Is The Demise of Diesel Cars just Slick marketing?

Discussion in 'Cars, cycling and transport' started by RichInSpirit, Feb 16, 2018.

  1. meepman

    meepman Frequent Poster

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    I think so. Diesel is still the only alternative for mpg and distance. I have been thinking of buying a electric car but the range isn't enough at the moment. I will probably have to wait another 10 years for that to change.

    What bugs me is you can drive a 30 year old car and pay 56 euros a year tax and the pollution from the exhaust is extremely high. Or you can buy a pre 2008 car for 2000 euros and pay 700 euros a year for a 2 litre. Or you can buy a 2018 car for 30000 euros and pay 200-300 euros a year car tax which has similar emissions to the pre 2008 car.

    Who made that up? What a mess.
     
  2. PaddyBloggit

    PaddyBloggit Frequent Poster

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    .... I have a neighbour; both he and his wife drive DOE exempt Land Rovers as daily drivers... €56 road tax, classic insurance and both vehicles spew out fumes.

    There are a few classic mercs locally too being used as daily drivers.

    The system is being abused wholesale.
     
  3. AlbacoreA

    AlbacoreA Frequent Poster

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    Most classic insurance has very limited mileage.

    Also you have to consider the environmental impact of making a car vs reusing an old car.
     
  4. Leo

    Leo Moderator

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    Yep, the current regime taxes you based on your capacity to pollute. The only way of addressing actual pollution directly in via tax on fuel, but in such a model diesel would be considerably more expensive than petrol, and the haulier and farming lobby groups are doing all they can to prevent it.
     
  5. meepman

    meepman Frequent Poster

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    Yes I agree on that, but it is the unfairness of pre 2009 cars being taxed heavily. Some are as efficient co2 wise as newer cars. Not thought through at all.
     
  6. mathepac

    mathepac Frequent Poster

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    Anyone see the Channel 4 documentary last week on diesel truck engines, and no doubt bus engines although they didn't feature? An electronic device fools the engine into thinking it's getting the prescribed dosage of AdBlue anti-pollutant, but in fact, the engines with the device fitted consume no AdBlue and do not throw up warning lights on the dash. The device can be deactivated for emissions testing and on or off, it is undetectable by current diagnostic equipment. Widely available on the internet, I guarantee they are fitted to trucks and buses here too.

    The government of course continues to target the private motorist for penalties and ignore the hauliers' transgressions.
     
  7. RichInSpirit

    RichInSpirit Frequent Poster

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    Interesting that Toyota has moved completely away from diesel engines in their passenger cars and Honda has introduced a diesel engine for the Civic this year where there wasn't one before.
     
  8. RichInSpirit

    RichInSpirit Frequent Poster

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    Also interesting that both Toyota and Honda have a hydrogen fueled car model in the USA.
    Hydrogen would be the way to go for cleaner cars instead if electric in my opinion.
     
  9. Zenith63

    Zenith63 Frequent Poster

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    Curious why you think this? Personally I think the fact that we already have an incredible distribution network for the fuel used by battery electric cars - electricity is available to every home, office, building and lightpost in the country - the idea of trying to roll out a distribution network for hydrogen is crazy. It's also not the safest thing to be playing around with, from Wikipedia: "Hydrogen possesses the NFPA 704's highest rating of 4 on the flammability scale because it is flammable when mixed even in small amounts with ordinary air; hydrogen gas and normal air can ignite at as low as 4% air due to the oxygen in the air and the simplicity and chemical properties of the reaction. hydrogen poses unique challenges due to its ease of leaking as a gaseous fuel, low-energy ignition, wide range of combustible fuel-air mixtures, buoyancy, and its ability to embrittle metals that must be accounted for to ensure safe operation."

    Maybe I'll be proven wrong, but with battery electric cars improving (in-terms of range and price) at a very rapid pace, I think hydrogen fuelled cars will be bypassed fairly quickly.
     
  10. Leo

    Leo Moderator

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    There are quite a few downsides of BEVs (charge times, size/weight/range, access to charging infrastructure, reliance on dirty electricity, deminishing battery capacity over time, cost of battery repair/replacement, rare earth mineral supplies, etc.) that may never be adequately overcome, and so hydrogen is still worth examining as an alternative.

    Japan have had hydrogen fuel stations for a number of years now, some that generate the fuel on site extracting hydrogen from water using excess solar power. So you just replace the petrol / diesel infrastructure in the existing stations with those if they can scale up the hydrogen generation.
     
  11. AlbacoreA

    AlbacoreA Frequent Poster

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  12. Zenith63

    Zenith63 Frequent Poster

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    I don't mean to be annoying now, but I think it's worth discussing some of these points as they're fairly often repeated online and there's little actual basis for most of them in my view.

    charge times - The vast majority of charging for the average person is done at home overnight. A typical 32A charger will refill ~7kWh of a car's battery every hour, so stick it on charge at 7pm and by 7am the next morning you could have added 84kWh or ~400km range (depending on the car of course). Realistically most people do more like 50km driving in a day, so a couple of hours on the charger has them getting up in the morning with a full "tank". For those occasions where people need to use quick chargers on longer journeys, these are increasing in speed constantly. A 50kW quick charger will add 80% charge to an older Leaf in 30 minutes, 150kW chargers are now in the market and 2-300 are not far off. So personally I think charging time is an overblown issue, but is rapidly becoming irrelevant for the vast majority of people.

    size/weight/range - Not quite sure what you mean by size/weight, but FWIW I find the extra bit of weight in a Nissan Leaf actually makes it feel like a much more sturdy and safe car on the road, particularly motorways. In-terms of range again I think this is overblown even with current BEV car ranges, sure there are edge cases, but most people drive less than 100km per day so even the smallest 24kWh Leaf is perfectly sufficient. But ranges are increasingly constantly, with the likes of the Hyundai Kona having enough range to drive from Cork to Belfast without stopping. So certainly people should pick a BEV with the right range to suit their needs, but for the vast majority of people range is not an issue.

    access to charging infrastructure - Electricity is available to every building and lamp post in Ireland compared to only 1000 petrol/diesel stations. Of course charging ports are required at these locations, but as ranges of cars increase so rapidly, the focus will shift more-and-more to charging at home and having a full tank as the day starts with less need to stop on motorways etc. So again I think this is an issue that is passing off quickly.

    reliance on dirty electricity - Clean generation of electricity is improving every year and accelerating. Notwithstanding that, the process to create hydrogen for fuelling cars uses electricity so really the issue of direct electricity is applicable to both BEVs and FCEVs. FCEVs also waste far more energy converting electricity to hydrogen and back again in the car to drive the electric motor.

    deminishing battery capacity over time - This one is certainly a non-issue. The Nissan Leafs unfortunately did not include cooling/heating of the battery pack so see significant degradation in hotter climates (thought in the Irish climate this is not a big issue at all). Tesla do include cooling however, and their cars will often have less than 10% degradation after 250k kilometres - and keep in-mind this is the first "proper" attempt at building a mass produced car with battery cooling, this will surely be improved upon as more manufacturers get involved and technology evolves beyond this first attempt. So again I think this is an issue that has already passed.

    cost of battery repair/replacement - The battery packs in Nissan Leafs have proven to be ridiculously reliable since the car came out (nearly 10 years ago) and you'd have to assume reliability will only increase as the tech is evolved. Warranties are also often 5-8 years on the battery. So I think repair cost is kinda irrelevant as they're about as likely as having to replace a full engine in a regular car, and the cost is similar if not cheaper. Not sure replacement will be required as they nail the cooling piece to keep batteries going longer. However even if you did want to do it after your Tesla hits 500k kilometres, it would be about the same cost as replacing the engine in a regular car, which would also need to be done around this mileage anyway.

    rare earth mineral supplies - In most cases the perceived shortages are because of a lack of mining infrastructure, not of the material itself. Lithium being the one most often highlighted, even though it's actually really common on Earth, we just don't have the mining infrastructure for it because the demand is a recent phenomenon. Cobalt is the other one mentioned, and the likes of Tesla have been working to get that down to tiny levels in their cells, hoping to remove it completely in the coming years.


    Do you not feel this is just grasping to the concept of petrol/diesel stations because that's what we're used to, rather than because it actually makes sense? Why would anybody want to drive to a fuel station when they could wake up with their BEV tank full every morning? Why would you want to pump or carry around a substance as dangerous as hydrogen when you can just plug-in and charge at home and carry around batteries that have proven themselves so safe in things from phones (Samsung excepting :) ) to pace-makers for decades.
     
  13. Leo

    Leo Moderator

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    Not annoying at all, they are points worth discussing and I've been known to be wrong in the past :D

    Absolutely correct, and for many people, this will never be an issue. But for high mileage drivers, the need to wait around during the day for a top-up is a major inconvenience, and there are already reports of queues at the public fast charge points. The Regulator has spoken out against developing the current infrastructure any further until ESB Networks move to a paid model so the general public isn't subsidising EV drivers any more.

    As ownership numbers rise, what happens where there are multiple cars in a household? 32A chargers are the max that can be installed here, with 16A the limit in homes that already have a high electricity demand such as those with heat pumps as the standard domestic electricity supply here is 12 or 16kVA. Higher capacity supply is available, but not in all locations, and they attract extra charges.

    That'll certainly address some of the public charge point queuing issues, but the power demands for these mean they won't work in a domestic setting. But as battery capacity rises to meet the demands of larger vehicles, even with high power charging points motorists will still end up waiting for extended periods.

    What I mean there is as the size of the car increases, or the range is expanded, a larger, heavier battery is required. While the car may feel more sturdy, extra weight is not a good thing, no one ever added weight to a race car to improve its handling or performance :D The range of the Leaf may well suit most journeys, but the majority of Irish drivers don't want to drive Leaf size cars.

    No lamp post in the country could power a charging station. Where I work (~600 people), the building supply is capable of power 4 EV charge points. Any more would require upgrading the lines from the local substation at significant cost. Even now there are occasional issues with those who have EVs getting access to the points.

    Yep, the energy costs in extracting hydrogen is a significant downside currently, but one that should improve over time. In Japan, in many cases where electrolysis is used, it is powered by excess PV supply, and so it is effectively free energy. Many utilities that offer feed in tariffs already have problems with over supply of PV power during the middle of the day. Some of that could be diverted towards hydrogen production.

    There isn't an existing battery chemistry whose capacity doesn't degrade over time. Even the $12k lithium-nickel-cobalt-aluminum-oxide batteries as used in Teslas suffer from oxidation. There's a lot of research going on in this area, but we're a long way from a solution yet.

    This will be more a factor in crash repairs. There are already specialist repair shops popping up in the US due to the manufacturer battery repair / replacements costs. A full Leaf battery replacement is rumoured to cost €6k (reduced by €1k if you return the old battery undamaged). Replacement second hand ICEs can cost as low as a few hundred from breakers yards, I'm not sure if will be a viable aftermarket for used EV batteries as the recycle values will be so high.

    That's fair enough I guess a lot of the concern around these elements is in terms of the ability to scale up production, competing demands and the stability of countries that dominate the supply. But I guess some of those concerns could equally apply to oil producers.

    I think people are slow to accept anything that they perceive as a retrograde step. Lower range and the time taken to charge an EV Vs a fuel refill will always be an issue. There are many people for whom a home charging point isn't an option, many others with multiple cars don't want to be messing around moving cars or making sure no one else needs to use the charger overnight. Those limitations require more planning ahead, so

    Hydrogen is regularly shipped on the roads here and elsewhere via bulk tankers and smaller cylinders, I don't recall hearing of any issues. The dangers of hydrogen as a fuel are somewhat misunderstood too I think. When ruptured and ignited, hydrogen flames dissipate far faster than petrol flames and so might actually result in far less severe consequences. NASA did a lot of experimentation as to its viability and safety as a fuel source, the only times they were able to generate an explosion was with the introduction of liquid or crystalised oxygen.
     
  14. RichInSpirit

    RichInSpirit Frequent Poster

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    I've seen 2 lead acid batteries explode one of them I caused myself when I accidentally short circuited the positive and negative poles ☺. Nearly blew the head off myself but thankfully no acid got on me.
    I think hydrogen was the culprit.
    But i'm still a hydrogen fan.
     
    Leo likes this.
  15. Zenith63

    Zenith63 Frequent Poster

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    Some thoughts below Leo. And probably worth saying that I'm really just responding to your assertion that we need to develop FCEVs as an alternative to BEVs, because the BEV issues are possibly insurmountable. I'm definitely not arguing that there are no issues with BEVs at the moment, I'm just saying they're all short-lived, much shorter than the timescale of rolling out FCEV infrastructure :).

    To be honest I don't see an issue with those high mileage drivers just staying in petrol/diesel cars until BEVs reach a point where it is OK for them, even if they never do. Getting 80/90% of drivers into BEVs would have a massive effect on air pollution and carbon output of the country, we can worry about the last 20/10% when we get there.

    We have two BEVs at home, commute across the city and charge without issue to be honest. But it comes down to the actual usage of the average person, most of us only drive 50km per day so only need to add say 10kWh per night - plug both cars into 16A chargers and leave it overnight, the chargers will figure out how to charge the cars sequentially if required to avoid overloading the home. I do get that there are edge cases where two members of the family drive 200km each per day, but they fit into the 5% of people that can keep using petrol/diesel for the time-being.

    Weight and battery capacities are only going to rise so far though, so this isn't an unbounded problem that we just keep needing to pile on charging-power to solve. The Model X is about as big and heavy as electric cars should get and is certainly well beyond what the size/weight your average EU citizen is likely to want. So honestly I don't see this as a big issue in the short-medium term, batteries for Joe Average will top-out at 80-100kWh I'd guess and if charging continues to get faster (which it surely will, saw an article for a 450kW charger this morning :O ) this problem will fade away.

    Yeah to be honest I actually agree here, I think once battery ranges increase and the vast majority of charging shifts to home, this need to destination charge will drop off big time, which will be good because as you say it will never be feasible to plug in 200 cars at a single office. I think lamp-posts could be useful for apartment dwellers to get an overnight slow charge though, again not for somebody commuting 200km a day, but for your average Joe doing 50km it would be totally fine to charge at a couple of kWs.


    Agreed but we don't need to reach a point where degradation reaches 0%. Tesla is just the first cut at it, assuming it improves does it really matter if a car loses 5% range after it hits 300k kilometres? Assuming the car had a few hundred kilometre range when it was bought new, and the owner is charging at home and ending up with a full tank every morning, I think 5-10% loss of range after huge mileages will be unnoticeable. Sure petrol/diesel engines get way less efficient at these sorts of mileages and nobody blinks an eyelid.
    I think the "wilting Leafs" in hot climates have done a lot of damage to the BEV movement by highlighting this battery degradation issue, but once the last uncooled battery pack is sold this issue will hopefully leave peoples' minds.



    I think it is just that though, perception. I was worried about it as well buying my first EV, within a few weeks I realised it was far handier to wake up with a full battery every morning than to be fluting around with dirty pumps in petrol stations a couple of times a week in the wind and rain. We'll have to agree to disagree that it will "always" be an issue because I think with larger batteries and quicker charging coming out constantly, I'd say it won't be an issue for more than a couple of years nevermind always :).

    Two chargers solves any issue moving cars around. But again I think these are the minority of cases that yeah we may not be able to solve today, but lets try and get the 80-90% of people across as quickly as possible and take that benefit, the rest can be figured out then. For reference, 12% of homes in Ireland are apartments and I'm sure some people don't have suitable driveways or wiring for chargers as well, but we are talking about the minority and what we need is a quick and big impact on pollution.


    I don't know a huge amount about it to be honest, but I'd guess the amount of hydrogen being shipped today must be absolutely tiny compared to the quantity required to replace petrol and diesel, which would surely scale up the risk significantly. From the first paragraph of Wikipedia - "Hydrogen possesses the NFPA 704's highest rating of 4 on the flammability scale because it is flammable when mixed even in small amounts with ordinary air; hydrogen gas and normal air can ignite at as low as 4% air due to the oxygen in the air and the simplicity and chemical properties of the reaction. ... The storage and use of hydrogen poses unique challenges due to its ease of leaking as a gaseous fuel, low-energy ignition, wide range of combustible fuel-air mixtures, buoyancy, and its ability to embrittle metals that must be accounted for to ensure safe operation. Liquid hydrogen poses additional challenges due to its increased density and the extremely low temperatures needed to keep it in liquid form.".

    PS. Sorry for the length of that, but I like thinking these things through and writing them out, it's when you realise whether you really understand something or not :)
     
  16. Firefly

    Firefly Frequent Poster

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    Lots of interesting points in this thread. I think for couples, an electric car could be very useful combined with a petrol/diesel for the longer journeys.

    I note the gov are looking at extending the 0% BIK rules for electric cars to upto 5 years. I think this will be the biggest game changer. 4 year lease only deals for a Leaf are around 350 euro per month. If I could write that off as a business expense and not pay BIK the net cost to me would be around the 160 euro a month range and I'd happily get on then as I would probably save that in fuel, servicing, tax and all the rest....
     
  17. Leo

    Leo Moderator

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    To be honest, I'm not convinced hydrogen FCEVs are the answer either, I just think longer term, we need to move beyond lugging a huge battery around and so think it's still worth pursuing. I'm thinking longer term and what will be viable for the larger cars people favour and commercial vehicles/ buses, the vehicles responsible for the majority of emissions.

    Toyota, Honda & Nissan formed a joint venture to roll out more hydrogen fuel station across Japan as well despite all being major players in BEVs, so they must think there's something to it too. Hydrogen fuel cells have other applications and that is likely driving some of that investment (Honda already offer domestic fuel cell systems), and as the process/ technology for on-site hydrogen extraction improves, the need for large scale infrastructure falls. Other countries that incentivised PV with feed in tariffs now face issues with over-supply during the middle of the day, I think one potential neat solution to this would be to divert this excess to produce hydrogen. If that can do done at source, even better.

    While moving a lot of low mileage users off fossil fuel will make an impact, we can't ignore the contribution of the high mileage users, commercial vehicles, trucks, buses, agricultural machinery, etc.. If that last 20% of users are responsible for 90% of the emissions, does the investment pay off?

    With increasing urbanisation, the number of those with space for two home chargers is reducing. Around where I live many houses don't even have a single car driveway, but most houses have two and in rare cases, up to four cars. Of course if increasing urbanisation resulted in better public transport, then a lot of those problems dissipate, but who has confidence in any Irish government getting that right?

    Progress will certainly continue, but I'm not sure anyone is predicting a short to medium term future where battery capacity by weight can double or more.

    And I guess that's where I see an issue. Should the focus just be on smaller modes of transport or longer term do we need to find a solution that works across all vehicle types? The Tesla X isn't that much larger than the Mondeo or 5 series, (10cm longer than the 5 series) lot's of people here want cars that size and even bigger. The X is 60% heavier than the Mondeo, that's certainly an issue for handling and wear part lifespan.

    Faster charging speeds up the oxidation problem. ;)

    Even that would need complete re-wiring of lamp posts across the country and the associated installation of charging points. I've no idea what that might cost, would every local authority and MUD management company want to get into the business of charging points? I'll leave out the extra generation capacity issues, we likely need to do something there to address predicted data centre demand, so the revenue from charging points might speed up the payback for that investment.

    There have been a few trials and lots of owner self-reporting documenting battery degradation, some of these reports would put me off jumping onboard EVs for now. Tesla seem the be at the top of this at the moment with a much slower rate of degradation, but then, for a $12k battery, you'd certainly hope that'd be the case :D.

    Yeah, I'm discounting that completely as that was an issue of poor design. Nissan now offer a warranty on 70% capacity in the US market at least to counter that publicity.

    Agreed on the need for a big impact, but I not yet convinced this can deliver the impact it's being hyped up to. It's an easy win for the government to push and make it look like it's doing something. They set targets in terms of percentage of EV ownership and not in terms of any real environmental impact. Like some of the other measures they've introduced, I fear it's more window dressing.

    Certainly, it does face significant challenges, but some of its other advantages mean it's shouldn't be discounted yet I think.

    All good!
     
  18. Firefly

    Firefly Frequent Poster

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    Here's what we need!

    upload_2018-8-15_11-28-58.png
     
  19. RichInSpirit

    RichInSpirit Frequent Poster

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    Leo likes this.