To charge – or su­per­charge?

NZ4WD - - CONTENTS - From guest edi­tor John Ox­ley

Some­thing old, some­thing new – no, this is not a wed­ding, but it’s good to be back at the helm of NZ4WD af­ter a break of three and a half years or so, al­beit help­ing out on a “one-off” ba­sis while reg­u­lar edi­tor Ross MacKay gets to grips with our lat­est NZSUV mag­a­zine.

I’m happy in many re­spects, not least of which is see­ing that Ross has con­tin­ued with the theme I had es­tab­lished dur­ing my eight years edit­ing the mag­a­zine, i.e. writ­ing about 4WD peo­ple do­ing 4WD things in New Zealand, or Ki­wis do­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary 4WD things over­seas.

I’m also pleased to see the old mates I worked with are still around and kick­ing, as well as en­joy­ing read­ing sto­ries from new con­trib­u­tors.

For those of you who might won­der where I’ve been, well I moved out to the Coro­man­del, where I edit an­other of Adrenalin Pub­lish­ing’s mag­a­zines, Mo­tor Equip­ment News – when I’m not fish­ing, of course!

Dur­ing the course of that work I’m kept in touch with the cut­ting edge of au­to­mo­tive tech­nol­ogy, and es­pe­cially the on­go­ing moves to “electrify” New Zealand’s roads.

For 4WDers this pre­sents some­thing of an enigma, for the fact is that four wheel­ing in­curs lots of en­coun­ters with wa­ter, in the form of streams and river cross­ings, as well as in semi-liq­uid form in mud!

And we all know that wa­ter and elec­tric­ity don’t mix very well. That said, I read re­cently that a Nis­san Leaf had taken part in some sort of off-roady type race, al­though there was no men­tion of wa­ter en­coun­ters, or for that mat­ter how many recharges it took to get to the end, or how long it took!

Yes, bat­ter­ies are get­ting bet­ter, and will con­tinue to be­come smaller and able to carry more charge be­tween recharges, but the thought of go­ing to the High Coun­try in a pure elec­tric ve­hi­cle is not one I rel­ish.

Apart from the elec­tric­ity/ wa­ter thing, and recharg­ing, there’s an­other is­sue, as high­lighted by Mur­ray Tay­lor’s ar­ti­cle on over­load­ing on P20, and that’s the weight of an elec­tric 4x4, which may well pre­clude long trips just be­cause you can’t carry much!

That said, it ’s rel­a­tively easy to de­sign four- wheel- drive into an elec­tric ve­hi­cle, and there’s the added ben­e­fit that they give max­i­mum torque at the low­est of revs, while the bat­ter­ies can be placed low down to get give good grip and weight dis­tri­bu­tion.

How­ever, there may be a ray of sun­shine for those of us who still pre­fer the in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine, for Bosch sent me a story about work the com­pany has been do­ing ( with re­ally se­ri­ous part­ners) on a new syn­thetic liq­uid fuel which will power ex­ist­ing in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gines – petrol, diesel, or LPG.

All very well, you might say, but what about car­bon diox­ide emis­sions, which the sci­en­tists are say­ing is caus­ing cli­mate changes?

Well, the good news is that dur­ing the man­u­fac­ture of this new fuel vast amounts of car­bon diox­ide are con­verted into hy­dro car­bons, lit­er­ally “suck­ing” CO2 out of the at­mos­phere – pos­si­bly enough to clean up the planet! At the same time, it doesn’t need a new in­fra­struc­ture to de­liver the fuel – filling sta­tions are al­ready there, all over the globe, and some­times in even the most re­mote places. You can read more on page 13.

The way I see it, elec­tric ve­hi­cles are great for around towns and ci­ties, and will adapt bet­ter to au­ton­o­mous driv­ing than ICE ve­hi­cles, but the lat­ter are bet­ter for long dis­tances, where re­fu­elling is quick and easy, and filling sta­tions ex­tremely wide­spread. And this is es­pe­cially the case for off-road sit­u­a­tions, as well as first re­spon­ders and other emer­gency ve­hi­cles.

Just re­mem­ber, too, that a large por­tion of the world doesn’t have elec­tric­ity to light homes, let alone recharge elec­tric ve­hi­cles, so they will still need a ready­ac­cess fuel. Even in New Zealand the av­er­age age of the na­tion’s fleet is 14.3 years, with the av­er­age age of trucks and buses more than 17 years. They’re not go­ing to be re­placed by magic, and there’s not enough in the bud­get to pay sub­si­dies at the level re­quired.

NZ4WD guest edi­tor John Ox­ley.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.