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1 hour ago, cvabishop said:

I have read many opinions on this and the general consensus seems to be that the assessments depend on where you are starting from. There seems to be no universal truth, only opinions dependent on your personal proclivities.

Proclivities aside, then anyone serious  / knowledgeable will say currently manufacturing certain types of batteries, L-ion included, are more carbon intensive / polluting than building a standard ICE power train due the raw material extraction techniques, processing and even where the battery is made. Batteries from Nevada have a lower emission footprint than batteries form Asia for example.

However things are progressing fast. A new cost effective method of extra lithium from sea water, the most abundant although diffuse source of lithium on the planet, with the small side effects of producing hydrogen and clean fresh water, announced at the start of this month from Saudi Arabia. New methods of processing the lithium to leave stages out and reduce water use have also been announced. So all the time batteries are getting cleaner.

The big however and where nuancing increases, is when the full energy cycle is considered from start to finish be that oil in the ground / uranium ore / wind or sunshine to motive power on the road. This is where the difference lies and studies that tend to favour ICE conveniently leave out parts of the energy cycle like the energy required to pump it out of the ground, or the refining process. On the other hand a lot of renewable zealots also forget there are also energy costs included in building or windmills, or solar panels etc. Both have environmental costs.

However if you take the full cycle fossil fuels are far more inefficient and ICE power trains will keep polluting every moment of use, whereas with electricity and batteries you have the opportunity to use zero emission electrical energy more effectively and efficiently reducing the overall pollution effect. I don't like the term renewables because everything is renewable given enough time, trees 20 years to grow to replace wood pellets, fossil fuel a few eons and even the earth's crust given long enough.

As a quick comparison on just the energy itself from generation to wheel, BEVs are 75% to 80% efficient including generation loses, transmission losses, inverter losses, motor losses and wheel road losses. Just ICE engines are generally 25 -35% efficient, half that of EVs whole cycle, and that does not include the pumping, refining, transportation of the fuel itself. As a side note hydrogen is around 35% efficient in vehicles from generation to wheel. Much of this is immutable due to laws of physics etc, we are not going to suddenly get a 80% efficient diesel engine or over unity electric motor.

And then you have more nuancing on where people draw their figures from. Electricity is much dirtier in Poland with their heavy reliance on coal generation, whereas in Norway it is almost 100% zero emission with hydro, and France is very low with it's high number of nuclear reactors. Guess which country's grid was chosen to shown EVs in a bad light.

Overall in the UK it takes on average 3 years for new EVs to become less polluting than ICE cars, France and Norway a lot less time.

1 hour ago, cvabishop said:

At the moment, batteries are still inherently inefficient

So how efficient do batteries have to be in order to be effective? Or maybe the real question is at what energy density are batteries satisfactory? Best EV batteries are between 200 - 250 Wh/kg. This compares to 

Lead Acid 30 - 50 Wh/kg
Nicad 45 - 80 Wh/kg
NMH 60 - 120 Wh/kg

400 -500 Wh/kg is considered a starting point for commercial flight, VTOL which you can get now but are too expensive for commercial use. IIRC the highest energy density in regular use for specialist applications is very very expensive 1200 Wh/kg batteries. In terms of costs a recent analysis by MIT has shown that L-ion battery costs have decreased by 97% since 1991 when L-ion were first available. L-ion batteries now are under £75 / kW.

400 - 500 Wh/kg could be crucial for shipping too as it would reduce battery mass considerably. It is possible to do longer ferry crossing now, Dover Calais, even Portsmouth - Caen now (we did a quick exercise modelling an E-Ship between the two to see if reasonable and not have the battery as the vessel), but it is the charging / supply infrastructure required that is the limiting factor. There was a study in flow batteries for ships in Portsmouth but not sure gone anywhere.

400 Wh/kg is predicted for 2023/2024 which means half size battery packs or doubling the range (or somewhere in between!), and enable there and back for Portsmouth Caen before charging.

59 minutes ago, cvabishop said:

Heat pumps might be a future alternative but they are horribly inefficient.

For a lot of the world heat pumps are the most efficient way to heat and cool. They have a efficiency measure called CoP or Coefficient of Performance which is positive. For example if you have a heat pump with a COP of 3 that means for every 1 kW of electricity put in you get 3 kW of heat out. Heat pump heating runs in a different way with more constant background heat instead of on / off thermal cycling that traditional boilers tend to work by.

I have have yet to find a gas boiler that puts out more heat than the energy you put in even with good modern condensing boilers being around 90% efficient now. The upfront cost of heat pumps especially the better ground source versions is high, but declining rapidly; a heating engineer we work with says his company cannot fit heat pumps fast enough and they are trying to recruit.

The only caveat is if you live in a cold climate area, then gas is more effective due the the higher heat requirements; in this case cold climate is not most of the UK.

Heat pumps are also replacing conventional resistive heating in BEVs to make them much more efficient and adding to the range. Teslas, Jaguars, Kias, Hyundais BEVs all have heat pumps due to their efficiency etc and some of the range jumps on later cars is partly down to heat pumps. There is a study on this from 2018 using a Jaguar i-Pace for winter testing in Sweden. 

As always installing a heat pump currently is a financial balance between high installation and low running against low initial cost and higher running costs of gas. And this is the most important aspect of all this, environmentalists can shout until they turn green in the face, but the major shift to low pollution electric propulsion, heating etc will only occur when cost / benefit tips clearly in the low emissions favour and the the nuanced arguments that most people do not want to bother with are rendered mute.

This tipping has happened in wind and solar, now the cheapest forms of generation according to the real electricity prices, is happening in cars and will happen in other industries as things improve including shipping.

4 hours ago, cvabishop said:

fusion might be the answer

Always 20 years ... but there is good work going on in Culham and Milton, Oxfordshire, US, China, Russia. ITER in France is too slow, too big and not keeping up. Quelle surprise! Also, apparently the UK's first fusion reactor is going to be built in Nottinghamshire.

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In short how the car uses the power is a major part of the efficiency equation. More comprehensively, the battery capacity kWh to range within car families is directly related, but not necessaril

I read all the post on here and I have been educated by expert advice.with all of the numbers of charging rates ,times it take,different connections ,costs etc. I think I will just stick with my fossi

I took the plunge this afternoon and ordered the Mazda MX-30. Thanks for all your useful advice, keep it coming. I'm sure I'll have other questions once it's delivered and I'm using it on a daily basi

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I had a test of the Hyundai Kona (big battery) EV this morning and my neck still hurts from the brutal acceleration. And I didn't even put it in 'sport' mode. The range is very impressive and means I now need to change my calculations as it could almost be considered as our primary car and not as a secondary one. I do however need to see if the 1,300€ premium will be earned back over the five years I expect to keep it or if that money would be better spent getting a high-end wall-charger fitted instead.

Ed

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Unless you have solar or battery backup and want to divert power from the panels / battery to the car / house etc, then get a basic wall charger. We have a simple tethered* wall charger which is just plugged in to the car, and then use the car's on board system to schedule and control charging via the app. The car controls the charging rate anyway. With a simple charger and the UK's OLEV grant, the charger overall cost us very little; paying for itself in 4 months easily with saved fuel costs.

*A tethered wall unit is a charger with a lead / plug attached to it which can be plugged straight into the car. A universal charger just has a plug socket, which means you use your car's charging lead to plug in and charge. We got tethered just for the convenience of coming back, pulling the cable out and plugging in.

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Shipping Forecast said:

Unless you have solar or battery backup and want to divert power from the panels / battery to the car / house etc, then get a basic wall charger. We have a simple tethered* wall charger which is just plugged in to the car, and then use the car's on board system to schedule and control charging via the app. The car controls the charging rate anyway. With a simple charger and the UK's OLEV grant, the charger cost us very little; for us the charger paid for itself in 4 months easily with saved fuel costs.

*A tethered wall unit is a charger with a lead / plug attached to it which can be plugged straight into the car. A universal charger just has a plug socket, which means you use your car's charging lead to plug in and charge. We got tethered just for the convenience of coming back, pulling the cable out and plugging in.

 

 

Thanks for that. What happens if someone visits you with an EV and want to do a fast charge on their car? Is that possible or after you taking about the slower, overnight option? And is that 7kw/h?

Ed

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Home chargers tend to be 7.4kW or there about. The exact power level may differ in France due to the different method of accounting for electrical supply there. You can get 3.6 kW and 22 kW home chargers too, the first is cheaper, not much, designed for those with less capable electricity supply which might apply if you are particularly rural. 22 kW is if you have 3 phase supply and the units are corresponding more expensive.

To clarify terminology, 3.6 kW and below is slow charging, ordinary plug sockets could be classed a very relaxed. 7.2 kW is fast charging and above 22 kW is considered rapid or ultra rapid charging. Tesla superchargers, Ionity 350 kW etc are all ultra rapid.

Any car with a compatible plug / socket can charge in your charger. There were several plug types, but a lot of manufacturers have settled on Type 2 CCS. There are adapters available to go from Type 1 to Type 2 plugs etc, and if visitors have deviated from the beaten track with a less common plug type, they will usually be prepared with adapters in the back of their car.

If your charger charges at 7.4 kW then any car that is able to, will charge at the same rate. This will be same in the day or overnight. The only variable will be the cost to you. 7.4 kW has become the standard charger rate as it is the sweet spot between taking an age, battery health, plus does not require higher supply rates.

3.6 and 7.4 kW chargers are also often called destination chargers at hotels, shopping centres, car parks etc, and the benefit of the slower rate is many allow you to charge for free (another EV benefit) as the electricity consumption / cost is not great.  Some time you have to pay to park, but gain some of that back in free electrons. Again this is where the fuelling mindset shift is, charging mainly at home at cheaper rates and then top up if necessary when out to complete the journey. Only use the rapid chargers like Ionity on longer trips for convenience.

One thing to note is that charging is not at the same level throughout the charging session, it starts faster and then slows towards the end to protect the battery. That is why people only charge to 80% in everyday life as that last 20% is slow and most detrimental to the battery over long term. We only go to 100% for longer journeys. Charging at 7.2 kW is more consistent than ultra rapid chargers though.

Hope this is the right level of detail to help, trying to balance information with conciseness.

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That sounds pretty clear. If a car is charged via Type 2 at 7kW and takes 5.5 hours and on a CCS fast charger takes 40 minutes at 37kW then how long would it be likely to take via a standard wall socket? I'm guessing around 3 times as long. I would aim to get the wall box installed during our forthcoming building work but it might not be operational until the end of the year so may have to resort to other options in the meantime. I don't believe there are any grants available here as they are all being given to the actual car buyers but my electrician, if he ever deigns to get back to me, might be able to shed some light on the matter. 

Ed

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2 hours ago, Cabin-boy said:

That sounds pretty clear. If a car is charged via Type 2 at 7kW and takes 5.5 hours and on a CCS fast charger takes 40 minutes at 37kW then how long would it be likely to take via a standard wall socket? I'm guessing around 3 times as long. I would aim to get the wall box installed during our forthcoming building work but it might not be operational until the end of the year so may have to resort to other options in the meantime. I don't believe there are any grants available here as they are all being given to the actual car buyers but my electrician, if he ever deigns to get back to me, might be able to shed some light on the matter. 

Ed

I don't have the fees on top of my head but in France you may be able to opt for a 3 phase supply (triphasé) . A wall box output can then be greatly increased. 

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4 hours ago, Cabin-boy said:

If a car is charged via Type 2 at 7kW and takes 5.5 hours and on a CCS fast charger takes 40 minutes at 37kW then how long would it be likely to take via a standard wall socket? I'm guessing around 3 times as long.

Approximately yes, around 15.5 hours for the example above. For 64 kWh version, 29 hours is the quoted time for 0 to 100% using plug socket, 9 hours using 7.2 kW charger.

2 hours ago, crechbleiz said:

I don't have the fees on top of my head but in France you may be able to opt for a 3 phase supply (triphasé) . A wall box output can then be greatly increased. 

This is true but the Kona like most BEVs, can only do a maximum of 11.5 kW AC charging so the difference between 7.2 kW and 11.5 kW would probably not be worth the extra cost of 3 phase and a more expensive 3 phase charger. If the car could do 22 kW AC charging then worth looking into. There are very few EVs that can actually do the full 22 kW charging natively, Renault Zoe ... ..., and is a paid option on other BEVs like the Audi e-tron. However I do not know any EV owners who have paid extra for the 22 kW charging capability as cars are usually parked for 9 hours overnight anyway and 7.2 kW is better for the battery.

The only time 22 kW is worth it, is when you have multiple EVs who can then share the charger, but then you are back down to 11 kW or less for each.

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7 hours ago, crechbleiz said:

I don't have the fees on top of my head but in France you may be able to opt for a 3 phase supply (triphasé) . A wall box output can then be greatly increased. 

Thanks. When my fuse box and meter were upgraded in 2012 (in the first round of building work) we got rid of the old 3 phase system in favour of a single phase one due to its advantages and compatibility with certain equipment (if I remember correctly) such as the water pump in our well. I'm therefore not sure if that idea will be possible. 

4 hours ago, Shipping Forecast said:

Approximately yes, around 15.5 hours for the example above. For 64 kWh version, 29 hours is the quoted time for 0 to 100% using plug socket, 9 hours using 7.2 kW charger.

Ok, that's fine as I'm generally at home from 8.30pm to 7am at least giving me  enough time to to up and replace whatever has been used assuming I'm unable to recharge during the day.

This only really applies if I go for the lower capacity Mazda. The high capacity Kona will go for 3 days on a single charge based on my usual driving habits. Although if I use its (addictive) warp speed mode I may need to charge more frequently!

Ed

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I took the plunge this afternoon and ordered the Mazda MX-30. Thanks for all your useful advice, keep it coming. I'm sure I'll have other questions once it's delivered and I'm using it on a daily basis.

I'm already contemplating taking it to Normandy in the summer alongside our other car (with the bikes on the back) so that once there we can use it as the daily runaround (except to the beach obviously) and crucially find parking places more easily in Granville etc by sticking it on a charge point. I'll see what my wife thinks about that. I'll need to stop for a 30-minute picnic somewhere on route but it might be the perfect opportunity to start changing our driving habits. 

Ed

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1 hour ago, Cabin-boy said:

I'll need to stop for a 30-minute picnic somewhere on route but it might be the perfect opportunity to start changing our driving habits. 

Ed

You nailed it. We need to change our habits. 

 

The MX-30 is such a good looking car. 

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I read all the post on here and I have been educated by expert advice.with all of the numbers of charging rates ,times it take,different connections ,costs etc. I think I will just stick with my fossil burning car for now.until everything come much more clearer and the battery technology gives you many more miles and quicker charging for now.stay safe

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19 hours ago, David Williams said:

Presumably the other car will have a tow rope for when you find all the chargers full with cars having a Paris numberplate.
 

Hopefully that won't be necessary. On the way up there are plenty of places to stop and once there I can always charge it at the house overnight on a standard 3-pin socket. 

I've signed up to 'Chargemap' which apparently shows all publicly-accesible charging points and whether they are vacant or not. This will allow me to see if one is free before I head too it and also indicates the power supply available.

Are there any better apps which people would to recommend?

Ed

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Plugsurfing and possibly PlugShare for finding charging points.

For journey planning we use ABRP (A Better Route Planner) which uses it's smarts to take into account other factors like elevations on route, weight of passengers / load etc. You can set state of charge when setting out and when you arrive, set your efficiency based on your driving style etc, plus show you charging opportunities along the route. The paid for version will also take into account real time weather (wind, temperature) and have traffic information, more real time charger info and more when planning. Another feature is it will look at the driving so far on the journey and alter the recommended speed if required. Not perfect, no SatNav is, but works very well. Not sure what the MX-30's on board system is like, but onboard systems can be limited to 'favoured' charger networks.

One thing that we have found is not every charger is listed on one app, especially with the fast rate they are being installed it takes time for every app to reflect all the changes. Some local chargers are not shown at all, driving through villages in some parts of France, the local Mairie can have destination chargers round the side / back with free or very cheap charging that they have not told anyone about. Been a year or so since driving in France for some reason 🤔, so things may have moved on, but keep an eye out.

Also if you use a certain charging network regularly, or have plenty of chargers around you or where you are going, it can be beneficial to sign up to their app to get cheaper charging. Certainly in the the UK paying with card at the pump can be more expensive than through the app.

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15 hours ago, Shipping Forecast said:

Also if you use a certain charging network regularly, or have plenty of chargers around you or where you are going, it can be beneficial to sign up to their app to get cheaper charging. Certainly in the the UK paying with card at the pump can be more expensive than through the app.

Thanks. Chargemap does seem to list chargers in all the places I'm hoping to use them but I will check other alternatives. It also provides an account on the app to activate charging at those which are compatible but still shows those which are not.

One of the factors which swayed me to chose the Mazda was their own app in fact. You can manage all the charging from within including setting the time to begin and end charging during the night to take advantage of the best tariffs. It also allows you to plan your GPS route on the phone and then send those instructions to the car so you don't have to fiddle around with the system onboard. And you can even pre-programme the heating or cooling to get the car to the right temperature before you leave home which, while something of an unessential luxury, might actually prove its worth over time.

Ed

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And you can even pre-programme the heating or cooling to get the car to the right temperature before you leave home which, while something of an unessential luxury, might actually prove its worth over time.....

if it’s that clever Ed then maybe there’s a programme for a « Full English », piping hot, bacon perfectly cooked, soft eggs etc - you might even get BF interested ...🤣

Now that would be an essential luxury

Chris

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50 minutes ago, dojidave said:

In the UK the infrastructure leaves much to be desired, and despite all the apps to help you plan your journey, on long trips things can still go wrong:

https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornwall-news/touring-electric-coach-stranded-eden-5524525

There's a long way to go getting the system running efficiently for EV's to really take off, to get enough charging points that will charge every car will take a lot of investment, it's no good saying "Oh this charger doesn't do your vehicle" they all have to do every vehicle.

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23 hours ago, nodwad said:

I read all the post on here and I have been educated by expert advice.with all of the numbers of charging rates ,times it take,different connections ,costs etc. I think I will just stick with my fossil burning car for now.until everything come much more clearer and the battery technology gives you many more miles and quicker charging for now.stay safe

 

45 minutes ago, Solo said:

There's a long way to go getting the system running efficiently for EV's to really take off, to get enough charging points that will charge every car will take a lot of investment, it's no good saying "Oh this charger doesn't do your vehicle" they all have to do every vehicle.

I think it has become clear to me from these and other posts, that that there is still a lot of work required to create the necessary infrastuture in the UK before EV's become a truly viable option for me to  make the change from my French diesel and Mrs C's Italian petrol wagons.

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1 hour ago, Solo said:

There's a long way to go getting the system running efficiently for EV's to really take off, to get enough charging points that will charge every car will take a lot of investment, it's no good saying "Oh this charger doesn't do your vehicle" they all have to do every vehicle.

If you can charge at home then there is no real problem as that will suffice for the vast majority of daily commutes. If you can top up at work then that is a bonus. It's those who live in multi-family units which will have most difficulty finding somewhere to charge their vehicles given the available space and the real risk of spaces being either blocked with non-EVs or vandalized and therefore out of service. Long distance trips are also tricky to plan but with some imagination they should become increasingly possible. 

Ed

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6 hours ago, Cabin-boy said:

Thanks. Chargemap does seem to list chargers in all the places I'm hoping to use them but I will check other alternatives. It also provides an account on the app to activate charging at those which are compatible but still shows those which are not.

One of the factors which swayed me to chose the Mazda was their own app in fact. You can manage all the charging from within including setting the time to begin and end charging during the night to take advantage of the best tariffs. It also allows you to plan your GPS route on the phone and then send those instructions to the car so you don't have to fiddle around with the system onboard. And you can even pre-programme the heating or cooling to get the car to the right temperature before you leave home which, while something of an unessential luxury, might actually prove its worth over time.

Chargemap, Plugsurfing etc all charge a premium on top as a convenience fee. In the UK it is usually between 5 and 10p a kW which can add up. When travelling in France and outside the UK we do have the Plugsurfing and Chargemap cards if needed for simplicity. Don’t bother with them in the UK.now. BTW did you see the French government announced 100m€ for improving charging network there.

All the reasonable cars apps have similar functionality now especially around charging. The charging shown in the car app is on the ‘who contributed to the car manufacturers fund’, so often they are incomplete, bit like the petrol station brand that paid to appear in the road atlas. This will change over time especially as more and more EVs use Android Auto and Apple CarPlay so can be circumvented easily with other apps. Last night I was looking at a route in Wales, and in this case PlugShare had many more chargers showing in the area than the other apps, so you do need to have at least a couple of charger apps.

Pre-conditioning your car is a boon on cold and hot days. It does feel good to get back to a cool car after been out on a hot day while others are leaving doors open, wafting etc waiting for the car to cool down. The other feature newer BEVs have is normal plug sockets, so you could plug that triangular roll maker in.

2 hours ago, dojidave said:

n the UK the infrastructure leaves much to be desired,

Unfortunately a combination of laissez-faire charger owners (especially ecotricity but some others are not much better), ICEing (when an ICE car parks in the charging bay blocking access to the chargers. Fines for ICEing are in some parts the UK, not sure about France, which is stopping this activity) and vandalism (just why?) does nothing to help. Hopefully with the Electric Highway taking over ecotricity’s (voted worst charging network several times) chargers and other big companies getting involved things will improve.

Ironic it was the zero emission bus, or if I were cynical, this was trying to be a publicity stunt for charging, especially since the Eden Project has EV chargers. An own goal? Media misreporting again, stirring the pot etc with sub heading of “The Carbon Battle Bus had travelled from London to Cornwall but needs to recharge before it can continue on its tour”. Well NSS, because you never have to refuel a normal bus. I don’t believe the experienced EV people who put the bus campaign together would have got it so wrong with an EV charger where they were stationed.

Personally it is the destination chargers that we mainly use to top up in parallel while doing other activities.

Major infrastructure operators like ports and ferry companies need to address the charger issue as well and could be a differentiator to bring more traffic. EV charging is appearing as a feature on holiday home listings, but not on BF holiday listings as a searchable feature. Reminds me of WiFi a few years ago.

1 hour ago, Solo said:

There's a long way to go getting the system running efficiently for EV's to really take off, to get enough charging points that will charge every car will take a lot of investment, it's no good saying "Oh this charger doesn't do your vehicle" they all have to do every vehicle.

The Type 2 / CCS charging plug standard in Europe and a lot of the world now makes type of charger not really an issue and will be less so. Even the hold outs Nissan  and Tesla are changing to Type 2 outside native markets. If you don’t have the standard plugs then adapters are available.

Although there are now more charging points than fuel pumps in the UK, all people who can charge at home do so and leave fully fuelled for their journey. This is so different to going to fill up at a petrol station, people have difficulty getting their heads around. Shell and BP now run some of the largest charging networks in the UK and are very big investors in zero emission generation. One of the reasons BP’s logo changed was to reflect the companies investments in solar, you can see the sun at the centre.

Apart from price, one of the biggest issues for adoption is those who have to use on street parking. Solutions like Char.gy (https://char.gy) lamp post chargers are being installed a rapid rate of knots to sort this out.

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26 minutes ago, colinschandler said:

 

I think it has become clear to me from these and other posts, that that there is still a lot of work required to create the necessary infrastuture in the UK before EV's become a truly viable option for me to  make the change from my French diesel and Mrs C's Italian petrol wagons.

Couldn't agree more.Our preferred holidays of touring in France and Spain are completely impractical in an electric vehicle.At my present advanced age of 75 I can honestly say I have no intention of ever owning one.I predict massive sales of Petrol/Diesel vehicles in 2029.I shall certainly buy one then and happily drive off into my fossil fuel sunset.

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