Never work

Well there’s a probability that I will be dead before this piece of idiocy comes to pass and just as well. A proposed UK 2040 ban on sales of all Diesel and Petrol engined vehicles. Oh dear, there are so many things wrong with this proposal that I’m having trouble enumerating them all.

Now Diesel, yes, I can see the utility from that, given the ‘known’ link between Diesel fumes and cancer. Well, at least according to the most recent IARC report. Worse than smoking, by all accounts. But that’s by the by. But petrol and diesel? Hmm.

The problems with the proposed ban on internal combustion engines begins, as the source article says, with the necessary upgrades in generating capacity that going over to a predominantly ‘renewables’ based power grid as mandated by legislation will entail. When the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine there won’t be enough batteries in all creation to power the UK’s energy needs, especially if millions of electric vehicles are all plugged into the grid. Even if every spare hillside is covered in bird killing wind turbines. So investment in Nuclear seems like the obvious solution. Thorium seems the safest option, as the end product can’t be used for bombs. However, that technology need to mature. As for fusion? Well given the current rate of progress, that is at least fifty years away. Especially if the focus remains on the ‘bang in a bottle’ Tokamak based designs. Research has been focusing on that branch of technology since the 1960’s to my recollection, but the goal of sustainable nuclear fusion reactions remain just as far away.

The next issue is grid capacity. I haven’t actually done the sums but even a back of a fag packet guesstimate means that the UK grid will need at the very least triple the current infrastructure. Given twenty plus years, this isn’t beyond the bounds of possibility, however, expect lots of brown outs and power rationing. Then you can triple the number of pylons marching across the landscape. All the scenic views will be interrupted by cables and wind turbines. Don’t even mention hundreds of thousands of substation upgrades, and extra diesel powered backups. No, sorry, no more diesel backups. Everyone’s electrickery bill will be through the roof. Not to mention the price of everything because transport costs will rise as all those Diesel powered trucks which tow containers of food to supermarkets will go out of style.

Here’s my argument; there will be around 75-80 million people in the UK. This estimate is based on the demographic boomer dieback that is in progress. Yes, all those post 1940’s and 50’s born folk will be going away leaving fewer descendants and many more immigrants to pick up the slack. Incidentally, all that finger pointing and blame attribution (“It’s all the boomers fault!”) won’t do a spit of good when the following generations haven’t picked up the slack. So, a less productive population demanding more from Government and services. Including electricity. Which is going to be a bit of a bugger when Winter comes. Considering a lot of solar physicists are predicting global cooling from around 2030. There’s also a possibility that coal and wood stoves will get banned along with the ICE. People are going to have to learn to wrap up warm. Just like I had to do as a boy. And get used to walking a lot more. Used to do a lot of that, too.

As for all of the UK owning electric vehicles? Never work. Even an enhanced grid couldn’t take the strain of thirty plus million vehicles (Number of vehicles currently using UK roads) probably fifty by 2040, slurping an average of 17.6 kWh (Average) each for a 62 mile journey from the grid, every night. More if the daily commute is over 40 miles each way. More if owners (As they are wont to do) leave all their vehicles on charge when not in use. Even more if someone can make battery technology work for trucks. Although some form of diesel electric would work. Diesel running at peak efficiency to power generator and thus drive electric motors, like one of these. Although if you scroll down and read, the uphill and top speeds are hardly on a par with modern Diesel trucks. Very stylish though. But if diesels do get banned, what then?

I’m all for cleaner air, but you can’t eat it and it won’t keep you warm in Winter. Anyone got any better ideas than a ban?

Update: It seems that there are few good solutions to the particulates issue, although there are some interesting but economically non-viable Electric power devices being mooted.  The electric vehicles Achilles heel remains, after over a century of development and taxpayer dollar being thrown at it, range and refuel times.  Not to mention the generation capacity and infrastructure resilience of the supporting electricity grid.  No, I think the EV is doomed to remain little better economically speaking, than Lohner-Porsche’s 1900 model, The Baker 1901, Anderson’s models from 1907 and Edison’s 1912 attempt.  Source here.   Yes, the Hybrid concept goes back to the early 1900’s.

As for banning ICE powered vehicles; there is an idea that will be quietly dropped when EV’s fail, as they did around a century ago, to provide a viable alternative.

16 thoughts on “Never work”

  1. This proposal is bollocks on so many counts. Others have covered the technical problems, generating capacity, grid capacity etc. Here’s another simple one, how many households have garage/drive space with 16 amp outlets to charge their EV(s)?


  2. If i set you a problem could you solve it? Make a vehicle powered by the wind travel directly into a headwind


    1. That’s a perpetual motion type question. The efficiency of the generator would have to be greater than 100%, which is impossible. A Chinese guy said he had developed just such a machine, but this turned out to be a fake.

      Of course Windsailers can travel into the wind by tacking, but that’s not direct.


  3. There are not enough materials on the planet to make all the batteries, either.

    I came to the conclusion that the legislation they were planning to change to implement this lunacy included many of the laws of physics, chemistry and thermodynamics.


      1. One issue with sodium-ion batteries – dendrites. There is a theoretical means of preventing the growth within such batteries, but no-one has made it work because it doesn’t actually get rid of the issue.

        Worked with lead-acid batteries and Nickel Cadmium types back in my apprentice days and have seen what can go wrong with high energy batteries. Cells overheating and blowing up (Fire hazard), plate warping, deposition issues. Batteries are not a viable answer. Especially over an energy distribution network that will need Giga and Tera (Possibly even Peta by the mid 21st century) watts of required power in a high variable load environment like the electricity grid.


  4. Not to mention. The loss in revenue from the tax on petrol and diesel,all those petrol,stations will need decommissioning,with their underground tanks. Has anyone thought this through? What’s wrong with hydrogen power,zero emissions with that too


    1. It takes a lot of electricity too make a gallon of petrol , electricity that could power the ev….Sure theyre obstacles but engineers will solve them, not mps lawyers and accountants


      1. No, the MP’s, Lawyers and Accountants will be telling the Engineers to fix the ‘problems’ that this will create. But in the words of Flanders and Swann; “It all makes work for the working man to do.” Interesting little ditty that explains much about parts of the economic cycle.


      2. Takes energy to produce energy, that much is certain. A lot of energy is needed to power a cat cracker which produces the various gasoline products, including diesel. Which in turn produces a lot of other petroleum-based products like plastics, drugs and cosmetics. But that’s not the topic. EV’s are no replacement for the ICE because of all the other factors like distribution, refueling time, and range. These are the Achilles heel of the technology, and unless someone comes up with an energy storage or production device that can power a vehicle, it’s Shank’s Pony for most of the population. Back to the 1920’s and 30’s when cars were very much a luxury item.

        I’d also say that EV’s are fine for in town and commutes under 20 miles, but for longer distance travel effectively useless. Simply banning the sale of ICE powered vehicles from 2040 onwards will not alter this simple fact.


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