7 February 2024

So you've bought an EV, that don't impress me much.......



EVs are all the rage. Everyone is buying them. But maybe, just maybe, EVs will be the next big miss-selling scam. And why do I say this? Well, its a long story but I'll try to give you the short version. Some years ago, in the early naugties, I was driving a diesel powered Renault Megane and it was a pretty good car, comfy, well appointed and, when asked, quick enough to attract the attention of the speed cops, and that is where the story really began.

In 2006 I was driving regularly from London to the West Country and, across a period of about a month, I was stopped twice by the constabulary. The first time was straightforward speeding (90+mph across a measured mile) which got me points. The next time was little more serious and included driving without due care and attention, dangerous driving and speeding. All in all, enough to put my license at risk so I decided to make a change, I would now obey all speed limits and never exceed 60mph.

Initially it was a bit of a challenge but I slowly got used to it and started to notice specific side effects, the most obvious of which was the reduced fuel consumption. Before the Max60 project, the Megane would do around 425 miles on a tank but as the Max60 project continued, the range steadily extended. 500 miles became 575 miles which became 680 miles etc. Eventually, when range had become the challenge, I managed to squeeze 790 miles from one tank and it occured to me that good mpg's would be a yardstick for my future car purchases.

There then followed a period of driving Peugeot 206SWs powered by 1.6L turbo diesel engines and which, driving a modified Max60 style, would always deliver high 50s or low 60mpgs. Along the way I have bumped into the 'hypermiling' community where people wring much better mpgs by 'driving ahead' or by avoiding braking or acceleration, monitoring of tyre pressures and other arcade considerations in order to 'do the same but with less'. Which brings me to the subject of EVs and why you might, or might not, want to buy one.

This subject arose after reading an article in the local press about a broken down Tesla which couldn't be recovered because the 'standard' recovery vehicle couldn't take the weight. This made me wonder about the weight of a Tesla which I soon found out was around 1757kgs depending on model. I compared this to the 1200kgs of my Peugeot 206SW and started to think more about EVs and whether or not they were fit for purpose.

The 'battery' in my Peugeot (ie the fuel tank) weighed approximately 30kgs when full which turned out to be a fraction of the weight of a Tesla battery which, depending upon model, was around 600kgs. So, all that wonderful efficiency that EVs are meant to offer, is undermined by having to lug around a massive battery. And then, by chance, I heard about a university project where researchers were going to establish the amount of pollution caused by tyre/roadway friction and I guess you can see where this is going.

In a nutshell, the research shows that tyre/roadway friction causes far more pollution that that caused by an internal combustion engine and the pollutants are smaller and more health threatening than exhaust pollution. Finally, the pollution is a direct function of vehicle weight ie, the greater the weight, the greater the pollution.

There are many other issues raised by the use of EVs but the fact is that they are not the answer to everyone's problems. The monster at the top of this page (2024 Lotus Electre) is an example of the excesses. Car manufacturers (and the planet) would be better off designing lighter, more fuel efficient internal combustion engines (100mpg minimum) and, wherever possible, retro fitting these to existing vehicles. But I know that this will never happen because fashion dictates that we all must buy into the EV mythology, even if it is a crock......