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Sustainable Transport
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TOPIC: Electric Vehicle v Gasoline-powered car - what’s your take on that?

Electric Vehicle v Gasoline-powered car - what’s your take on that? #1

Electric vehicles are becoming popular, and can help to improve fuel economy, lower fuel costs, and reduce emissions.

Do you agree?’

Re: Electric Vehicle v Gasoline-powered car - what’s your take on that? #2

Car clubs have a place in the city, with low car ownership, good public transport and services near your door but can a rural car club work, with the opposite?

Dorset Flexicars has been operating for 4 years and are now looking at electric cars for the future of its fleet (well part of it anyway). The MD has been trialling a Nissan Leaf and after a few initial range concerns, now admits its just a quiet car and if it says 91 miles range, then 91 miles is what you can expect. Although being rural and electric it takes a little planning on long trip!

Re: Electric Vehicle v Gasoline-powered car - what’s your take on that? #3

I agree. I regularly use one of the three electric cars at the offices where I am based (Bristol & Bath Science Park) to get to meetings around North Bristol. Although driving electric cars doesn't help with congestion (unless there are others in the car with me) it also doesn't contribute to local pollution levels. One of the main issues is needing to make sure the electricity going to re-charge the cars is from renewable sources.

Re: Electric Vehicle v Gasoline-powered car - what’s your take on that? #4

The main concern with regards an operator introducing an electric vehicle to their fleet is, can the vehicle do the distance? Range Anxiety.


Range Anxiety
Merseyside Police have tested three vans, one car and a motor cycle all powered by electric and on all occasions albeit that the performance in term of speed and torque was acceptable the distance covered before the performance fell away was nowhere near the mileage stated by the manufacturers.

Merseyside Police operate an internal mail system carrying small parcels and mail. It is the same run every day which is 60 miles long and there is only one driver on this route. This route was used to test the vehicles, all except the motor cycle and on all occasions there was not enough power to finish the run. It was thought that 60 miles was a reasonable distance that you would expect an electric vehicle to achieve after being promised 100miles was capable. Due to the limited range no electric vehicles have been introduced into the fleet.

COST
Another factor which cannot be ignored is Cost. Due to the high initial purchase cost we have calculated that you would need to cover a considerable distance to make the financial investment viable taking into account residual value and electric cost. Different for each vehicle on test.

ENVIROMENT
The argument that the Electric vehicle is environmentally friendly does not take into account the making of the battery's and the electric power made at source, whether the electric is generated by gas, coal or nuclear. The other factor is that the batteries are made from lithium which in itself is a toxic material and can only be disposed of following strict guidelines.

The fact that Vauxhall have produced a hybrid which negates the range anxiety only proves that the electric vehicle is not possible on its own merit. The Vauxhall Ampera is a compromise in that a small engine is fitted to run a generator which in turn charges the battery's, this hybrid does overcome range anxiety and appears to work reasonable well.


The way forward

My thoughts are the Power cell will be the way forward after recently reading that there had been a breakthrough whereby ammonia can be used to generate Hydrogen. Unfortunately I do not know enough about the hydrogen cell to say that I am an expert but what I have read in the media it does appear to be the answer.

Re: Electric Vehicle v Gasoline-powered car - what’s your take on that? #5

I think the largest concern is neatly put by describing it as range anxiety. This is a huge issue for rural Police forces that cover vast geographic areas such as Devon & Cornwall. In addition to the long distances the lack of large urban centres where recharging might be readily available adds to the range anxiety issues.

A hybrid vehicle that could recharge it's own battery via it's engine might be an option but it's questionable how effective this would be in a stop/start narrow lanes type situation.

Re: Electric Vehicle v Gasoline-powered car - what’s your take on that? #6

My question would be; ‘What additional support are the government prepared to give to public sector to procure EVs, as they are substantially more expensive than regular diesel engine vehicles.’

Re: Electric Vehicle v Gasoline-powered car - what’s your take on that? #7

We accessed funds from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund to trial electric cars. These have mainly been used to replace short journeys, less that 40 miles, which has meant little range anxiety. On the occassions I have used for longer trips, it has not lost performance even when reaching last few miles. 10 years ago we used an early electric van, which as range reduced, so did performance.

On the negative side, there have been 4 instances of recovery due to flat batteries. It is still not understood why, as range was enough to complete the journey but plummeted from 20/30 to zero within a few miles.

Re: Electric Vehicle v Gasoline-powered car - what’s your take on that? #8

The Estates Department at Royal Bournemouth Hospital recently invested in two 100% electric Nissan Leaf’s to achieve a long-term cost saving compared to using standard petrol based lease cars or employee owned vehicles. There has been very positive feedback from staff who use the vehicles, with regard to their comfort and performance. This has also been an opportunity for the Trust to demonstrate its commitment towards sustainable travel and carbon reduction.

Re: Electric Vehicle v Gasoline-powered car - what’s your take on that? #9

Wirral Council is in the process of installing electric vehicle charging posts on the public sector estate as part of a successful Merseyside bid to OLEV. The Council are also investigating the potential to hire an electric vehicle on a trial basis as a pool car which will enable us to compare the running costs of an electric vehicle to the costs of a pool car. With the speed with which technology is developing for electric vehicles hiring an electric vehicle would mean we could keep up to date with the latest advances.

Re: Electric Vehicle v Gasoline-powered car - what’s your take on that? #10

Lancaster University commenced operating three electric Renault Kangoo ZE vans in April 2014 for a variety of short campus-based trips to replace previously diesel powered vans. The Government’s Plug In Van Grant and lower operating costs has made the electric option more financially and environmentally attractive for the University to both purchase and to run. We had to look at the whole-life costs of each vehicle so we could demonstrate where the financial savings could be made.

Re: Electric Vehicle v Gasoline-powered car - what’s your take on that? #11

Major vehicle manufacturers are now starting to sell or have in development hydrogen fuel-cell cars. Hyundai, Honda and Toyota from 2015 will offer vehicles that can travel 300 miles or more on a tank of hydrogen gas while emitting nothing more than water vapor. As with electric mobility hydrogen mobility requires a large investment and planning for refueling infrastructure. Projects in the UK already exist to help, such as UKH2 mobility.

Regional partnerships such as Hydrogen London and the Greater Manchester Hydrogen Partnership have been set up to look at creating hydrogen economies within their respective regions of which transport is a major contributor. Hydrogen fuel cell range extenders are currently being developed and implemented in R&D labs and demonstration projects to potentially look at doubling the distance that electric vehicles can cover with one charge, eliminating range anxiety without using combustion.

Hydrogen and fuel cell cars are a reality that will work in tandem with electric vehicles in future years. In the near term maybe to offer a solution to the range issues that are plaguing electric vehicle perception.

Re: Electric Vehicle v Gasoline-powered car - what’s your take on that? #12

Our experience may be with an older generation of vehicles which were used by the Council:
To be serviced the vehicles had to be taken to a specialist some distance away – I can’t remember the distance but it was outside the range of the vehicle. Therefore, the vehicle had to be transported, at considerable cost and loss of use. The second point was that vehicles were used by our Seafront Services staff, in what otherwise was a traffic free environment. Unfortunately the quietness of the vehicles was a safety issue as pedestrians (particularly young children) were unaware of their presence and walked/run in front of them. No serious injuries but lots of near misses!

Re: Electric Vehicle v Gasoline-powered car - what’s your take on that? #13

Whilst electric vehicles have yet to reach fruition they have huge potential to provide part of the air quality solution. However electric vehicles should not be considered the sole solution but more part of a compliment of solutions with other technologies such as hydrogen vehicles weighted according to the application

Re: Electric Vehicle v Gasoline-powered car - what’s your take on that? #14

When considering this question it’s important to consider the range of types of vehicles available. Electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell, range extenders. The winning formula is significantly reduced emissions, whilst also providing the range and number of refueling stations for people to be able to travel in a not too dissimilar fashion to now.

Re: Electric Vehicle v Gasoline-powered car - what’s your take on that? #15

At The University of West London we are definitely interested in investigating the use of electric vehicles and are currently undergoing an Energy Trust Review of our current fleet. We are also investigating installing charging points. If this is economically viable then the proposals will be seriously considered.
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