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Elecric Vehicles - The Realities

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Elecric Vehicles - The Realities Empty Elecric Vehicles - The Realities

Post by assassin on Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:29 am

Electric vehicles are now heavily promoted as the latest innovation in transport, but are heavily flawed in many areas as vehicles for the masses, for several reasons, but they do have some uses for certain sections of society. Like many things in life it is not what they tell you, more a case of what they do not tell you.
Cost is a major issue and a like for like vehicle sees an electric vehicle costing around 50% more than a traditional diesel or petrol engine vehicle, and it is this up front cost which causes many problems as they are seen as toys for the more affluent in society and not as working items, as many cars are. Weight is another issue as many electric cars weigh much more than a traditional engine vehicle and this causes issues with everything from vehicle handling to braking and it is well documented that an electric car takes much longer to stop than a traditional engined vehicle, and this is a safety concern, particularly if they are used in areas with high pedestrian numbers, particularly children who may run out in front of a vehicle.

If we go back to costs and look at the fuel system we see it comprises of batteries which have to be leased, we see we cannot buy the batteries and this is an issue, and a way of collecting more personal information as you can only lease them with a direct debit, this means that many people will be forced into opening a bank account and setting up a direct debit, and entering a contract. With petrol or diesel you can simply refuel and pay cash and not leave your personal details with a company, and you have choices. This also makes us look at manufacturers claims and see what they are claiming is not true in many cases, as they make numerous claims as to the life and durability which when looked at in detail, are spurious and misleading. If we look at a popular vehicle, the Renault Zoe, Renault claim the batteries should last an average 7 years, but look again and Renault currently charges £49 per month battery rental and this is limited to 4,500 miles per annum. If we take Renault at their word on battery life and restrictions on usage it means at best a battery will last only 31,500 miles before it needs replacing, but battery experts examining these battery packs all agree they will last for 3 years, and at best 5 years. This means Renault Zoe owners will require battery changes every 13,500 – 22,500 miles, or every two years for motorists doing average mileages of 10,000 per annum.
Do more than 4,500 miles per annum and the battery rental costs rise disproportionately and this is to limit the liability of the manufacturer by ensuring the consumer pays for the decreased battery life and increased replacement times by covering the costs of replacing the battery, so the customer pays.

Safety is a contentious issue and if we consider that battery powered vehicles operate generally in the 400 – 600 volt DC range, and that car bodies are made from steel or aluminium it creates another problem, accidents. Many battery packs are exploding from very minor impacts and while this is impacts from certain angles, it still means the vehicle explodes and potentially kills the occupants, and discharges a lot of toxic chemicals into the environment, and onto any emergency workers or passers by attending to accident victims. Only recently has Porsche announced the first 800 volt DC battery pack for its new Tayman model, and this is 800 volts DC.
This goes further, an average accident on a motorway pile up contains 10 vehicles and if one electric vehicle is involved then potentially you electrocute the occupants of 10 vehicles who would have normally walked away, or suffered only minor injuries, this raises the issue of the elites wanting to depopulate the world by 20%. It’s not only vehicle occupants at risk as any passers by and emergency workers can be affected by electrocution or toxic chemicals being released into the air, and homes in the vicinity are also at risk, as are their occupants. If the fire brigade attend and there is a fire, they only carry water and water is ineffective in putting out a battery pack fire as, in many circumstances, it can make the fire worse and potentially much hotter than if it were left to simply burn out, therefore an average fire engine is useless in an electric car fire. To put out such fires you need a Class D fire extinguisher and these are very rare, and rarely carried apart for some specific fire risks in certain industries where they need them, so there is no chance of your average fire engine carrying them and increasing the risk of fires to your car, and the surrounding area.

This gets worse as current lithium ion cells used in battery packs suffer from two well known conditions called Thermal Runaway and Cell Propagation, so what are these and why are they so dangerous? Thermal runaway is when a single cell internally short circuits and ignites, this may be contained within its casing and the driver will not know it’s happened, but the heat from this contained internal combustion causes cell propagation which is where any adjoining cells are damaged by the heat from this one cell igniting and it damages them internally. These can spontaneously combust and this can be minutes, hours, or even days after a cell has internally short circuited and set the car on fire and burn it out, without any warning; imagine if the vehicle is in your garage at home when this happens, and if you have a modern home where the garage is built into your house, suddenly your home is also on fire. Who pays your insurance premiums?

Many vehicle recovery companies are already refusing to collect electric vehicles for this reason as they cannot afford to have an electric vehicle spontaneously combust on the back of a recovery lorry as this will make them liable for the vehicle when it is in their charge. Many of the same companies are refusing to store these vehicles due to the increased risk of spontaneous combustion while they are in storage, awaiting an insurance assessor to assess the vehicles to be repaired or written off. One local recovery company close to me has admitted that their insurance premiums would climb 7 fold if they collected and stored electric vehicles and they cannot take such risks as they average around 60 vehicles in storage awaiting assessment and they cannot make an economic case for such an insurance hike as it would put them out of business.

National breakdown companies are being hit hard and this is predominantly down to the weight of electric vehicles and this hit is largely financial as they are now upgrading their fleets for 4X4’s and large trailers to recover these vehicles as they are the only vehicles capable of safely recovering them and this has led to some engineering innovations. Many are purchasing large diesel engined 4X4’s and fitting them with self assembly trailers which need to be built at the roadside before an electric vehicle can be recovered and this is not what is required on busy roads such as motorways in rush hour traffic, or busy commuter routes around towns and cities. Once again there are further additional costs as many recovery organisations realise the majority of electric vehicle callouts will be for flat batteries and are equipping their own vehicles with smart charging systems which use batteries on the recovery vehicle to provide enough charge to a stricken vehicle, to get it to a charging point. Others are recovering vehicles and taking them to the nearest charging point and carry swipe cards to activate the charging point and give the vehicle some charge.
All of the main recovery companies are forming some strategy for dealing with stricken electric vehicles and the one common denominator is costs, costs which are passed onto the customers and leads to increased premiums for many customers with electric cars.

Range anxiety is a common problem and for good reason, manufacturer’s claims are for ideal conditions and these are laboratory tested, and not real world conditions which are never ideal and one example of this is a manufacturers claims of range, they claim a range “of up to” 250 miles while real world testing shows this as 180 miles. During the winter months this will drop further as batteries are less efficient in cold weather and if we add in lighting, heating, and demisting this reduces their range further, and in many cases will see people turning off electrical systems such as demisting or lights and becoming more of a danger.

Charging is a minefield and full of misleading information as we have all heard the claims of full charges of tesla’s in 45 minutes, but have you got £100,000 + to buy one, and several thousands of £££££ to buy and install a super top of the range 100 KW charger.
Charging facilities are spurious and random if we consider the public network and this means most people will charge their vehicles at home, and they can do this in various ways; first is the charging cable with the standard UK three pin plug and many people will have these, their downfall is that to charge the smallest battery packs takes around 20 hours and consumes an average 10 amps of mains power. Not exactly the 40 minutes the electric car lobby are claiming, and on your domestic tariff will hit your bills hard and not be cheap, so what happens if you need your vehicle to go to work in 7 hours after you wake up.
Next is the wall charging box which some manufacturers claim is free, don’t make us laugh as nothing is free and it is merely built into the cost of the vehicle, and many use national contractors to install these wall charging boxes and this is the next issue. Most of these sales people tell you that the charging box can be installed where you want it, but in reality the installation companies fit them where they want to fit them and often this is inconvenient for the customer who is misled into thinking they will be installed in the best location for them.
Next we have the installation itself as there are two types of wiring and many people will be familiar with the standard UK wiring of three wires, live, neutral, and earth; but newer wiring will see a two wire system of live and a combined earth and neutral wire and this causes other issues. Charging electronics use a sensing system which senses electrical resistance and this is on the earth wire, if you have a two wire system the company has to fit a secondary earth to the charging box and this means driving an earth rod into the ground, but many contractors are not doing this so the charging box will not work and charge your vehicle. This issue isn’t confined to home charging boxes as many public charging points suffer the same issue and refuse to charge your vehicle when it is plugged in.
Once again profit is the motive as suppling an earthing rod and installing it takes additional time and as most of these companies employ sub contract electricians, they want to do as little work as possible, in the quickest time to make their living.

Public charging points have other flaws and this again, is with costs as many companies own many charging points and you have to open an account with them and give personal and financial information to them as many now demand an RFID equipped credit card or a mobile phone app, why only an RFID equipped credit card? Imagine this same scenario with a conventional engine vehicle where you can only use one brand of fuel such as BP, Shell, Texaco, or Tesco or Sainsburys and no other brand apart from the one you have opened an account with, unthinkable, but this is exactly what is happening unless you open multiple accounts with multiple charging point companies nationally. This again limits the capability of operating an electrically powered vehicle outside a specific or limited operating area.
If I were to use my company BMW 320D I have choices, I have a company credit card (non RFID equipped) and I can drive into any petrol station and fill up with diesel and choose how to pay, I can use my company credit card or pay with cash if I choose and reclaim it on my monthly expenses. My BMW has a 15 gallon fuel tank and does around 50 MPG as a lot of my mileage is motorway mileage at 70 MPH with cruise control turned on, this gives me a range 750 miles before refuelling, but in reality I get around 650 miles before refuelling, and I carry a 5 litre can of diesel in the boot, and refuelling takes around 3 minutes to fill my tank and I still have my 5 litre container of fuel in the boot.
Let’s compare this to an electric car, if it does 180 miles on a full charge and I set out in the morning to do a 500 mile round trip then my BMW will do this without refuelling, but I would need to stop after 180 miles and wait for around 3 hours to charge my electric car to 80% capacity which gives me 80% of 180 miles which is 144 miles, and do this for a second time. This means I am spending 6 hours of the working day recharging my electric car and still I only have 468 miles of range, so would have to stop again to recharge to do the remaining 32 miles. In reality I could do the entire journey in just over 7 hours in my diesel engine company BMW.
In an electric car this is 2.5 hours driving, 3 hours charging, 2 hours driving, 3 hours recharging, 2 hours driving, and this totals 12.5 hours and I have only covered 455 miles and need to recharge again to do the remaining 45 miles. Even if we adhere to a standard company driving policy and take a 10 minute break every 2 hours it still only adds 30 minutes to my working day and I am still driving for less than 8 hours.

This raises the issue of safety as we can see working days of over 13 hours for electric car drivers to cover the same mileages and this will mean some serious dangers as some will fall asleep or be driving while tired and potentially causing accidents to rise dramatically and companies will not accept this. Similarly, while you are at work you are compliant with Health and Safety and if you find a charging point with four outlets and three electric vehicles plugged in and you trip or fall over these charging cables, accident claims will rise significantly and potentially put a lot of businesses under as they cannot afford to pay their excessive insurance premiums.

Finally the charging scam itself, if you find a 50 Kw electric charging station with four outlets and three vehicles are already charging, and you plug in you are not getting a 50 Kw charge as the 50 Kw is the total output and you are only getting a quarter of this or 12.5 Kw and this increases your recharging times dramatically.

What conclusions can we draw? That electric cars are death traps, that they are debt traps, and that they are impractical for average mileage drivers or those working on company business with them.

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Post by daveiron on Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:22 am

Good article assassin.

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Post by assassin on Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:36 am

Part 2 will show some interesting realities Dave.

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