Sunday, 28 April 2019

The Gaping Holes in the 2040 Plan for Electric Vehicles

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 :

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:
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.

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. 


  1. The technology claims for e cars are exaggerated almost in the same proportion as those claims made for wind turbines. The real problems with e cars is the deadly instability of the lithium Ion technology. Resulting in thermal runaways which if not contained will essentially burn the e car out 100% in less than 30 minutes. Ecars with air cooled battery systems are particularly dangerous.They cannot be fast charged safely. If the lithium Ion battery is heated over 61. degrees C and is not cooled down before it reaches 75 degrees C it will auto combust . With the temperature of combustion exceeding 1100 degrees C.This happens so fast that even if fire extinguishing equipment was available it is unlikely to be effective. Tests have shown that in less than 30 the car is burnt out. The safest thing to do is get out of the car and run as far away as you can.Let it burn. Thermal runaways have a number of causes piercing the battery shell , penetration by water and other battery abuses. It is said that is an e car crashes and the battery is damaged you have about 1 minute to get out before the e car is a total inferno.Politicians have some neck when they encourage citizens to buy these piles of junk with out pointing the excess risks that they are tasking with their lives.

    1. Carmel McCormack5 May 2019 at 19:48


  2. Spot on. According to Andreas Radics, a managing partner at Munich-based automotive consultancy Berylls Strategy Advisors, just to build each car battery—weighing upwards of 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) in size for sport-utility vehicles—would emit up to 74 percent more C02 than producing an efficient conventional car if it’s made in a factory powered by fossil fuels in a place like Germany.

  3. In the last few weeks a 16 year old Swedish girl Gretta Thunberg whose parents admit has special needs, who attempted to self harm and who claims to be able to see carbon dioxide in the air around her was given pride of place in addressing in EU and British political leaders for the purpose of reviving flagging interest in climate hysteria.

    We know from experience of human sacrifice and the burning of witches in the middle ages that mass hysteria can result in both harmless reactions but also in very cruel, brutal and vicious reactions on innocent victims. There were undoubtedly a lot of people who opposed these reactions in the same way that I oppose them now. We have no way of knowing how many times the opinions of these moderate opponents worked to save the suffering of potential victims. We know that there was a bout of witchcraft mass hysteria in the New England area of America called the Salem witch trials where a lot of people where imprisoned. A judge decided to let them all out ending the nightmare.
    It is a fallacy to assume modernity has changed human nature. Why would it? The reality is that Gretta Thunberg has probably a greater influence on the policy makers of Europe than the millions of voters who will go to the polls to elect political leaders on May the 24th coming.

    There is nothing to show that any bout of mass hysteria and the reaction to it ever lasted. We are no longer burying babies alive or burning women at the stake. I have claimed climate change hysteria began in 2006 and will end in July this year, but whether that is right of not, there is no possible way the politicians of 2019 will enforce their policies on the politicians of 2049. (30 years)

    30 years ago, the Irish Taoiseach was Charles Haughey. The British Prime Minister was Margaret Thacher and the French Prime Minister was Michel Rocard. Where are they now? We know none of the remedies for climate change work and all can be abandoned at the drop of a hat. We also know the end and the use of fossil fuel will come when it runs out in 400 years time. We also know that in 2049 there will be some new bout of mass hysteria and a new Gretta Thunberg to promote it. Whether there will be politicians to listen is an open question. The identification and rejection of mass hysteria as a fault in the human condition will end it for society, when that will happen, no one knows. Had Gretta Thunberg been around in 1500, she could be on the wrong side
    and imprisoned or executed, it all depends on keeping your head down during the storm or making sure you are on the right side.

  4. The average temperature these last few days at Cape Norris Jessup was minus 12.5 degrees C. The average temperature for the same days in 2005 was minus 8 degrees C. This trend has continued all this spring. Indeed it has continued for the last 12 months.
    Everything points to it being colder not warmer as the climate activists predicted. As this becomes apparent, hysterics are turning to pollution and the endangerment of species, many are in danger. The fact is co2 does not make species extinct and pollution is not connected to co2. |Its lying and cheating.