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4 minutes ago, Shipping Forecast said:

This is the eco dilemma. Unless you are keen to go camping off the beaten track, it is probably environmentally better at the moment to use the supplied power from an electric hookup, than to produce solar panels especially if they are low efficiency.

We do both - and for camping needs solar is already very feasible from very modest panels. It's to provide us with choice of location and reduce our costs.

It's now common for people to have storage in the 5 - 10kwh range, just for their domestic (camping) needs.

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This is the concept that I had heard about:

https://www.alko-tech.com/en/news/2019/feature-packed-trailer-future

A long way off but effectively it's electric propulsion for the caravan - reducing range impact. There's no reason why the battery capacity of the caravan could not be shared with the car, if it made sense to so.

I suspect it will not happen as the legislation for powered trailers and the development budgets of car manufacturer will make improving EV range the way forward.  

 

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6 minutes ago, VikingVoyager said:

We do both - and for camping needs solar is already very feasible from very modest panels. It's to provide us with choice of location and reduce our costs.

It's now common for people to have storage in the 5 - 10kwh range, just for their domestic (camping) needs.

Independent solar panels are great and we have tried quite a few including a couple at 25% efficiency, but I was thinking bigger picture in the resources taken to manufacture the panels vs alternative use of those resources to build more efficient panels that could make better use of the solar energy available. Is it better to use it for portable camping solar panels that get used a (small) percentage of the year or for more efficient panels that get used 100% of the year and use the supplied power?

If you take a long term view including panel / battery degradation over it lifetime, permanent solar panels / batteries are cost effective, but when you have partial use panels / batteries, then does the TCO add up. It will depend on circumstances, use cases, home use etc and everyone's circumstances are different. 

22 minutes ago, VikingVoyager said:

This is the concept that I had heard about:

https://www.alko-tech.com/en/news/2019/feature-packed-trailer-future

This seems a muddled concept. The stability and active assistance will increase range a small amount but not dramatically as seems to be implied. And station keeping behind the towing vehicle, helping braking through downhill stretches etc should be common now. The informa

But beyond that limited assistance not sure what else it brings to the road journey. The 48V battery does not look sufficient for propulsion, EVs usually have a 400v or 800V battery architecture to propel something of similar mass, so how is that going to assist?

The regen bit sounds disconnected, apart from stating it is beneficial to charge batteries especially when going downhill The car uses regen to convert kinetic energy into recharging battery power. The small motor unit is not going to provide that much regen / braking and the battery size looking at the image is not going to have that great a capacity.

If the power in the battery is not being used at a faster rate than generated as happens in EVs, the battery will reach 100%. What happens to regen power then? Does the caravan convert back to standard braking? Or will they use some other form of energy dissipation, use resistors to turn the electrical energy to heat? Their info also states that the regen energy can be used to support the towing vehicle. How, or is it badly worded for active assistance again? Increasing caravan battery size increases towed weight ...

Regen is another reason why in everyday use you charge to 80% to allow room for the regen power to be absorbed into the battery. And how is regen going to work as regening EVs don't necessarily send out brake signals? Using braking as a signal to apply regen would not work consistently to be effective.

It would be good to have more information, because as it stands the blurb seems to generate more questions than it answers. As it reads, this just has a small battery with a relatively low power motor than provides active assistance to the towing vehicle reducing power consumption. And you can use them to drive your van independently for short distances across the campsite which is nothing new. Anyone used it IRL?

But all this still does not tackle the two major factors in fuel efficiency, mass and aerodynamics. The battery increases weight but that can be set against practical use when camping and a lighter weight build, making the caravan's aerodynamics the major factor in fuel efficiency. Older block style caravans have the aerodynamics of a brick, which if that style is your thing, you just pay the massive fuel efficiency penalty for. Newer caravans have better fuel efficiency but you are still towing a large shaped box. Just laws of physics.

Unless of course you have one of those perpetual motion vehicles that spring up every so often.

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3 minutes ago, Shipping Forecast said:

Is it better to use it for portable camping solar panels that get used a (small) percentage of the year or for more efficient panels that get used 100% of the year and use the supplied power?

I think most people that use them (like us, though we are mere dabblers) do so for increased choice and independence.  It's nothing to do with overall efficiency and green-ness (if that was the case, we wouldn't be towing caravans or driving motorhomes!). 

 

6 minutes ago, Shipping Forecast said:

This seems a muddled concept.

Possibly so

8 minutes ago, Shipping Forecast said:

The stability and active assistance will increase range a small amount but not dramatically as seems to be implied

Someone mentioned typical range-drops of about a third when towing, which seems about right. This device would only need to counter at least some of that to be of use. As you say, more data is needed. How big a motor motor and batter would be needed to provide 1/3 the power of a medium / large EV? 

11 minutes ago, Shipping Forecast said:

the battery size looking at the image is not going to have that great a capacity

it looks to be about 2m x 0.75m x 0.3m. Is that not fairly decent? Heavy though

16 minutes ago, Shipping Forecast said:

And how is regen going to work as regening EVs don't necessarily send out brake signals? Using braking as a signal to apply regen would not work consistently to be effective.

Caravan brakes are very simple at the moment and only operate on the overrun device, e.g. it only has to compress. Regardless of regen braking, a control would be needed to at least stop the caravan sending power to its wheels and fighting the towing vehicle's brakes. This device would presumably need the be ICE compatible, after all.

Realistically, wouldn't this be something the EV maker simply codes in to their car? They do it with stability programmes which detect when a caravan is attached and adjust braking to suit, though there are examples where the EV programme has conflicted with the trailer programme

As I mentioned before, I think that this could be one of the hurdles for the concept - we don't currently have electrically operated brakes on trailers in this country (they do elsewhere), let alone powered trailers, so you would need to bring this in. 

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2 hours ago, Shipping Forecast said:

Difficult to get onto a charging point on the motorway with a caravan on the back

This was said very much tongue in cheek we had a 40KWH Nissan Leaf for two years and it was practical for most occasions. We did not use it for our trips around Spain (not brave enough). When we decided that for two retired people two cars was one to many  the Leaf had to go.   We did consider a Tesla model 3 long range but actual miles per charge against claimed and especially cost put us off.

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14 minutes ago, VikingVoyager said:

I think most people that use them (like us, though we are mere dabblers) do so for increased choice and independence.  It's nothing to do with overall efficiency and green-ness (if that was the case, we wouldn't be towing caravans or driving motorhomes!). 

Solar does bring independence. Efficiency, towing, motorhomes are a matter of perspective, they are what they are and everyone's reasons / use cases are different and this is considering a very narrow aspect.

image.thumb.png.29585905f9725cc982988e134d4bb475.png

Perspective Matters - LIZ

25 minutes ago, VikingVoyager said:

Someone mentioned typical range-drops of about a third when towing, which seems about right. This device would only need to counter at least some of that to be of use. As you say, more data is needed. How big a motor motor and batter would be needed to provide 1/3 the power of a medium / large EV? 

it looks to be about 2m x 0.75m x 0.3m. Is that not fairly decent? Heavy though

AL-KO's information does them a disservice.

AL-KO's latest version has battery packs between 10 and 30 kWh (or 15 and 30 kWh depending on the literature you read). For comparison towing EVs have battery packs twice the size and up. They also say that the motor can part assist propulsion, to reduce the apparent towed mass presented to the towing vehicle. This would be necessarily cautionary, otherwise you could end up in the situation where the trailer is pushing the towing vehicle and that is not likely to end well.

Lower voltage on battery would limit power without high currents and high currents leads to other issues like heat and faster battery degradation. Need more information to assess properly. Still not sure on the effectiveness of the system without more information either.

AL-KO also say the caravan battery can be recharged from the car, which in motion would seem to defeat the purpose.

1 hour ago, VikingVoyager said:

Caravan brakes are very simple at the moment and only operate on the overrun device, e.g. it only has to compress. ...

There is still stuff to work out. Any communication standard would have to mandated from elsewhere, not the car manufacturers; the manufacturers couldn't even decide on a common plug type. Tesla still has it's own plug in North America while everyone else is moving to CCS.

All this has gone a bit down a rabbit hole and could go deeper. EVs can tow but there are other limitations currently. There is still a lot of change that can / will happen and in 5 years time it will all look very different again.

@Cabin-boy how is the new car?

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15 minutes ago, Shipping Forecast said:

AL-KO's latest version has battery packs between 10 and 30 kWh

That seems kind of significant to me. E.g. a 30% bump on an Audi Qtron's capacity to counteract a 50% reduction in range or 100% increase in weight 

I'll leave it there. Seems to me that there's nothing here that isn't workable.  I think it will come down to whether there's enough demand to justify the R&D, which is an entirely different question.  

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Anyone who buys an electric vehicle at the present time should consider themselves to be an early adopter and as such should expect to pay a high price for an inferior product. We are in much the same place at present to those that purchased early flat screen tv's. Prices plummeted accompanied by great improvements in quatity. The tipping point between crt's and LCD/Plasma took place over a very short timescale. No doubt the same will happen with personal transport but we're not there yet.

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51 minutes ago, VikingVoyager said:

That seems kind of significant to me. E.g. a 30% bump on an Audi Qtron's capacity to counteract a 50% reduction in range or 100% increase in weight 

It is not that straightforward and is a combination of factors to make the electric powertrain. Similar chassises from other manufacturers have a 12 or 15kW motor, which is around 10 - 15% of the power of a small EV motor for something of similar mass, and a lot less than the larger towing vehicles. So the caravan's motive power is only going to be of limited assistance, not an extra 'power motor' as in an EV at this stage.

All is workable, more is possible but as you say it depends on other factors like demand, pricing, etc.

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1 hour ago, Rattler43 said:

Anyone who buys an electric vehicle at the present time should consider themselves to be an early adopter and as such should expect to pay a high price for an inferior product. We are in much the same place at present to those that purchased early flat screen tv's. Prices plummeted accompanied by great improvements in quatity. The tipping point between crt's and LCD/Plasma took place over a very short timescale. No doubt the same will happen with personal transport but we're not there yet.

What worries me is that quality will improve beyond what we see now but will the price come down rapidly?  With Governments trying to force us to Electric there's no incentive to bring prices down to quick with the captive market.

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2 hours ago, Rattler43 said:

Anyone who buys an electric vehicle at the present time should consider themselves to be an early adopter and as such should expect to pay a high price for an inferior product.

An early adopter, yes in 1830's when the first electric car were built. If that is too early, then even for modern EVs you would would be talking 1990s or 2000s.

EVs (BEVs not hybrids) are more capable in most automotive use cases than ICE cars. There are some limitations where ICE could well be better for a long time, just like thermal steam power is still used in modern nuclear reactors, or jet engines for flying, but that just means one technology is better in that use case than another. It does not mean they are inferior.

And the quality comments made me chuckle, obviously you have never been in a Porsche Taycan, Audi e-tron, Tesla Model S/X, Jaguar i-Pace etc, Mercedes EQC etc. Why not book a test drive and see? The cars from legacy manufacturers are the same quality as their ICE counterparts.

Any limitations are imposed not by the technology but fossil based incumbents who have a lot to lose in electrification, like the legacy car manufacturers. Production EVs are some the fastest, cheapest, easiest cars to drive - an EV just broke the record for production car 0 - 60 time in under 2 seconds beating supercars costing 10x or more. That would not indicate inferior technology.

Nor does the ability to update cars to make them safer, fastest, more efficient, add new features with free over the air software updates. There are paid for updates too to enhance the car if so desired.

The prices should already be lower especially for ICE model derivatives. Battery costs have fallen 89% in the last ten years and fell 13% in the last year alone. We are already at the tipping point but the fossil based incumbents are not passing it on.

Why? Many of these manufacturers cannot afford the transition to EV production without the risk of bankrupting the company, don't want people to buy EVs thereby rendering their investments in ICE manufacturing worthless with the knock effect on company valuations, stock options etc, and the after sales business is in single digits compared to rip off ICE after sales with deliberately designed wear out components.

China, Korea etc are managing to produce cost comparative and lower cost EVs than ICE cars now.

If you choose not to have an EV for whatever reason, that is great, but please don't imply they are inferior or poor quality, currently overpriced yes, but not inferior or poor quality. Book a test drive and see.

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7 hours ago, Shipping Forecast said:

And the quality comments made me chuckle, obviously you have never been in a Porsche Taycan, Audi e-tron, Tesla Model S/X, Jaguar i-Pace etc, Mercedes EQC etc. Why not book a test drive and see? The cars from legacy manufacturers are the same quality as their ICE counterparts.

With prices to match!!!

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Posted (edited)

I have no doubt of the quality of the current batch of EVs, but the price (largely dictated by battery costs) puts them out of the reach of the vast majority of car owners. The ICE is far from dead and there will be a thriving market for second-hand ICE vehicles for many moons to come. Never in my life have I purchased a new car (to be fair I have had a couple of company cars) and resent paying through the nose for a fast-depreciating asset. The ICE car will also remain the only viable option for the flat-dwellers, owners of terraced houses etc etc.

Edited by veryoldbear
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I imagine in 5 years or so we will have a decent charging network and comparable purchase prices to ICE, by then running costs will have to go up to pay for roads etc..

We are still in the incentivised startup phase of this technology, early adopters are being subsidised in order to kick start it.

I will next need a car in about 5 years & imagine that it will be Electric, however maybe by then the concept of owning a car will be on its way out as well. My Son lives in Central London and picks up a zipcar or van for an hour at a time or rents a car when needed. If cars became driverless, the rented car could come to you.

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11 hours ago, Shipping Forecast said:

An early adopter, yes in 1830's when the first electric car were built. If that is too early, then even for modern EVs you would would be talking 1990s or 2000s.

 

If you're thinking in purely chronology terms then of course you are correct. To me a better definition would be volumes available to purchase. In that respect the number of non EV vehicles is massive compared to the number of EV's so to me the current purchasers of EV's are early adopters.

11 hours ago, Shipping Forecast said:

And the quality comments made me chuckle, obviously you have never been in a Porsche Taycan, Audi e-tron, Tesla Model S/X, Jaguar i-Pace etc, Mercedes EQC etc. Why not book a test drive and see? The cars from legacy manufacturers are the same quality as their ICE counterparts.

 

If you choose not to have an EV for whatever reason, that is great, but please don't imply they are inferior or poor quality, currently overpriced yes, but not inferior or poor quality. Book a test drive and see.

The point I was making was that early production is invariably not as good as the products coming down the line and aiso much more expensive. The cars you mention are great cars, cutting edge in todays terms. Will they be seen to be inferior to models available from the same manufacturers range in 5 or 10 years time I would hope they will be. Most other things progress why not EV's? I didn't intend that my remarks should be taked as a comparison between ICE and EV propulsion that's not really comparing like with like.

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1 hour ago, veryoldbear said:

The ICE car will also remain the only viable option for the flat-dwellers, owners of terraced houses etc etc.

True but will they make impossible to run ICE cars, taxing petrol and making in hard to find.  It is the people in the dwellings you mention who generally can't afford to buy new cars, will they be priced off the road?  The same goes for flying, eventually they will have to put taxes up to discourage people from flying, this will not hit the rich they just pay it but it will stop ordinary people from flying.

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14 minutes ago, Rattler43 said:

The point I was making was that early production is invariably not as good as the products coming down the line and aiso much more expensive. The cars you mention are great cars, cutting edge in todays terms. Will they be seen to be inferior to models available from the same manufacturers range in 5 or 10 years time I would hope they will be. Most other things progress why not EV's? I didn't intend that my remarks should be taked as a comparison between ICE and EV propulsion that's not really comparing like with like

I worked in the Automotive supply industry with a tier one parts supplier. The first production models were far superior and came off the line as the designer intended. Very soon afterwards around 2 months the cost cutting began. What can we remove? How can we make the part cheaper? Will the removal of a rubber seal on the lower part of the door be noticed by the customer? As an example part cost £1.20 x 4 doors x 150,000 vehicles per annum = £720,000 annual saving. New models may be cheaper but on a typical 7 year model build life the price is unlikely to reduce as all the tooling and development costs need to be recovered. Face lifts are purely cosmetic and rarely involve significant tooling costs 

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True but will they make impossible to run ICE cars, taxing petrol and making in hard to find. 

Any party which is perceived to go into an election on a platform of effectively banning ICE cars isn'g going to get many votes.

The key to moving to EVs is to make them more attractive and no more expensive overall to buy and run as ICE vehicles.

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The U.K. is only banning the production of ICE vehicles in 2030, they're not banning the supply of stocks and they're not banning the refinement of the fossil fuels needed to power them.

Many European production lines have already switched to EV & PHEV production leaving their non EU plants to produce ICE vehicles. As an example, most VW Polo's for the British market are now built in South Africa... they actually make a larger profit on the marque now due to cheaper wages and gvt incentives.

 

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10 minutes ago, jonno said:

The U.K. is only banning the production of ICE vehicles in 2030, they're not banning the supply of stocks and they're not banning the refinement of the fossil fuels needed to power them.

True but will they make it difficult to get the fuel less availability and increased prices.  Of course at some point the Government has to make up the taxes they will lose from fuel, they can't tax domestic electric like petrol.

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13 minutes ago, IanN said:

I worked in the Automotive supply industry with a tier one parts supplier. The first production models were far superior and came off the line as the designer intended. Very soon afterwards around 2 months the cost cutting began. What can we remove? How can we make the part cheaper? Will the removal of a rubber seal on the lower part of the door be noticed by the customer? As an example part cost £1.20 x 4 doors x 150,000 vehicles per annum = £720,000 annual saving. New models may be cheaper but on a typical 7 year model build life the price is unlikely to reduce as all the tooling and development costs need to be recovered. Face lifts are purely cosmetic and rarely involve significant tooling costs 

Of course manufacturers always try to reduce costs. I'm not convinced that a car designed and built in 2000 is as good as a car designed and built in 2020 which I believe will not be as good as a car designed and built in 2030 or 2040. We all pay heavily for new innovations in all aspects of life to cover development costs hence my remarks about early adopters paying a high price.

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22 minutes ago, jonno said:

The U.K. is only banning the production of ICE vehicles in 2030, they're not banning the supply of stocks and they're not banning the refinement of the fossil fuels needed to power them.

They are banning the sale of new cars in 2030 that do not have the capability to drive a "significant distance"  with zero emissions. In reality this is fully ICE cars but not hybrids.

In 2035 all new cars will be zero emission at the tailpipe, in effect all new cars will have to be BEV. The zero emissions phrasing has been put in as there as a sop to the oil and car industry, with their schemes to produce e-fuels, but that does not stop the pollution.

The 2030 "significant distance" has yet to be determined and the oil / ICE car industry are lobbying hard for this to be watered down to what it is now.

Parliament's Public Accounts Committee last month was questioning the prices being charged for new EVs (see China price comments above), and the government bailouts, sorry EV purchase grants, to ICE car manufacturers to prop up their businesses.

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22 minutes ago, Rattler43 said:

Of course manufacturers always try to reduce costs. I'm not convinced that a car designed and built in 2000 is as good as a car designed and built in 2020 which I believe will not be as good as a car designed and built in 2030 or 2040. We all pay heavily for new innovations in all aspects of life to cover development costs hence my remarks about early adopters paying a high price.

It is where you step on the technological ladder, there are always better versions coming along.

ICE and Electric powertrains are certainly good enough to do the job required now and in the past. ICE technology has been stagnating for years, like steam and other technologies did before it. Using the flat screen TV analogy, I suspect 99% of people have a flat TV and it shows a picture plays sounds, but where did you jump on the TV technology ladder - Plasma, Twisted LED, OLED, mini LED or are you still waiting for micro LED or hologram TV?

EV technology will develop but like David, I think in 5 to 10 years the concept of cars, their ownership and use will change especially when autonomous cars come along. Personally I cannot wait as everyday driving now has to be one of the most tedious things to do. Enjoy travel not be at workface toiling away.

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14 hours ago, Shipping Forecast said:

It is not that straightforward and is a combination of factors to make the electric powertrain

I didn't think it was straightforward. I was simply stating that the power provided is significant. 

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