thread yeah but that's a catch-22
people won't buy unless there's sufficient charging infrastructure, and the charging infrastructure won't exist unless enough people buy

over in the continent I've seen an increasing number of employers offering free workplace charging as an employment benefit, and I suspect that will catch on here shortly - and like you say the supermarkets are already gearing up to use it as a shopping incentive

streetlights are the obvious infrastructure point for on-street charging but using them in this manner means £100bns spent on recabling every street in the country

the other big social issue is how we avoid a two-tier system with monied urbanites able to cover the capital costs getting effectively free fuel, and rural poor running old carswith rapidly increasing tax and petrol costs - especially with the potential extent of the 2nd hand EV market as yet unknown. It has the potential to be all very regressive
permalink if/when EVs really get going
the closure rate for petrol stations will ramp up, reducing economies of scale in distribution.

But then city dwellers, especially the poor, are far less likely to have access to any sort of car. Glasgow is the biggest on this- slightly over 50% of households have no car (it's under 50%, just, in the leafy south and north west of the city).

Norway's been going hard in electric cars by providing massive subsidies, but they can afford to. Although they will probably have to kick them out of the buslanes soon. And the subsidies only help people buying a new car, by bringing the cost of an EV down to that of an equivalent fossil fuel car.

permalink I still see the major problem
Even bigger than the charging infrastructure being whether we can realistically build enough of the buggers to replace all the vehicles with ICEs in them. My guess is no. Particularly on the battery front.

I'd rather we got on with tackling this in other ways too. Like massive CCS. Because we're still going to be burning lots of fossils fuels for the next 50 years, whether people like it or not.
permalink agreed on the geoengineering challenge
there is no route to averting climate disaster that doesn't include biofuels and CCS on a massive scale - it's not just the emissions we could do something about, it's the ones already in the atmosphere and the future ones we cannot ameliorate
permalink Yes but as CJ pointed out
There is already spare infrastructure. Not everywhere but it is there and it's pretty visible as well.

As I see it, the number of people without off-street parking who also do a lot of miles , and also don't park in the work car park, NCP regularly is relatively small. Remember that Glasgow and Edinburgh are pretty unique in thier adoption of tenement flats. And while terraced houses have a similar problem, there is more space to solve it.

permalink The streetlight thing is a bit of a red herring...
It's an obvious bit of infrastructure mechanically speaking, ie to stick a charge point on, but as you say... huge recabling required.

People assume that since there's electricity in there anyway it's easy, which is just not true... a lamp-post is no more use for putting EV charge points on than a bollard really. There's nowhere near enough power available in streetlighting circuits, plus some of them are switched externally to the lamp-post, so the power isn't even on if it's not dark. Plus most of them are on unmetered supplies, paid for by local authorities... not deals which allow for the sort of consumption EV charging would involve...

Also... lampposts are quite often at the back of the pavement, not at the kerb-edge... mainly to reduce the likelihood of them being demolished by vehicles. You can't really have EV charge points at the back of the pavement... cables strewn across the pedestrian route as cars charge... that's not going to work.

So yes... resolving not just the electrical infrastructure but also the commercial situations to make lamp-posts into charge points would be phenomenally expensive, complicated and take FOREVER. Most councils take months to change lamps in streetlights, let alone do anything more complicated.

I'm sure that some street lighting columns will be installed that incorporate EV points, but using existing streetlighting infrastructure doesn;t really make much sense - I suspect it'll be less cost and effort to just put dedicated points in where you actually want them and ignore the streetlights.
permalink well we're committed to almost total transport decarbonisation by 2045
which implies total extinction of the ICE in the UK, which in turn means that unless we drastically change the nature of vehicle ownership, everywhere that a car was parked last night there needs to be a charger

I'm not promoting lamp posts as technically suited, just an item of street furniture that could be used as housing rather than taking up even more pavement space. Bins, bollards, anything you could potentially get a charging circuit into, it will all need to be used. All points on expense and difficulty acknowledged. Councils come very quickly on board with anything that gets them revenue.

It's either that or hydrogen fuel cells, which nobody seems hugely keen on yet (though I have an inkling Honda may be about to change opinion on that in the way Tesla has).
permalink I'd question the idea that they need to be charged
Every night. With a 200 mile range (and by 2047 surely well be up over 300-400) you'll be charging half the cars less than once per week.

My thinking is that most people use their cars to go somewhere and putting power in that somewhere is going to be much easier than doing every street in the country

But yes youd also hope car ownership model has radically shifted by that time as well.
permalink they don't need to be charged every night at all, no
but in order to persuade people to move from ICE to EV you need to take the baseline that, as with ICE, everyone expects to be able to charge and travel freely. In the same respect as cars spend 95% of the time switched off and sitting still, yet that doesn't mean we can get rid of 19 out of 20 cars.

I might not need my car tomorrow to do anything more than go to the supermarket, but I want to be able to drive to Lands End if I suddenly decide to - and that is the consumer expectation, based on what they already have, and the evidence is very very few people are willing to concede on that flexibility, as that is one of the main reasons people have for owning personal transportation over using public transport
permalink I tend to agree with this.
Supermarkets, stations, shopping centres, hotels, city centre car parks... these are places people drive to and spend long enough at to get a decent charge in. All monetisable too.
permalink Nobody will need to own a car
once self-driving uber-style takes off. It'll be cost-effective and convenient, you'll never have to charge it or clean it or repair it.
permalink We are on the same wavelength
I think there's a massive opportunity for someone in coming up with what will become the "standard" object... in a range of form factors, housing the same guts and interface. Pole-mount for lighting columns, signposts, etc, self-contained in a bollard, wall-mounting box, etc... and in a way that can easily take "clip-on" (not literally) trims for pseudo-historical styling (like the lamp-posts on University Avenue round your way... those are a simple tubular steel pole with the usual hatch containing the fused cut-out etc, then with a FUCKING HUGE stuck-on decoratuve cover in two halves stuck on it.

At the moment, there are loads of different designs, mostly ugly, and not in any way comaptible with other street furniture or able to be integrated into a pleasingly coherent streetscape.

Just round the corner from here are the biggest ugliest iones I've seen yet. Must take a photo.


(oh.. and those poles on University Aveneue... people think they're proper Victoriana... I remember them being installed when I was at Uni in about 1989...)
permalink Of course there's extremists
who would like to get rid of almost every on-street parking space. One of the worst public policy non-decisions was allowing it in the first place

*waves*