The EV Revolution
With the UK government committed to bringing on the electric vehicle (EV) revolution at the earliest opportunity, I thought it would be pertinent to discuss a little more about what this actually means. There is no doubt that as electrical energy generation becomes more and more carbon neutral it would make sense to utilise this as a source of power for our vehicles.
There are some issues relating to this that have yet to be overcome, and I’ll briefly mention what I believe to be a few of them. These will be overcome in due course, although our current perception that we’ll have a couple of EVs plugged into fast chargers at our homes every night is very unlikely to happen. To achieve this, the current power network would need to be upgraded. Many houses in large cities such as Birmingham are small, terraced houses. They often have a 60Amp supply coming into them which just about covers the requirements for a 32A electric cooker, possibly 45A electric shower, the dishwasher, washing machine and tumble dryer, although not all at the same time. Add to that a 32A car charger and you very quickly realise that the main fuse will not allow this to happen. As well as the load characteristics, the nature of terraced streets mean that home charging of vehicles will not be possible at all.
Alternatives include utilising the network of street lamps as charging stations, investing in huge numbers of super fast chargers at what are currently petrol stations, and also workplace charging. All of these will take time and considerable amounts of funding to achieve.
There is also the small matter of mining of lithium, which is a finite source and very labour intensive, with local environmental impacts, disposal of large lithium ion batteries and so on. Then there’s the cost of these to the consumer, and the need to replace them (a number of manufacturers offer 8 year or 100,000 mile guarantees on their batteries, but of course currently many people buy second hand cars, and this could severely affect the second hand car market) as well as potential fire risks both in collisions and due to any manufacturing faults.
These issues are mostly being improved upon, but there’s still a little way to go yet.
So the EV revolution is coming. I’m just not sure it’s coming as quickly and cheaply as we would like.
https://www.forbes.com/wheels/news/battery-car-fires/ (accessed 23 Nov 2021)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impacts_of_lithium-ion_batteries (accessed 23 Nov 2021)