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Driving to Alps in electric car

 Poster: A snowHead
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@stuartrose, it's interesting that on your plan the "free fuel" has cost you €68, or €0.09 per mile. It's not exactly equivalent to a tank and a half of diesel, but as the diesel is likely to be around £110 for that sort of journey, the saving isn't quite as big as you'd think - approximately half the fuel cost.
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ousekjarr wrote:
@stuartrose, it's interesting that on your plan the "free fuel" has cost you €68, or €0.09 per mile. It's not exactly equivalent to a tank and a half of diesel, but as the diesel is likely to be around £110 for that sort of journey, the saving isn't quite as big as you'd think - approximately half the fuel cost.


It's more than that (€68 ). He's starting off from home with a full tank of electrons. He states the car has an 82KWh battery, and assuming its charged from a domestic UK supply costing circa 12.5p per KWh, that costs and additional £10.25, which at €1.18 exchange rate is about €12. So the full journey will cost circa €80 in 'energy' costs.

I did a similar calculation to you. My car (a battered old 2001 3.0L Vauxhall Omega) averages about 30mpg on a trip down to Tignes from Somerset. Fuel around here is about £1.20/litre (€1.42). Fuel in France is around €1.49/litre according to https://www.globalpetrolprices.com/France/gasoline_prices/ . We normally stop for lunch at the Chateauvillain services, and can get there (from London/Barnet) on a single tank. If we fill up at Chateauvillain we could make Tignes, although we stop at Chambery to fill up again and visit the supermarket for vital supplies - Pelfort Brune, Genepi, Wine, Rochefort etc. So it's roughly a full tank of plucky British octane molecules, and a full tank of foreign jungle juice Happy - making average price of say €1.46/L

Anyhow, 776miles @ 30mpg = 25.87 gallons = 117.4L = €171 @ €1.46/L

So for me it's more than twice the cost. On the other hand, we could do the trip in sub 12 hours with just one stop for fuel. And we could use a car which does more than 30MPG. If we had one which could average 50MPG then petrol costs come down to €103

And all this is before they start taxing the electricity for cars, although I've no idea how they'll manage to implement that. AIUI at the moment home leccie only has VAT of 5%, whereas 61% of the price of petrol is TAX. If they start taxing electricity at the same rates as they do petrol then the electric car becomes more expensive to operate.

Chunnel check-in times look a bit optimistic too - 10 minutes if I'm reading it right - never managed better than 35 minutes myself. Or is that just the time fannying about in the check-in area, queues and loading on? Not that it matters much to the fuel consumption calcs.
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Orange200 wrote:

Change is coming.


yes, people will be walking / cycling a lot more
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Judwin wrote:
If we fill up at Chateauvillain ...

It won't cost you €1.49/litre there.
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You re-charge through re-gen from the electric motors on the way back down the mountain!! Toofy Grin
In all seriousness, as snowdave says the pull up the mountain does use a lot of energy (but the Tesla, at least, takes terrain into account in range estimation through the onboard SatNav / computer).
We were able to re-charge slowly during the week via a socket in the apartment's underground parking - which was absolutely fine (albeit French electrics are another subject!). You do tend to proactively stay in places that can accomodate EV charging - and most places currently are happy to help - even if only finding you a 13amp socket.
As an alternative there are SuperChargers further up the valley passed Albertville - so you could top-up close to destination if desired.
Sasha - my wife and I share the driving. We generally find the need to stop and charge the car helps keep you re-freshed as well.

Driving long distances in low temps reduces range by about 20% as mentioned above - as you have to heat the cabin (no waste heat from an engine) and initally the battery as well (both these affects can be reduced by pre-conitioning the car while plugged in and using mains power). However once up to temp then the ongoing draw is much reduced. Wet weather does also have an impact (increased friction on the tyres/road I guess).
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rjs wrote:
Judwin wrote:
If we fill up at Chateauvillain ...

It won't cost you €1.49/litre there.


True, which is why we would usually splash and dash at Reims. That gives us enough range to make the metal chicken for lunch and still make Chambery. As far as I can tell Chateauvillain is currently €1.654, making the average price €1.54/L, so would cost us €180 ish.
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ousekjarr wrote:
@stuartrose, it's interesting that on your plan the "free fuel" has cost you €68, or €0.09 per mile. It's not exactly equivalent to a tank and a half of diesel, but as the diesel is likely to be around £110 for that sort of journey, the saving isn't quite as big as you'd think - approximately half the fuel cost.


In fairness that's just the route planning software assuming a cost of c.25p per kWh. I don't pay for my charging as Tesla chargers. I also charge at home on Economy7/Low Rate at 5p per kWh.

It is a valid point though and if you use any one of the multitude of non-Tesla chargers you can pay 40p per kWh.

This is of course though a once or twice a year event - my running costs day-to-day are about 2p per mile (charging at home), with £0 RFL, and no maintenance to speak of (just tyres and screenwash).
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Judwin wrote:
Where is this leccy coming from? Look at https://www.licencebureau.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/road-use-statistics.pdf. Page 8 says cars accounted for 244.4 billion vehicle miles in 2014. That's 670 million per day, or almost 28 million per hour (on average).

The Leaf and Tesla battery/range figures indicate you might expect to get about 3 miles per kWh of battery charge

This means that if/once all cars were electric/battery, the grid would have to supply an average of an extra 9.3 Million kW every hour above what it does today. The difference between night time and daytime energy generation in the UK is currently about 10-15GW, but if you restrict charging to between 8pm and 8am then you're going to need to generate an extra 18.6 GW during that time. So you still have to find 3 to 9GW of extra capacity from somewhere. Minimum demand is actually between about midnight and 6am, so about one quarter of the available time.
http://gridwatch.co.uk/

To be self sufficient the UK would need to build 2-3 extra Hinkley point C's coming online from 2035 onwards will do it. Is the planning permission in place yet? rolling eyes


People said this when renewables started replacing conventional generation at large scale, scare stories about the grid falling down etc.

First it was 5% then we would have problems, then we hit 5% and then they started saying it was 10%. Then we hit 10% etc etc etc. And guess what - as above, we have been doing well over 30% for a while. Renewables have been over 50% several times in the past year or so.

To put your 3-9 GW into perspective, we currently have around 47 GW renewables installed and around 110 GW total. In that context it doesn't seem as significant.

One of the big benefits of renewables (wind/solar especially) is that they are modular, so you don't need to commit to something the size of Hinkley C every time you want a bit more electricity.

What we could use is better grid-level storage.
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@snowdave, thanks! Interesting reading. I’d not thought about the ‘investment’ of hauling the car up the hill and the benefits accrued at the end of your ski holiday (though I’m quite aware of the impacts of big hills on ICE consumption). I teach (B)EV business model innovation (amongst other things) so some food for thought here with your own and Lozza’s posts. Thanks.
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wouldnt things like lights, heating, AC, window demisters, etc. eat into the battery range?
Then what about doing the same trip in 3 or 4 or 5 years time when the battery degrades & you loose 10%+ range, might throw in extra charge stop.

Its doable, but at some stage, your weekly ski trip may turn into a 10 day jaunt.
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Quote:

What we could use is better grid-level storage.


I really like the gravitricity idea that’s currently moving to mid size pilot.
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@Mr.Egg, at motorway speed the motor is drawing about 15kw so most other things like lights and radio are irrelevant. Heating and AC depends on the car - mine draws under 1kw but I think the tesla is 3x that. Worst case it's 10% off the range but I think that's already in the WLTP range figures.
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Quote:

wouldnt things like lights, heating, AC, window demisters, etc. eat into the battery range?


Lights not very much at all, but Aircon/heating/demisters/seat heaters do have a noticeable impact on the realistic electric mileage I get from my plug in hybrid. As do cold, wet mornings. @snowdave, has it about right at 10%.
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Been watching quite a few vids on YouTube on EV cars since I started this topic where there is a lot of good content, reviews and endurance runs. The Mercedes EQC looks good as their first major dedicated EV release which seems to compare very well with the Tesla X, Audi Etron and Jag i-pace(?) and has fast charging form the Ionity network available along the French autoroutes. All very capable of getting to the alps but probably add 2-3 hours to a conventional car plus some careful planning. Mercedes is rumored to be releasing a long rage full EV e-class estate version in 2022 which is the one I will have my eyes on assuming the current rate of progress leading to shorter journey times.
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Quote:

Keep your diesel cars well maintained, and don't buy anything new. That's where most of the CO2 goes, - manufacture


Ah but those manufacture emissions don't count, as they're conveniently hidden in another country rolling eyes Same goes for all the new TVs, phones and other stuff we currently buy at nice cheap prices. If the true environmental impact was factored into purchase costs I can see "make do and mend" coming back into fashion!

Quote:

This means that if/once all cars were electric/battery, the grid would have to supply an average of an extra 9.3 Million kW every hour above what it does today.... To be self sufficient the UK would need to build 2-3 extra Hinkley point C's coming online from 2035 onwards will do it. Is the planning permission in place yet? rolling eyes


Very good point.... hopefully someone has a plan, as it's difficult to see all of this new electricity generation coming from wind turbines
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So how are the Teslas with coping with being parked in cold/ ski resort conditions for a few weeks ? Does the cold have noticeable on the battery life ?
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bobmcstuff wrote:

To put your 3-9 GW into perspective, we currently have around 47 GW renewables installed and around 110 GW total. In that context it doesn't seem as significant.

One of the big benefits of renewables (wind/solar especially) is that they are modular, so you don't need to commit to something the size of Hinkley C every time you want a bit more electricity.


Not sure where you're getting these figures from. I've been using this https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/820708/Chapter_5.pdf , which I think is an official government document.

It says UK generating capacity is 82.932GW (Para 5.47), so I'm not sure where 110GW comes from? This (83 GW ish) total includes all renewables, but de-rates them to a net contribution of 20.6GW (Key points bullet point 3) because of "intermittency". I've seen a figure of 44.4MW installed renewable capacity somewhere (but can't find it now) so the implication is that renewables can only be relied on to provide an average about 45% of installed capacity, presumably because Solar doesn't work when its dark/cloudy, and wind doesn't work if there is no wind.

Around 45% of UK electricity comes from fossil fuels - mainly gas but some coal and oil, 20% nuclear and 33% renewable. Yes renewables can be higher, but they can't be guaranteed to be available all the time. On a dark calm winters night when everyone has their car on charge, and Corrie ends the govt can't allow the grid to collapse as everyone switches the kettle on for a cuppa at the same time.

I don't understand how the fossil fuel capacity can be reduced to net zero CO2 without either replacing it all with nuclear, or massive investment in carbon capture. And that's before we add the extra load created by EV's

And the 9.3GW extra load on the net introduced by all cars going electric is "in the car". UK distribution losses are > 5% (7.7% is the 'official' figure), and EV charging efficiency is (at best) about 90%. Include them in the mix and to get 9.3GW into a car you actually have to generate 11GW.

bobmcstuff wrote:
What we could use is better grid-level storage.


Perhaps, or more nuclear, or import energy from France (which means more nuclear).
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snow_badger wrote:
So how are the Teslas with coping with being parked in cold/ ski resort conditions for a few weeks ? Does the cold have noticeable on the battery life ?


Am sure the battery is impacted but also driving in cold temperatures reduce the range due to the air being denser. They are very popular in Scandinavia and as such must not be a big issue.
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Nuclear isn’t problem-free when you consider the cost, the time it takes to build new power stations and the disposal of spent fuel. One of the issues has been people’s fears about accidents leading to a very protracted commissioning process, not helped by the Germans panicking after Fukushima proved its safety & totally irrationally closed all of theirs.


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Wed 12-02-20 14:49; edited 1 time in total
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Ozboy wrote:
but also driving in cold temperatures reduce the range due to the air being denser.
or due to the possibility you will have the heating on ... lots
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@Judwin, I think you answer your own question about 83 vs 110GW. The 110 is Gross installed capacity, the 83GW adjusts for the fact that a chunk of the capacity cannot deliver reliable output so its Gross output is dialled back by just over 50%.

To me, the main thing that actually matters when it comes to capacity planning is the nighttime demand vs total capacity, since most of the charging takes place at night. The fact that nighttime electricity is less than half the price of daytime electricity would suggest there's still a lot of spare capacity at night.

I count night as 11pm to 6am - I've never watched Corrie, but I doubt those are the broadcast hours!
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Ozboy wrote:
snow_badger wrote:
So how are the Teslas with coping with being parked in cold/ ski resort conditions for a few weeks ? Does the cold have noticeable on the battery life ?


Am sure the battery is impacted but also driving in cold temperatures reduce the range due to the air being denser. They are very popular in Scandinavia and as such must not be a big issue.



Granted, but i assumed that most of those would be being used daily. Me driving to the alps for a week and leaving the car parked untouched for most of the holiday wonders if the battery would go flat
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@snow_badger, no, the battery doesn't go flat in the cold tho' it does lose a little charge - we can leave our car parked outside for 2 weeks whilst on holiday and it loses at most a few percent. I don't even think of trying to park at a charger at the airport when leaving it there.

Teslas have a _bit_ more of a problem with this, in that the car is constantly actively managing the battery and electronics, thus causing "phantom" drain whilst parked. However, this still shouldn't flatten the battery, and it is possible to put the car into a lower power sleep mode.

I wouldn't want to arrive in resort with 3% charge left, then park the car up with no access to charging at -10C for a week. With 20% left I'd have no concerns. That said, I'd be unlikely to arrive somewhere for an extended stay and not find a way to put the car on charge, even via a 3 pin plug, such that it was fully fuelled for the journey home. One of the clear benefits of an EV is the ability to do other stuff (like go skiing!) while it refuels.
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"My car (a battered old 2001 3.0L Vauxhall Omega) averages about 30mpg on a trip down to Tignes from Somerset"

And a modern diesel, say a Golf, will do 68mpg on that run. I know; we have one in the family.

When you get to the stage where you stop at a petrol station just once a month, the case for going electric is somewhere south of zero. And you have a car which doesn't have a range issue.

"They are very popular in Scandinavia and as such must not be a big issue."

The batteries are heated (temperature controlled) - at least in some cars I have seen the innards of.

"The fact that nighttime electricity is less than half the price of daytime electricity would suggest there's still a lot of spare capacity at night."

Economy 7 (or whatever it is called now) isn't just cheaper at night. They sting you for more during the day Smile So it is not a win-win. You have to weigh it up. OTOH, clearly, most people charging at say 10kW would go for it.
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Quote:

One of the clear benefits of an EV is the ability to do other stuff (like go skiing!) while it refuels.


so "One of the benefits of waiting around is that you can do other things while you are waiting"...

How about if I didn't have to wait? How about if I don't have the time to wait? How about if I have nothing else to do except wait? How is this better than 4 minutes of holding the trigger in on a petrol station pump less than half as often?
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Don't even need to hold the trigger on German or Austrian petrol pumps cos the latch works on them Smile

I'm waiting for micronuclear reactors in cars.
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@andy, that's probably the long-term answer to the propulsion question, and for those asking why I'd be happy driving around with a reactor under the bonnet, I'd point out that you currently drive around with ~50 litres of highly flammable petrol or 300Kg of lithium batteries which can explode or catch fire, and some are suggesting that high pressure hydrogen could be the answer NehNeh

To go back to first principles, if you were asked to design a transport system from scratch which could cope with short local journeys as well as long distance travel, putting a random human in charge of a vehicle which they have to steer and stop in an environment with other moving vehicles, pedestrians and animals is not where you'd start. The long-term answer is to start again, and design for the future, and that means a state owned and operated system (or a global company or network of companies with agreed standards) and either rail-based travel or some form of tunnel/tube with computerised traffic control. You get in the first available "car" having requested it online and paid in advance, and it takes you to where you want to go, whether that be Swindon or Switzerland. In a controlled and automated system, speeds can be higher, and so can the comfort levels if you are prepared to pay for it. Imagine the Internet, but for transport...
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That ignores the little matter of what we call "countryside". It is a weird place. Most city people avoid it like the plague, except when looking for a country pub. There is usually no 3G, let alone 4G. Few petrol stations and zero electric car chargers. No buses, so you need a car to get around. The roads are full of potholes, too.

If you planned your route for the Tesla "just right" and then ended up in this strange place called "countryside", with the battery gauge getting lower and lower, what are you gonna do?

I know somebody who had a Tesla for a bit and loved it, and would have one, but then he's got a 3 phase supply at home - 3 x 35mm2 so probably good for 70kW. Paradoxically, it is easier to get 3 phase out in the sticks because most of the distribution is overhead, so they charge you 1-2k to run some wires down to the house.

Anybody driving a Tesla all the way down through provincial France etc is very brave. The place looks like this and it goes on for hundreds of miles

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@ousekjarr,

Personally, I wonder whether the future isn't simpler - autonomously driven hire cars powered by mix of batteries and fuel cells. Computer control could allow them to drive bumper to bumper saving road space and drag. It's just a less capital intensive and more flexible solution. On balance I agree with the decision in HS2 but I am a little nervous that by the time it is finished, networked autonomous cars may have made it redundant.
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I know EV's are an emotive subject and people don't like change.
They work differently from a petrol / diesel car, but they do work. I've driven just over 42,000 miles in two years and two months of owning an EV and not had a problem.
You can always find electricity - even in the countryside! wink
I've charged the car fine on trips to Norfolk, Peak District, Wales, and Lake District. I think there are more chargers now then fuel stations.
I think most cars spend, is it, 98% of their life parked so charging really isn't a problem. Every day you wake up to a 'full tank' of fuel.

It is the current cost to buy EV's that is the main stumbling point I think - the premium over a petrol/diesel car is still too great.
I know people focus on the edge case uses and thus the one or two long journeys they may do a year. I guess anyone over 50 years old won't have to drive an EV if they don't want to as petrol/diesel cars will still be around for another 25-30 years. Smile
In terms of reliability / longevity - Tesla Model S has been available in the UK since 2014, so 6 years now, and the 6 year old ones I believe are still running fine. Nissan Leaf has been available since 2011 I think.

Regarding comments on the National Grid, there's a lot of urban myths touted around. The National Grid says we have enough generating capacity today to deal with 25 million EV's for link see here as peak demand at 62GW was back in 2002 and has dropped since then to 52GW - so 83GW of current capacity is sufficient for demand by 2030-2050. They also recognise the need for infrastructure - and so I'm sure things will develop. In London they are already installing on-street charging in lamposts for example.

In terms of the current drawn when charging at home most cars can only draw 3.5kW or 7kW AC as this is done by car's own onboard charger (a few exceptions have higher) - so higher capacity supplies and/or three phase are not necessary.

I have my doubts about autonomous driving. My car supposedly has (some) self driving capabilities and Tesla have been promising more for the last six years (without success), but I just think self driving cars strugge to cope with anything other than straight forward motorway driving.
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Yikes and includes autopilot!

https://metro.co.uk/2020/01/31/easyjet-reveals-electric-plane-will-make-flying-greener-cheaper-12158513/
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@stuartrose,

On National Grid, in truth it depends WHEN cars will be charged. It's fine if people don't want to charge them in the early evening when they get back from work (i.e., the peak).
We actually don't yet know how people will behave at scale but NG is doing research on this because it really makes a difference to how much peak capacity we need.

Quote:

I have my doubts about autonomous driving. My car supposedly has (some) self driving capabilities and Tesla have been promising more for the last six years (without success), but I just think self driving cars strugge to cope with anything other than straight forward motorway driving.

I have doubts about WHEN it will happen but not IF it will happen. I'm quite sure computers will become significantly safer than humans in the next 20 years.
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ousekjarr wrote:
Quote:

One of the clear benefits of an EV is the ability to do other stuff (like go skiing!) while it refuels.


so "One of the benefits of waiting around is that you can do other things while you are waiting"...

How about if I didn't have to wait? How about if I don't have the time to wait? How about if I have nothing else to do except wait? How is this better than 4 minutes of holding the trigger in on a petrol station pump less than half as often?


In aggregate I spend a lot less time on any kind of fuelling activity than for an equivalent car. When I spend the time is different, but for 10k miles driving you’ll, in total, spend a lot more time in filling stations than I will. This has the side benefit of reducing my Maltesers consumption so can only be a good thing.

I appreciate that when the time is spent may be less convenient, so if I were to drive to the alps without a stopover, It would take me longer. However, since I am concerned about time, I fly to the alps which is quicker than any car.

Hopefully, if nothing else, this thread shows it’s perfectly possible to drive a modern electric car to the alps, and that it takes an hour or two longer than a petrol car.
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@Pamski, the most surprising thing about this thread. You were shopping in Lidl Very Happy !
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This thread has been quite interesting to me, not least because one reason we currently don't have an electric car was due to range anxiety. I fully expect our next car to be electric, though currently running a fairly efficient petrol Golf 2011 that I think should go for a few years yet.

It sounds like the range and infrastructure problems, especially here in Austria and surrounding countries, won't be an issue at all by then, which is good. It doesn't sound too bad now tbh, but I do not have the cash or inclination to change my car right now.

Charge at home infrastructure is the other problem. I live in a flat with underground parking, but there is no power access in there at the moment so we'd have to ask the landlord to install it. In the UK, I lived in a Victorian terrace with limited on-street parking. Installing charging points there would reduce the available parking spaces by about half, so from that point of view probably wouldn't be popular amongst residents. I think a dedicated carpark outside the village with changing points would be a better idea, although I think drive-on-demand pool cars will be the way it eventually goes anyway.

@jedster, I don't know if it's still on, but there was an exhibit at the Science Museum in October about self-driving cars that was quite interesting. I agree about when rather than if, and personally, I can't wait!
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It will take a shift in mindset away from the current ownership model but agree with @scarlet for the medium-long term future=

"drive-on-demand pool cars" - But in conjunction with autonomous driving.

You have a choice of subscription service that provides a range from basic/local miles /small car through a whole range of options to a top end standard of car that's cleaned by a network of gig cleaners between every client and unlimited mileage. Long journeys can be facilitated by faster chargers / car hopping at handover points all calculated by the software.

You call up a car by app, it arrives self-driving within an SLA time for that subscription, you get taken to your destination or possibly can still opt for manual control. If sub allows you have a large long distance vehicle for the odd outlier journey to the alps.

Subscription service is kept affordable as a car's utilisation goes from 2% to say 75% (100% minus cleaning and charging time).

Hardware is pretty much there now with Amazon/Google/Uber/Tesla for autonomous driving. Maybe another 2-3 years of data and improvements needed. Main obsticle is the legal and ethical issues and resulting government policy.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I think it's worth noting that autonomous driving is independent of electric cars, it's become closely linked because of tesla, but autonomy can be achieved independent of drive train.

We have level 2 autonomy on our car (i.e. It steers and controls speed but driver needs to be attentive) which makes a huge difference in long journeys. In normal motorway driving I probably only have to intervene once every 5-10 minutes. It makes me a much better driver by freeing me up to concentrate on the bigger decisions and looking further ahead. I wouldn't buy a car without it now.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@snowdave - agree it's agnostic to drivetrain but the reason I linked the two in terms of how I think it will play out beyond the medium term, is that full autonomy does solve many of the BEV issues around charging and long journeys that people have cited here.
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@ousekjarr, that was already tried, tested & ultimately made obsolete by the private car. No point looking backwards for solutions to future problems. If you live in a town then most of your transport needs can be met by trains/trams. Out in the country they’re useless.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Gordyjh, as a fen dweller, I tend to agree, but the biggest problem around here is non-autonomous cars with drivers going off the road into water filled ditches or fields. Self-driving cars are not yet in a position to spot black ice or a smear of mud across the road, and once they hit it all they can do is give an electronic shrug and deploy the airbags. If there is a better approach, it has to involve some form of constraint on the vehicle whether that involves rails, guide wheels and larger kerbs, or whatever. We've spent billions over 120 years putting tarmac down to allow cars to go across fields, and it wouldn't be such a huge ask to add a kerb on the outside edges of all of them and down the middle of the road and then mandate all vehicles to have guide wheels. It works for guided buses as long as the driver keeps within the speed limits, and can work for automated cars if they can cope with entering and exiting each stretch of road.
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