Electric car – would you…?
It’s 86 miles to Inverness, we got a charging point, half a bag of chips, it’s dark and snowing… and I am not wearing sunglasses.
…Posted 4 years ago
So I discovered that Pitlochry has electric car charging points…Would you take an electric car up the A9 and over Drumochter in the cold?
(These also belong in the random faces-in-objects thread…)
Hired one once at the airport, got to where we were going for a meeting and had the embarrassment of getting them to charge it for me or I’d never have made it back to the airport.
Was going to buy a van, Renault kangoo, took it for a test drive last winter, it was really cold, the range halves in low temperature.
Binned the idea.Posted 4 years agogarage-dwellerSubscriber
The Ampera/Volt are genuinely impressive from the short ride I had in them.
The pick up from stationary round town really impressed as its electrically driven there is no drive train lag like in a conventional engine.
What puts me off is the upfront cost and wondering how long the batteries will last long term and whether they can be recycled at end of life. If these types of cars turn out well over the next few years I would look seriously at them.Posted 4 years agotonyg2003Subscriber
The Tesla looks like it could be 300mile rangePosted 4 years agomuddy@rseguySubscriber
I followed a Tesla roadster for about 30 miles on the M25 a couple of years back…looked like a seriously quick and nimble car and it was entertaining watching all the repmobile 3series BMW drivers having a go at outrunning it and failing 🙂
Model S with the high capacity battery really can do 300miles on a charge, if you are not being careful it’ll do about 250-260 and can outrun pretty much anything this side of top end Sports cars : one just did a drag race with a new Corvette Stingray in the US, the result was a 1:1 draw and you can’t carry 7 people in a Corvette!
I see a few Nissan Leafs around here, range is sub 100miles but they seem to be ok on motorways and can keep up with the rest of the traffic.
‘S future innit? At the moment the real work is using electric vehicles as performance cars as opposed to runabouts , all the upcoming ferraris, BMWs, Porsches and McLarens are hybrids with the electric systems used as performance boosters running alongside a a normal engine but also with full EV modes for city or heavy traffic use too.
Normal electric cars for the rest of us with decent range at a reasonable price will be about 5-10years down the line.Posted 4 years agoMowgliMember
We had the Ampera on extended test drive at work. Range of only 30 miles or so doesn’t bring much benefit to us, but ideal for local journeys so long as you don’t have to put fuel in (which seems to defeat the point of it.)
The boss opted for the Leaf instead as the 100 mile range makes it a bit more useful. Until he drove to Ikea last weekend after being told ‘yes we do have fast charging points here’ to find them not installed and a long day getting towed home. 😳 Hopefully more places will install the fast 1.5hr charging points.
We got the Leaf on lease, so if the batteries pack in after a couple of years it’s not our problem. Lease is £200/month, and taking out the fuel costs and tax it’s equivalent to less than £100/month. Seems a good deal.Posted 4 years agobailsSubscriber
I guess my point is surprise that two charging points have been installed at Pitlochry…That is not gearing up for local driving, surely it is ‘serving’ the A9 route
But the government is spending hundreds of millions of £ on encouraging electric vehicles* (not ebikes, naturally). So the council probably got free money and didn’t really think what they were doing with it.
*because an electric car doesn’t cause congestion like a ‘normal’ one, for some reason.Posted 4 years agowobbliscottMember
As a form of motive power electric cars are brill and I’d have one. The big problem is how to power them of course, and it’s a problem I think we’re not working on the correct solution to. What we need is for the cars not to have on-board batteries. They’re heavy, inefficient, ineffective, impractical and environmentally a disaster and completely goes against one of the principal reasons to go electric in the first place. Also battery technology hasn’t really come on that much in recent decades and probably won’t come on much in the decades to come, sure batteries have got smaller through the use of more precious and harder to find metals, but fundamentally the problems we currently face with batteries are unlikely to be solved any time soon. What we need is some form of dodgem style electric pick-up. There could be a non-contact system that works from electromagnetic induction (like your electric toothbrush charger) just under the road surface so pedestrians didn’t get electrocuted as they cross the road.
If we insist on using batteries then I think Vauxhall came up with the best solution. A cartridge battery system so when your car runs out of juice you pull into a petrol station style garage, drive over a station, and automatically from under the car your cartridge battery is replaced and you have another couple of hundred or so miles of range in the same time it would take to fill your car up with petrol. The removed battery can then be charged and used in another car in 12hrs time or so.Posted 4 years agobikebouyMember
If I only lived in London then yes but I don’t, so no.Posted 4 years ago
I had a Prius for 3 years until last year and only bought it because of the lack of CG in London. Yeah it was a nice place to be when driving and really did fit in the Bouy household rather well, but I got bored with it and it started to look like a Taxi, so it’s gawn. I am looking at the Lexus i200 “Kylie Car” which I think will be a nicer option. It I’m not doing that for another 6/7mths.
Back to petrol for us for the short term.HoratioHufnagelMember
Autonomous driving will work really well with electric cars IMO, even without better batteries. The computer would drive it off to charge whenever necessary and it’d know more accurately how long the charge will last because it’ll know how its going to drive itself.Posted 4 years agocraigxxlMember
On top of the high cost of purchasing an electric car even after government grants, you still have the monthly battery hire that the majority of manufacturers levy on you. These hire charges can be more than you would pay in fuel on similar size car with a much greater range. For it to be cost effective you would need to be doing high mileage which can’t be done due to the charging times.Posted 4 years ago
Hybrids with the engine creating the charge for the batteries that drive the electric motors are the cost effective way forward at the moment.
‘S future innit?
Nah, I don’t think so. I don’t think batteries will ever be good enough and charging will always be an issue. Flow batteries might work though. Otherwise, it’ll have to be hydrogen.
Range of only 30 miles or so doesn’t bring much benefit to us, but ideal for local journeys so long as you don’t have to put fuel in (which seems to defeat the point of it.)
Well, not exactly, not in theory at least. It’s a hybrid, after all, not an electric car – but it’s a series hybrid rather than parallel like other hybrids. So when you use the engine it drives a generator which charges the battery and/or powers the wheels. In a normal car the engine is generally not operating at peak efficiency, especially if you are in town, and the engine has to be tuned to give ‘thrilling’ performance at all revs and still be efficient. The one in the Ampera can be just a generator, so it can be tuned to run super efficiently at one speed. Any energy you don’t need to drive the wheels goes into the battery.
The downside of that though is that putting energy into the battery and taking it out is not very efficient, which will cancel out some of the gains. I would love to know how efficient these things are on the motorway after you’ve used up the initial charge from being plugged in.Posted 4 years agoklumpyMember
battery technology hasn’t really come on that much in recent decades and probably won’t come on much in the decades to come, sure batteries have got smaller through the use of more precious and harder to find metals, but fundamentally the problems we currently face with batteries are unlikely to be solved any time soon.
Not really true. Lots of cool stuff in the pipline using everything from graphene (ie: carbon, abundant) to molten sugars(also plentiful). The biggest issue with a new battery is proving it’s safe – considering some of the energy densities this is kind of a Good Thing.
If we insist on using batteries then I think Vauxhall came up with the best solution. A cartridge battery system so when your car runs out of juice you pull into a petrol station style garage, drive over a station, and automatically from under the car your cartridge battery is replaced
Yes! (In principle, but doesn’t necessarily require the thunderbirds style automatic battery grabber 🙂 )
Also, some of the electric motocrossers look great but range/runtime on a charge is rarely mentioned, unfortunately. And the line between those and electric MTBs is geting pretty blurred. Electric motopedcrossers (will) rool.Posted 4 years agoSlogoMember
engineeringcowboy – Member
Because he has jumped on a bandwagon
Toyota hybrids are now 10 years old and the battery in the one I drove was still working
POSTED 2 HOURS AGO # REPORT-POST
A hybrid is different to an electric Car. A Prius battery delivers power in short bursts as it helps the engine along. An Electric car depletes their batteries nearly all the way — a process called “deep discharge” — which is significantly more taxing on the cells
A cell lasts as long as the life of the Car apparently. I dont think you will be replacing the battery on a car out of warranty. Lithium-ion batteries lose storage capacity over time; how long does your 5-year-old laptop battery hold a charge? This means your Electric car range will decrease as it ages — and the more aggressively you drive, the faster that happens.
So its 50 miles round trip to work car can do 100. You need to charge your car almost everyday. and in maybe 3 years time the batteries are only storing 60-80% of the charge (who knows). I need to go to work 1.5 hours early so i can charge on the way to work.Posted 4 years agotreaclespongeMember
Had a closer look at the BMW i8 after being reminded of it on Top Gear, but besides the £100K starting price it seems very ‘concept car’ still. Gullwing style doors would mean you cant park it in a garage (or you can but cant get out). Surely they are better aiming at family sized and shaped cars? I presume the majority of journeys are in 4 door saloon style cars by families, rather than people razzing round in their exec-sports car at the weekend.Posted 4 years ago
Lithium-ion batteries lose storage capacity over time; how long does your 5-year-old laptop battery hold a charge?
Do they use deep discharge though? The reason the Prius battery lasts so long is that it’s managed between 40% and 80% charge constantly. If I were an electric car designer I’d do something similar for my batteries – so comparing it to a cheap laptop battery isn’t necessarily fair.
And the cells can randomly fail like anything else – Prius cells do fail from time to time but of course the battery is modular so you don’ thave to replace the whole thing.
Surely they are better aiming at family sized and shaped cars?
Well it’s an interesting point. Electric sports cars actually make far more sense currently than family cars. A family car needs to be dependable and usable for anything – holidays, impromptu trips and whatever you throw at it, so it can’t be unusable because there’s only 10 miles of charge left. A car that you take out just for fun can be planned for, you can make sure it’s ready and make sure you don’t drive any more than 100 miles or whatever it is.
So these BMW are of questionable value really, but if it gets the technology moving and gets the infrastructure going it could be a good thing.Posted 4 years agoandylMember
Saw the BMW i3 in Munich the other week. Fantastic car as someone at BMW has basically put their foot down and said “we are making an electric car and it will be made from carbon fibre”
The interior is also a lovely place to be with natural fabrics and untreated wood. It really shifts too from a standstill. The tyres do remind me of a 2CV or black cab though (if the latter they might be really cheap!) but maybe with the carbon fibre chassis and aluminium suspension that is all the width you need.
As for the Tesla S – I would love one. It is amazing how well they have got on with the Supercharge points in America. Basically 1hr charge gives 100 miles range (ie they charge at 100mph).
I see a lot more reliance on motorway services with electric cars but forcing people to take a decent break is not a bad thing. Yes it is going to make peoples trips longer so you have to plan more time which could be problematic for business users going up and down the country in a day but if I can get 300 miles range and maybe have to take an hours break mid way to top up the battery which adds an hour while I get some food and a drink etc then I don’t have a problem with it.
The other thing Tesla have is rapid battery change which takes about 1 minute or something silly. ie a lot quicker than standing at the pump putting 40-50L of diesel in your tank.
The i3 is about £30-35k which is not cheap and the Tesla S is even more but for some people in some situations the i3 can save £200+ per month based on a new combustion engine car. But for most private buyers who don’t buy new electric is not currently cost effective. Shame as i would love one.Posted 4 years agorichmtbSubscriber
Take a look at the Audi A3 e-tron
Seriously impressive bit of kit. 180mpg and 0-60 in 7.6s
It has a 1.4 DI petrol turbo paired with a 70kW electric motor.
The battery capacity is fairly small, it will only do around 30 miles on the battery alone, but using the low down torque of the motor to drag it up to speed makes it really economical
The downside is it costs £32k.
Still, you can imagine this type of tech creeping into virtually all cars in 5 years time. Instead of picking from petrol or diesel (and different performance / economy versions of the two) you will pick from petrol, diesel and hybrid as a matter of coursePosted 4 years ago
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