Electricity, Batteries, and Cars

I found myself in a discussion about electric vehicles, and thought I’d share some resources from it:

John Ward covers EV vehicles and the U.K. National Grid, specifically about whether the present grid can cope with electrification of private cars:

The conclusion is that the overnight excess capacity is easily enough for half the UK’s private car fleet. However, there are some good comments to the video which point out difficulties with local-level supply: the substations and distribution to houses may not be up to the job.

Here are the back-of-the-envelope calculations:

I was surprised (and delighted) to see how much of the UK’s power is already wind, and how reliable that is. The lovely visualisations of live and historical UK data are found at Drax:

This video is fairly good, on Tesla batteries, as of a couple of years ago.

I found a better video on batteries, with an emphasis on Tesla:
Tesla’s Future Battery Strategy Explained

And this is good too, arguing that we need standards and state investment in charging infrastructure; electric cars already doing pretty well on range and cost and even charging times:
The Electric Vehicle Charging Problem

(It turns out to be a quicker journey overall if you stop twice to top up charge, making use of the faster charging when batteries are neither very full nor very empty. So you need even more charging stations than you’d think.)

A commentator suggested:

If you want to look at what it would be like to drive long journeys in an electric car have a play with A Better Routeplanner

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Personally, I’d love to see vehicles levitate and hover with magnetic forces! I know this would mean every single (poorer countries will take a lot longer) road on planet earth being dug up in order to fit the magnets. I read last year that rubber tyres throw off tiny plastic polymers that often end up as pollutants in oceans and waterways. Those poor fishes (what’s for dinner this evening folks?).

This is supposedly the solution to the tyre pollution Tire dust is pollution, and this invention will help vehicles clean up as they go

Additionally, cars run on biofuel made from algae or even gas from sewage! Can you imagine a system that can transform our waste into fuel, for one and all.

Lastly, the idea of the hyperloop, really appeals to me, just imagine, Frome to Bath in 5 minutes! Hyperloop infrastructure instead of trains, buses and coaches anybody?

Interesting about tyre dust. It’s interesting, I think, that road surfaces and tyres are both oil-based, as well as cars being oil-powered (and oil-lubricated, and containing a fair amount of plastic too.) We very much live in the Age of Oil, and I do wonder if we should anticipate living in a much less energy-intensive way in the future - fossil fuels have been a massive free ride and it’s going to end, one way or another. (Actually, given climate change, the ride has not been free.)

There’s some great analysis, and lots of numbers, in the book and website
Sustainable Energy – without the hot air.

Some random facts, from another site:

  • The proportion of households without a car is 26%
  • 59% of road transport emissions is from cars (12% from light vans, 28% from trucks and buses)
  • 88% of car CO₂ emissions is commuting and other private mileage, rather than business.

My feeling is that we will find ourselves somewhere on a continuum between a business-as-usual future which will end in tears, or a future where we travel a lot less, take longer over our journeys, and plan them more carefully. Unless we miraculously get fusion energy working!

“Flying once per year has an energy
cost slightly bigger than leaving a 1 kW electric fire on, non-stop, 24 hours
a day, all year.”

Thanks for info, the above quote is a jaw dropping statistic, I know of some people that would leave on a 100 fires a year!

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Lots of links to battery technologies in here:

including a very nice infomercial video about subterranean compressed air storage:

I’m amazed at what ‘men/women’ are capable of doing for our planet. What would a plant like this cost (curiosity only) to build Ed?

Apparently about the same as natural gas, but it scales up inexpensively so bigger is better:

The cost to build one of these plants is about the same as that of a natural-gas power plant. A 250 MW power system with 2,000 MWh of energy storage capacity (that is, providing 8 hours of electricity) costs about $440 million

Seems like a lot of money, until you compare it to what the British government will spend on defence in the next decade, which will be around, one hundred & seventy BILLION!

I wonder how many (I’m sure the constructor would give a discount after say, 10 plants?) natural -gas plants could be built with this (our) money?