Tag Archives: Electric cars

Fingers pointed over failure of Net Zero

From Net Zero Watch

By Andrew Montford

A prominent former member of the Climate Change Committee blames MPs for failure of Net Zero plans.

Back in 2020, the economist Paul Johnson, a member of the Climate Change Committee (CCC), said that the overall cost of getting to Net Zero should be ‘more than manageable’, and indeed, with a fair technological wind, might be ‘remarkably low’.[1] Tens of billions of pounds a year would be all that was required, he claimed, in line with the CCC’s 2019 Net Zero report, which suggested a figure of £50 billion per year, and thus perhaps £1.5 trillion in total.

This easy transformation was going to be enabled by technology, explained Mr Johnson:

It looks likely that electric cars will turn out to be cheaper overall to buy and run than petrol cars. The cost of wind and solar power has been plummeting at an extraordinary rate.

Wind forward just three years, and Mr Johnson’s optimism about the bill to be paid looks slightly ridiculous. His belief in plummeting renewables costs – credulous even at the time – has been refuted every year, before and since, by the information in windfarm financial accounts,[2] and now by the recent failure of the renewables auction too. EVs remains thousands of pounds more expensive than petrol and diesel equivalents,[3] and they are dearer to insure to boot.[4] Very few seem to want them, and even fewer seem interested in heat pumps either, perhaps unsurprisingly since they seem to deliver only higher energy bills.[5]

Perhaps sensing a change in the wind, Mr Johnson seems recently to have changed his tune. In an article in the Times on Monday,[6] he declared that we have ‘targets without strategies and without coherent policies’ for reaching Net Zero. And indeed, there is a ‘fog of uncertainty over how we are actually expecting to decarbonise household heating, further massively increase zero-carbon electricity production and distribution, revolutionise agriculture and all the rest’.

Net Zero not so ‘manageable’ after all, then?

And now it seems that, rather than being ‘rather low’, Net Zero is actually going to be ‘costly’. Indeed, we are warned, the investment required is ‘not in the billions, but in the trillions’ – ‘vast amounts of money’, he warns. This dramatic upgrading of the costs does rather suggest that his earlier estimate, just three years old, was wrong by several trillion pounds. Still, as Niels Bohr once observed, ‘prediction is hard, particularly of the future’.

Amusingly, Mr Johnson seems to want to blame MPs for the failure of the Net Zero plan. There was, he says, ‘an easy consensus’ and a ‘lack of serious parliamentary scrutiny’. You have to admit that the chutzpah is impressive. Mr Johnson was, after all, a member of the Climate Change Committee when it produced the Net Zero plan. He told us it was ‘manageable’, remember? So while few would argue that Parliamentary oversight of the Net Zero process has been non-existent – shamefully so – for members of the CCC to try to shift the blame in this way does seem a bit like pointing the finger at the teacher for your poor homework.

Despite all these problems, Mr Johnson’s enthusiasm for the Net Zero project seems undiminished. It is still vital that we go ahead, he says, because we face ‘an existential threat’, rather contradicting a prominent former CCC colleague, Professor Jim Skea, who is now the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and who seems much less apocalyptic about it all.[7]

So although ‘deliverable plans’ are ‘thin on the ground’, he seems to think that if we just gird our loins, and come up with a new one, all will be well. All it will take is…

…the kind of careful, long-term, honest planning, decision-making and delivery that has not exactly been the hallmark of British governments

It’s enough to make your blood run cold.

[1] https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/business/the-law-of-averages-cannot-apply-to-our-pursuit-of-a-net-zero-future-kr0rjmj7v

[2] https://www.thegwpf.org/publications/cheap-offshore-wind-power-claims-are-false-data-reveals/

[3] https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/electriccars/article-11995825/The-electric-cars-expensive-insure.html

[4] https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/electric-cars/running/are-electric-cars-cheaper-to-insure/

[5] https://www.thegwpf.org/publications/new-paper-reveals-governments-heat-pump-plan-as-uneconomic/

[6] https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/bc060266-5b0c-11ee-a0fe-c89e2badddf3?shareToken=4532d9af6549a060ec02d03d161da917&s=08

[7] https://www.dw.com/en/climate-change-do-not-overstate-15-degrees-threat/a-66386523

Volkswagen cuts jobs as demand for EVs plunges

From Tallbloke’s Talkshop

September 14, 2023 by oldbrew

Subsidies, wealthy buyers and niche markets only get EV makers so far, it seems. The old problems are still there – initial cost, range anxiety, slow charging, battery life etc. Moaning about humans supposedly having adverse effects on the weather turns out to be a weak selling point for the mass market.
– – –
Volkswagen is cutting almost 300 roles at a factory in Germany as demand for electric cars dwindles, reports The Telegraph.

The redundancies are being carried out at the car giant’s plant in Zwickau, where a further 2,000 temporary workers are also at risk of losing their jobs.

Volkswagen’s Zwickau factory only produces electric vehicles, which have fallen in popularity due to high inflation and faltering government support. [Talkshop comment – is that crutch expected to go on forever?]

The job cuts, which were first reported by the German press agency DPA, come as the company prepares for an influx of cheaper electric cars from China.

While purchases of electric vehicles have been strong in the past few years, manufacturers fear customers are being increasingly put off because they are too expensive.

Figures show that battery-powered cars cost around £10,000 more than petrol-driven equivalents, while the price gap between electricity and petrol has also narrowed.

Drivers had previously been told that high upfront costs for electric cars could be recouped through cheaper charging.

However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to a surge in electricity prices.

To combat the issue, UK carmakers have been lobbying for cheaper public charges for drivers who don’t have access to outlets at home.

Volkswagen, which was contacted for comment, previously cut electric car production at another of its biggest factories after waning interest led to lower sales than expected.

Full report here.

Demand for electric cars is 30pc lower than Volkswagen had forecast CREDIT: Jens Schlueter/AFP

The electric car debacle shows the top-down economics of net zero don’t add up


By Paul Homewood

h/t Paul Kolk

Blimey!! Ben Marlow has finally seen the light!

Sadiq Khan’s controversial Ultra-Low Emissions Zone scheme for London was supposed to put the rocket-boosters under electric car demand.

With the Mayor pressing ahead with a highly-contentious scheme that forces non-compliant petrol and diesel car drivers to pay an eye-watering £12.50 a day to drive into the capital, the expectation was that hundreds of thousands of motorists would rush out to their nearest forecourt and snap up an electric version, triggering an explosion in sales of Nissan Leafs, Teslas and other battery-powered models.

There was a spike in registrations of electric vehicles in July but otherwise the electric car boom that politicians, manufacturers, and campaigners insist is around the corner, remains something of a myth.

True, sales are steadily increasing but not in the vast numbers that proponents of electrification anticipated or would like to see.

Proportion of cars on UK roads

In fact, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the car industry has misjudged the scale of demand quite badly. Vertu, which is one of Britain’s biggest car dealerships, has become the latest big name to admit that the sector is already suffering from a dramatic oversupply of battery-powered vehicles.

Indeed supply is outstripping demand to such an extent, that prices are tumbling rapidly.

The warning follows the extraordinary decision of German car titan Volkswagen in July to halt electric vehicle production at its sprawling Emden factory in north-west Germany and lay off a fifth of its 1,500 employees after sales of electric models fell 30pc short of forecasts.

Unwanted electric cars are piling up on American forecourts too leaving some dealers to refuse further deliveries until the backlog has eased.

One hopes politicians the world over are paying attention because what we are witnessing is another example of how the top-down economics of net zero increasingly don’t stack up: with the introduction of an entirely arbitrary 2030 ban on petrol and diesel cars, the Government is forcing manufacturers to churn out millions of vehicles, regardless of whether the market actually exists or not.

The deadline should be scrapped without further ado. This “cart before the horse” approach of trying to stimulate demand by creating supply is the wrong way round and almost never works in business.

Start-up Britishvolt tried something similar, promising to build a giant battery factory in Blythe, on the Northumbrian coast that would churn out enough batteries every year to power 300,000 cars.

Yet there was an even bigger flaw at the heart of its plans: it had failed to secure a single order – a situation that hadn’t changed by the time it ran out of money at the start of the year.

It’s hard to fault the intentions of the great net-zero crusade – a greener planet is something everyone should want to see. But far too much of it is built on hope rather than reality.

The Government’s policy on wind energy has proved to be similarly divorced from fact. The Contracts for Difference scheme, which guarantees a fixed price for the electricity that is produced for 15 years, is an effective incentive during more benign times but when overheads are surging, as they are now, it quickly becomes an impediment to progress.

With ministers showing little willingness to bend on prices in the face of rampant cost increases, major projects are being ruthlessly abandoned.

The biggest setback has come off the Norfolk coast after Vattenfall announced it would shut down construction of its Boreas wind farm. The 1.4 gigawatt development was set to power around 1.5m homes but the Swedish energy outfit insists a 40pc surge in costs, driven by inflation, supply issues and rising wages means it is no longer viable.

Without more generous state subsidies others will surely follow suit, shattering Britain’s stated ambitions to nearly quadruple offshore wind capacity from 14GW currently to 50GW by the end of the decade.

Yet perhaps nothing underlines the Alice in Wonderland disconnection of ministers more than the campaign to force the population to green their homes with heat pumps.

Even a ban on the sale of new oil boilers from 2026 has failed to convince people to make the shift largely because the cost of converting your home can be huge, so too the disruption and upheaval from having one installed, while much of the technology suffers from several major flaws.

It might explain why, in spite of a Government scheme that pays bungs of between £5,000 and £6,000 per household, less than 14,000 vouchers have been claimed since it was launched in May last year.

Naive politicians aren’t the only ones. Virtuous investors have wasted huge sums on other ‘green’ innovations such as fake meat that have turned out to be busts.

Perhaps the venture capital industry has got better at picking winners, though that seems doubtful. At one stage it could hardly have been worse.

A study by the American academic Ben Gaddy in 2016 found that of the $25bn ploughed into so-called “clean-tech” ventures, 90pc were abject failures, and close to all of them could be considered poor investments.

Here in the UK, the problem is compounded by our willingness to remain silent as more productive hi-tech industries that Britain should be building its future on are auctioned off to the highest bidders.

The takeovers in quick succession of Cambridge-based biotech firm Abcam by an American rival and of Staffordshire drug IT specialist Instem by French private equity make a mockery of our ambition to be a life-sciences powerhouse. This country’s help-yourself attitude to opportunistic foreign raiders has to end.

Equally, perhaps the time has come to accept that the economics of net zero are more fantasy than reality. 


It’s a pity Marlow and his likes were not banging the drum years ago, before we were lumbered with Net Zero nonsense.

China ‘will use electric cars to spy on Britain’


By Paul Homewood

Chinese electric cars imported to the UK to help hit net zero targets will enable Beijing to spy on British citizens, ministers have warned.

With car companies facing quotas for zero emissions sales from next year ahead of a ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles in 2030, China is predicted to dominate the UK market because of its prowess in providing cheap electric cars.

However, sources at the heart of government have raised concerns that technology embedded in the vehicles could be used to harvest huge amounts of information, including location data, audio recordings and video footage, while also being vulnerable to remote interference and even being disabled.

Meanwhile, a cross-party group of MPs warned the Government that Britain is poised to cede control of the “critical infrastructure” of its car market to Beijing “with all the attendant security risks”.

It comes as net zero has emerged as a key battleground between the Conservatives and Labour, with some Tory MPs urging Rishi Sunak to take a more cautious approach to achieving the overall 2050 target.

With China emerging as a global force in battery electric vehicles, the prospect of a deluge of cars from the country entering the UK has now raised fears about security implications.

A senior government source told The Telegraph: “If it is manufactured in a country like China, how certain can you be that it won’t be a vehicle for collecting intel and data? If you have electric vehicles manufactured by countries who are already using technology to spy, why would they not do the same here?

“They are high-risk products. We know that China always thinks in very long terms. So if they were providing a product that could do more than just deliver the consumer’s desire to go from A to B, why would they not be doing it?”

The source added: “It will be used with all of the data that they collect, and that’s how it becomes incredibly valuable and quite dangerous.”

One minister said that they shared the concerns about remote surveillance and interference. “That is the world we’re going into,” they said.

In 2020, the Government banned the Chinese firm Huawei from the UK’s 5G networks, with a deadline to strip out all the company’s existing kit by the end of 2027.

Dame Priti Patel, the former home secretary, said Chinese surveillance in cars was a similar threat. “These are realistic risks,” she said. “All we have to do is look at how government tied themselves up with things such as 5G.”

The concerns have been exacerbated by the rapid penetration of Chinese cars into the UK market.

Speaking to MPs last month, Chris Stark the chief executive of the Climate Change Committee, an independent advisory body, said that while Germany was currently the biggest supplier of cars to the UK, “China is rapidly moving into second place and shows every sign of taking the top spot”.

The Telegraph can also reveal that UK-based car manufacturers could end up effectively having to subsidise cheaper Chinese imports if they fail to meet targets for phasing out petrol engine sales.

Under proposals being consulted on for a zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) mandate, 22 per cent of companies’ new car sales in 2024 will have to be zero emission models, with the proportion rising to 80 per cent by 2030.

If manufacturers fail to hit the target, they will have to either pay fines or buy “credits” from companies that exceed the target, with Chinese electric car companies and Chinese-sourced Teslas expected to benefit in particular.

Concerns about the security threat arising from a potential Chinese domination of the UK car market are likely to strengthen calls for the ZEV mandate to be watered down. Kemi Badenoch, the Business Secretary, is understood to have raised concerns with Cabinet colleagues about the policy’s wider impact.

UK members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, an international cross-party alliance, have warned that without urgent action the British car industry risks being “undercut to the point of extinction” by China.

In a statement signed by Conservative MPs Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Craig Mackinlay, Tim Loughton and Bob Seely, and by Labour’s Sarah Champion and the SNP’s Stewart McDonald, the group said the UK was “sleep-walking” into being “catastrophically undercut”.
Full story

Planned ban on PFAS chemicals could bring energy transition to a complete standstill

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products since the 1940s. There are thousands of different PFAS, but perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate are two of the most extensively used.

Unfortunately, PFAS break down very slowly. In fact, many PFAS are found in human blood worldwide. Exposure to PFAS can occur when you:

  • Drink contaminated water,
  • Eat fish caught from water contaminated by PFAS,
  • Unintentionally swallow contaminated soil or dust,
  • Eat food grown or raised by places that used or made PFAS,
  • Eat food packaged in material that contains PFAS, or
  • Use some products such as stain resistant carpeting and water repellent clothing.

Current research shows that PFAS exposure can lead to decreased fertility, increased risk of some cancers, developmental delays, and increased cholesterol among other issues. Due to this, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has cracked down on PFAS in recent years.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals. This group of elements has been nicknamed “forever chemicals” because of the belief that they remain persistent in our environment and bodies for an undetermined period of time. The properties that make these chemicals so desired for product manufacturing—including their ability to repel water and oil—are also the reasons why they don’t break down and may stay in the environment well past their original intended use.

From blackout-news.de

The industry warns that a complete ban on PFAS chemicals in the EU could stop the transition to energy and mobility. Economics Minister Habeck is in favour of a balanced approach to this. Major industry associations in Germany warn that the EU’s climate targets could be jeopardized if the so-called eternity chemicals are completely banned (FAZ: 03.08.23)

Climate change mitigation boomerang: Without PFAS chemicals, the future of green technologies is at stake

Wind turbines, electric cars, energy storage, semiconductors – without PFAS chemicals, it is not possible to produce these key technologies for climate neutrality. This information comes from the automotive industry (VDA), mechanical engineering (VDMA) and electrical and digital industries (ZVEI).

Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) also supports a balanced approach to this group of chemicals. In the European Union, there are discussions about a possible ban on PFAS, also known as eternity chemicals.

Climate change mitigation boomerang: Without PFAS chemicals, the future of green technologies is completely at stake

It is estimated that there are over 10,000 different substances in this group of chemicals that can be found in everyday products such as jackets, pans or cosmetics. In industry, they are used in seals, insulation or cables.

According to information, lithium-ion batteries, such as those used in electric cars, and hydrogen technologies also rely on PFAS chemicals.

VDA President Hildegard Müller warns that without PFAS, crucial technologies of the future can hardly be realized. A blanket ban on these chemicals could prove to be a “climate change boomerang.” Without them, both the current and future vehicle technologies cannot be implemented. Karl Haeusgen, President of Mechanical Engineering, notes that many environmentally friendly technologies, from wind turbines to fuel cell production, could be affected.

Habeck warns against over-regulation: How PFAS chemicals are shaping the future of our technology

Habeck told the German Press Agency in Berlin: “Better regulation is needed where it is necessary to protect consumers. However, the economy should not be overly regulated, where it could hamper growth and technological development. In concrete terms, this means that where these chemicals cannot be used safely for humans and the environment and can easily be replaced by other substances, we should promote a rapid phase-out. This is especially true where they are used close to consumers.”

At the same time, the Green politician warns that the modernization of industry should not be jeopardized. PFAS are of central importance for future technologies such as semiconductors, electrolysers and electric drives. “PFAS cannot simply be replaced here and we must not prevent technological development through excessive regulation, especially since the application takes place in closed systems in production.”

Three industry associations argue that substances for which there are currently no alternatives should be retained in industry. This should also apply to substances that do not pose a threat to humans or the environment. PFAS that pose a risk should be constantly replaced, as is already standard. “We have to look at the substances in a differentiated way and on the basis of the risk,” says ZVEI President Gunther Kegel.

EU under scrutiny: Will the ban on PFAS chemicals come despite their importance for industry?

There are currently talks in the EU about a possible ban on this group of chemicals. Germany and other countries have proposed to almost completely ban the manufacture, use and market launch of PFAS. Depending on the application, transitional periods of up to thirteen and a half years could apply. For a few areas, exemptions could apply without a time limit. Due to the enormous diversity of compounds, a large part of the substances is still unexplored. It is therefore a kind of precautionary measure. According to the European Environment Agency (EEA), most well-researched substances are moderately to highly toxic.

Following a six-month public consultation that ends on 25 September, the EU’s chemicals agency ECHA will assess a possible ban. The final decision lies with the European Commission in cooperation with the EU member states.


Maine recently joined a growing list of states suing chemical manufacturers over toxic “forever chemicals,” or PFAS, claiming significant harm to residents and natural resources. An estimated 64 million people across the U.S. are affected by drinking water contaminated with the chemicals. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, even tiny exposure to PFAS in drinking water could pose a serious health risk. Watch the video above on how 3M faces a bellwether trial over PFAS that could set the tone for future lawsuits.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (known as PFAS) are long-lasting compounds that are showing up in soil, ground water, drinking water sources, even rainfall, and have been linked to cancer, liver damage, thyroid disease, and other ailments. By some estimates, this toxic family of chemicals can be found in the blood of nearly every person on the planet. Correspondent Lee Cowan looks at how the chemicals got here, and talks with families, farmers, and health advocates fighting for clean, safe water.

Unsold Electric Cars May Be Signaling A Death Spiral For The Auto Industry.

From Watts Up With That?

Endless government subsidies to encourage EV sales seems unable to sway the logical thinking and the numerous concerns of the average citizens to buy into EV’s.

Published August 1, 2023, at Heartland Institute  https://heartland.org/opinion/unsold-electric-cars-may-be-signaling-a-death-spiral-for-the-auto-industry/

Ronald Stein  is an engineer, senior policy advisor on energy literacy for the Heartland Institute and CFACT, and co-author of the Pulitzer Prize nominated book “Clean Energy Exploitations.”

With new EV inventories beginning to increase on dealer lots, the auto industry has many challenges such as locating the buyers that may have serious concerns about a wide range of issues related to EVs including:

  • driving range,
  • vehicle reliability,
  • price,
  • the availability of electricity for the buildout of the charging infrastructure,
  • charging time,
  • the cost and lifespan of batteries and their environmental impact,
  • the actual impact EVs will have on reducing carbon emissions,
  • the growing statistics about uncontrollable fires of lithium batteries in EV’s,
  • problems with battery recycling and end-of-life management,
  • concerns that the EV free ride of usage of highways and not paying fuel taxes is about to end with the Vehicle Mileage Tax (VMT), i.e., more costs for the EV owners of the future,
  • concerns that home chargers are destined to follow the UK and be on separate meters so that EV charging will be at higher rates to help stabilize the electrical grid, again more costs for the EV owners of the future.

Another problem for the automobile industry is convincing the buyers that its ethical, moral, and socially responsible to buy an EV, especially since most of the exotic mineral and metal supplies to build the batteries are being mined in developing countries with limited environmental regulation nor labor regulations.

Interestingly, the 2021 Pulitzer Prize nominated book “Clean Energy Exploitations – Helping Citizens Understand the Environmental and Humanity Abuses That Support Clean Energy does an excellent job of discussing the lack of transparency to the world of the green movement’s impact upon humanity exploitations in the developing countries that are mining for the exotic minerals and metals required to create the batteries needed to store “green electricity”. Complimentary to the book is a  2-minute clip from Michael Moore’s 2020 documentary film, Planet of the Humans, that’s been viewed by more than 14 million, that illustrates how so-called green electricity is made.

As the future is fast approaching, virtually all the automobile manufacturers, through government mandates to reduce the emissions of their fleet of vehicles, are going all-in to only manufacture EV’s in the coming years. To meet low emissions for their fleet of vehicles, we’re most likely going to see fewer and fewer hybrids as the auto industry manufacturers need to eliminate the gasoline engines in hybrids to meet those lower emission targets.

The problem is that manufacturers are loading up the “supply chain” with EV’s on dealer lots, but they’re not seeing the “demand” for EV’s coming from the public. The current EV ownership profiles of the elite owners are that they are:

  • highly educated.
  • highly compensated.
  • multi-car families.
  • low mileage requirements for the families’ second car, i.e., the EV.

Current EV owners are dramatically different from most of the vehicle owners. Unlike the profile of current EV owners, many are single-car owners, and most of the potential car buyers are not as highly educated, nor as highly compensated as the elite EV owners. Mandating a change to EV ownership and forced austerity may face a rebellion from those that need affordable vehicle transportation.

Historically, internal combustion engine (ICE) car sales in America are upwards of 55 million annually with about 15 million or 27 percent being new and 40 million or 73 percent being used car sales.

With a total of 50 to 55 million ICE vehicles being sold annually for new and used, it’s obvious that the auto industry and the economy has been benefiting and prospering in the used ICE car market.

To date, the EV industry has virtually no used car market! In addition to the constant EV charging challenges, who wants a used EV that may soon need an expensive battery replacement?

With about 73 percent of all car sales being that of used combustion engine cars, the lack of a resale market for EV’s may be a major problem for the auto industry.

Since most states lack the year-round temperate climate that Californians enjoy, the distribution of EV ownership throughout the nation should be a concern to the auto industry. With 40 percent of the EV’s in America being in California, that leaves the other 60 percent being among the other 49 States, or approximately 1+ percent per State.

  1. To support the State’s EV growth,California imports more electricity than any other US state,  more than twice the amount of Virginia, the second largest importer of electricity. California typically receives between one-fifth and one-third of its electricity supply from outside of the state.
  • The other 49 states have virtually non-existent EV charging infrastructures, and a few of them may be exporting their electricity to California!

With the supply of electricity not keeping abreast of the growing demand, the UK is ahead of most of the world, protecting its grid with Smart Chargers, and setting up Separate Meters for the EV charging users to pay for a new grid!

  • As of May 30, 2022, in the UK, new home and workplace chargers being installed must be smart” chargers” connected to the internet and able to employ pre-sets limiting their ability to function from 8 am to 11 am and 4 pm to 10 pm.
  • In addition to the nine hours a day of downtime, authorities will be able to impose a “randomized delay” of 30 minutes on individual chargers in certain areas to prevent grid spikes at other times. 
  • The UK Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021 came into force on June 30, 2022. All home installed electric vehicle chargers are required to be separately metered and send information to the Smart meter data communications network. Potentially this legislation allows the electricity used for charging EVs to be charged and taxed at a higher rate than domestic electricity. The technology enacted also enables the rationing of electricity for EV charging because the government can decide when and if an EV can be charged, plus it also allows the EV battery to be drained into the grid if required.

As new EV inventories on dealer lots continue to rise, there are bumpy roads ahead for EV penetration into the lifestyles of the common folks.

Ronald Stein, P.E.
Ambassador for Energy & Infrastructure
Energy Literacy website
Ronald Stein (energy consultant) Wikipedia page

For more on EVs go to our ClimateTV page

Kemi Badenoch raises job loss concerns over net zero car ban


By Paul Homewood

h/t Ian Magness

Kemi Badenoch, the Business Secretary, is pushing Cabinet colleagues to water down net zero rules on electric cars that come into force in January.

Car manufacturers are warning they will not be able to hit a requirement that 22 per cent of new vehicles they sell in 2024 must be zero emission models that are completely electric.

A manufacturer will be fined £15,000 for every polluting car sold over the limit, unless they can somehow buy in extra allowances from another company.

Mrs Badenoch is understood to be concerned about the requirement, known as the zero emissions vehicle (Zev) mandate.

A spokesman for Mrs Badenoch said: “If major car companies employing thousands of people are saying that there’s a problem, then it’s her job to look at ways to ease that problem.”

Net zero has become a central issue for both the Conservatives and Labour, with Rishi Sunak under mounting pressure to delay the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles.

Last week, The Telegraph revealed that Honda and Toyota were publicly urging a softening of the rules amid fears that they would be breached if implemented as planned.

Mrs Badenoch’s spokesman was also quoted saying “Honda and Toyota are not the only manufacturers who have raised concerns” and “Kemi has been raising their concerns with colleagues in the Cabinet”.

The accuracy of the remarks, first reported by the Politico website, was not disputed by the Business Department.

The Telegraph understands that government ministers are looking at new “flexibilities” to help with the crunch, but are committed to the introduction of the quota.

Despite the rules coming into force in just five months, the Transport Department has still not revealed its full approach of how it will oversee the scheme.

Zev mandate

The Zev mandate is part of a wider set of rules to phase out petrol and gas cars and help hit the Government’s legal target of making the UK a net zero carbon emitter by 2050.

The UK ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars is due in 2030, five years earlier than the European Union. Mr Sunak has recommitted to the date despite pressure from his own party, with more than 40 Tory MPs and peers last week writing to the Prime Minister calling for the deadline to be pushed back.

New hybrid cars, which run partly on fuel and partly on electricity, can be sold until 2035, though the exact way they are phased out between those dates is to be determined.

Only the sale of new models is not allowed after those dates. Second-hand petrol and diesel cars can still be sold.

The Zev mandate sees a percentage figure set for each year for what proportion of a car manufacturer’s new UK sales must be zero emission models.

The figure required is due to start at 22 per cent in 2024 and then increase to 80 per cent in 2030. A source close to policy discussions has insisted those figures will not change.

But there is open debate between officials and ministers about a variety of proposals for easing the impact of the rules.

Many involve the complicated system of emissions allowances. Others look at the speed at which the requirement level rises between 2024 and 2030.

Kemi Badenoch raises job loss concerns over net zero car ban (telegraph.co.uk)

As I have commented before, how are car makers expected to sell EVs that nobody wants to buy? They cannot afford to slash prices, as they are already losing money; in any event even the £5000 govt subsidy that used to be on offer made little difference to sales.

The real worry is that they opt for  selling fewer petrol cars, to keep the EV ratio up. The consequence will be that car buyers simply buy foreign imports instead.

Justin Rowlatt Promotes EVs


By Paul Homewood.

h/t Dave Ward

If there was ever any doubt about Justin Rowlatt’s credentials, his latest contribution shows beyond doubt that he is no more than a shill for the renewable lobby:

My mind is changed. At the start of an hour-long promo extolling the wonders of battery-powered vehicles, I admit I was slightly sceptical.

It seemed questionable that Britain could convert to electric transport and ban the sale of petrol cars by 2030.

There’s no lingering doubt now. The more desperate the hard sell became, in Electric Cars: What They Really Mean For You (BBC1), the more painfully obvious it was that the scheme is doomed.

One of two things seems certain: the government will pull the plug on its impossible deadline, or the era of mass travel in private cars will end.

Every argument the presenters served up only emphasised the technology isn’t ready, the infrastructure doesn’t exist and the green propaganda is bogus.

Presenter Michelle Ackerley promised us that there are 44,000 public chargers around the country. ‘That sounds like a lot,’ she added.

No, it doesn’t. There are more than 33 million private cars in the UK. If we all go electric, that’s one charger for every 750 vehicles. You’ll be queuing for a week every time you need to refresh the battery.

Michelle pulled onto an all-electric forecourt outside Bishop’s Stortford in Hertfordshire, with about 20 state-of-the-art zappers. ‘This is charging heaven,’ she announced, before plugging her vehicle in for ‘as little as 40 minutes’.

She sauntered into the adjacent service station for a coffee — all right if you’re on your own and in no hurry. Now try it with three fractious children, slogging across country on a wet Friday in August, with thousands of other holidaymakers, some on their second or third recharge of the day. See how heavenly that is.

To beat the queues, Michelle produced an ‘electric lance’ from the boot. This device, the size of a pneumatic drill, slots into a charging point like a water hydrant in the pavement. After a struggle, she managed to get it working, for an overnight charge.

Call me overcautious, but I don’t fancy plugging a metal pole into the electricity mains, in winter, in the dark, during a rainstorm.

Co-presenter Justin Rowlatt, the BBC’s Climate Editor, was trying to entice us with shiny gimmicks. He went for a spin in a converted electric VW Beetle, buzzing up a Welsh mountain road like the Lovebug on amphetamines. The acceleration far outstripped anything possible with the Beetle’s 40-horsepower petrol engine. But Justin carefully didn’t mention how far it went before charge-ups, or how much the conversion cost. He just talked a lot about ‘meeting challenges’ and dismissed any objections as ‘perceptions’.

There was no attempt to explain how HGVs or heavy construction vehicles can ever run on electricity, and after its zippy start in the electro-Herbie, the show ran out of energy. During a deadly dull interview with a Whitehall eco-spokesman, it slowed to a halt. There’s another episode next week — I hope that gives them enough time to charge up again.

The problems of electric transport have been glaringly obvious for 40 years, since Sir Clive Sinclair launched his ridiculous battery-powered tricycle, the C5.

It may have looked like a potential deathtrap but it has nostalgia appeal today, as proved on Retro Electro Workshop (Yesterday). A broken C5 was one of the clapped-out devices coaxed back to life in this soothingly watchable show.


I’ll be buying a brand new petrol car just before the 2030 ban: Matt Ridley


By Paul Homewood

The rush to electric vehicles risks killing our car industry, shackling us to China and bumping up our taxes to reduce global emissions by just 0.044%. That’s why I’ll be buying a brand new petrol car just before the 2030 ban

Daily Mail, 8 July 2023


Britain’s electric vehicle transition and the ban on petrol car sales from 2030 are a slow-motion car crash. The technology is not ready, the cost will be vast, the logistics are forbidding, the reliance on China is worrying and the backlash from the public is likely to be harsh.

Worst of all, the benefits are derisory at best and may not even exist.

Yes, you read that right. It is possible that we could replace all of Britain’s cars and vans with electric vehicles and still find that carbon dioxide emissions are higher, not lower. Cost-benefit, hello?

First, though, consider the politics. Most electric-car batteries are being made in China and its hold on the market is growing thanks to huge investment in lithium and other minerals, low labour costs and a cheap, coal-fired grid.

Chinese company BYD overtook Tesla as the biggest manufacturer of electric vehicles last year and, in a truly sinister development, has just agreed with Tesla to jointly promote ‘core socialist values’ while dominating the market and apparently fixing prices.

Switching transport to electric in a short timescale will inevitably mean buying Chinese. Are we really about to force ourselves to become even more reliant on a totalitarian regime that stamps out freedom in Hong Kong, commits genocide against the Uighurs, threatens war on Taiwan and refuses to be transparent about how a pandemic began near its leading virus laboratory?

To wean ourselves off China over the next seven years would require 100 times as much battery capacity as we have now, which is neither affordable nor feasible. To lure battery-makers to the UK, despite our sky-high energy prices (caused by the massive investment in wind power and the refusal to tap shale gas), the Government is having to throw armfuls of taxpayers’ money at battery and car manufacturers.

Britishvolt failed to build its ‘Gigafactory’ in Blyth for lack of taxpayer subsidies.

Lord (Zac) Goldsmith thinks we are falling behind in the race to subsidise ‘green’ energy. Yet handouts rarely make industries competitive. If America and the European Union want to spend a fortune trying — and probably failing — to catch up with the Chinese, why should we join in?

But don’t expect industry bosses to tell you the truth about the impossibility of this transition. Huge taxpayer subsidies to force consumers to switch products are just what they love, whether the plan makes sense or not.

To paraphrase Gulliver’s Travels, if you asked Rolls-Royce or Tata to devise a plan to make sunbeams from cucumbers, they would have a jolly good crack at it — and only tell you it was impossible after spending a couple of billion pounds of your money.

This raises the question: why are we doing this again? We’re deliberately killing a profitable British car industry for minimal benefit to please a few posh activists and crony capitalists.

There is no sign of ordinary people demanding this transition. Electric cars still cost almost double their petrol equivalent.

So, just as producers need taxpayer subsidies to supply electric cars, consumers need subsidies to buy them. An industry dependent on taxpayer support at both ends of the chain is not sustainable.

Nor can Britain’s electricity infrastructure be adapted easily or quickly to cope with the extra demand implied by the transition — without further subsidies.

Just to supply the extra electricity for a fully electric fleet would mean a near-doubling of the number of wind farms (plus necessary gas-fired back-up), or an equivalent new supply from nuclear, a technology that takes decades to build.

Just to supply the extra electricity for a fully electric fleet would mean a near-doubling of the number of wind farms (plus necessary gas-fired back-up), or an equivalent new supply from nuclear, a technology that takes decades to build.

So, unless the Government throws yet more money at upgrading the network, after 2030 we will be faced with five-hour recharge times, compared with five-minute petrol or diesel refuels today.

As Andrew Montford of Net Zero Watch argues, upgrading the distribution grid on these timescales is impossible, so meeting the target will mean many people will be forced to forgo a car entirely.

These are practical reasons why the transition cannot and won’t happen. But would it even help if it did? Let’s do a simple sum. Suppose the UK does manage to shift all cars and vans to electric in the 2030s, banning petrol and diesel cars as it does so. Cars and vans generate about 70 per cent of transport emissions and transport is 25 per cent of all emissions.

Meanwhile, an optimistic estimate of the emissions savings of electric cars over petrol or diesel is 25 per cent per vehicle and the UK generates 1 per cent of worldwide emissions, then that means we will have reduced global emissions of carbon dioxide by — wait for it — [0.7 x 0.25 x 0.25 x 0.01 = 0.0004375 or] 0.044 per cent.

Less than one half of one tenth of one per cent. You would probably have more effect on the climate if you dropped a couple of ice cubes in the Thames once a week.

And that’s the best we can hope for. In reality the effect will be even smaller. The notion that switching from petrol to electric saves 25 per cent of emissions is, as I say, optimistic, perhaps wildly so. In fact, the number may actually be negative.

Here’s why. First, it requires a lot more carbon dioxide emissions in a lot of extractive industries to make an electric car than a petrol car. This is especially true for the battery.

As Mark Mills, an energy expert with the Manhattan Institute, explained in a recent article: ‘To match the energy stored in one pound of crude oil [from which petrol and diesel are produced] requires 15 pounds of lithium battery, which entails digging up about 7,000 pounds of rock and dirt to get the minerals needed — lithium, graphite, copper, nickel, aluminium, zinc, neodymium, manganese and so on.

‘Thus, fabricating a typical single half-ton EV battery requires mining and processing about 250 tons of materials.’

That requires a lot of diesel and electricity.

So there’s a huge up-front emissions disadvantage before an electric car even takes to the road. As Professor of Engineering Science at Oxford University Gautam Kalghatgi calculates, an electric car with a 60 kWh battery will start with a deficit of 7.5 tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions, before it has driven a single mile.

Even when running, an electric vehicle is not ‘zero-emission’ because Britain’s electric grid is powered by gas (which emits some carbon dioxide) and wind turbines (whose manufacture requires a lot of coal and which get replaced every 20 or 30 years). Even nuclear has a carbon footprint (all that concrete and steel), though it’s much the smallest.

Take all that into account and you can calculate how many miles an electric car has to drive before it has ‘broken even’ with a petrol car on emissions.

Many estimates of this number are not worth the paper they are written on, because they make absurdly unrealistic assumptions about the size of battery needed, the scale of the up-front emissions and other factors.

But some are a bit better. Volkswagen compared a diesel Golf with an electric Golf and estimated that the electric car has to be driven 80,000 miles before its emissions are lower than the diesel car in a typical European country.

In Germany, where the grid still depends partly on coal, it’s more like 125,000 miles. In China, you would never reach break even and electric cars might as well be called coal cars. This emperor has no clothes.

The break-even mileage is even higher for larger batteries in bigger cars, but lower for a comparison with petrol. Volvo compared its electric car with a petrol equivalent and concluded that the break-even came at 50,000 miles in a typical European country, though the emissions savings are still just 15 per cent after 120,000 miles.

So the average driver would take 12 years to reach the point where he is saving 15 per cent of his emissions.

But the batteries are designed to last about 100,000 miles. So just when the emissions savings come into sight, you will be scrapping the car or paying an exorbitant sum to replace its battery — long before you get to 25 per cent emissions savings.

Either way, you will reset the clock on emissions and for the next five years your emissions will again be higher than if you had stuck to petrol. If you swap cars every five years, you would never see any savings.

Yet even these numbers are probably too optimistic. The energy cost of refining ores into metals for the manufacture of batteries is going up, not down.

As the ore quality declines over time, especially in the case of copper, so the up-front emissions of battery manufacture are getting worse and the break-even mileage longer.

Nor have we thought this through from the consumer’s point of view. A petrol or diesel car with 60,000 miles on the clock has some second-hand value. An electric car approaching the end of its battery life is going to be worth nothing. So people will probably trade them in a lot earlier. But second-hand buyers of electric cars will not get the up-front subsidy.

Indeed second-hand electric vehicles are already starting to flood on to the market at cheap prices, some of them from disillusioned buyers perhaps contemplating the ruins of their marriages after rows over flat batteries while trying to find a working charge point on the way to a family wedding.

Living 300 miles from London, I am already familiar with southern friends panicking about where to charge their cars en route.

If you think we need to go electric to improve urban air quality, think again.

The latest studies suggest that internal combustion engines are continuing to get cleaner at a rapid rate and that electric cars, with their extra weight, may soon be contributing more particulate pollution from the wear on their tyres than comes out of the engines of petrol cars, according to Professor Kalghatgi.

Last week Toyota claimed that solid-state batteries would start transforming the electric-car market from 2027.

Yet not only is this a delay of two years on previous promises, we have heard that before: the solid-state battery has been five years away for 15 years, with even Sir James Dyson losing patience with it. Even then, making it affordable and reliable will not be easy.

But if Toyota is right, it is all the more reason to delay the UK’s target lest we dash into a premature technology and find it’s obsolete.

Yet governments have form for prematurely championing technologies for ideological reasons. Back in 2007 Tony Blair’s government announced that Britain would choose a unilaterally fast path to banning incandescent light bulbs in favour of compact fluorescent ones, with the aim of helping ‘tackle climate change’.

This gave Philips and other manufacturers a rich reward on their lobbying, but made all our lives worse. The new bulbs were costly, slow to light up, made us look ill, had a much shorter lifetime than expected and were dangerous to dispose of.

Worst of all, the enforced switch to an inferior technology probably delayed the arrival of the LED, which soon proved far cheaper to buy and run as well as working much better and lasting for ages. Consumers needed no subsidy or compulsion to buy LEDs.

Yet the £3 billion switch to fluorescent light bulbs is peanuts compared with the cost of banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030.

Just as I hoarded incandescent bulbs in 2009, so I will probably choose to buy a new petrol or diesel car just before the ban.

This time, I expect everybody else, especially up here in the North, will be doing the same, so don’t expect it to be cheap.

Damaged electric cars ‘quarantined’ over fears they will explode


By Paul Homewood

h/t Philip Bratby

Electric cars that sustain minor bumps are being kept 15 meters apart in repair yards over fears they might explode, adding to insurance bills.

Government guidelines recommend electric vehicles with damaged batteries should be “quarantined” from other vehicles due to the risk of battery fires. Damaged batteries pose a risk of “thermal runaway” where the energy stored in the battery releases rapidly, creating temperatures of up to 400C.

But the practice threatens to increase costs for the insurance industry by more than £600m, costs which ultimately could be passed onto drivers in increased premiums, according to a report by automotive risk firm Thatcham Research.

It said insurers would need to spend an additional £900m a year on quarantine facilities for damaged cars as a result of the safety measures by 2035, as more battery-powered vehicles take to the roads. The extra costs risk adding £20 a year onto all car insurance premiums, rising to £28 by 2050 when there are expected to be some 360,000 electric cars on the road network.

Just two damaged electric cars can fit into the same space that would otherwise fit 100 petrol or diesel cars, under current the DVLA and Transport Department guidelines.

Last year 9,400 vehicles were potentially involved in collisions resulting in batteries needing repair – a figure that could reach as high as 260,000 by 2035, the report said.

Claims for damaged electric cars cost insurers 25pc more than their petrol counterparts, the report found. Electric vehicles also take 14pc longer to repair.

Rapidly depreciating values mean the cost of replacing a battery outweighs the cost of the car after just one year, leaving insurers no choice but to scrap the car, it said.


Don’t worry though, because Sir Humphrey has got it all in hand:

A spokesman for the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero said: “We are investing in innovation and research, as well as working with insurers and manufacturers to further improve the ways electric vehicle batteries can be repaired, refurbished and recycled.”

Meanwhile the useless SMMT think that a VAT cut on public chargers will see millions flocking to by the equally useless EVS:

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which represents car makers, called for a tax cut on public charging stations to help accelerate the update of eco-friendly vehicles.

Drivers with chargers on their driveways pay just 5pc VAT to power up their electric car, while those reliant on the public network pay 20pc.

The SMMT said levelling out this disparity could make electric car ownership a more realistic target for people, regardless of their home ownership or property status.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Most electric vehicle owners enjoy the convenience and cost saving of charging at home but those that do not have a driveway or designated parking space must pay four times as much in tax for the same amount of energy.

“This is unfair and risks delaying greater uptake, so cutting VAT on public EV charging will help make owning an EV fairer and attractive to even more people.”

Does he really believe that a saving of a couple of quid a time will make the slightest difference to drivers who will face queuing up for hours at a charger?

Should not the SMMT be sticking up for the interest of motor manufacturers and their customers, and not promoting the government’s green agenda?