E&T Magazine – the magazine of the Institution of Engineering and Technology – has produced a report saying electric cars will NEVER be a viable alternative.
Let’s clarify that headline very slightly. Electric cars will never be a viable alternative to conventional cars with an internal combustion engine. That is the finding of a report by E&T Magazine, the magazine of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. Which is exactly what we’ve been banging on about forever.
E&T Magazine’s investigation questions the viability of investing in EV batteries using Lithium-Ion, or any other current battery technology. They also question the sense and viability of developing a charging infrastructure for electric cars which will never be a viable mainstream alternative to the ICE (internal combustion engine), and suggest Governments should instead encourage the development of high-efficiency diesels. Did we write this report?
E&T took the example of a standard Ford Focus capable of travelling for 400 miles on a tank of fuel and easily maintaining the 70mph motorway speed limit. They conclude that for an electric car to achieve the same it would need a battery bank weighing 1.5 tons (which in size would be bigger than an entire conventional car) which would cost approximately £100,000. They also conclude that although battery costs may fall a little in the next decade, it will still not be viable for an acceptable size battery bank to deliver more than a 100 mile range, and possibly half that in winter.
E&T also make mention of our assertion that although electric cars are zero emission at point of use they are actually more polluting than high-efficiency diesels and petrols when you take in to account coal-fired electric generation.
E&T also confirm our big worry about battery life. We’ve pointed out that manufacturers claims on battery life are a nonsense. Anyone with a laptop will tell you that their battery is knackered in a year or two, and car batteries on EVs are just the same as your laptop battery. In fact some EVs actually use laptop batteries daisy-chained together.
In the real world – from a domestic socket – it is likely to take up to 12 hours to recharge a car’s batteries. And as time goes on that will get longer and longer as the batteries age. What about rapid charge, I hear the EV advocates cry? Well, rapid charge will work – for a year or two. But within a couple of years it will render your very expensive bank of batteries almost useless.
So, more proof – if proof were needed – that claims of a bright future for electric cars as a replacement for the ICE are garbage. There is a place for EVs – ask Gordon Murray about the T.27 – as small, light, short-range City cars. But as a viable alternative to a conventional car? Only in cuckoo land.