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Banning Combustion Cars By 2040 In The UK Is Bollocks

26 Jul , 2017  

Experian Autocheck

So today the government have come out and said all Petrol and Diesel car sales will be banned by 2040. Which is just bollocks.

That’s basically 20 years away from now. The headline news is merely a knee jerk reaction to fall in line with France which announced the same thing a few weeks ago.

 

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Problem 1 – Cost/Range

Currently we’re sitting at a point where electric cars can only travel around 150 miles. Compared to a normal car, that’s roughly half the range of a full tank.

The Tesla Model S in P100D form will get you just over 250 real world miles. So a car costing £126,900 will take you the same distance as you’re average hatchback. Great.

And that’s always been a big problem with electric cars. In 1908 when Henry Ford introduced the Model T for $680 the current (and popular) crop of electric cars and carriages cost $1,750.

Even GM couldn’t make their lease only EV1 viable in the 90’s.

 

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Problem 2 – Battery Tech/Range

Batteries are heavy, like really heavy.

A Tesla weighs 2,108 kg. Its battery pack is around 800 kg, plus another 100 kg for the rear motor and roughly the same again for the front motor. That’s a 1,000 kg the car has to lug around before even doing anything.

The lightest BMW 7 series on the market comes in at 1,755 KG.

A litre of petrol weighs 0.74 kg. So for 300 miles range, in a car that achieves roughly 32 MPG your’re only lugging around 37 kg.

37 kg as opposed to 800 kg. Hmm.

Batteries are rubbish. The current tech hasn’t changed since the 90’s when Lithium-Ion was invented. Their energy/density ratio is still far too low.

The next generation of batteries are either solid state, or sodium – Li-S.

Toyota have just announced they are close to putting solid state batteries into production, and could be ready by 2020. They work on the premise of a solid electrode and a solid electrolyte, meaning there’s no nasty fire risk if they become damaged.

The problem? Lithium used for the electrodes in solid state batteries is pricey, and finding it isn’t great for the environment.

Sodium batteries could be a better option. It’s 10 times cheaper than lithium in its salt form. They could also be totally discharged without damaging the active materials.

The problem? After a few charge and discharge cycles they become unstable, the electrodes start to beak down.

Graphene has been used to shield the electrodes successfully, but that was in March this year. Possibly decades away from a viable, marketable product.

 

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Problem 3 – Range

It’s been a reoccurring theme in each problem. But unless there’s a significant breakthrough in battery tech, or a new ultra lightweight carbon composite way of making safe, affordable cars, range is going to be the biggest issue.

Currently, you fill your car up, drive the whole week and don’t even bother to check how much fuel you have at the end. Refilling is never an issue or an arduous task.

Nobody is going to trade, or be forced to trade down to 200 miles range with slow, possibly daily charging.

Offer a 10 minute 0-100% charge time over the life of the vehicle – great, people will live with that no problem.

Only Tesla currently come close to this with their superchargers, 20 minutes charge time will get you 50% battery, 40 mins 80% and 1 hour 15 to fully charge.

If you have the way more affordable Renault Zoe, 0-100% takes 2 hours 40 minutes from a 43kW quick charger. 0-80% 1 hour 38 mins.

 

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Problem 4 – Industry

Petrol vehicles aren’t massively polluting in terms of their NOx, roughly 30% less. When it comes to particulates though – the tiny little things that we breath in, end up in our lungs and have even been found in brain tissue – well those are basically non existent and are so low that they aren’t even routinely tested.

In reality, particulates are the biggest problem for everyone’s health.

Bearing that in mind and then think, when was the last time you saw an electric lorry?

Exactly.

They aren’t even on our roads yet. Tesla are developing one at the moment, and last year Merc unveiled one with 120 miles of range…yup, we’re back to that problem.

 

So to say that air quality and pollution means the banning of petrol and diesel cars is ridiculous. There’s currently no viable alternative. If electric cars were commonplace, with say 30/40% of the driving population owning them then yes, say such outlandish things.

The government aren’t even working with, or giving funding to any companies to make the next step in battery tech happen.

 

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What should happen then?

The particulates that diesels emit are the biggest issue on humans and our health.

  • Ban diesel sales in the next 10 years.
  • Work with industry to move across to either petrol, or petrol hybrid for heavy haulage needs.
  • Scrap fuel tax, 70% of the cost per litre goes to the government. This will help haulage costs.
  • Help with the science of battery tech – if the UK could make a significant breakthrough we could make it our biggest export.
  • Commit to selling only hybrids by 2030 or 2040 – be realistic.
  • Work with manufacturers to see how clean and lean petrol engines can be – Mazda are currently at the forefront of this in production vehicles.

It’s such a load of crap to come out with a blanket ban on ICE vehicles in the next 20 years, with no structure or pathway in place for it to happen.

 

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By  -  
Owner / Editor of Carwitter - French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Follow @car_witter



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