Video: Could electric roads spark a green transport revolution?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by najaB, 31 Oct 2019.

  1. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Return through the rails AFAIK.
     
  2. Steamysandy

    Steamysandy Member

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    There's the story about the old lady who encountered tramlines for the first time.So she asked an official " will I get a shock if I stand on the rails"
    His reply was " no missus - unless you hook a leg over that wire up there !! "
     
  3. HSTEd

    HSTEd Established Member

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    Well lorries already have to have recording devices that it is criminal to tamper with (the tachy assembly).
    Having it also record electricity use doesn't seem unreasonable.
     
  4. The Ham

    The Ham Established Member

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    The amount of subsidy of the railways is mostly down to the cost of enhancements to the existing network.

    If you exclude enhancements the net subsidy for the railways is sub £200 million.

    If we were in the situation where Enhancement spending was covered in a single year (for projects with up to a 60 year design life) then it would be argued that the track access charges were much too high.

    As it is is suggest that the track access charges could be a little higher (so there was less paying money around and now of our going direct to NR) but overall the system isn't far from break even.

    It is likely to be cheaper to electrify more of the rail network and provide more capacity than it would be to electrify even 25% of the Motorway network (let alone 25% of the whole trunk road network)
     
  5. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    I'd love to see figures behind this statement as to my mind a fair bit of enhancement is also maintenance in disguise.

    In many cases rather than just replacing like for like, assets which are nearing end of life will be included in enhancement projects - e.g. replacing/renewing signalling during electrification. How much of that is required for sighting or immunisation (and is justified as enhancement) and how much is taking the opportunity to "do it now so it doesn't have to be done later"?
     
  6. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    https://www.theguardian.com/environ...ed-road-for-charging-vehicles-opens-in-sweden




    I would prefer a more non intrusive system that would allow for multiple use. The system above would allow for any vehicle to run over it and would be passive enough not to create huge infrastructure issues; although there would still be issues to get over.



    Is another version from way back in 2017 using magnetic induction for a wireless solution.


    For me, these 'solutions' seem to almost admit that battery based technology still isn't robust enough to completely replace the combustion engine. With any of the above solutions you still have to work with vehicle manufacturers for your system to work. You will also need that to be supported by the fleet owners and then invest in training and convincing drivers that may need to requalify. You would also then need to insurers to accept liability that if the driver made an error, they would be liable for millions in replacing damaged wires, roads, infrastructure, vehicles etc.

    With multiple solutions all looking to compete you get he added complication of investment and standardization issues. I also find that this pantograph solution is purely aimed at freight transport but the other two options would provide a more all encompassing solution.

    My next car will still not be an electric one. Even though the Taycan is whispering sweet nothings in my ear...
     
  7. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    The problem with ground-based systems that require contact between vehicle and conductor is solving the problems presented by things other than vehicles making contact!
     
  8. HSTEd

    HSTEd Established Member

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    That's because actual maintenance is rolled into "enhancement" projects.

    Resignalling is badged as enhancement even though 90% o the cost is incurred because the old system is at end of life and won't last much longer.

    Net subsidies are around 20% of the entire income of the industry.

    Except since we supposedly have rolling enhancement programmes then the track access charges should flatten, because overall each years improvements will be paid for in that year as next years pays for next years.

    Only in the case of projects like HS2 will you need to spread costs like that.
    Yes, but for the electrification of the SRN you get an electrification of freight mileage equal to six or seven times the entire rail freight industry.
    The railway simply can't cope with the amount of freight we are talking about without tens or hundreds of billions worth of capital expenditure, and a total change in operating attitude and culture.
     
  9. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    Generally I find the motorways quite clear of detritus. I think both would have issues with snow and ice build up (less so for the overhead)

    None of the solutions are really viable and the long term solutions still looks to be way off in the future. Fast charging is getting better and each iteration of EV is improving range and efficiency.

    My company just flat out refused a request for charging points at our depot because Drivers don't have EVs :rolleyes:

    I would have less issues with range anxiety and charging access if there were simply more charging points and a more universal adapter. Pushing buisness' to install charging points in staff car parks, increased charging at service stations, and for a freight based solution, more charging points in yards etc. especially where vehicles sit when loading and unloading. Getting an EV from point a to point b is where the solution(s) lie. a continuous charging model doesn't seem to be either cost effective, or environmentally friendly.

    How long would a battery take to charge using these systems. I wouldn't leave the house without a full charge so between destinations I may not even need a full charge. Granted the pantograph option is determined by the driver. Isn't the grid demand actually increasing by having charge permanently available, assuming the system is live at all times. How does an EV prevent battery overcharging ?

    Is the system charging the batteries and the vehicle using the battery or when connected its taking the power feed directly from power supply and storing the excess ?
     
  10. The Ham

    The Ham Established Member

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    From this document:
    https://dataportal.orr.gov.uk/media/1037/rail-finance-statistical-release-2017-18.pdf

    Net support £6.4bn

    Made up of:
    £4,199 million Network Rail support
    £2,088 million HS2
    £302 million other government/PTE support
    Minus £223 million premium

    Therefore (excluding HS2) it's a net figure of £4,278.

    From the Network Rail accounts:

    So that's £4.1bn on Enhancements, which gives us a total of £178 million.

    (I've rounded up to £200 million to allow for some rounding up to get to £4.1bn.)

    Given that there's £2.4bn of maintenance in addition to the above, so I'd be a little surprised if there was significant "hidden maintenance" within the enhancements spending. Of course if anyone has evidence of sufficient hidden maintenance costs (given that even if you added the total signal spending from last year of £600 million you'd still not reach £1bn) then I'll be willing to listen.
     
  11. HSTEd

    HSTEd Established Member

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    "Signalling renewals" will be replacing signalling equipment with comparable signalling equipment.

    If you take the Thameslink Core and fit all the new equipment for signalling and electrification (or for anything else for that matter!), is that a renewal or an enhancement?
    Sure it provides an enhanced service, but by doing so you avoid future renewal spending.

    If I replace equipment with better equipment 20 years into its 30 year life, its an enhancement, but by doing so I have actually avoided renewal spending as instead of replacing it in 10 years, I will replace it in 30 years - so the costs of the replacement can be discounted into the future.

    As a result, it is effectively impossible to meaningfully untangle the two from each other in such a complex system as the railway.

    The simple question is - assuming £4.2bn is spent on enhancements, can the railway function indefinitely at its current traffic levels if Network Rail's funding was cut by £4.2bn.
    Frankly I very much doubt it.

    And if it can, maybe we should discuss that, in a world where passenger growth is dropping, why we are burning £4bn buying extremely expensive marginal capacity gains.
     
    Last edited: 4 Nov 2019
  12. The Ham

    The Ham Established Member

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    Using what data has rail growth continued to fall, there was one year (2017) whilst the data for 2018 showed that those losses had been recovered.

    However even then most of those losses were restricted to London and the South East.

    Having said that there's an argument that the reason that there's been little growth (say compared with 2009 to 2012) is that there's been fairly few new franchises in the last 3 or even 6 years compared to then.

    That had an impact on the account of extra rolling stock which is brought into service which then limits growth.

    You also consider that a significant amount of those enhancements are for electrification rather than capacity improvements, which again can have an impact on the growth improvements seen.

    There's also long term projects (like Thameslink and the NR funded bus of Crossrail) which will be included in those costs but may not facilitate the full amount of growth which they are anticipated to allow, as the project isn't fully open.

    Taken as a whole I wouldn't be surprised if we saw some substantial growth within a few years of the start of a more normal pattern of rail operation that we could see some fairly good growth rates.

    Of course there's also the argument that projects which we should have got on and done (Extra platforms at Manchester, Crossrail 2, etc.) have also put the limit on the account of growth that could have otherwise have been seen. For instance how much extra growth is likely on SWR services given that peak time trains are often very busy (including in an outward direction from London). If you are restraining one of the biggest franchises then you're always going to find it hard to see significant growth.
     
  13. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member Associate Staff General Discussion

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    There was an interesting bit about this on Radio 4 the other day.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p07s8x9f

    It was mentioned that the tractor unit would have some onboard battery capacity (recharged via the pantograph) and that could be used for short sections without wires if needed. But I think the ones on test featured in the programme still had a diesel engine too...
    A couple of things that seem like obvious problems to me are that when the wires are inevitably bought down due to weather, misjudgment, or some other failure, I could see a following truck change lanes suddenly due to the driver reacting in surprise as they suddenly find a heavy duty cable heading towards their windscreen at 56mph. But also the thought of that cable hitting the road and being caught by a motorcyclist who wouldn’t have the shell of a car to protect them.
     
  14. HSTEd

    HSTEd Established Member

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    You could design the pantographs to break before the overhead wiring does, or at least does in a way that will actually bring the wires down.
     
  15. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member Associate Staff General Discussion

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    I’m not sure that an overtaking motorcyclist (of which there are lots during summertime in continental Europe) would be anymore resilient to bits of broken pantograph flying around than flailing cables?
    I suppose what I’m trying to say is that the worst case scenario needs to be prepared for, and this seems like another layer of potential hazards being introduced onto a busy motorway network.
     
  16. HSTEd

    HSTEd Established Member

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    It's a risk that has to be tolerated if you want to actually decarbonise freight haulage any time soon.

    And it seems to be a rather small possibility that a pantograph will fail catastrophically at the moment a motorcyclist is in the right place to get hit by debris.

    I don't even see that many motorcyclists on British motorways anyway....
     
  17. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member Associate Staff General Discussion

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    I see what you mean HST’d, but having done lots of driving on German (and other European) motorways over the years it’s something that occurred to me as a potential problem.
    Listening to the programme on Radio 4 the other day I was struck by what a good idea it was in lots of ways, but when you think about it there’s some major safety hurdles to get over first.
    It’ll be interesting to see if it gets developed further.
    I must admit that I did like the look of that Scania with its pantograph...
     
  18. The Ham

    The Ham Established Member

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    Many motorcyclists would highlight that many people don't see them at all.

    Whilst I agree that I don't recall there being sufficient numbers of them being on the journeys that I make, that doesn't mean that they (or indeed car drivers) wouldn't be at great risk from even small lumps of metal falling into their vehicles.

    A small stone can easily do significant damage to a windscreen, which could then lead to a major accident. A single brick can cause death to those within a car.
     
  19. Meerkat

    Meerkat Established Member

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    Pantograph comes off, goes through windscreen of following truck, truck swerves through central reservation, people die.
    It’s a small risk but considering the things railways have to mitigate for it would be unfair for the risks to be dismissed.
    It would mean trucks with wildly different uphill capabilities meaning more lorries overtaking each other :'(
     
  20. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    As compared to unsecured loads coming loose, yes vanishingly small.
     
  21. furnessvale

    furnessvale Established Member

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    What a pity rail isn't allowed to take such similar calculated risks, in both freight and passenger transport.

    Had that historically been the case, I'm sure the percentage split between the various modes would be somewhat different today.
     
  22. Meerkat

    Meerkat Established Member

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    that is already an issue. We are talking about introducing new risks.
     

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