Except maybe in Norway, an electric car remains a form of virtue signalling
The over use of the phrase “virtue signalling” is starting to bother me a bit. Sam Leith of “The Spectator” (a noted right wing publication) says it probably better than I could:
“The term ‘virtue signalling’ is not an argument but a sneer. When you say somebody is ‘virtue signalling’, you’re not bothering to commit yourself to an argument about whether the position they are taking is right or wrong. (Perhaps, indeed, you feel on sticky ground entering that argument.) Rather, you are making a groundless and unfalsifiable presumption about their motive for doing so and using that as the supposed basis to dismiss the whole shebang. It immediately, lazily and arrogantly, frames any assertion of a moral or political principle as an act of narcissism.”
Personally, for me, buying an electric car (I don’t own one, I don’t have offstreet parking, and until we get charging points in our car park it’s completely impractical) would be to reach the bliss of never having to go to a petrol station, ever again, for routine motoring. Buying petrol is my least favorite retail experience by a long shot (well apart perhaps from being dragged around the clothing aisle of SavaCentre by my mother when I was a teenager).
Yes, but not by the heat exchanger alone. Why is this so hard to understand?
Yes, by the heat exchanger alone – or at least without electrical heating. The engine creates an enormous amount of heat, and even with most of it going out of the exhaust it puts enough heat into the cooling system to pump a few litres round at 90 degrees which is enough hot liquid to keep the cabin warm no matter the OAT.
In any case a modern climate control system does not constantly heat up from the OAT a full cabin’s worth of air coming in all the time – you do not have the fascia vents blasting warm air at you at the same speed the car is moving. It lets a bit of air in, heats it, and mixes it with the air already in the cabin, and at the same time a bit exits near the rear. The air intake for the climate control system is either under the bonnet or in the front grille, so the air that comes in passes through ducting in the engine compartment (warming it) before it gets to the heat exchanger.
The limiting factor is the ability of the heat exchanger to dump heat out of the coolant. You cannot make it enormous because you’re dealing with limited space behind the fascia, and anyway you don’t want to cool the coolant right down to zero.
In the old days, we used to block off the whole radiator with a huge carboard plate in the winter.
If you’re doing that then your thermostat has failed open. No coolant leaving the engine should enter the radiator until it approaches operating temperature and the thermostat begins to open, and even then the radiator should only flow enough coolant to prevent the measured coolant temperature (as it leaves the cylinder head) going above 90 degrees. In very low OATs and with the heater on full the thermostat may hardly open at all – if it is operating correctly. True, on an older car you need to not turn the heater on until the coolant is up to temp – but with the thermostat closed and the heater off it is the same small quantity of liquid being pumped around the engine so it warms up very quickly. A modern climate control system takes care of this for you on start up, using the electrical heater (as much electricity as you like from the alternator) until the coolant is warm.
To appreciate quite how much heat an engine needs to dump via its coolant you only need to recall that it wasn’t so long ago that many British and European cars, unless kept moving at a decent speed to get airflow over the radiator, would start to overheat in ambient temperatures much above 25 degrees.
OK, I cannot go directly. I have to charge a couple of times. How do I make the best out of it. You do that by a minimal of planning and a positive attitude. You find something to do while charging. You drink a coffee, eat a dinner, read a book, comment on EuroGA. You live your life. And seriously, if you cannot do that, you have some fundamental problems.
I have some fundamental problems because I want to drive to visit my parents, two hours away, without stopping for half an hour to charge my car up? I’m afraid I subscribe to the theory of purchasing a device that’ll meet the most demanding task I’m likely to need to do, not one that’ll perform the average task but no more.
The cost thing is a hopeless discussion. In Norway it is very favorable, ridiculously so. It’s almost as the EV pays for itself. Lots of incentives and dirt cheap electricity. Other favorable places are the USA and China. The rest of Europe or the world for that matter, I don’t know.
Which model EV do you have? How much did it cost you to buy? If I sell my car now (perhaps I get £3-4k for it?) and spend £25k+ on an EV then that is an awful lot of driving to see my money back!
There is no escaping the fundamental fact that your vehicle is carrying its energy supply around in a much, much less dense form than mine – and consequently carries much, much less energy for a given weight and is therefore much more limited in how much energy is available to fulfill the mission and do ancillary things like heat the cabin. Batteries are just major limiting factor – you cannot escape it. Look at electric trains – they are either diesel-electric, or they take on their power from an external source while they move. No-one would suggest a battery-powered train because you just couldn’t carry around enough power.
The over use of the phrase “virtue signalling” is starting to bother me a bit.
That’s because you don’t live in California. Before “virtue signalling” became a meme, I used to call it “conspicuous goodness”. It is omnipresent here. What matters isn’t being good, it’s making sure everyone else knows how good you are. The catalog(ue)s with which we are constantly inundated are full of things like “your neighbors will be amazed by…”. (And being insulted by a reactionary right-wing rag doesn’t hurt very much tbh).
On the topic… here, an EV costs significantly more than an ICE one. Unless you drive crazy mileages, you will never get the money back. Electricity is mostly generated from fossil fuel – that is changing fast but still true for a while to come. So it’s not “good for the planet”, whatever that means – unlike in Norway. You could argue, I guess, that early adopters are needed to bring the price down, and if relatively wealthy people want to assume that role so their neighbo(u)rs will be impressed, sure, have at it.
It’s quite common here to see houses with two Teslas parked outside. I just can’t see the logic of that at all, except that it “impresses the neighbors”.
The logic, I believe, is that it is easier to control the process of burning of fossil fuels in an electric power generating plant than in an ICE in a car, the process is more efficient, and more expensive measures to limit environmental impact can be applied, as the cost is shared by all users of electricity. The fact that the soot is dumped “in the middle of nowhere” as opposed to “downtown LA” also has some “value”.
More and more energy is coming from more environmentally friendly sources, which also helps. In Cali, a roof full of photovoltaic cells would likely power the whole house and charge both of the Tesla’s, and I’m guessing that is the end game. The q is, how will that get taxed, but I’m sure it will be.
The q is, how will that get taxed, but I’m sure it will be.
Road pricing per km travelled seems inevitable. The irony is it will almost certainly have to be applied (at least initially) only to electric vehicles on the basis that drivers of ICE vehicles have already paid their tax at the petrol pump (and in the UK, in VED).
Or perhaps each car will have to check in online whenever it goes on or off charge, allowing the tax owed to be calculated and billed to you.
Either way, it’s a lot of surveillance and a lot of potential for government to interfere with your life and automatically sanction you when you transgress. Perhaps another reason to hang onto a simple vehicle powered by liquid fossil fuel – an isolated piece of equipment that cannot be updated, tracked, invoiced, sanctioned or deactivated remotely.
It’s going to be challenging in the UK, where the interests of drivers are a powerful electoral force. There is a long-standing tradition that existing examples of what was once allowed on the road are always allowed on the road, even if new ones aren’t allowed. Our governments do not retroactively outlaw vehicles purchased in good faith and legal at the time of purchase, whether because of emissions, safety, or any other issues.
I will own an ICE vehicle until either (a) it is illegal to do so – which will never happen in the UK – or (b) fuel for it is either unobtainable or so expensive as to be unobtainable.
A Covid-49 lockdown in the year 2050 will be much easier to enforce because governments will just remotely disable your EV.
The motoring lobby won’t allow remote disable of vehicles, and (b) fuel becoming practically unobtainable is a while off, but it will happen.
As for a “covid-49” lockdown, well, you can’t remotely disable a bicycle.
I don’t see an electric solution for trucks anytime soon, so diesel will carry on. Which is quite funny, considering diesel cars are supposedly unfashionable now
I rather like mine, with nearly 60mpg long term average, despite not hanging around.
I don’t see an electric solution for trucks anytime soon, so diesel will carry on.
Electric roads. You may say that it’s unfeasible but at least there are working proofs of concept.
If you were getting old and increasingly ‘crusty’ like me you might see that the world does not change quite as quickly as some would like it, the pendulum swings back and forth and in general something like a rational course tends to continue. People who have yet to be brainwashed and tamed are an amazing force.
BTW, part of the way I make my living is engineering electric propulsion for aircraft. One does not succeed in the world by swimming upstream when it comes to making money, you have to ‘surf’ the fads as they come and go. However in my experience one does succeed, almost always, when sticking to rationality and swimming upstream in choosing how to spend that money.
A very fair point. But I am a chicken when it comes to gambling with my own money.