICE motor or a motor other than electric.. Self charging electric cannot exist – it is perpetual motion. Energy cannot be created or destroyed.

    • Oldsalt
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

      Bryan Harris:
      In my experience a non plug-in Hybrid needs to do your average 9k miles a year or so to maintain the battery charge otherwise the engine will still run at traffic lights etc therefore eliminating any advantage in mpg etc., while at the same time causing, not saving, pollution at the lights. An expensive inefficient impractical toy for low mileage users in my opinion.

  6. Adam
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Every aspect of inconvenience builds an obstruction. Drivers need practical efficiency to reach their intended destination, as do electric cars.

  7. Sakara Gold
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Electric vehicles are a new technology. Every year, scientific advances in battery technology improve the range and energy density of the batteries.

    For older electric vehicles it is convenient to recharge the batteries overnight when electricity is much cheaper. During the day, when the vehicle is not being used, it can be conveniently recharged from solar panels provided the sun is shining. At night, a fully charged vehicle can be used to light the house.

    The government can accelerate (no pun intended!) the transfer to electric vehicles by legislating for uniform charging connectors and investing in the charging technology. As more people buy electric vehicles, the current surplus of renewable energy from wind and solar will be soaked up.

    Admittedly, it is convenient to refill your tank at a petrol station and immediately gain a further 450-odd miles. This currently costs ~£50. However, to recharge your Tesla currently costs ~£9. Eventually, market forces will win out. All it takes is a little foresight before your journey to plan where you can recharge. My Garmin satnav already includes charging points on it’s display, if you set it to.

    Nevertheless, it is encouraging to read your recent series of blogs on the green revolution. Maybe the government could kick-start the change-over by offering tax breaks for the installation of charging infrastructure in city car parks, supermarkets and workplace parking?

    • NickC
      Posted July 18, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Sakara, Electric vehicles are not new technology. And the rest of your wish-list is just as technically illiterate. Try calculating the energy requirements of 38 million battery electric vehicles – all the data you need is on the internet. If you can’t even do that, you shouldn’t be commenting about what you don’t know.

  8. Copernicus
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Another political State imposed restriction targeting freedom of movement. Just another victory for the progressive State’s attack on who and what we are

    Make it more difficult to execute that freedom to move from a to b.

    They came for our identity, they took it and removed it. They came for our freedom of speech, they took it and removed it. Now they’re coming for our ability to move from one place to another, to frustrate that process.

    Then they’ll come for our cash and bank movements. Abolish cash to abolish the only private space left away from the invasive eyes and hands of the omnipresent socialist State

    They’ve invaded our private world through the politicisation of our sport and products advertising using racial identity to bombard our senses and emotions

    This is Labour’s cultural Marxist agenda to remodel our nation to suit their political and electoral stance adopted by the Tory party in their desperate attempt to crush the image of them as the party of nationalism and patriotism.

    I feel under attack. My parents feel under attack. My friends feel under attack.

    All to protect the Tory party from having the race card played against them by the intolerant fascist left. A national identity and our ancient freedoms obliterated on the altar of Tory politics

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:46 pm | Permalink


      Culminating under lockdown. I call it the Bandemic.

  9. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Summed up very nicely John. We often visit family and friends which involves a 300 mile journey. As you say, if there is a traffic jam on the Motorway (which there invariably is) and it’s winter so you want the heater on and the wipers going then you are going to start to get very concerned you could break down and cause an obstruction and a danger to other drivers. I can see a scenario whereby there could be many traffic jams caused by this factor. Then you have the problem of either plugging in at your friends home when he might want to be charging his car or finding somewhere else to charge it which could mean leaving it overnight on the road or in a car park. Not a very good scenario when you consider how many vehicles get trashed in town centres etc. When I speak to most people it’s the charging bit that is the problem and not the actual car itself. In the meantime I will carry on driving my diesel which I happen to love and will bit the bullet and pay the extra taxes as I believe in freedom of choice. I simply am not ready for an electric car.

    • andy
      Posted July 22, 2020 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

      There is a common misconception that somehow being stuck in traffic in an electric car will cause it to run out of battery due to running the heater/aircon. The only significant drain on a battery in an EV is the motor to accelerate/travel against air resistance. The slower the EV travels (stop-start in traffic for example) the greater the range. This is completely the opposite of ICE vehicles that we are all far too accustomed to.

      Reply Not true. Running the radio, air con, wipers and lights in traffic helps drain the battery faster.

  10. ukretired123
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    1. Tesla and EVs “are only for those with deep pockets”.
    2. Winter temps will halve range and increase range anxiety.
    3. Future Power cuts and random blackouts will occur and add to this.
    4. Massive infrastructure and investment requirements.

  11. Sinclair C5
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    They won’t catch on, the combustion engine is beautiful.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      ‘I love the smell of unburned hydrocarbons in the morning..’

      With apologies to Mr. Coppola.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        I just love that Castrol R wafting about.

  12. Mark B
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Much like what seems everything else, there seems to be no real joined up thinking. It seems to me that those vested interests with money and connections are better able to influence government policy to suit there own agenda rather serve the nation. We are building an energy generation supply that cannot meet demand and is both intermittent and expensive. On top of this all the Green ideas require government subsidy, either to survive or to be taken up by the consumer. This is not only unfeasible but very expensive. In turn the government cannot support such policies and I foresee great disruption. But will they listen? Doubt it.

  13. Andy
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Most electric cars can be charged up from a regular plug socket. This, as you rightly point out, is a very slow way of charging them.

    Consequently, most owners get a fast charger installed at home. These are much quicker and usually drivers will leave their cars to fully charge overnight.

    This way of charging is fine for most motorists most of the time. As the average journey length is this country is around 10 miles, you can do plenty of average journeys between charges.

    Many big companies also have electric car charging points in their car parks for their staff and customers, many public car parks have them too – and so do many petrol stations. It really is not hard to one. You pay by app or credit card. The same way I pay for petrol.

    As you point out Tesla also has its supercharger network – the latest of which adds 75 miles of range to a car in 5 minutes. If you want to add 300 miles of range that’s a 20 minute stop. Now it is true that you do have to think differently if you use an electric car. When a petrol car is empty most of us just fill it up. If you are going on a long journey in an electric car you probably don’t want to fully recharge enroute. But you might want to add a small boost and then recharge fully when you reach your destination.

    As for Tesla’s app – that allows you to update your car. Yes, that’s right. Update your car with new software. The app also lets you park the car remotely (you get out, it parks for you), call the car from a parking space, pre-heat the car in winter and much more.

    I know you are all electric car sceptics. But I can assure you these are now some of the best cars on the market. It is a mature technology – and is getting better all the time. Teslas in particular are cars of the future. I urge you to all test drive one. By test drive I mean sit in the drivers seat while the car drives you. You’ll be properly blown away.

    • NickC
      Posted July 18, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Andy, Best cars?? (words left out ed). All the battery electric cars I know of are built on existing ICE platforms, so are hardly likely to be better.

      They weigh more – a lot more, usually at least 40% more – and cost more – a lot more, up to 100% more. The range is short, and the re-fuelling time is long. Battery life is unreliable, and replacement very expensive. They are less safe – but then you don’t care about other people.

      Probably worse than cars which no one would buy if they were ICE cars, the infrastructure is not present, and the extra power stations are not being built. Current BEVs are like your CFLs – rubbish and expensive and not practical. Come back when the batteries have 5x the energy storage, and there’s something to charge them with.

  14. oldtimer
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Tesla’s relative success probably stems from its effective charging network. By comparison the competition on offer is a joke. This is clear from tests undertaken by people whose opinion I trust, notably by Harry Metcalf (ex Evo magazine founder and editor) on his YouTube channel Harry’s Garage.

    At least three things need to change before I would even think about an electric car. Range must be doubled. Charging time must be halved. A comprehensive, readily accessible system for recharging must be available. Reliance on home charging will not be an answer for most people who lack a private driveway. And the vehicles are expensive and heavy for what they offer.

    The reality is that the BEV is a dumb and inefficient way to go forward. But it is the politicians, not the consumers, who are trying to push it’s widespread adoption. It will all end in tears.

  15. Steve Reay
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    You also need to be aware that at the end of life the electric car will be worthless as the battery will be shot.

    • John E
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Batteries can be replaced. Admittedly at a cost but the rest of the vehicle should have a very long life with few moving parts to wear out. I can see EV’s having a longer economic life than conventional cars.

  16. margaret howard
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Most car journeys are low mileage. For those who regularly need to drive long distances a hybrid is the answer.

    • NickC
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Margaret H, What about those who need to drive long distances irregularly? And Hybrids are not the answer because the government which you support is banning new Hybrids at the very same time as it’s banning new petrol and diesel car sales.

      • John P
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        Don’t worry Boris is busy destroying the economy and civil liberties so that travel will no longer be required or possible. Problem solved.

      • John E
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        On the one hand I understand the government move because most plug-in hybrids were never plugged in. They were bought as company cars to milk the tax advantages.
        On the other hand they are a useful way to bridge the gap. Get more cars on the road that can use the charger network to help support expansion.

        • NickC
          Posted July 18, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

          John E, True. But for the owner driver market, Hybrids make much more sense than battery only cars.

  17. NickC
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    JR, Battery electric cars need fuel, just as ICE cars do. When does the government plan to build the extra electricity generating capacity?

    Indeed, since new houses cannot be built with gas HW and CH from 2025, that means extra electricity will be needed from 2025 for those as well.

    • Andy
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      I would imagine that, like most people, your life is stuffed full of far more gizmos and gadgets than ever before.

      And also, like most people, you are using less electricity year after year. You have more and use less. How can this be?

      It is very simple. The products we use are getting significantly more efficient all the time. Low energy lightbulbs, efficient fridges – these things make a massive difference.

      As a country the amount of electricity we are using continues to fall significantly even as products powered by electricity take over our lives.

      • NickC
        Posted July 18, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        Andy, The reason that the UK uses less electricity nowadays is we have de-industrialised in the last 20 years. For example, aluminium smelters use a lot of electricity – and Anglesey closed in 2009 and Burntisland in 2002 (both under Labour).

        You can run 5x 100W filament lightbulbs in all 30 million UK homes for one hour for the same energy it takes to produce only 1 tonne of aluminium. The Anglesey smelter alone produced 142,000 tonnes a year.

        It’s absolutely nothing to do with your inconsequential “low energy lightbulbs”, or other minor efficiency gains.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 18, 2020 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          Correct Nick.
          Brick making, ceramics , glass making and the industries you mention have gone away from the UK.
          Yet Andy thinks it is all due to better kettles and light bulbs.

  18. Anonymous
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    It’s still a rich person’s option. £37k is the price of the entry level Tesla. The underwhelming Nissan Leaf is £30k.

    There is much mileage left in fossil fuel cars – look after one and you can get 20 years and several hundred thousand miles out of it, so it is still better for the environment to keep existing cars on the road rather than to scrap them before time and waste resources creating an electric replacement.

    Of course, keeping the masses on the roads is not the intention of forcing electrification before power stations, charging points and affordability of the cars themselves are within reach.

    I’d prefer the Government to be concentrating more on the 14% unemployment that is coming.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Hinkley Point.

      Effectively China and France become our petrol suppliers if we switch our transport to electric.

      I am appalled out our reliance on foreign powers for strategic infrastructure.

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        Our politicians don’t do strategy; China’s do. Damn that Sun Tzu chappy.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

          Our politicians fail to plan for a week ahead, China plans for a decade – minimum.

    • NickC
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Anon, A very good comment. It is indeed possible that the government’s long term aim is to keep the unwashed masses off the roads, but I tend to thick it is more likely to be incompetence.

      It goes along with the government’s failure to build new electricity generating capacity both for the 2035 battery cars policy, and to cope with their policy to ban gas CH and HW in all new houses from 2025.

  19. Everhopeful
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Let’s hope the wind keeps a blowing!

    • NigelE
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Apparently, that’s where the answer is ….

      • Everhopeful
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        Ah yes..but even back then Donovan acknowledged that trying to catch the wind was a pointless escapade!

  20. beresford
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Power them from an overhead grid, then they won’t need charging. Complicated controls can be replaced by just a steering wheel and a ‘go’ pedal. All-round rubber bumpers ensure that minor collisions can be tolerated without damage.

    • piglet
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink


    • Mark
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Going round in circles on the fairground dodgems won’t get you anywhere useful, however…

    • Otto
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I remember bumper cars with overhead connections and rubber bumpers – excellent they were – they’re the answer! The overhead bit needs to be thought out though – what about on the road surface? Dangerous?

  21. Lifelogic
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    To put it in context on a domestic 13 Amp charger you can put 3KWHours of energy in (less losses) per hour. That is about the energy contained in 1/3 or a litre of petrol (though losses in using the petrol engine are higher about 2/3). So you are refulling at about one litre per hour.

    Unless you just want a second city car best to have to keep your old car and wait for better battery or other technology or perhaps buy a hybrid without these severe limitations.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      A petrol station with say 8 pumps can “recharge” vehicles with fuel at a rate that is perhaps the same as about 24,000 basic charge stations! Quite some difference. Faster charge stations are available, but fast charging is also more wasteful in energy losses and can limit battery life even more. Battery life is another big issue. Battery depreciation is very high (on a larger electric car it might be over £10 a day car used on not used)! This far exceeds the cost of the electricity the battery can hold which might be circa £3!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        £10 day used or not used

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        My neighbour has a new Tesla. He commutes 40 mile round trip no problem.
        He says the range is 300 miles.
        Tesla recommended only 80 charge to save the battery means actual range 240 miles. With heater/A/C lights and wipers reduces to 200 miles.
        We go on a 3 week cruise and drive to Southampton 185 miles. The battery loses 1% of its charge daily whilst standing so when we get back to the car there may be 20 miles left in the battery.
        My Civic does 50mpg so when I return there is still 300 miles in the tank. The petrol hasn’t evaporated while we are away.
        EV useless.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 18, 2020 at 3:45 am | Permalink


    • Richard1
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      The other consideration is how many electric cars are on the road, how much infrastructure is there to re-Charge them and from what source is the extra electricity to be generated? At the moment a fraction of 1% of cars are electric and it takes 2o mins for a fast charge. When we have 100s x as many on the road as now we will need 100s x as many charge points. And perhaps a 50% increase in electricity grid generation, even before we’ve counted fully electrifying home heating / cooking, industry and transport. Where is all that to come from? If the answer is wind farms With backup provided by nuclear, then based on current production we need 10-15x as many wind farms and 3-5x as much nuclear.

      Time for some clarity and honesty on green policy choices, with real numbers.

  22. Lifelogic
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    I think Javid was totally wrong in revoking Shamima Begum’s citizenship. Why on earth has it take so long to get the courts to change this position? Are the government really going to appeal this?

    • Nigl
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Agree totally. A young girl made a mistake, didn’t we all?

      The State has come over as bullying and lacking charity.

      • Know-Dice
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        I pretty sure that I didn’t go to another country and support a known terrorist organisation, may be you did?

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        I agree – but if she’s going to offer the defence that she was too young and easily influenced may we please dispense with the demands from the Left that 16-year-olds should be given the vote.

      • Andy
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        You said The State. You meant the Conservative Party.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        I am glad someone agrees. I ticked an online survey today on should he have the citizenship revoked and it said only 4% agreed with me on this. I found this rather depressing.

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

          …presumably not depressing for the other 96% who believed the original decision was sound.

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        If I were to ask my primary school-age niblings whether it was right or wrong to travel to ISIS Land they would be capable of coming up with the right, moral answer.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Yes…and there are 150 more similar cases in the pipeline.
      MI 5 or 6 is going to be very busy!

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      I salute his decision.

  23. Tim the Coder
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    There is also the issue of how many and how frequent the fast charges may be.

    One Guardian journalist discovered the hard way on a trip to Scotland that only one fast charge per 24 hours was permitted. The second refuel stop therefore took 8 hours.

    Not a practical vehicle even in the tiny UK, except as an addition tax-avoiding vehicle for very local suburb driving (cities don’t have driveways for home charging).

    Take away the tax avoidance and they have no benefit at all.

    Electric cars are close to saturation in UK and will not substantially replace petrol/diesel regardless of Government action. We may all end up driving round in “commercial” vehicles: look at how SUV got started in the USA to see how politico’s can really mess things up.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      +1 even with the tax breaks, congestion charge benefits etc. they make little sense for most people. Many is cities have no where to park and charge them up anyway.

  24. jerry
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Charging points and payment methods need to be standardised and regulated, the govt could use the existing system of Construction and Use regs to do this. In previous comments I have suggested how this might work using a data-link between car, any presented payment-card, the charging point supplier (and HMRC with regards any road fuel duty).

    But as you say, range and speed of recharging is the real bugbear with EVs, even fast charging is problematic, still longer than filling IC engines fuel tank and might reduce the life of the traction battery if done regularly. Again perhaps the answer is to standardise the battery and location and have the ability to quickly swap out the traction battery pack on a service exchange basis, but of course that needs a large network of such garages open 24/7.

    Not sure if using lights, even headlights, on a EV is a real killer, given that they would almost certainly be LEDs, in fact they are likely to be feed off the vehicles aux battery by the vehicle movement, more of a problem might be passenger cell heating, but then if resistive braking was standardised the waste heat from that process could be used.

    But my worry is our basic national grid capacity, even when used to charge EVs overnight. That is the first thing the govt needs to sort out before giving any end date for new IC engined cars & vans!

    • jerry
      Posted July 18, 2020 at 6:19 am | Permalink

      Oops, missing word …in fact they are likely to be feed off the vehicles aux battery charged by the vehicle movement…

    • NickC
      Posted July 18, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Jerry, Have you been inventing a perpetual motion machine again? Both the lighting and the heating energy must in the end come from the battery.

      Regenerative braking is currently used to help the range. Diverting the same energy to heating (via resistive braking) effectively deprives the traction battery of that energy. And an auxiliary battery charged by “vehicle movement” is simply taking its energy from the traction battery.

      But you are right to be worried about the national Grid capacity. For the BEVs policy, we need more generating capacity, an upgraded Grid, and to re-wire streets and homes. As I have been saying for over a year. Since the generating capacity has the longest build time, that is the most urgent. But the government is doing nothing.

      • jerry
        Posted July 18, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        @NickC; Will you stop trolling please. I have explained more than once already, you keep talking about regenerative braking, I ‘m talking about RESISTIVE braking systems.

        You are also way out that heating has to come from the traction battery, nor for that matter any aux charging system.

        Tell me do you keep your accelerator flat to the floor when cursing, coasting, going down hill. Never been on a bicycle that has coasted down a hill, do you stay at the same speed, get slower or go faster?…

        I’m talking about using waste energy, ie. using the energy that has already been given up by the traction battery, or kinetic energy that has been created by the inertia of the mass -you appear to think such energy can only ever be given up to air as heat via friction.

        Stop bleating on about what is now, I’m suggesting what could be in 10-20 years, by your logic we should never have progressed beyond the single-cylinder horseless carriage with a bicycle chain between it and the wheel!

        • Edward2
          Posted July 18, 2020 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

          Anyone who stands up to you Jerry gets called a troll as you have done to me.
          You are not always right.
          Read and take comments on board.

          • jerry
            Posted July 19, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

            @Edwrad2; “Read and take comments on board.”

            OK, I’m all ears, rather behaving like Mr Pot, care to tell me what is factually incorrect in the post you replied to.

        • NickC
          Posted July 21, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

          Jerry, I dealt with resistive braking, if only you bothered to read before reacting. You also need an elementary course in physics: all the energy used in a battery electric car comes from the traction battery.

  25. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Why can’t we simply change the battery for a charged one, like we do with power tools?

    So we would pay a hire charge plus recyclable deposit for the battery and buy the electricity.

    Is it beyond the wit of man, to design a car where this can easily be done by an unskilled operator at a service/filling station?

    Are some people afraid that it would expose the actual running costs?

    • MWB
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      There is no such thing as “the battery”. Have you looked at the custruction of electric car batteries, and where they are lopcated ? Obviously not.

      In my current non-electric Audi A5 coupé, I can’t even replace the conventional battery, without recourse to a computer running the VAG software. in order to cofigure it into the system.

      The batteries make up most of the floor of the vehicle, so good luck with changing that. If there were a few engineers making green policy, instead of the usual suspects, we might have more sensible policies.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        With current designs, yes.

        That need not always be so.

    • miami.mode
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      This is a joke, right? The 75 kWh battery in a Tesla 3 weighs 480kg.

      • jerry
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

        @miami.mode; Your point being what, a cars IC engine unit can 480kg, are you saying that a garage can not remove and refit them either, how do you think a EV is made on the production line?

        • DavidJ
          Posted July 17, 2020 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps you should ask your local garage what the labour charge would be for changing a battery. It is a completely different situation from manufacture on the production line.

          • jerry
            Posted July 18, 2020 at 6:22 am | Permalink

            @DavidJ; I don’t need to ask, I might as well as myself!

            Designed correctly it might only take 10 minutes, designed wrongly yes it might take 16 hours…

        • NickC
          Posted July 17, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

          Jerry, 480kg IC engine units are not regularly exchanged in a motorway service station, or filling station, either. And before you squeal that’s not what you meant, it is what Martin meant when he said: “simply change the battery” as a solution to needing a full charge on a long journey.

          • jerry
            Posted July 18, 2020 at 6:34 am | Permalink

            @NickC; But they could be, just as they will have to offer fast charging that they currently do not. Stop thinking about how we have done thing for the last 60 years, start trying to think out side your comfort zone.

          • NickC
            Posted July 18, 2020 at 11:52 am | Permalink

            Jerry, They could be. But it’s not very practical, even if it’s technically feasible. The difficulties cover access, weight, safety, re-sealing, and work time. And how many people would want to change their pristine battery for an indifferent pool battery? Not many, I think. Then exchanging a battery would probably take longer than a booster charge anyway, especially if you have to queue. It is not like a DIY battery tool.

          • jerry
            Posted July 18, 2020 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

            @NickC; You really do like showing off your ignorance, before you bleat about safety you should research the dangers of petrol and why there has been a Petroleum Act that regulates the storage of petrol and its delivery etc for about 100 years if you think EV traction batteries are ‘unsafe’.

            No one is suggesting that your exchange battery would be old and manky, more likely it would be an as new service exchange unit – remember I’m suggesting what could, given regulation, standardisation and the envisaged massive move to EVs in 10-20 or so years, given that the political will is to switch to EVs, bleating like you are gets us nowhere in the long run – quite literally.

          • NickC
            Posted July 21, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

            Jerry, Actually because petrol needs safe handling doesn’t mean BEV batteries don’t. And I am suggesting that an exchange battery at a motorway service station could be in a poorer condition than the original. Retreating into what could be the case in 10-20 years time is simply hand waving to obscure your current errors.

        • miami.mode
          Posted July 17, 2020 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

          jerry, if you read it, it referred to a service/filling station. Where did your garage come from?

          • jerry
            Posted July 18, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

            @miami.mode; “Where did [that] garage come from?”

            Were did the filling stations come from, they were not there 100 years ago, but the motor car and its IC engines were. Were did the motorways come from, they were not their either, just 60 years ago!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        A battery perhaps costing £20,000 to replace and depreciating at circa £10 every day used or not used (and losing charge as it stands there).

        • jerry
          Posted July 17, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

          @LL; “A battery perhaps costing £20,000 to replace”

          At current, niche, prices…

          I wonder what the relative retail cost of a brand-new engine for a Model T Ford was in 1910.

          I always remember the showroom prices of Japanese and many European cars in the 1970s, dirt cheap compared to UK made cars, OE service and repair parts were often three or four times the cost of the same parts for a UK made car.

          • Fred H
            Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

            however, the UK made cars were rarely on the road, but Japanese and some European cars ran forever…

          • jerry
            Posted July 18, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink

            @Fred H; Surely a sick UK bashing joke?

            I can assure, yours was a common miss-conception, that Japanese and European cars were any more reliable than UK cars, believe me, I was there getting my hands dirty…

            Especially European cars, and when they went wrong a job that might take an hour on a UK designed car could take all day – there was a long running joke with one mass produced French car, to carry out a 6000 mile service, first remove the engine…

          • Fred H
            Posted July 18, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

            Jerry so was I – – sending lorry loads of parts to Cowley – – when the unions allowed delivery through the gates. Once they actually produced their cars and lots of UK cars were crap. AA used to do loads of advertising – -to reassure car owners who would need help at the roadside.
            I’m not a UK basher – far from it. But don’t rewrite history -apart from some wonderful sports cars, family cars were pretty dreadful.

          • jerry
            Posted July 18, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

            @Frede H; I thought we were talking about mechanical reliability rather than management, I see my mistake, you’re correct, Japanese & European and management were far better, working with the unions and employees as partners, not foes…

            What about the AA, they do even more adversing now, commercial breaks are full of them, by your logic modern cars are worse than those in the 1970s – oh hang-on, maybe they are – need a diagnosis computer now just to change a light bulb!

          • Fred H
            Posted July 18, 2020 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

            jerry – I obviously don’t watch/listen to the same channels as you – I can’t even remember the last time I was aware of the AA. I’ve used 3 different ‘roadside support’ companies in the last 5 years- never gave AA a thought.

    • Martyn G
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      In theory it probably would be possible. But in practice, rather too difficult at the moment – the weight and size of batteries would need specialised lifting and handling machinery and since there is a wide disparity in the types of battery, a garage would have to either specialise on one make or have available fully charged range of batteries to meet all requirements.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        Change cars perhaps and move passengers and luggage instead of batteries!

        I think I will stick with my jalopy.

    • jerry
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      @MiC; I was with you until you said;

      “Is it beyond the wit of man, to design a car where this can easily be done by an unskilled operator at a service/filling station?”

      To answer that, yes it would be possible to design for easy traction battery swaps, but not by the unskilled or DIY, just as you would not expect unskilled operatives to connect a house to the live CEGB ring-main in the street – EV traction batteries can KILL, your analogy to ‘plug-n-play’ power tool batteries is misplaced.

      Segregated work areas, DVA rated (to 1500v DC) Rubber mats, rubber gloves and insulated tools, plus suitable electrocution rescue equipment, are H&S mandated for working on EVs and hybrids.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      So… I have to get the battery near fully dead so that there is no loss to me in the exchange.

      At the moment, if I have a tank half full and I know I’m going on a long journey I can simply top it up and pay the exact amount – with a battery exchange I’d have to plan my journey so I get to the exact point I need to be able to swap battery so that I don’t cheat myself out of ‘fuel’ left in the battery the garage takes off me.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 18, 2020 at 3:50 am | Permalink

        Well a full car battery even a largish one (costing perhaps circa £20K) only holds about £4 of electricity. So not a huge loss if handed back half full.

      • NickC
        Posted July 18, 2020 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        Anon, The cost of the “fuel”, as Lifelogic explains, is trivial. What matters is whether you would be happy swapping out your nearly new £20k battery for an indifferent pool battery.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink


      So I go in my brand new electric car to a garage, and they swap my brand new battery for one that is charged but nearly life expired, and has less than 25% of its original range left.

      What then, better luck next time.

      Who is ever going to invest in a new battery when it only lasts until the next recharge/exchange.

      Forget that idea, it is not going to happen.

    • steve
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Permalink


      A problem with what you suggest is that manufacturers – 0f anything, don’t like standardisation unless its theirs.

      Never the less I doubt battery changes could be performed by unskilled operators. Simply too risky given the potential for uncontrollable and very serious chemical fires.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 18, 2020 at 3:54 am | Permalink

        The could be done entirely automatically by a robotic machine if there were some suitable standard design, But why bother when petrol and hybrid cars are so much better anyway. And a petrol tank cost £100 to store 10 times the energy as a £20,000 battery?

        • jerry
          Posted July 18, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

          @LL; Oh do stop crying over spilt milk…

          I don’t like EVs any more than you but the political will is against common sense, we need to start making the best of what is barrelling down the hill towards us.

          • NickC
            Posted July 18, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, That’s a fair point. But I do not think it is “barrelling down the hill towards us” because the government is not building the extra electricity power stations that would be needed. Consequently the government will have to backtrack, causing chaos.

          • jerry
            Posted July 18, 2020 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

            @NickC; Not at all, I suspect Whitehall’s view is people will simply have to use public transport for longer journeys.

            Like smoking, the govt has for some years attempted to get us out of our private cars, tougher driving tests, tougher MOTs, higher taxes, and purposely causing congestion for the private car driver, whilst -like with smoking- still using the motorist as a cash cow. If we want long distance EVs we need to fight our corner, not bleat.

  26. Stredbe
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    After the council halved the number of parking spaces in my district, it’s hard to park near my house after 5pm. The idea of recharging from a home supply is ridiculous. Recharging stations would need to be expanded by the factor of the time to refill petrol – 5 minutes and rapid recharge – 60 minutes, ie 12.

  27. dixie
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    I agree that EV range, charge time and method need to improve however you need to balance the capabilities with the need.

    EV mileage is around 3.5 – 4 miles per kWh, the DfT “Road Use Statistics Great Britain 2016” has 95% of all personal trips were less than 25 miles which would require around 2 – 2.5 hrs charging off the 13A mains socket. EV owners typically charge off a domestic wall charger which runs at 32A and so would take half the time while solar panels can reduce fuelling cost to zero.

    Just as ICE drivers do not intentionally empty the tank, EV users do not intentionally run the battery flat, typically you aim to keep the charge level at 20 – 80%, charging to 100% just prior to a longer journey. So most people would not need to charge a car for 12 hours, more like a couple of hours at home and at work.

    Longer journeys do involve a bit of planning but motorway services have fast chargers and the satnav locates charge points generally so it isn’t that difficult. The majority of hotels I have considered have EV charge points for overnight charging. When visiting friends and family I also rely on destination charging when the car won’t be used for hours anyway. But I don’t often do long journeys and when I do I plan them anyway because I need to take a break every couple of hours so a 45 minute EV stop is no more an inconvenience really than the 20+ minute ICE stop.

    Range does decrease in winter, around 15%-20% in my experience, however the same is also true of ICE vehicles, granted not as much, but you aren’t aware because the non-EV doesn’t display it’s guess as prominently. Heavy traffic does not impact Evs like it does ICE vehicles, the engine isn’t always running and you don’t use more fuel/charge at lower speed.

    Different users have different requirements and EVs will suit some users more than ICE and vice versa. The technology will develop over time and the capabilities will improve but they will not satisfy some sectors in the medium term if at all. But there is too much competition for resources and I think we will be forced away from the one-size-fits-all convenience of “universal” hydrocarbon fuels pulled out of the ground towards hybrid solutions.

    Where do you think your petrol & diesel will come from, how long can you depend on that line of supply and what are the consequences of that dependency. Hasn’t the situation of medical and PPE supplies in the Covid pandemic been a clear enough signal of the danger of relying too much on others when other interests conflict and not planning or preparing thoroughly enough?

    • NickC
      Posted July 18, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Dixie, Even if everything you say is true (and you are obviously not wild-eyed Andy) all BEVs must be recharged. Doubling the capacity of street cabling, the Grid, and electricity generation is technically feasible, but at what cost? And – simply – it’s not being done.

      As for not relying on others, then BEVs put us in a worse position than ICE vehicles. Why? Because lithium and rare earth material supplies are very restricted compared with petroleum.

  28. John S
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    I can see people holding on to their petrol/diesel driven cars as long as possible. They may even go up in value.

    • Ed M
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      The virus has changed things.

      Until the virus arrived, there was certainly consumer demand for electric cars – and rising (whether this consumer demand makes sense or not isn’t important – what is important is the fact of this consumer demand).

      IF economy returns to normal fairlyish soon, then this consumer demand for electric cars will return. Hopefully, our government will be there to help those in this market so that we can make great electric cars and export around the world —> Higher technical skills, better paid jobs, higher productivity, satisfaction in exporting a strong British brand.

      • glen cullen
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        There where 210.000 registered EV cars upto Dec 2018……not a great demand – in terms of vehicle demand its almost zero

        The current buyers are the rich & famous – there just isnt a demand from the plebs

      • John E
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        If we want electric cars to be made here we need a large battery production capability.
        The logical manufacturing route for EV’s is to put the vehicle assembly plant next to the battery plant as Tesla has done.
        Without battery production in the UK we will not have a car industry. When will the last factory close down? I estimate within five years.

  29. Original Richard
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    The problem with current battery technology is that fast charging quickly degrades the batteries.

    Until this is issue is solved EVs are more suitable for regular commuting/local journeys where the battery can be charged slowly overnight.

    However, this does have the great advantage that the vehicle is fully “fuelled” each morning without the effort and time to go to a fuelling station.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Just the job on a feezing wet night when you get home at 7pm and have to connect car to mains on the drive. They will become easy pray for theives. Wait till we get a spate of electrocutions.

    • steve
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      Original Richard

      “The problem with current battery technology is that fast charging quickly degrades the batteries.”

      Ah that’s ok you just go and get yourself into more debt to buy new batteries.

  30. Sharon Jagger
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    My husband and I tow a caravan. We have a diesel car to pull it. To enable an electric car to achieve the same horse power, an electric vehicle would need a huge battery and so probably a more expensive car. This would likely prove to be a prohibitive cost and as a retired couple not practical now.

    So not only would we not be able to afford the vehicle, we’d probably have to give up our caravan.

    Even if we could afford the vehicle, where would we charge it with a caravan on the back on a long journey?

    The cost to the environment has been very much down played and as you’ve said previously diesel and peril cars are much cleaner than ever before.

    My point is improve on what we have, not destroy it all to replace with something expensive and impractical that needs a whole new infrastructure using electricity that is in short supply anyway.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      In all probability though what you fear ( not being able to afford holidays etc.) is what the powers that be want.
      It fits in with the Green Agenda.
      The behavioural studies govt. gurus have twigged that when “nudged” enough or rather bashed over the head enough …people self herd into the required position.
      So…no High Streets…no shopping…no flying…no holidays…no cars ( except for the uber wealthy) and no loads of other stuff too I imagine.
      The New Normal. De-Development!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      +1. How would poor Margaret Beckett cope with an electric car and her caravan trips?

  31. Mark
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    One of the bigger problems with moving to electric vehicles is that the extra peak demand which lasts some hours and overlap significantly with other households, not just a few minutes as with a full kettle or electric shower, is that cabling from main transformers via distribution cables will have to be replaced to manage the larger peak current required. This will entail digging up all the roads, adding in more local transformers or replacing existing ones with beefier models with a higher peak power rating and replacing all the cabling. GWPF has a new study that looks at the problem in more detail, and attempts to cost the consequences here

    Their estimate is £200bn, and that is just for the distribution level recabling – not the main transmission network, or the extra generators that would be required.

    Listening to some of the contributions to the BEIS Select Committee yesterday, it is evident that there is no interest there in protecting consumer interests – only in enabling green vanity projects. We need a proper red team that criticises energy proposals. MPs are not providing it.

  32. Kenneth
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    I see the potential for a lot of futile effort going into electric cars when the near future is that of a driverless car that you would summon on your phone. The car itself would manage its own fuelling (whatever the power source).

    The real environmental benefit will come through having car-sharing, re-fuelling and route planning (including interfaces with other transport systems such as trains) managed automatically, dramatically reducing congestion.

    Scenario: you have your preferences in your phone-app: (i) fastest or cheapest? (ii) prepare to share? (iii) smoker? (iv) luxury or budget vehicle? etc etc and you just tap in the time you wish the car to turn up. The amount you are charged will vary according to the journey cost and your preferences.

    Electric cars will only provide a marginal environmental benefit. I think the car industry needs to look a little further forward.

  33. Iain Gill
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    I have been laughing my socks of, the trade magazine for manufacturing in Europe features some “leaders of manufacturing” from the UK. guess what… the companies they work for have done absolutely no manufacturing in the UK or Europe for decades, its all done in Asia.

    This sums up for me the state of our economy. The elite all think we can just be a services economy selling financial services and education to the rest of the world, well think again its not working and will not work…

  34. Iain Gill
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    re recharging, did you know that Tesla disable remotely the ability to fast charge your car if you go outside their dealer network for repairs… so a car which is easily capable of being charged quickly as you travel around is artificially restricted to being a car that needs an overnight charge every time. such restrictive practices need to end.

  35. Nigl
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Ps I see Comment Central is saying we will be caught up in the EUs regulatory web for many years.

    Will someone come clean for a change? If true doesn’t sound like leaving to me.

    • agricola
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      If true we need a referendum to accept or reject.

      • DavidJ
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

        We had our referendum; the question was explicit “Leave the European Union”. No half measures specified nor acceptable.

      • Andy
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        Brexit has happened. You left. The terms of the withdrawal agreement are terrible. It was voted for by nearly every Tory MP. They agreed to a border down the Irish Sea, ECJ jurisdiction over NI, huge payments to the EU for the next 40 years – and masses amount of bureaucracy both for businesses and individuals.

        As an international treaty the withdrawal agreement also can not be changed.

        This mess is exactly what you all voted for in 2016.

        • NickC
          Posted July 18, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

          Andy, Brexit has not happened. We have not left. The EU still controls us. I voted for what was on offer – leaving the EU’s SM, CCP, CFP, CAP, etc by July 2018 (2 years under Art50). It was the Remain Parliaments of 2019 to 2019 which prevented that. The mess, including the WA mess, is a Remain mess.

  36. Ian @Barkham
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Everyone keeps ducking the hydrogen fuel cell as the viable electric alternative.

    Not forgetting all the official vehicles at the London Olympics were Hydrogen – yes way back then. The London council has a fleet of hydrogen vehicles. Even the police use hydrogen in their cars.

    Wrightbus (the London bus manufacturer) under Jo Banford is geared to only supplying Hydrogen buses.

    In the last month it was announced that Windfarm Power was able to efficiently and affordably turn its output directly in to hydrogen. Their main point was for storage of power when use and wind didn’t coincide.

    But what ever the outcome, it is not ‘green’ if it is not produced in facilities and delivered to market with the same credentials. It is then just tokenism

    We don’t make the batteries in the UK so importing them as a power store is just aggravating the problem that is trying too be solved.

  37. Ian @Barkham
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Batteries have what in comparable terms is a very, very – short life span. Their cost as a proportion of the cost of the vehicle is astronomical, that kills the 2nd hand market, therefore the car market. If selling it on means the new purchaser has to fund a battery that is worth more than a car, it isn’t going to happen in any meaningful way. Although manufacturers could guarantee the battery for a half life of 15 years and that might help.

    • Andy
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      The latest batteries are designed to power a car for 1,000,000 miles. Yes, one million miles. Any petrol engines able to do that? Thought not.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        Proof? The sales people would love to meet you.

      • cornishstu
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

        I suggest you go look at the Volvo High Mileage Club

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 5:48 pm | Permalink


  38. Mike Stallard
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    There is a reason electric cars and buses gave way to petrol driven ones…

    Ed Davy last night spoke of replacing coal and nuclear power stations with renewables. He obviously has not looked at the statistics.
    Wind is OK – no more than that – when the wind blows. Solar works on summer days only. The rest are infinitesimal.
    Dear old nuclear and oil and the hypocrisy of biomass do the heavy lifting at night, in winter, when there is no wind. Cancel them and – bingo – the country draws to a halt, computers WFH and all.

    • glen cullen
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      But you can still burn coal to generate electricity…….you know, like china, poland etc

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 18, 2020 at 3:59 am | Permalink

        & Germany

    • MWB
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      Has Davy ever said anything sensible ?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 18, 2020 at 3:59 am | Permalink

        Nothing that I have every heard.

    • Andy
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Solar works all year round. And the sun doesn’t even need to shine.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 18, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        No sun? – – a tiny fraction of the rate when sunny. Try doing anything useful with solar north of Manchester.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Ed Davey read PPE I think – I do not think they cover the basic laws of physics or basic numeracy! It is a course that appeals to people who have no interest in such things.

  39. Ian @Barkham
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Projecting forward, it is feasible and shown to be through trials is to have a car charged while on the move via imbedded cables in the road. This how new mobile phones are charged just near but not in contact with the charging facility.

    Still requires an expensive as yet a short life battery to hold the charge. The infrastructure cost would make HS2 like peanuts.

    It still all comes back to hydrogen. Its a store of electricity that its only by product is water. End of life, it isn’t in the same polluting costly league as with most other forms of transport.

    All it needs is a proper analysis, is it a short term fix we need or a long term solution we are after?

    The way the government is throwing money at everything to get us past this dreaded virus situation so we can move on, is like climbing a cliff face when compared to solving and effective future transport situation.

    • Original Richard
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      “It still all comes back to hydrogen. Its a store of electricity that its only by product is water. End of life, it isn’t in the same polluting costly league as with most other forms of transport.”

      Provided the hydrogen isn’t burnt in air. When burning hydrogen in air efficiently it burns with a high temperature and produces NOxs.

      So this means hydrogen fuel cells and FCEVs are currently twice the price of BEVs.

      So fuel cells need to halve in price and a big infrastructure needs to be built to distribute and store liquid hydrogen.

      On the other hand battery technology needs to overcome the quick degradation of batteries, particularly when fast charged.

    • Mark
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      No, hydrogen is unlikely to be the solution. Mercedes have abandoned their development of hydrogen fuelled vehicles because they are too costly. A year ago, a hydrogen fuelling station exploded in Oslo and burned to the ground. Hydrogen can be very dangerous – much more so than petrol. It is very expensive to make hydrogen, which is why it is almost exclusively made for use by the chemical industry – mainly to make ammonia – and in oil refining (mainly to desulphurise oil products and in hydrocracker plants that break up heavier oil fractions into gasoline components and aviation fuel).

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      Hyundai seem keen in hydrogen they are probably right I think.

      “Powered by a second-generation emission-free hydrogen fuel cell system, you can breathe easy with All-New NEXO”

    • Otto
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      Isn’t a lot of electricity needed to make the hydrogen?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 18, 2020 at 4:01 am | Permalink

        Yes just as it is to charge batteries.

  40. gyges
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    On a separate issue, in a future blog post could you share your thoughts about failure of governance? By that I mean the following: we have the Government, the NHS and Public Health England (and many other bodies besides but due to topicallity let’s stick with those three). When one of the latter two bodies doesn’t perform to reasonable standards, the government is considered to be at fault. Consider the NHS, part of it performs to a very high standard, the performance of other parts border on the criminally negligent. Similarly with Public Health England. But in both of these cases the Government is blamed for these failings. If the Government were micromanaging these organisations the blame would be legitimate.

    This leads to a failure of governance; namely, the whore’s prerogative. These organisations have tremendous power but don’t have responsibility for their failings. Instead, the government is blamed.

    Can you explain to us how you would remedy this situation?

  41. JimS
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Sir John, you miss the unicorn in the room. At the moment we struggle to make enough electricity to cope with what we do now, transport and heating energy essentially comes from fossil fuels.

    When we make transport and heating electric where will the extra electricity come from, unicorn power? Bear in mind that car battery charging and heating loads will be mostly in the evening/night, when the sun doesn’t shine and the unicorns are asleep.

    (Some grid planners would like to steal electricity from cars on charge to balance supply and demand. That won’t do much to extend battery life.)

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Imagine you have had your car on charge overnight to go to work in the morning only to find the grid had reversed the charge to supply the nation.

  42. MWB
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Overnight stops will be the norm for drivers of electric cars, just like the 1700s when teams of horses had to be rested or changed.
    Electric cars are ok for shopping trips, but for anyone who drives say 200 miles somewhere and then returns the same day, electric cars are no good.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Not often people drive 200 miles and back in a day. An electric car would meet 99% of my requirements. Still prefer hydrogen.

      • MWB
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        I do a long journey two or three times a month, when I go salmon fishing.

      • Nigl
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        Presumably your are not involved in sport, anything other than local?

      • Tim the Coder
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        Hydrogen is even dafter than batteries.
        How were you intending to store it? In an off-the-shelf bomb aka compressed gas?
        Or as liquid?
        In either case, you waste 3 times as much energy as stored filling the tank in compressors or coolers.
        Oh, and liquid hydrogen means your tank boils dry after a few days.

        Another ‘benefit’ is all the exploding garages and car parks, because hydrogen forms an explosi,ve, and easily ignited mixture at almost any ratio. Not good in enclosed spaces.
        Best form of hydrogen storage is liquid-with-carbon aka petrol

      • NickC
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        Mike W, Did you realise that hydrogen embrittles steel?

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted July 17, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        I do more than that 4 times a week, and I’m retired..

        • Fred H
          Posted July 18, 2020 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

          disobeying Government recent dictats, eh?

  43. Ducky McDuckface
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Not sure that the actual range per charge really matters. I suspect that driver behaviour will change, such that the battery will be broadly between 60%~80%, giving something like 150 to 200 mile range available each day (depending upon battery size and all the rest of it).

    This might not be that much of a behavioural change anyway – how many drivers actually fill the entire tank from nearly empty – at a cost of ~80 quid or higher per transaction, as opposed to topping up for 20 to 30 quid each time.

    What really matters is the rate at which batteries degrade through the charging cycle, either in terms of miles or time.

    Slightly more worrying would be subscription models for access to the charging network – drivers might be required to take on multiple subscriptions to multiple networks, with some amount of cash sitting idle across some networks for some amount time before that network’s charging point gets used.

    • NigelE
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      The charging restriction enforced by subscription sounds like the days when debit cards only worked in the ATMs of the bank who issued the card. You needed to find the right bank before getting your cash!

      We can but hope that sense will prevail …. ??

      • Ducky McDuckface
        Posted July 18, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        I’d forgotten about that. I was thinking along the lines of Sky and BT Sport, where a Newcastle fan wishing to watch his team on the telly box has to subscribe to both to maximise the number of possible games to watch, but does not know which game is on which service far enough in advance.

        So, his £30-40 per month to Sky gets doubled once BT enter the fray, and he doesn’t know which service he will be watching the season’s games on.

  44. RichardP
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    The expression “putting the cart before the horse” aptly describes the Government’s enthusiasm for the electric car. Where is the electricity coming from?
    The domestic power supply is barely up to charging one electric car overnight, let alone the two or three vehicles which make up the average family transport fleet these days. Once you are out and about lack of public charging points means charging anxiety kicks in if you are going further than a local journey.
    Also what about the car owners who park on the street, will we be constantly tripping over extension leads trailing across footpaths?
    Infrastructure first, cars later please and while we are waiting the Government should try to be a little more enthusiastic about petrol / petrol-hybrid vehicles.

  45. Andrew S
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    If you don’t have the luxury of a lockable garage or secure driveway to charge a car overnight, there will need to be a way to get charged quickly when needing to use the EV.
    Leaving a car connected to a charge cable from the house overnight, inner city, or terrace row street, wherever it has to be parked on the road outside the home…obviously highly unsafe and insecure.

  46. Robert Evans
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    I wonder if, in years to come, we might have overhead electric cables that cars can derive their power from.
    These might be installed above motorways and A roads only with cars still having their own on board battery used for journeys away from the main electrified network.
    If this works very well for trains and trams, why not private vehicles?
    Range wouldn’t be an issue then.

  47. Mike Wilson
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Something else they need to improve is the price.

  48. mongoose
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    The only thing more stupid than an electric car is the thought that one might be able to charge it using a windmill.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      Best comment of the day! How is it that we are even discussing these idiot ideas?

      • Mark B
        Posted July 18, 2020 at 3:49 am | Permalink


  49. David Williams
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Charge off-peak with a smart meter at home. It saves you money and acts as storage to complement intermittent solar and wind generation.

    Popular models claim up to about 350 miles which is enough for most journeys, but range will be less in cold weather.

    The plug-in grant and zero BIK are proving to be very popular. I went to enquire about a new electric vehicle yesterday and was told the waiting list is 8 months and increasing.

    How will the government cope with the loss of gasoline and diesel tax revenues?

    • glen cullen
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      No fear…this government will find a way to tax the EV charging point

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      David W

      “How will the Government cope with the loss of gasoline and diesel tax revenues”

      They will tax Electric cars the same amount !

      Simple once there is enough of them on the road, and all other types are banned.

    • Otto
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      ‘How will the government cope with the loss of gasoline and diesel tax revenues?’

      Easy, as they always do.

    • Mark
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

      If we had 25 million cars with 40kWh of battery apiece devoted to grid storage that would total 1TWh, which is about the daily consumption of electricity in winter, and just 25% of a cold day’s gas consumption. Peak demand occurs during winter rush hours when many cars are being driven anyway. The 40kW battery on a Nissan Leaf costs about £5,000, so this dedicated storage would cost consumers £125bn every few years as the batteries age. The real needs for storage if you opt for a renewables based electricity supply are more of the order of 30-60TWh costing £3.75-7.5 trillion in batteries every few years, depending on how often you are prepared to have a major power shortage because the storage runs out and the weather remains unfavourable for a couple of weeks.

      Batteries are not the solution to trying to use renewables: you must find much cheaper storage.

  50. ian
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Where you sending all the old batties to die.

    • Fred H
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      Mostly the ‘old batties’ get sent to Care Homes.

    • glen cullen
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

      Silicon Heaven

  51. ChrisS
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    I have real-world experience of the range issues endemic with electric vehicles.

    My local Jaguar dealer lent me an iPace for 48 hours. This is one of the very best electric cars available and was Car of The YEar in 2019. It has a quoted official range of 298 miles using WLTP (The Worldwide harmonised Light-vehicle Test Procedure), the official method of calculating this.

    On collecting the car, the salesman asked me where I was going in it. I said, to Devon, a return distance of 184 miles. He advised me not to try, as the car would probably not make it there and back. He showed me the range on the car’s computer. It had never bettered 210 miles and he said those journeys had all been local and did not include hills.

    I revised my journey and only went to a location 86 miles from home. When I arrived I had consumed 62% of the available power. I only made it back by driving along a 25 mile dual carriageway at 45mph, anxiously comparing predicted range and distance to home on the Satnav. I made it home with 5 miles remaining. I then had to charge the car overnight at home just to get it back to the garage.

    I’ve talked to many Tesla owners recharging on the German Autobahn network. Their experience is similar and they are having to start to look for a charging point after 150 miles to be safe.

    I eventually bought a “new” Audi A7 3.0 4WD diesel Coupe that had been preregistered six month’s earlier by Audi. It had done just 30 miles and, despite being a brand new model just out, I obtained 42% discount off of the RRP. What I paid was exactly half the price of an iPace on which there was no discount offered from the £75,000 RRP.

    Until actual range is much closer to my Audi ( 575 miles on a full tank ) and the pricing is sensible, few will buy an electric car other than for short-distance use as a second car.

    • Richard1
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      Good summary

    • MWB
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      Every MP should read your posting.

    • acorn
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      As I am an Audi enthusiast ChrisS, I hope you didn’t pay more than £36k for that model. Keep hold of it until diesels get banned, it won’t let you down, it’s an Audi. But, you probably realise it is worth bugger all second hand already.

      Meanwhile, if you know anyone who has an up to two year old Audi S3 Cabriolet for sale, to replace my current model, please let me know.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      I took my Jag into the dealer yesterday, for an electrics repair, under warranty. They offered me a courtesy car but, disappointingly, it wasn’t an F-Type.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      few will buy an electric car other than for short-distance use as a second car.

      Indeed. And, although an electric car – thinking in terms of range – would meet over 99% of the journeys I make – I baulk at paying £30k for a runaround that will need a very expensive and environmentally unfriendly battery after a few years.

      Hydrogen should be the way forward. But a Hyundai hydrogen powered car is £67k and the nearest refilling station to me is in Slough – 130 miles from me.

      This is another of those issues where you feel the government has absolutely no idea what to do and is just hoping everything will work out alright in the end.

    • miami.mode
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      Well Chris, the NHS like them as Northumbria NHS Trust have ordered 700.

  52. Mike Wilson
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Given we have nowhere near enough generating power for all of us to drive electric cars, why isn’t the government getting behind hydrogen – instead of watching while every car manufacturer is spending billions developing all electric cars?

    • Mark
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Worry, because the government is starting to get behind hydrogen. It’s horrendously expensive, and comes with significant safety concerns. Mercedes announced they were abandoning their research into hydrogen fuelled cars in April, because they didn’t see how they could produce a competitive vehicle.

    • acorn
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      Where are you going to get the Hydrogen from? More specifically, where are you going to get the Hydrogen from that doesn’t require large amounts of electricity to produce it? There aren’t any Hydrogen wells on this planet.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 18, 2020 at 4:07 am | Permalink

        Fracking for gas and nuclear powered electricity then fusion once we can manage that cost effectively in 2030 or so.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted July 18, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        More specifically, where are you going to get the Hydrogen from that doesn’t require large amounts of electricity to produce it?

        Well, wind energy can be used to generate electricity to generate hydrogen using hydrolysis. Once you have converted the wind energy to hydrogen – you have an energy store. The thing you are on here are always moaning about – the intermittent supply from wind can be used to create easy to store, dense energy.

        • NickC
          Posted July 18, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

          Mike W, But the point about intermittents like Wind – apart from Grid instability if used directly – is that storage or back-up to obviate the intermittency, doubles or triples the build costs.

    • Otto
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz is killing its program to develop passenger cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The company has been working on fuel-cell vehicles for more than 30 years — chasing the dream of a zero-emissions car that has a long driving range, three-minute fill-ups, and emits only water vapor. In the end, the company conceded that building hydrogen cars was too costly, about double the expense of an equivalent battery-electric vehicle.

      • rick hamilton
        Posted July 18, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        However Toyota are developing their fuel cell range and have just introduced the second generation Mirai model. It fills up with hydrogen (if you can find a filling station) as fast as a petrol car and has the same range. At present it is rather expensive but price will come down with volume.

        The problem with batteries is low energy density compared with tanks of hydrocarbons. A battery powered 40 ton artic, or container ship, or jumbo jet is uneconomic even if a prototype can be demonstrated, which Tesla have done (a truck). There are fuel cell buses running in Tokyo and Wright bus in NI were developing a design for London. The future is hydrogen and battery cars will be just for local running.

        We had electric vehicles more than 100 years ago but the weight and poor performance of batteries killed them off. The batteries in the original Tesla S weighed 800kg, which is more than the entire VW Beetle (the old one). Despite enormous research effort there is no game-changing battery weight/ power breakthrough in sight at present.

        At least the UK government seems to have got the point and is supporting research of hydrogen production.

    • glen cullen
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

      I want my govt to get behind the next generation of internal combustion engine

      • Fred H
        Posted July 18, 2020 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        let the buying public decide.

  53. glen cullen
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    I’m not against EVs let the rich & famous buy them

    I just don’t want them subsidised by the tax-payer

    I don’t want to be forced to buy one

    I want the freedom and choice of what type of vehicle to drive

    Please will someone tell this government to stop social engineering?

    • graham1946
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      This is the standard Tory way – featherbed the well off, such as those who can afford 30 grand for a small car with no road tax, no fuel tax except the 5 percent VAT on electricity and hammer the poor who can only afford to run an old ICE car. Wait till the bills for the Covid 19 come in – it will be the lowest orders who will pick up the bill whilst the rich sail serenely on with their tax efficient ( actually evasion) systems.

    • DavidJ
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Excellent points Glen.

    • Fred H
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink


  54. Zorro
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Off topic – but of real importance. Do you have any view on the scandalous misuse of statistics to artificially inflate death rates supposedly from COVID 19?


    • Martyn G
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      In my lay view, since the start of the campaign PHE has illustrated itself as a hideously expensive Quango that is quite unfit for purpose.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      This was claimed by many right from the beginning of all the nonsense.
      Economy and country destroyed. For what?
      No doubt, despite any “revelations”, they will plough ahead with masks and goggles, gloves and galoshes..totally unfazed by the controlled demolition they have carried out.
      Hazmat suits for all airline passengers?

    • David Brown
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      The Gene is out of the bottle in respect to death rates and fixed on the world Covid barometer statics. This is not suddenly going to be reduced over night its outside Gov control.
      The bigger question for me is how many people recovering from Covid 19 are going on to claim permanent disability payments? The statistics indicate that over 100,000 extra people will go on disability allowance payments and rising.

  55. David_Kent
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    I suggest it is because of the issues you raise that all-electric vehicles will have a limited but valuable use as for short distances.
    I am convinced that for heavier loads and greater distances the future is with hydrogen power. As our neighbours are investing so much in battery technology it might be wise for us to put our resources behind hydrogen. Furthermore there are already a couple of UK companies working hard in the field.

  56. Ian Wilson
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I apologize for repeating part of my post from yesterday, but the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s new report, written by a qualified electrical engineer, about the colossal infrastructure upgrades to accommodate universal electric car charging is crucial here and not obviously being addressed.
    They believe almost every street in Britain will need to be dug up (by diesel diggers) to upgrade local electricity networks, and many householders’ drives too at their expense. They estimate this will cost some £200 billion. This is expense the country could ill afford in normal times, let alone now. The sooner the government abandon the drive to electric cars and the whole zero carbon charade the better before it wrecks the economy a second time.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 18, 2020 at 4:09 am | Permalink


  57. a-tracy
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    There are quick and easy statistics for your government to gather on all mobility cars provided by the State, how many miles are they doing each year, what is the average journey length, for what purpose is the car provided – work, shopping, visiting family.

    At the end of their three-year mobility provision life what mileage is there on each vehicle. Low mileage users could be the first to try your electric car provision to trial it.

  58. agricola
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Too complicated. You need an automatic battery exchange system, almost dead for fully charged. Swap time about the same as filling a tank of an ICE. This would require standardisation of battery sizes and access to batteries. If we can robotically build a car then swapping a battery should be very easy. QED.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      So… I have to get the battery near fully dead so that there is no loss to me in the exchange.

      At the moment, if I have a tank half full and I know I’m going on a long journey I can top it up – with a battery exchange I’d have to plan my journey so I get to the exact point I need to be able to swap battery so that I don’t cheat myself out of ‘fuel’.

  59. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Some households will need multiple charging points. Families have cars each nowadays.

  60. Tim the Coder
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    We are ruled by idiots with PPEs who believe in Unicorn farts and Magic Money Trees.

    Until the Government gets some basis is reality, engineering, physics and arithmetic (primary school level would suffice), this madness will continue unchecked.

    Dominic Cummings urgently needs to convey some hard facts to the clowns. Sir John, please help him.
    Electricity comes from power stations burning gas, oil, coal or uranium. Everything else is a rounding error. And electricity is some 1/8 of the UK energy use, so even making it 100% renewable (ha!) leaves 7/8 untouched.

    The Ostrich analogy is laughed at, but electric car advocates use it all the time: I cannot see the power station, therefore it does not exist and therefore there are no emissions.

    Electric cars use electricity we haven’t got, stored in an extremely expensive and wasteful way, to produce a car which is far inferior to the ones we have at treble the price.

    PS To electric car owners: How many miles do you get per Congolese child (who mines the cobalt)? Still feeling self-righteous?

  61. Nordisch geo-climber
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    We have had milk floats for 80 years, if they were that clever, we would all be using them. Electric “steam-powered” cars are simply accounting offset devices with no rational engineering or scientific justification.

  62. czerwonadupa
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    The Mayor of London is assuming everyone will get on their bikes (pedal or electric) in his fiefdom. Otherwise how to explain his spending millions on laying down thousands of plastic barriers & metal poles turning all the main streets in central London into single lanes to accommodate his super highways. That’s besides those already closed & bridges to motorised vehicles.
    Meanwhile he’s allowing the new escooterists to ride on the roads, pavements & his super highways all without having to pass a test, knowledge of the highway code, helmets or insurance like motorcyclists are forced to comply with.

  63. John McDonald
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John perhaps you should prompt hydrogen fueled cars as a better alternative to electric. Conversion of existing Petrol/diesel filling stations not as difficult.
    The hydrogen is generated by electricity at centres in towns a bit like the old gas works, and can be pumped to filling stations or delivered as per normal liquid fuel in tankers

    The large battery needed for an electric car is a source of pollution in manufacturer and a demand on scarce earth resources, charging station inefficiencies, need to increase supply cabling capacity to many sites as opposed to a number of large central works for Hydrogen generation.
    Really a much better option all round in my view. Possibility to convert existing vehicles to hydrogen fueled. No need to find room for a big battery.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 18, 2020 at 4:12 am | Permalink

      What is wrong with Methane powered cars much easier and cheaper to store than Hydrogen and not polluting either?

  64. Steven
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Electric vehicles exist only because of government subsidies. If their efficiency, environmental cost and manufacturing cost were accurately portrayed nobody would buy them. Just another scam like we are subjected to every day.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 18, 2020 at 4:12 am | Permalink


  65. Caterpillar
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I do not think EVs should be allowed to be sold in the U.K. without sufficient safe (and sustainable) battery recycling in the U.K.

    If one accepts the need to reduce burning of fossil fuels then I would have preferred a policy of a gradually reducing limit to the capacity of fuel tanks in cars.

    I dislike green politics being used to create unnecessary consumption. All ‘sides’ seem to be trapped in the same out dated economic thinking.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 18, 2020 at 4:20 am | Permalink

      +1. When all the parties agree on something they are nearly always completely wrong. The EU, green lunacy, ever higher taxes, the dire NHS, state monopoly education, 50% going to university, compact florescent lighting, electric cars, Ed Miliband’s appalling climate change act, the recent hugely damaging wars, the BBC’s propaganda tax, the ever increasing size of the state sector, the ever increase levels of taxation, the grant for insulation and subsidies for eating out ……..

  66. DavidJ
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Electric cars at their present stage of development are simply unusable for most of us. They are not pollution free either; the pollution from battery manufacture and disposal is simply transferred to China. Given the need to free ourselves from dependency on and control by China how is that going to work out? Do we have the generation capacity to fuel such cars whilst still being able to supply domestic, commercial and industrial electricity requirements?

    The whole “green” policy has not been thought through.

    • glen cullen
      Posted July 18, 2020 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      correct – the green policy depends on whats hot in the media

  67. Sea Warrior
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    I’ll be sticking with my diesel-powered car until Graphene batteries solve the range/recharging problem.

  68. David Brown
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    More manufacturers are moving to electric only production, so fossil fuel production will be significantly reduced.
    This is a fact of life and the Gov cannot change this.
    French and German manufacturers are part of EU regulations even if they continue to manufacture in the UK and its a big IF
    Japanese cars are rapidly moving to electric only.
    So the future is electric cars with or without Gov commentary

    • glen cullen
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

      The Japanese maybe investing in the development and manufacture of EVs but for export only

      Home ownership with off road parking / garage is only for the super-rich….they’ll have bigger ev charge point issues than the uk

  69. steve
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 5:13 pm | Permalink


    “One of the things that makers of electric cars need to improve to encourage more potential buyers of them is their range”

    I disagree. I would prefer it if said makers just disappeared overnight.

    The ONLY way ev’s are going to deliver useful range and duration is if they are built as hybrids. e.g hydrogen or bio fuelled gas turbine – electric.

    But they won’t give us gas turbine electric, because the whole thing is a bloody scam and all about Orwellian control and getting people’s money.

    Still, what can we expect when globalists puppets are running the country.

  70. acorn
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    NickC, I also will be interested in how my current 30kW gas combi boiler will manage to fill a bath, with sufficiently hot water, at its current 10 liters per minute capability; when it, or its replacement, is mandated to operate on electricity or Hydrogen gas.

    As my electricity supply, like the majority of households, is limited to, at most, 100 amps at 230 volts (23 kW), there will be a power gap. Particularly if the wife is running a bath while I am trying to charge the family battery electric vehicle with a 7 kW max household charger.

    Hydrogen as a gas at household gas meter pressures has about a third of the energy density of natural gas. Its mass energy density is far to small to be a substitute for natural gas in the current structure of the national gas distribution system. It could be mixed with natural gas up to a dilution rate of about 30% but the drop in gas boiler heat output per meter cubed of gas consumption would turn up in gas bills.

    • Elli Ron
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      A mains hydrogen gas leak will be something to behold!

    • Fred H
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      I think most people who have bought an electric car have already taken a bath…..

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 20, 2020 at 3:36 am | Permalink

      Indeed what is wrong with natural gas and fracking for more until better technology comes through?

  71. James
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Living on the west coast of Ireland here the place I would most like to visit – Whitby in NE England – and then you might ask why? Well

    1/ Capt James Cook

    2/ Brahm Stoker Ďublin born but Whitby inspired

    3/ John Keane Seaman and great adventurer explorer

    4/ Whitby in 600 AD was the place of the great Christian synod to decide on the Christian calendar.

    Wow.. Lot’s of things happening there in Whitby over the years but so far nothing about electric cars. Not so easy to get to, but am sure I will make it to Whitby, this year, next year

    Jim Neill
    Galway Ireland

  72. mancunius
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Firstly, there is the cost of buying the car: the Nissan Leaf start at £27,000, the small SEAT Mii at £20,000, the Ford Puma at £21,385, the Hyundai £30,000 (hybrids from £23,000).

    Then the charging – and it immediately becomes clear this is a ker-ching rent-seeking business with a monopolistic producer model, intended for toy short-distance motoring or for those who have bags of time in which to signal their virtue.

    Of course, one can also park it in the drive (together with one’s other motor) and feed it from home electricity. No problem – absolutely everyone in London and the big cities owns or rents a large house with its own driveway… When factoring in the government’s £3,000 purchase grant, it becomes clear that this is yet another scheme forcing poor taxpayers who cannot afford the expense to subsidise the well-heeled who could afford it.

  73. Roger F
    Posted July 17, 2020 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Forget EV, whats wrong with LPG- Its already here! Proven to have very little pollution, its available in nearly every fuel station already, gives as much range and flexibility as normal fuel, cheap to convert existing motors, even cheaper and more practical to be designed and manufactured into new vehicles. None of the hassle of charging and producing more electricity for their consumption.

    • glen cullen
      Posted July 17, 2020 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

      Whats wrong with the internal combustion engine

      • Fred H
        Posted July 18, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

        so good almost everybody thinks they should have at least one – preferably 2 or 3. Even teenagers expect to have one.

        • glen cullen
          Posted July 18, 2020 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

          You mean allow the consumer to shape the free-market ? whatever next a conservative government

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 20, 2020 at 3:36 am | Permalink

      Indeed that too.

  74. Edward2
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    With a great fanfare of publicity VW have launched their ne ton electric transporter van.
    Range advertised at 82 miles.
    How is that useful for the usual owner?

    • Edward2
      Posted July 18, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      Oh and this one ton van has a list price of £42,000.
      The best example of the farce that is the current obsession that is electric vehicles.

      • glen cullen
        Posted July 18, 2020 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

        Bet Bristol Council are going to buy a few

    Posted July 19, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    The arguments outlined above against the EV are so clearly against the common sense of owning an EV, I have to assume governments pushing the technology simply don’t want people to drive. The EV concept is so feeble, the signal it gives to people is “don’t drive or if you prefer, drive ICE vehicles and pay increasing taxes that are coming your way”. The hypocrisy of some governments is beyond belief. Norway is planning to end all registration of ICE vehicles by 2025 while continuing to sell fossil energy to the rest of the world. Like Saudi, they are predominantly an energy economy with oil and gas as their main export. Their pensions have gotten rich beyond their wildest dreams on what they call dirty energy while pretending to have a conscience about a clean environment. Media gives Norway a pass, but not the Middle East. Maybe Saudi should sponsor a second Nobel peace prize.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 19, 2020 at 5:13 pm | Permalink


  76. Sonya Porter
    Posted July 19, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    About the distance an electric car can go without being recharged: what happens if it is stuck in a traffic jam for a long time? Stop-Start, Stop-Start. Even that take juice. And what happens if your car, along with many other electric cars, gets stuck on the Motorway??

    I would certainly buy a hybrid where I could change from electricity to petrol if necessary, but definitely not an all-electric. Not until the electricity charge takes five minutes or less. And I’m sure most other people feel the same.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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