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Electric vehicles

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rov1100 | 19:32 Tue 11th Jan 2011 | Science
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If it is the governments intentions to get us all eventually to use electric cars how can they recoup the enormous taxes we pay on petrol and diesel engines?

eg. I suppose they can always recoup some taxes from HGVs and vans.


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Put VAT up?

I'll drive an electric car, once they fit them with decent heaters.
perhaps they will avoid paying penalties by lowering the carbon output of the country.
By taxing electricity with excise duty or a carbon tax for its generation.

They need to increase the mileage of these vehicles to make them truly viable - currently 80 to 120 mile range and 8 to 10 hours for a the distribution system needs to be greatly increased. The ultimate will be carparks selling electricity and parking combined.....
historically when a new fuel is taken up it is that that becomes taxed. However in this case electric cars in there current form are not viable, nothing but a futile gesture so I doubt it will be an issue. A few trendies in the cities will get themselves a G whizz or something but in the real world most of us will have to stick to our petrol/deisel.
the main problem though is that electricity is 2nd phase power, it is 80% inneficient. Ie if you used the fuel that goes in the car now to generate electricity then the amount of energy recovered would be only 20% of what was in the fuel. So electric cars are inherently un green, unless of course nuclear power is used to generate the electricity.
As you say Geezer unless the power source itself is Carbon neutral.

If you're using petrol or Diesel it never can be.

But that's a straw man argument - nobody's saying that electric vehicles are the only solution.

Aircraft may be powered by hydrogen for example but the distribution issues with this may not make this a suitable solution for vehicles

Personally my money's on biodiesel from genetically engineered bacteria for long range vehicles but electric is ideal for those with regular small commutes.

The financials from taxation is probably the least pressing concern - there are plenty of things that can be taxed
yes jake I just get a bit sick of this "electricity is the holy grail" approach that the eco lobby use all the time.
H2 is the longer term solution - the wild card needed technically is how to store the stuff on board without huge amounts of weight that kill the mileage range and the economics. Will it come and when, who knows - the petrol engine took 50 odd years to bcome truly commercial, the wild cards for this being the discover of gasoline rich crude in TX, PA and CA and Henry Ford finding a way to cheaply produce the cars. I feel H2 is in a similar limbo period.
In getting there I agree with R1Geezer about diesel from algae and waste. The other potential is ethanol from the waste of crops - the first commercial project for that is underway in Canada (Iogen); the issue that has been facing this development has been getting the C5 sugars to convert and not end up down the drain. They have been able to do it in the lab and pilot plants but Iogen are now confident they can scale up to commercial manufacturing. (Their waste left over goes into a biomass generator).

Ultimately until H2 comes along, there maybe a number of solutions depending on geography, resources and distribution - and probably tax as well.
Fly with loads of hydrogen on board?

Now didn't some people find a problem with that?
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No DTcrosswordfan you're wrong about hydrogen.

Transportation is too difficult.

You have to use up too much energy to compress or liquify it.

You cant just say "oh the technology will come" because it won't - it's to do with the fundamental energy cost in liquifying or compressing.

And you have to generate the H2 in the first place - right now it comes from - oil!
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Yes - The Hydrogen-Oxygen reaction is very powerful which makes it such a good fuel.

You have to put as much energy in as you get out.

Imagine the size solar cell you need to run a car - you'd need that to electrolyse the water to create the fuel

If it were 100% efficient and 15% is typical the record is about 25%.

You need a gigantic increase in technology
Top Gear, had a car running on the methane from cow poo! Well there is an inexhaustable supply of that!
That would be good - especially seeing as how much worse methane is as a greenhouse gas than CO2!

Now all we nedd is a lot of very long hosepipes!
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///The government revenue from Fuel Duty was GB£25.894 billion in 2009, with a further £3.884 billion being raised from the VAT on the duty.///

Who said the fuel revenue from fuel duty was insignificant?
Or 5% of Government revenue.

Not insignificant but definately small.

(You do have to look at things within context - drawing a conclusion from a single big number is a bit of a tabloid trick)
aside from costing you £87k to buy the car in the first place, the teslars battery will take you around 244 miles then take around 4 hours to recharge. it is estimated that the battery would last around 7 years and then cost around £8,500 to replace.

unless you have no shame and opt for a g-wiz which can go up to 50 miles, charge for an hour, and replace the battery after 5 years for £2,000.

perhaps apart from the vat on the sales aspects, road tolls would be introduced at some point in the future.
The same question on lost tax revenue is good for tobacco and alcohol. I suppose if we all stopped driving, smoking and drinking they would simply increase taxes like Income Tax and VAT to compensate.
The government will get the money have no fear!

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