Electric Cars

zagatoes30

Centenary Club
Messages
13,697
OK, the Tesla 3 on Top Gear looks to be close to a real electric alternative in that class, on par with the mid range super saloons but with clean air credentials sets the standards the big boys have to get to. Chris's take on Tesla battery strategy was interesting.

However the battery performance on a 8 year old Leaf highlighted some of the potential longer term issues with these cars. Unless there is going to be a battery replacement strategy it would appear that electric cars will only work on a 3-5 year lease plan.
 

stindig

Junior Member
Messages
75
A few truths about EVs:

Charging: Currently only 28% of UK power is generated by renewable sources which means that 72% of the power that is used to charge the batteries comes from coal or nuclear power stations. Most EV owners charge their cars overnight but, given that solar power, which represents about 4%, is not available at night, the percentage of green power drops to 24%. Obviously this will improve over time with the UK’s ambition to cut greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050 – but that’s a long way off.

Battery Degradation: Batteries degrade over time - your phone uses lithium ion batteries and we all know that, as they age, their ability to retain power reduces significantly. EVs will therefore need to be charged more frequently as they get older which will use yet more non-green power. Replacement batteries will also need to be purchased at some point in an vehicle’s life and old batteries will need to be disposed of in a way that doesn’t damage the environment – currently challenging, if not impossible.

Recycling: In Belgium, a company called Umicore can recycle around 35,000 EV batteries per annum but there is no facility in the UK. Over one million electric vehicles have been registered in Europe and it’s growing fast. We are therefore heading rapidly towards a recycling crisis.

Tesla is looking at improving recycling methods but is a very long way from having a ‘closed loop’.

Battery Manufacture: Two of the key materials used in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries are lithium and cobalt. The process to source these is described below:

Lithium: The Salar de Atacama basin in Chile is the world’s largest source of lithium (29%). Bore holes are drilled to bring up brine to the surface and into evaporation tanks for up to 24 months before the remaining sludge is taken away (in diesel lorries) to be processed. This destroys the water table. The local ecosystem cannot support this level of water extraction and, as a result, the local wildlife, trees and farmers are suffering massively. In neighboring Argentina, chemicals resulting from this process have leaked into local rivers and poisoned fish and irrigation water. Ultimately, only 6% of the sludge is extracted as lithium and this is then shipped via giant, polluting container ships to China or Japan for battery manufacture.

An alternative method of extracting lithium is from minerals (typically spodumene). To extract the lithium, the rock is crushed and heated, before being mixed with sulphuric acid. Once the lithium has been removed, the toxic residue, which is still the bulk of the original rock, is typically dumped.

Cobalt: Over 50% of the world’s cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A significant proportion of this is brought up from artisan mines – just holes in the ground, with no safety measures and with many children involved in the process. Lithium miners die every day and many more will die in the future as they suffer from the effects of having breathed the toxic air. All production in DRC is owned by Chinese companies and the miners sell the ore locally to the Chinese, who then ship it in diesel lorries to ports, where this is then, again, shipped via giant, polluting container ships to China or Japan for manufacture.

Interesting fact – the world’s largest 16 container ships produce more pollution than all the cars in the world!


Battery manufacturing locations: Historically, Japan has been the worlds largest battery manufacturer for automotive but currently China has two of the largest 5 lithium ion battery manufacturers (CATL and BID) but they are growing rapidly and will provide 60% of automotive batteries by 2030 (up from 45% today). Chinese manufacturers also control two thirds of the market for four of the key components of lithium ion batteries - cathode materials, anode materials, electrolyte solutions and separators so there is little potential currently for more localised production. Once the batteries have been manufactured, a significant percentage are then shipped to America and Europe for car production – in giant, polluting container ships.

Those who purchase EVs do so in the genuine belief that they are helping the environment but in my view, batteries are not the answer – at least not yet. Perhaps hydrogen fuel cells will be viable if we can find a clean way to generate the hydrogen – maybe micro-nuclear? And I would imagine that the existing fuelling infrastructure could fairly simply be converted to supply hydrogen, rather than petrol or diesel, and hydrogen could be produced in-country, rather than having to ship anything several times around the world.
 

zagatoes30

Centenary Club
Messages
13,697
Those who purchase EVs do so in the genuine belief that they are helping the environment but in my view, batteries are not the answer – at least not yet.
Totally agree but the more research and development that goes on the closer we will be. The improvement in battery technology even over the last 5 years has been amazing and it is companies like Tesla, Nissan, Toyota etc who are pushing it.

IMO this car appears to be the closet real world electric car to come to the market. Previous Teslas have been too expensive and the small Leaf, Zoe at al are all just urban commuters. The Hybrids that most manufacturers have on their books are a good compromise solution but they are still that a compromise.
 

lifes2short

Member
Messages
2,374
A few truths about EVs:

Charging: Currently only 28% of UK power is generated by renewable sources which means that 72% of the power that is used to charge the batteries comes from coal or nuclear power stations. Most EV owners charge their cars overnight but, given that solar power, which represents about 4%, is not available at night, the percentage of green power drops to 24%. Obviously this will improve over time with the UK’s ambition to cut greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050 – but that’s a long way off.

Battery Degradation: Batteries degrade over time - your phone uses lithium ion batteries and we all know that, as they age, their ability to retain power reduces significantly. EVs will therefore need to be charged more frequently as they get older which will use yet more non-green power. Replacement batteries will also need to be purchased at some point in an vehicle’s life and old batteries will need to be disposed of in a way that doesn’t damage the environment – currently challenging, if not impossible.

Recycling: In Belgium, a company called Umicore can recycle around 35,000 EV batteries per annum but there is no facility in the UK. Over one million electric vehicles have been registered in Europe and it’s growing fast. We are therefore heading rapidly towards a recycling crisis.

Tesla is looking at improving recycling methods but is a very long way from having a ‘closed loop’.


Battery Manufacture: Two of the key materials used in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries are lithium and cobalt. The process to source these is described below:

Lithium: The Salar de Atacama basin in Chile is the world’s largest source of lithium (29%). Bore holes are drilled to bring up brine to the surface and into evaporation tanks for up to 24 months before the remaining sludge is taken away (in diesel lorries) to be processed. This destroys the water table. The local ecosystem cannot support this level of water extraction and, as a result, the local wildlife, trees and farmers are suffering massively. In neighboring Argentina, chemicals resulting from this process have leaked into local rivers and poisoned fish and irrigation water. Ultimately, only 6% of the sludge is extracted as lithium and this is then shipped via giant, polluting container ships to China or Japan for battery manufacture.

An alternative method of extracting lithium is from minerals (typically spodumene). To extract the lithium, the rock is crushed and heated, before being mixed with sulphuric acid. Once the lithium has been removed, the toxic residue, which is still the bulk of the original rock, is typically dumped.


Cobalt: Over 50% of the world’s cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A significant proportion of this is brought up from artisan mines – just holes in the ground, with no safety measures and with many children involved in the process. Lithium miners die every day and many more will die in the future as they suffer from the effects of having breathed the toxic air. All production in DRC is owned by Chinese companies and the miners sell the ore locally to the Chinese, who then ship it in diesel lorries to ports, where this is then, again, shipped via giant, polluting container ships to China or Japan for manufacture.

Interesting fact – the world’s largest 16 container ships produce more pollution than all the cars in the world!


Battery manufacturing locations: Historically, Japan has been the worlds largest battery manufacturer for automotive but currently China has two of the largest 5 lithium ion battery manufacturers (CATL and BID) but they are growing rapidly and will provide 60% of automotive batteries by 2030 (up from 45% today). Chinese manufacturers also control two thirds of the market for four of the key components of lithium ion batteries - cathode materials, anode materials, electrolyte solutions and separators so there is little potential currently for more localised production. Once the batteries have been manufactured, a significant percentage are then shipped to America and Europe for car production – in giant, polluting container ships.

Those who purchase EVs do so in the genuine belief that they are helping the environment but in my view, batteries are not the answer – at least not yet. Perhaps hydrogen fuel cells will be viable if we can find a clean way to generate the hydrogen – maybe micro-nuclear? And I would imagine that the existing fuelling infrastructure could fairly simply be converted to supply hydrogen, rather than petrol or diesel, and hydrogen could be produced in-country, rather than having to ship anything several times around the world.
some very interesting points there, i'm not convinced ev's are all that and I just cant see that they will ever become the future unless some new type of battery technology is invented that doesn't suffer from power loss over years and gives a far greater travel range, quick charge and not mention the ridiculous amount of charging points required countrywide, how will that work if we all had ev's could you actually have that many points, the thinking that we are saving the planet is tosh especially when China and America doesn't give a sh1t, don't forget global warming doesn't exist according to Trump;)
 

GeoffCapes

Centenary Club
Messages
10,075
A few truths about EVs:

Charging: Currently only 28% of UK power is generated by renewable sources which means that 72% of the power that is used to charge the batteries comes from coal or nuclear power stations. Most EV owners charge their cars overnight but, given that solar power, which represents about 4%, is not available at night, the percentage of green power drops to 24%. Obviously this will improve over time with the UK’s ambition to cut greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050 – but that’s a long way off.

Battery Degradation: Batteries degrade over time - your phone uses lithium ion batteries and we all know that, as they age, their ability to retain power reduces significantly. EVs will therefore need to be charged more frequently as they get older which will use yet more non-green power. Replacement batteries will also need to be purchased at some point in an vehicle’s life and old batteries will need to be disposed of in a way that doesn’t damage the environment – currently challenging, if not impossible.

Recycling: In Belgium, a company called Umicore can recycle around 35,000 EV batteries per annum but there is no facility in the UK. Over one million electric vehicles have been registered in Europe and it’s growing fast. We are therefore heading rapidly towards a recycling crisis.

Tesla is looking at improving recycling methods but is a very long way from having a ‘closed loop’.


Battery Manufacture: Two of the key materials used in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries are lithium and cobalt. The process to source these is described below:

Lithium: The Salar de Atacama basin in Chile is the world’s largest source of lithium (29%). Bore holes are drilled to bring up brine to the surface and into evaporation tanks for up to 24 months before the remaining sludge is taken away (in diesel lorries) to be processed. This destroys the water table. The local ecosystem cannot support this level of water extraction and, as a result, the local wildlife, trees and farmers are suffering massively. In neighboring Argentina, chemicals resulting from this process have leaked into local rivers and poisoned fish and irrigation water. Ultimately, only 6% of the sludge is extracted as lithium and this is then shipped via giant, polluting container ships to China or Japan for battery manufacture.

An alternative method of extracting lithium is from minerals (typically spodumene). To extract the lithium, the rock is crushed and heated, before being mixed with sulphuric acid. Once the lithium has been removed, the toxic residue, which is still the bulk of the original rock, is typically dumped.


Cobalt: Over 50% of the world’s cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A significant proportion of this is brought up from artisan mines – just holes in the ground, with no safety measures and with many children involved in the process. Lithium miners die every day and many more will die in the future as they suffer from the effects of having breathed the toxic air. All production in DRC is owned by Chinese companies and the miners sell the ore locally to the Chinese, who then ship it in diesel lorries to ports, where this is then, again, shipped via giant, polluting container ships to China or Japan for manufacture.

Interesting fact – the world’s largest 16 container ships produce more pollution than all the cars in the world!


Battery manufacturing locations: Historically, Japan has been the worlds largest battery manufacturer for automotive but currently China has two of the largest 5 lithium ion battery manufacturers (CATL and BID) but they are growing rapidly and will provide 60% of automotive batteries by 2030 (up from 45% today). Chinese manufacturers also control two thirds of the market for four of the key components of lithium ion batteries - cathode materials, anode materials, electrolyte solutions and separators so there is little potential currently for more localised production. Once the batteries have been manufactured, a significant percentage are then shipped to America and Europe for car production – in giant, polluting container ships.

Those who purchase EVs do so in the genuine belief that they are helping the environment but in my view, batteries are not the answer – at least not yet. Perhaps hydrogen fuel cells will be viable if we can find a clean way to generate the hydrogen – maybe micro-nuclear? And I would imagine that the existing fuelling infrastructure could fairly simply be converted to supply hydrogen, rather than petrol or diesel, and hydrogen could be produced in-country, rather than having to ship anything several times around the world.
100% spot on. This is kind of my area, although my company has stayed away from EV charging points as they are shockingly expensive for a fast charger. (£10k)
In energy efficiency you work on return on investment. Yes it's all well and good to be carbon neutral, but if the sums don't add up what's the point?

The other thing that is not mentioned is the actual carbon footprint of production. It's anything but neutral. In fact you would have to drive your average EV over 120,000 miles for it to become carbon neutral.
And that doesn't even take into consideration the source of the electricity. There are too many variables to claim your EV is totally green as it's anything but.

That's not to say they we shouldn't try.

My personal opinion is that the battery market is controlled too much by the Chinese for Europe or the US to ever get fully behind it. Therein lies the problem with EV's.
I still maintain the hydrogen is a better alternative.
 

2b1ask1

Centenary Club
Messages
15,808
I have mentioned previously my concerns about PV (solar) energy collection, these panels only collect energy from a microscopic part of the spectrum and are woefully inefficient, look at the time needed to pay for themselves, 20-30 years! It is very doubtful they can last that long. We are talking the most efficient only managing 5.7% efficiency with solar tracking!!! Of the photons received a very tiny percentage is within the usable wavelength, developing wavelength converters is one possibility. Just adding infrared capture would improve efficiency allowing radiated energy capture at night (heat from the ground) within the same structures. Real efficiency however will only be achieved when the whole spectrum is captured.

No.2 son is looking to get into this area in his career (anyone fancy funding him?)...
 

lifes2short

Member
Messages
2,374
I have mentioned previously my concerns about PV (solar) energy collection, these panels only collect energy from a microscopic part of the spectrum and are woefully inefficient, look at the time needed to pay for themselves, 20-30 years! It is very doubtful they can last that long. We are talking the most efficient only managing 5.7% efficiency with solar tracking!!! Of the photons received a very tiny percentage is within the usable wavelength, developing wavelength converters is one possibility. Just adding infrared capture would improve efficiency allowing radiated energy capture at night (heat from the ground) within the same structures. Real efficiency however will only be achieved when the whole spectrum is captured.

No.2 son is looking to get into this area in his career (anyone fancy funding him?)...
no idea what you just said there, but can I agree with you?
 

GeoffCapes

Centenary Club
Messages
10,075
I have mentioned previously my concerns about PV (solar) energy collection, these panels only collect energy from a microscopic part of the spectrum and are woefully inefficient, look at the time needed to pay for themselves, 20-30 years! It is very doubtful they can last that long. We are talking the most efficient only managing 5.7% efficiency with solar tracking!!! Of the photons received a very tiny percentage is within the usable wavelength, developing wavelength converters is one possibility. Just adding infrared capture would improve efficiency allowing radiated energy capture at night (heat from the ground) within the same structures. Real efficiency however will only be achieved when the whole spectrum is captured.

No.2 son is looking to get into this area in his career (anyone fancy funding him?)...
I can't fund number 2 son Newton, but can put him in touch with some guys who I know who are very well versed in this area.
 

2b1ask1

Centenary Club
Messages
15,808
no idea what you just said there, but can I agree with you?
Yes.

Ok, very simply;



We see this part of the range 350-750 nm (this is simplified but equates to something like 0.001% of the full spectrum) solar panels work within a smaller part of this visible range 380-750 nm.

by expanding their efficiency into the ultraviolet or infrared the energy capture potential is increased massively.
 

stindig

Junior Member
Messages
75
Other challenges for going electric would be finding £30+ billion for the 400,000 fast chargers that would be necessary and the generation of an additional 18GW of electricity, on top of the current peak demand of 60GW. Given that the new Hinkley Point nuclear power station generates 3.2GW, that's going to be a very expensive indeed.
 

CatmanV2

Member
Messages
32,006
Other challenges for going electric would be finding £30+ billion for the 400,000 fast chargers that would be necessary and the generation of an additional 18GW of electricity, on top of the current peak demand of 60GW. Given that the new Hinkley Point nuclear power station generates 3.2GW, that's going to be a very expensive indeed.
Just curious, but how much petrol is refined in the UK? Have you factored the reduction in demand of electricity to refine petrol into the equation (whatever that value may be, it many be nominal in the case of the UK, but I understand petrol refining takes rather a lot of watts?)

C
 

stindig

Junior Member
Messages
75
Good question. A quick Google finds that we use 44,000,000,000 litres of petrol and diesel per annum in the UK, of which approx 70% is refined in the UK. Refining a litre of fuel takes 1KW/h of electricity, so that's 44GW pa
 

outrun

Centenary Club
Messages
4,170
Other challenges for going electric would be finding £30+ billion for the 400,000 fast chargers that would be necessary and the generation of an additional 18GW of electricity, on top of the current peak demand of 60GW. Given that the new Hinkley Point nuclear power station generates 3.2GW, that's going to be a very expensive indeed.
Plus the simplicity of our grid itself which can't handle the extra load required. So we need a new one of them too.

I have been saying for ages that the least efficient thing that the UK has done is the scrappage scheme. I understand that this helped fuels the new car market which is an important employer across the UK however it's also really daft in so many ways. The lowest polluting car is one that's already built.
 

CatmanV2

Member
Messages
32,006
Good question. A quick Google finds that we use 44,000,000,000 litres of petrol and diesel per annum in the UK, of which approx 70% is refined in the UK. Refining a litre of fuel takes 1KW/h of electricity, so that's 44GW pa
So even if we only use 50% of the petrol currently electricity generation appears to be sufficient (or at least the amount of additional generation capactiy required is rather lower)

C