Electric Cars - likely to reduce rail travel?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Envoy, 11 Jul 2019.

  1. Envoy

    Envoy Established Member

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    It surely is possible that with the introduction of electric or even hybrid cars, that travel in these vehicles will be so cheap that people will desert the railways with their expensive fares/regulations. Of course, initially, electric cars will be quite expensive to purchase but prices are likely to fall as production increases. It is traffic jams and parking charges that will count against this new form of travel.
     
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  3. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Do you think Lithium-Ion batteries will continue to reduce in price and increase in availability forever? Or do you think are more long term solution is around the corner?
    Is there not a risk that battery prices could be pushed up, if demand continues to increase rapidly?
    Have you read these articles?
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48875...ctric-cars&link_location=live-reporting-story
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-48944561
    If, as you predict, it becomes really cheap to buy electric cars, what happens if everyone decides to own one? Where do you store them all when they are not being used? How do you provide sufficient capacity when they are being used?
     
  4. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    I suppose in theory, but I think at least initially it will only be by people with cars wanting a 'greener' alternative. Then if their is legislation against petrol/diesel cars which makes electric ones more attractive you might see another tranche of people convert.

    I think it ultimately depends how far the technology progresses in terms of how far one can go on a single charge and how widespread the infrastructure is.
     
  5. Harpers Tate

    Harpers Tate Established Member

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    I suspect that some means of transporting stored energy in a vehicle (and it may very well not be Li-Ion) will improve in capacity/density and reduce in cost. It's not really all that long ago that a mobile phone ran off a huge NiCd (or even NiMH) battery pack. Things have moved on, and I believe they will do so again. And when they do, that will serve to make EVs cheaper to buy and, probably, easier to use.

    It would take a big INcrease in the costs of motoring, however applied, to change behaviour - probably with a parallel shift the other way in the costs of alternatives. Even if you take costs into account at the point of use (which is something we don't do, when driving) and even if you drive an average polluting ICE, typically it costs a similar amount for one person by car vs. by train. Half as much when there are two of you, and so on. Bearing in mind - we cannot and should not compare the total inflexibility of a "cheap" advance fare with the total flexibility, and guaranteed (often more comfortable) seat and luggage space that a car offers.

    Particulate comparisons are often made and are invariably made badly. Tyres - yes - no material difference. But comparison of brake particles needs to be qualified: EVs don't use friction brakes to anything like the same extent as ICEs. I believe 10% is typical. Hence - 10% of the brake particle residue. And of course, there is zero fuel particulate residue at the point of use.

    Successive governments have done, and do, little to genuinely encourage modal shift. Each and every road widening/bypass/etc scheme has the same result: if you build it they will come. And they will create a new problem somewhere else, that will need a new scheme to fix. Road tunnel under the Peak District anyone?
     
  6. Crossover

    Crossover Established Member

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    It isn't just that - at the moment electric doesn't have the tax applied like petrol/diesel do. We have already seen a change in the vehicle tax regs now so many vehicles conformed to the lower tax brackets and I expect the "fuel" will follow before too long
     
  7. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I would expect road pricing to be implemented, as taxing electricity at transport fuel levels will be too awkward. The Government won't (be able to) give up that income stream easily without sticking a huge sum - 10p maybe - on income tax.
     
  8. ac6000cw

    ac6000cw Established Member

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    With all the investment the car manufacturers are having to make into electric vehicle/battery production, they're not likely to get really cheap to buy/lease for quite a long time. Also the only thing that is changing compared to an IC engined vehicle is the propulsion system - I suspect the major cost of a car is actually in manufacturing and assembling the structure, bodywork, wiring, lights, brakes, running gear, interior trim etc. - and selling/support costs.

    I suspect many people choose between bus/train/car travel based on journey time/hassle level/availability as much as cost.
     
  9. telstarbox

    telstarbox Established Member

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    Electric cars still need a driver so they won't have the benefit of productive working/relaxing time which rail offers for long journeys.

    Driverless cars would be a different story.
     
  10. cactustwirly

    cactustwirly Established Member

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    Electric cars are very expensive at the moment, and are completely useless for long journeys.
    But a modern diesel car is very cheap to run, especially with the low road tax (cars bought before March 2018) and with an mpg of around 60.
    A Euro 4, 5, 6 engine is actually quite clean, some of them are actually produce less emissions than a petrol.
     
  11. farci

    farci Member

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    I think you may be conflating two issues.

    Railways are good at moving large number of people over short-medium distances. They are not suited for 'the last mile'. In countries which have integrated transport systems railways and local transport means each have their place. If you don't want to use bus/tram/metro, for example in NL you can make one reservation for a rail journey and a taxi many of which are now electric. Or you can join a car club like Greenwheels where you pick up a car for a short journey only.

    Similar system in Germany through Flinkster
    Do you need a car – for example as a second car at homenow and again, or for use at your destination after a trainjourney? If so, Deutsche Bahn Carsharing is the ideal option for you, your budget and the environment. Discoverjust how much you can save with Carsharing when you nolonger have to bear the fixed costs of a car of your own.You only pay when you really need the car. You can book a vehicle conveniently and free of charge through theInternet or by phone, no matter whether you plan well inadvance or decide spontaneously, for just a few hours or for several days.

    I've used the German system which includes electric cars.
     
  12. Harpers Tate

    Harpers Tate Established Member

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    I can't agree with that view. Certain models have a realistic range of around 300 miles. That equates to ~5 hours continuous motorway driving, and ~10 hours on ordinary roads. I suspect the vast majority would take an hour or so break during any such trip, for R&R&R, and an EV user would charge the car whilst doing so. Even mine, at 125 miles +/- has done, and will continue to do, trips that exceed this range. It involves a 30 minute layover after 2 - 4 hours driving. We did have the "fear" that what you say may be true and we kept the old diesel for several months after we got the EV. It didn't get used "in anger" at all, and it has now gone; the EV is all we have and it's entirely sufficient. More range would be nice, certainly, but it is not "useless" by any means.
     
    Last edited: 11 Jul 2019
  13. PeterC

    PeterC Established Member

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    Recharging en route requires taking a break somewhere with a charging point. No planning the holiday journey with a family picnic somewhere nice, it will be the MSA or a flat battery.

    For me it isn't the range that is the issue but the need to make a special journey to town, hoping that at least one of the four public chargers in unoccupied and not out of order, catching a bus home, then repeating the journey in reverse to collect the car when fully charged.
     
  14. Harpers Tate

    Harpers Tate Established Member

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    MSA? Motorway Services Area? Yes, many do have chargers. As do many rural hotel locations, the more enlightened town centres and hundreds of other off-motorway locations. No, it's not likely in a rural layby or rural car park. But these considerations do NOT render such a vehicle "useless".
     
  15. Geezertronic

    Geezertronic Established Member

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    Do you have an idea of which makes & models offer a range around 300 miles?

    (Genuine question)
     
  16. Harpers Tate

    Harpers Tate Established Member

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  17. cactustwirly

    cactustwirly Established Member

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    Well the Tesla is built in a tent, and the other ones are a bit boring tbh.
    Although the new Volvo/Polestar EVs look cool (but you'll need to sell a kidney to afford them :lol:)

    Btw the 'affordable' ones have a range of less the 300 miles, the equivalent diesel has a range of about 600 miles.
    Plus they are double the price to buy, so I'm not convinced they are cheaper in the long run.
    How often do the batteries need to be changed?
     
  18. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    I wonder how many car owners actually make journeys of anywhere near 300 miles, and then how many of those who make such journeys are made per year.
     
  19. cactustwirly

    cactustwirly Established Member

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    For holidays, it's very easy to, especially if you're on a budget and don't fly.
    You can easily drive to most parts of France within a day, from the South East.
    I've met people from Edinburgh, who have driven all the way to the middle of France
     
  20. Lucan

    Lucan Member

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    EVs are useless for me. It depends on your lifestyle. A town centre (unless it is a tourist town) is the last place you should put chargers because most visitors have come a relatively short distance for the shopping, and they should have charged at home before they left. Can't charge at home? - an EV is not for you.

    As for hotels, we are already hearing many "charger rage" stories about some EV owners hogging the charging bays all night, not bothering to move their EV out the way when it's done. I don't want to get involved, for the present at least.
     
  21. Lucan

    Lucan Member

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    Generally the cost of new technology when it is introduced for a particular function is the same as for the old technology, or more. It is more at first because hipsters will pay a premium to be first adopters. Then when and if real manufacturing costs drop below the old tech the retail price does not because the sales people already know what the market will stand. But ac6000cw is right anyway as the production costs of EVs will not be much if anything less than for ICVs.

    And those people hoping that EVs will be free of road tax - forget it. That's only during the honeymoon. Government cannot afford to lose that massive income when EVs take off. Cars will be taxed by road mileage, something that is now technically easy to measure and moreover aligns with logic, no matter how much travelling sales reps may squeal about it.
     
  22. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    No, but the self-driving ones might.
     
  23. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    I was actually making to point with respect to ownership of a car that could (or couldn't) be practical for such a journey like that. Without the figures my thought is that more car owners don't make such a journey like that once a year and quite a few of those only make a single annual pilgrimage to their Dordogne Eurocamp site or to some part of Cornwall.* If I am anywhere near correct in that, then I would suspect that for many of them, hiring a car for that single journey may become common practice, allowing a more practical vehicle for normal work and leisure use.
    * There are now over 7.5 million two-car homes, so even if one car is justified in the families mind for the odd long-distance holiday trek, I imagine that a significant proportion of that second-car fleet will in a few years become the major growth area for EVs. Once they become available to a household, the benefits of an EV will probably become obvious and with the government introducing punitive legislation to overcome resistance to reduction of fossil burning vehicles, there will be a rapid flushing-out of IC cars from road transport in the UK.
     
  24. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    That's probably true and just that road use (and especially congestion causing) driving will be the norm. However, road charging will not mean that end of fuel duty and differential VED rates as they will be used to nudge CO2-producing cars off the roads, alongside ever increasing restrictions on where they can be driven in built-up areas.
     
  25. Geezertronic

    Geezertronic Established Member

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    I'd say that the vast majority of car users are priced out of the market of all of the ones in that link except maybe the Renault Zoe. The used car market for older Electric cars wouldn't be worth considering due to the potential battery degradation issue which would limit range - for example would anyone consider an Electric car that is 5-10 years old?
     
  26. Harpers Tate

    Harpers Tate Established Member

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    I don't know. Mine is manufacturer guaranteed to work to rated capacity for 8 years/100k. One presumes that the real life likelihood is much longer and further than this - they won't want to warrant something with little margin, I guess. Batteries (same chemistry, lower capacity) have been being abused* in Hybrids for much longer than full EVs have been readily available and there is no suggestion that these fail (eiher fully or partly) prematurely. (* I say "abused" because they are always charged very rapidly up to their small capacity by braking, and then used rapidly when assisting acceleration. Constantly, every few minutes.)
    I can't speak for you, of course (except that, honestly, I doubt it; if you wanted to be convinced then you would be; as long as you don't want to be convinced, then no EV will suit you). There is a member of another (non-motoring related) forum I frequent, who drives a Kona 64kWh several times a week from near Chesterfield to London and back for work. That's a ~300 mile round trip. He'd never go back to an ICE, and not just for reasons of cost (free parking in Westminter, no Congenstioon Charge, etc).
     
  27. talltim

    talltim Established Member

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    More electric cars won't do anything for congestion, even if the air quality isn't as bad.
     
  28. tony_mac

    tony_mac Established Member

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    Is it rated capacity, or ~70% of rated capacity?
    That's feasible if you have a guaranteed, working, charging spot at both ends - which many people don't have yet. I suspect that we will have autonomous vehicles (that can go and charge themselves) before we have enough charging infrastructure for everyone.
     
  29. Harpers Tate

    Harpers Tate Established Member

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    Rated, I believe. To be fair, I also believe the actual battery pack has a higher capacity than rated, and is software limited to its rating. Hence there is some wiggle-room.
     
  30. thejuggler

    thejuggler Member

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    In the grand scheme of new vehicle running costs the cost of fuel can be marginal - I do 7,000 a year at about 35 mpg - £1200. To many that's less than the annual insurance costs.

    Add in maintenance, finance costs, depreciation at 50-75% of value over 3 years etc and costs soon add up.

    Parking a car in local city centre is a minimum of £8 a day, compared to a rail fare less than half that. Electric will make little difference. I have heard insurance in particular can be very high due to significant chance of right off on new vehicles due to damage to battery packs following collision.

    Side swipe a Tesla, even at quite low speed and chances are the battery will be damaged as it sits full width under the car.
     
  31. Harpers Tate

    Harpers Tate Established Member

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    Yes, but if we assume (rightly or wrongly) that the majority of us either actually need, or at least believe we need, a car for some of our travel i.e. that public transport simply won't cover the trip, or certainly will take way too long then these costs are already wholly or mainly in place, regardless of how we choose to travel. So we should only consider the marginal cost of making any given journey.
    EV parking in my local city is free, with a free permit. EV parking at roadside meters in Westminster costs the 10-minute (minimum) rate, under £1, for I think up to 6 hours
    Mine costs less than the old diesl SUV we had before it.
     

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