The Anonymous Widower

Thoughts On The Duke’s Land Rover Hearse

This article on The Times is entitled The Land Rover hearse: a vehicle fit for the Duke of Edinburgh’s final journey.

I made this comment.

There’s a church near me in Hackney, where in less restricting times, you regularly saw a horse-drawn funeral. These must cost a fortune to maintain and provide.

I remember seeing a report on the BBC about an undertaker, who has created a motorcycle and sidecar hearse for the funerals of those of a certain persuasion.

I can imagine some of my farming and off-road enthusiast friends liking the idea of being taken to their funeral in a hearse made from a Land-Rover. As you say, it would have a certain style.

There are even conversions, so that old Defenders can be converted to run on battery power, so the hearse could be zero-carbon too!

I have just heard Giles Brandreth on the BBC, who as the biography of the Duke, was at the funeral, as a reporter. He said that he had talked to the Commander of the Guards, who had walked alongside the hearse in the procession. He related how the driver had difficulty keeping the speed down with a lot of slipping of the clutch and noise from the diesel engine.

As I said in my comment to The Times article, perhaps the hearse should have been battery-powered. But then surely, this should apply to a fair proportion of all hearses.

April 18, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

Massless Energy Storage: The Next Step In Battery Technology

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on AZOCleanTech.

This is the introductory paragraph.

In this environmentally conscious world, fossil fuels are being shunned in favor of renewables for electricity generation and transportation. Due to their periodic nature, excess energy generated by renewables is frequently stored in batteries. However, these often add extra weight to the cars and consumer electronics they power.

To solve the problem, researchers in Sweden have developed a structural battery.

Sounds like a good idea to me!

April 9, 2021 Posted by | Design, Energy, Energy Storage | , | Leave a comment

Are Hydrogen-Fuelled Vehicles A Waste Of Our Time And Energy?

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Engineering & Technology, which is the magazine of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. So it should be authoritative.

This is the concluding paragraph.

Cars account for 61 per cent of surface transport emissions, HGVs only 17 per cent, buses 3 per cent, and rail 2 per cent (CCC, December 2020) so for cost/benefit it cannot be worthwhile switching to hydrogen fuel cell buses and trains. Through any impartial lens of engineering science, hydrogen fuel cell cars do not appear to be a transport winner and the Government should revisit decisions it has made about related funding. But then there is political virtue signalling.

It is a must-read contribution to the debate, as to whether hydrogen or battery power, is best for surface transport.

I don’t believe there is a simple answer, because for some applications, battery electric power is not feasible because of reasons of power or range.

  • Would a battery-electric truck, be able to haul a forty-four tonne load between the Channel Tunnel and Scotland?
  • Would a battery-electric locomotive be able to haul a thousand tonne aggregate or stone train for anything but a few tens of miles?
  • Is it possible to design a a battery-electric double-deck bus, that can carry seventy passengers?

I believe there are applications, where battery-electric is not a feasible alternative to the current diesel traction.

It is worth noting, that truck-maker; Daimler is planning to have both battery and hydrogen heavy trucks in its product line.

Users will choose, what is the best zero-carbon transport for their needs.

The Black Cab Driver’s Answer

It is always said, that, if you want to know the answer to a difficult question, you ask the opinion of a black cab driver.

So as the new electric black taxis, are the most common electric vehicle, that the average Londoner uses, what do the guys up-front say about their expensive vehicles.

  • Regularly, cab drivers complain to me about the range and having to use the diesel engine to charge the battery or power the car.
  • Some suggest to me, that hydrogen might be a better way to make the vehicles zero-carbon.

I think they may have a point about hydrogen being a better method of powering a black taxi, when you look at the pattern of journeys and the battery size and charging limitations of the vehicle.

These limitations may reduce in the future, as the technology gets better, with higher density batteries and faster charging.

We could even see a design and sales war between battery and hydrogen black cabs.

It always pays to follow the money!

February 17, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Jaguar Car Brand To Be All-Electric By 2025

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

It would appear, that some of the larger vehicles will be powered by hydrogen.

But it is an interesting, even if it is an inevitable move.

I find these two paragraphs interesting.

But it has dropped plans to build an electric version of its XJ saloon at the Castle Bromwich plant, meaning the site will eventually stop making cars.

Chief executive Thierry Bolloré said the plant would focus instead on “non-production” activities in the long term, without giving details.

Note.

  1. Castle Bromwich is a large site.
  2. It’s probably not in the best place to build thousands of cars.
  3. Would turning it into a giant battery-pack factory be classed as non-production?

It sounds like there’s a cunning plan.

  • As an engineer, I believe, there’s only one way to build an electric car and that is as light in weight as possible to make sure the car goes as far as possible on each charge of the battery.
  • So this will mean the sort of construction methods used for Formula One cars and aircraft.
  • Will this in turn mean a brand new factory, that makes cars in radically different ways?

I think there’s a lot more to be disclosed.

 

February 15, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , | 1 Comment

Ovo To Launch ‘Half-Price’ Electric Vehicle Charging Tariff

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Guardian.https://www.theguardian.com/money/2021/jan/26/ovo-to-launch-half-price-electric-vehicle-charging-tariff

This is the sub-title.

New Drive Anytime rate bids to mirror rivals’ off-peak tariff with savings of 60% a year, supplier claims.

If I had a car, it might be a good deal.

January 27, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Top Reasons Many Researchers Prefer Hydrogen Fuel Vehicles Over EVs

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Hydrogen Fuel News.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Despite the fact that EVs have experienced far more widespread adoption than hydrogen fuel vehicles, many researchers, engineers and environmentalists – as well as drivers – find the latter option more appealing.

These reasons are given.

  • No substantial lifestyle changes are required.
  • H2 powered cars place less strain on the electric grid.
  • They have a larger range
  • Practicality for a larger range of vehicles

If I was thinking of buying an electric vehicle, I;d look at hydrogen before I decided on the vehicle, I would buy.

I don’t drive, but if I wanted to, I suspect I could get my licence back.

  • I have a garage, that opens onto the street.
  • There is no nearby hydrogen station.
  • If I went any distance over about twenty miles, I’d probably use public transport.

I’d probably choose an electric vehicle.

December 31, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , | 5 Comments

Limach And Hyperdrive Partner On Electric Machines

The title of this post, is the same as that as of this article on International Rental News.

This second deal from Hyperdrive Innovation is with Dutch excavator manufacturer Limach.

This paragraph from the article is important.

The construction industry is responsible for 40% of European carbon emissions, making it an urgent priority for decarbonisation to meet net zero targets.

That is a lot of carbon.

December 12, 2020 Posted by | Business, Energy Storage | , , , | 2 Comments

Multi-Million-Pound Battery Partnership Announced

The title of this post, is the same as that as of this article on Eureka magazine.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Hyperdrive Innovation, the UK’s leading designer and manufacturer of lithium-ion battery technology, today announces a new multi-million-pound 4-year supply agreement with Moffett, part of Hiab and world leading forklift truck manufacturer, to supply state-of-the-art battery packs for zero-emission machinery.

This seems to be a big deal for the Sunderland-based manufacturer, who are also working with Hitachi to provide battery packs for Hitachi’s Regional Battery Train.

Hyperdrive Innovation certainly must be developing some of the best battery technology available.

December 12, 2020 Posted by | Business, Energy Storage, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Megawatt Charging System Set To Rapidly Reduce Fuelling Time For Commercial EVs

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Electric Autonomy Canada.

This is the sub-title.

An international task force says their recent high power “charge-in” event has yielded promising results with successful testing of novel connector prototypes that could overhaul the long-haul industry.

The problem of charging heavy freight trucks is a big market in North America and it seems that the event attracted some big players, like ABB, Daimler and Tesla.

  • In the trucking industry, speed and range count for a lot.
  • Trucks need to be charged during a driver’s rest break of about thirty minutes.
  • In the U.S., transport made up 28 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Charging lots of trucks on typical state-of-the-art car chargers would probably crash the system.

The Megawatt Charging System aims to solve the problems.

How Would It Work?

This paragraph from the article, outlines the problems.

But how, one may ask, could such a massive electrical draw — as much as 4.5 megawatts — be supported by a grid, especially when the usage scale is not just one truck charging up, once a day, but thousands of 18-wheelers rolling and charging across the country.

The MCS Task Force seem to be suggesting that these systems will work as follows.

  • A large battery or energy storage system will be trickle charged.
  • The truck will be connected and the electricity will flow into the truck.
  • It could all be automated.

It sounds very much like Vivarail’s Fast Charge system, which uses batteries as the intermediate store.

As an Electrical and Control Engineer, I would use a battery with a fast response.

I think I would use a Gravitricity battery. This page on their web site describes their technology.

Gravitricity™ technology has a unique combination of characteristics:

  • 50-year design life – with no cycle limit or degradation
  • Response time – zero to full power in less than one second
  • Efficiency – between 80 and 90 percent
  • Versatile – can run slowly at low power or fast at high power
  • Simple – easy to construct near networks
  • Cost effective – levelised costs well below lithium batteries.

Each unit can be configured to produce between 1 and 20MW peak power, with output duration from 15 minutes to 8 hours.

 

October 30, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SEA Electric And Toyota Team Up For Electric Trucks

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on AuManufacturing.

These are the introductory paragraphs.

Toyota’s Hino truck division has announced a major foray into electric and hydrogen powered trucks, with Melbourne’s SEA Electric set to partner in the development of a new medium sized truck.

SEA Electric manufactures electric vehicle drive trains in Melbourne and has been converting Hino truck models to electric here and in the United States.

Now the company will partner with Hino in its global Project Z which will expand its range of largely diesel trucks.

It appears that electric and hydrogen powered vehicles are being developed.

This paragraph describes the powertrain.

Running the SEA Drive 120 a powertrain, it is mounted on on a cab/chassis platform. The 1470Nm electric motor and 136kWh battery pack delivers range of up to 350km (220 miles), and a typical breakeven period of less than 4 years.

They also claim to have eliminated the need for a battery cooling system.

Conclusion

I am drawn to these conclusions.

It seems that there are scores of small companies all over the world developing battery and hydrogen power systems for trucks, buses and trains.

As with SEA Electric and Hino, big manufacturers are often happy to tie up with smaller technology companies to create new products.

October 11, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment