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The Impact Of EVs On Grid Capacity

November 20, 2020

By Paul Homewood


As promised, some more reflections on the grid implications for EVs:

A woman, circa 1912, hand-cranks the charger for her electric Columbia Mark 68 Victoria. 

First, let us recap the Committee on Climate Change’s calculations for  fully electric fleet:


Unfortunately I have lost the link, but only the other day the National Grid was still insisting that they would only need 10% extra capacity to cope – that is about 5 GW.

So, to my fag packet!

Based on the Nissan Leaf, you can expect about 100 miles from a 40 KWh battery. [Their official figure is 168 miles, but this assumes perfect driving conditions. The Leaf is also a tiny car, so my 100 miles assumption is not unreasonable for an average car size]

Based on an annual mileage of 10,000, a car would therefore consume 4000 KWh a year. There are 33 million cars on the road in the UK, so this would add up to 132 TWh a year, much higher than the CCC’s estimate. (Note as well that they assume 46 million cars.) I may of course be overestimating average miles. However, there is a double check.

According to the OBR, fuel duty brings in £28.4bn a year at 57.95p/litre. Assuming an average of 40 mpg, this works out at about 13,000 miles a year on average for every car.

However, assuming the CCC is correct, if all cars were charged up between midnight and 6 am, the average load from EVs during those hours would be 35 GW.

As the chart below shows, the current load at night during January is about 30 GW, indicating the need for at least 65 GW. This is 20 GW higher than the peak daytime load, making a nonsense of the Grid’s claims.


Of course, some cars may charge during the day, but this will simply add to demand which the grid is already struggling to meet, particularly when every house relies on a heat pump.

If my guesstimate of 132 TWh is correct, we would need an extra 60 GW of capacity, instead of 35 GW.

Let’s carry on with the CCC assumption, and suppose that EVs are charged up evenly for a 12 hour period, between 6pm and 6am. This would need capacity of 18 GW, but at 6pm demand is at a peak of 45 GW, so we would still need at least 63 GW, so this scenario is little better.

But what is the likelihood that cars will be charged up at these times that are convenient to the grid? In my view, extremely unlikely.

The official view is that we will all be using smart chargers, which only switch on when there is spare power around. But smart chargers currently do no such thing – they are merely pre-set timers, to allow you to set the time you want them to come on.

Moreover smart chargers cost typically £1000 or more. Many drivers will refuse to pay this, and simply plug into a household socket.

A further problem is that most drivers park on the drive at night. If the charger is in the garage, that means leaving the garage door open. Nobody in their right mind would leave the door open at night, an open invitation to steal bikes, lawn mowers and tools! Even if the charger is outside the garage, you are still likely to get the cable nicked if it is left out all night.

I suspect that most drivers will simply plug in as soon as they get home from work out of convenience, and do this everyday, and not just when the battery is low. Even if the price of electricity is lower at night, the savings would only amount to a few pence, so who is going to bother?

Under this scenario, the demands on the grid will be much greater.Even generously assuming that cars are plugged in in an evenly staggered fashion between 6pm and 10pm, you would need 51 GW of capacity. And this at a time when demand is at a peak of 45 GW.

In reality, although the average car might only need an hour or two charge each night, most drivers will start charging up in a small band of time, with most cars being charged between 6pm and 8pm. Under this scenario, and assuming half of the nation’s cars on charge at this time, we would need capacity of 112 GW. [16 million cars at 7 KW]

All of this, of course, applies to the time when all cars are electric. But with the new ban, it is likely that half of Britain’s cars will be electric by the mid 2030s, given annual sales of 2.5 million. It is inevitable that many EVs will be sold in the years leading up to 2030, as manufacturers begin to phase them in.

We could therefore very quickly see a lot of extra capacity being needed by then. We cannot rely on wind power, and if nuclear energy is to be relied on, it will have to start being built now.

  1. Broadlands permalink
    November 20, 2020 3:21 pm

    “There are 33 million cars on the road in the UK…” What plans are being made to dispose of those that are not electric? Where will they recommend they be put?

    • Jorgen permalink
      November 20, 2020 4:14 pm

      Sell to Nigeria

  2. Ian Magness permalink
    November 20, 2020 3:35 pm

    Brilliant analysis, as ever Paul. You make complicated matters simple to understand and the logic – or rather the lack of it – shines through. I will go to my grave not understanding why our great leaders will not even try to understand this.
    Some minor points based on my observations (both here and in Scotland) of the small number of BEV users I know:
    1) the charging points are outside, not inside, garages;
    2) they are somewhat expensive installations but I gather that the users didn’t pay much, if anything. I’m not sure who paid the £hundreds/thousands bit it will, of course, be joe public in the end;
    3) the users seems to be almost constantly charging their vehicles, day and night. In fact it’s rare for me to see these vehicles on the drives not connected to the chargers. I can only presume that the vehicles stop drawing electricity when charged. Otherwise, god knows how much electricity is being drawn. I can only also assume that electricity is being subsidised in some way, else why wouldn’t the owners disconnect?

    • Andyp permalink
      November 20, 2020 4:12 pm

      I know very little about how EV are charged. Can someone please enlighten me on these questions: 1) do all cars use the same connector, and the same cable from car to charger? 2) are the cables locked to the connector and/or car? 3) can you simply unplug one car and plug another in to the charger without a key or code? 4) are the home fast chargers protected by password or code? 5) on public charging points is there a time limit for how long your car is plugged in?
      Thanks for any help.

      • Dan permalink
        November 21, 2020 11:41 am

        1. No they don’t use the same
        2. Some manufacturers provide a built in locking mechanism. Locking the cable to the charging pint though, is trivial.
        3. Yes you can. A lockable function can also be applied, either physical or digital.
        4. They can be.
        5. Don’t know.

      • Alex Emodi permalink
        November 22, 2020 3:57 pm

        Some of the EV chargers charge you per minute left connected after the charge is complete, while some have additional flat or hourly charges for leaving them hooked up when complete, which can double if all the chargers are being used. It’s a confusing mess.

    • Tym fern permalink
      November 20, 2020 4:33 pm

      Don’t they ever put their EV in the garage?

      • Ian Magness permalink
        November 20, 2020 6:48 pm

        Nope. Like the great majority of people I know, the garages are used as sheds and/or storage rooms. It appears that the charging infrastructure is rain-proof.

      • Alex Emodi permalink
        November 22, 2020 3:58 pm

        I read somewhere that 40% of car owners live in flats in cities and park on the street, so need to rely on workplace or other chargers.

  3. November 20, 2020 3:42 pm

    Complete Madness. It’s very worrying that politicians can airily dictate policies without considering practical implications. For instance who will provide charging infrastructure in cities? Given that often residents cannot park outside their houses there will need to be charging points that require hardware and software to identify and bill the user. What about blocks of flats? So if people in cities have difficulty in charging their ev at home presumably they need to find a fuel station (or equivalent) with charging points. Given the half hour or so needed then how long will the queues be on days of high demand – I dread to think what will happen around bank holiday time.
    The traditional method of reducing demand is to increase price. Already in the USA electricity from Tesla superchargers is more expensive than the equivalent cost of petrol. What will the cost be when electricity becomes rationed and the authorities need to reduce demand?
    I have written to my MP pointing out the stupidity of the Government’s recently announced climate agenda and the danger of an economically illiterate PM with delusional fantasies of a “carbon-free” future. I suggested the Conservatives get rid of BJ ASAP in favour of someone who is a non-believer in the great climate delusion. I’m not holding my breath but all we can do is make our views known and hope someone realises that this is going to be a serious vote loser.

    • George Lawson permalink
      November 21, 2020 10:07 am

      Andre Blackburn
      All you need to do is drop a quick line to the Prime Minister’s wife in Downing Street, and she will give you all the answers.

  4. November 20, 2020 3:43 pm

    Do these estimated mileages for a full charge take into account driving through a blizzard or rain in the dark with lights, wipers, heater, radio and maybe even charging phone? Worst case scenario but surely should be considered. In the long dark nights of Scotland this won’t be unusual.

    • Malcolm Skipper permalink
      November 20, 2020 4:12 pm

      Brenda, the wise ‘man’ builds his house upon the rock so that in the worse case scenario it’s not washed away when the rains come down and the floods come up! 🙂

    • Ajax Ornis permalink
      November 20, 2020 5:25 pm

      Totally agree but do not forget the huge power consumption of air conditioning in cars as well. Almost all modern cars have it.

    • John Winward permalink
      November 21, 2020 4:01 am

      There’s a video on Youtube somewhere of a Tesla enthusiast making a trip between cities in the USA. The weather turns bad. He then spends inordinate amounts of time using the Tesla’s ‘smart system’ to try to analyse how far he can get on the next charge, and where the safest charging station is. The 20 mins, or whatever the recharge time is, at a series of stations. What would be a breeze in a conventional ICE car becomes the logistical equivalent of D-Day. Being a Tesla enthusiast, of course, he presents it as an illustration of how wonderful the Tesla tech is.

  5. In the Real World permalink
    November 20, 2020 4:12 pm

    Your figure of 112 GWh generation for half of the cars does not take into account the 6% losses in the grid , & about 10% losses from an AC to DC charger .
    And that extra would take another 4 or 5 Hinkley C s.

    But the original 2016 government commission concluded that Electric house heating would take 200 GWh of generation on top of what would be needed for cars .

    And another one , getting complicated . Heat pumps for housing would need a huge ” Power factor Correction ” on the grid . Which would mean for the grid to remain frequency stable , it could not run with very much at all of non synchronous , [ wind & solar ] .generation .

    For it all to work , it would probably take 60 plus Hinkley C . And does anybody really think that will happen .

  6. Graham Diacon permalink
    November 20, 2020 4:31 pm

    You wrote “Unfortunately I have lost the link……”
    Here it is

    • November 20, 2020 6:56 pm

      No sorry, I meant the comment this week about an extra GW of capacity needed – it was in one of the papers

  7. Jan de Jong permalink
    November 20, 2020 4:34 pm

    You are assuming that supply must meet demand at reasonable prices. I suspect that the unspoken program is to kill demand through unreasonable prices. It is not deemed a priority that the unwashed masses have access to personal transportation.

    • Glyn Palmer permalink
      November 21, 2020 11:18 am

      Exactly! Expense, inconvenience, and physical impossibility won’t be bugs, they’ll be features. To the rulers of any state, their own citizens are their most dangerous enemies. It’s essential to limit their mobility – and their access to information. It’s being worked on!

  8. November 20, 2020 4:37 pm

    Would that link be › wp-content › uploads › 2019/05PDF ?
    I prefer your calculations to theirs, you should lend them your fag packet.

  9. JBW permalink
    November 20, 2020 4:37 pm

    Link here?

    Click to access CCC-FOI-31.05.19.pdf

  10. iananthonyharris permalink
    November 20, 2020 4:43 pm

    This idiocy is what happens when a man with more immediate problems on his mind is pussy-whipped by a Princess Nut Nut who believes that there actually is a global warming ‘crisis’ and if there were, that our 1% of Co2 emissions is going to make a difference. Anyway, he won’t be around to carry the can-people are speculating on next Easter. What worries me is wondering who else amongst our useless cabinet is PM material?

  11. Southern Cross permalink
    November 20, 2020 5:00 pm

    You wrote a good piece on the green generation of the required energy that, despite much searching, I cannot find. Are you able to point me to the publication date? Last night I started calculations of the lithium, manganese etc. required for the batteries but have to surrender to others superior abilities if any one is willing to take the baton.

  12. It doesn't add up... permalink
    November 20, 2020 5:05 pm

    vehicle demand is small beer. Peak gas requirements on a cold day are about 4.4TWh, or an average of 183GW. Actual peak gas demand to warm up homes in the early evening etc. Is more like 350GW. It’s at times like those when heat pumps fail, and you have to dig out the electric heaters.

    The flipside us that vehicle batteries and V2G are never going to make a serious contribution to covering windless spells. 40 million vehicles offering 20 kWh each is 0.8TWh. You get cold homes quite quickly like that.

  13. ThinkingScientist permalink
    November 20, 2020 5:29 pm

    What about Motorhomes?
    How do you tow a caravan?

    So if I tow a caravan from Southern England for a holiday in the Lake District how long will that take?

    Currently the only electric tow car I have seen tested towing a caravan was a Jaguar E-pace. It could only tow the lightest caravan imaginable (750kg). How far? 114 miles max.

    Most family caravans weigh 1400 – 1800 kg. There is no electric car capable of towing that. So what will happen to the tow car market and the holiday industry? Will tow cars follow the Cuba model?

    My “caravan” is an Airstream trailer. It weights 2,650 kg. At the stroke of a pen the government has destroyed the value of a very expensive purchase which would be expected to have a 30 – 40 year serviceable life). Who is going to buy a luxury caravan that no-one will be able to tow?

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      November 20, 2020 7:16 pm

      Mistake I often make. The E-Pace is an ICE, the I-Pace is the electric. I fancied one but it’s actually quite ugly compared to the E-Pace. 🙂
      Mind you, it’s competition, the Audi E8 EV is 2.5 tonnes with a 0.7 tonne battery!

      • ThinkingScientist permalink
        November 20, 2020 9:04 pm

        I stand corrected! The point still stands about EV towing though. But 2.5 tonnes vehicle is good though if you are towing 2.65 ton trailer. I tow currently with a LR4 Discovery 3.0 turbo diesel. It is probably close to 3 tons with occupants and gear when towing. So total weight with Airstream on the back is well over 5.5 tonnes and with a length nose to tail of 42 feet.

        Actually longer than the trailer on a container lorry when parked up in the motorway services!

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        November 20, 2020 9:15 pm

        You got me at Airstream. You lucky, lucky man, Along with Namibia, that’s two (not that I’ve been there – but I did live in the US for a few years). Cheers.

      • ThinkingScientist permalink
        November 21, 2020 10:53 am

        Hi Harry,

        Wife bought the Airstream. I wasn’t keen…totally love it now, best thing evah! Purchased new in UK in 2014 from the then UK supplier in Tebay, Cumbria. Here is one of their old publicity shots in the Lakes at Wasdale:

        American imports tend to be vintage – ours has all European components – only the floor and shell built in the USA by Airstream, the rest hand built at Tebay. Quite a few people live in them permanently – its certainly comfortable enough, with proper central heating etc.

      • ThinkingScientist permalink
        November 21, 2020 10:54 am

        Image link went to a page, the image is:

      • Ken Pollock permalink
        November 21, 2020 12:25 pm

        Jaguar make it clear – you CANNOT fit a tow bar to an I-Pace. They know what it would do to the range, and hence make it impossible. No more caravans, boat trailers or horse boxes…

      • ThinkingScientist permalink
        November 21, 2020 5:02 pm

        Caravan club gave Jaguar i-pace electric tow car of the year award 2020, even though you can’t fit a tow bar to it?

        They put it in the under 1150 kg maximum category but state it tows a maximum of 750 kg. They must have tested it. The mileage is estimated as 115 miles on a full charge when towing. Price £65k – £75k! And likely 2 – 3 charges at least to get to the Lake District from Southern England, worse if there’s a headwind and its cold of course.

        Of course, a pick-up such as a VW Amarok or a Ford Ranger could tow up to 4 times the trailer weight (3000 – 3500 kg), for a price of only £25k – £40k.

  14. Nicholas Lewis permalink
    November 20, 2020 7:22 pm

    The bulk of local distribution networks were installed in the 1950/60’s and were optimised around high levels of diversity ie not everyone has everything turned on at the same time. Furthermore in many suburban areas the density of housing has progressively increased with infill housing and conversion to flats and along with consumerism loads have progressively increased. ;So in an suburban areas with cars on drives there will be high impact on the local distribution networks when 100% EV penetration is reached with expensive upgrades needed on distribution transformers and increase in radial feeder cable sizes. The other consideration here is max size charger for households is 7kw so they are going to have to be plugged in for hours to recharge so diversity will be low.

    No wonder distribution companies want the ability to remotely switch off EV chargers.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      November 20, 2020 7:40 pm

      Yet, today, according to the press, there is a push to get people to live is even smaller homes to save the planet. Why not cut ou the middle-man and just live in the EV?

    • November 20, 2020 9:27 pm

      Of course, in the 1950s we had coal fires , no central heating , gas ovens , no tellys and little on electric other than lights. It’s a miracle we have lasted so long!

      • Mike Jackson permalink
        November 20, 2020 9:44 pm

        I think our grandchildren are going to have to acquaint themselves with the 1950s but without the coal fires, Paul.
        Also without a lot of other things — synthetic fibres and anything made with plastic if the real econut nuts have their way.

    • Al Kenny permalink
      November 21, 2020 9:15 pm

      You touched on the one thing Mr.Homewood didn’t directly address. Canadian so his numbers for the UK don’t match up exactly and Winter here will be a nightmare for electric vehicles for range. But the BIG expense nobody cheerleading for the EV expansion is the massive amounts of money and resources needed to upgrade and expand neighbourhood electric grids and then city electric grids THEN the main transmission lines from the power plants. In BC we have a large amount of hydro produced electricity so we’re lucky in that regards but even expansions in existing dams get all “The Friends Of…..”,tree huggers and various animal rights groups out in a frenzy against the latest outrage of the day. We also in North America have such longer distances to carry power over that I really don’t think Europeans really get the idea at times.

    • sonofametman permalink
      November 22, 2020 8:45 am

      In IT we call diversity thin provisioning. It’s economical and works until it doesn’t.
      Fully provisioned, attempted over-use affects only the miscreant. Thin provisioned, when the limit is reached, everybody is affected, so management of total usage is crtical.
      You are right to point out that overnight charging breaks the diversity model that is currently relied upon. The potential costs and side-effects of this are alarming.

  15. Coeur de Lion permalink
    November 20, 2020 9:12 pm

    European charging agency IONITI charges 0.69 euros per kWh so a full charge in a Nissan Leaf will cost about £30 for say 150 miles? I get 450 for £55 in five minutes with my Adblu Citroen diesel, when the buzz gets round there will be a revolution, hurrah, hurrah,

  16. MikeHig permalink
    November 20, 2020 9:44 pm

    That’s a good analysis as always.
    However a few of the assumptions about car use, how much charging will be needed and when it is likely to take place are a bit out of step with what is actually happening with EVs.
    It is very instructive to browse motoring forums dedicated to EVs: there’s a lot to be learnt about how the cars work and how they are used.
    Average mileage in 2019 was a bit over 7,000 which includes all of the high-milers that are unlikely candidates for EVs in the next 10 – 15 years. Even so, that average mileage only equates to roughly 20 miles per day.
    So the charging demand should reflect that car useage, meaning that most cars will not have to charge every night and will not need anything near a full charge. That said, most owners habitually plug their cars in to have a full “tank” every morning and to have the car warmed/cooled/defrosted as appropriate.
    The reality of EV ownership is more sophisticated than can be covered by simple mileage analysis. As one poster noted, these cars are usually left plugged in but that does not mean they are charging. The normal way most folk charge their cars is tariff based: the car/charger runs when prices are low. Alternatively, should the user so choose, they can programme charging to run in a certain time period. Lastly they can also customise the rate of charging to reduce the load on the incomer – if they have 2 EVs, for example.
    So, imho, it would be more appropriate to base these sort of calculations on that average daily mileage and the use of “smart” charging.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      November 20, 2020 10:24 pm

      I think that is what Paul was doing. He looked at the highest minimum overnight demand for other purposes and worked out what would be required in average overnight charging. Transport demand shows almost no seasonality, so it is reasonable to look at the daily average across the year. Actually, there is a weekly pattern with less traffic at most weekends, a few holidays excepted, and higher demand during the week, but it doesn’t make a huge difference to weekday demand.

      However, the real determinant of peak capacity requirements is heat, not transport. That is of course why net zero scenarios make completely unrealistic assumptions about effective insulation (that it will be ubiquitous and effective and people will stay in hermetically sealed coffins when it gets cold). Then they don’t have to plan for the real world.

    • bobn permalink
      November 21, 2020 1:38 am

      Disagree Mike. Current early EV adopters are not typical motorists. Many are very eco minded and thus cycle etc and deliberately use cars less. Others will have the EV as a town 2nd car for shopping and local use. The longer distance drivers, trailer towwers, builders and tool carriers have yet to buy EVs. They will kick the mileage up plenty when forced into EVs. Thats when smart charging will stop being available due to massive overload – there will be no off-peak period at all and no low tarriff. Just high tarriff and not-available!.

      • November 21, 2020 2:56 pm

        bobn; my 20 miles/day figure is the average across all users. So, if we cut out the road warriors, it might drop to 15 or even 10 perday. That’s not a lot of KwH. That’s why I said in my post that high-milers would be late adopters by which point a lot of lessons will have been learnt!

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      November 21, 2020 8:52 am

      You miss the key point. You plug it in when you get back. That means it needs some charge because you have been somewhere. If everyone does that then the peak demand may be short-lived because many EVs only need a top up but it is still a huge peak.

      • MikeHig permalink
        November 21, 2020 2:52 pm

        See my reply to Paul below.

    • November 21, 2020 9:51 am

      The problem with that analysis Mike is that the people who own EVs currently are EV enthusiasts

      Once the ordinary driver gets one, I suspect they’s react very differently. I know exactly what I would do, and that is plug in as soon as I get home.

      And of course, EVs usually are low mileage currently, because they are useless for higher mileage drivers. Once normal cars are banned, the latter will also be driving them

      No doubt the answer wil lie somewhere in the middle, but the point is that nobody knows.That is why we need to start building new capacity now and upgrading the grid, in anticipation of the worst case.

      • MikeHig permalink
        November 21, 2020 2:51 pm

        Paul; quite agree that people will plug in as soon as they get home. However the key point is that charging will not happen until the optimum tariff is available – unless the owner chooses otherwise. This is all set by the interface in the car or via an app on your phone. Apparently – I can’t vouch for this – it’s no more complicated than recording a TV show or programming your home heating.
        Yes, most of the current (sorry) users are enthusiasts – many of them love techie stuff. It’s always that way with these things but the general public are quick to learn enough to get the performance/service they want. We all use computers and phones these days, without a second thought, but most of us are only knowledgeable enough to get the things to do what we want.
        On mileage, the UK average is about 7,300 per year across all motorists. You are right that the majority of EVs are not used for high mileages so my 20 miles/day figure was probably a bit high.

      • November 21, 2020 7:07 pm

        I’ve looked at the product specs for the cheaper smart chargers, and none of them mention that. Most simply have pre-set timers.

        One of the dearer ones mentions “The Ohme app allows users to sync their EV charging to their electricity tariff to ensure they automatically charge when electricity is cheapest”, but this only appears to be optional. After all, you may need to charge up there and then, so you must be able to override. (You’re talking £1000+ for this one, which will put most people off)

        Also most people don’t have special night time tariffs, so the app would not apply. I certainly would not want that tariff, because although you get a better rate at night, you pay much more during the day.

        With the Leaf, it does mention a pre-set timer as well, but again this would be optional

  17. Old Grumpy permalink
    November 20, 2020 10:55 pm

    At some point in this changeover to EVs, falling demand for petrol and diesel will render the present filling station network uneconomic.
    Ditto the oil refineries.
    What happens then?
    Government subsidies?

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      November 21, 2020 8:58 am

      Last year 2.3 million new cars were registered. A fair few were not private and with EVs that will drop because of the higher cost. So if we say 1.5 million/year it would take over 20 years to replace all the ICE cars. That’s probably too long as not everyone will be willing to have a 20 year old car.

    • In the Real World permalink
      November 21, 2020 9:46 am

      One of the more ridiculous lies the EV supporters tell is that , ” there will be plenty of energy to charge up cars when the refineries close because they use a lot of electric ” .
      Total rubbish . Energy used in refineries comes from oil or gas , they then use a CHP , [ combined heat power ] , to generate their own electricity & even send their extra power into the grid .
      Immingham refinery has on of the biggest CHPs & actually produces 2.5 % of the total generation for the grid . [ I believe it produces twice as much as Hornsea 1 wind farm , which was the biggest offshore one in the world ]

      So if the refineries did close down , [ very unlikely as petrol is only about 40% of their products ,] then there would be a lot less grid capacity to charge up EVs .

      • MikeHig permalink
        November 21, 2020 3:04 pm

        ItRW: absolutely right!
        I think this all started with Tony Stark (Elon Musk) who simply stated the amount of energy needed to produce a gallon of petrol His acolytes took that to be electric power drawn from the grid and, once again, it was all round the world before the truth got ots boots on!

  18. November 21, 2020 1:16 am

    “At some point in this changeover to EVs, falling demand for petrol and diesel will render the present filling station network uneconomic.”

    Happening now.

    Part of Grangemouth being mothballed and 200 jobs lost. Stand by for crocadile tears from the SNP.—scots-refinery-part-owned-ineos-axe-200-jobs-mothballs-plants/

  19. Phoenix44 permalink
    November 21, 2020 9:02 am

    Everyone will charge immediately because you want to be able to use your car in an emergency. 100 miles is the equivalent of about 15% full tank in my 3 Series diesel.

    • MikeHig permalink
      November 21, 2020 3:07 pm

      That will only be necessary if the car has done a lot miles that day. Most of the time it will just be a case of topping up.

  20. Tim the Coder permalink
    November 21, 2020 11:26 am

    You mention 33 million cars.
    But what about vans, lorries and such?
    People could carry on using tarted up versions of those, SUV style. Petrol/Diesel.

    Unless they are all supposed to be EV too.
    In which case we all starve, as the shops fail to be restocked.

    I note the ban only applies to NEW vehicles. So I forsee a huge increase in ‘ex-demonstrators, 10 miles on the clock’. If new registrations be banned, then register in Eire, or Guernsey and import. Simple enough if thats the only way to sell “new” cars.

    • November 21, 2020 12:46 pm

      The 33mm includes vans, but obviously lorries are another matter.

  21. November 21, 2020 11:48 am

    …. and the impact of fossil fuel emissions on the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration.

  22. Ben Vorlich permalink
    November 21, 2020 12:21 pm

    Some has twigged there might be a problem

    The prime minister’s pledge to ban gas boilers from new homes by 2023 has been withdrawn.

    The promise first appeared on the Downing Street website this week attached to Mr Johnson’s climate plan.

    But the date was later amended, with the PM’s office claiming a “mix-up”.

    • November 21, 2020 12:44 pm

      I see it is another totally biased piece by Harrabin, who fails to mention :

      1) How much extra cost will be put on new houses by all of this green nonsense
      2) How much extra heat pumps cost to run

  23. November 21, 2020 1:06 pm

    All this due to 1 molecule of CO2 in a parcel of 2500 molecules of air in the atmosphere.
    We are all dancing on a pin, with the taint of madness in the air.

  24. Vernon E permalink
    November 21, 2020 1:47 pm

    I think that there will be a much greater diversity factor in the charging than is being allowed. 10,000 miles per year is a good (high side) average but it is NOT 100 miles per day.
    Assuming that across the board it is averaged out it will be nearer thirty miles per day which might be manageable (but I sure as heck ain’t buying one!).

    • In the Real World permalink
      November 21, 2020 2:55 pm

      Not even counting private cars , there are about 7 million small vans & works vehicles on UK roads . Most of them will need charging up every night during the working week .
      And just them , without counting any private cars , would take the total generation capacity of the country without everything else which is being used in the home or anywhere else .

    • Russ Wood permalink
      November 23, 2020 9:31 am

      Back before I retired, I was driving 50 km each way to get to my work outside Pretoria from my home outside Johannesburg. This came to about 25,000 kilometers per year, and I filled up once a week. I only once drove to Cape Town, a trip of about 1500 km, which took two days with a break, and 4 stops to fill up. There was a ‘trial’ to prove that an BEV could also do it, (although they stationed emergency recharge points along the route). Yes, about 6 of the 14 vehicles made it – in 12 days!
      Yeah, right!

  25. Simon Conway-Smith permalink
    November 23, 2020 10:11 am

    Perhaps our hope is the fact that any law cannot bind a future government, the downside being that do we have any prospective government, or even politicians, who see through this utter nonsense. For my own part, my ‘normal’ work week involved a 400+ mile round trip, with no charging points at the office or hotels. EV? Pah!

  26. Dermot Flaherty permalink
    November 23, 2020 3:48 pm

    3 years ago I posted somewhere on NotALot my calculations re. the demands an all-electric car future would bring about and based purely on the numbers, far from requiring an additional 10 Hinkley Point Cs, my calculations (verified by an electrical engineer) suggest that unless there are hugely significant “societal changes” (much discussed in the National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios), we will require an additional 34 Hinkley Point Cs to satisfy Peak Demand !

    Clearly we aren’t going to have 34 (at current rate, we’ll be lucky to have ONE), but the figures illustrate just how much our behaviour is going to have to change to fit in with a total EV future.

    If I have got anything wrong in these calculations, I would be grateful if someone could point out the errors.

    (1) Data points:
    FES 2020 states that there are 32M cars on the road today.
    The only ONS survey I can find states that in 2011 there were 27M cars and vans).
    Let’s use a figure of 30M cars and vans.

    FES 2020 states that the average car journey is 6530 miles.
    And a National Travel survey dated 2014 gives a figure of 6488 miles.
    Let’s use a figure of 6500 miles.

    Car battery technology will undoubtedly improve so it is hard to estimate what the average capacity will be in 10 years time.
    If we go by today’s figures, then according to EDF, a Tesla Roadster (retailing  at a mere £185K) has a real-world range of 600 miles. (It has a battery capacity of 200kWh).

    A Tesla Model S long-range has a battery capacity of 100kWh and a quoted real-world range of 325 miles.
    Whether “real-world” includes driving through a British winter with lights, windscreen wipers and heaters going is another thing.

    Let’s use the Tesla Model S current figures.

    (2) Calculations:
    To travel 6500 miles requires 20 full charges (6500/325) which in turn requires 2200 kWh energy (20*325 and adding 10% for battery charging inefficiency).
    So the total annual energy requirements for 30M EVs is 66TWh !!!

    Assume the vast majority of car owners would charge their cars overnight (and the issue of on-street charging is magically solved), then if the 66TWh energy requirement was spread evenly over 365 12-hour time periods (6pm to 6am) then we have to deliver 180GWh (66000GWh/365) and to do that in the same 12-hour period means that the Grid has to deliver a demand of 15GW (180/12) or just over 4.5 Hinkley Point Cs.

    BUT, this assumes that somehow, the power load is spread evenly over the 12 hour period.
    With today’s Grid, if 30M vehicles all plugged in at 6pm (ultimate worst case scenario admittedly) and assuming that they all were using standard chargers (16A/3.7kW) then there would be an instantaneous demand on the Grid of 111GW (3.7kW x 30M) or just over 34 Hinkley Point Cs or just over the total electricity generating capacity of the UK in 2019 !

    Admittedly my 30M vehicles all wanting to be charged simultaneously is unrealistic but the point is what will stop this happening (apart from brownouts/blackouts) ?

    I can already hear our politicians going on about “Smart Grid” (possibly “world- beating”) with details of how the enormous engineering challenges are going to be solved left as a follow-on exercise.
    Additionally, the FES document has a lot of mention of “societal changes” (previous FES docs talked about “demand management”) and clearly we are going to be expected to make big changes in our lifestyles to make this work.

    The idea that in 10 years or so, we’ll all be carrying on as usual in our green all-electric vehicles is pure fantasy.

    • Nicholas Lewis permalink
      November 23, 2020 8:18 pm

      Most households will install a 7kwh charger in my view so max demand could be much higher earlier in the evening. This why distribution comapnies and the grid what to manage our usage through smart meters.

  27. MikeHig permalink
    November 23, 2020 10:25 pm

    Dermot F; excellent analysis. The one suggestion I would make is to consider timescale. It is obviously going to take decades to get to the point where all vehicles are EVs, even if we stay on that path. That is highly unlikely, imho, for all sorts of reasons ranging from an outbreak of common sense killing off the climate scam to major changes in technology which shift the goalposts to the government reversing the favourable subsidies (as they did for diesels).
    So it would be very interesting to see how the demand from EVs is likely to ramp up. According to the Greencar website there are 384,000 EVs on the roads in the UK which draw juice from the grid: 164k pure battery and the rest plug-in hybrids. So there is a very long way to go to replace the entire fleet.
    The tricky bit is estimating how many EVs will be sold in future years. Annual car sales in the UK are about 2m and the market is not going to switch 100% to EVs overnight. Indeed, from comments on many forums, there are a lot of folk who plan to buy their last ICE car in the late 20s and run it for as long as possible. Then there is the majority of motorists who buy second-hand (that market is typically 4 times the new car business); whatever their reasons – probably cost in most cases – that seems unlikely to change.
    That is why I think we are decades away from an all-EV fleet.

    We can approach this from the other end. There is significant off-peak capacity available overnight – demand drops by about 15 GW for 8 hours or so. The average daily mileage is around 20 across all cars: EVs are likely to be lower because they are not often used by high milers. Assuming 4 miles per kWh (most EVs do a lot better) means 5 kWh per car per night. So that 120 GWh of off-peak capacity is enough to charge 24 million EVs. That’s a very crude guesstimate and all sorts of factors alter the calcs but it is a useful order of magnitude.
    The elephants in the room are, of course, the competing demands from domestic heating, hot water, etc which Paul has already analysed so clearly together with the decline in dispatchable capacity over the next years.
    However, looking at EVs in isolation, it is going to be a long time before their power demand becomes a problem. Infrastructure issues will be another story.

  28. Dermot Flaherty permalink
    November 24, 2020 12:17 pm

    Thanks Mike.
    I think my main point is that, not for the first time, the politicians have a Vision which has no discernible Strategy to realise it, nor a Plan to implement the Strategy.
    And of course there is nothing a politician loves more than an exciting Vision years down the road when they will have long departed.
    I have yet to see, apart from on the pages of NotaLot, anything like a serious discussion of the implications of this mad rush to a Green future and how it will affect the vast majority of people.

    One big problem is that anything that appears to tackle “Climate Change” takes on the mantle of a religion such that serious questioning becomes almost heretical.
    It wouldn’t be so bad if things were left to be implemented by 2050 say, which is enough time for “events” to weed out some of the more insane ideas.
    But our PM’s insistence on no new diesel/petrol (which includes hybrids) by 2030 will have effects sooner rather than later.

    One hope is that the Media at large (as Paul has pointed out in a recent post) might slowly be waking up to the real-world implications and long may this continue but I suspect that with COVID-19 and soon to come Brexit dominating our lives, this won’t happen.

    • Nicholas Lewis permalink
      November 24, 2020 12:25 pm

      Dermont they need to be seen to be doing something given we are hosting COP26 and also we need to get the rest of the world to catch up with us then we can quietly let things slip behind.

  29. Joe Brehm permalink
    November 24, 2020 5:51 pm

    To add to it, with night-time charging, you can’t assess emissions based on the “average grid”. Renewables contributions to that average are significantly less at night.

  30. Dermot Flaherty permalink
    November 24, 2020 7:17 pm

    I thought I’d try to see what the National Grid has to say abut infrastructure upgrades to support the all EV future and I think I found the link Paul mentioned at the start of this post.

    If you look here –

    then the very first “myth” is discussed as follows –
    1. Can the UK energy grid really cope with a huge increase in the number of electric vehicles being plugged in for charging?

    There are two aspects to whether we have the capacity to manage lots of EVs being plugged in at once – whether we have enough energy and then whether we have sufficient capacity on the wires that carry that energy to where it’s needed.

    Enough capacity exists
    With the first of these, the energy element, the most demand for electricity we’ve had in recent years in the UK was for 62GW in 2002. Since then, due to improved energy efficiency such as the installation of solar panels, the nation’s peak demand has fallen by roughly 16 per cent. Even if the impossible happened and we all switched to EVs overnight, we think demand would only increase by around 10 per cent. So we’d still be using less power as a nation than we did in 2002 and this is well within the range of manageable load fluctuation.

    So this is where the 10% comes from but can anyone tell me how this figure is obtained ?

  31. MikeHig permalink
    November 25, 2020 1:06 pm

    No idea where the 10% figure comes from but, given the utterly misleading nature of the statement, it is probably a worthless guess.
    The nation’s demand has fallen for many reasons,a major one being the export of heavy industrial consumers.
    Further, it totally ignores the reduction in dispatchable capacity since 2002. All of the Magnox reactors have closed down, along with a few AGRs – with the rest due to follow in the next few years. Virtually all of the coal-fired plants have also shut down with the few survivors having limited hours left before they go as well. Quite a few gas plants have been mothballed because of the market distortions caused by renewables.
    I can’t be bothered to dig out the numbers but I strongly suspect that reliable capacity has dropped by much more than that 16% fall in demand. The serious alert of two weeks back rather confirms that margins are extremely thin.

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