Thursday, 7 February 2013

Not Exactly Driving Miss Daisy

The Scottish Government are spending £2.6million on charging points for electric cars. Or are they? 

In December last year it was reported that of the £7.8m handed to Scottish government councils, about £5.5m has been spent by local authorities, leaving more than £2m of taxpayers' cash lying unused in bank accounts.

Some councils have yet to spend any of their allocation, with a third of authorities not even having electrical charging points to power up the green vehicles.

Is the £2.6m mentioned yesterday in addition to the £2.3m lying in council bank accounts or is it an effort to ensure councils spend the money pinpointed for charging points?  There is nothing as yet on the Scottish Government website to suggest it is additional money.

The Scottish Government wish to 'decarbonise' road transport by 2050, yet the seem content to push a mode of transport which 'pose an environmental threat'.

I was forced to smile when reading the sales blurb for electric cars on the Next Greencar site. Firstly I need a garage; secondly my mileage needs to be limited to less than around 100 miles a day (some say around 60-70); and last by no means least I need a barrow full of money. The first necessity I had have, the second I can never guarantee and the third is a hopeless dream.

So no electric car for me but in many ways I'm pleased.  The thought of running out of electricity one dark evening fills me with dread and there would be no point phoning the AA either - unless they are to be provided with an emergency generator to do a swift top up to the nearest charging point - which could be miles away of course.

Another little snippet I discovered is that the E-cosse Partnership, which promotes electric vehicles, was initiated by Transport Scotland and WWF Scotland and the policies introduced are the result of an EU directive. 

How WWF Scotland managed to get into the vehicle business is anyone's guess but I'm sure all of you deducted the EU would be involved somehow.

Now, if I could only find out something about the free installation of home charging points ...


Lord Monty said...

That free home charging point made me sit up as well SR. It would only take an hour or so to make an adapter for plugging in conventional plugs. Good for electric lawnmowers or working in the garage etc.
I wonder if you have to buy the white elephant first though.

Joe Public said...

"....mileage needs to be limited to less than around 100 miles a day (some say around 60-70);"

And as your readers know only to well, miles in Scotland tend to be up & down hills; and, during colder-than-average-UK-temperatures. Both of which have adverse effects upon electric-vehicle range.

Lets not forget than when Top Gear pointed out the puny range of electric cars, one manufacturer Tesla sued them. Twice. And lost both times.

JimS said...

I'm at risk of being stuck in a groove here...but here goes!

A litre of fuel contains about 83kWh of energy. It takes but a few minutes to fill up with, say, 20 litres, which is 1,660 kWh. Now 3kW is the maximum you can get out of a domestic socket in the UK so that is equivalent to charging for 553 hours or 23 days.

Now of course you can play games and say that the electric drive is more efficient so maybe we can cut that number in half and maybe we can recover some of the energy we lose in braking so we could cut the figure in half again and maybe we don't need to go so fast etc etc.. but there is still a huge difference.

I don't doubt there is a niche for the electric vehicle but it will never be equivalent to today's cars. Bear in mind that they are a secondary user of energy, the 'prime mover' is somewhere else and that has pluses and minuses of its own, e.g. it might be better to burn oil out of town rather than in smoggy LA; they might provide a 'dump' for that wind energy that arrives at the 'wrong' time etc.

No doubt the electric car is part of the 'mix' but I suspect it will always be burdened by the heavy, expensive battery pack, new technologies notwithstanding.

Anonymous said...

I'm no fan of electric cars or scooters but there may be a place for them in a city environment. I'd thought that a park and ride system could work? It's already there although it might need to be expanded.

In Edinburgh we also have the car club which is way too expensive to be useful but again it could be revamped to be more useful.

The plan would be a car club with electric cars, bikes and scooters. Pick one up very locally when you need a trip up town, like Boris's bikes in London. When you need to go further pick one up and drive it to the park and ride on the edge of town and swap it for a real car.

The whole thing is of course ridiculous. Electric cars are still in their infancy and won't deliver at anything like the cost that is needed by the market.

There isn't a day that goes by now that I read another article or a peer reviewed report that states that the level of global warming estimated a few years back is wildly off the mark. Even the relentless alarmists have lowered their temperature claims and I bet they'll have to keep on doing so.

Meantime shed loads of taxpayer cash is thrown at mitigating carbon emissions. C02 in the atmosphere continues to rise although by miniscule amounts. The temperature stays the same pretty much.

Busted flush for the alarmists. Emptier pockets for us all apart from government.

Joe Public said...

Before anyone buys an electric car, they'd be advised to consider the cost of replacing its batteries.

The Nissan Leaf uses 48 of them, each costing £404 in Aug 2011. Total = £19,392

So battery replacement costs more than the cost of a brand new Golf.

Woodsy42 said...

I am old enough to remember electric vehicles - all the milk rounds used them and they were excellent for the job. Known length of every journey, plenty of non-use time to charge them and quiet.
For a family car it's useless. It would do probably 50% of our family journeys easily but we would still need a 'real' car for holidays and long range visits. Given the cost of electric vehicles that makes them useless.

JRB said...

I am now beginning to seriously worry about the sanity of many within the Scottish National Party, especially amongst those who hold government office.

In announcing the latest initiative of ‘a charging point every 50miles’ Transport Minister Keith Brown said - “I look forward to the day when the only vehicles on Scotland’s roads are electric vehicles”.

What irresponsible, inappropriate, illogical tosh. The babblings of a lunatic.

The bulk of industrial materials, commercial goods and essential supplies are delivered around Scotland by fleets of haulage vehicles. No electric vehicle is capable, or will ever be capable, of having the same power to weight carrying ability. (Im sure JimS can explain the physics)

So what of the humble electric car?
Whilst the motive power may be sourced from ‘so called’ green energy, its manufacture and composition is far from green.
The depletion of the earth’s minerals and elements is far greater in the production of an electric vehicle than in an internal combustion vehicle.
The very batteries that store this wonderful ‘green power’ cannot be disposed of or recycled at the end of their useful life, they are regarded as ‘dangerous toxic waste’ – just the same as nuclear waste.

So, spending 2.5million on charging points – is that really the best use of our money?

English Pensioner said...

How do you pay for the electricity from these charging points?
And whilst electric vehicles are pollution free at the point of use, their use causes equivalent pollution at the generating station.
Whoops, sorry, I forgot all your Scottish Electricity comes from windmills. Cars driven by windmills, now there's a thought!

Edward Spalton said...

I have known politicians were nearly all bonkers about climate change/global warming since attending a meeting of the now happily defunct East Midlands Assembly - an EU-encouraged body for Balkanising England into Scotland-sized bits. With no audible dissent, they all bought into the theory. In a voice of rising panic, one councillor told us we should be very afraid because the temperature had risen 5 degrees since the Ice Age! I said that was just as well or we would all be under a mile-thick sheet of ice. I asked what he thought had caused the change - perhaps an unsuitable diet causing flatulence in wooly mammoths, unsupervised by EU inspectors? But they all KNEW they were right. They had seen Al Gore's film and I was a rotter who didn't care about my grandchildren. Later, several whispered to me that they had doubts too but dared not speak them for fear of being accused of heresy too. Without the True Believers and Assentors by Silence, none of these daft cars or charging points would be built

Highland Cooncil said...

WAR Declared on Scottish Government !!!

No many deed !!!

subrosa said...

I though someone like you would know how to use it more sensibly Monty but suspect you're right. They're only paying for a socket really, we still have to pay the electricity bill.

I'm lucky enough to gave an adequate amount of sockets in the garage.

subrosa said...

I didn't know that Joe, thanks for the info and the link.

subrosa said...

Great points Jim. As I said in the post all this is being encouraged by the EU.

subrosa said...

That's the only place I could see these things being of any use to the individual TT - in cities. Hopeless for me really because it's a 40 mile round trip to the nearest city and up hill etc., so my battery could conk out on the journey home.

My local council has bought some though. Such a waste of money.

subrosa said...

Jeez Joe, I didn't research them so deeply. Thanks for the info. Think, even if I won the lottery, I'd give one a miss now.

subrosa said...

Ah the milk floats. Wonderful vehicles and so smooth. We used to love jumping on the back for a hurl Woodsy.

You're right about these cars though. Very expensive for what they are.

subrosa said...

Don't forget JRB, £5.5m has already been spent of these cars. I'm not quite sure if that involves the purchase of them but suspect it does.

I don't think it's the best use of our money by any means.

Noticed on the 6.30 news that someone's been to Holland to see why the are successful at having so many cyclists. Nobody mentioned the flatness of the land or that Amsterdam uses waterways and cyclists use the canal paths.

Apogee said...

All those Windmills, where is
Don Quixote, He is out there somewhere, you know !

subrosa said...

I think you use a card EP, similar to petrol stations which take cards.

There's a thought indeed!

subrosa said...

It's so sad the majority are too frightened to voice their opinions these days for fear of being labelled bigots or some type of phobe Edward. Your country needs you. :)

subrosa said...

It's so sad the majority are too frightened to voice their opinions these days for fear of being labelled bigots or some type of phobe Edward. Your country needs you. :)

subrosa said...

Thanks for the link HC. I enjoyed it although it would have been better if the writer could spell. I've a thing about spelling.

subrosa said...

I don't know but you've given me something to think about Apogee. :)

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