Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated
Mark Twain wasn't the only one to whom this applied.
Sales of diesel cars in Germany are increasing again, 33.1% in the first quarter of 2019 versus 32.3% this time last year. Down a bit from the nearly 50% four years ago. However, purchasers are canny and recognise a good buy, particular so that with the new Euro 6 emission standards, even the Environmental NGOs have to recognise that they are very clean. A 95 to 99% NOx emissions reduction on previous Euro 5 emission standards based on actual measurements driving on the street.
Also on the plus side a diesel car has less CO2 emissions than an electric car.
Just goes to prove that our lords and masters with their forthcoming ban on internal combustion engines have their heads once again in the clouds.
The principal findings of the study are:
• In the natural turnover of the vehicle fleet, the significantly reduced NOX emissions from Euro 6d diesel passenger cars will be as effective as zero emission vehicles in helping cities become compliant with air quality standards.
• For NO2, PM2.5 and PM10, no appreciable effect on air quality compliance or population exposure is observed between any of the modeled diesel passenger car scenarios or their replacement with equivalent zero emission vehicles. [Full Report can be read here].
It's unsurprising to see that even though Norway are throwing six grand of subsidies per electric vehicle per year, giving them free access to bus lanes and exemption from tolls, have the cheapest electricity in Europe (lots of hydro), the whole electrical vehicle initiative in Norway is running into big practical difficulties.
Same maths as I was doing below in the Irish situation and we won't have those levels of subsidies! Also interesting in that Japanese carmakers are renowned for being driven by their engineering departments, they do practical sums and don't let marketing spin dominate decision making. In other words if you assess technology trends because you are fully immersed in all aspects of them, you can make rational decisions about future investments, for example, Honda :
manufacturingglobal.com/ leadership/how-honda-became- one-worlds-most-innovative- car-companies
As to what this bubble economy electrical vehicle initiative actually delivers, well a short analysis of this lunacy:
- An electric car with a 100kWh battery has thus emitted 15-20 tons of carbon dioxide even before the vehicle ignition is turned on. This calculation assumes a 50-70 per cent fossil share in the electricity mix [Link].
If you were to buy a Fiat Punto, which does 120 g of CO2 per km, you could drive it for nearly 170,000 km before you would have emitted the same 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Recently, our 'rulers' announced their plan for 2040. Let's just focus on one 'trendy' aspect:
- At least 500,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2030 with additional charging infrastructure to cater for planned growth
- No new non-zero emission vehicles to be sold in Ireland post 2030
- No NCT Cert will be issued for non-zero emission cars post 2045
viewer/?file=https://s3-eu- west-1.amazonaws.com/ govieassets/18/5569359-NDP% 20strategy%202018-2027_WEB. pdf#page=76
So lets look at some simple sums, not a strong point of our glorious rulers, but relevant for plans which are meaningful and don't end up as an awful mess. To put the above into perspective, the CSO figures tell us that we have some 2 million cars in this so called 'Republic'. I accept that if one has enough money to buy a top range Tesla, one gets a 100 kWh battery pack, which on a good day can do something close to 400 km. This is what one is entitled to expect from what is a 'car' after all. However, the problem is when one needs to recharge it, as a domestic house is typically only set up for 7 kWh. So if you turn off all your other electrical appliances and wait 14 hours, you'll be ready to go again. Not very practical is it?
However, not to despair as they are going to build out new charging infrastructure for us instead. Well that 100 kWh battery may theoretically be 'supercharged' in something like 30 minutes, but let's assume that such a charging point can charge three such Teslas in an hour. This means that it has to deliver 300 kWh in an hour equivalent to 0.3 MW. So if we build a thousand of these, we then need a 300 MW power station to supply them. By international standards, this is a medium sized power station, which would be comfortably able to cover 10% of the average demand currently on the Irish grid.
So in simple terms if you want to be able to charge 3,000 electric cars in an hour, which is only 0.15% of the number of cars out there, you need a new 300 MW power plant, which is a large enough to cover 10% of the current country's demand. It's pretty obvious that unless you string up the country with new power stations and pylons, none of this is going to work, unless the public is prepared to spend a lot of their hard earned cash on electrical vehicles, which they will just have to park most of the time, as they don't have the hours to stand in line, awaiting an opportunity to get a charge in at one of these new 'charging infrastructures'.
This is actually some pretty basis stuff and you would think that before they go off announcing their grandiose plans, they would have thought about it first. After all the data is published and readily available, such as from the SEAI's annual publications:
Transport uses some 42% of energy consumed in Ireland, more than double that which goes into electricity generation. If that energy demand is to be switched from fossil fueled vehicles to electric vehicles, then the electricity infrastructure we have would need to be more than doubled, even allowing for the fact, that the current grid is somewhat lightly loaded at night. Think about this one, you get an allocated slot to drive your Tesla to the new charging infrastructure to hook it up between 2.30 and 3.00 am - is this progress?
Cost Benefit Analysis
There was a Strategic Environmental Assessment completed for this Project Ireland 2040, but it does not include a cost benefit analysis for EV's :
Even when the above embedded CO2 impact of EV's is not included, the costs still do not stack up :
• Driving an EV for 200,000 km @ 437grams CO2 per kWh of electricity from the Grid, assuming 90% charging efficinecy and 0.2kwh per km, runs to CO2 emissions of about 19.5 tonnes of CO2.
• Driving a Diesel Skoda Superb 200,000 km @ 4.7 litres per 100km and 254grams of CO2 per kWh of fuel (10.4 kWh per Litre) runs aboput 125grams of CO2 per km or emissions of 25 tonne of CO2 over a 200,000 km vehicle life.
• The Tax/Exise Revenue on Motor Fuel runs at about 66%
• Revenue foregone on diesel fuel over 200,000 kms (9400 litres) @ 66% of €1.30 = €8,065 Revenue foregone
• EVs availing of Toll refunds of up to €500 per year could cost an additional €5,000 over a vehicle life. http://www.etoll.ie/
The total cost of direct and indirect subsidies for EVs could touch €25,000 per vehicle over 10 years and 200,000 km for a saving of up to 5 tonnes of CO2. Under ETS the value of a tonne of CO2 saved ranged between €15 and €25 per tonne over 2018 (see page 9)
Spending €25,000 to save CO2 that could be saved for €75 to €125 under ETS makes no sense.
If Air quality is the argument in Urban areas then tackling solid fuel heating emissions should be the approach. The 2016 Residential Solid Fuel and Air Pollution Study North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) reckoned something like 93% off Urban Air Pollution ( which account for some 1200 deaths annually) was caused by Solid Fuels related pollution. The Report urged switching from solid to liquid fuels as the most effective remedy to improve Urban Air Quality.
Thanks to Pat Swords and John Callaghan for the number crunching.
Thanks to Pat Swords and John Callaghan for the number crunching.