Are Electric cars the devils work?

4th February 2018 — by Mark Turner



Are Electric cars the devils work?

4th February 2018 — by Mark Turner

This is a difficult subject for me and I’d imagine for most petrolheads.
I have, up until now, always ignored EV’s (Electric Vehicles) and classed them as pointless or the devils work.

I’ve generally considered them a marketing exercise and had serious reservations on their true ‘green’ status once you factor in whole life costs.

With the continued growth and development of the EV sector, I thought we couldn’t put this off any longer and had to go & find out what all the fuss was about.

The main concern with EV’s has always been batteries. Horrible to make and they can’t be recycled once the short vehicle life is over.

How green is that?

The reality is nothing like that. Battery ‘ownership’ has many solutions. Rental, leasing, lifetime warranties, whatever. That means that EV ownership now doesn’t have to be a short and painfully expensive ordeal. When the battery starts to loose efficiency and hold less charge, it’s changed at no additional cost.

Ok, but they are finished with and can’t be recycled. That’s terrible for the environment… Isn’t it?
No, another one of our anti-EV weapons explodes in our face. Hold that thought though…

Just for a moment, let’s go off topic slightly and look at renewable energy. One of the main issues with renewable energy, such as wind and solar, is storing the energy. It’s produced largely during the day when we are at work and don’t need it, but is gone when we do as we can’t store it.
If only we had a source of batteries we could use to store that energy… Hold on, I see a plan coming together.

The plan is to use old EV batteries as second life in storing renewable energy. These batteries are not ‘done’ when removed from the vehicles, they just don’t charge as well as they used to. Say they used to do 150 miles fully charged, when at the end of their useful vehicle life they do 110. Still plenty of life in the batteries, in fact as much as 10-15 years of second life is estimated if used as renewable energy storage. A much more green solution!

We know many companies are looking at these batteries as an option to reduce energy bills. A great solution.

This is all based on current battery technology too. It is assumed that the next big technology advances will be in this sector. There is a huge amount of resource being invested in this area so keep an eye out.

So, what about the nasty little cars? I like my cars simple and old school. Well, let’s look at that. Modern internal combustion (IC) cars are far from simple. Crammed with so many electric aides and strangled to meet emissions.
Electric vehicles have been around since the 1830’s.

In terms of simplicity, can it get any simpler than forward/backward gears and stop/go pedals?
Admittedly, some manufacturers are making them very complicated but as a simple, fun mode of transport, they are great.
Clearly there are limitations. Charging can be inconvenient, range can be limiting and so on. But, there are a growing number of new players in the market, all with innovative solutions to these issues, so watch this space.

Let’s consider the future of conventional cars? Legislation is getting increasing more difficult to meet and  we’re currently on Euro6 emissions regulations which are tough, just ask VW.
Euro7 will come in to play at some point. I have worked with some of the fuel system manufacturers who say Euro7 is almost impossible to meet with current diesel technology. Past that, it is a real possibility we won’t be able to produce diesel engines that can meet future emissions regulations, with petrol engines close behind. So then what? What else is there? Hybrids and EV’s that’s what.

We have dipped our toe in the EV waters recently and have had our eyes opened. They are not the devils work and actually fit quite well in to Fueltopia’s ethos.
I’m looking forward to trying some more and seeing what there is out there. Of course I’ll report back to you with all the juicy details!

Mark Turner