Page 1

Issue 5

looking forward to our renewable future

electric cars

here to stay this time?

plus: exible solar: gadget focus: news: and so much more...


climate: the carbon

gap is widening says new report (page 6)


introducing the ‘green solution house’ in denmark (page 8)

page - In The News page 17 6 - Crowdfunding A selection of the more intersting renewable energy stories fromscarce, the last remain willfew theweeks movement towards crowd-funding prove to be the perfect solution for clean technology projects?

food: ‘natural’

microwave method for 60-day bread (page 12)

wind: wyoming to

host america’s biggest wind farm yet (page 14)

buildings: new

bluetooth device measures power at the plug (page 15) 2

Solar: rolls (page 16)

transport: ‘running on air’, urban cars powered by compressed air (page 20)

page - In The News page 17 6 - Crowdfunding A selection of the more intersting renewable energy stories fromscarce, the last remain willfew theweeks movement towards crowd-funding prove to be the perfect solution for clean technology projects?

storage: lithium

battery market to grow (page 22)

electric vehicles:

a comprehensive buyer’s guide by Dr Ben Lane (page 24)

books: all you

need to know about renewable energy sources (page 39)

welcome Welcome to this, the 5th issue of 2050 magazine.

As you might have noticed already, it’s an electric cars special and we’re a no nonsense guide to buying the electric car of your dreams written by com.

So whether you’re interested in electric cars for their lower environment informed decision before parting with your cash.

Which is more than my next door neighbour had at his disposal in 1983 vision of Sir Clive Sinclair’s C5. A decision a particularly cruel gang of sch question with their daily enquiries as to whether he wanted to race them that should make it a bit fairer.”

The C5 was, let’s face it, way too slow and way too low. Not a good get-aw situations that’s for sure.. Mind you, it still sold 17,000 units - an electric vehicle record surpassed

As you will see from the guide, things have moved on a bit Since Sir Cliv

He did get the las impudent schoolk buy one of those they would now b vehicular history,

Which reminds m from that era, the once famously sa when I told them Well, I’ll tell you w

If they do ever br whistles and bells sale. Provided tha outrun my next d 4

tal impact, their power, their low

ABOUT US: 2050 Magazine is all about renewable energy and our journey towards the day when the whole world will have access to cheap, clean, sustainable sources of energy. Something which we think will happen by 2050. As long as we all pull together and do our bit. This is our bit.

when he bought into the futuristic hoolkids from the area decided to m to the end of the street.

EDITORIAL: We are very fortunate to have constant access to an incredibly talented pool of people, some of them with decades of

way vehicle in jeering juvenile mob

They tell us things and we write it down and add pretty pictures. Then we send it, all wrapped up in tinsel, to the world at large. That’s it in a nutshell really.

very proud to be able to bring you y Dr Ben Lane from NextGreenCar.

only recently by the Nissan Leaf.

ve’s day. I sometimes wonder what

st laugh though. For if any of those kids had saved up their pennies to £399 C5s instead of deriding it, be proud owners of a unique piece of , worth a cool £10k.

me of the words of another wise man e comedian Bob Monkhouse, who aid, “All my friends laughed at me m I was going to become a comedian. what, they aren’t laughing now.”

ring out the C6, with all its modern s, they’re assured of at least one at is, they make it fast enough to door neighbour’s kids.

DISTRIBUTION: 2050 is a free publication which is distributed around the world through a variety of ‘friend’ networks. We are currently connected to more than 1 million supporters. A number which is growing on a daily basis. Please feel free to pass us on to your own networks if you think they might be interested in keeping in touch with what’s going on in the world of sustainable energy. PUBLISHERS: Planet B Ventures and Legwork and Whispers Publishing. CONTACT: Editorial: Advertising:


‘mind the gap! Latest UN Report Finds That The Gap Between Greenhouse Reduction Targets And Reality Is Widening Rather Than Diminishing “Not only have we not made progress (on limiting greenhouse gas emissions), we are actively moving in the wrong direction. The world, having broken the speed limit, is putting its foot down on the pedal, even though it knows there is a T-junction ahead.” (UNEP executive director Achim Steiner.) Just a week ahead of the annual

United Nations negotiations on climate change in Qatar, the organization released a report concluding that global greenhouse gas emissions are actually rising rather than falling. The report, authored by 55 scientists from 22 countries and coordinated by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), concluded that while we are currently spewing out 49 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per year, that amount needs to be reduced to 44Gt by 2020 if we are to have any chance of keeping average global warming below the internationally agreed target of 2 degrees Celcius by century end. The report also restated that in order to maintain


that 2°C target, global emissions from the power sector; 1.4Gt to 2.9Gt would then have to be further reduced from buildings; and 1.7Gt to 2.5Gt to 37Gt by 2030 (1990 levels) and from transportation. then continue falling to 21Gt by 2050. The bad news, according to the

so what?

things are headed right now, we’re actually looking at 58Gt by 2020 and that even if all existing governmental pledges around the world were to be achieved, the total would still reach 52Gt. A gap therefore of somewhere between 8 and 14Gt.

“In any approach, real measures will be required if we are to bring about the emission reduction. There is ample realistic potential to reduce emissions to close the emissions gap, and at least a third of that is in the

The report comes hot on the heels, if you’ll excuse the gallows humour, of a recent World Meteorological Organisation report that global emissions reached record highs last year, and the World Bank’s prediction that we are currently heading for a 4 degree Celcius rise by 2100.

Many measures have the potential for environmental and economical

The good news however, said Steiner, is that technologically and economically we are still capable of achieving that 2 degree target, if only we could all just get our act together and start doing something. He didn’t use those exact words (or indeed the tempted to use) but that was the gist. “There is great alarm and concern about where we are in 2012, but it is he said. The report even goes on to suggest where 17Gt of savings can still realistically be made including 1.5Gt to 4.6Gt from industry; 2.2Gt to 3.9Gt

greenhouse gas emission reduction only. Solar PV technology for example, is developing at an incredible pace, bringing down cost, and ramping up application by over 50% per year. It is now within our reach to take global solar PV capacity to 1.6 Terawatts (1.6 million Megawatts) by 2020, which will reduce emissions by 1.4 billion tonnes of CO2 per year. Other technologies like LED-lighting, electric vehicles and EV batteries, are developing quickly as well.” (K. Blok, N. Höhne, K. van der Leun, and N. Harrison of ECOFYS – from their article ‘Wedging The Gap’ in 2050 Magazine Issue 2.)

sustainable building Danish Hotel and Conference Center “Green Solution House” To Take

Danish practice 3XN is the architect behind a new experimental conference center and hotel where everything is adapted to the circulation of nature and where guests will get an idea of how it feels to live in a world without waste. The Green Solution House conference center on the Danish island of Bornholm is designed and developed in accordance with the principles of ‘Cradle 2 8

Cradle®’. This means that all materials used in the building are either fully recyclable or biodegradable. Hence, the building design takes on the ambition to

eliminate the concept of waste. “In Denmark, the construction industry alone is responsible for 30% of all waste

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sustainable building

cont... generated. Waste that puts an enormous burden on the environment, but with Green Solution House we demonstrate that this is a problem, which we can actually solve,” said 3XN’s project manager Kasper Guldager Jørgensen, “Eliminating waste means that everything must be part of a circulation. Thus, the building is designed for disassembly and recyclable materials. Solar energy produces the energy consumed in the building, rain water is collected and water used is biologically cleaned and reused. Integrated green houses produce organic fruits and vegetables for the hotel restaurant. Further, from running the center is either recycled or composted.” (source: e-architect.

so what? “Building structures problem than either the equipment they contain or automobiles due to their long lifetimes and slow replacement rates. Whereas vehicles and appliances wear out buildings typically last for the better part of a century. Most buildings were constructed during the years when energy was cheap, and as a result, they were not designed or built with mind. The overall number of buildings in (for example) the United States, is growing by only 1 to 2 percent per year. Hence a major reduction in building energy consumption must involve both improvements in existing buildings and new construction. “Fortunately, widespread


use of existing energy and those that can be developed over the near term would eliminate a sizable portion of the current waste of reducing building energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. For the foreseeable future, reducing primary energy consumption through improved remain far cheaper than expanding renewable energy production. (American Physical Society, ‘Energy Future:

of A Loaf Of Bread To 60 Days And Eliminate Need For Preservatives and Masking Chemicals The same process also works with other food types including poultry, fruit and vegetables.

so what? When you consider that in developed countries about one third of all bread made is thrown away mouldy, it’s fair to say that if someone could come up with a way to extend its shelf life to 60 days without imparing taste, it would be welcomed as something of a breakthrough. A breakthrough an American company called Microzap claims to have made.

Food waste is a huge problem in many developed countries. In the United States for example, a report this year suggests that the average household wastes about 40% of all the food they purchase adding up to a whacking $165bn. To put that in perspective, enough money down the drain to pay for the entire Eurozone Stability Fund in just 5 years.

And for those of you who are inevitably Using their specially thinking, ‘That’s all very designed microwavewell but who’s going processing machine to buy bread that lasts the company says it that long?’, bear in is able to eliminate mind that the current mould spores from bread baking process already 12

tries to eliminate mould spores from bread using preservatives which in turn require further taste masking chemicals. What would you rather have? Zapped, chemicalfree bread that lasts for 60 days or chemical-rich loaves that can barely make it to the end of the week? (2050) “The process also eliminates other dangerous bacterias such as salmonella. “In 2011, food giant Cargill had to recall 16 million kg of the a salmonella outbreak. Using our microwaves way of treating this and several other products ranging from jalapenos to pet foods.” (Microzap Chief Executive Don Stull from its laboratory on the campus of Texas Tech University in Lubbock.)


USA: Wyoming To Host US’s Largest Wind Farm Capable Of Powering 1 Million Homes

yet built in the US. The project will see 1,000, 3-megawatt turbines erected on a 320,000 acre site. The project will see the US’s total wind power capacity on public lands rise to 10,000 megawatts, a target set by President Barack Obama in his State of the Nation speech late last year. “When President Obama expanding production of American-made energy a priority, including making our nation a world leader in harnessing renewable energy,” said Salazar. “Wyoming has some of the best wind energy resources in the world, and there’s no doubt that this project has the potential to be a landmark example for the nation.”

The US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has just approved the use of a site in Wyoming for a proposed wind farm project which will be the largest of its kind 14

so what? Construction of new wind power generation capacity in the United States has accelerated

last decade and total installed power now stands at just short of 52,000 megawatts, second only to China. The US generated enough electricity from wind in the year up to and including July 2012 to satisfy the energy thirsts of over 11 million US households annually. Or, to put it another way, the total energy demands of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg combined. The US wind industry has created many thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of economic activity. Wind farm projects such as this one generate local and federal tax revenue at the same time as helping to revitalize rural economies by allowing farmers to earn a consistent return from wind turbines on their land. The U.S. Department of Energy’s goal is for wind to provide 20% of the country’s total electricity generation by 2030.

the Meterplug A Simple, Plug-In Device To Help Monitor Domestic Electrical Consumption While still in preproduction, the Meterplug is a gadget which promises not only to tell you exactly how much each electricallypowered device in your house is using at any given time, but also, through its Bluetooth 4.0 capability, help you plan and control that consumption as

of electricity that particular appliance is using. It then sends the information via Bluetooth to an app on your smart phone (or other Bluetooth enabled computery type things) and converts it into a cash equivalent depending upon your It will also be able

Thereby cutting down on both cost and appliance connected unnecessary greenhouse to it (particularly those emissions. which consume power on standy – a very MeterPlug is essentially real concept known as a plug sized device ‘vampire power’). which sits between your electrical appliance and The device is currently your mains socket and in pre-production and measures the amount will be at least partly

funded by a campaign currently coming to a conclusion on the crowd-funding website, ($78,000 already raised against an original target of $70k). The funding campaign would suggest that the gadgets will be retailing for $60 each when they start shipping in April this year. A tad on the pricey side perhaps, but there doesn’t seem to be anything to stop you using it as a measuring device for all your most obvious appliances and then plonking it, in mode, next to whichever one turns out to be the thirstiest. Scaled up production will hopefully see the unit price fall reasonably quickly though.

so what? Information is power. Need we say more?


any surface from business cards to roofs to windowpanes. For all their promise, solar cells have frustrated scientists in one crucial regard – most are rigid, reports Stanford University’s Glen Martin


They must be deployed their applications. So researchers have been trying to get photovoltaics to loosen up.

Now the ideal is real. Stanford researchers have succeeded in developing the

greatly limiting their uses, says Chi Hwan Lee, lead author of the paper and a PhD candidate in mechanical engineering.

cells. The advance is described in a paper in the December 20th

And while the development of


promised to inject

Unlike standard

into the technology, explains Xiaolin Zheng, a Stanford assistant professor of mechanical engineering and senior author of the paper, scientists found that use of alternative substrates was problematic in the extreme.

decal-like solar panels like band-aids and stuck to virtually any surface, from papers to window panes.

peel-and-stick thinrequire any direct carrier substrate. This is a far more dramatic development than it may initially seem. All the challenges associated with putting solar cells on unconventional materials are avoided with the new process, vastly expanding the potential applications of solar technology.

so what? cells are traditionally and glass substrates,

“Nonconventional or ‘universal’ substrates photovoltaics because they typically have irregular surfaces and they don’t do well with the thermal and chemical processing necessary to produce today’s solar cells,” Zheng says. “We got around these problems by developing this peel-and-stick


cont... process, which

Utilizing the process, researchers attached

attachment potential to paper, plastic and we’ve never seen window glass, among before, and also reduces other materials. their general cost and weight.” didn’t lose any of the

says Zheng. The new process involves a unique silicon, silicon dioxide and metal “sandwich.” First, a 300-nanometer

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Xiaolin Zheng (Photo: John Todd)


deposited on a silicon/ ready to peel from the silicon dioxide (Si/SiO2) wafer. To remove it, wafer. the wafer is submerged in water at room temperature and the then deposited on the edge of the thermal nickel layer utilizing release tape is peeled standard fabrication back slightly, allowing techniques, and water to seep into and covered with a layer of penetrate between protective polymer. A the nickel and silicon thermal release tape dioxide interface. is then attached to the The solar cell is thus solar cells to augment freed from the hard substrate but still production wafer and attached to the thermal onto a new substrate. release tape. The solar cell is now

“There’s also no waste. The (Si) wafer is typically undamaged of the solar cells, and can be reused.” While others have been successful in substrates before, of existing processes or materials, notes Lee.

“The main contribution of our work is that Zheng and team heat we have done so the tape and solar cell without modifying to 90°C for several any existing processes, seconds, and the cell facilities or materials, can then be applied to making them viable virtually any surface commercially. And we using double-sided tape have demonstrated or other adhesive. our process on a more diverse array of Finally, the thermal substrates than ever release tape is removed, before,” Lee says. leaving just the solar cell attached to the “Now you can put them chosen substrate. on helmets, cell phones, convex windows, Tests have portable electronic demonstrated that the devices, curved roofs, peel-and-stick process clothing – virtually reliably leaves the thin- anything,” says Zheng. intact and functional, Zheng says.


running on air The compressed air-powered Tata miles with ‘fuel’ costs of 3 euro cents per mile.

Indian car manufacturer, Tata Motors, has unveiled a prototype of its Airpod model, which has been designed to run entirely on compressed air and provide a driving range of up to 125 miles per tank.

The Airpod, which uses technology developed by MDI in Luxembourg, runs on three wheels and is controlled using a joystick rather than a steering wheel. It uses pneumatic motors, which utilise pressurised air to drive the car’s

pistons. According to the the Airpod will be able to reach a top speed of about 50 miles per hour. The Airpod is a little more practical than a ‘covered’ motorbike in that it will be able to carry three people at a time including the driver, albeit with the third passenger having to sit facing the back window. Tata expect to be able to get the price for the Airpod down to about 7,000 euros each and are planning to launch it in India.

so what? Its lightweight design (just under 300kg) means it will require less raw materials and energy to manufacture than a standard compact; Zero emissions from driving; At just 7,000 euros, it will be considerably cheaper to buy than most battery-powered cars; Refueling can be done at home using the car’s inbuilt air compressor (3.5 hours) or at service stations (3 minutes); Low running costs: approximately 18 kilowatt hours per charge, which, at a rate of 20 euro cents per kWh equates to 3.60 euros per charge/125 miles; The energy required for compressing air is produced at large centralized plants, making it less costly

to manage carbon emissions than from individual vehicles; Low maintenance costs as it doesn’t require a cooling system, spark plugs, starter motor, The rate of selfdischarge is very low compared to batteries that deplete their charge slowly over time. Therefore, the vehicle longer periods of time than electric cars;

a battery-powered car of a comparable size; in terms of energy conversion. The overall using compressed air energy storage is in the 5 – 7% range compared to the ‘well conventional internal combustion engines at about 14%; It looks ridiculous. the bottom line The Airpod may not

Reduction or elimination of hazardous chemicals as a lithium batterysuch as gasoline or powered vehicle but its battery acids/metals; low production costs will make it a very It looks great. interesting proposition for the fast-growing urban transport sector. Using electricity from Like battery-powered a renewable source cars, compressed airsuch as wind (what powered cars like the beautiful synergy) the Airpod require electrical Airpod, with its low energy to ‘re-fuel’ in material and production terms of the electricity energy requirements, needed to run its could become the most compressor. Current environmentally friendly research suggests that road vehicle yet. the Airpod will use about twice as much And for the record, we electricity in this way as think it looks great.


grow from $1.6 billion in 2012 to almost $22 billion by 2020 The tipping point for the mainstream acceptance of electrically-powered cars may already be with us, according to a study by US-based market analysts, Pike Research.


Illustration by Livvy McSweeney

Their research suggests that there are (and will continue to be) 3 main reasons why car manufacturers around the world are ramping up the production of electric cars: a) newly enacted fuel economy standards; powered vehicles; and c) advances in battery technology. “In 2012, Toyota introduced the

so what? Notwitstanding the views of committed ‘petrol heads’ such as Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, the production costs of electric cars – the principle determinant of which has always been the battery – are falling fast as all the major car manufacturers begin to reap the rewards of extensive research and technology improvements. A trend which is likely to continue as economies of scale also kick in.

metal hydride (NiMH) batteries to Li-ion represents a major endorsement of this chemistry as well as its ability to perform consistently in an automotive environment.

According to the U.S. Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration, transportationrelated carbon dioxide emissions account for about a third of total global carbon dioxide emissions.

“The immediate future looks to be secure for the Li-ion chemistry, although there are many variants still under development to improve performance and reduce cost. The technology continues to improve, and leading battery cell manufacturers have built new factories utilizing the latest production techniques including greater automation and faster throughput.”

Further research by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2011 calculated that an average, mid-sized family vehicle emits 5.1 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year into the atmosphere. Which means that if you were to load all the carbon emitted in a year by all the working cars currently in existence, into a freight train, it would be long enough to reach the moon and back.

The Pike Research report goes on to predict that the overall market Food for thought, what? for Li-ion batteries in light duty transportation will grow from $1.6 billion in 2012 to almost $22 billion in 2020.


ELECTRIC CAR BUYING GUIDE Low-emission vehicle specialist, Dr Ben Lane from UK-based ‘’ gives our knowledge batteries a boost as he throws some light on the With several new electric models hitting the streets in recent years, and the Plug-in Car Grant now in place, the future promises to be an exciting one for electric cars. Indeed, buying an electric car is now a real option as a number of major manufacturers launch high quality, fully electric models onto the UK market. But who should buy an electric car? There are three key issues that determine whether a battery electric car is right for you. b) Is your daily mileage under 100 miles? c) Are you looking to buy a new car? parking area to be able to recharge an electric car overnight, the most common form of recharging method. Recent research suggests that around 80% of UK car-owning households already have access to

Dr Ben Lane is Managing Editor responsible for site content at and the Green Car Rating methodology. His career has spanned both academic research and independent consultancy in technology and the environment and he has worked within both the public and private sectors. Ben is also the director of Sustainable Transport Solutions (STS). 24

right: BMW i3 electric RENAULT Twizy PEUGEOT iOn SMART ed.


NISSAN Leaf TOYOTA Yaris (hybrid) CITROEN C Zero


urban, and >95% rural). Unless proper provision is made with the permissions of your local authority, it is not advisable to trail an electric cable across pavements or other public areas to connect a car parked on-street to your household electricity supply. Second, your driving mileage needs to be limited to less than around 100 miles per day, preferably on a regular route that you know well. For example, regular commuting trips are well suited to electric cars. Around twothirds of commuting trips are less than 10 miles and, they are routine journeys for which the driver knows what to expect with respect to distance, route, congestion, road conditions and parking.

Third, you need to

would be bought to replace a second or new car – very few third car, research electric cars (as shows that once opposed to electric an electric car is quadricycles) are yet purchased by a available on the used household, it tends car market. And, as to be preferred for all is discussed later in short local trips, with the guide, electric the other ‘main’ car only being used for more expensive than longer journeys. their conventional equivalents, a For a BEV to be right situation likely to for you, you need to remain the case for have: (1) access to some time. for place to charge, Recent trials (2) be looking to buy have also made a a car new, (3) be useful observation prepared to pay more regarding the way upfront for your car electric cars are used knowing that car use within multi-car costs are likely to be owning households. less, (4) be prepared While manufacturers to have a car with a initially thought 70-100 mile range that electric vehicles between charges,

transport and (5) be an early adopter who wants to have the latest gizmos – its going to get the neighbours talking for sure.

for decades, only recently have the major manufacturers invested in high quality electric models to meet the needs of the twenty-

also being rapidly developed across the UK.

While a number of specialist companies had already What models are developed small involved increasing electric city cars driving range and (which are actually Although electric reducing vehicle price. legally classed as vehicles have A new recharging ‘quadricycles’) – been available infrastructure is including the Reva

Tesla Model S 28

G-WIZ micro-car and the MEGA City – more recently, mainstream major manufacturers likely to follow suit in the next two years. With this accelerated development, the price of electric cars is also falling. Although they remain more expensive than conventional cars, some new electric models such as the Nissan LEAF are now priced at around £25,000, supported by the new Plug-in Car Grant worth up to £5,000, which is available for the purchase of selected new electric vehicles in the UK. That said, a recent report by LowCVP clearly shows that (on average) electric cars will continue to have higher whole life costs at least until 2030 – see also EV costs. receive the Plug-in Car Grant, which Emission Vehicles (OLEV) – no application forms are required as the dealership completes all the necessary paperwork on the buyer’s behalf and the grant is automatically deducted from the vehicle price at the point of purchase. Electric Vehicle Costs The costs of owning an electric car are conventional vehicle. Upfront capital costs (purchase price) tend to be higher than for petrol and diesel cars, whereas running costs (fuel, maintenance, car tax) tend to be lower. Electric vehicles are more expensive to buy than their petrol or diesel equivalents. Typically for new cars, the price is increased by 30 - 50% in cases where the battery is purchased outright.

transport However, since January 2011, the Plug-in Car Grant has subsidised the purchase of qualifying battery electric and plug-in hybrid cars worth 25% of the cost of the vehicle up to a maximum of £5,000.

Only new cars are eligible; including pre-registration conversions (cars converted to battery or hybrid registration).

to reach a speed of at least 60 mph. Both private car eligible to receive the new grant, which is administered

The vehicle’s tailpipe Low Emission emissions must be 75 Vehicles (OLEV) – no The models that gCO2/km or less. applications forms qualify for the Grant are required as the currently include nine Electric vehicles (EVs) dealership completes electric and plug-in must have a range of all the necessary hybrid cars. at least 70 miles. paperwork on the buyer’s behalf and the To be eligible under Plug-in hybrid EVs grant is automatically the grant scheme (PHEVs) must have deducted from the vehicles must satisfy an electric range of at vehicle price at the demanding criteria least 10 miles. point of purchase. including: Vehicles must be able New electric cars RENAULT Fluence


Electric cars use an on-board battery to store electrical energy, which is recharged by connecting it to an electricity supply (usually the ‘mains’). When required, energy is drawn from the electric-cells and converted to motive power by the use of one or more electric motors. Battery and motor technology A battery is constructed from stacking individual electro-chemical ‘cells’, each of which produces a voltage (typically 2V) that is the result of a chemical reaction within the cell. Although the lead-acid battery was the most common electric vehicle battery until the late 1990s, the latest generation of rechargeable cells includes lithium-ion (Li-Ion) and lithiumin performance and vehicle range and are now preferred by most electric vehicle manufacturers. First generation electric vehicles used direct current (dc) motors. More recent models tend to convert the direct current to alternating current (ac) using an inverter, which then drives disadvantages include higher costs and increased complexity of the controller, which needs to both act as an inverter and regulate the motor’s speed. Some electric vehicles also use ‘regenerative braking’, which tops up the battery when the brakes are applied – this can increase vehicle range by as much as 20%. Range anxiety waning The network of public charging points across the UK is growing all the time. It currently stands at around 3,000 points and is expected to rise to around 10,000 in the next couple of years. Locations can be seen on Zap-Map, Next Green Car’s map (

transport such as the Nissan LEAF are now priced at around £25,000 (including the Plugin Car Grant). That said, a recent report by LowCVP clearly shows that (on average) electric cars will continue to have higher whole life costs at least until 2030.

cost around £250£1000, depending

uncertainty about

installation. Fully installed ‘fast’ and ‘rapid’ charging points cost between £5,000-£20,000 per point (depending on whether an on-board

leasing prices which tend to be higher than for similar conventional cars.

Additional costs are also incurred by electric vehicle users who install recharging equipment. While standard 13 A 3-pin sockets can be used for most electric cars, installation costs for a circuit protected ‘slow’ charging point

As electric vehicles tend to have a high purchase price but low running costs, leasing may be a better proposition – indeed, some models (or battery packs) are only available on lease for this very reason. Also, leasing removes some of the

MITSUBISHI i Miev 06 32

charging system is used).

3-4 years – although this uncertainty

(Note: At you models’ page which shows both a guide lease and buy price; if you are interested in leasing the people at will be happy to get you a personal quote from their green car leasing partner.)

conventional (combustion engine) vehicle. Forward drive is usually selected in much the same way as in an automatic – and another similarity is that there is no clutch pedal. On depressing the accelerator, an electric car initially moves in almost total silence, which can be a little disconcerting. As the speed picks up, the small amount of ‘engine’ noise that can be heard is drowned out by wind and tyre noise, which become more noticeable as the speed increases. Most electric vehicles have excellent acceleration and high torque (especially at lower speeds) and are more than capable of holding their own in city-driving conditions. Although some models are designed as city cars and are speed limited to around 40-50 mph, most of the newer high quality models can easily reach 60-70 mph on a motorway. Electric cars can also be high performance vehicles – the Tesla roadster is capable of 130 mph and goes from 0 to 60 mph in 4 seconds! Current electric cars have a range and performance that is adequate for many driving applications including: city driving, commuting, regular drive cycles (such as delivery routes), short range trips (up to 100 miles per day) and where only zero or low emission vehicles are allowed access. As a result, electric cars are most suited for use as private cars for city use, for commuting cars. FAQ: I would be happy to accept a shorter range and slower top possible? If so how much cheaper would the low-tech option be? short, medium or long range with prices to match – a little like the do just this with their Sedan S which will be available by 2013.

transport Electric car running costs

(electricity only attracts 5% VAT)


Greener Vehicle Discount on Congestion Charge

the costs of running an electric car (in the While electric UK). vehicles may be expensive to buy Zero-rated car tax or lease, electric (Vehicle Excise Duty) cars and vans are exempt from Vehicle Zero-rated fuel tax Excise Duty (‘car


tax’). Owners of electric vehicles will therefore save around £130 per year compared to an average conventional petrol or diesel car (VED Band F). Fuel costs are also very low due to the competitive price of electricity (fuel duty is zero-rated)

and to the high

How green are electric cars?

vehicles themselves – fuel costs can be as low as 2.0p per mile (depending on

Electric vehicles are zero-emission at point of use. However, emissions are produced during the generation of electricity, the amount depending on the method of generation. Therefore, the emissions need to be considered on a lifecycle basis so as to include power station emissions.

mileage of around 10,000 miles per year, switching from a conventional to an electric car or van could save you around £800 in fuel costs alone. For drivers in and around London, the other major running cost to consider is the Congestion Charge. All electric cars currently receive the full Greener Vehicle Discount on the London Congestion Charge (although vehicles need to be registered and pay an annual £10 fee). With a £10 payable daily charge, this could provide a potential annual saving of over £2000.

Climate change For greenhouse gases (such as CO2), electric cars charged using average UK ‘mains’ of around 40% compared to a small petrol car (tailpipe 130 gCO2/km). However, if an electric car is compared with electric car using average ‘grid’ electricity is reduction. The reduction in carbon emissions is mainly due to the fact that electric cars are vehicles. So-called ‘regenerative braking’, which returns energy to the battery when the brakes are applied, also improves fuel Larger carbon reductions are likely as the UK grid continues to ‘decarbonise’. Of course, if renewable or ‘green zero.

TESLA Roadster


FISKER Karma RIMAC Concept One JAGUAR XJ Electric EXAGON Furtive e-GT VENTURI America CADILLAC ELR Coupe ROLLS ROYCE 102 eX FORD Focus Electric 36

Local air quality For regulated emissions, including nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulates (PMs), electric cars using average ‘mains’ electricity are increased. However, as these are emitted from power-stations which are well away from urban areas, their overall impact tends to be much less than when emitted from the exhausts of petrol and diesel cars. As is the case with greenhouse gas emissions, if renewable electricity is used, then lifecycle regulated emissions are also virtually eliminated.

can also increase levels of air pollutants leading to higher rates health in areas where resources (such as lithium) are extracted for battery production. Indeed, the sourcing of lithium remains contentious relating to the level of reserves and the local impacts on human health where lithium is mined. Taken overall, and given that current road transport is responsible the impact on human health is likely to be reduced within urban areas, well away from the centres of battery production, due to the fact that most ULCVs are zero-emission at the point of use.



Renewable Energy Sources By D Vargoncik, M Sovadina, E Bromova Published by: Simopt Reviewed by Jan Willem Bode I remember reading one control. though I can’t remember

an iBook rather than a

managed to make

are currently being

books implemented.

on one hand to make a lot more in-depth are much more important

guarantee that you through it. And then at the end

the pub. And you can climate change. So not

books brief to do the topic

normally do for a book you check the table chapter on energy from through a couple of

enjoyed reading it and number of people that

took me a lot longer to than anticipated.

Issue 5 of  

Issue 5 about electric vehicles, renewable energy news, etc

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