Electric powered cars seemed like an early concept for the future not too long ago, but time has quickly crept up on us and now it’s quite the reality.
The British government announced in July that by 2040, the sale of all petrol and diesel cars will be put to an end. That may seem like a long time away but if we don’t start preparing now, then we won’t be ready by the deadline. Having said that, Volvo have already announced that after 2019, all their vehicles will be using an electric motor.
The UK is expected to have around 26 million electric vehicles using its roads. While this sounds a lot more environmentally friendly with a lack of exhaust fumes and air pollution, it does come with its own problems. All of these vehicles are going to need a regular charge, which is a lot of electricity.
However, do we actually have enough power to go around for everybody once all cars are electric? According to the National Grid, the answer is yes. Accessing that electricity though, that’s where we need to concentrate. Top-of-the-range electric cars have a battery capacity of 90kWh so using an average 3.5kWh charger from 0% would take over 24 hours.
I doubt anybody working in the week has 24 hours to spare while waiting to charge their car. Luckily, more hefty chargers exist, such as the 50kWh charger which reduces that time to a mere 80 minutes. These chargers aren’t suitable for a modern home though, so the most ideal charger would be a 7kWh or 11kWh charger. That’s still a long charge time though.
The mains fuse fitted to your house will be around 60 to 80 amps, and the National Grid has pointed out an 11kWh charger would require 48 amps. This causes a problem with using electricity elsewhere in the house, as the likes of a kettle or oven being used at the same time could cause the fuse to trip… So, you can’t even whip up a quick Pot Noodle or cuppa while you wait?!
The obvious solution around this would be to get the fuse amperage increased. Only distribution network operators are able to do this though, and depending on your property’s age it may end up being fairly expensive. 350 kWh “Super chargers” are in the works and could have a car charged in five minutes, but current batteries can’t support this level of charge.
Out and about
If all cars are to be electric, then petrol stations could end up being a thing of the past before long. Each to their own, but I’ll probably miss that strangely nice unleaded smell you get when you first pull in. What we will have we instead though? Well, you may not have noticed yet, but charging points are already dotted around the country.
A lot of people are not going to want to charge from home, and understandably at this stage since it sounds like a real pain if you need a quick top up. Currently, there are just over 4,700 locations in the UK where you can charge an electric car, with many more being added on a daily basis. If you’re a know-it-all like Paddy and don’t believe me, you can locate every single one on Zap-Map.
Charging points can currently be seen in petrol stations, as they slowly start to make the change over, I guess. However, they won’t be a rare sight at all by the looks of things, as you can still find charging points within car parks or even on roadsides. Ubitricity have started installing their charge points on lamp posts, using its electricity source and an established electricity network.
They argue it reduces the cost of installing an electricity point by around 90%, and charge 13p per kWh. While this adds up to about £11 to fully charge a car from 0%, it’s still cheaper than petrol or diesel. That’s so long as the charge is actually worthwhile, as essentially it could add up to work out the same or maybe more in some cases.
While there are clearly a few matters requiring some attention, I don’t think we’re in too much danger right now. It’s fairly interesting if anything. Yes, I’ll miss the old-school revving of motors and all that but this change was coming sooner or later. I’m not going to let it ruin my love for motors.
What are your thoughts on the future of electric motors? Good? Bad? Do you think this will even happen? Or will the government change their mind half way through? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!