Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Of course you can drive from John O'Groats to Lands End by electric car - but it will take you two weeks

There's a story in today's Western Morning News about two people who have driven from John O'Groats to Lands End in an electric car. Unfortunately, the story seems to be lifted directly from a press release as there is no attempt to challenge some pretty outrageous claims.

The piece says:

"It took them just over two weeks to reach their southerly destination. This was the first end-to-end trip of the UK in a production electric car. It was completed in a similar time to that of a petrol vehicle, except their journey was completed with zero emissions."

Hang on a minute.... I know it's a long way from the far north or Scotland, but the normal time for a car to do the journey is hardly two weeks, particularly as teams of cyclists manage the feat in just ten days or so. In fact, sticking to the speed limits, the journey takes about 15 hours by car.

The problem, of course, is not the Tesla car itself which has a top speed not far off a regular petrol sports car. The problem is that the range of the vehicle without re-charging is about 160 miles at most. After that you need to plug it in overnight unless you are lucky enough to own a special high performance charger.

Electric vehicle technology is probably part of the future for road transport, and refuelling can be pretty cheap. But we shouldn't kid ourselves that it has any practical use outside of cities at the moment.

3 comments:

Foss said...

In a rural area such as this, the distance an EV can travel is an extremely important factor.

Hopefully advances like this will make EVs more feasible in the near future. http://www.gizmag.com/semi-solid-flow-battery-design/18907/

Martin Howes said...

Electric cars are not just for cities! Take the example of someone who lives in a rural location 10 miles away from a town and 25 miles from the nearest city. Most of their daily round-trips journeys are still within the range of an electric car.
Especially for a two-car family, it can make perfect sense to have one electric car. The purchase price is the main barrier.

Jules said...

According to DfT, distance of an average journey by car is 7 miles, fine for an electric (http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/nts/)

It's not true to say they're zero emission though, because of all the energy and resources used to manufacture them.