Electric vehicles in Spain

Like Ireland, Spain hopes to buy the world supply of electric cars many times over. The Guardian reports that the Spanish scheme is somewhat behind target. One competitor less on the road to electrified transport!

56 thoughts on “Electric vehicles in Spain”

  1. “One competitor less on the road to electrified transport!”

    Shame on you for providing this pithy piece of spin gratis and for allowing the government spin-machine to avoid any creative thinking about how they might play this!

  2. For completeness, new hybrid, natural gas, LPG and electric cars accounted for just 0.78% of new car registrations in Germany last year. Over the period 2000 to 2009 they accounted for 0.416%. This suggests that alternative technologies have some way to go before they become a real alternative.

  3. @ Richard,

    Leaving aside the fossil fuel / Global warming debate for a moment, but
    30K is a considerable amount of money for most people. Why would anybody who is in the market to purchase a small car pay 30K for a EV, or even 22k?

    For 15 to 16K you could purchase a brand new smaller car, with low tax 156E / annum, economical mpg and much greater performance specification.

    A Clio, or Starlet will get your family across Europe, but a EV will not, at least not yet.

    Not that I am against EV’s, but the entry price is just too high when compared to the alternatives. For people to consider a EV, then the price should be around 7K new.

    Unless of course internal combustion engined cars are taxed off the road, the EV just cannot compete with its small engined counterpart.

  4. @Sporthog – “EV just cannot compete with its small engined counterpart” that was my point but I would extend it to all alternative technologies including hybrid. Compare a Prius with a VW Polo with the 1.2 diesel and you find that the Polo has lower fuel consumption and is more than €5000 cheaper.

  5. The electrified vehicle purchase I’m more worried about that the Government does not cheap out on buying additional DARTs for Connolly-Maynooth. Further electrification of suburban rail where appropriate (as opposed to the stupid Bray-Greystones fiasco imposed by Lowry which actually limits DART’s effectiveness and puts vulnerable electrical gear on what is essentially a cliff face) will move more passenger-km per Euro invested than yet another handout to the car dealers of Ireland.

  6. @Richard Tol.
    “The current subsidies are targeted at the urban well-to-do.” That kinda says it all really. Kinda like the current Irish scrappage scheme then, eh? Who, in the middle of a vicious recession, has the spare dosh to buy a NEW car. Oh…let’s give them a subsidy.

    On the electric front, at least Spain actually has nuclear generation and some solar too – whatever happens to the solar subsidies. Meantime we’re still burning coal and oil to make the electricity to run the electric cars here.

    Finally, one wonders what the government would do for revenue if people did actually buy electric vehicles in any numbers? Perhaps the recent discussion in the UK of a special levy on vehicle electricity gives a hint ( I can’t find the link right now, but the proposal was a 10p/mile levy on vehicle electricity, or some such).

    Ultimately vehicle tax revenues will need to be maintained, so expect either wildly punitive taxation on current vehicles and/or a potentially quite rapid move to tax electric vehicles at roughly the same levels that petrol and diesel vehicles are taxed today.

  7. EVs are a complete scam. They have some use: in flat, dense urban areas. Thats it. No further discussion – except about the real problems associated with EV use.

    They are slow and have low payloads. They have quite limted ranges; battery technology will run up against the laws of physics and chemistry. New infrastructures would have to be built-out. The whole thing is completely hopeless. But since its such a world-class successful failure, we just better pursue EV use – with those subsidies of course!!

    B Peter

  8. Many governments chasing the same “crocks” of gold at the end of the mythical rainbows. Is there enough first mover advantage to go around?

  9. EV’s are a complete waste of time – espescially in Ireland where the electricity costs are highest and going up except maybe if we give them out as state cars for the polliticians. With the no of polliticians we have I am sure we would have the highest usage rate per capita in the western world.
    (The again would Callelly make if from Cork to Dublin on a single charge…lol)

  10. The plan seems to be to build roads and erect 1000’s of wind turbines in remote locations to generate electricity and transmit power to urban areas along shiny new transmission lines. Then charge the high-tech batteries of urban-dweller’s EVs in special new high-capacity charging stations.

    If we must use wind power, surely it makes more sense to attach sails to vehicles and use wind power directly?

  11. @Hugh Sheehy
    “Finally, one wonders what the government would do for revenue if people did actually buy electric vehicles in any numbers?”

    This is a good point. Currently about half the pump price of petrol and diesel is excise duty and VAT. Running costs for an electric vehicle appear low because there’s no excise duty on the electricity. If significant numbers of people buy electric cars (I wouldn’t hold my breath) then there’ll be a big hole in tax revenue.

  12. @ BigEnd and Hugh

    You guys have hit the nail right on the head – it’s a pipe dream. What are they going to tax – the highest cost electricity in Europe. The reality is they cant even organise the infrastructure to install water meters so that they can generate revenue that way – how on earth could they possibly meet the generation demand if the popolous (and it’s an even bigger if) did embrace EV’s – all this with a 40% target (I thinnk if not higher) for green (read wind) generation by 2020 whilst at the same time it can up to 6 years to get a connection on the grid for a windfarm – the planning approval for which lasts for only 5 years.

    Let’s talk stag hunting instead…..

  13. Richard Tol’s grandfather wrote back in 1910: “Like Ireland, Spain hopes to buy the world supply of “motorised carriages” many times over. The Guardian reports that the Spanish scheme is somewhat behind target. One competitor less on the road to mechanised transport!”

  14. @ Kevin Lyda
    If your point is to be taken seriously, you must provide evidence that the uptake of gasoline/diesel cars in Ireland was driven by policies around 1910 rather than natural demand growth.

  15. @Kevin
    1910 is a different point in the lifecycle of cars with an internal combustion engine; my grandfathers were 6 and -3 in 1910; and I am not aware of subsidies for car purchases in the early stages of petrol and diesel cars — in Ireland or elsewhere.

  16. I am trying to expand our company’s bus service in North Dublin. Everything I try to do, I meet obstacles (see for example http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0731/1224275911179.html).Putting a bus service that people want to use on the road is a relatively simple thing to do. Providing electric vehicles is an enormous engineering challenge that requires major breakthroughs. Why do we take on these giant, impossible challenges when we cannot even take bureaucratic steps to do basic things?

    Moving to electric cars will do nothing to reduce the very serious problem of congestion which will undermine the competitiveness of our cities as soon as the economy shows any upturn.

  17. Okay, title of article…….

    “Spain’s green scheme stalls as only 16 electric cars are sold”

    And under the title, a picture of a Reva. No wonder only 16 cars have been sold. People aren’t buying yet. Come back and write that article when the major manufacturers have released their cars.

    This is really a non-story tbh.

    This real issue is the cost of the batteries. It’s a chicken and egg scenario. In order to reduce the production cost of the batteries companies to be able to sell in sufficient volumes. This is one of the reason why govt’s are giving subsidies.

  18. The earning of money in our society comes directly from the utililisation of cheap energy, which in turn comes from fossil fuel, which in turn produces CO2.
    If we wish to reduce our CO2 output, we will have to reduce the number of people working, which will in turn reduce the amount of goods and services produced.
    We cannot manufacture our way out of our environmental predicament.
    Items such as electric cars, are an abberation that we simply can not afford in either economic or environmental terms.
    We simply have to leave our industrial consumer oriented way of life behind, and design an entirely different way to live on this planet.
    If we do not do this, as our energy supply is squandered, we will all slip into a desperate world of starvation, conflict and misery, the portent of which is fully evident around us, if we care to open our eyes.

  19. @richard

    I said it’s one of the reasons.

    its not dev cost. the batteries have already been dev’d.

    look at leaf battery. 8 yr warrenty. after 8 year battery will cost 1/2 of what it costs now to replace. if no one buys evs it will prob cost same. chicken egg.

    earths population 7 billion and rising. oil getting harder to find. use fossil fuel to produce food? or use it in cars?

  20. @ cianof,

    How can one convince the public to invest in EV when the alternative (small engined car i.e. Clio) is so much cheaper and has far greater performance, i.e. a Clio might get you from Dublin to London on a full tank of fuel, a EV will struggle to get you from the south side of Dublin to Newry. In addition a Clio will cost at least 10K less. As Edgar mentioned they are not a real alternative to what is currently there.

    In addition Hugh Sheehy has raised a very important point, people have lost trust in the Govt, political parties and those involved in the decision making process which goes on in this country. If revenue falls because people have spent 25 to 30k on a EV instead of a conventional vehicle then they are just going to be taxed on something else. You would be better off buying a Clio and keeping the remaining 10 to 13k in your pocket to pay off the next stealth tax which is coming down the tracks.

    Look at those people who invested in Property, they have reduced the amount of interest eligible to be offset against profit, its currently at 75%. The Labour party have publically stated that they will reduce this 0% when they obtain the reigns of power (which is a very real possibility). This sends a signal to people with money who might be thinking of investing in Ireland. They had better think again as the rug can quickly be pulled from under them.

    Private pensions have taken a real beating, people are wondering just how they are going to survive when retirement comes, many people will not be able to afford to retire, they will have to keep working until they drop dead on the job. With all the other scandels / mismanagement going on i.e. electricity prices going up again, people are losing faith in this countrys ability to do anything right.

  21. @cianof
    Development costs is not one of the reasons, it is no reason. Resource scarcity is no reason either. Please have another look at your public policy textbooks.

  22. @richard

    So all the other countries that are giving incentives to EV purchases, they haven’t read their pubic policy textbooks either?

    It makes more sense to talk about production cost rather than development cost in the context of EVs and their affordability and uptake. If sufficient volumes of the batteries are sold they become more affordable.

    We import all the fuel for our cars atm, wouldn’t it be better to be able to power some of our cars using renewable energy?

    That’s the great thing about EVs. They take the responsibility for the CO2 emissions from the motorist and place

    @Sporthog

    An EV is a particular tool for a particular job. If used in the way it is intended it’s great.

    Should the govt spend money on EVs, now. I’m not sure. Its difficult to answer given the absurdity of our previous policies. If the money wasn’t spent on some type of EV infrastructure it would probably put it into a failed bank.

  23. *They take the responsibility for the CO2 emissions from the motorist and place them with the policy makers. Is it easier to control and regulate the emissions of 2.5 million power plants or a smaller number of centralized power plants?

  24. @cianof
    “So all the other countries that are giving incentives to EV purchases, they haven’t read their pubic policy textbooks either?”

    Mistakes by others are no excuse for your mistakes.

    “We import all the fuel for our cars atm, wouldn’t it be better to be able to power some of our cars using renewable energy?”

    That’s a call for import substitution. Recall de Valera.

  25. @richard

    We don’t know what the future will be, so we don’t know if it will be a mistake. Maybe doing nothing will be a mistake. We don’t know yet.

    If we weren’t faced with high unemployment, and uncertain future with regards to energy supply I would agree import substitution would be a bad idea.

  26. For EVs to gain a foothold, the government needs to play its part.

    It isreasonable to say that government or municipal bodies would be able to make good use of a fleet of EVs. Garda Siochana, ministerial cars, Defence Forces Transport, An Post, Dublin airport authority, Dublin City Council etc etc

    The state could build a network of maintainence / power installations accordingly, bringing the EV network up to a critical mass where private individuals would see EVs as a feasible alternative.

    A few other incentives can be thrown in – free use of the port tunnel etc.

    This critical mass has to happen before an appreciable number of private sales can be remotely credible.

  27. I understand that this has been looked at, certainly in regard to police vehicles. EV’s are manifestly unsuitable for any of the purposes you mention. The simple reason is that these vehicles have to be able to stay on the road for hours at a time if they are needed. The possibility of developing a network of battery changing stations has already been looked at and it is immensely expensive. To put one every 10 miles across the country would require 500 stations or so, costing around USD 250m. (http://www.businessinsider.com/the-cost-of-a-better-place-battery-swapping-station-500000-2009-4)

  28. @Antoin

    Le Poste in France use EVs and have been using them for quite some time.
    http://www.venturi.fr/Venturi-pre-selected-by-La-Poste.html
    I can’t see the gardai using EVs though.

    That article refers to an Israeli company that is selling battery swap stations. They had some some negotiations w/ ESB/Irish gov but nothing came of it.

    @all
    The real issue on this subject is the charge standards. Gov/ESB seem to be going with the CHAdeMO (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CHAdeMO) fast charge standard.
    The main competing fast charge standard is being promoted by the German companies RWE/Mennekes (http://bit.ly/aX4Y4p).
    The Japanese car companies will be 1st on the market with their vehicles.

    Richard may have a point about not rushing in 1st with this technology. Time will tell.

    1 thing is for sure, we are definitely going to see more and more EVs joining petrol/diesel vehicle on the roads over the next few years.

  29. @Kevin
    For EVs to be adopted there are probably at least two preconditions before govt should get involved. There may be more, but two is a start.
    (i) That EVs are the best solution. This is unclear.
    (ii) That there is a network or start-up effect which individual non-govt players cannot rationally overcome by themselves, without state coordination and investment. This is also unclear, on both the coordination and on the separate investment question.

    A government policy to subsidize the wrong solution and also to subsidize creation of a related charging network which individual players could themselves provide if it made sense is almost certainly akin to the famously disgraced state practice of “picking winners”.

    Based on historical success rates of govts “picking winners” you might as well – as Morgan Kelly described it in a different context – make a big pile of cash in St.Stephen’s green and set fire to it.

  30. “That EVs are the best solution. This is unclear.”

    What are the alternative solutions, apart from Horse and Trap?
    (I dont mean that mockingly, I reckon that we could possibly see an upsurge in horse drawn transport in usage over the next forty or so years.
    the technology is as well developed as it is going to get)

    I totally disagree with that second point at all. I cant think of a single mass transport project that didnt rely on government’s help to reach critical mass, apart from horses.
    Railways Canals Motor and Aircraft transport all developed with the active participation of governments. I realise that the prime movers in several of those examples were private companies, but we reached the stage we are at today only because of government promotion or favourable legislation. ( also Wars had a lot to do with it)

  31. Alternative solutions? Highly efficient liquid fuelled ICEs. Highly efficient liquid fuelled & plug-in hybrids. LPG or NG fuelled ICEs and/or hybrids. Fuel cell vehicles. EVs themselves. etc. There are many possible solutions. As I’ve linked to before, liquid fuels could potentially come from the Sandia – or other – process and replace batteries as the energy storage and transport mechanism. There are several possibilities. We need also to look beyond a couple of years and think of the long term. Being the early adopters stuck with the wrong solution would prove to be VERY expensive and make us look VERY silly.

    As for point 2: even if you believe that EVs are the best solution, in fact **particularly** if you feel that EVs are self-evidently the best solution, then private players like the current petrol station chains or even motor dealers could surely move to provide a recharging service at many of their existing facilities without requiring government investment. There might be a role for coordinating a charging standard or standards, for instance, but no obvious need for much more.

    Again, it’s a situation where you need to watch for contradiction. If you’ll excuse some simplification for the sake of argument, if EVs are self-evidently the best solution then there is surely no need for government to interfere and very little reason to invest. Private enterprise will surely rush in to take the opportunity.

    However, if EVs are not self-evidently the best solution then there could potentially be a role for govt to overcome some network or start up effect which private enterprise cannot overcome by itself…..but now we’re in a situation where EVs are not self-evidently the best solution. Which situation are we in?

    I’m not saying that EVs are not the best solution, just that there is significant doubt and that any Irish government rushing to invest money directly or through subsidies in such a scheme given Ireland’s current financial situation seems to be taking very inappropriate decisions.

  32. I am more than sympathetic to Hydrogen Vehicles, and I think
    more research should be done in that area. But the scientific consensus seems to be that no mass transit system is practical in the next 40 years. So I am knocking that off the alternative list.

    As for LPG – yes I accept that as a viable alternative. Seemingly Armenia has reached 30% usage. The thing is that it will hit the same wall that the petrol will hit: sooner or later we run out. Widescale adoption of LPG means that would be sooner.
    S0 yes we should look at LPG, but also we should look beyond it too.

    “Being the early adopters stuck with the wrong solution
    would prove to be VERY expensive and make us look VERY silly”

    Not necessarily. Identify a schedule of of potential uses for EVs ( garda/DF etc fleet ) , and invest accordingly, as I said before. I am not saying that the government get rid of every carbon car.
    Rather it should get a small fleet of 100 EVs or so, and fit out the garages, rather than replace current carbon cars with new carbon cars.

    This will be obviously be more expensive than buying new conventional cars, but necessarily it is the marginal cost that is as stake, not the entire investment. Also we build up a knowledge base in maintaining EVs – specialist mechanics.

    If the scheme is a failure, it would be a pity, but not the end of the world.
    It certainly wouldnt make us look silly. Even if EVs dont take off, it would take something spectacular for scheme like that to be a failure.

    I will come back to your other point later on. It is late now.

  33. @Kevin.
    There is already plenty of experience of EVs in local municipal and “public service” uses. See http://www.milkfloats.org.uk/ for an example. Neither the in-use experience nor the charging set up is immediately or easily transferable to normal use.

  34. What about compressed air cars as alternatives? Proven technology, fast charging, zero emissions at point of use, range comparable with EV…

  35. Cianof:

    Just from looking at the employee and fleet numbers, the An Post operational model seems to be different from the La Poste model, and An Post looks like it might get more utilization out of the vehicles. That’s the issue – if you use the vehicle more during the day, then EV is less suitable. An Post is also an organization facing enormous challenges, most importantly, that they are looking into the abyss of complete collapse of their core flat mail delivery business.

    Secondly, France is a great vehicle manufacturing nation. Venturi and Citroen are part of the French industrial complex, and it makes sense for the French government to support them as part of a national strategy. We are not an automotive manufacturing nation. There is little to be gained for us in this area.

    Step back and look at the objective – i.e., to reduce fossil fuel dependency and carbon emissions. To take the example of delivery, we could certainly make the national logistics system more efficient and maybe reduce the fuel use by five or ten or even fifteen percent. This would be a worthwhile thing to do.
    (By national logistics system, I am referring to the means by which goods are moved from factories and ports to their ultimate destinations, i.e., the homes and premises of the consumers)

    However, we could not achieve this by using EV’s. We could achieve this by a number of ‘smart’ means, meaning that we would make more everyday goods available online (without requiring a trip by car to the shops), the addressing system would be streamlined, so it would be easier and cheaper to deliver accurately and there would be a need to provide ‘smart’ ways of making sure that every delivery could be accepted on the first attempt.

    This is the sort of space where we can realistically and economically innovate. we have the basic computing skills needed in abundance. It’s a ‘soft’ thing, a service rather than a product, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable for our own economy or for export. Internationally traded services are a mainstay for us. On the other hand, uptake of heavy engineering technology is unlikely to be a viable space for Ireland to make a lot of money.

  36. “There are plenty of all-electric golf carts too — but few on the roads.”
    @Richard
    You are aware that the technology has moved on from golf carts?
    Have you every driven a EV? If so which one?

  37. This thread discusses a fleet of EVs in Spain. I think it is safe to presume that the engineers have deemed these vehicles roadworthy and feasible as short course mode of transport. In that case, mentioning milkfloats and golf carts doesn’t add to the discussion at all.

    The question is why could the spanish government get anyone to buy it? My contention is that they ploughed headfirst into this scheme
    without building up the necessary support infrastructre first. As Hugh asked there earlier, why dont Petrol stations have EV chargers so?
    Obviously because they have no customers. Why wont anyone use an EV right now? Obviously because there arent enough places, like a petrol station to charge it up. Chicken and Egg situation. Something has got to give! Hence start in the public fleet, and then go from there.

    As a short course mode of transport, the EV can play a part in national logistic system ( good term – lets keep it ). I dont think anybody really thinks that EVs will be right for every journey.

    How many journeys are low-load short journeys? Trips to the shop or work? Loads! would EVs be suitable in this circumstance? Certainly!

    I am not arguing againt other forms of transport. Indeed I dont think the near homogeneity that carbons cars currently enjoy will last long into the future.
    To that end – My public fleet suggestion goes for LPGs as well. It is already shown to be feasible. LPGs should be discussed sometime in the future too.

  38. @kevin
    The only all-electric vehicle in production at some scale (30,000 per year) is the REVAi, which is a golf cart with doors and windows. It’s not allowed on European roads.

    Schwoon and Tol (2006, Energy Journal) show that there is no chicken and egg problem. The issue is lack of demand. Petrol stations would provide chargers if they’d expect that there’d be clients. However, they understand the automotive market and do not see a business case (yet?).

    The ESB is making matters worse: Building up their own infrastructure and giving away fuel, they undermine the private sector.

  39. @Kevin.
    Starting a public fleet of EVs will not do much to get Maxol to install charging stations. An Post vehicles and/or other public EVs are unlikely to recharge at Maxol or Texaco or to impact the availability of charging stations in any appreciable way.

    Also, my point with milk floats was entirely pertinent since (i) electric vehicle technology is not new, particularly in municipal and public service use – which is exactly the area you suggested Ireland could gather use experience, and (ii) public service vehicle usage patterns may be suitable for EV use while normal domestic use may not be as suitable.

    In any case, we still need to look at the overall energy balance and energy sources for Ireland.

    EVs may be just an expensive distraction, particularly in a context where the government is paying millions in subsidies to dig up and burn one of Ireland’s carbon sinks – and a rare ecosystem to boot – to generate uneconomic electricity.

  40. First, there is hardly any ‘public fleet’ left. What there is is probably mainly in emergency services, health and OPW. All the utility stuff is in the hands of semi-states. These companies decide for themselves what they want to buy. You can’t make it an instrument of public policy (although you could give them a grant.)

    How it actually works is that most people and businesses buy cars and vans because they are so multi-purpose. You can use them for so many types of journeys and types of loads. This usefulness means that there is almost certain to be a second-hand market for them when you are finished with them. You don’t have this with an electric vehicle – no one knows what these vehicles will be worth in five years time. Resale value is a big issue for a utility-type company and for an individual alike

    Who wants to hang around a petrol station for ninety minutes (at least) waiting for a car to charge up? If you want instant charge with batteries, you need the Betterplace solution, and that’s working out at around eur250m for national coverage. The problem doesn’t chicken-and-egg, the problem is that the whole thing is too expensive and cumbersome. (Although maybe futher development will resolve that.)

    Ultimately, will EV’s really resolve our urban transport and traffic problems? Is asking for a less polluting car in 2010 a bit like asking for a faster horse was in 1901?

  41. The point about milk floats is not valid. Mobile phone technology was around a long time too. Are today’s mobile phones the same as the one 15 years ago? No!

    “Normal domestic use may not be as suitable” Normal domestic use pretty much what I defined earlier as low load short distance journeys If there is any journey type that EVs are suitable, it is that one.

    Antoin, You are not wrong, but as the article indicates – grants are a big part of the equation. Also It is more than reasonable that the govt. for the government to get a few public sector bodies on board

    “Who wants to hang around a petrol station for ninety minutes (at least) waiting for a car to charge up? ” That is a silly point. My car is parked out the front of my house. If I had an EV, a garage and power charger they car could be charging up each night, ready for the next days journeys.
    (fair enough that is a lot of “if”s, but for the sake argument lets say that would be common in 2040).
    Houses are all connected to the mains supply, and will likely to remain so in 2040. What houses dont have, and wont have in 2040,are massive petrol tanks buried under their garden.
    Charging an EV has absolutely nothing in common with charging a Carbon car, trying to compare the two if off the wall. If anything Charging an EV is more like charging a mobile phone.

    “will EV’s really resolve our urban transport and traffic problems? ”
    No. Again it will only be suitable for low load short journeys. but that is a huge proportion of all journeys taken.

    his is getting into another broader issue; There is such a thing as “Transport orientated planning / development”
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transport-oriented_development) .

    We need to start taking this strategy very seriously from now on. I think it is reasonable to say that a lot of us will see $500 per barrel, in todays prices.

    also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_vehicle_network

    Richard Tol is likely to revisit the EV issue, as developments of the current EV plan unfolds. Shall we adjourn the EV debate until then?

  42. “Who wants to hang around a petrol station for ninety minutes (at least) waiting for a car to charge up”

    That is a redundant point. Most buildings and their immediate surroundings are connected to the mains supply. Very few have massive petrol tanks underneath. EVs can charged up while they are not being used, Petrol cars
    cant be refilled when they are parked.

    “Although you could give them a grant”
    The article makes clear that the Spanish schemes has very generous incentives. I believe that the Irish plan does also.

  43. @Antoin > “Ultimately, will EV’s really resolve our urban transport and traffic problems?”

    No. EVs are only suitable for low load short journeys. The thing is that most journeys fit that description.

    This is touching onto a bigger issue: The national logistics system, everything from Aerlingus’s jets to Shank’s mare. I reckon our strategy should have a top-down approach:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transport-oriented_development

    @Hugh > Milk Floats

    Mobile phones technology was around 15 years. Do current mobile phones have anything in common with phones from 15 years, apart from the fundamentalsof how they operate? No!
    Normal domestic usage is mostly low load short distance journeys. If there is any type of usage EVs are suitable, it is normal domestic usage.

    Articulated lorries, or buses, or Army transports? would EVs be aby god there? I very much doubt it.
    A EV version of a nissan micra to go to work or the shops, or drop the kids off at school? absolutely.

    by the way: yes the government still have a very large fleet of vehicles.

  44. Kevin: the whole thing about buying a car or van is that it is multi-purpose. You can use it for so many things. My Nissan Micra brought me on all sorts of journeys of many lengths and with many types of load. That flexibility also gave it resale value. The electric van or car looks like it will have far less resale value, that’s why the grants have to be massive.

    Even if EV’s were suitable for long distance heavy-goods journeys, would they solve our problems?

    The real problem isn’t with the environmental cost of individual car journeys. The real problem is that we have to make too many car journeys in congested, start-stop conditions.

    The issue with government vehicles is that they occasionally have to run for tens of hours or even for days at a time. Maybe not every day or even most days, but when there is a crisis, you have to be ready to go.

  45. @ Antoin O Lachtnain,

    Your comment
    “The real problem is that we have to make too many car journeys in congested, start-stop conditions. ”

    made me pause and think for a moment. Strangely enough EV’s would be very suitable and efficient in congested traffic with stop / start conditions.

    When the traffic is stopped, the EV is not using much energy as the electric motor is switched off, the only energy being used might be the radio. A conventional vehicle however uses fuel even when the vehicle is stopped, ie neutral gear, engine on.

    So for heavy congested traffic, getting stopped at every red light etc the EV should be more energy efficient than the internal combustion engine vehicle.

    This reinforces the point that Richard has made several times, EV’s are fine for short internal city commutes etc.

    My own opinion is that 35K for a Nissan Leaf is a lot of money when compared to the alternatives for 16K. The 5K discount is significant but nowhere nearly enough. There is the question of resale value, it has been mentioned that the battery will have some residual value. But nobody knows what this value will be. For example does the battery in a 10 year old laptop have a value? Is the battery in a old laptop comparable to the laptop battery today? Or is the old battery a financial liability where one has to pay for its disposal?

    Secondly there is the issue of trust between the citizen and the Govt. This trust has been very badly damaged over the last number of years. One small example, there is now movement for cars to be taxed even if they are not on the road anymore. You pay for a service that you don’t recieve. Very sinister developments. People have been badly burned with property, landlords are taxed on a loss!!

    The Smart person will keep their money in their pocket.

  46. @Sporthog
    When the smart grid is there, you can fill your attic with used car batteries — charge when the price is low and discharge when the price is high.

  47. “The real problem is that we have to make too many car journeys in congested, start-stop conditions.”

    That is true enough. As I said before, that is touching onto wider transport issues like the Metro and Dart.
    I would like to see Transport Orientated Development brought into discourse;
    Should we build a big massive metro line in a greenfields site, and then intensively develop those areas? Might be a good bit cheaper, in the long run, than the other way around. Probably best left for another day.

    Richard Tol is likely to revisit this issue in the future. Shall we adjourn the debate till then?

  48. We will not be building dense housing and premises on a big greenfield site this side of 2030. We have plenty of stuff built and land serviced as it is. It doesn’t look like we will have major population growth either.

    There are other innovations coming over the horizon, probably far more important than electric vehicles or other propulsion systems. For example, guided vehicles have the potential to massively increase fuel-efficiency, the capacity of our streets and the speed of our traffic. Teleworking could vastly reduce the number of journeys to work that are required at peak times. Online ordering and home delivery can vastly reduce actual food miles and goods miles to the home.

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