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BT looks towards Electric Vehicles to reduce carbon emissions
Monday 22 November 2010 23:57:43 by Andrew Ferguson

While not likely to have an impact on your broadband connection, the Openreach division of BT is evaluating four electric vans for its engineers. Two Peugeot and two Ford vans have been converted to full electric transmission, with a payload equivalent to existing diesel vans, and a range of around 100 miles (average mileage per day in the fleet is 60-65 miles).

The trial is meant to look at the suitability of the vehicles for wider use in the Openreach fleet, and get some idea of what the longer cost benefits may be. A criticism of electric vehicles is that while the vehicles carbon emissions are reduced, it is simply shifted to the point of the energy generation. The BT Group appears to be ahead of the curve in this area as one of the UK's biggest consumers of electricity (0.7% of UK total consumption), it has received planning permission for its first wind farm. This is on top of other simple things like ensuring vehicles have correctly inflated tyres, use of speed limiters and lighter racking and equipment.

The vans will first appear in Milton Keynes, which is a city piloting charging points for electric vehicles. Also they will be tested at Stratford and the nearby Olympic Park. So if those areas and surprised by a surprisingly quiet Openreach van, you will know why.

Comments

Posted by systemx over 6 years ago
Standing by for the first "sorry we missed our appointment, somebody forgot to plug the van in overnight!"
Posted by c_j_ over 6 years ago
About time too.

BT have lots of Transit-class vehicles around town, and an infrastructure that should be ready to provide the necessary charging and servicing capability.

30 years ago, Lucas Chloride Electric Vehicles of Birmingham shipped their electric versions of the Bedford CF van.

A couple of years ago, Lord Mandelson refused to help LDV (also of Birmingham) survive being sold off by their Russian owner and finish bringing the LDV Electric Maxus to market. A BT order would have done instead.

Mind you, DSL and a high power DC motor in close proximity... hmmm.
Posted by Jayare over 6 years ago
Regarding the criticism that the carbon emissions are simply shifted to the point of energy creation. People seem to forget the carbon emissions created in processing oil. First it needs to be got out of the ground and transported to the refinery, then the refining process is incredibly energy hungry, the average refinery uses enough power to provide for around 250,000 homes. Going forward, the cost of then transporting the fuel to the service station. All these processes are emitting carbon. It's not just what comes out of the tailpipe!
Posted by timmay over 6 years ago
I guess they have to tackle their growing energy demand as FTTC not only requires power but someone to drive out each time to connect a new customer!
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
Still playing the 'climate change' game...
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
@Jayare

Just a cheap PR grab, they dont care if climate change is real or not, which it isn't.
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
Electric vehicles rely on a tax fiddle like LPG. Total life cycle analysis required to have a clue about emissions
Posted by undecidedadrian over 6 years ago
Given that a BTO van sits outside my house 24/7 moving on average once a week for an hour or so it won't matter what makes it run as it doesn't use any significant energy what so ever.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
Another criticism is that electricity supply is not very efficient. Power stations are lucky to achieve 40% efficiency, then another 20% is lost in the grid.

The main advantage to electric vehicles is that they help centralise pollution. It's easy to deal pollution from a few fixed sources instead of millions of exhaust pipes.
Posted by Jayare over 6 years ago
Regardless of the true about climate change, I'd rather sit in a traffic jam behind an electric Openreach van, than one belching out diesel fumes.
Posted by undecidedadrian over 6 years ago
As said by Herdwick you need to look at the complete life cycle of the vehicle and all energy costs involved with it's production and scrapping as well as running.

A study showed that the Toyota Prius has such an energy debt when manufactured due to the huge energy cost of making the NiH batteries that most of the cars will never make that up in the lifetime of the vehicle.

Also we are heading into an energy shortage with brownouts and blackouts expected by 2015 do we need any more electricy consumption until we get more power stations?
Posted by Scubaholic over 6 years ago
"Also we are heading into an energy shortage with brownouts and blackouts expected by 2015 do we need any more electricy consumption until we get more power stations? "
I doubt the few electric vehicles will make a difference! This situation was brought about due to the policy failure of the last Conservative govt.: dash for gas, the proposed nuclear not being built & the ridiculous "the market knows best" which means it is not in the interest of the private Co.'s to build more generating capacity. A situation the Labour govt. was happy to see continue.
Posted by Scubaholic over 6 years ago
Back to the topic. I live in Westminster & the pollution on the Marylebone road exceeds the annual WHO/EU limits by April. Our cities have poorer air quality than before the introduction of The Clean Air Act brought in to stop the smogs of the 40's 50's. There are a few street charging points here already.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
Another thing about Hybrids is that they are basically designed to reclaim wasted energy. It'd be better if drivers just learnt to drive more efficiently.

Driving Without Brakes (DWB) not only saves fuel it also saves wear and tear, improves situational awareness and makes for a more comfortable drive.

http://hypermiling.net63.net/2008/09/03/dwb-driving-without-brakes/

(But ignore the bit about shifting into neutral)
Posted by callum9999 over 6 years ago
Scubaholic - a very good point often ignored.

Even if, for some reason, you think you know better than the scientific community and climate change isn't happening (it's 100% fact it is happening, I assume you dispute we can do anything about it), air quality in the cities would be hugely improved with electric vehicles.

Air pollution damages your health and results in premature deaths - the fewer petrol/diesel cars on the streets the better. And that can't be disputed.
Posted by donkey_hellfire over 6 years ago
I have put a deposit down for the 2011 Nissan Leaf BEV and will be trading in my Audi TT around March / April when the Leaf goes on sale in the UK. I should save about £3000 a year in fuel and road tax as well as doing my bit for air pollution and climate change. I subscribe to a green electricity tariff and will soon be installing a 3.15 KW solar PV array on my roof. It should provide a 9% ROI over the 25 year lifespan and pay for itself in 9 years with the current government subsidies and electricity charges.
Posted by c_j_ over 6 years ago
"Power stations are lucky to achieve 40% efficiency"

The "dash for gas" means we have lots of CCGT stations at over 50%. We don't have enough that use waste heat and CO2 to (eg) run a greenhouse, do district heating, etc.

"another 20% is lost in the grid."

No. 8% in the UK. Mackay, Ch 11, last page.

"Driving without brakes" is good. Regenerative braking on an EV achieves the same result in energy terms without a change in style.

"<peak time> brownouts and blackouts expected by 2015"

Yep. Battery EVs can smooth peaks and troughs in demand. That's *good* news not bad news.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
> Regenerative braking on an EV achieves the
> same result in energy terms without a change
> in style.

No RB system can reclaim 100% of the energy available even under ideal conditions. In a lot of cases friction braking still has to be used to achieve the desired braking force so you don't get ideal conditions in the first place.

That means it is better not to expend the energy in the first place.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
But EVs do make sense as a way to centralise the source of pollution into just a few places. That also simplifies upgrading the energy source.

I'm just not sold on hybrids. Reclaiming waste never makes as much sense as simply not wasting it in the first place. The issue of battery manufacturer and additional weight doesn't help.

Still - at least no-one has praised the virtues of hydrogen as a source of energy yet :)
Posted by c_j_ over 6 years ago
"it is better not to expend the energy in the first place. "

Yep. Telecommuting beats real commuting for thousands of jobs and quite a few employees (not all, but many). Unfortunately most UK managers are still in the stone age, they want their staff to be more visible rather than more productive.

"No RB system can reclaim 100% of the energy available"

Indeed not, but it's a sensible alternative to DWB. The major risk with regen braking in cars is extra system complexity - ask Toyota...
Posted by whatever2 over 6 years ago
It's 4 cars guys... Four cars.
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