The Anonymous Widower

Fire Up The Quattro: My Other Car Is An Energy Supplier

An article with this title is on Page 3 of the Business Section in today’s Sunday Times.

This is the first paragraph.

Car companies could be encouraged to become electricity suppliers under an overhaul of the energy market being explored by the government and the regulator.

This is an excellent idea.

These are a few of my ideas.

All-In-One Deals

It would open up the scope for all-in-one deals for the purchase of electric cars.

The cost of the car, servicing and electricity would all be included.

A cost per mile could be guaranteed, which might rise with distance.

Most importantly, he car company would handle all the hassle and give the customers appropriate training.

It Could Be A Range Anxiety Solution

Some articles in the media, are saying that range anxiety is holding back sales of electric cars, as no-one wants to get stuck in remote locations with flat batteries.

Up market brands already have their own rescue service and I can envisage a network of electric trucks, which can rescue stranded vehicles, by giving them sufficient charge to get to the nearest charger.

These trucks could even be in a common fleet with video screens informing everybody they were a particular car company’s Electric Vehicle Rescue Truck. So when rescuing an Audi, they would say Audi’s El;ectric Vehicle Rescue Truck.

If a prospective punter, saw a rescue truck, with their favourite make on the side, it might persuade them to pop in to a showroom.

Free Or Reduced Cost Parking In Electric-Only Car Parks

In Airport Plans World’s Biggest Car Parks For 50,000 Cars, I outlined how a massive car park like this could hold electric cars with a total battery capacity of 1.35 GWh.

This storage capacity could be used to store surplus energy, whilst cars were parked.

I can see a consortium being put together to provide electric-only car parks.

  • National Grid to provide and distribute the electricity.
  • The car companies to provide the customers.
  • Airports and rail stations, local authorities to provide the land.

But not all car parks would be large!

I can imagine new housing developments bringing in an electric vehicle-only rule.

I wouldn’t mind living in one of that type of development.

There would be various charges in these  electricvehicle-only car parks.

  • An hourly or contract charge for the actual parking.
  • A charge for the electricity used to charge the vehicle.

There would also be a payment from Nation Grid based on the amount of energy stored in the vehicle’s battery.

Billing would be automatic, based on when you were connected to the charger and the various energy flows.

\suppose you were flying away from Heathrow for a week, Nation Grid would have use of your vehicle’s battery to store electricity for seven days.

The car companies would be in a unique position to enable this deal.

  • They have the customers.
  • They can make their cars compatible with the car parks.
  • They can handle the complex billing, as part of an All-In-One deal.
  • \drivers would probably prefer to deal with BMW, Jaguar etc., than an energy company.

I would expect this model of car-parking to multiply.

  • Many drivers would only use public transport on pain of death, so buying an electric car is the lesser of two evils.
  • It would cut emissions in the centre of towns and cities.
  • It would appeal to High Streets and Town Centres, as it could attract shoppers and visitors.
  • For those with home chargers, it must surely reduce range anxiety

The only disadvantage, is that it might increase the use of cars for short journeys and increase traffic congestion.

But at least the extra vehicles would be non-polluting electric ones.

Conclusion

Used creatively, the proposal of allowing car companies to be energy suppliers, would appear to have possibilities.

 

 

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September 15, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

bluecity

I came across these two cars by Brentford station.

They are electric hire cars from a company called bluecity.

The concept should appeal to many living in London, and I might have been interested, if I still drove.

But I just have no interest these days, as life without a car is much more stress-free.

August 18, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Hands-Free Phone Ban For drivers ‘Should Be Considered’

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Drivers could be banned from using hands-free mobile phones in England and Wales, a group of MPs has suggested.

I don’t drive and I rarely use a mobile phone to make or receive a phone all, so it won’t bother me much.

But sitting in my preferred slightly-raised position in the downstairs facing-seats on a New Routemaster bus, it’s amazing the number of drivers you see having a phone conversation or typing.

Recently, I nearly had a collision whilst walking along Moorgate.

A young lady going the other way was having a video call with her phone in front of her face. I went left to pass on the road side, as gentlemen are supposed to do and she went the same way.

Luckily, she saw me at the last minute!

So if drivers are to be banned from mobile use, whilst driving, what about banning pedestrians from mobile use, whilst walking on busy streets?

August 13, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

They Don’t Make Very Good Boats

This was a tweet from Greater Manchester Police Traffic, during the recent floods.

The driver of this Lamorghini lost control on standing water  and took out a section of before making off on foot prior to police arrival.

A very expensve mistake.  They don’t make very good boats!!

Nearly 400 people are talking about it.

July 29, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Nissan Refuses To Improve Qashqai’s Toxic Emissions

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Tuesday’s copy of The Times.

This is the first paragraph.

Nissan has refused a government request to carry out adjustments to thousands of highly polluting diesel cars to make them less toxic.

The car is called the Nissan Qashqai, which I wouldn’t recognise, unless it reversed into me on the street and I could see the name badge on the boot.

Today, there is this article on the BBC, which is entitled Nissan Workers Braced For Job Cuts.

As they say in Private Eye, could the two stories be related?

Especially, as Nissan seem to have had problems with a CEO recently, who seemed to find enhancing his lifestyle more important, than good stewardship of the company.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Grave Concern’ As Sales Of Low Emission Cars Fall

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

Sales of low emission cars in the UK have fallen for the first time in more than two years, the industry has said.

The decline comes as overall sales of new cars continued to fall, dropping 4.9% in June from the year before.

Confusing policies and the end of subsidies are being blamed by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Many of the reasons given in the article are probably valid, but I think there could be two main types of car owner.

  • Those who care about the environment and would be happy to buy a low emission car. Many have probably bought one already!
  • Those who say, I’m not being told by the government what type of car to buy.

The second group will have lots of reasons.

  • I’m not buying a low performance car.
  • When China, India and the United States stops burning coal, I’ll think about it.
  • My last car lasted twenty years and my current on is only four years old.
  • I live in Surrey and it will be a pain driving to Manchester to see United play!

I also suspect that many hope that the new Tory Prime Minister might change the rules to get votes at the next General Election.

Conclusion

As a non-driver, I don’t care!

 

 

July 4, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Does Boris Need To Be Prime Minister For The Flat And The Money?

According to Camilla long in The Sunday Times, Boris is living n a flat in Camberwell and outside is his 1995 Toyota people carrier, sdorned with a few parking tickets.

It sounds to me, like the lifestyle of a loser, not that of someone, who aspires to lead the country.

Jeremy Hunt is shown on the Internet driving a clean Volkswagen estate, that appears to be a few years old.

So is Boris short of money, as he strives to win the most important election of his life?

There is also the small matter of his divorce from the barrister; Marina Wheeler.

Even if she is not a divorce specialist, then one of her friends will be an expert is making sure the wayward Boris is strewed, glued and tattooed.

Conclusion

Winning the election and the free flat and increased salary would do Boris just fine.

June 23, 2019 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , | 5 Comments

Airport Plans World’s Biggest Car Parks For 50,000 Cars

The title of this post, is the same as that of an asricle in Wednesday’s copy of The Times.

This is the first two paragraphs.

The biggest car parks in the world will be built as part of a £14 billion expansion of Heathrow amid fresh claims that the scheme will be an “environmental disaster”.

Parking for almost 53,000 vehicles will be built as part of a 30-year masterplan, even though the airport insists that expansion can be achieved without any extra cars on the road.

This sounds to be contradictory, as why would you need to build extra car parking, if there were no more extra cars on the road?

Perhaps there is a clue later in the article, where this is is a paragraph.

Heathrow said that the overall number of parking spaces would “not change materially from today”, insisting that spaces were simply being consolidated on bigger sites. It pointed out that car parks would allow for 100 per cent electric vehicle usage in the future. In total, the number of parking spaces, including those for staff and spaces at nearby offices, will grow from 64,000 today to 67,000.

Admittedly, it only says allow, but Heathrow are future-proofing themselves for the day when everyone is driving electric cars.

Heathrow and others are also planning to do the following.

  • Charge a congestion charge of up to £15 a day will be imposed by 2026 to dissuade passengers from travelling to the airport by car.
  • A “green loop” — a 12-mile pedestrian and cycle network — will also circle the airport.
  • Finish Crossrail.
  • Improve Heathrow Express.
  • There will be a rail link to Reading.
  • There will be a second rail link to Waterloo via Clapham Junction.
  • There will be a rail link to Basingstoke, Guildford and Woking, possibly by extending Heathrow Express.

Will these measures nudge travellers in one of two positive directions?

  • Using public transport to get to the Airport.
  • Cycling or working to the airport.
  • Using an electric car to get to and from the Airport.

I am a Control Engineer, who spent a working life of nearly fifty years analysing data and doing mathematical calculations, hopefully to improve little bits of the world.

So What Would I Do?

It is absolutely essential that it is known, where all the vehicles to the airport are travelling to and from.

No-one is going to get out of their car, if there is no creditable alternative

The ultimate aim must be that, all transport within a certain distance of the Airport must be zero carbon.

  • All vehicles used by travellers and workers to get to and from the Airport.
  • All vehicles bringing supplies to the Airport.
  • All airside vehicles.

What will happen to those that lived in the zone?

This Google Map shows Hanwell Village to the South-West of the Airport.

Will all those residents pay the congestion charge?

But suppose Heathrow could get ninety percent of all cars travelling to  the Airport and using the car parks, to be electric vehicles.

This would be 45,000 vehicles, each with a battery of between 30-60 kWh. Let’s call it, 30 kWh.

This would mean that the total of energy storage on a typical day at the Airport would be 1.35 GWh.

Compare that to the 9.1 GWh capacity of Electric Mountain.

Electric Mountain would be bigger, but intelligent control of the batteries of these electric cars could create a massive electricity storage resource at the Airport.

  • Cars would be connected to a two-way charger, when the driver went about their business at the Airport, after telling the car when they would return.
  • On return to the car, it would have enough charge for the next journey.
  • The driver would also have an app on their phone, so they could alter their return times.
  • Whilst the driver was away, the grid would borrow electricity as required.

All the technology exists and National Grid are looking at ways to use electric car batteries for energy storage.

The grid might even pay for the use of your battery.

I suspect that all car parks for electric cars will work using something like this model.

Note the following calculation.

In December 2018, there were 31.5 million cars and four million light goods vehicles in the UK.

In a few years time, suppose half of these vehicles are electric with a 20 KWh battery.

That works out at an astronomical 355 GWh or nearly forty Electric Mountains.

  • Electric Mountain cost £425 million in 1984.
  • Applying a web inflation calculator means it would cost around £1350 million today.
  • So forty Electric Mountains would cost £54 billion.

That is a lot of money and we have no place to put them.

But we have this massive storage capability in the millions of electric vehicles, that will be on the roads in a few years.

Conclusion

All future large car parks must be built to be large storage batteries, when drivers plug in their electric cars.

If you were to be paid for the use of your car’s battery, would that ease the exense of owning an electric car?

 

 

 

June 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Highbury Corner Is Finally Getting There!

I had almost stopped using Highbury & Islington station, due to the construction works at Highbury Corner, which have been going on for several years.

I posted Changes At Highbury Corner in February 2016.

These pictures show it a few days ago!

This map from the linked post shows the intended road layout.

Highbury Corner Changes

Highbury Corner Changes

The map is a good summary of the proposed changes.

It certainly means that my walk from the bus-top to the station isn’t an obstacle course.

May 31, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Silicon Roundabout Goes Two-Way

Old Street Roundabout, commonly known as Silicon Roundabout has now gone two-way!

But as these pictures, which were taken around nine in the morning, show, it is a traffic nightmare.

It’s not good for pedestrians either and I now use the trains from Angel or Essex Road to go safely underneath at busy times.

Surely the big problem, is what do you call Silicon Roundabout?

May 30, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment