UKC

Electric EV camper vans - when? how?

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 elliot.baker 02 Jun 2021

I've been day dreaming recently about what electric camper vans will be like after the new-ICE ban in 2030. I looked and was surprised to see that VW actually already make a fully electric transporter! But it's only got 82 mile range (and I bet that'd be less with a full laden camper van!) so the technology doesn't look ready yet.

I also wondered - if batteries are all going to be in the floor will it impact on van convertors ability to put gas / water tanks in the floor? Could eat into internal space maybe. Guess you also wouldn't have a diesel heater in the van if you don't have a diesel tank!

I keep wondering whether the ICE car ban in 2030 will either be pushed back, or will have an unintended consequence of making second hand ICE vehicles (like camper vans for example) increase in price massively.

Also, and I guess this is not too dissimilar from the current world of camper vans - but once you've paid X thousand pounds to convert your van to a camper, you're going to be pretty much wedded to those batteries for many years to come - so you would want to be confident batteries weren't going to degrade etc. Many campers these days are over 10 years old. Will batteries be ok after 10 years?

Would you still have leisure batteries for the fridge, tv and lights etc. or would these run off the EV batteries?

 Snyggapa 02 Jun 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

on the plus side there is now a lot of space available where the engine, gearbox and driveshaft would traditionally be - internal space in an electric vehicle tends to be greater than the equivalent combustion engined one - but in different places. The batteries naturally lend themselves to a nice large flat floor.

The newer Teslas I believe have electrically driven heat pumps (so 1kWh of energy gives you say 3kWh of heat) - but fed from the drive battery will eat into your range - insulation is your friend here.

The rest of the stuff - probably too early to say!

 galpinos 02 Jun 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

The ID Buzz is the VW electric van. The "electric" transporter is an ICE transporter base unit converted so doesn't use space efficiently as it's not been designed as an EV from the ground up.

 henwardian 02 Jun 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

> I've been day dreaming recently about what electric camper vans will be like

Me too. I keep looking and I keep being sorely disappointed by where VW electric vans are at.

Lets take a look at that range:

80% is about where fast-charging gets you. So if going any real distance and not wanting to stop for hours, the 82 miles is now 66 miles. But you'd never really want to be below 10% because that's asking for trouble. So now it's 57 miles. However that's with ideal conditions and no steep hills and so on, so in a cold or hilly area, it's what? 40 miles??

I don't need a battery that can do the 700 miles of a tank of fuel but realistically I'd need a top range of 150 or 200 miles before I could consider it.

> I also wondered - if batteries are all going to be in the floor will it impact on van convertors ability to put gas / water tanks in the floor? Could eat into internal space maybe. Guess you also wouldn't have a diesel heater in the van if you don't have a diesel tank!

Get a gas heater and a small LPG tank instead. Diesel is horrible stuff and the ability to avoid it is a bonus! I've not poked my head around a electric van yet but I would be surprised if you couldn't make just as good a conversion as with a standard van. You save space by not having leisure batteries and there is a huge space saving under the bonnet where the engine would otherwise be, so not sure how the designs use that space... there is absolutely bound to be space you can use for tanks, it just won't be in the same place you are used to.

> I keep wondering whether the ICE car ban in 2030 will either be pushed back, or will have an unintended consequence of making second hand ICE vehicles (like camper vans for example) increase in price massively.

With the current rate of battery progress I predict that the attractions of an ICE van in 2030 will be MUCH reduced and perhaps only for those who want to go very wild/isolated/underdeveloped places/countries where there is no charging infrastructure.

> Also, and I guess this is not too dissimilar from the current world of camper vans - but once you've paid X thousand pounds to convert your van to a camper, you're going to be pretty much wedded to those batteries for many years to come - so you would want to be confident batteries weren't going to degrade etc. Many campers these days are over 10 years old. Will batteries be ok after 10 years?

Turn the question around: When you buy an ICE vehicle, do you worry a lot about engine longevity? Well, you do a bit, but you basically trust information from reviewers, other owners and guarantees that show something will be ok (or avoid it if not). I think the same will apply to vehicle batteries - companies will get a reputation for making ones that last or ones that do not at various price points.

> Would you still have leisure batteries for the fridge, tv and lights etc. or would these run off the EV batteries?

EV batteries would run all of this stuff with ease for absolutely ages so that's a definite "yes". I imagine putting in solar panels would still be worthwhile, though they would take a long time to make much difference with EV-sized batteries, they should still keep it nicely topped off and it would be neat to be able to pull over and chill for a few days rather than phoning for a tow if you are going to come up short on the charging point and you're not in a hurry.

 Jamie Wakeham 02 Jun 2021
In reply to Snyggapa:

Even my Kia has a heat pump - it's rapidly becoming standard.

In reply to elliot.baker:

I know nothing about campervans, but I know a guy in N Wales who has converted an electric van into a camper, and has done trips to Spain etc in it.

There's a blog here and a video about the conversion. It's all on the cheaper/climber/diy end of the spectrum.

youtube.com/watch?v=EtBnP3StI28&

https://blog.zerocarbonadventures.co.uk/2018/10/electric-campervan-diy-conversion.html?m=1

 jimtitt 02 Jun 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

All the major van manufacturers have e-vans for this or next year, the range seems to be around 350km (on a good day!). I'd expect their own campers to be in the range as well.

As noted I expect the change-over will be slow, 30 or 40 year old campers aren't uncommon and most vans go 500,000 km before the rust or the gearbox goes.

In reply to elliot.baker:

A short range could be a blessing in disguise. It will force folk to use proper sites, park ups etc.. to recharge. They'll then stop ditching rubbish, $hit, pi$$, and everything else in hedgerows. 

10
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

> Even my Kia has a heat pump - it's rapidly becoming standard.

It's effectively just being able to run the aircon in reverse, isn't it?

 Siward 02 Jun 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

I can't imagine that ICE anythings are going to be worth a bean in the medium term. The second hand car market will surely collapse?

Even now I'd be wary of buying a replacement for my ageing volvo. Who is going to pay out anything more than a token amount for a second hand ICE in 2028?

I can forsee first generation electric cars becoming equally undesirable as batteries improve, unless manufacturers allow retrofit of the latest batteries to older cars. 

Strange times. 

12
In reply to Siward:

Would it really be that drastic? The ban is only on new cars if I'm not mistaken, so you can still sell on and use a ICE in 2030 and beyond

 girlymonkey 02 Jun 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

Not a camper, but we have a 16 plate eNV200. Some people do convert these as campers. Today, I have driven 100+ miles commuting to and from work. I stuck it on a rapid for about 15 mins before work, which took it to 80%, and then plugged the granny cable in at work to get it to 100. I have just got home and have about 35% battery left. I sat behind lorries on the motorway (just on the safe braking distance), which kept my speed down a little and also seems to benefit from slipstream effect. 

I had no real load, so obviously a kitted out camper would be a little heavier, but I doubt it would be that bad. 

Newer electric vans have LOADS more range and cleevley EV can also fit extension batteries (not cheap!) which add masses of range if needed.

Post edited at 16:44
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 mp3ferret 02 Jun 2021
In reply to stevevans5:

I can imagine that in december 2029 a lot of new cars will be preregistered so they can still be sold next year.  Perhaps the government ( thinking of the tories here ) will change the law so you can preregister vehicles that haven't even been built yet.  Maybe they can keep that going for a few years.

 nniff 02 Jun 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

On the plus side, with an electric camper at least you'd have somewhere to sleep while it charged up.  A friend with a VW recently spent an hour putting 20 miles of range into the thing at a service station....

1
 gethin_allen 02 Jun 2021
In reply to Siward:

> I can't imagine that ICE anythings are going to be worth a bean in the medium term. The second hand car market will surely collapse?

This really depends on how good the electric vehicles of 2028 are/ charging infrastructure/punitive taxes against ICEs . If there's any doubt about the maturity of the technology I can imagine loads of people buying the best vehicle they can afford shortly before the deadline to see them good for as long as needed, and a whole load of petrol heads will just want to stick to ICEs.

 flatlandrich 02 Jun 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

Interesting thoughts. Also day dreaming, and slightly off topic but electric camper vans might eventually be the only way to go. I'm guessing the demise of the ICE will slowly kill of caravanning? I can't see there being many electric cars, within a sensible price, with both the range and towing capacity to make caravanning viable. 

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 tintinandpip 02 Jun 2021
In reply to flatlandrich:

I was thinking the opposite, once the range is sorted electric cars will make superb tow vehicles: heavy with loads of torque. 
Long live the caravan ! ( I agree it may be well into the 2030s before they are affordable ) 

 wintertree 02 Jun 2021
In reply to flatlandrich:

>  I can't see there being many electric cars, within a sensible price, with both the range and towing capacity to make caravanning viable. 

As well as the point tintinandpip makes...

Assuming aluminium ion battery technology makes it to production, we could see ranges of > 1200 miles in otherwise curer-spec (battery pack size and weight, motors, drag etc) vehicles.

Camper vans and caravans offer an an interesting possibility around solar roofs and awnings as well - not great in. the UK, but perhaps they could charge 100 miles/day in sunny parts of the USA.  

Vaguely related: Living full time in camper vans in the USA is suddenly going to grow a lot I think, with the SpaceX Starlink internet service being approved for use on large vehicles, meaning that remote workers can now live and work full time from a camper van, and go where they want in the US.   

 remus 02 Jun 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> Camper vans and caravans offer an an interesting possibility around solar roofs and awnings as well - not great in. the UK, but perhaps they could charge 100 miles/day in sunny parts of the USA.  

It's a nice idea but Im not sure on the practicality. A fairly large (by current standards) solar panel on a van provides in the region of 200w of power and batteries in the tesla model s go from 75kWh upwards. If your panel was operating perfectly at the rated efficiency for 10 hours a day youd have 0.2kW * 10h  = 2kWh of power a day which is not going to make much of a dent on your battery.

Perhaps if you had a huge solar setup and were happy waiting a few days for some charge you'd get some more meaningful range from it but you could be waiting a long time, especially if you throw in a few cloudy days.

ed: for comparison, the lowest power home charging points start at 2.3kW, or about 11x as much power delivery as our solar panel example.

Post edited at 20:12
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 wintertree 02 Jun 2021
In reply to remus:

For sure, the numbers don't work out with a discrete solar panel.

But if you integrate solar cells in to the roof and bonnet structure, you can get a lot more than that.  A hypothetical future VW camper sized vehicle in sunny Arizona might I reckon be able to generate 4 kW max and > 30 kWH per day.  Significantly more if there's an awning that is solar as well.  Not to be sneezed at - enough for domestic power and to build up very meaningful charge over 4-5 days parked up.    Chuck in an awning with solar on it as well, and/or a couple of light weight modules to deploy off the vehicle...  

Not much use for the UK with tree covered campsites, crowded lay-bys, high latitude and British weather, but perhaps a radical game changer for the USA.  

> ed: for comparison, the lowest power home charging points start at 2.3kW

Ours goes down to 1.4 kW (230 V, 6 A) to keep the draw within what our mediocre solar array can produce, and for compatibility with my redundant micro-grid.  

 George Ormerod 02 Jun 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

What about a Hydrogen fuel cell?  You could run the stove off H2 too: Oh, the igniter isn't working, hang on a minute whilst I get the matches...........

 wintertree 02 Jun 2021
In reply to George Ormerod:

> What about a Hydrogen fuel cell?  You could run the stove off H2 too: Oh, the igniter isn't working, hang on a minute whilst I get the matches...........

Methane fuel cell running off an anaerobic digester for the toilet and kitchen waste?  One could have a "Proudly Powered By Poop" bumper sticker...

 Ciro 02 Jun 2021
In reply to wintertree:

If you were designing a custom solar panel to fit the roof, I think you could easily get 1kW on an L3 sevel van with room for a couple of skylights.

The problem with a van roof though is it's horizontal, so it only really faces the sun for a few hours in the middle of the day. If you wanted to make a meaningful dent in the driving battery, you'd need to have the panel on a mechanism to tilt up and track the sun.

I've seen projects to do this with a single panel, but imagine you wouldn't want something the size of the roof angled up like that on a windy day.

 wintertree 02 Jun 2021
In reply to Ciro:

The angle becomes less of a problem as you get more equatorial; it doesn’t go away but things improve.  If you have a slanted solar awning and can park accordingly that also helps.  Failing such an awning, putting solar in the side panels on the sun facing side of the van half fixes the cosine losses as the sun either falls on the roof or the side.  I say “half” as you pay for more capacity than you use, and doors and windows eat in to it.  But PV is getting cheaper and cheaper...

Works when you drive as well, and R&D is coming along on panels that generate power at night by capturing some of the energy radiated to the cold, clear night sky.  Probably only 10% of daytime power levels, and it’s probably a couple of decades - minimum - away from being integrated with daytime panels.  

> I've seen projects to do this with a single panel, but imagine you wouldn't want something the size of the roof angled up like that on a windy day.

Lower the solar and raise the wind mast!  

Its a hiding to nothing for the UK, but I think renewable energy + EV is a giant leap towards independence for US RVs.  With a suitable water purifier and mineraliser processing air conditioning condensate water and shower waste water, and a waste digester (recovering some energy in the process) you could really extend the time between hookups.   Some tech obsessed people out there are going to jump at an independents nomadic lifestyle clocking on to their jobs over LEO satellite Internet; it’ll be interesting to see how whacky it gets.

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 Siward 02 Jun 2021
In reply to gethin_allen:

The government certainly needs to pull its finger out if they want electric vehicles to become universal but I get the feeling that ICE vehicles will just come to be seen as undesirable, like smoking in pubs. 

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 henwardian 02 Jun 2021
In reply to jimtitt:

> All the major van manufacturers have e-vans for this or next year, the range seems to be around 350km (on a good day!). I'd expect their own campers to be in the range as well.

Where are you finding these? As the OP said, VW are quoting 135km. I just looked up Mercedes and both their vans are quoting "XXXkm", which is pretty intriguing! Ford says they are targetting 200km for their e-transit (interesting wording which to me suggests they fully expect to release something with less range than that). You have to step down to a car masquerading as a van in the form of the citreon dispatch before you get close to that range (330km according to their site).

Is this 350km range just something for the cars which don't have rear seats or windows? If so, it really doesn't apply to most vans being converted to campers as that size class is viewed as too small for a good camper conversion by most people.

> As noted I expect the change-over will be slow, 30 or 40 year old campers aren't uncommon and most vans go 500,000 km before the rust or the gearbox goes.

Did you really mean to say that more than half of vans go at least 500,000km? I'd be very surprised if the average van, camper or otherwise, goes even vaguely close to 500,000km. In fact I suspect the real average is less than half that number before they are scrapped. This is assuming we are talking about a UK-based vehicle.

In reply to henwardian:

> Where are you finding these? As the OP said, VW are quoting 135km. I just looked up Mercedes and both their vans are quoting "XXXkm", which is pretty intriguing! Ford says they are targetting 200km for their e-transit (interesting wording which to me suggests they fully expect to release something with less range than that). You have to step down to a car masquerading as a van in the form of the citreon dispatch before you get close to that range (330km according to their site).

A pal of mine just spent £36k on ordering a Vhauxall E van with a range of 260 miles. Probably only a small van. It will be interesting to see how fully loading it will alter the range. 

> Did you really mean to say that more than half of vans go at least 500,000km? I'd be very surprised if the average van, camper or otherwise, goes even vaguely close to 500,000km. In fact I suspect the real average is less than half that number before they are scrapped. This is assuming we are talking about a UK-based vehicle.

In my experience liking to get the most out of our vans before replacing them I find as they start getting up towards 200k miles the maintenance bills start piling up. I replaced 6 vans in 2019 all between 150 and 200k miles and I spend less on the finance for them than I was on keeping the old ones on the road. I know some vans go on forever and one of the 6 at 180k never had anything but consumables spent on it (not fair to give everyone else a new van and not that one though) but it's rare. 

 jimtitt 03 Jun 2021
In reply to henwardian:

> Where are you finding these? As the OP said, VW are quoting 135km. I just looked up Mercedes and both their vans are quoting "XXXkm", which is pretty intriguing! Ford says they are targetting 200km for their e-transit (interesting wording which to me suggests they fully expect to release something with less range than that). You have to step down to a car masquerading as a van in the form of the citreon dispatch before you get close to that range (330km according to their site).

> Is this 350km range just something for the cars which don't have rear seats or windows? If so, it really doesn't apply to most vans being converted to campers as that size class is viewed as too small for a good camper conversion by most people.

> Did you really mean to say that more than half of vans go at least 500,000km? I'd be very surprised if the average van, camper or otherwise, goes even vaguely close to 500,000km. In fact I suspect the real average is less than half that number before they are scrapped. This is assuming we are talking about a UK-based vehicle.

Things like the VW Crafter are designed for urban delivery so only a 35,8kWh battery, the European transit (the US model appears to have a smaller battery) has up to 67kWh and 360km, the Ducato 79kWh and 371km. Bigger still the Iveco Daily is 84.5kWh and 280km. What this actually looks like in real life with a fully loaded camper conversion slung on top is another matter, the long-distance towing test with caravans aren't pretty! Probably lucky to get 100km from the things.

I'd expect to see hydrogen fuel cells make an appearance instead for long-range applications because increasing battery capacity further is going to kill the payload (it's already being reduced on some models) as the 3.5 ton rules are vital for the transport industry (and motor home builders). As Iveco are already going for both battery and fuel cells for their heavy trucks I'd think they'll be looking at the Ducato range in the end as well.

J1234 03 Jun 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

You may find this of interest https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57253947

I suspect the people currently putting 40 to 100K into Campervans and expecting to get a large chunk back in 10 years, could be disappointed.

As more and more cities introduce low emission zones, older ICE vehicles will become increasingly limited.

 S Ramsay 03 Jun 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

Plug in hybrids and hybrids 'capable of a significant distance running on electric power' won't be banned till 2035. I expect these to be pretty popular for the 2030 - 2035 period although I don't know if manufacturers would see a 5 year period of popularity as too short to spend much on the development of these vehicles. 

 galpinos 03 Jun 2021
In reply to S Ramsay:

PHEVs might survive but "hybrids" will be dropped by most manufacturers pretty soon as the appetite for a massively compromised stop gap is already dwindling.

 BennoC 03 Jun 2021
In reply to S Ramsay:

I expect there will come a point when a lot of fuel stations will become unviable, and this will mean that those sticking with ICE will have to travel further to fill up. It'll become much more of an inconvenience than charging an electric car.

Car companies would have to be crazy to be spending a lot of money on developing new pure ICE cars now. 3 years development plus a 7 year lifespan takes us to 2031.  

In reply to henwardian:

> Did you really mean to say that more than half of vans go at least 500,000km? I'd be very surprised if the average van, camper or otherwise, goes even vaguely close to 500,000km. In fact I suspect the real average is less than half that number before they are scrapped. This is assuming we are talking about a UK-based vehicle.

I can only speak about T5s but 300k miles is not uncommon.

 wintertree 03 Jun 2021
In reply to BennoC:

> expect there will come a point when a lot of fuel stations will become unviable, and this will mean that those sticking with ICE will have to travel further to fill up. It'll become much more of an inconvenience than charging an electric car.

This is my thinking.  Something of a viscous circle / spiral of doom ahead around long term ICE ownership.  Fewer and more distant petrol stations combined with ever more ubiquitous EV charging is going to push all but the die hards to convert.  Once aluminium batteries are in shipping vehicles I think it’s game over for ICE. 

We’re one EV and one diesel burner now; the diesel should get changed for an EV soon enough.  

I’d like to keep one simple, manual, petrol RWD car as an occasional driver for the next 30 years, something of the past.  Contenders are all wildly different but include the MX5-RF, a RHD Mustang (V8, obviously), and a 981 Cayman.  Practically in investment in a collectible.  But I do wonder how and when ownership and road driving is going to become either practically, socially or legally untenable. 

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In reply to wintertree:

The problem for keeping current ICEs is that they're complicated and all the ancilliaries will become a liability. If something breaks on a pre-80's classic it's easy to bodge - something breaking on today's e-everything vehicle will be unfixable. The classics of today will endure, but today's vehicles won't.

Oh, in addition to your hopes for Al-ion batteries, there's potential improvements in the current electrodes that'll give a decent step change improvement in Li-ion batteries - 3x energy density (weight and volume), 10x power, 10x charging speed, 5x longevity.  That would really be a game changer:-  https://newatlas.com/energy/nawa-vertically-aligned-carbon-nanotube-electrode/

In reply to BennoC:

> I expect there will come a point when a lot of fuel stations will become unviable, and this will mean that those sticking with ICE will have to travel further to fill up. It'll become much more of an inconvenience than charging an electric car.

For sure, it'll be like the phase-out of leaded petrol where only 1 place in a city sold it and now nowhere does.  Currently there are 5 filling stations within a kilometre of my house. No way will they all survive, I suspect there will only be two for the whole island instead of the 23 we have currently. Even a removable EV battery standard wouldn't save them as local mileages are easily dealt with by an overnight charge once a week. Nanotube-electroded Li-ion batteries will sort out charging speed issues on the mainlands, so removable batteries won't ever become a thing either apart from commercial vehicles perhaps.

 wintertree 03 Jun 2021
In reply to Toerag:

> The problem for keeping current ICEs

Perhaps; some vehicles have more of an after market eco system than others.  It’s definitely going to be harder going to keep a modern ICE going in to classic status.  Everyone needs a hobby...

Yup, there’s a lot of headroom for improvements in lithium batteries - and they’re exciting, *but* they don’t really address the relative scarcity of lithium to a sufficient extent to move the global vehicle fleet to lithium without an ecological disaster around mining.  Aluminium makes that breakthrough.  Having a fundamental capacity 3x that of lithium per atom of metal, the theoretical limits for an aluminium battery are quite something.  As with lithium batteries, carbon nanotubes and graphene keep popping up in the research...  

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 Jim Hamilton 03 Jun 2021
In reply to galpinos:

> PHEVs might survive but "hybrids" will be dropped by most manufacturers pretty soon as the appetite for a massively compromised stop gap is already dwindling.

Yet a brief look at new car sales to date for 2021, seems to show M(mild)HEV cars being the fastest growing sector with 18% share? even though MHEVs appear destined to go the same way as ICEs.  ICEs still account for 60% new car sales, with battery only EVs at 8%.   

 jimtitt 03 Jun 2021
In reply to Toerag:

The problem with carbon nanotubes, aluminium etc batteries (and all the other breakthroughs I read about every week) is that if you aren't building the factory right now they are only a future dream not reality and maybe never will be.

The pressure is on and it's now, 2030 a 35% reduction in CO2 for the European freight industry isn't going to happen with laboratory projects. Which is why the consortium of the major players are going for a mix of batteries for local stuff and hydrogen for distance work. Daimler, Iveco, MAN, Honda, Hyundai, Hygon, VDL, Volvo etc along with Shell and Air Liquide and the major freight firms are building now. 100,000 trucks and 1500 fuel stations by 2030.

Looking at where the big players are putting their money tells you how much confidence industry had in theoretical possibilities. Toyota/Kenworth are going hydrogen, Bosch and Michelin investing in fuel cell factories and so on. MAN producing hydrogen IC engine conversions as a stop-gap etc.

 jkarran 03 Jun 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

Thr technology is perfectly adequate, it's just electric range is still expensive so occasional use EVs currently only make sense where you're interested in the performance benefits.

Jk

 wintertree 03 Jun 2021
In reply to jimtitt:

Battery research is a long pipeline but it’s one that’s been consistently delivering real world improvements such as steady increases in specific power, specific energy, £/kw and £/kWH for 15 years.  There’s lots going on at every stage of the R&D pipeline and no reason to expect the ongoing improvements to dry up - anything but...  

Hydrogen is a massive step change where-as the improvements in batteries are incremental and slot right in to existing vehicles and platforms.  Some of the improvements regularly coming out of the R&D pipeline can be used to upgrade exiting factories; and there’s a lot more big factories being built.

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 Glug 03 Jun 2021
In reply to Dax H:

My cycling buddy works for British gas, they are starting to use Vauxhall E vans, they are getting less than half the manufacturer quoted range, he says they are having to stop at charging stations at lunch time to get the mileage they need to complete a days work.

 Kalna_kaza 03 Jun 2021
In reply to wintertree:

Out of interest, is the research in battery technology being dominated by car manufacturers, independent battery companies, universities hoping to cash in on the all important breakthrough patent or a bit of all three? 

There must be an incredible amount being spent by all the big car makers to ensure they're not left behind. It one thing a niche car maker now using someone else's engine and tuning it, and sticking a new logo on, but I image that's going to be harder with battery hardware with only the performance management software easily change.

Consumer knowledge in batteries is going to improve rapidly in the next few years and it might take more than some marketing to fool people into buying old battery technology.

In reply to elliot.baker:

I reckon you could build a pretty cool camper out of one of these:  https://arrival.com/

We've just sunk another wad into our 23yr old VW T4 as it's still currently better to keep an old vehicle on the road than buy new, but very much hoping our next one can be electric.

 wintertree 03 Jun 2021
In reply to Kalna_kaza:

I'd say that the battery tech pipeline is like a lot of these things - a complex ecosystem with different sorts of organisations at different stages of the pipeline.  

Very crudely.... Lots of early stage research happens in university labs and research institutes, successful proof-of-concept IP gets moved on to investor driven spin-outs or sold on to research focused businesses, these grow to a certain point where they've produced a bunch more IP and experience around manufacturing that's industry ready, and then these enterprises get bought by big players - both "traditional" battery manufacturers and some EV manufactures - with growing links forming between the two.  Total over-simplification and various big businesses have R&D departments active at all levels of the pipeline etc - and sometimes an established niche business hits on something important and ends up getting bought; there was a big fuss when Tesla bought Maxwell Technologies a few years ago, with many assuming it was a sign Tesla was going to use Maxwell's ultra-capacitors (4000 Farads in something the size of a couple of coke cans!) but they were actually after some electrode technology that was also useful in batteries.

> Consumer knowledge in batteries is going to improve rapidly in the next few years and it might take more than some marketing to fool people into buying old battery technology.

I think for most car owners it's going to get beyond the point of mattering soon enough.  The question becomes "is the range good enough for me?".  So far - the gods have mercy - EV battery tech isn't full of pure marketing bullshit - there's no 5D Super-Holographic Turbo 2 nm hyper-X™ Pro Plus battery tech out there.  The main area where I've seen consumer knowledge and decision making influenced by battery specs is not around the battery chemistry or electrode tech itself, but around battery temperature control - a lot of the discussion around the Nissan Leaf in the US focuses on the pitfalls of them having a passive approach to thermal management which is okay in the UK but seems to be a much bigger problem with their wider climate range.

> There must be an incredible amount being spent by all the big car makers to ensure they're not left behind.

There's certainly a lot of big battery factories being built...  Looks like we might end up with two here in the North East over in Sunderland.  

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 Misha 03 Jun 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

I suspect the real issue with campervans is going to be increased regulation (restrictions on overnight parking, particularly for campers without toilet facilities, which are actually enforced) as they’re becoming an issue in popular areas. I say that as a campervan owner. Of course the better solution would be to set up cheap campervan fields providing tap water and loos but it’s not going to happen…

As to your question, I would have thought that a van has a sufficiently large floor plate to accommodate a sufficiently large battery, though weight could be an issue. Smaller vans like the Transporter don’t have underfloor water tanks anyway, so no loss of space there. I guess there would be more space under the bonnet so the water tank could go there in purpose built campers?

The other issue is cost. At the moment, decent quality EVs are pretty expensive and I imagine vans would be similar. However as numbers increase and battery costs reduce, the cost should reduce over time. 

1
 jimtitt 04 Jun 2021
In reply to Glug:

> My cycling buddy works for British gas, they are starting to use Vauxhall E vans, they are getting less than half the manufacturer quoted range, he says they are having to stop at charging stations at lunch time to get the mileage they need to complete a days work.

Stellantis (Opel/Vauxhall, Citroen and Peugeot) have launched fuel cell versions of their van, 400km on the hydrogen and 50km on the battery. Delivery planned this year.

In reply to Misha:

> Of course the better solution would be to set up cheap campervan fields providing tap water and loos but it’s not going to happen…

It was on the Scottish news just yesterday that Highland Council are wanting to have basic camper van sites.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-57329617 .

 Glug 04 Jun 2021
In reply to jimtitt:

That's good, doesn't help the guys driving the brand new vans that BG have just started using though.

 galpinos 04 Jun 2021
In reply to Glug:

If it's the e-Vivaro, real world range with a decent payload is thought to be less than the quoted range but still respectable. Not heard of anyone getting less than half quoted range. I'm assuming they are not just caning it everywhere in power mode.....

 Glug 04 Jun 2021
In reply to galpinos:

I think they run the vans near to gvw, I would imagine they do drive them quite hard, because that's what most people do when they are driving company vehicles, owner drivers tend to be more careful with their vehicles as they have more invested in them. 

In reply to wintertree:

> I think for most car owners it's going to get beyond the point of mattering soon enough.  The question becomes "is the range good enough for me?".

I think, realistically, battery tech is advancing at a rate that will make range a non-issue. I think the main question is not one of technology but of infrastructure.

I am going to be seriously looking at purchasing a long-range EV in the near future but, crucially, I have somewhere to park and charge it. For many people who struggle even to park their cars on the road outside their house, there is going to have to be a massive investment from the government in public charging infrastructure if they are to make their targets.

1
In reply to Climbing Pieman:

Indeed they are.. but when it happens who knows. There was meant to be one near us last year.. not happened. They are much needed, but I suspect due to how ineffective the council are it will be years away... But they have given them a Gaelic name... so maybe!

 jimtitt 04 Jun 2021
In reply to planetmarshall:

> I think, realistically, battery tech is advancing at a rate that will make range a non-issue. I think the main question is not one of technology but of infrastructure.

> I am going to be seriously looking at purchasing a long-range EV in the near future but, crucially, I have somewhere to park and charge it. For many people who struggle even to park their cars on the road outside their house, there is going to have to be a massive investment from the government in public charging infrastructure if they are to make their targets.


This where Wintertree dodges the issue repeatedly. The promises of breakthroughs in battery technology all read like puff pieces trying to get funding from someone and until I see them I don't believe a word. I come from a generation that was promised sunshine electricity, hypersonic flight and cars that flew. An EV that can charge 100 x faster is no use if the power isn't there and the wires can't cope. When the entire electrical suppy system for the UK is completetely replaced then there's a chance but until then we are f*cked. Changing the goalposts to the range for car drivers is of no relevance on a thread about light commercial vehicles and campervans where the range is pitiful.

He says fuel cells are a leap into to the future but I can buy a hydrogen fuelled car, truck, bus, train or whatever tomorrow and the fuelling is simple (there's a fuel station 18km from my home and for fleet use a mobile station is as easy as picking up the phone), hell even my local rubbish collection is hydrogen powered now.

1
 girlymonkey 04 Jun 2021
In reply to planetmarshall:

Maybe this will force councils to solve the parking issue. City centers are not designed for cars, roadside parking is a disaster. Maybe they will create some sort of large-scale resident parking facilities (although they are going to have to be creative to find spaces!) where every space has a charger. You would pay a set amount to rent the space and I guess just sign up for a tariff for the charger like you would if you had a home charger. It's obviously not something which could happen overnight, but as industrial units or other buildings become vacant/ in need of repair they could be turned into such a facility. 

Yes, there will be many nay-sayers who insist it can't be done, but something will have to be done as we can't just keep shoving more and more cars onto city streets.

1
In reply to Climbing Pieman:

> It was on the Scottish news just yesterday that Highland Council are wanting to have basic camper van sites.

Will people use them though "why should I pay £5 or £10 or whatever a night when I can park here and shit in the gutter"

A lot of van users seem to be all about the nomad self sufficient lifestyle. 

 wintertree 04 Jun 2021
In reply to jimtitt:

> This where Wintertree dodges the issue repeatedly. The promises of breakthroughs in battery technology all read like puff pieces trying to get funding from someone and until I see them I don't believe a word. 

I have not dodged the issue, and I've written at length about the R&D pipeline on batteries.  The whole idea of waiting for a "promised breakthrough" is nonsense - it doesn't work like that, it never has and it never will I suspect.  I don't think the way you are looking at battery technology is particularly useful IMO.

There are PR puff pieces about early stage research in the pipeline - universities keen to raise their profile in a public aware issue for undergraduate recruitment, spinouts looking to raise their profile or stock price, large marketing departments at big firms doing what they do.  I could point at a puff piece from 8 years ago and say "Look, it never happened" but if I point at puff pieces from 15 years ago, current tech exceeds that.

Because R&D is a long pipeline.  So, you don't just look at the inputs, but the outputs.

They outputs have flowed continuously over the last two decades, witness for example:

Note the progressive, smooth curves.  It's not breakthroughs, its a mature R&D pipeline at work.  A pipeline that is long and wide.  There's no shortage of inputs, no fundamental limits on the near horizon and no reason to expect it to falter.   The fundamental limits that do exist are far beyond what is needed for land based transport.

So, when I look at things and project in to the future, I think it reasonable to project the outputs of that pipeline forwards.

I am not setting out to be disingenuous, and I am not setting out to dodge any issues.

> He says fuel cells are a leap into to the future

I don't recall ever using that term.  Christ, they've been around since the year dot electrochemically speaking, and are common in some areas (e.g. spaceflight).  I do think that mass adoption of fuel cell EVs is pretty unlikely for various reasons.

>  (there's a fuel station 18km from my home and for fleet use a mobile station is as easy as picking up the phone

There's a fuel station EV 0 meters from my home, and mobile refuelling is now a thing.  As is destination refuelling 10 meters from the door to my workplace, at some nearby supermarkets, in multiple carparks in every town I visit, at the place we're going for our summer holidays, and a thousand at motorway service stations with funding just committed for another 2000 or so.  It's at cinemas, gyms, country parks, some lamppost trials and is becoming ubiquitous.

For many people, hydrogen is going to be a giant regressive step away from where we are now.

Perhaps for heavy lorries and so on until batteries catch up, but I don't see the long term advantage as batteries continue their progressive advancements - more complexity, more restrictive charging, worse energy efficiency, no regeneration unless you also add... survey says.... batteries.  

Hydrogen might bridge some gaps, but I don't see its long term benefit, I really don't.  If some massive, unexpected problem disrupts the well established R&D pipeline for batteries, perhaps that changes, but I see nothing threatening to do that.

Then there's the massive synergies between the grid and bidirectional power transfer with EV batteries, another area where hydrogen is too limited to be useful.

Air and space flight is different, although it seems clear to me that methane, not hydrogen, is the future of chemical/thermal rocketry.

Heavy freight over medium to long distances is a challenge for batteries right now, and it's going to take 15-20 years to shrink away the fraction of land based vehicles for which they're not suitable.  But long term?   Place your bets here...  

Post edited at 18:58
2
In reply to Dax H:

I guess some will and some won’t. However, having seen media reports of problems over the last couple of years in certain areas, I think it will be very hard not to use recognised sites in future in the most popular areas or areas where problems arise. Formal or informal restrictions will be common place I’m guessing.

A part of the NC 500 was shown on the TV recently and in the footage shown I was taken aback that there was a predominance of wrapped silage bales dropped off at even the slightest of pull off points, gateways, etc that presumably the locals don’t want any stopping at.

This week in a popular tourist/day visitor area, I noticed the passing place signs have been changed and now have additionally a no parking sign and words to that effect on them as well. Example of an indication of the things to come when areas are “abused”.

Locally I know many natural lay-bys where you could at one time have parked up to have a walk, take in the view, etc have been closed off and more so in the last year. Even a large car park for an area marked on maps as a woodland walking area was closed last year. I suspect though locally though it was fly tipping that was the problem, but in other areas it could be for inconsiderate campers?

In reply to wintertree:

Do you know much about the failure points for batteries? I do not, but I have been surprised at the interest in recent years in the expensive inspection technologies that are my field, from EV battery manufacturers needing to check for potential shorting contaminants and other issues. 

 Misha 04 Jun 2021
In reply to Dax H:

If it’s £3-£5 per van, I think people would use them if there are basic facilities like flat ground away from the road, a tap, a chemical toilet disposal point and a basic toilet / portaloo. 

In reply to Misha:

> If it’s £3-£5 per van, I think people would use them if there are basic facilities like flat ground away from the road, a tap, a chemical toilet disposal point and a basic toilet / portaloo. 

I'm not so sure, at least not without being forced to. Parking in a field with X amount of other vans doesn't have the romance of being away from everyone. 

1
In reply to Climbing Pieman:

I'm not surprised the NC500 has parking restrictions. It's way over used and people in England have this idea that you can park up or pitch a tent anywhere in Scotland.

I used to love riding the west side before some muppet gave it a name and it became a must do. 

 bouldery bits 05 Jun 2021
In reply to Glug:

> My cycling buddy works for British gas, they are starting to use Vauxhall E vans, they are getting less than half the manufacturer quoted range, he says they are having to stop at charging stations at lunch time to get the mileage they need to complete a days work.

Maybe they should try gas?

 Mark Edwards 05 Jun 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

I don’t think EV’s are going to become common until there is a second hand market where you can have some confidence in what you are buying. I was recently looking into getting a used EV and would have spent up to £10K. I considered getting a Nissan Leaf as there were plenty of low mileage ones available, until I read up on them. Losing one bar of capacity (out of 12) after one year seems common but if it loses 3 then it won’t drive anywhere. Another issue is a bad cell in the pack (of about 80) which decreases the range by about 8%. It can be replaced but costs about £1500 and has to be sent to a specialist so would be gone for about a week. Additionally the wear caused by fast charging which as a buyer I wouldn’t know how the battery had been charged and even low mileage may not be a guarantee if the battery has been left for long periods fully charged, so for now I am sticking with ICE vehicles.

P.S. In the end I didn’t need to buy a car anyway. My high mileage (but rarely used by me) 03 Combi van which I got from a friend about 3 years ago for £400, as a stop gap, flew through the first two MOT’s but I didn’t think it would get through this year. One CV joint and a brake calliper later it’s good for another year. Will there ever be an 18 year old EV or are they going to be the ultimate consumable (buy, use, scrap)?

 Misha 05 Jun 2021
In reply to Dax H:

At least some people will. The reality is often you aren’t parking away from everyone anyway… the popular large lay-bys get pretty busy. Also some areas, like the Lakes, have few van spots in the first place. 

In reply to elliot.baker:

Something that puzzles me regarding infrastructure is whether the power supply industry can keep up with demand for sustainable electricity. I recall a thread a while back that covered this topic but wasn't sure if it came to a conclusion.
Any ideas about this?

 jimtitt 05 Jun 2021
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

It was undecided!

There were those that thought the utilities industry would replace the entire network, build dozens of power stations, install 20, 000 wind turbines, put a supercharger on every lamppost and allow one car to "steal" the power from another all by 2025.

Then there were those that know it takes ten years to replace one rotting power pole and that the grid is held together with 50 year old insulating tape.

1
 wintertree 05 Jun 2021
In reply to jimtitt:

Well then how is that grid going to supply all the energy to make that hydrogen?  Or are we going to keep making it from natural gas and releasing all its carbon as CO2 in the process?  The only carbon neutral sources of hydrogen are renewable energy, and we either have it or we don’t.  If we have it, the diurnal nature of electricity usage means we just have have capacity now for widespread electric charging, and more can and is being built all the time...

Diurnal: The UK grid has significant spare capacity at night time.  When most cars are parked up.

Building windmills doesn’t seem hard, about 30 around our village now and a new tidal array off the coast.

Then there’s solar;  the cost/W has been dropping just like it has for batteries as the mature and well established R&D pipelines continue to deliver.  Perhaps we’ll use these renewables to electrolyse water for hydrogen, then to compress it for storage, then convert it to electricity in fuel cells.  I wonder what the round trip efficiency on that is?

2
 jimtitt 05 Jun 2021
In reply to wintertree:

Better get busy then, only need 20 to 30 times as much renewables and a complete new grid to move it to where it's needed.

 Root1 05 Jun 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

My own criteria for electric vehicles are a minimum 500 mile range.

This because 

1) Batteries degrade with age so allow 20%  for that.

2) In winter when its cold my hybrids fuel efficiency drops about 20% from the summer peak. This is because batteries are less effective in the cold. Add to that more use of lights and windscreen wipers and heaters, then 20% reduction is quite conservative.

So total reduction would be circa 40%

That leaves a worst case scenario (I think and hope!) range of about 300 miles.

This is probably achievable in the fairly near future with cars  like the Kia Kona quoting  a range over 300 miles which is equal to 280 miles by my system.

 wintertree 05 Jun 2021
In reply to jimtitt:

> Better get busy then, only need 20 to 30 times as much renewables

Well I’m at a total loss how you think hydrogen is going to solve that.  It doesn’t generate itself, and it either comes from renewables or CO2 producing sources.  It’s a storage medium - one with worse round trip losses than batteries - and the problems you’re citing for renewable generation for EVs aren’t in any way met by your claimed solution in hydrogen.

> and a complete new grid to move it to where it's needed.

Simply untrue.  There’s massive spare capacity at night time.  The actual problems are around matching supply and demand to get full benefit of the existing, payed for and massive spare capacity in the transmission grid that results from the day/night cycle in current demand patterns.  Do you know what one of the key ways to do this could be?  Cars that charge at night...   It’s by no means trivial to do this at scale but there’s a lot going on, and the barriers are known things bounded by known science and engineering.

There are cases where hydrogen is better indefinitely, there are cases where it’s a stop gap. The near future involves throwing everything at the problem and even then it’s not enough to fix clean generation.  At least here in the UK we haven’t suddenly abandoned our nuclear capacity in favour of importing dirty electricity...

1
 Root1 05 Jun 2021
In reply to Dax H:

> Will people use them though "why should I pay £5 or £10 or whatever a night when I can park here and shit in the gutter"

> A lot of van users seem to be all about the nomad self sufficient lifestyle. 

The point is at the moment we don't have a choice. Campsite fees are extortionate and that encourages wild camping. Aires are free on the continent. I'd be happy to pay something for a nights parking with facilities for emptying toilets and a fresh water supply.

I think the majority are sensible and aires would certainly reduce the problem of antisocial behaviour by vanners.

The costs to local councils for clearing up the mess left by the less responsible would surely be reduced.

Post edited at 11:48
1
 wintertree 05 Jun 2021
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> Do you know much about the failure points for batteries? I do not, but I have been surprised at the interest in recent years in the expensive inspection technologies that are my field, from EV battery manufacturers needing to check for potential shorting contaminants and other issues. 

They're really complex 3 dimensional objects with a multi-layer construction before they're rolled up, so violations of tight tolerances in manufacture are going to cause big issues.  So, I can see in general terms why your sort of diagnostic kit could be useful for sorting out fabrication issues. I get the impression that getting a modern battery cell factory up and humming is a dark art in the same vein as getting a modern semiconductor fab really humming.

In terms of failure modes once cells are in use, formation of lithium filaments ("dendrites") bridging electrodes is a big one; they're worth a google image search at least.  I think they'll be too microscopic and irregular for your kit to be of much use, but I'm guessing in the dark about the details of your stuff...

 Root1 05 Jun 2021
In reply to Root1:

> My own criteria for electric vehicles are a minimum 500 mile range.

> This because 

> 1) Batteries degrade with age so allow 20%  for that.

> 2) In winter when its cold my hybrids fuel efficiency drops about 20% from the summer peak. This is because batteries are less effective in the cold. Add to that more use of lights and windscreen wipers and heaters, then 20% reduction is quite conservative.

> So total reduction would be circa 40%

> That leaves a worst case scenario (I think and hope!) range of about 300 miles.

> This is probably achievable in the fairly near future with cars  like the Kia Kona quoting  a range over 300 miles which is equal to 280 miles by my system.

That should be 180 miles!!

 jimtitt 05 Jun 2021
In reply to wintertree:

  There’s massive spare capacity at night time. 

We are talking CO2 neutral or not? The UK produces 6% of it's energy needs from renewables and at night the solar panels aee dead. You know, diurnal and all that.

1
 wintertree 05 Jun 2021
In reply to jimtitt:

> We are talking CO2 neutral or not?

You raised two issues:

  1. CO2 neutral status of the source
  2. Suitability of the grid to move the energy around needed for EVs

The comment you are replying to was addressing my point (2).  You can tell, because I gave my text in response to this quote from you: 

> and a complete new grid to move it to where it's needed.

In terms of point (1), hydrogen, like batteries, is a storage and transport technology.  Both address issue (2) with different pros and cons.  Neither address problem (1) at all, and the issues you raised on supply in your post to me are a problem for both batteries and hydrogen; likely a worse problem for hydrogen given its "round trip" inefficiencies, and the inability of hydrogen fuel cell EVs to access the significant efficiency gains of regeneration (without adding weight and drag in the form of batteries...)

> The UK produces 6% of it's energy needs from renewables and at night the solar panels aee dead. You know, diurnal and all that.

We're not talking "renewables" so much as "zero carbon".  Fortunately for the UK we haven't abandoned fission power.

Right now, 43% of the UKs electricity supply is coming from nuclear, wind and solar (25% from solar alone!).  I've not included biomass as I think that's a greenwashing sham.

43% makes your 6% seem a rather biassed number, doesn't it?  You've lowballed it by a factor of seven.   Turn the sun off at night and its still 18% fossil free generation, still making your 6% seem biassed but now only by a factor of three.  

Yes, we need a lot more fossil free generation capacity.  This is astoundingly obvious.  Tidal arrays sharing connections with off shore wind arrays, more high altitude wind farms, solar in every viable rooftop - new and replacement.  We need more fission.  We need it all faster than we're building it.

There's nothing about hydrogen that changes a single thing about the supply problem though in terms of reducing CO2 emissions, and the distribution problem is not as severe as you make out.

Post edited at 12:41
1
In reply to jimtitt:

> Better get busy then, only need 20 to 30 times as much renewables and a complete new grid to move it to where it's needed.

Our infrastructure for all the utilities are on their arse. Private ownership has lead to years of cuts to protect shareholders payments and the main focus on protecting budgets today rather than investing in the future.

The only way without investing billions of £ and even if we did invest billions the time frame is too tight. We need to move away from personal transport. The problem there is the only way to do that is on cost and that widens the gap between the wealthy and the poor. 

 jimtitt 05 Jun 2021
In reply to wintertree:

As I wrote "6% of it's energy needs". The other 94% is nuclear and fossil fuels. Wipe the fossil out by 2050 and you need a fair few new Chinese reactors!

1
 wintertree 05 Jun 2021
In reply to jimtitt:

> As I wrote "6% of it's energy needs". The other 94% is nuclear and fossil fuels. Wipe the fossil out by 2050 and you need a fair few new Chinese reactors!

Omitting nuclear is highly disingenuous - yes, it needs replacing and expanding but so do all other power plants.

Suggesting the future has to be Chinese reactors is at odds with some of what's actually going on in the UK, e.g. the serious work on SMRs.

From 1930 to 1970, the UKs grid power output increased about ten times.  The present moment is not cast in stone to carry on indefinitely.  With vastly better technology now than then, we can increase the output by the much smaller amount required by EVs.  The big challenge is in funding it. Which we're not doing, anything like enough.

https://www.rolls-royce.com/innovation/small-modular-reactors.aspx#/ 

You've raised a lot of issues around "zero carbon" generation, and I agree it's a challenge and I don't think it's one we're investing in enough.

Hydrogen in no way solves a single one of these issues, and that it is in fact a storage and transport mechanism?

In terms of transport, the capacity is there in the grid at night.  The big issue is supply, and what do you think can be done there?

1
In reply to wintertree:

Re making liquid fuel - if you were a large dessert state that currently sells oil, how much of your dessert would you need to carpet with Solar panels to make globally significant amounts of hydrogen/other liquid fuel?

 wintertree 05 Jun 2021
In reply to Dr.S at work:

I’d guess about 40% to 100% more than you would have to do for making electricity for grid export.  The limiting problem for desert arrays so far has been the water supply needed to keep the panels clean.  Moving to H2 or liquid hydrocarbon production makes that problem a lot worse as you need water to supply the hydrogen component of the liquid fuel as well.  Deserts and water rarely co-locate.

But theres so much roof area in any developed nation.  Handily it’s distributed around in a pretty good match to demand...

I think orbital solar arrays have a lot more evidenced future to them now SpaceX are delivering on the long imagined “cheap giant reusable rocket” pipe dream.  Launch costs were the major barrier to putting big orbital arrays up - no night time, no water requirements, constant power levels 24x7 beamed to anywhere on earth.  Beaming is much safer than Sim City 2000 leads people to think with a phase conjugation system only being able to target the pilot beam in a fail safe way.   Then, if we really do have to do H2 production at large volume, you beam power to somewhere near large amounts of good clean fresh water.

There must be people working on commercial plans for this now; a good fit to countries with a political environment not conducive to sorting their generation problems out.

In reply to wintertree:

Quite a lot of dessert is next to the sea - desalination plus electrolysis?

 jimtitt 05 Jun 2021
In reply to wintertree:

I talk to our renewable energy guru (he's something  one of the government comittees) and while he's on the bio-mass side of things he knows all the resr pretty well I guess.

He says that until the lights start going out nothing will happen. Only then will wind farms be built in the local park, solar panels on protected buildings and the power cables to move the electricity to where it's needed. Germany turns it's North Sea wind farms off when it's windy as it unbalances the grid and we have to buy nuclear power from France to balance. It's the same all over, I was in my workshop this morning and the generators are turned off as it's sunny and there's a surplus of solar but the wires aren't there to move it to where it's needed. We'll start burning gas off on Monday if it stays like this.

We need something like hydrogen until something else comes along because it can be made in one place and transported to where it's needed. The economics are unimportant when the shit hits the fan. Either the 2050 carbon neutral target is abandoned or it's one of few games in town available right now. Just look at the UK plan for 2030, the proposed green generating capacity is nowhere near what is required, like factors of 10.

Personally I think abandoning nuclear in a high-tech country like Germany is completely bonkers, instead we buy power from, well lets say less rigorous countries. Still that's what happens in PR countries, the Greens get into government.

Fusion would be cool but it's been a cool idea nearly all my life. My son did a practical at the German reactor last year but isn't planning his future there! It's powered by the last atomic plant to go offstream, what happens then who knows?

 wintertree 05 Jun 2021
In reply to jimtitt:

> He says that until the lights start going out nothing will happen

Witness the north eastern American grid failure and the recent Texas winter debacle.  I'd argue both of these come down to issues of regulation and management more than fundamental capacity but either way, grid redundant solar battery products are becoming mighty popular over there now; at this rate the Republican Party will have to start taxing sunlight...

 > Fusion would be cool but it's been a cool idea nearly all my life. My son did a practical at the German reactor last year but isn't planning his future there! It's powered by the last atomic plant to go offstream, what happens then who knows?

I don't think I'll live to see a large "ITER scale" Tokamak produce useful electricity, but there's a lot of other exciting reactor concepts that haven't had the same level of government funding and some are attracting significant private capital; Tai-alpha have now raised a billion dollars in private funding for their work.  We shouldn't bet the house on one of these alternatives paying off, but it looks a lot more hopeful that the big machines.  Was it Wendelstein that your son worked at?  That's a very nice concept that fixes one of the major issues that drove ITER to such a preposterous and "suceess-proof" size.  

In reply to summo:

> A short range could be a blessing in disguise. It will force folk to use proper sites, park ups etc.. to recharge. They'll then stop ditching rubbish, $hit, pi$$, and everything else in hedgerows. 

This is a bit like the tacher who keeps the whole class in detention till the bad boy owns up.

In reply to Rog Wilko:

> This is a bit like the tacher who keeps the whole class in detention till the bad boy owns up.

If it was only the odd one, it wouldn't be a problem. It's a growing trend across Europe though, the days of the t2 or 3 away for a few days, almost blending in have gone. Now it's vehicles 3 times the size on the road for several months. Just the parking space required alone, is eating up space in places where parking was already tight. Having seen many of their attempts at driving or reversing, they really need moving into the bus or hgv class. (Rant over).

I'm an ex T3 owner, but I wouldn't get one again, their day is done really. There's just too many now. 

In reply to Dr.S at work:

> Re making liquid fuel - if you were a large dessert state that currently sells oil, how much of your dessert would you need to carpet with Solar panels to make globally significant amounts of hydrogen/other liquid fuel?


Oman are going down this route:- https://www.pv-tech.org/oman-to-host-25gw-of-solar-and-wind-for-green-hydrogen-project/

I believe Ammonia has quite a bit of potential for use as fuel in ships, but googling for an article about that came up with the notion that hydrogen is potentially best stored and shipped in the form of ammonia:-

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/07/ammonia-renewable-fuel-made-sun-air-and-water-could-power-globe-without-carbon

 BennoC 07 Jun 2021
In reply to Root1:

> My own criteria for electric vehicles are a minimum 500 mile range.

Why do you need so much range when charge times will be reduced to 20 minutes or so?

Even 300 miles is going to be around five hours driving. Whose going to do that without stopping?

2
 jimtitt 07 Jun 2021
In reply to BennoC:

There's a sad fact called "real life use". The claimed ranges are to a set criteria which are rarely achieved, get a van and convert it then load it with junk and half the claimed range will be gone. And then there's finding a charging station that's operating, will take your money and isn't already occupied. Then there is driving at a brisk pace, not like a snail. And towing anything is death.

My current transport (petrol) has a combined range of 693km according to the book and loaded, towing a bike trailer it's down to sub 500km, EV's appear to be far worse for whatever reason (like half the range) so 1000km trip is going to be gruesome. I've looked at a few of the real-world tests and an increase of 25% in travel time seems normal.

3
 Siward 07 Jun 2021
In reply to summo:

I have to agree. The idea of low impact mooching around an empty landscape in the campervan have gone. The Highlands was rammed with them a couple of weeks ago, virtually every layby was packed with them. Too many people with too much money. Alas there is no real solution on the horizon... 

 jkarran 07 Jun 2021
In reply to Ciro:

> The problem with a van roof though is it's horizontal, so it only really faces the sun for a few hours in the middle of the day. If you wanted to make a meaningful dent in the driving battery, you'd need to have the panel on a mechanism to tilt up and track the sun.

As solar prices fall you just cover more surfaces in generating capacity. So long as the solar strings are kept small/localised to one aspect the charge controllers optomise the input and there's no drag or major weight penalty. It also optomises input while in motion. It's not an insignificant amount of energy one can harvest like that even in the UK.

Makes more sense of course from a number of perspectives to drive to fixed panels but I can imagine it may be a thing that takes off if the marketing types like the look and the materials people can make robust UV stable moulded panels.

Jk

 Jamie Wakeham 07 Jun 2021
In reply to jimtitt:

> EV's appear to be far worse for whatever reason (like half the range)

They're really not.  In summer with a reasonable load on board and driving at the speed limit, I more or less get the WLTP range on my e-Niro.  If I had the patience to cruise 10mph slower on the motorway I would break it.

Aircon and heating have very little effect.  In winter, I've seen my claimed 283 miles dip to something around 220.  But expecting to get WLTP range in the middle of winter is just like expecting to get the NEDC combined mpg in an ICE - simply unrealistic (and not what the test is actually trying to tell you).

 Offwidth 07 Jun 2021
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

Someone from National Grid was on R4 news last week. They said there are always challenges but with most additional charging capacity at night they anticipate no major problems shifting to a new demand situation from the shift to mainly electric vehicles.

On the hydrogen production question it's worth noting the Orkneys produce hydrogen with spare capacity they can't sensibly use or put into the grid.  It's a good use for otherwise wasted peak wind generation/capacity.

 girlymonkey 07 Jun 2021
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Our teeny weeny 24kwh battery in our env200 managed the A93 to Braemar past the ski center at the weekend! I was impressed at how well it managed! 😊 Loving battery driving!

 BennoC 07 Jun 2021
In reply to jimtitt:

You sound like someone who hasn't tried to live with a BEV. My own experience (which mirrors others I've spoken to) is that I have no regrets in getting a BEV. It's so easy and relaxing to drive, super cheap to run, and removes some of the guilt of using a car. Yes, on occasion you need to charge while away on holiday, or during a really long journey, but it doesn't come close to outweighing the benefits. 

1
 wintertree 07 Jun 2021
In reply to BennoC: (also Jamie Wakenham & girlymonkey)

> You sound like someone who hasn't tried to live with a BEV. 

I agree.  We have a BEV and an ICE.  Increasingly going for diesel with the later is the stand out hassle, more annoying than occasionally working charging in to our longer trips.  Also the annual cost of an oil and filter change is annoying, and I’ve finally had to replace the ICE’s disks and pads at no small cost, something we’re never likely to do on the BEV...

In terms of the comment from jimtitt (as a non BEV driver) about not getting the stated range and from Jamie about getting it (as a BEV driver)....  I don’t think it’s very different to ICE.  

  • I can get a heck of a lot more than the stated range out of our Leaf if I’m careful, moderate my upper speed speed, think and drive as far ahead as possible, coast don’t regenerate down and so on.  I can also get half the stated range if I drive if like the electric hot hatch it desperately wants to be (just needs Pilot Sport 4 tyres and a serious reprogram of the power steering to give some feedback.  The former is happening once the factory fitted abominations wear down, the later I’m starting to get tempted to have at it myself...).
  • Almost the exact same story in my diesel with driving style able to make a 50% decrease or increase over stated range; the only real difference is that it doesn’t have regeneration which in a BEV partially absolves the sins of breaking the speed down instead of coasting down more gradually - BEVs still spill most of their energy through the kinetic/thermal breaks if you push them even vaguely hard but in normal sedate use the regeneration plasters over a sedate-but-inefficient driving style that doesn’t look/think/drive ahead.
1
 wintertree 07 Jun 2021
In reply to girlymonkey:

> Loving battery driving!

My preference is the sound of a small block V8 burbling away at idle.

Failing that, I love the sound of the traction motor in our Leaf spooling up and far prefer it to the sound of a turbo diesel or a modern 3-cylinder petrol engine with less cylinder volume than my bladder that’s turbo charged to the point of stupidity.

I rented a Tesla Model 3 AWD for a week; the sound of front and back motors spooling up simultaneously was sublime.  By the end of the week I despised the car for reasons unrelated to its drive train, but I’ve heard the sound of the future.

 Misha 07 Jun 2021
In reply to wintertree:

Do electric vehicles not need their brake pads and disks changing once in a while? Surely they must still have brake wear?

 wintertree 07 Jun 2021
In reply to Misha:

> Do electric vehicles not need their brake pads and disks changing once in a while? Surely they must still have brake wear?

It really depends how you drive them.  You can use regeneration to break a lot harder than engine breaking, so as long as you look and drive ahead, and keep the pack under about 90% full (exact level depends on the model) then you basically never use the kinetic breaks at all except for the final full stop, which is hardly wearing at all.

The main problem we had on our last EV was the build up of corrosion on the barely used discs...  Then again I don’t really get through break parts (other than fluid changes) much on ICE either.

We’re already seeing extreme cases where switching to EVs is economical because of reduced break wear and net power generation - trucks taking stone from a high altitude quarry downhill - https://arstechnica.com/cars/2017/09/this-cement-quarry-dump-truck-will-be-the-worlds-biggest-electric-vehicle/

Edit: BEVs aren’t a magic fix for break wear, it’s perfectly possible to drive them unsympathetically enough to grind the pads and disks away; they just make it several times easier not to.

Post edited at 22:33
1
 Sealwife 07 Jun 2021
In reply to Misha:

> Do electric vehicles not need their brake pads and disks changing once in a while? Surely they must still have brake wear?

They do.  I had to change both on my Leaf when I first got it.  I suspect the previous owner maybe drove it like they stole it.

 Jamie Wakeham 07 Jun 2021
In reply to Misha:

> Do electric vehicles not need their brake pads and disks changing once in a while? Surely they must still have brake wear?

When I handed my previous car, an Outlander PHEV, back to the lease company after four years and something like 44k miles, the original pads were still in very good nick.  If you don't drive like a pillock then they more or less don't get used.  I can well believe that corrosion would take the discs out before wear did.

Wintertree - I know what you mean about the hot hatch tendencies.  It's worryingly easy to break traction with both wheels, in the dry and pointing in a straight line, if I just floor it.

 jimtitt 08 Jun 2021
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

> They're really not.  In summer with a reasonable load on board and driving at the speed limit, I more or less get the WLTP range on my e-Niro.  If I had the patience to cruise 10mph slower on the motorway I would break it.

> Aircon and heating have very little effect.  In winter, I've seen my claimed 283 miles dip to something around 220.  But expecting to get WLTP range in the middle of winter is just like expecting to get the NEDC combined mpg in an ICE - simply unrealistic (and not what the test is actually trying to tell you).

My comment was regarding fully loaded or towing, a motorhome conversion in use is usually double the original weight and towing is deathly anyway.

There are enough reliable tests out there ( well in the German motoring press) where even towing a moderate load the consumption is doubled. Over the Brenner Pass for example where the range dropped to 200km with a normal range of nearly 600km. Or towing an empty trailer from Munich to Berlin where it took 2 hours longer because of the 4 charging stops.

Most testers also noted the recuperation on motorway journeys is non-existent and with a braked trailer even less effective generally, attempts to build a system for trailors/caravans are difficult due the the construction laws on vehicles and whether it's worth the extra expense questionable.

And no, I won't be trying an EV in the near future, there's nothing on the market that even remotely fits my needs let alone my budget!

1
 Jim Hamilton 08 Jun 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> My preference is the sound of a small block V8 burbling away at idle.

> Failing that, I love the sound of the traction motor in our Leaf spooling up

The BRM V16 trumps all for pure sound! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRNoRlLlsD8&t=163s

 elliot.baker 08 Jun 2021
In reply to BennoC:

> You sound like someone who hasn't tried to live with a BEV. My own experience (which mirrors others I've spoken to) is that I have no regrets in getting a BEV. It's so easy and relaxing to drive, super cheap to run, and removes some of the guilt of using a car. Yes, on occasion you need to charge while away on holiday, or during a really long journey, but it doesn't come close to outweighing the benefits. 

I'll second this, we got an e-niro and I don't think I'll ever have an ICE vehicle again. The day to day joy and convenience of driving (to the shops, the peak district, friends / family etc. etc.) which we do perhaps 5-7 days a week far outweighs the inconvenience of having to fill it up at a public charging spot a couple of times a year when we're on holiday. I fully expect that within a couple of years most hotels and holiday accommodation will advertise as having charging points in the same way you now might expect to have WiFi, which will make life even easier.

If you're the kind of person that might do an 8-10 hour drive back down from a weekend ice climbing in Scotland on a Sunday night / Monday 4am and then go to work at 9am the next day regularly, then I can see an argument that EV's might not be ready for you yet. But unless you're driving away from home more than the range divided by 2 (and you have a home charger) then they're amazing IMO.

 BennoC 08 Jun 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

e-Niro here too. It would be perfect if it didn't bing/bong so much on start-up and shutdown. 

 jimtitt 08 Jun 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

But the thread is about camper-vans not shopping cars....

 elliot.baker 08 Jun 2021
In reply to BennoC:

Haha yeah I get that, until you've driven one it's so hard to explain how different a driving experience it is. Especially with adaptive cruise, I use it all around town as well as on the motor way, it's fantastic. I say I play more of a "supervisory role" in driving now compared to before 🤣 (disclaimer: I still pay attention!).

I also keep telling people that the current and soon to be released top of the range cars, e.g. Porsche Taycan and Mercedes EQS are just beginning to show how quickly the tech is advancing. The Porsche could charge from 5-80% in "22.5 minutes" (if the infrastructure existed yet for that speed of charging); and Mercedes have said they're committed to the EQS having the same range as the current diesel S class with a full tank of diesel, which is something like 500 miles+.

When this tech starts trickling down (which it will, quickly, I think) I can easily see the car I get in the say 3-5 years having as much range as a current ICE and super quick charging. By 2030 I think electric cars will make current ICEs look like horse and carts.

 Jim Hamilton 08 Jun 2021
In reply to BennoC:

> e-Niro here too. It would be perfect if it didn't bing/bong so much on start-up and shutdown. 

What's the cost of ownership?

 BennoC 08 Jun 2021
In reply to Jim Hamilton:

I think it depends. I took mine as a company car as it has a BIK rate of 1% and I can charge for free at work. In the 10 weeks I've been running it I've done nearly 5000 miles and spent less than £10 on electricity. 

I had a pod point 7kW car charger installed at home for around £500, but this has already paid for itself in fuel savings.   

I'm on an energy tariff at home (Octopus Go) that gives me 5p per kWh for four hours overnight, and I average around 4mpkWh, so £0.0125 per mile.

 Jamie Wakeham 08 Jun 2021
In reply to Jim Hamilton:

I'm paying £400 per month on a four year, 10,000 mile lease.

I used to buy cars at about 3 years old and sell at around 7.  Compared to a similar ICE I'm saving around £100 a month on fuel (electricity is negligibly cheap with solar PV and Octopus GO).  VED is zero, servicing around £50 a year cheaper, no MOTs for the first three years, I don't anticipate any other maintenance costs.

My last ICE, a Skoda Yeti, cost me £375 a month all in (counting depreciation).  Barring any disasters, the e-Niro will cost £425.  I am quite happy to pay £50 a month for a bigger, more reliable and much greener car.

 Misha 08 Jun 2021
In reply to wintertree:
 

Thanks. Used to change brakes on my Focus every 30k miles. The T6 is on 44k and they are only lightly worn. Whether that’s due to better components, better driving on my part or a bit of both, I don’t know. 

 Jim Hamilton 10 Jun 2021
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Ignoring leasing pros and cons, depreciation/running costs needn’t be that high for ICE’s. Less than £10,000 buys say an 18 plate Focus Est diesel with 30K, which should be reliable, spacious, a good drive and worth something at the end of 4 years.   BennoC’s 1% BIK company car looks a good option though.

 Root1 10 Jun 2021
In reply to BennoC:

> Why do you need so much range when charge times will be reduced to 20 minutes or so?

> Even 300 miles is going to be around five hours driving. Whose going to do that without stopping?

Its just that manufacturers claims are always too ambitious and overstated. Batteries also degrade as they age . Cold weather, using lights, and other ancillaries and cabin heating will all cut into the stated range. Factor all that in then you can reduce that range by 40% in winter. Thats circa 300 miles. Which sounds about right for my purposes.

But I understand what you are saying

1
 Jamie Wakeham 10 Jun 2021
In reply to Jim Hamilton:

OK, so Autotrader has a 3-yr-old 2018 Focus Estate diesel with 25k for £10400 (best I could find).

In four years that becomes a 7-yr-old with around 70k on the clock, so you could sell it for around £5500 (that's for a 2014 with 60k on the clock).

You've spent almost exactly £100/month on depreciation; £115/month on diesel.  Four MOTs, four services, a set of tyres, probably adds up to another £30/month.  Breakdown might be quite cheap at a few pounds a month, VED will be £13/month.  If nothing goes wrong and has to be fixed whatsoever you're spending about £265/month.  Realistically, you're probably going to have to fix something on a seven year old Focus so it's likely you will end up around £300/month. 

The £375 I quoted is exact, having recorded everything between buying and selling my last ICE, a 2012 Yeti.  I didn't do terribly well with depreciation on that one.

Obviously you can bring the deprecation costs down by buying and selling a few years older, in a flatter part of the curve, but then your reliability drops and repair costs go up...

 Jamie Wakeham 10 Jun 2021
In reply to Root1:

> Its just that manufacturers claims are always too ambitious and overstated.

They're not ambitious or overstated, it's just that what they measure is a very specific result: this exact driving cycle, in pretty good conditions, with no heating or aircon.  They're mandated to do precisely this test so that the figures are comparable between all cars.  They're not actually claiming that you will always get this result in real world conditions.

1
In reply to jimtitt:

> But the thread is about camper-vans not shopping cars....

Completely agree, i don't think people realise how most people use their camper/motorhome. We have a van no longer but we (and we aren't alone) think nothing of leaving home and driving 1000 miles to Provence or 800 miles to Chamonix. Home to Provence is around 20-22hrs away,  Chamonix no more than 16 and both include the crossing. I would fill up the van no more than once for this trip.

I met a guy in Bourg d'Oisans from the North of Finland, he drove his van there in 2 days!

Regarding technology, we are decades away from that kind of range in a battery-EV van, retaining a high payload, if ever. 

Of course, the usual trope is that you can go slower and enjoy the journey, but why?? I have a precious one or two weeks to enjoy myself, why would I choose to spend several days travelling and stopping in places i don't want to stop at, missing the mountains in the process? 

My issue isn't EV's - our next car will probably be a EV, but we'll need a second vehicle for all foreign trips, Scotland/Wales weekends etc. I simply cannot see that changing for the significant future.

ICE powered vehicles will be around for decades... along with fuel supply and maintenance so its not a real worry.

1
 jimtitt 10 Jun 2021
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

> They're not ambitious or overstated, it's just that what they measure is a very specific result: this exact driving cycle, in pretty good conditions, with no heating or aircon.  They're mandated to do precisely this test so that the figures are comparable between all cars.  They're not actually claiming that you will always get this result in real world conditions.

And it's exactly what the wording in the adverts is.

The e-Transit is "up to 350km under WTLP" from a 67kWh battery.

However we can look at the e- Sprinter which has been around for a while, often enough tested and almost identical to the Transit dimensionally. Mercedes give the loaded combined consumption under WTLP as 37,1kWh per 100km and all the independent tests are in this ballpark around the mid-thirties. And that is standard regulated to 80km/hr, figures for 100 and 120 are not available (they are the other modes).

So on their maximum charging rate you'll be creeping your way to Spain at 80km/hr and stopping every hour for a bit over 20 minutes for a charge (presuming one finds a charger in the right place). Going to be a relaxed trip!

Bigger battery? Sure, less payload. If the entire payload was batteries then you can drive 304km. Alone. With nothing!

 BennoC 10 Jun 2021
In reply to LG-Mark:

If you're in so much of a rush then why not fly?

And we are not decades away from that technology. I expect even a loaded van could manage 2.5mpkWh, and with a 100kWh battery that would be good for 250 miles. 

This technology is coming faster than you think. The product cycle for a vehicle is usually 3 years development and at least 7 years production. So hardly any European volume manufacturers will be looking at developing ICE further as they wont have a market for them. All this trickles neatly into light commercial vehicles, which is what drives the van market. Once vans are all being made electric, you won't have a choice what powers your camper.    

1
In reply to BennoC:

Because, believe it or not flying a family of four is more environmentally challenging than driving. I've already made a decision that I'm not going to be flying again.

We are now in the later development cycle of battery technology using existing and "in development" technology, despite what the Tesla fanboys might think. We're merely refining the technology we have so there won't be a huge change in battery life/density over the next 5-10 years unless a completely new technology is discovered. That said, a 250 miles range in a 3.5t vehicle would (maybe) be borderline acceptable provided it can be recharged in 20mins or less, absolutely possible, but again, that level of infrastructure provided by 2030? Not a chance!

And i do have a choice, i can simply keep my vehicle or buy a new one before the rules change and continue enjoying it long after the rules change..... to be fair it would probably see my out so i'm all good

1
 jimtitt 10 Jun 2021
In reply to BennoC:

Well with last years technology it's 1.67 miles per kWh and the 100kW battery is the full load (actually you can get 106kWh but no driver). So we need the wonder batteries or of course just buy a fuel-cell van

Or start building vans from carbon nanotubes, it's a problem when the base vehicle already weights two and a quarter tons and you can only be three and a half. 100l of diesel only weighs 82kg and takes you a long way.

 wintertree 10 Jun 2021
In reply to LG-Mark:

> We are now in the later development cycle of battery technology using existing and "in development" technology

> We're merely refining the technology we have so there won't be a huge change in battery life/density over the next 5-10 years unless a completely new technology is discovered. 

What you say here is just not correct in my opinion.

There is a deep and wide R&D pipeline for battery tech, and inputs, outputs and the middle are all growing in scale over time, and the inputs and outputs continue to flow.  There has been and continues to be a progressive drop in kg/kWh and £/kWh with plenty of space between where we are now, and the physical limits of lithium technologies.  No new technology needs to be discovered for a big change in density - there's lots of space between where we are and the physical limits of lithium, and the pipeline is well primed around aluminium ion which delivers a gain of about 3x over lithium. 

The story of battery development over the last two decades is not one of "breakthroughs" and "leaps" driven by "cycles"- it's one of progressive improvements issuing continually from a deep and wide pipeline.  I've not seen any credible suggestion that the pipeline is collapsing, nor that its inputs are being starved, nor that the laws of physics limits are yet impinging on the pipeline. 

I've put a couple of plots I made two years ago for an unrelated purpose in below.  

First plot - this shows the specific energy and power as of 2019 in various battery technologies (blue text), capacitors (red text) and other systems (black text).  Interpretation is limited because overhead costs (heavy ICE engine, light EV motor) are not factored in.  The blue lines show theoretical limits for battery tech - a long way to go.

Second plot - this shows the cost of EV battery cell capacity over time; it may look like diminishing returns, but that's because we're seeing pack cost consistently halve about every 6 years.  If I'd plotted the reciprocal of this, you'd see a far more dramatic exponential growth with the quantity of storage per USD doubling every ~6 years.

>  [...] Tesla fanboys [...]

If you gave me a brand new Telsa, I'd have it on the market the next day and put the cash towards a petrol sports car as my "fair weather keeper" for the next 30 years to offset all the things I dislike about the modern cars I'll end up driving most of the time.  Driving a Tesla Model 3 LR was a crushing disappointment at the stupidity of the overall UI.

Post edited at 17:46

1
 Jamie Wakeham 10 Jun 2021
In reply to jimtitt:

I mean, no-one is claiming that you can buy an electric van that'll do 1000 miles on a single charge today.  If I needed to do that, I'd buy a diesel van.

But my 'shopping cart' (which happily carries five climbers, their gear and tents!) genuinely does 250 miles on a single charge, and for me that's already enough.  For most people, that's enough.

I think people might look back on this sort of discussion in not very many years and be surprised at the pessimism about future ranges and charge speeds.

1
 jimtitt 10 Jun 2021
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

As I noted earlier this thread isn't about shopping cars, it's about campervans.

2
 RobAJones 10 Jun 2021
In reply to jimtitt:

> As I noted earlier this thread isn't about shopping cars, it's about campervans.

The average age of a UK Campervanner is 50 and Motorhomer is 58, so many of them will be retired. I'm not sure why the ability to do 1000km on one charge is much of an issue for them

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/cars/article-9220157/Owners-motorhomes-campervans-failing-secure-vehicles.html

 wintertree 10 Jun 2021
In reply to RobAJones:

RobAJones' law - no EV needs a range larger than the driver's bladder.

Something else either not mentioned or that I missed on the thread; for the kind of camper van driver who likes to visit sites, many of these have 240 V, 16 A power hook ups, so overnight or multi-day slow charging is perfectly possible.  

I get the impression there are very distinct sorts of camper van users, as with the motorcar.  It's an ever decreasing set of users for whom EVs won't work as the steady improvements in battery capacity and price trickle by.  

2
 RobAJones 10 Jun 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> RobAJones' law - no EV needs a range larger than the driver's bladder.

You might of just brought our purchase of a new van forward by about 5 years. Mrs J is now keen to buy one before the range of new vans increases by too much.

In reply to RobAJones:

Well if I'm representative, I'm 50, and as I've said I'd think nothing of driving home to the Cuillins (500 miles) in one go. I'd stop only for fuel around Fort William and perhaps one other short stop on the way. After a few days there I'd stop again at Fort William to fill up with diesel before driving directly home.

What EV car, never mind van can do that now? 

What EV car, never mind van is scheduled for production that could do that in the foreseeable future (that would cost circa £25-£30k)?

I'm not aware of anything....?

1
 RobAJones 10 Jun 2021
In reply to LG-Mark:

My only issue with your post is that are you you representative? I'm not sure what percentage of campervan/motorhome owners are retired. Pre-covid, but post not being tied to school holidays campsites we have used in UK and Europe have generally had far fewer tents but more vans, especially mid week. 

 Misha 10 Jun 2021
In reply to LG-Mark:

Don’t know about you but on a journey to the Alps I’d stop a few times for a break as well as usually overnight on the way out. With an EV I’d get it on the superchargers without adding much time. 

 jimtitt 10 Jun 2021
In reply to RobAJones:

> The average age of a UK Campervanner is 50 and Motorhomer is 58, so many of them will be retired. I'm not sure why the ability to do 1000km on one charge is much of an issue for them

Currently it's 100km that's the challenge not 1000.

1
 RobAJones 10 Jun 2021
In reply to jimtitt:

> Currently it's 100km that's the challenge not 1000.

Sorry, accidentally added an extra zero to my post. 

 RobAJones 10 Jun 2021
In reply to Misha:

> Don’t know about you but on a journey to the Alps I’d stop a few times for a break as well as usually overnight on the way out. With an EV I’d get it on the superchargers without adding much time. 

Even when we wanted to get to the Alps quickly, when we were working. Cockermouth to Hull, overnight ferry, Rotterdam to Koblenz to have lunch with Mrs J's friends then Koblenz to Basel to spend night with friends would only involve legs of about 200 miles with at least one stop on each.

Post edited at 22:17
 Misha 10 Jun 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

I think a fair summary of this thread is isn’t not feasible at the moment but battery tech should improve so see how it goes. 

 BennoC 10 Jun 2021
In reply to LG-Mark:

I expect a Tesla model 3 long range could, with one 45 min stop. But you're right, the second hand car/van pipeline isn't full at the moment so there isn't much available for reasonable money.

If I wanted to buy a camper van right now it'd have to be diesel. But I'm not keen on vans, so I'll take the electric car and camp.

On a similar note to the poor range of electric vans is that most electric cars can't tow, which also limits their usefulness. 

 girlymonkey 10 Jun 2021
In reply to BennoC:

Ha ha, we couldn't be more different! I don't like cars and am delighted with the electric van! If I'm sleeping en route to somewhere then I can't be bothered with a tent, just sleep in the van.

We arrived at Braemar last Friday night, plugged in to the charger and jumped in the back to sleep ready for an early start on Saturday. Worked beautifully 🙂 (our van is not a "camper". I mostly use it for taking kit, dog, bikes etc. When we want to sleep in it we clean it out and put down a mattress topper to sleep on.)

 wintertree 10 Jun 2021
In reply to LG-Mark:

> Because, believe it or not flying a family of four is more environmentally challenging than driving. I've already made a decision that I'm not going to be flying again.

Keeping in mind that the thread is about camper vans, not cars...

>  That said, a 250 miles range in a 3.5t vehicle would (maybe) be borderline acceptable provided it can be recharged in 20mins or less, absolutely possible, but again, that level of infrastructure provided by 2030? Not a chance!

By the same measure, driving a 3.5 t camper van is environmental sacrilege compared to driving an efficient car.  Considering the CdA values below, a VW transporter looses about 30× as much energy to air drag as a Tesla Model 3. 
 

  • Tesla Model-3 CdA = 0.4 m²
  • VW Transporter CdA = 12 m²

Basically, full size camper vans (*) and caravans are an environmental disaster.  You use 30× as much energy to lug a house around with you, instead of driving and staying in a building or a tent at the other end.  Given that the majority of the energy used to fuel even an electric or hydrogen camper comes from fossils, and that any renewables used to fuel it would otherwise displace fossil generation on the grid, I suspect it's more environmentally friendly to fly and stay in a hotel at the other end.

Likewise rolling friction losses will be worse due to the weight, although not as catastrophically so as the drag losses.

On top of that, the assets used for a driving or flying holiday - cars or airplanes and houses/hotels/tents - are in use constantly for different people, meaning that the CO² embodied in their manufacture is always at work.  Most camper vans spend much of their time parked up, meaning that the CO² embodied in their manufacture is largely wasted and not amortised over all the different users.  

The more I think about it, the more I decide that camper vans are just a disaster from an environmental perspective.   Converting them to a hydrogen fuel cell EV or BEV basis doesn't change that, either in terms of CO² embodied in manufacture or in terms of practical decarbonisation over the next 30 years, as their energy vampire status compared to most modes of transport and the nature of renewables as displacing fossils reduces much of the environmental benefit of their motive power being electric.

(*) "stealth" camper vans in a small van with a car-like footprint are a different matter, both due to the much lower mass and CdA, and because they often get used as a daily driver as well, meaning there isn't a lot of CO² embodied in their manufacture sitting idle for 46 weeks of the year.

Post edited at 22:50
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 jimtitt 11 Jun 2021
In reply to wintertree:

Err there's a bug in your calculations. The older VW Westfalia Camper has a published Cd of 0.51 and a frontal area of around 4m² so a CdA of 2. The Transit is better with a Cd between 0.31 and 0.37 and a frontal area of around 4m² so a CdA of 1.2 or so. The Mercedes Vito gets 0.99.

Using your numbers a VW Transporter needs 450hp to go 80mph

Post edited at 06:58
 wintertree 11 Jun 2021
In reply to jimtitt:

> Err there's a bug in your calculations

Its worse than that - I looked at a table and assumed metric units.  It was square feet.  I should have engaged brain and realised those numbers were too big.  How mortifying, I’ll get my dunces cap on.

Stil the actual values are a factor 3x to 5x worse than leading cars which is still horrific from an environmental perspective and the comments on embodied CO2 stand.

In reply to Misha:

The T5/T6 brakes are specced for a loaded van, so they do last longer. I have the T32 variant which has *humongous* brakes and I'm glad they last as they cost an arm and a leg.

 BennoC 11 Jun 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

Interesting article on the BBC regarding petrol stations today:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57416829

 jimtitt 11 Jun 2021
In reply to wintertree:

I used to do Cd testing when I worked for a tuning company building race cars

About the worst thing on the road is an artic with trailer when you are up around CdA of 6, modern vans especially the lwb versions actually score fairly well. Things like a VW Transporter with a high roof on the other hand are appalling, especially with surfboards, canoes and the rest hung all over, why they creep down the motorway slip-streaming trucks!

The whole embedded CO² issue and the use of motorhomes/vans is a can of worms, a dog-old Transit with only a year or two commercial life can easily do another ten as a campervan, on the other hand a brand new conversion will never achieve a quarter of it's life mileage.

I've run six vans as race transporters when I raced motorbikes and they got about 120 days use a year so justifiable but once I cut back on the number of trips and the mileage I went back to towing with a car, the extra hassle at the weekends was outweighed by the rest of the week. Most people would be better off with a caravan but that's hardly trendy!

 Root1 11 Jun 2021
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

They're not actually claiming that you will always get this result in real world conditions.

That's my point.

But it's all the other issues such as battery ageing and low temperatures that need to be considered.

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