Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Electric Cars and So Forth

 

Are we becoming too reliant on electricity?  Most of New Zealand is currently in the grip of a major cold spell and last night our national electricity consumption reached an all-time high – with the result that several areas were shut down completely for several hours to “conserve” power.

The use of electric and hybrid cars is being actively promoted here (with cash incentives to purchase, and the penalisation of ‘bigger’ petrol-fuelled vehicles such as those that most farmers rely on for their work), and I have been wondering about the long-term effects of all this.

A friend of my son’s owns an electric car and, because he reckons there will be continual power outages over the next few years, he has purchased a diesel generator so he is always able to charge his car! 

So why own an electric car?

The manufacture of such vehicles involves the use of steel and other resources, the same as petrol and diesel vehicles.  Which leaves the only point of difference being the fuel used.  I watched a disturbing documentary recently about the effects of mining lithium for batteries, and I know from my experience with solar batteries that old used batteries are very difficult to dispose of, so are electric cars any more environmentally friendly than petroleum-fuelled cars?

In towns and cities I can see huge benefits in using these quieter, ultra-low-emission, vehicles, but most of our country is rural.  We are a widely scattered population and public transport is not all that efficient, if not non-existent, outside of the major urban centres.

If we all switched to using electric cars the results would be catastrophic.  Our electricity production is already at capacity – so much so, that the mothballed Huntly Power Station is now operating again and burning thousands of tons of imported coal to supply the national grid.

LPG Gas is soon to be banned, meaning no more domestic gas heaters can be used (oh, wait, I think they intend to replace it with highly flammable rock gas).  All rental properties must now have high-wattage heat pumps installed in them.  Many localities have banned home fires because of the smoke upsetting the air quality.  The only way people have to keep warm is using electricity.

An electrician friend informs us he has been busy lately upgrading house supply lines as too many homes are now using more electricity than the lines supplying them can cope with.  I didn’t even know they had a limit!


Benmore hydro-electric power station is the second largest in New Zealand


The over-reliance on electricity is becoming a major, yet still mostly hidden, dilemma.  We may not be jumping from the frying pan into the fire with all our politically-correct environmental awareness, but I sometimes think we are often jumping from one frying pan into another.

I cannot see any easy answer for the future.  Do you?

Wishing everyone a very happy week,

Margaret 😊

16 comments:

  1. I still cannot believe we had to cut power last night to some towns and cities, we are hardly a 3rd world country, surely we expect better, as for EVs I certainly won't be getting one any time soon, what's the point, you can't recycle the batteries and the parts cost thousands to replace, no thanks.

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  2. I think it´s not really ready for use. It´s not really safe, it takes ages to load (here at least), we don´t have enough stations for loading.
    I am lucky, I don´t need a car atm. But if I would go the old fashioned way.
    Funny enough I dreamed I was working in Wolfsburg again (40km from here) and a colleague said he´ll happily join me on my push bike ride the next day.
    Hm. 40km one way on a push bike?! Ummm, rather not! πŸ˜‰

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  3. We have been looking to change our car, and looked at electric, but I'm not sure about the technology around the batteries, so we have decided to keep our car another year. We have loads of talk here in UK regarding wind and tidal power, but as soon as plans are submitted, loads jump on the 'it will spoil the look of our countryside/sea view' NIMBY's, no in our back yard, so little is done.

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  4. I certainly hear you Margaret - we did not loose power last night, but it has been a topic of conversation around town. I agree with you re the electric cars - another issue is that the battery life is very limited, and it's more expensive to replace the battery than to buy a new car - go figure!!
    Stay safe
    Blessings
    Maxine

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  5. Agree with every word. If we could harness solar to charge cars, and link the car batteries back to the house for times of power outage we might have a partly sensible generation, storage and back-up system, but it would still only support a bit of low powered lighting. We need to build better designed and insulated homes in the first place so that heating is required less.

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  6. .... and drive around less of course.

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  7. Are there no plans to expand solar, wind and wave generation of electricity? Clean energy technology is available and in use in many parts of the world.

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  8. I read you have a power problem but didn't know why. You've explained it all very well. Electricity does not sound like the answer to any problems. Do you use solar and wind power?

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  9. There is no easy solution. We are reaching the limit of the planet. Is this why the billionaires are taking to space?

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  10. BINGO!!!!!!!

    The *brilliant* *Woke* *Green* people, who are now in charge of the *free* world, have not considered the ramifications, of their *plans.*

    Simply stated, they are not Intelligent enough to do so.

    We normal, 'women of a certain age,' can easily see the flaws.

    But not the *Woke, Green, Libs*!!! It is beyond their flamingly *brilliant* minds.

    THANK YOU for posting this...

    It is so delightful, to find a blog, which shows the blogger actually thinks about more than, recipes and flowers and knitting and visiting and... etc.

    YES! That is nasty. Sorry, but I believe it. Your blog is a Beacon. In the mediocre stuff which is on Pretty Blog Land.

    Thank you...
    πŸŒ»πŸŒΌπŸ’›πŸŒΌπŸŒ»

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  11. Yes we are very reliant on electricity. However they should improve electric cars...I have heard that you better bundle up in winter driving because they are not very warm!

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  12. I agree with you so I think your post is well thought out and well written. I had a chuckle about your son's friend using a diesel generator to charge his EV. Surely that is counter productive? What's the point of forcing EVs onto the population if we don't have the power supply to charge them? I believe there are parts of NZ (I think in rural Manawatu) where hot water cylinders have been turned off every night for ages. Why place a greater demand on the national grid? No wonder so many people are losing faith in this government.

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  13. Muy interesante lo que nos cuentas. Saludos.

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  14. I know of no solution. However, the public transport system is being really encouraged in Auckland. Going to the Inner City, looking for expensive parking, still having to walk everywhere - bus and train makes sense to me.

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  15. There is no easy solution.
    We need to be less profligate with all our resources.
    Do we all need a car? The public transport systems need to be drastically improved, and routes need to allow for walking and cycling safely. Commuting needs to be questioned.
    All sorts of ways that we can contribute, personally or collectively...in every country

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  16. You expressed my thoughts so well...I often think the politicians pushing for these changes have money invested in them.

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Thank-you for visiting my blog. I truly appreciate it when you leave a comment. Have a great day! Margaret xx