I must agree with what Huw Evans writes (Across the Pond – January) about the downsides of the adoption of battery electric vehicles (BEV). Much of what he writes that applies to North America will also apply to this country. There are 38 million-plus cars in this country, where will owners get to charge them? Many streets in cities and large towns have terraced housing, houses with no driveways, blocks of flats, town centre flats and so on. How are these going to be provided with sufficient charging points to meet demand? Then, if there is a driveway or off-street parking, the sort of house that fills most estates in this country has only an electrical supply sufficient to charge one car overnight – our street is typical with 26 houses and nearly 40 cars. Currently it takes around 30 minutes to fast-charge a car to 80% charge at an enroute service station, filling a car with petrol or diesel takes less than five minutes. The cost and upheaval to provide the infrastructure for all this doesn’t bear thinking about.
Then there’s the question of whether BEVs are as clean for the environment as is claimed. A recent report compared the amount of greenhouse gases emitted during the manufacture of a Volvo XC40 with that of an equivalent BEV. It claimed that for the BEV it created 70% more and would mean that the BEV would have to drive 48,000 miles before it started to offset these extra emissions. Most of the extra emissions were due to the manufacture of the batteries.
Remember the car scrappage scheme to take old polluting cars off the road? It was estimated that manufacture of the replacement cars caused twice as much CO2 being put into the atmosphere as leaving the old cars on the road until their natural demise. This doesn’t count the fact that BEVs will be charged using electricity from gas and wood-fired power stations for many years to come, you can’t choose to only have electricity just from green sources, it all comes down the same cables along with that generated by fossil fuel sources. Added to this is the recent claim that, due to the increased weight of BEVs caused by the weight of the batteries, it could mean a 40%-plus increase in street level pollution from the extra tyre and brake pad wear, compared to a petrol/diesel car – that’s quite a health concern for city dwellers. Malcolm Hayes
Dear Classic American,
I just received the January edition of Classic American and had to write to congratulate Huw Evans on his brilliant article EV Madness. Approximately 45 billion litres of petrol and diesel are sold each year in the UK, and each litre has about £0.75 tax levied on it, giving a net stream of revenue to the exchequer of more than £33bn p.a. Obviously there will still be legacy sales as people with old technology fuel their older cars, but this will reduce significantly over the next 10 years, so how will electric cars be taxed to make up the shortfall? And pay for the massive infrastructure bill of generating all the extra electricity required?
I understand the concern over emissions and the environment, but there have been massive improvements in making fossil-fuelled engines cleaner and more efficient over the last 20 years. LPG is a cleaner fuel than either petrol or diesel, yet despite tax incentives it has not really taken off in the UK – but then again, it has not been heavily promoted. I have previously run two Jeeps on LPG, and apart from the lengthier refuelling time (and shorter range per fill) it was eminently usable. Why haven’t manufacturers been encouraged to sell purpose-built LPG cars, rather than having to rely on (compromised) after-market conversions?
Dear Classic American,
Oh how I agree so much with Huw Evans’ piece in January’s Classic American – the forced adoption of battery cars is so wrong. They are seen as a cure-all and the political chattering class are using this issue to get the votes of all climate activists who are currently wielding unreasonable influence over the world. I remember when the self-same body of climate experts were confidently predicting an ice age by the end of the 20th century. There are many technologies that would produce renewable fuels which can be used in internal combustion engines and production of which will remove and recycle the CO2 in the atmosphere and would utilise the existing gasoline infrastructure.
There are areas in the UK and probably everywhere else in the world where the use of an electric vehicle actually generates more CO2 emissions than an ICE-powered vehicle (Internal Combustion Engine) because of the means used to generate the electricity in the first place. That’s even if you fail to take into consideration the huge amount of CO2 generated in the manufacture of the EV and its battery. The climate on Earth has been changing for millions of years – if it hadn’t then we wouldn’t be here now. We shouldn’t be blindly following the scientists and assuming they are correct, as science is about coming up with a theory to explain why something is happening – and then setting out by experiment to prove it, and as far as I am aware this has not happened and we definitely should not be following the politicians as they are driven by votes and will say and do anything to get these.
Huw’s column certainly stirred up a hornet’s nest of responses and this month’s column may do the same on GM’s announcement of its electric future.