Sunday, March 5, 2017

Report leads the way to cleaner transport

Report leads the way to cleaner transport
Business Day reports on a report from The Department of Trade and Industry which looked at creating policies for cleaner and greener transport. On the subject of electric vehicles it has the following to say.
Regarding EVs, the playing field is anything but level. Just more than 300 EVs have been sold in SA. Antiquated legislation means that EVs from Europe attract a higher duty level than most other vehicles. Often they are placed into the luxury vehicle category. This means they are priced way beyond comparably-sized vehicles.
I wrote about how I thought the government could incentivise electric vehicles a few days ago. It's good to see that consideration is being given to incentives
The report makes clear recommendations for all sectors of society. It suggests that the government procure more EVs and only purchase the top three most fuel-efficient models. It recommends tax incentives for those who switch to alternative-fuel vehicles and emphasises that annual vehicle taxation should be based on a vehicle’s emission standard.
Unfortunately there are forces at hand in the country trying to push for fuel cell vehicles, obviously to benefit themselves.
Implats and Anglo-American, with various agencies, are pushing for SA to become a global leader in fuel-cell technology, mainly because of the country’s strong position in the platinum industry, platinum being an essential component in fuel cells.
It baffles me why anyone would want the complexities of a fuel cell vehicle over a straight plug-in battery powered one. I'm obviously not the only one because in places where fuel cell vehicles are available, sales have been minimal. One of the key advantages of a pure battery powered electric car, is it's simplicity and low maintenance. There is one moving part in an electric motor compared to hundreds in a conventional (ICE) internal combustion engine. There are no spark plugs, engine oil, oil filter, air filter or transmission fluid to replace and replenish. There is no metal rubbing against metal and wearing out in an electric motor. In Chevy's new all-electric Bolt, the first recommended maintenance check is at 150,000km, whereas most likely a petrol or diesel vehicle will need servicing at least every 15,000km.

I imagine fuel cell vehicles will require regular maintenance like an ICE vehicle. Also fuel cell vehicle will have to be filled up at special pumps, just like ICE vehicles, whereas a battery electric vehicle can be charged anywhere where there is electricity and a plug socket. Fuel cell vehicles are the Betamax of clean energy.

The report also mentions biofuel. This is another pointless direction to go in. Growing biofuel uses land that could be used for growing food and then when it's burned in a vehicle engine it's again putting Co2 into the atmosphere just like diesel and petrol. Also a biofuel powered vehicle will be just as noisy and emit the same amount of fumes as a petrol or diesel powered vehicle, making life unpleasant for other road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.

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