[Read Part 1 of this article here.]

Where do I get my electric car charged?

That question is hardly mentioned.

If you have a non-shared driveway then a domestic charger can possibly be installed.  This charger will cost you money.  The electricity service cable might need replacing and that might cost you additional money.  If there are two electric cars it might not be possible to charge the two at the same time, this depends on battery sizes and the charger.

If you do not have off street parking then you will have to rely on commercial charging points where there will be a charge for using the charging point and a charge for the electricity, there will probably be 20% VAT charge on these costs.  If chargers are installed in car parks there may be a “parking” charge, a use of equipment charge and a charge for the electricity.  Payments will be by credit/debit card or by an “app”.  How many apps will you need to have?  Apps are not used by many people.    Chargers take up space therefore there might be a loss of parking bays in car parks.

Will regular 1 hour charging reduce the battery capacity?   Will occasional slow charging be required?

On street chargers, unless there is a wide footpath, will obstruct footpaths where the it is less than 2 metres wide.  If charging points are installed on the wall side of a footpath how is the tripping hazard of cables to be avoided? Will the charging points be installed on the kerb side of the footpath where they will be subject to vehicle damage?  A “public” charging point will be required for, say, 25% of the electric cars on the road.  Most chargers will have at least two outlets.  Will public charging points have slow, intermediate or rapid charging?  Rapid charging might mean moving cars from a charging bay to non-charging bay.  How will the occupation of the charging bays be monitored?  Will a non-charging parking bay be reserved for non-electric cars?  Image the frustration if a petrol/diesel car is parked in a charging bay.

Assuming on street charging points will have two chargers then the electric car charging lead will have to be long enough to reach a charger at the rear of the car.

The provision of charging points will require new electricity company cables in areas where there is little space for additional cables in footpath, laying cables in the highway is expensive.  What will the cost be of reinforcing the electricity network to ensure that the statutory electricity supply voltage is maintained?  What will be the costs of establishing charging points?  The capacity at electricity substations will require increasing as well as establishing additional substations.  Who is to pay for this work?  The tax payer, other electricity customers or the user.  If it is the user then there is additional discrimination between users who have private parking spaces and those users who use ‘public on street’ parking spaces.  As stated earlier the costs of using a “public” charger will probably carry 20% VAT on all of the associated costs.

Going back to the range of an electric car, how will pleasure trips be affected.  The most obvious place to recharge the battery is at the place you are visiting.  Who will pay for chargers to be installed?  How many chargers will be required, 50% of the parking spaces.  If the ‘non charging’ spaces are filled will non electric cars be allowed to left in charging spaces.  Conversely will electric cars be banned from ‘non charging’ spaces.  This problem might occur with on street parking and car parks in towns and cities.  For pleasure trips the alternative is to restrict your travel to 45% of the car battery range thus allowing you to return home.

How many Charging Points?

I know very little about car traction battery manufacture, costs and scrapping, nor their effects on the environment.  What is the life of the battery, how does rapid charging affect the long-term battery capacity, how does a high discharge rate (acceleration) affect battery life?  How reliable are the electronics in the car?

People with very low disposable incomes will not be able to afford a new or a second-hand electric vehicle and will find petrol/diesel cars are cheaper to buy.  The availability of local charging points will be included in the decision.  The cost of charging will also be a factor as the cost per kilowatt hour could be triple that of domestic chargers.

Planning regulations will require amending to ensure that adequate off street parking places are provided in newly built houses and flats.  Will it be two parking spaces for the first bedroom and then a parking space for each additional bedroom or two to three bedrooms? Fractions will be rounded up to a whole number.  How many charging points will be required per household?  Will there be times when battery charging will not be allowed, for example between 4:00pm and 9:00pm during November, December, January and February?

At the present time there are plenty of petrol stations, between 8 and 9 thousand.  How many electric charging points will be required electric cars that cannot be parked off the public highway, one per 3 cars or 6 cars etc?

How often a battery needs recharging depends upon how often the car is used and how far you wish to travel.  It is the occasion when a greater range is required that may cause problems.

I read an article recently stating that the average mileage of the UK motorist is 7,200 miles and that, with an electric car, you need to charge every 10 days or 36 times a year.  This mileage figure of 200 miles between charges is close to my estimate of a 200-mile range in cold weather plus an allowance for continual 80% charging.

There were 32 million registered cars on the UK’s roads.  I would suggest that 60% have no off-road parking, therefore 19.2 million need to be charged with domestic chargers.  How many cars can one non domestic charger service in one day at one hour per charge? I would say between 12 and 15.  Using 15 cars per charger, a double-sided charger could charge 30 cars per day.  Over a 10-day period that means a double charger will service 300 electric cars.  Divide 19.2M by 300 indicates 64,000 charges are required of which 10,000 to 11,000 will be on existing or new fuel stations.  A petrol pump can deal with 10 vehicles per hour thus servicing 3,000 cars. The number of petrol pumps reduces to 6,000, now add the home charging vehicles and the number of pumps increases by not more than 50% to about 9,000.

If street chargers are only able to service 30 cars in the 10-day period (3 a day) the number of on street chargers needed could rise to say 640,000 double charging points.  500,000 chargers at say £20,000+ per charging point there will be cost of £1+ billion (or for the English £1,000+ million).  As mention earlier, the electricity cable network will require re-enforcing at say £ 3,000 to £5,000 per charging point.

Why do I assume that there will be a reduction in the number of cars serviced by on street chargers?  The answer, for me, is the possible inability of on street chargers to recharge 50kwh and 60kwh batteries in one hour, the physical size and that three phase supplies will be required.  On street chargers are more likely to give lower rates of charging, hence fewer electric cars can be charged.

Where there are narrow footpaths on street chargers should not be allowed to prevent pedestrians using it.  What support do pedestrians get from the police or local councils?  NONE!

Would I buy an electric car?

The answer has to be NO due to the lack of range.  I would prefer a 200-mile winter range which equates to about a 250-mile summer range.  An 80% charge for the return journey, add a quarter of 250 miles or about 65 miles hence a final range of 310 miles is required.

The Government finance on the infrastructure to support domestic electric vehicles will funded by general taxation.

Some questions remain to be asked:

  • What is the cold weather range?
  • How does the cold weather affect the fast charge, will I get the summer 80% charge?
  • What is the recommended charging rate for a full charge in winter?
  • What is the recommended charging rate for a full charge in summer?
  • How does the use of car heating affect the range in cold weather?
  • How does the carrying of passengers affect the range.
  • How does rapid acceleration, a high battery discharge rate, affect battery life?
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