Thread: 'Carbon' filler
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Old 8th August 2020, 08:43
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Don't get me started on Vintage Voltage. I'm watching every episode as I'm really keen on the idea of Classic Electric powered vehicles, but WTF!

The show starts by saying that owners want:

More power! - fine, it's comforting to be able to keep up with modern traffic;

Less damage to the environment! - okay, so it's likely that mankind is affecting the climate with industrial and vehicle emissions which can't be a good thing;

And cheaper running costs! - great, I'm all for saving some money if I can and EV's are likely to remain exempt from inner City emissions/congestion taxes, at least until everyone's been forced to have one.

To take those in order, More Power! isn't always necessary for the cars they're converting. Okay, the 1960's Fiat 500 struggles anywhere outside of the city gates, but it's a city car and its job is to move you around town cheaply while looking incredibly cool.

There are other cars in their workshop that just don't need the extra power - there's a Lancia Fulvia coupe in the background. Unless you're involved in competitive racing, 90bhp is plenty in a lightweight, agile coupe on skinny tyres, whether it's a weekend toy or your daily driver.

And less damage to the environment? Well, most classics are driven very few miles in a year so use little fuel, which equals low emissions. The resources needed to make the car in the first place were also mined at least forty years ago, so most of the environmental damage was already done long ago.

Once converted to EV, it's true that there are no longer any tail pipe emissions from the car. Great. But, harmful particulates are still pumped into the atmosphere from the tyres wearing on the road surface. Also, the electricity still has to be generated somewhere, so until our mains supply is 100% renewable you're just moving the pollution somewhere else.

The batteries also require huge quantities of rare metals and minerals that are being dug out of the ground somewhere on the planet on an industrial scale using diesel powered machines. Don't tell me that's harmless to the planet.

Now the bit that really gets my goat. Cheaper running costs. Okay, your average classic probably returns 30mpg and DVLA records show that it travels, on average, about 2,000 miles a year, while the Road Tax (zero for both at the moment) and insurance are likely to be the same.

Ongoing maintenance is going to be a little more for the classic with oil changes and replacement engine parts, but the EV has a hell of a service bill looming one day when the batteries fail, so we'll call that even.

So, that really just leaves the fuel costs. With petrol at 1.20 a litre (5.45 per imperial gallon), your annual fuel cost would be 363.00 or about 30 per month for the average classic user.

Use it as your main car and do, say, 10,000 miles per year and that rises to about 1,800 per year or 150 per month. Whatever mileage you do, it's about 18p per mile (my Midget returns just over 40mpg so fuel cost is actually 13p per mile).

EV's, it seems, use about 5p's worth of electricity per mile, saving you typically 13p per mile, or 8p per mile in my case.

Wow, that would save a higher mileage owner 1,300 per year in fuel costs while also saving a little of their bit of the planet!

I typically do about 3,000 miles per year of classic motoring so it could save me 240 a year, that's a whopping 20 per month! Just think of what I could spend that on!

But hang on a minute. How much does the Electric conversion cost?

Got a rather nice 1960's Karmann Ghia Coupe worth around 15K?

Want it to go at least 120 miles before rolling to an embarrassing stop?

Conversion cost is Thirty Grand to you Chief...

Thirty Grand?

So, given that the purchase price of the car is irrelevant, once you've paid for your conversion, how long is it before you start saving yourself some money?

Well, if I converted my Midget to the same spec as that Karmann Ghia, I would break even in just one hundred and twenty five years. That's the year 2145 and I'll be looking forward to celebrating my 200th birthday around twenty years later.

But what if it's your only car I hear you say. Doesn't it make more sense then? Well, at 10,000 miles per year and 30mpg, our driver would break even and start saving money after only 23 years.

I wonder how long the batteries last?

I think I'll be sticking to fossil fuels at least until the end of this century.
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