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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    Many thanks everyone for your contributions to my thread thus far. It has certainly generated a lot of interest.
     
  2. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    All of that may be true at the moment. Aside from the benefits of EVs, there will be carrots as in lower fuel and parking costs, and of course plenty of sticks for those resisting change like additional levies on hydrocarbon fuels, charges and even absolute restrictions on where polluting vehicles can go, plus an ever-increasing pressure on what will be considered an anti-social choice of transport. Not only will that tip the balance of cost of ownership and use of IC engined vehicles, but it will effectively constrain the use of such vehicles as to make them unviable except for parading at events, (like vintage and classic cars will soon be).

    The 'battery' isn't a monolithic component, it would be far too heavy and cumbersome if it was. EV car batteries are modular and can be part-replaced as such.
     
    Last edited: 12 Jul 2019
  3. thejuggler

    thejuggler Member

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    Agreed they are modular, but have you ever seen how long t takes to take the battery off a Tesla? Its also a sealed unit to prevent water ingress and whilst it can be opened up its not designed to be easily done.

    Every hour is chargeable and this is what writes the car off.

    I've seen one Tesla which had a fairly usual accident of a hit to a rear wheel. The cost of parts and the labour wrote the car off, despite it being a simple job as the only company that could fix it were Tesla.
     
  4. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It does *now* but that won't last. It's a temporary measure to encourage EV purchase.
     
  5. underbank

    underbank Member

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    And should self driving ever happen, the congestion will be even worse as they'll be constantly stop/starting in busy places like town centres (the rotating hotel door effect) when a stray cyclist, pedestrian, dog or whatever get "too close" not to mention kids playing chicken which will become the new national sport. Unless we have dedicated/separated roadways I just don't see them improving anything. Especially as with self driving cars, there'll be more on the road as people choose to use them instead of buses, trams, etc. There'll also be more congestion when a self driving car decides to stop and doesn't know what to do next when it encounters an unusual problem or technical failure - at least when you have a human driver, you can usually deal with most problems without blocking the road for potentially an hour or two until an engineer arrives.

    Also, for non self driving, they need charging points in virtually all car parking spaces, so that will reduce the number of places available as a charging point parking space is much bigger than a normal parking space - that means more cars driving around town centres trying to find parking spaces.
     
  6. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    No, it doesn't, because your self-driving car will drop you right at your central London destination then will drive off into the suburbs, alone, to find a cheap parking location, then will return on demand. No need for any city centre parking then.

    That assumes you even own one and the Uber model doesn't win out.
     
  7. underbank

    underbank Member

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    I did say "non self driving" in the sentence you replied to. I simply don't believe self driving will become a widespread reality. Maybe one or two big cities will be set up for it, but it won't be widespread in my lifetime.

    But to reply to the point you made, what about the congestion of all these driverless cars driving out to out of town car parks to sit and wait or recharge - that's more road use than just a driver driving into town and parking for the day. Surely that makes congestion worse.
     
  8. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Town/city centre parking costs will rise as will road use charges. It will be encumbent on local/national authorities to use these tools to 'encourage' car users to do what is best for everybody, not just the motorist/ private vehicle passenger.
     
  9. underbank

    underbank Member

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    Or we could just stop being so London-Centric (and a couple of other big cities) and spread the employment/education/living around the country more evenly so people don't have to commute long distances into a tiny number of heavily congested city centres.

    There was a time, not that long ago, where people could live in towns and smaller cities and get pretty decent jobs there - there were "proper" bank branches, local/regional offices of national firms, etc even in smaller towns. Nowadays, if you want a decent job, you have to relocate to London or Manchester (others) and suffer a miserable commute along with high living costs.

    Rather than using electric and/or self driving cars to perpetuate this concentration, surely it would be better to reverse the "brain flight" to London and regenerate all the smaller cities and towns which are currently dying a slow death, as they all have infrastructure which is mostly used well below capacity.

    IT and the internet should have made more remote working easier and more efficient, yet despite it, we're all still suffering an expensive/miserable commute. It's counter-intuitive and needs to change if living conditions are ever going to improve.
     
  10. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It does, though only in specific industries e.g. IT. Other industries, even knowledge-based ones, are somewhat behind.

    Did they, for instance, really need to colocate Network Rail in MK? Could the timetable planners not primarily work remotely, for instance?

    Mind you, where would we be without @DarloRich's Marston Vale musings? :D
     
  11. Lucan

    Lucan Member

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    Maybe, but the really big additions SD cars will make to congestion are : (1) The additional number of users without driving licences (eg children, teens, elderly, banned etc, currently using trains and buses); and (2) the fact that unoccupied SD cars will be sent off to park in the suburbs (possible back home) instead of being parked at the owner's actual destination (as Bletchleyite said - he seemed to count it as an advantage) and recalled when needed again, thus doubling traffic at a stoke. Or simply ordered to drive in circles around the city centre one-way system for an hour or two while the owner does his business there.

    We need road mileage charging, not just for IC vehicles.

    I don't see any underused infrastructure (apart from rail). Every town that I see, large and small. has a road traffic over-load. I live near a small country town and the traffic jams in town are a constant issue and topic. You wonder what all those people in cars are doing and where they are going, because if you go into a shop they are not busy and the owners complain of lack of trade.

    A while ago I did a trip up the A5, and in Betwys-y-Coed there was a traffic jam, the road was full of stationary cars both ways. Now I hardly saw a single car along the road out in the country either side of the village, so the vast majority of those cars must have been driving about within the village - yet it is only about half a mile long from one end to the other. And they were not tourists - this was winter.
     
  12. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I think you have a false impression there - most people stopping in Betws park up and leave their car, it is as you say tiny.

    The inevitable traffic jam there is caused by the fact that parking is allowed up one side of the main road, resulting in a "natural chicane". This might actually be desirable in a way because it slows traffic right down without the need for things like speed bumps and cameras.
     
  13. Lucan

    Lucan Member

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    Nevetheless that is what I saw, and frequently see as I drive up to Holyhead that way several times a year, although that day was particularly bad. Most of those cars were definitely only driving within the village; as we moved on the cars in front of me peeled off one-by-one into a parking place or side road. The last one ahead of me pulled into the Swallow Falls Hotel and the road in front of me was then empty.

    My point is that people could easily walk most of these journeys. I believe that the length of the average car journey is pitifully small, something like a mile or two, can't remember the exact figure or be bothered to research it now - whatever, many car journeys are perfectly walkable.
     
  14. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    No, almost certainly they were mostly not driving within the village. A reduced speed limit causes cars to collect together, hence the impression you had. You certainly have the wrong impression here.

    No doubt some will drive very short journeys somewhere like Betws but most won't.
     
  15. underbank

    underbank Member

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    I wasn't just meaning transport, I was also including power, water, sewerage, healthcare, schools, etc. There are schools and hospitals closing due to shortage of pupils/patients yet we're forever building new ones in the biggest cities. We've got railway stations and bus stops next to derelict industrial areas that are just ripe for redevelopment and have all the infrastructure (transport and otherwise) unused and decaying.

    As for road congestion, yes, of course, it's endemic, but in towns and smaller cities, it would be relatively easy to solve with local/small/cheap initiatives, such as a 1 or 2 mile by-pass, or knocking down a building to create a wider junction, or better bus services, - you could do hundreds or thousands of small scale improvements for the cost of HS2 or Thameslink. Unfortunately, councils are often anti-car so are happy to have congestion (or even cause it) to gain environmental brownie points!

    But yes, plenty of unused infrastructure on the railways, lots of disused trackbeds, stations with a single short platform, lines downgraded to single lines, signalling downgraded to lengthy blocks etc. Double track main lines like S&C with just occasional/slow services.

    But apparently the answer is to ignore all that and perpetuate the concentration on London and a couple of other major cities where the infrastructure is already creaking at the seams and costs to improve it are enormous.
     
  16. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    EVs are happening so what has an anti-'London-Centric' argument got to do with this thread? I even reads like you are fighting against electric cars. Wherever IC vehicles are used they still put CO2 into the same global atmosphere even if it is in a time-warp small town/village from 'pre-internet', 'pre-widespread IT' dream.

    Ah the 50+ year-old home-office dream. EVs (the subject of this thread) are part of improving the environment. It's not an either/or zero sum issue.
     
  17. underbank

    underbank Member

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    Not at all, I just don't see how they're going to cause any significant changes in congestion and/or rail usage which is what this thread is about. Driver-driven EVs are just a like for like replacement for cars, but bring with them their own set of problems (i.e. fewer parking places, charging infrastructure etc).

    Personally, I think that hybrids will replace wholly IC cars. I just don't see a future for wholly electric cars for lots of reasons. Hybrids make sense - the best of both worlds.

    Driverless is a completely different matter altogether.
     
  18. HOOVER29

    HOOVER29 Member

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    For me to buy an EV would mean financial ruin atcthe moment. The government & so called experts seem to think that every house across this island has a driveway.
    Well where I live there are an awful lot of terraced housing so therefore it’s not guaranteed that you can park outside your house. So for me to have an EV I’d have to sell a kidney/rob a bank/sell myself/sell the kids just so I can buy a house with a driveway to park my EV on so that I can charge it.
    And that’s not going to happen.
    I’ll therefore stick with my 2015 vw that does 60+ mpg & costs me £20 to tax a year.
    The way I keep cars it’ll outlast me.
     
  19. Phil-D

    Phil-D Member

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    As someone who, for years as worked within the electrical industry I can say with absolute confidence that, unless there are massive amounts of money invested in the UK's power distribution network, the much vaunted dream of everyone using electric cars will never happen.
    I don't know how much most people understand about the electrical distribution network, or the workings of car chargers, so please, let me explain.
    Generally, a cable of a given size, will only carry a certain amount of current, now the supply companies use a different calculation for their loadings than those laid down in the regulations that the rest of us work to. For example, our regs state that the meter tails in a house with a 100 amp service fuse must be 25sq mm. now the utility companies will supply whole streets on a cable with a smaller csa, because diversity can be applied in a lot of cases, however this doesn't leave you a lot of room for expansion, and the bigger car chargers, those that charge a car in 2 or 3 hours, are very heavy on power, often using as much as a large electric shower. Now a lot of houses, already have a shower, add one or two of these chargers and the load increases massively.
    A time will come when the supplier will have to refuse permission for chargers, if the demand is already high on a feeder cable, this in turn will have an adverse effect on house prices. Imagine, your street has reached capacity, no more EV chargers are being allowed to be connected. Your house is identical to that of your neighbours house, yet they have an EV charger, you don't, and cannot have one. Instantly your house is less desirable, because everyone wants an electric vehicle, it's not your fault you can't have a charger, but you're the one who see's your house price fall!
    Also vehicle range is another limiting factor, most vehicles, on a good day have a range of about 50 or so miles. Now I live 50 miles from Blackpool, which as you know is a popular seaside resort, it gets packed with people on a sunny weekend and parking is horrendous! How, I would like to know are they expecting thousands of people to be able to charge their cars whilst at the resort, because most of them would be unable to get there and back to their homes on a single charge.
     
  20. Geezertronic

    Geezertronic Established Member

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    Maybe I am being simplistic but I cannot understand why an EV cannot self-charge itself via a generator or mechanism connected to the wheels. Surely there has to be some (F1) technology out there to do that. Or does that occur at the moment but only to increase the range slightly?
     
  21. underbank

    underbank Member

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    Yes, I can see that happening unless the national grid go out and replace/improve thousands of miles of wiring/transformers, etc.

    We already have similar with wired/fibre internet. If we can't get a decent fibre internet speed throughout the country, we've no hope of upgrading the power supply to everyone. In our village (over 5,000 people, within 5 miles of a city), half the village has good broadband (I get 50mb/s (?) in my office at one end), but the other half have crap internet (I struggle to get more than 10 mb/s at home). The broadband checkers (i.e. those comparison websites) clearly show the difference so it's not just isolated cases/roads. What's more ironic is that it's the end of the village further away from the telephone exchange that get the better speeds, so it's not distance either, just poor infrastructure. We've been told that it could be years before the wiring is replaced and that it would involve digging up virtually every road and pavement at our end of the village.
     
  22. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I think plug-in hybrids are probably going to be the "thing" for the next 10 years or so. In a city at low speed run on the batteries for zero emissions at the point of use (this is by far the greater issue). On the motorway fire up a small turbo petrol engine to keep charge up - this could run continuously at optimum revs - and regen would also reduce brake particulates and allow energy from descending a hill to be stored. Plug in at home if you are able to do so and the petrol engine will see less use.

    Talking of chargers, though, why would you need a 3 hour fast charger at home? Plug it in when you go to bed, unplug it in the morning when you leave. That'll give you a good 6-8 hours at least, and if it doesn't on a regular basis you seriously need to reconsider your lifestyle as you're then on an unhealthily low amount of sleep.
     
  23. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It's worth noting that this is nowhere near as disruptive as it might sound. My area has just had fibre installed (it's lovely and quick and half the price of BT FTTC), and while it has indeed nominally involved what you say, it has all been done in shallow, narrow troughs with very little disruption - they've even just put it under the grass where there was some. The fill-in looks a little unsightly for now but that'll go over time as resurfacing is done.

    I think this is going to be the "modus operandi" for rolling high speed access out over the next 10 years or so.
     
  24. telstarbox

    telstarbox Established Member

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    Where does the energy come from then?
     
  25. underbank

    underbank Member

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    Unfortunately, Virgin chose not to install their fibre wiring network round here, so we're stuck with the BT copper wiring for the foreseeable future.
     
  26. underbank

    underbank Member

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    I think it's more of an issue where people don't have drives and will have to charge on-street. There's no way there'll be a charger for every parking space, so it'll be, at best, one charger between two spaces, so at some point in the evening, the person who got their first will have to go out and unplug it so the other person can go out and charge theirs. We have already had reports of "charging wars" at hotels etc when someone has parked in the charging bay and left it there all night meaning others couldn't charge, so you can imagine how bad it will get if cars take 6-8 hours to charge when on street. Realistically, you're not going to get everyone to wake up at 2 in the morning to go out and swap the wires around.
     
  27. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Unfortunately, even for EVs, nobody has a design for a perpetual motion machine. :) Like modern Electric locos/EMUs, EVs have the ability to use the braking effect of their motors when decelerating. This is done by diverting the current generated when the motor is mechanically rotated through converter back into the supply for electric trains or through a charging circuit and into the battery for EVs. Usually with EVs, this happens when the foot is lifted from the accelerator and the car gradually slows down. There are also conventional brakes operated with a pedal fitted to the vehicle because:
    1) under emergency braking conditions the battery may not be able to accept any more charge
    2) the electric braking hardware might fail
    3) the regenrative braking effect reduces as the speed approaches zero​
    So in effect, EVs do partially recover much of the energy used for accelerating when braking. Here is a link to a video of a Nissan Leaf climbing over Hard Knott Pass in Cumbria.:

    It starts with about 51% charge in its battery. After climbing to the summit, the charge has dropped to 45%. When it has reached the same altitude on descent as the start of the climb, the battery charge has risen to 49%, because the energy generated by controlling its descent speed using the motor generating power is fed back into the battery.
     
    Last edited: 12 Jul 2019
  28. Geezertronic

    Geezertronic Established Member

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    When I was a lad, I had a push bike that used to have lights that ran via a dynamo off the wheels. So when I was peddling and moving, the lights would be on but when I stopped the lights would go off.

    Those wind turbines you see littered around the landscape create electricity via the turn of the blades.

    Why cannot similar more technologically advanced technology be applied to EVs so when the wheels are turning, they are charging at the same time?
     
  29. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It's not only Virgin that do it. Cityfibre have installed it here (in partnership with the Council I believe), and it's administered by Vodafone.
     
  30. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    When you were pedalling. That energy wasn't coming out of nowhere, it was coming from your legs. Now it doesn't use a huge amount of energy to light a bulb, even less an LED, so you may not have noticed it, but it will have been a tiny fraction harder to pedal with lights on than without.

    Wind turbines turn due to, er, the wind. The energy comes from there.

    In a moving EV on the flat, it comes from the battery, so it would be a pointless energy-go-round.

    It is possible to use regen to recoup energy from a car slowing down or moving down a hill, and EVs typically do do that.
     

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