Since the UK government announced plans to ban petrol and diesel sales from 2040, the shift to electric cars has attracted a lot of negative media coverage. In recent days, a new round of misleading headlines say that homes won’t be able to boil a kettle while also charging an electric car. Given the traditional British cuppa holds near-sacred status, this subject was ready-made for attention. Today, however, the vast majority of home car chargers are rated at or below 7 kilowatts (kW) and can be run alongside kettles, ovens and any other domestic appliances without problems. The source of the headlines, a National Grid “thought piece” published in April, was about problems on home or local electricity circuits, that might arise in future if they are not addressed. Running 11kW fast chargers at the same time as kettles, on inadequate wiring, is one of these potential problems. But these high capacity units are “vanishingly rare”, says James McKemey, head of the insight team for charge installation firm Pod Point. He tells Carbon Brief: “When we go to site we have to assess the load there already. If running a kettle would mean blowing your main fuse, we can’t install.”
Carbon Brief 23rd Aug 2017 read more »
As countries the world over legislate to phase out petrol and diesel cars, attention is turning to the environmental impact of mining the materials needed for electric vehicle batteries. This additional scrutiny has largely focused on ethical concerns with cobalt and lithium supply chains, despite Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s observation last year that the lithium ion batteries his vehicles use are mostly made of nickel and graphite, with lithium itself merely “the salt on the salad”. But the extraction of nickel – predominately mined in Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Russia and the Philippines – comes at an environmental and health cost. Dr David Santillo, a senior scientist at Greenpeace Research Laboratories, says : “The mining of nickel-rich ores themselves, combined with their crushing and tr ansportation by conveyor belt, truck or train, can generate high loadings of dust in the air, dust that itself contains high concentrations of potentially toxic metals, including nickel itself, copper, cobalt and chromium. “We have to get smarter at recovering and reusing the vast quantities that we have already extracted from the earth, rather than relying on continued pursuit of new reserves of ever poorer quality and at substantial environmental cost.”
Guardian 24th Aug 2017 read more »
Thin solar power cells could be placed on the roof of electric cars in the future to extend reach. The power gather devices could soon be appearing in the panoramic glass roofs of Audi cars. Chinese solar-cell specialist, Hanergy, are working with the automotive industry together on the project. The first prototype is to be built by the end of 2017.
Energy Voice 24th Aug 2017 read more »