Fossil fuelled cars produce up to 400 times more waste than electric vehicles, new study claims

Published 01 March 2021

Petrol and diesel cars produce hundreds of times more waste than electric vehicles (EVs), according to a new study from a clean transport campaign group.

Research from Transport and Environment (T&E), found that the weight of resources required to run fossil fuel cars is 300 to 400 times higher than those needed for EVs.

Roughly 30kg of raw materials is used during the life of an EV, once recycling rates are factored in, compared to 17,000 litres of petrol or 13,500 litres of diesel burned during the lifetime of ICE vehicles, the analysis estimates.

Unlike fossil fuel-powered cars, electric car batteries are part of a circular economy loop where battery materials can be reused and recovered to produce more batteries. Emissions associated with electric cars are mainly produced in the manufacturing of batteries, while the vast majority of emissions linked to ICE vehicles are based on use.

Today, the majority of battery cells and packs are produced in Asia. However, there are 22 battery gigafactories planned to be set up in the next decade in the EU and UK.

EV Charging

"When it comes to raw materials there is simply no comparison," claims Lucien Mathieu, transport and e-mobility analyst at T&E.

"Over its lifetime, an average fossil fuel car burns the equivalent of a stack of oil barrels, 25 storeys high. If you take into account the recycling of battery materials, only around 30kg of metals would be lost - roughly the size of a football."

Increasing rates of battery production will require more mining of minerals such as lithium, cobalt and nickel. However, while conceding that the dramatic acceleration of battery materials required to phase-out fossil fuel equivalents "has its challenges", T&E says these issues "pale in comparison" to the environmental toll exacted by existing fossil fuel-based vehicles.

Over the coming decade, the amount of lithium, nickel and cobalt required for each new electric car is expected to drop - mitigating some of the increased demand for the materials as well as lowering prices. The study also predicts that more than a fifth of the lithium and nickel, and 65 per cent of the cobalt, will be recycled by 2035.

According to its calculations, T&E claims a battery-electric car uses on average 58 per cent less energy than a petrol car over its lifetime, while emitting 64 per cent less carbon dioxide.

According to Energy UK, around 30 per cent of the UK's energy now comes from renewable sources - including wind, wave and solar power - while the remaining 70 per cent comes from fossil fuels. By 2030, the Government says it will increase its renewable energy usage to around 40 per cent.

Comments

Andyvtr    on 1 March 2021

More propaganda to back a lame horse! Lithium, cobalt & nickel mining are not what I'd class as 'environmentally friendly', coupled with low recycling rates. Green hydrogen & fuel cell for me, until then ICE and cycling (& not an electric bike either!)

Fussy one    on 1 March 2021

You have failed to mention the increased demand for copper to produce the motors or the wastage caused generating all the electricity we will need to charge all the EVs. If you are going to publish such articles at least tell the whole story, not a slanted version. Hydrogen is the fuel of the future in my opinion.

Norwblue    on 2 March 2021

You have failed to mention the increased demand for copper to produce the motors or the wastage caused generating all the electricity we will need to charge all the EVs. If you are going to publish such articles at least tell the whole story, not a slanted version. Hydrogen is the fuel of the future in my opinion.

I quite agree. No mention is made of the increased generation capacity required to meet the increased electricity demand, nor of the system reinforcement required, not only of the high voltage transmission system but also of the low voltage distribution network - which could means some streets being dug up to install larger 415/240V cabling to meet the charging current demand (to say nothing of the coming switch from gas to electric domestic heating). This is the outcome of having daydreamers, accountants, lawyers and graduates in classics running the country instead of people like scientists and professional engineers who actually understand the technical issues involved in de-carbonising energy.

The only rational use of intermittent wind and solar generation is the electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen, which can be stored and used for heating and transportation.

tall and hairy    on 2 March 2021

According to the Nation Grid themselves even if my fairy god mother converted every car to EV overnight we would use no more electricity as a nation than we did back in 2002!

If we could afford a grid and generation capacity with 20 year old technology Im sure we could it again today!

Streets have to be dug up as we replace and renew our infrastructure anyway, they always have they always will do.

Edited by HJ Editor on 10/03/2021 at 12:01

rob352    on 2 March 2021

''You have failed to mention the increased demand for copper to produce the motors or the wastage caused generating all the electricity we will need to charge all the EVs. If you are going to publish such articles at least tell the whole story, not a slanted version. Hydrogen is the fuel of the future in my opinion.''

I totally agree with the above comment - the rates of recycling quoted in this article by 2035 for EVs are low and do not even show what they are now, which means they are currently miniscule. A traditional vehicle is highly recyclable by comparison. The environmental destruction caused by rare metal mining in third world countries is horrendous and involves underage labour and the pollution of the surrounding environment. The generation of electricity to charge these vehicles is itself a low efficiency process, largely burning fossil fuels to produce the electricity. Energy is lost at all all stages of conversion, and transmission, so fossil fuel to electricity to battery is less efficient than direct burning of the fossil fuel. Hydrogen fuel cells are far cleaner, produce no waste and do not deplete any finite natural resources, which we can use more productively elsewhere, eg for domestic solar panels. Finally, we don't need rare earth metal batteries in cars, we need graphene batteries, which can charge immediately and have no disposal problems as carbon can be recycled continually. The massive infrastructure for electric charging should be included in these figures too. Graphene would eliminate long charge periods, so traditional fuel stations could be converted and a top-up would be as quick as a current fossil fuel re-fuel. We are going to waste £ billions on this false start - wait and get it right with hydrogen or graphene!

Graham W5    on 4 March 2021

Strictly batteries do not use rare earth metals, but Petrol cars do in the catalytic converters. The issue with Hydrogen is you either get it from Natural gas, so still a greenhouse gas or you make it by electrolysis of water. The problem is it takes about 3 times the energy to make the Hydrogen to power a car as it does to put the electricity into a battery. It is also difficult to store the Hydrogen. This make Hydrogen expensive and whilst the increase in power capacity to power EVS is very manageable the amount of increased capacity to produce the hydrogen for the mass adoption of hydrogen cars would be a much bigger problem. The cars are also more expensive And you are still tied to going to a fuel station: a great advantage of an EV is if you have off street parking you just plug in at home overnight (some councils are putting in charge points in lampposts where off street parking is not available) I have no doubt Hydrogen has its place but I doubt it will become the major power source for private cars.

Battery developments are reducing the use of Cobalt in particular and research on Graphene looks promising. EVS are not without their environmental impact like any car they use all sorts of resources. Walking, cycling, riding a horse going by train, electric but, tram are all environmentally better. But I don't think we are going to get people to abandon their cars so the EV is a compromise, not ideal but it is much less damaging than ICE cars. And hopefully ongoing battery development can further reduce their environmental impact: but we really do need to start moving away from ICE cars now and that will also help to drive an acceleration of development.

MJJ    on 1 March 2021

What also is not mentioned is how are these are to be affordable for much of the population as most EV are either bought by large companies for ,their staff or are lease cars,so unless you are very well off,even used EV's are going to be too expensive. My last car was 5K and can do 500 miles on one tank of fuel and you are lucky if you can do 300 miles with an EV unles you spend about £80K,and I have read more that one article from clean air activists and none have been very truthful because it does not suit their policies.

Nick Allen    on 2 March 2021

.The price of ev,,s will mean the end of car ownership for most people that will reduce pollution.

   on 1 March 2021

More HMG/Woke b*lls***.
Where is the supporting LCA - without which this 'oped' is worthless?

From Wikipedia ... Life-cycle assessment or LCA (also known as life-cycle analysis) is a methodology for assessing environmental impacts associated with all the stages of the life-cycle of a commercial product, process, or service. For instance, in the case of a manufactured product, environmental impacts are assessed from raw material extraction and processing (cradle), through the product's manufacture, distribution and use, to the recycling or final disposal of the materials composing it (grave).

Brian rowe    on 1 March 2021

As i've said before, Hydrogen fueled vehicles for me,
"Hello is anybody there " perhaps a survey is on offer.

tall and hairy    on 2 March 2021

As i've said before, Hydrogen fueled vehicles for me, "Hello is anybody there " perhaps a survey is on offer.

Why on earth would you want that?

Costs a fortune compared Evs you cant fill up at home, you cant fill up at a petrol station. They use more electricity than an EV if its made with electrolysis and they are only slightly better than a fossil fuelled car if made from cracked natural gas.

Also unless the tank you a filling from is quite full you wont be able to fully recharge your vehicle and the recharge times increase too. They never seem to include those realities when you see them talking about them in the press do they.

DB22    on 1 March 2021

Very biased report with no mention of how the increased electricity supply will be met.

J Mistry    on 1 March 2021

Definitely not a fair comparison.
30kg of metal is only batteries. What about the weight of fuel used at the power station ?
- Nuclear fuel used will be lighter than oil or gas, but huge risk of radiation pollution (Chernobyl, etc ).

Paul Chapman    on 1 March 2021

We know ev are the future... But...

Edited by Paul Chapman on 01/03/2021 at 19:28

Paul Chapman    on 1 March 2021

What a silly comparison... Fuel used by petrol and diesel but no mention whatsoever of the fuel used to generate electricity to drive the ev?

Edited by Paul Chapman on 01/03/2021 at 19:27

conman    on 1 March 2021

Why has it only taken till today for Honest John to realise this.

Your web pages for years has been screaming out the benefits of Fossil fueled vehicles.

I now expect if you have the courage of your convictions to stop all advertisements of the sale of fossil fuelled vehicles, other wise you are a hypocrypt.

Sensible Andy    on 1 March 2021

Recycling of batteries. Surely this is a joke.

No useful labelling, no real ability to split materials properly. How do you physically get them out of the bottom of a vehicle (they are currently lifted from there for recycling at the moment).

It costs more to recycle than the value of the materials - who's paying? It is a negative value proposition to recycle batteries at the moment!!

I was on a call with a recycler only last week. It is a disaster....

Graham W5    on 2 March 2021

Batteries will generally outlast the car: just like anything they could develop a fault or be damaged in an accident but in normal use whilst the battery will have lost some capacity it will still be usable after the car has reached the end of its useful life. Batteries can be reused as they are for back up power generation storage. The battery may have lost say 20-30% of its capacity but this is not such an issue with back storage, they are stationery so you just use more batteries.

Once a battery is no longer usable the material can be recycled. Clear this is not like you recycle thinks domestically this will be in a dedicated recycling facility. Firms already exist that can do this. This is much like the normal Lead acid batteries in your petrol car: they can also be recycled: hence you should take if to our local recycling centre (what we used to call dumps).

As you do with petrol cars when the EV reaches the end of its useful life you will take it to a recycling centre ('scarp yard'). Parts which are reusable as they are can be stripped from the cars, the batteries removed for re use or separate recycling and other parts broken down for scrap.

   on 1 March 2021

Pure propaganda to push the EV agenda.

Sensible Andy    on 1 March 2021

Scary b******s....

NickNike    on 1 March 2021

Absolute, total nonsense. Where are the figures for the fuel used to generate the electrickery? 70% of our energy uses fossil fusels. And there is a further efficiency factor is turning fuel into Electrickey and then into mechanical power. EV's cost nearly twice the IC engine equivalent. What about all the resources used to generate this extra wealth. This report is typical lefty thinking, who seem to want to make everything as expensive as possible to break the capitalist system, and nobody is protecting us.

Graham W5    on 1 March 2021

Evs currently cost about 20% more than an equivalent petrol car, Eg a VW ID3 is £30k compared to an equivalent specification petrol Golf for £25k. EVs tend to come with a higher level of specification than the cheapest comparable petrol car: you can buy a basic Golf for £22k but it is not comparable specification. The price of EVS is falling (as is normal with new technology): it is predicted that in a few years, possible as early as 2025 there will be price parity.

NickNike    on 1 March 2021

So there's no parity at present, and your example is specific. I see EV's in general much higher than 20%.

Graham W5    on 2 March 2021

There is no parity at present: I am not aware of any manufacturer currently producing an EV for the same price as an equivalent petrol car. But the price gap is narrowing an parity is predicted in a few years, The ID3/golf comparison is a useful one as a fairly new EV and of the sort of car popular in the UK and as these are comparable cars but there are plenty of examples the gap is similar. Look at Vauxhall, Peugeot, MG etc currently you will pay about 5k more for an EV. Over the life of a car it is actually cheaper: but currently you would be likely to need to keep the car for at least 5 or 6 years to recover the extra cost. So today cost is a real issue. However as time progresses the gap should narrow but also there will be greater availability and range of used EVS available: ie if may be that you might buy a 1 year EV rather than a new petrol car for the money.

I drive a range extended EV (the battery is good for 40-50 miles then a petrol engine charges the battery: about 85% of out miles are on Electric). I would never go back to a petrol car: EVS are so much nicer to drive, quiet, instant torque, smooth acceleration, and mostly we just plug it in at night, I only need to to to a petrol station about once every 3 months in normal times. You will find with most people once they have driven and EV they would not want to go back to a petrol car.

edinburra    on 1 March 2021

Hydrogen is indeed the way ahead.

Sensible Andy    on 1 March 2021

Hydrogen is indeed the way ahead.
To where? Obliviion? Huge climate change acceleration? Real facts please.

Edited by Sensible Andy on 01/03/2021 at 20:33

Norwblue    on 2 March 2021

Hydrogen is a pollution free fuel, producing only water when burnt. How do you have an issue with that?

tall and hairy    on 2 March 2021

Hydrogen itself might burn cleanly, but unfortunately it doesnt exist naturally in the environment and all the criticism you can put on EVs can be put on hydrogen too, except it also has many of the problems associated with fossil fuel too.

Robin Sanders    on 2 March 2021

What a load of bxxxxs on this youtube video. He talks about generating hydrogen from hydrodcarbons!! No that is not the way it is intended to be done. The aim to produce what is called green hydrogen from electrolytically splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, he is talking about blue hydrogen which is the old hat conventional way for industrial use. He says he is an engineering, I think he is actually a mechanic and not an chartered engineer - his language alone suggests he is not able to act professionally in expressing his views.

tall and hairy    on 2 March 2021

Why on earth would you inefficiently use electrolysis to get hydrogen from water and then compress it when you could much more quickly and efficiently just use that electricity to charge a battery?

tall and hairy    on 2 March 2021

No, no it really isn't!

At least if you are consumer it isn't. It only works in your favour if you make expensive engineering or are an energy company. If you are a normal pleb or have a moral compass you want a battery.

Iain Harris    on 1 March 2021

We’ve all been mislead re the benefits of diesel, hybrids and the mythical MPG figures .
I’ve no doubt now electric vehicle analysis is going the same way and is at best as here, selective.
From what I know of electric vehicle production / use I simply don’t believe this analysis
Hydrogen has to be the way forward unless there is a vast improvement in battery technology

Sensible Andy    on 1 March 2021

I can't find a way to contact the author directly. But Georgia, please will you fact check this article and correct it... or better still, delete it and write something more accurate.

Steve McDermott    on 1 March 2021

As someone who has looked at EVs for seven years the more I learn the less I want one. I'll wait for fuel cell and direct Hydrogen combustion engines to add competition.

Its worth remembering mobile phones of the 1980s were primitive and more advanced in the 1990s. The evolution of EVs is no different, EVs are getting better and are better environmentally but they are not perfect, certainly not yet and have a long way to go.

NickNike    on 1 March 2021

And how do you produce the hydrogen? It's mostly made from hydrocarbons that are a better fuel in the first place.

Norwblue    on 2 March 2021

Simply by electrolysis of water, which produces oxygen and hydrogen. Never heard of hydrogen being produced from hydrocarbons. Electrolysis would be a means of storing energy produced by intermittent solar and wind generation.

tall and hairy    on 2 March 2021

Simply by electrolysis of water, which produces oxygen and hydrogen. Never heard of hydrogen being produced from hydrocarbons. Electrolysis would be a means of storing energy produced by intermittent solar and wind generation.

I would counter by suggesting that might mean you don't know enough about it to have a valid opinion.

Although you may not have heard of hydrogen being produced by hydrocarbons, in reality hydrogen is mostly made by reforming natural gas, a process which ironically in its self uses both heat energy and electricity.

Why is it that people seem to think that EVs are charged from coal and burning kittens, but that hydrogen is made from surplus green energy?

Dave Sheffield    on 1 March 2021

What a load of baloney, from my house you can see all the emissions from the power stations along the River Trent, if that is environmentally friendly I'll stick to my environmentally friendly Ford diesel, compared to engines of even ten years ago it throws out next to nothing most of the pollutant are either trapped or converted to water.

Graham W5    on 2 March 2021

There are have been some great advances in Diesel engines so modern Diesel engines are far cleaner than 10 years ago but unfortunately the do still emit a nasty mix of toxins and particulate matter. It is estimated the equivalent of 30,000 people die in the UK each year due to air pollution which is primarily from vehicle exhaust. If every vehicle meet the current emissions standard there would be a significant improvement in air quality, so as older cars come off our roads air quality will improve. But air pollution will still be an issue. And Climate change will still be an issue.

Evs are more efficient than ICE cars and increasingly power generation is moving to renewables. Less than 5% of UK electricity is produced from coal and the remaining coal fired power stations are due to be decommissioned by 2025. With Smart charging (basically pricing is used to encourage charging off peak when there is surplus capacity and indeed sell back to the grid at peak demand) the increased demand on power supply is easily managed.

EVS are however not the greenest form of transport. Walking, cycling, riding a horse, using electric trains, tram and busses are all greener. If you were designing a green transport system from scratch there would be no place for the private car. But since people aren't realistically going to give up their cars we need a compromise.

Graham W5    on 1 March 2021

The issue is Hydrogen cells is it takes about 3 times the energy to produce the hydrogen compared to using the electricity to charge a battery: this not only places greater demand on power generation requirements but also make the hydrogen expensive. Whilst studies show that the increased demand for electricity to charge EVs can easily be achieved this would be a far greater challenge to meet the energy requirements of mass adoption of Hydrogen cars. Hydrogen is also difficult to store an transport (either being stored under very higher pressure or at very cold temperatures). The cars are more expensive.

As with EVS Hydrogen cells do solve the issue of exhaust pollution (which is estimated to kill the equivalent of 30,000 people each year in the UK, new ICE cars are cleaner than older cards but still emit a nasty mix of toxins and street level). I have not doubt there is a place for hydrogen cells but it seems unlikely they will become the mainstream for private cars. In the early days of EVS battery range was an issue and Hydrogen addressed this, but now with many new cars with a range of greater than 200 miles and some greater than 300 miles an rapid charging for general private cars range is not really a problem (Yes your petrol car may be able to do 500 miles on a tank of petrol but you aren't actually going to drive 500 miles without a break).

robert battley    on 1 March 2021

yeah , all we see is adverts promoting evs using girls with pretty nails and a mobile stuck to her lug plugging in her ev , im waiting for an ad with girls driving evs with daisys in their hair going to a free love dance in the woods , my god ive gone back to the 1960s in one advert , but i do feel these tree huggers wont be happy till we are all expert daisy chain makers,i do wonder what serious aviation is going to do without aviation spirit , and i cringe when i think of the RAF, and not to mention the army in battery tanks and what of the navy, well i suppose they did have the answer around 150 or so years ago ,but trying to land a battery fighter jet on a carrier with sails just is not going to fill our would be enemies with absolute fear, but again our tree huggers would love this as it would do away with our defence which is what they want i just wish they would undestand that you cannot uninvent things so we would still need our fossil fuels for a long time yet to keep our defences strong because would be agressors have to be watched and they wont be giving anything up in the near future , anyway i have digressed a little , but lets be serious we all know things look bad as we are constantly reminded by david attenborugh but racing towards all cars being electric when the infrastructure is not in place and range on an ev is rubbish if you want to travel around 250 miles or more dont believe the car makers range you wont get anywhere near it and you will spend time waiting for a charging point to become vacant in some service station where you dont want to be petrol stations take 5 mins in and out, i foresee lots of arguments concernig charging points in the future when there is around 25 to 30 million evs on the road and do expect any help from the police they will have to watch their battery range so they can respond to emergencies and oh god i forgot the ambulance and fire engine ,oh the hell with this im going for a coffee.

Graham W5    on 4 March 2021

Clearly if somehow we could replace all ICE cars with EVs overnight there would be major issues as there is not today the infrastructure to support 25 to 30 million EVS. At the end of 2020 there were 164,000 EVs in the UK, a small percentage of total cars but in 2013 there were only 3.500 EVs. We have the infrastructure to support the current number of EVS plus some and it is constantly expanding. It would not make sense to put the infrastructure in place to support 25-30million EVs when there are only 164,000 on the road.

The ban on sale of pure new ICE cars is not until 2030. The prediction is that the sale of EVs will continue to grow as a percentage of new car sales and somewhere about 2025 EVs will start to out sell ICE cars (currently EVs are more expensive an ICE cars but price parity is expected about 2025 or just after). However come 2030 most cars on the road (given a car on average lasts 12 years) will still be ICE cars. You can still drive an ICE car, still buy a used ICE car it is only sell a new pure ICE cars which are banned. So it is a steady progression likewise the infrastructure will develop to meet the increase in demand.

Cars generally and EVs in particular are tested on a much more real life test. Manufactures have to post ranges from those test (as with MPG for ICE cars) not what they can obtain in ideal conditions (as with MPG: with either you will get much better figures driving round a level track at a constant 40mph in ideal weather conditions). So the range is realistic: yes if you drive like you are on race track, you have filled the car with bricks or driving in cold weather the range will be less: but if you drive steady on a warm day it will be more. The car manufacturers have to post test range not some unrealistic ideal conditions range.

New EVs can charge to 80% in less than 30min at a fast charge facility, I wouldn't drive more than 200 miles without a break anyway, it is not safe to do so. And EVs are improving all the time: battery technology is still improving.

But we also need to understand why we are moving away from ICE cars. They are a significant contribute to climate change (In Europe 30% of CO2 is from transport and 72% of that is form Road Transport: you can be cynical about David Attenborough and define everyone who shows concerns on the environment as a tree hugger but world wide the science is very real and we can already see the impact for ourselves with increasing extreme weather events) and air pollution, it is estimated in the UK 30,000 people die each year due to air pollution of which road transport is the main contributor. We have to move on and away from the ICE car.

An analogy is the Steam engine: there would have been plenty who would have said the electric or diesel train could never replace the steam engine, but it happened.

Melvyn Griffin    on 1 March 2021

I'm in favour of saving the planet however as lots of your readers have stated its a big old fudge. Totally and utterly bonkers ie decimate planet searching for rare minerals upsetting local ecosystems. Charging from what the grids =fossil fuels or nuclear power as renewable has yet to sort capacity and off peak issues! Electric is part of a solution not the answer and I'm anticipating unless your a company user not viable for lots of private vehicle owners ie buy your car outright and no battery lease separately as its economic madness. Real life costs without offsetting against tax are huge and you end up with a worthless vehicle with depleted range requiring a battery if still offered costing umpteen pounds more than your cars worth. Real green credentials are the issue and real life costs versus further damage to the planet. Actual issue is world consumption caused by overpopulation therefore like it or not we have to use less. Hence the big ticket prices on all vehicles squeezing us out of our cars maybe onto public transport ouch!

dobble    on 2 March 2021

Cobblers. We'll probably all be driving petrol for the foreseeable future - probably well beyond 2030.

dobble    on 2 March 2021

Cobblers. We'll probably all be driving petrol for the foreseeable future - probably well beyond 2030.

tall and hairy    on 2 March 2021

Did any of you say, "I'll never get a digital camera" to the person on your table at a wedding only to turn up to the Christening with a digital camera?

Did any of you say, I'll never get a smart phone, you have to charge them up every day, my Nokia lasts between 7 and 10 days without charging?

Once you start actually living with an EV you will be kicking yourselves and adding these comments to the list of things you will later deny ever thinking or believing.

Fact: V8 engines sound ace and provide proper performance I'll give you that.

Fact: 4 pot engines revving hard away from the lights in 1st gear (esp when cold) sound rubbish

Fact: Most of us dont have cars with V8 engines and do most of our driving with cold 4 pot engines on journeys that are only a few miles long that we rarely take above 4k rpm

Why are we so keen to reject change and defend stuff which is so objectively rubbish?

B a lord    on 2 March 2021

What a silly comparison... fuel used by petrol and diesel but no mention whatsoever of the fuel (70% fossil) used to generate electricity to drive the ev?

watney    on 2 March 2021

This being the "Honest" John site I trust there will be a balancing article discussing the cons of electric vehicles. Otherwise, this piece should be deleted and he should stick to what the site is supposed to be about instead of woke politics.

watney    on 2 March 2021

Here's one balancing article, just in case HJ doesn't supply any

Edited by HJ Editor on 10/03/2021 at 12:01

Phil of Cilcain    on 2 March 2021

Did someone forget to include the fuel burnt to generate the electricity used to charge the batteries? Just how can a vehicle dragging over a tonne of batteries around the country use 58% less energy?
Sadly the future of conventional engines appears to be a lost cause despite the best I.C. engines now being 40% efficient, as high as burning fuels in power stations and transmitting it over the grid.

hissingsid    on 2 March 2021

Since HJ's departure from this site I no longer give any credence to the "research" which is published from time to time. Do the present journalists ever check the validity of the statements made by various organisations and "experts"?

Like most drivers who inhabit the real world, I expect that eventually I will be forced into buying an EV, but again like most drivers I will not do so until their range goes up and their prices come down. My five year old petrol engined car, bought new and now with only 20,000 miles on the clock, will easily last me until 2030 by which time it will be valueless and I will be 83.I have plenty of time to consider my options.

I am also a classic car owner, and my only long term worry is the continuing availabilty of the petrol station network. These sites are the obvious choice for locating the many more EV charging points which will be needed by those unable to charge their cars at home.

tall and hairy    on 2 March 2021

More propaganda to back a lame horse! Lithium, cobalt & nickel mining are not what I'd class as 'environmentally friendly', coupled with low recycling rates. Green hydrogen & fuel cell for me, until then ICE and cycling (& not an electric bike either!)

If you want propoganda then the Koch brothers and the oil industry are king!
No those forms of mining are not massively kind to nature, but then again the biggest user of cobalt is actually the oil industry who uses it to remove nasties from diesel (to move it to ship/bunker oil so ultimately the same amount of crap ends up in the atmosphere anyway!) Its also worth point out that no one in our towns and cities are choking on the effects of those mining industries whereas asthma suffers die as a consequence of localised burning of diesel and petrol every single day.

Low recycling rates are actually due to lack of batteries to recycle! Even the Leaf Jeremy Clarkson panned in the famous top gear episode all those years ago where he said the battery would need replacing every few years is still going strong.

Look at the 2nd hand price of 2011/12 Nissan Leaf. Admittedly well past their best as use as a car but despite the jaw dropping depreciation all EVs have, they are generally worth more than equivalent fossil fuelled cars of the same age! Not possible you say, go look on Autotrader and check for yourself. Why is that? Basically even when they are no good as cars (which they still are) the battery gives it a much higher value as it can be removed and used for static projects.

There is simply no such thing as green hydrogen and there never will be unless we sort out commercial nuclear fusion!

Whereas you are told by the oil propoganda machine that EVs are charged by electricity generated from coal and that hydrogen is produced by electrolysis from 'surplus wind and solar', the reality is that hydrogen is made from cracking natural gas, it also takes a b***** ton of electricity to compress down to a useful pressure.

It will always be easier and cheaper to crack hydrogen from natural gas, but even if hydrogen was at somepoint in the future made exclusively by electrolysis the electricity needed for electrolysis and compression is much greater than the electricity required to charge a EV and a fuel cell car still needs a reasonable sized battery, a load of expensive rare catalysts anyway, not mention a power train that needs replacing at great cost on a regular basis due to hydrogen embrittlement (you didn't really think the energy companies and car makers touting hydrogen as a solution really have your best interests at heart did you!?!?!)

There will never be an engineering solution to hydrogen embrittlement either, there is no technical solution to hydrogen being the smallest element in the Universe.

You never be able to buy a cheap 2nd hand hydrogen car by virtue of the fact that all of the expensive bits must be replaced every few years and if you could buy one cheap you really wouldn't want it!

The sooner people stop saying I'm holding out for hydrogen the better.

Edited by Dan Rand on 02/03/2021 at 15:51

kimball smith    on 2 March 2021

Hydrogen cars have a better range and emit only water,.why pay £60,000 for an electric car which will soon cost more to fill than a current petrol car. The industry is being held back sothat we continue subsidising the state.

ardea    on 2 March 2021

Based on current fossil fuel sales, going 100% ev would require about 6 new and very large nuclear power stations. Check it yourself - the sales figures (litres) and ic engine efficiency are on the internet, so you can estimate the energy needed just to move the vehicle (not the waste heat etc). Electric motors are about 90% efficient ,and batteries need ~ 20% more juice in, than you get out. At the current rate, one new nuclear takes over 20 years to build...

Much more sensible to use the sun. Reliable solar generation in the oil producing countries electrolises clean hydrogen. This has very low viscosity so it can be pumped through piplines excepionally easily, and also distributed much like fossil fuels.

I think hydrogen wins the day. It's the only way to get a decent fill up quickly. Battery fans, out on the bank holiday, will still be in a miles-long queue on the motorway, waiting to get in to the service station for a "fast" charge to take them the next 100 miles...

Some might be wooed by the cheap tax free (electric) fuel - one clever bloke managed to get to Poland on free charging except for £19 paid. But don't think it will be tax free premanently...

However, if the nuclear power plants are built, and motorway service station forecourts now sport 100's of charging points to equal the energy transfer rate of current fuel pumps, a substation fed by pylons is required to deliver that sort of energy flow. I can see some environmental protest there...

Hybrid makes some sense in reducing urban pollution, and of course that will keep fossil fuel flowing for a while longer: but long term, it's got to be a fuel cell.

tall and hairy    on 2 March 2021

Eh! Which part of, it takes more electricity to electrolyse hydrogen and even more to compress it than it takes to simply charge a battery are people struggling to get grips with today. Take your nuclear power station figure and double or triple it make your hydrogen rather than charge an EV.

If any of you know a clever way of getting more energy from the hydrogen than the amount it costs you via electrolysis, then congratulations you have single handily solved the worlds energy problems! if it were possible we would quite literally use a hamster wheel to start the process electrolyse our first bit of hydrogen, use a fuel cell to generate some electricity that we use to make more hydrogen and then walk away to limitless energy. ...

I'd also like to point out that a hydrogen car is more expensive to buy than an EV and they still cost £60-90 a tank to fill up (assuming you can find anywhere to do that).

Also another reminder that according the National Grid themselves if we went to EV Overnight we would only need as much electricity as we did back in 2002 and as far as I remember the lights always worked for me back then!

Edited by HJ Editor on 10/03/2021 at 12:02

   on 2 March 2021

Article must have been sponsored by Tesla and / or other Johnny come lately 'battery powered car makers.
Gaping holes in this report, particularly around the generation and distribution of AC electricity to charge the EV batteries.
It looks like you lot swallowed all the EV pills and have become another under informed zealot.

tall and hairy    on 2 March 2021

Please inform me then.

Just one bit of validated research that proves fossil fuelled cars are better than an EV will suffice.

RJP41    on 2 March 2021

All propoganda the scrapping/production of the car which must weight in the same region as a petrol/diesel and all the plastics ( comes from oil ) and again everyone says they use only green electricty ye right an electric car is fine for short / medium journeys but not 300+ miles and as for fast charging it wears the battery out quicker
and after all this when we are all driving electric cars saving the planet is the US,Russia ,China ,India etc going to dump the internal combustion engine I think not

Gordon Ennis    on 3 March 2021

Tesla produced an electric car motor back in the 1930s which used the earth's magnetic field as a power source, with no batteries being used. The United States government confiscated this technology and has obviously got it stacked away somewhere. Why aren't they being pressurized by the rest of the world to release this technology which would solve all the pollution problems at a stroke?

Arthur Hutchinson    on 3 March 2021

This has been such a long trail of comments that I can't recall precisely where I saw thsi article, but I do think that it is worth repeating:

"And talking of the carbon footprint of EVs, I can’t help but recall the learned Professor Michael Kelly’s recent paper detailing the potential impact of the ‘net zero’ planned electrification of the UK economy. In particular, when referring to EVs he surmised that,

“The size of the (EV) battery means that they require huge quantities of materials in their manufacture. If we replace all of the UK vehicle fleet with EVs, and assuming they use the most resource-frugal next-generation batteries, we would need the following materials:
• 207,900 tonnes of cobalt – just under twice the annual global production;
• 264,600 tonnes of lithium carbonate – three quarters of the world’s production;
• at least 7,200 tonnes of neodymium and dysprosium – nearly the entire world production of neodymium;
• 2,362,500 tonnes of copper – more than half the world’s production in 2018.”

Obviously, digging up all that lot, transporting, manufacturing and delivering it to the end user (using lots of fossil fuels in the process) would entail creating a carbon footprint that would dwarf anything mankind has seen to date. And that’s just for the UK. The proposed switch is clearly unrealisable, never mind affordable. The reality will be a complete transformation in society, but not in a good way. Be afraid folks, be very afraid."






TNS    on 4 March 2021

2021 Budget: The road fund license as it used to be called was brought in to subsidise the cost of road maintenance now called Vehicle Excise Duty it fails to follow the same principles. Owners of older cars and vehicles are yet again stung by the increases while some that are zero co2 emissions are free and this includes the electric vehicles. I would have thought a fairer playing field would have brought around VED that is fit for all and that includes the latest models,
A chance has been missed to level the field, the cost to the public purse could be subsidised by those who are paying over £25,000 for the latest models, a VED of vehicles zero to a certain band could be the first band and others banded into three or four bands. The annual increase of around £5 for older cars could be left there. We need to pay for the use of the roads and at present, the duty on fuel is doing just that coupled with the VED it isn't reaching the futures need for income from vehicles. The thing is there will be a tax or duty point in the future budgets as the older vehicles are changed for zero ones.
I would have thought that this budget would have been that point in time to change. The older vehicles are and have paid enough duty it is the newer models that need to be upgraded for the future of the road as fuel duty is a thing of the past. And if everyone changed to electric within this governments term the need to find a pile of cash would be urgent. Over the years the motorist has paid for roads, the change in the name to VED meant that the pot of money could go into the exchequer for other uses.
I have stayed away from the cost to the environment from mining, generating power, burning fossil fuels and the making of new cars.

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