Are garages, supermarkets etc really going to let you park on their expensive tarmac for most of the day just to sell a few pence-worth of 'leccy?
Even the Roadster, probably the ultimate that can be achieved by e-cars, took much, much longer to get to Edinburgh than a fossil-fuelled one would have done (about 12 hours longer). Most people getting up hours before dawn would expect to have finished that journey by the afternoon: Peilow didn't get there until the early hours of the next day. Hopefully he took a nap during one or both of his lengthy charging stops for the sake of safety, as strictly speaking he shouldn't still have been driving.
If you use this sort of socket, this is mainly what your Roadster will be doing.
Then we come to the awkward fact that an awful lot of people don't have private driveways or garages, and thus won't be able to charge up EVs at home. It will be distinctly tiresome for them to have to park up for several hours minimum at a service area or supermarket car park every few days, and they probably won't be allowed to do so in many cases. Even in the present day the Beeb's Milligan encountered one public charge point whose software limited users to two hours to "stop people blocking access for everyone else": fortunately, as he needed a 10-hour charge to make it to the next one, site management altered the settings specially for him.
Garage owners, already under severe financial pressure due to the very high level of tax on motor fuel, are accustomed to being able to turn over a customer who will be spending tens of pounds every few minutes at each pump: they are simply not going to allow e-car drivers to sit on their scarce forecourt space for hours on end in order to sell a few pennies-worth of 'leccy. The same will be true, though not quite so starkly, in the case of supermarkets and service areas, both of whom work their car parks intensively.
The infrastructure required to make mass e-car use work is not, then, on the same scale as that required for internal-combustion ones: it is hugely bigger. To make it really work, pretty much every designated public or on-street parking space in the land will need to be furnished with a high-power outlet (and, more expensively, payment and metering equipment). The main cost of charging up your e-car when away from home will not be the electricity - as Llewellyn and his chums correctly say, this costs pennies (though it won't if much of it is to be generated by renewables, but let's not even get into that today). No, the main cost of charging an e-car other than at home will be the fee for the parking space and (often enough) the bedroom or waiting-room for the driver while the charging happens.
Then we come to the great unmentioned spectre of e-cars - battery wear. The reason you can't buy a Mini-E is not a sinister motor-industry conspiracy: it is the fact that "frankly, at this stage, we're not really sure about the long-term endurance of the batteries of the Mini-E", as its makers say.
Things aren't much different with the Roadster, in fact. Tesla has said that its cars are expected to lose as much as 40 per cent of their battery capacity (and thus, range between charges) during their lives: as "range anxiety" is already the defining problem of electric cars, this is potentially a very serious cloud on the horizon for them. And the Roadster is top-end, so lesser e-cars - the sort that ordinary people will actually be able to have - will probably suffer worse.
Next page: So who's really being untruthful here?
So why not just change the bloody batteries...!!
I had an electric car when I was a kid. I'd run it round and round the carpet and then, when it stopped, instead of plugging it into the mains to charge, I'd just take the old batteries out and put in a new set of HP7's!
So why this nonsensical assertion that you need to recharge the battery *IN* the car? All that is needed is simple bit of cooperation between the car manufacturers to pick a standard battery format/ layout, drive up to the garage, park in the right place and mechanical systems unplug the old battery (which is taken away for recharging), plug a new charged one in and away you go!
Charging up your battery "at the pump" makes as much sense as refining petrol at the garage!
Cheap electricity for cars? Tcha! Right.
Anyone deluding themselves that when the gubmint loses the cash cow that is hydrocarbon duty, it won't lash up the price of electricity for transport is deluded. We'll either end up with spy-in-the-sky roadpricing or astronomically priced electricity (or knowing the British government - of all hues past, present and future - both).
Can't wait for the tales on Watchdog of Mr Smith from Luton who took his electric car to France and discovered he needed an adaptor which costs £500 then went to Belgium and discovered he needed a different one, etc...
Well, I thought I should show my self important face
The Twitter tsunami was instant. 'The Register are slagging you off.' I think I should point out now that I am Robert Llewellyn, or as is so quaintly used in the sub heading, 'Kryten' 'cos that might get more hits. Cheap? Surely not.
You can see what I actually wrote here. http://llewblog.squarespace.com/electric-cars/
I read the article above, I wasn't in the least bit surprised. This Mr Lewis chap has clearly got a bee in his bonnet about the story and possibly me. The other unsurprising but much more important point is that as usual he's got completely the wrong end of a one ended stick.
Just for the record, I do have direct 1st hand experience of electric cars. I drove one pretty much every day for a year, a Mitsubishi iMiev. I drove 9,000 miles in it, at a cost of around £120. I do know what I'm talking about.
It is as plain as the plug socket you re-charge from that electric cars are presently rubbish at doing long haul travel like the trip attempted by the BBCs universally criticised Mr Milligan. Read the comments under the article, 100's of people questioning the motives of the idea.
My point is that the ridiculous adventure is the equivalent of driving a tiny diesel econobox hatchback off road around a muddy, deeply rutted forest track and proclaiming it rubbish, and 'not ready for us normal folks who can't afford a Range Rover.'
It proves nothing, teaches us nothing and is simply bad journalism. This whole caper is not about electric cars, it's about journalism. No back up facts, not comparison with how long it takes to drive in a conventional, internal combustion engine car with it's 25% efficient engine, it's massive waste of fuel, it's noise, smell and cost. But, of course, we are 'used to' such machines. They are normal, and electric cars are weird and scary and we don't want to change, or even think about change so an absurd story like this re-assures us we are right to carry on regardless.
I don't know what Tesla have said, I do know they've got their work cut out presenting anything like a balanced view in a world top heavy with rabid, 100% male petrol heads who show levels of aggression around their precious steam age tech that I would never have predicted. Now I know, I like to goad by calling ICE engines steam age tech, pistons, crank shafts, valves, flywheels, all developed in the steam age and barely adapted for the 'modern world.'
Hello internal combustion, it's 2011, can we have our world back please.
With the size and influence of the BBC, the story will have thrilled people from the Exxon boardroom all the way to... the BP boardroom.
And yes Mr Lewis, I did change my blog from 'Electric Car Ranting' to 'Electric Car' because I'm not ranting anymore, unlike the Register's Mr Lewis. I am trying to argue a point against a torrent of well funded propaganda.
I am citing no conspiracy theory, they are quite open about it. They don't want us to stop buying their product, I don't blame them, I'd do the same were I in their oily shoes.