Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 51 total)
  • Reducing the climate impact and emissions of a diesel van vs. buy new electric?
  • Premier Icon AnyExcuseToRide
    Full Member

    We currently own a VW T5 8 seater transporter, it is a 2004 1.9L engine and I am looking at ways to reduce the emissions of the vehicle if at all possible.

    We run a mountain bike holiday company and have been trying since the outset to reduce the impact on the environment that we have, I believe we do a lot of good things and have changed lots of small things to reduce our carbon footprint. However the main thing that is difficult to change and has the most impact is the car we use for transport so I would like to ask some ideas about how to improve that.

    The obvious answer would be to sell it and buy an electric van, it seems there are going to be several 9 seater vans on the market from next year. This is the most expensive option but it is not totally out of the question as there’s a lot of help with buying electric vehicles here (Norway) and running costs could make it economically viable. However I’m not totally convinced having a totally new van produced that would allow us to run on electric is more sustainable than continuing to use our old diesel van. We generally keep and use stuff until it is worn out or doesn’t work anymore, or buy 2nd hand and I’m wondering if the same principal would apply to a van.

    Does anyone have any good information on this? The comparison of buying a new electric van that has zero emissions vs. just using our old diesel car until it dies.

    To further that, if there’s some middle ground I can find that doesn’t cost £50k and uses less resource than producing a complete new car then this could be a good option. Does anyone know if there are any good ways of reducing the emissions of the 2004 diesel car I currently own? Aftermarket products, fuel additives etc?

    Any general advice on this is welcome and different solutions to this then I’m all ears. I guess this subject also applied to quite a lot of other people considering the same. We also considered what about just using e-bikes = no uplifts anymore for example?

    Premier Icon leffeboy
    Full Member

    You might find that two vehicles is the answer.  You really need to look at what you are doing

    Electric looks lovely but if it is sourced by burning fossil fuels you might as well do it directly in your engine.  If you don’t live in a built up area then the emissions which are the main problem with diesel aren’t such an issue

    If you are doing a lot of short stuff and can have your own solar panels/other renewables then an electric might be best

    There isn’t really a simple answer without working out your use profile.  You might find if you have a lot of short distance stuff with a few long runs then a small new electric supplemented by the existing diesel for long distance is best.

    Reduction is really the solution but that is harder

    “We also considered what about just using e-bikes = no uplifts anymore for example?”

    That’s a super interesting question.  What is the energy used in recharging vs driving a vehicle plus bikes up a hill.  Wish I knew the answer but i strongly suspect that recharging wins, especially if you are recharging one set of batteries on your own panels during the day while the other set are in use

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    Spend £50k on some land and plant some trees? Added bonus you now own ~20 acres of bikepark.

    Premier Icon thols2
    Free Member

    I am looking at ways to reduce the emissions of the vehicle if at all possible.

    1. Drive it less.

    2. Sell it and buy something with lower emissions.

    Premier Icon AnyExcuseToRide
    Full Member

    A few small points to add in response to @leffeboy ‘s post.

    – 99% of electricity comes from hydro production
    – Usage is typically for whe we have groups of guests. That means airport/train station pick ups which are 2hrs away, then each day we would ride with 3-6 lifts up the hills locally or drive to a location maybe 30-60mins away followed by 2-4 lifts up the hill*.
    – We needa 9 seater
    – For our personal use, if we were to keep the diesel car then we might look at some smaller vehicle to supplement (moped, e-cargobike etc). But most shops/facilities are located in walking distance anyway.
    – We live in a small town so yes NoX emissions are less of a concern than a city but given that pretty much every brand is advertising much lower emission numbers than real time use and using ‘defeat’ devices in testing even in 2020 then I’d like to reduce it if possible.

    *In general we’re trying to change our routes so that they are more of a – long lift up the hill in the morning followed by a trip on the hilltops and a big descent as a pose to pure uplift, smash back down the hill to reduce van use.

    Premier Icon Trimix
    Full Member

    I would keep the van (in good running order). Why waste all the resources that went into that van by getting rid of it. Electric ones are not going to meet your demands yet, plus as said above, the electricity may still come from Oil / Coal / Gas, so you are not making things better.

    People think fully electric vehicles emit nothing, which may be true of the vehicle, but not true of the electricity production. I feel we are just kicking the can down the road.

    Once your van really does die, then look again for one that uses less fuel, or see if there are real electric ones that can do the job.

    Does anyone make a hybrid van yet ?

    Premier Icon stevextc
    Free Member

    Does anyone have any good information on this? The comparison of buying a new electric van that has zero emissions vs. just using our old diesel car until it dies.

    Your new electric van will produce about 50% of the particulates of your current vehicle.
    If that makes any difference depends where you drive it. I’d imagine your urban use is quite small.

    In summer your carbon footprint will be smaller if you recharge from hydro generated
    In winter when much of the power is imported the difference will be less.

    Purely practical but will it do the km? My mate drove from Bergen to Stavanger in a i3 and said he was touch and go. Would being stranded in the middle of nowhere in Winter be bad?

    However I’m not totally convinced having a totally new van produced that would allow us to run on electric is more sustainable than continuing to use our old diesel van. We generally keep and use stuff until it is worn out or doesn’t work anymore, or buy 2nd hand and I’m wondering if the same principal would apply to a van.

    A lot of that will depend what happens to the T5. If its sold to another country and still run and where it’s run?

    I have to agree that scrapping a whole van and making a new one doesn’t seem very ecology friendly. It’s also not that long since you were being encouraged to buy diesel…

    Premier Icon Trimix
    Full Member

    Sorry to pi55 on everyone’s chips, but I did watch an article the other day about methane gas being emitted in Siberia. A massive increase in the amount. Basically it looks like this will push us over the tipping point, so no matter what we do, the planet will now start to warm up in a faster rate. After that I felt like buying a Lambo to enjoy the last few months of normality.

    Premier Icon ahsat
    Full Member

    Basically it looks like this will push us over the tipping point, so no matter what we do, the planet will now start to warm up in a faster rate.

    Yes we are ‘committed’ to some climate change – we have already left it too late. But we can stop it becoming a run away worse case. This is a nice summary of a report from the IPCC in 2018 that looked at this https://interactive.carbonbrief.org/impacts-climate-change-one-point-five-degrees-two-degrees/?utm_source=web&utm_campaign=Redirect

    Going back to the OP, yes the climate/environmental impact of new resource is huge. This is an area of research known as circular economy/resource. In general (rough rule of thumb) it is best to keep something until it is worn out and then replace it with something more efficient.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Full Member

    The obvious answer would be to sell it and buy an electric van

    Not obvious. There’s a huge amount of energy used in making the new van that you want to buy. Compare that against continuing to run your old one. On the other hand, you’ll need a new van eventually, won’t you?

    Premier Icon pigyn
    Free Member

    It is worth remembering that your not so old van doesn’t just go in the bin, it will go to someone replacing an even older van with even worse emissions and become a camper or work van for someone that can’t go electric yet.

    I have just bought an EV to replace our personal car, but will need to wait a few years before the van can be replaced, but like you keen to see what is coming out 👍

    Premier Icon convert
    Full Member

    Not obvious. There’s a huge amount of energy used in making the new van that you want to buy. Compare that against continuing to run your old one. On the other hand, you’ll need a new van eventually, won’t you?

    Also your current van does not stop ‘sinning’ if you sell it on in good enough condition to be usable. It’s just you don’t have the guilt of it being on your watch. I’d say unless you are a very heavy mileage user and the van would move on to a much lower mileage user keeping it and ensuring it was well maintained whilst practicable might be as good a solution as any.

    Premier Icon stevextc
    Free Member

    – 99% of electricity comes from hydro production

    That’s not what Sweden and Denmark who sell the power in winter say…

    – We live in a small town so yes NoX emissions are less of a concern than a city but given that pretty much every brand is advertising much lower emission numbers than real time use and using ‘defeat’ devices in testing even in 2020 then I’d like to reduce it if possible.

    You still produce particulates from brakes and tyres, more if you use pigdekke which I believe are banned in Oslo metropolitan area now since about 2001/2?

    That means airport/train station pick ups which are 2hrs away, then each day we would ride with 3-6 lifts up the hills locally or drive to a location maybe 30-60mins away followed by 2-4 lifts up the hill*.

    That seems doable but altitude will eat battery. As I said earlier my mate just got from Bergen to Stavanger in a bmw i3. Wife and baby in car at night so he was getting concerned.

    Premier Icon Simon_Semtex
    Free Member

    This is the article you need to read.

    Mike Berners-Lee (Brother of Tim – creator of WWW) has done all the research.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/green-living-blog/2010/sep/23/carbon-footprint-new-car

    Weirdly, this is the second time I’ve posted this link on here inside 2 days.

    Again, the SCIENCE is conclusive. It is by MUCH, MUCH more environmentally friendly to keep your current internal combustion-engined vehicle rather than making a new electric one from scratch.

    Stop buying more stuff!

    What stuff you currently have, keep it in good working order. Keep it for a long, long time. Pass it onto your children so they can use it also.

    Buying more stuff does not solve the problem of consumption!

    Premier Icon duncancallum
    Full Member

    What’s your mileage and would a charge do you a days shuttling?

    Can you tow with an electric van.

    Buying something new to replace something serviceable to me doesn’t seem green.

    Is it euro 4 or 5?
    Alternative fuels are an option. You bothered about carbon or NOx and air quality.

    Look at shell gtl for air quality or HVO for carbon.

    Also if your who I think you are say hi to claire!

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Full Member

    It is worth remembering that your not so old van doesn’t just go in the bin

    No, but someone will buy it and sell their van to someone who’ll sell their van and eventually the one at the bottom of the chain gets scrapped.

    In the UK, there are too many new cars being brought in at the top of the chain, I am guessing mostly from leases either private or company cars, and these are pushing perfectly serviceable cars into the scrap heap at the other end.

    People say ‘oh it’s not worth fixing that, scrap it’ because the cost of parts is greater than the market value. But the market value is an artificial concept which is distorted by all the new cars pushing cars down the chain. If there were fewer new leases being ordered by people who just fancy something new, then there’d be fewer cars being scrapped. And given a constant sized driving population, fewer new cars being sold.

    Of course governments aren’t going to do anything about this because they want people buying new cars so that car companies make money, pay tax, and employ people who pay tax and spend money etc.

    Premier Icon core
    Full Member

    I would just suggest using good quality fuel, trying to avoid using it for short journeys that you could walk or cycle for, and servicing it very regularly, perhaps replace the exhaust before it’s falling to bits. But just run it until it’s uneconomic or customers start complaining that you’re killing things with your evil van.

    Premier Icon AnyExcuseToRide
    Full Member

    Why does this site log me out all the time? I just wrote response to most of these comments but by the time I clicked post it had logged me out :(.

    @trimix – If you have a link to the article, I would be interested to read that. But even so, I still believe in reducing our consumption and impact on the environment because why not? If we are able to live more efficiently and use less then I think we should.

    I don’t really agree with the kicking the can down the road point. We might still produce some electricity from fossil fuels not but making cars electric at least gives us the possibility to create the energy from renewable sources.. which is slowly happening now. If we continue using combustion engines there’s not possibility to make them renewable.

    @trimix, @stevextc, @duncancallum – If the vans coming out next year live up to the numbers that they are advertising then they will be plenty for what we need. Peugeot, Citroen and Vauxhall have all announced 9 seaters that will run over 300km arriving in the next few months. We tested a Maxxus earlier this year that almost did a full day of uplifts as well as drive from the test location 50km away, along with the ability to fast charge locally whilst waiting for guests it should work out. I don’t mean this dismissively or sarcastically in any way but an anecdotal story of Your friend almost doing a 210km journey in an i3 doesn’t help. We all have those kind of stories both electric and fossil fuelled cars.

    @stevextc – in general we’ll use the car mostly for guests in the summer when all electricity will be produced by hydro. We’ll still use it in the winter but we drive a lot less then, then some electricity is provided from Germany (coal) and Sweden (nuclear) but still it is mostly hydro unless too many lakes are frozen over I believe. I need to research that further so if you’ve got any info on that I would be interested to read it 🙂

    Is the amount of fumes/particles we produce from brakes/tyres comparable to the exhaust emissions? Doesn’t seem to be an issue that gets talked about so much? Not really sure how I could reduce that apart from to drive less, we don’t use piggdekk tyres at least.

    @simon_semtex – Thanks for the link, looks very useful. I wonder if there is much difference in numbers/research now we are 10yr down the line from that?

    I share your view about buying less, we generally keep buying new things to a minimum, repair/reuse stuff and always try to buy 2nd hand before buying new. So now this thinking has transferred on to the question about cars..

    @duncancallum – As mentioned above I think an electric could do a full day no problem, even with a full car and a trailer. Especially with the possibility of fast recharging between runs.

    Thanks for the fuel recommendations, this the kind of thing I was looking for, don’t understand why this kind of thing isn’t growing right now?! Looks promising.

    Yes I now Claire! We used to live in the same place in Voss but now live about 3hrs east from her. Such a random meeting, especially since she ended up working for Jon in Slovenia who I used to work for!

    //

    I’m not really convinced with the idea of selling the old van on and it still being used or something. It just feels like I move the problem on rather than fixing it, don’t you think?

    Anyone got any info about making the existing diesel car cleaner to drive? Is there any kind of aftermarket devices you can use to reduce the emissions?

    Premier Icon convert
    Full Member

    No, but someone will buy it and sell their van to someone who’ll sell their van and eventually the one at the bottom of the chain gets scrapped.

    In the UK, there are too many new cars being brought in at the top of the chain, I am guessing mostly from leases either private or company cars, and these are pushing perfectly serviceable cars into the scrap heap at the other end.

    People say ‘oh it’s not worth fixing that, scrap it’ because the cost of parts is greater than the market value. But the market value is an artificial concept which is distorted by all the new cars pushing cars down the chain. If there were fewer new leases being ordered by people who just fancy something new, then there’d be fewer cars being scrapped. And given a constant sized driving population, fewer new cars being sold.

    Of course governments aren’t going to do anything about this because they want people buying new cars so that car companies make money, pay tax, and employ people who pay tax and spend money etc.

    Agreed. Also the first owner gets to choose the spec and most go for as many bells and whistles as they can afford. Manufacturers fabricate those bells and whistles to a price/quality to make that car an attractive purchase. When your average lease deal buyer buys a car they care not one jot about what it’ll be like to maintain in 10 years – they will be 4 cars on by that point. But that is no way to fabricate cars that will be serviceable and economically repairable for a good long life. If there was a way for the last owner of the car to do the specification and the first owner to live with their choices that would make way more sustainable sense.

    Premier Icon AnyExcuseToRide
    Full Member

    Good point @molgrips

    Premier Icon duncancallum
    Full Member

    Jonny will buy your fleet.

    Hes one terrano down..

    PM me if you want and I’ll send you some fuel info I work in that industry

    Theres several different viewpoints on environmental change. Innovation vs consumerism.

    Hopefully back with Jt in may.

    Premier Icon howsyourdad1
    Full Member

    Hi Will , I seem to remember your girlfriend is Swedish

    there is a website called gröna bilister which walks you through all you can do to reduce the impact of the car you have.  Motorvarmare, däcktryck  , tomgångskörning, körstil all make a huge difference.

    keep what you have got, use it as efficiently as you can.

    Hälsningar från Jämtland

    Premier Icon duncancallum
    Full Member

    Also with not being a dick.

    People flying in to ride bikes getting into an electric or derv van really is not much difference.

    Premier Icon ctk
    Full Member

    Its already been said but 100% keep your old van and look after it. Much greener than having a new one made for you.

    Premier Icon AnyExcuseToRide
    Full Member

    @Duncancallum – Yes I realise that, I’m quite conscious of it all and think about it a lot. I go back and forward about it. Sometimes I think I shouldn’t do it at all and then I get into a massive wormhole about what I should and shouldn’t do. Should I work with mountain biking? Should we go out and build trails? Maybe it is good to get people on bikes, maybe it is bad? Maybe being able to ride a bike at all is just a luxury? Should we encourage people to buy bikes, is it just more consumption, using more resource? Where does it stop, what we really really really should do it all just stop and think about how to do things in a ‘good’ way before we continue building. Ahhhh! then I go mad a bit and try to rationalise it all, sometimes I think the world is f*kd and there’s nothing we can do, sometimes I realise we can’t just all stop living and we are making moves in the right direction. But I’m just one guy after all.

    What I think in the end is mostly that I can’t change everything within the travel industry, rail/aviation/driving, and I don’t think it is my responsibility to change that either*. People will still travel, which I think is one of the things in life that is most worthwhile, so I think it is best to give people the possibility to do it in a sustainable and responsible way where they are able to travel, ride and enjoy another culture/environment with a minimal impact. Also, we don’t just host international guests. This year we welcomed a lot of Norwegian guests because they couldn’t travel abroad because of Covid, made me think we should do more to welcome Norwegian guests as well.

    *I try to influence what I can on a personal level and even a local level and I would like to do more on a larger scale if it is possible but at some point it is also the travellers and the airlines responsibility. To some extent I can’t tell people how to travel but I can offer small ‘carrots’, for example – trying to get people to take the train from the airport to our place instead of driving to the airport?

    Thoughts welcome on this subject if we’re you’d like to tangent off into it…. I’m often pondering it myself….

    I’ll give you a message about the fuel options, sounds very interesting. I looked into the possibilities of buying an older diesel car and setting up my own vegetable fat refinery to run it off… seemed a little excessive for the amount I would get out of it unfortunately plus there was not enough restaurants locally with excess veg oil, too remote haha. So it is great that is going more commercial.

    Premier Icon Sui
    Free Member

    If you want a meaningful impact now then run it on HVO which is available neat in Norway and Finland. You will need some minor modifications, ut you will be doing the best thing by the planet without getting your knickers in a twist when the weather turns. I’m not against electrication, but it has its PLA e and still needs significant development to make it viable, rear earth metals mining is causing significant issues and battery tech needs to move away from it. IFPEN did a study on cobalt production recently, it’s quite enlightening, and you should definitely read the IMECH s response to the government consultation on the gasoline and diesel ban, in fact look at any learned publication and you will question what the CCC’s motives are…

    Stick with your van, get it serviced, get it modified and find a reliable source of HVO, it offers ~90% Ghg savings compared to fossil. Its a cleaner burn with less particulates (there are no aromatics in the fuel)..

    Premier Icon AnyExcuseToRide
    Full Member

    @howsyourdad1 – cheers for that, looks like some useful info on there, i’ll give it a read
    @sui – Thanks for that, will also read some of those reports. Currently trying to find some kind of map for places I could buy such fuel.

    Premier Icon Sui
    Free Member

    If you go on a the statoil website yohight be able to find a distributor, failing that you could try Neste (Finland but ship all through Europe and supply the bulk of HVO available) as theyight say who the local distributors are, it may also be that some of the captive fleet market have supplies, they are not opposed to selling of to others. You may have to phone a few people to get to it though. If there is no reliable source, the alternative is to buy an IBC worth (1000 litres or so) and draw it off over a few years. It’s very stable fuel, Ive tested a number of batches of it over the years and it stores well.

    Premier Icon duncancallum
    Full Member

    Sui

    From what I see hvo isn’t stable but that’s possible internal factors bending data.

    But buying new EV is worse than running existing vans I feel

    Premier Icon Sui
    Free Member

    Duncan you’re not confusing HVO with FAME are you, or possibly dodgy Chineae and Italian HVO which hasn’t had a sniff of isomerisation? I can assure it will sit in a tank for well over 2 years and not budge, acids are low, particulate (normally from acids) non existent , oxidation stability remains high. Non isomerised HVO has high alkane which produce poor cold flow properties, but fully isomerised stuff is good down minus 30.

    Premier Icon rsl1
    Free Member

    How about offering a small discount to anyone who chooses to get the train (or other less emitting option) rather than flying? Or encourage your customers to buy carbon credits to offset their travel? A couple of credits will often offset a flight for very little money (£10 was more than enough to cover a 1200 mile roadtrip this summer). Obviously offsetting isn’t going to save us from climate change, but people are going to travel anyway so every little helps!

    On the van, you could do something as simple as limiting the accelerator pedal travel to get a similar effect to ‘eco mode’ in newer cars but that may not work out if you’ve got steep hills to get up.

    Premier Icon silverneedle
    Free Member

    Dont electric vans do alot of their breaking with the regen system therefore making less particulates from the brake pads? Agreed that the tyres are still producing them though.

    Premier Icon poolman
    Free Member

    Interesting post thanks, I would keep the old van and optimise it’s use. So always fill it where possible to full occupancy, plan routes to limit use and longer journeys, regular servicing.

    I live in Spain where labour is cheap so things get repaired where elsewhere, they would be replaced. In my town of 50k people there are perhaps 10 sewing shops that repair clothes, fix zips, make cushion covers out of old clothes. E.g., yesterday I had a zip replaced on a leather wallet, cost 4 euros. When I visit uk I am amazed at the throwaway culture.

    Premier Icon stevextc
    Free Member

    @AnyExcuseToRide

    Sorry… I was riding and setting back out now but I’ll get back later

    Premier Icon intheborders
    Free Member

    Usage is typically for whe we have groups of guests. That means airport/train station pick ups which are 2hrs away, then each day we would ride with 3-6 lifts up the hills locally or drive to a location maybe 30-60mins away followed by 2-4 lifts up the hill*.

    TBH overall it’ll make SFA difference to the overall climate impact when your business ‘model’ relies upon folk flying from far away to ride bicycles.

    If you can afford to go electric, fine – but that’s not really where the majority of the pollution is been caused. It’s by rich folk. And I’m pretty sure your customers are these people.

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/nov/17/people-cause-global-aviation-emissions-study-covid-19#:~:text=Frequent%2Dflying%20%E2%80%9C%27super%20emitters,they%20caused%2C%20the%20researchers%20estimated.

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    but that’s not really where the majority of the pollution is been caused. It’s by rich folk. And I’m pretty sure your customers are these people.

    Yes, if the the majority of riders are shipped/flown/driven in* – then mountain-biking is one of the least green pastimes/initiatives. This has long been the case with the dieselvagen MTB-haulage culture.

    * Not even necessarily from afar or even overseas, as in some instances air transport is more fuel efficient over long distances/per person, but then again there is driving to a from airports etc. It’s all on the ‘not good’ scale and seems especially crappy given that cycling is/could be one of the cleanest and most efficient forms of transport. In about half a century we’ve gone from cycle-touring to car-touring with a bike on the roof.

    Premier Icon willard
    Full Member

    My first thought was some st of biodiesel too, but I have no idea how common that is in the Nordics. I can’t remember seeing anything like that in general circulation over here in Uppland. E85 is available most places, but will not be much use to you.

    The only issue I have with straight veg oil and E85 is that it does take food matter out of the food chain to some extent. I’ve not done any looking at how self-sufficient we are here in Sweden for food imports vs. exports, but a move to biofuels could make an imbalance worse.

    Premier Icon grtdkad
    Full Member

    +1 for the HVO, it has developed massively over the last couple of years (we have used it in v expensive power generation kit rather than red diesel).

    Finland’s NESTE are a major producer of HVO

    Premier Icon Clover
    Full Member

    There’s a carbon calculation tool here: https://www.transportenvironment.org/what-we-do/electric-cars/how-clean-are-electric-cars

    There are some interesting things you can do with the tool like swap electricity sources and where the vehicles are driven (ie what the fuel mix is) subgroups of driving that really make a massive difference. You can even compare the impact of driving electric in different countries.

    For me the most relevant thing is that if you have high mileage you really should swap to EV. If you have v low mileage then the ‘manufacture of new vehicle’ carbon cost compares less favourably with what you can save by running an electric vehicles and keeping a old van going for a few miles a year will be more carbon efficient.

    I swapped to EV because of both air quality and carbon (we have solar for summer charging which improves the renewables percentage). We’ve driven to Europe a couple of times and that has really improved our impact over flying.

    Premier Icon grtdkad
    Full Member

    On the question of “use what you already have” vs “buy a new EV”
    I am an advocate of using existing assets (within reason). I am happy to buy a decent used car*, maintain it well and keep it for several years. In 33years of car ownership I have owned ten cars (since 1999 just five) where acquaintances change more or less annually.
    I can’t find the recent article but an EV manufacturer broke the rules by openly calling for honesty, stating that a new ICE car has a 30,000km head-start over a new EV in terms of manufacturing emissions.

    *allows me to buy a four year old 5.0ltr v8 with a clear conscience. Genuinely intend to keep it for 10 years+ though.

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