Back to: How we travel agenda
Ellie Davies: Hi. So I'm Ellie. I'm here from the Committee on Climate Change, where I lead on analysis of how to reduce emissions from surface transport. So I normally have to explain what surface transport is. But I'm glad that Jillian has done an excellent job of doing that, so I won't have to cover that bit. So to start with, I thought I'd go through the different technology options we have to reduce emissions from cars. Hopefully, lots of you will have heard of these options before and you'll have seen some of them on the roads today.#
Let's start at the very beginning. Petrol and diesel cars, we all have -we've all seen them. Some of us will have them. There are some ways you can improve emissions from petrol diesel cars. You can make engine improvements. You can reduce the weight of the cars, you can improve the tyres, but there are limits to how much you can improve these vehicles. You can also use limited amounts of biofuels in these vehicles. Now you'll have heard about bioenergy, biofuel was this morning, so you will be very aware there's a limited amount of these fuels. And if you are going to make them, you might want to think quite carefully about where their best use, which might not be this area when you're looking at all the other options available.#
Now, if you're thinking about types of cars that operate exactly as they you would expect them to today, then another option is hybrid cars. So a hybrid car, just a hybrid, not a plug-in hybrid, has a battery in it, and that recharges as you drive from your engine. So you could - if you- but if you wanted to push the limits of what - how far you can get to of hybrid cars as far as you possibly can, and you've done everything you can think of to reduce emissions from your existing petrol diesel cars. You've done all the light-weighting, you've improved the engines, you've improved the tyres. According to our estimates, you're still looking about -you can only get about 50 to 55% emissions reductions from hybrid cars. So well, what could we do that's a bit better than that?#
Then we move on to plug-in hybrids. So that's where you have a bigger battery in your car and you charge it directly from your electricity supplier either at home or a charging station at a shop or something. Now that battery has normally has about 30 miles of range in it? Which doesn't sound like very much. But actually most people find that their average daily driving is about 30 miles. So if you're charging it overnight and you're starting with a full battery every day, you can do most of your journeys in that 30 miles of range when you need to go a bit further, then the car will automatically switch over to start to drive on the petrol or diesel So you also have your fuel tank, which you need to keep topping up you won't be using it is often. But even with that, then the kind of technical feasibility of emissions reductions. And let's not forget, that's only if you've decarbonised your electricity grid, which you've heard about this morning. So if you've got all of your electricity from low carbon sources then the limit of that, those emissions reductions of kind of 70 to 80% on average across the UK, because you still need to make those long journeys when you'll be using your petrol diesel engine. There is a risk with these cars as well. There's some evidence out there that people aren't actually charging them every night. And if you don't do that, then you're just driving a car that has a really heavy battery in it for no reason, which is actually worse than having a normal car without a battery in it.#
So then let's move on to the two options. Fully electric and hydrogen that can get you to absolutely zero emissions if you have a low carbon electricity grid or a way of producing low carbon hydrogen. And I think you've heard about both those this morning, so I won't tell you all about how you can make that happen. The main differences between these two options, I'll mainly cover on the previous slide, but just to say here so it's clear, hydrogen you could refuel, just like you refuse your petrol or diesel car today, it's very quick to refuel. I'll talk about how we charge electric vehicles on the next few slides because that's a bit more complicated. I know that there's a lot of stuff in the news recently about fully electric vehicles. So are questioning whether they're better, even with today's electricity grid and all of the different ways we produce electricity today. So just to give you an idea of where we're at today, if you include all the manufacturing emissions on you include the way we produce power today in the calculation, then even fully electric vehicles today can be about 70% better than a petrol or diesel vehicles. So that just gives you an idea of where we are today we could eventually get to 100%, obviously.#
I thought I should probably also cover air quality in this slide. So we're all here to talk about greenhouse gas emissions. But we're all probably aware that there are lots of areas in our sort towns and cities have really bad air quality. Well, we'll all have heard of about diesel, and how that can be, not necessarily is because some manufacturers have done a lot to improve, it can lead to really bad emissions from exhausts. So any of these ones that has an exhaust could have bad emissions coming out of the exhaust from your car. That is something to consider. However, all of these options can have problems because there's another type of thing that you could be bad for air quality and that's where you have tyres and brakes and they emit tiny particles from rubbing together, and if you breathe those in, that's also bad. That's just something else to consider, even if you get to totally zero emission option, then you can still have a few issues with air qualities. This just something to think about when you're weighing up what's best to do in this area. So I'm sure that when you're looking at buying a car, your first question isn't what are the emissions?#
So let's talk about the costs. Electric cars are currently more expensive than petrol or diesel vehicles, as most of you probably know, but because the main cost of the electric car is the battery and we're learning more and more about how to produce batteries and how to produce them more cheaply. So the prices are falling very quickly and electric cars have a lot fewer moving parts than petrol diesel cars. So a lot more simple to manufacturer. So once you've got that battery costs down, then they can actually be cheaper to produce than petrol or diesel cars. There are also a lot more efficient than petrol diesel cars, so they're running costs are much lower, even if you ignore kind of all of the taxes that we currently have on petrol or diesel. Even if you strip those out they're still, they can still be a lot cheaper to run. So we just done - I just did an illustrative graph on the right. These are our independent, own calculations but I cannot emphasise enough, there's a lot of uncertainty and all of the prices of the cars and the fuel's on the right. But it given my best guess, looking at the cost of owning a car for five years, it seems like fully electric cars will be cheaper than petrol or diesel cars by about 2030 probably a bit earlier. But there are hydrogen cars still looked like there'll be quite a lot more expensive because that technology isn't quite as well developed yet.#
So the next question. You're thinking about buying electric cars, I've told, because I've told you some good things about them so far. Recharging electric cars is a complicated issue. We all know it takes a lot longer to charge an electric car than does to refuel -than it does to refuel petrol diesel vehicle. So most new models of electric car out this year have about 150 plus miles arranged before you need a recharge, so that would cover most of your daily driving very easily if you can refuel it where you can park it overnight. So about 70% of drivers in the UK have off-street parking spaces outside their homes. So they could -you can get money from the government to install a charge there. It gets a bit more complicated if you - if you don't have ah off-street parking space at your house, then you'll need your council to sort of figure out how you can charge it near your house. Or, alternatively, you can get lots of charges are being installed at shops. And those charges will be a bit faster than you might have a home because the idea is that you don't want to interrupt what you're doing to wait for your car to be charged. So if you get a fast chargers shop, then it could still charge your car in the time that you're just doing your shopping anyway. So there are ways that you could get around the issue of recharging.#
Now, what about when their journeys that are much longer than the range of your car? So the newest type of charges could give about 100 miles of charge in 10 to 15 minutes. Now, I thought, I just show- we are developing our charging infrastructure in the UK quite rapidly. This map on the right is of Birmingham, where we are now. And the -but most of these charges are at very different speeds, and only one of those is the newest type of charger that can give this 100 miles in 10 to 15 minutes. So where we are in the UK at the moment? It's all starting with quite a low number of electric vehicles. So in 2019, in December, you can see we got to about 6% of car sales were electric vehicles, and about half of those were fully electric ones. So the 6% is plug-in hybrid ones and fully electric ones, and there were very few hydrogen sales. In Norway, they - Norway does give us a bit of a cause for hope. So in March and September 2019 their battery electric vehicles of more than 50% of new car sales. But I should say that in Norway they very heavily tax petrol diesel vehicles, and they don't tax electric vehicles. There's a really good reason that you might choose to pick an electric vehicle. And there is also optimism that there might be more electric vehicles in future. There's a few manufacturers down there that are bringing out new electric vehicles in 2020.#
And I just wanted to finish on a note about thinking about how long cars on the road. So over 1/3 of cars are over 10 years old. So if we're going to switch to new cars, we can't wait for another technology to come in and save us. We need it to happen soon. We've already talked about ride-sharing in previous talks, so a lot of people think driverless cars could come in and really facilitate a sort of sharing our cars more easily. But that technology is not quite ready yet. So we need to have reduced emissions from new cars significantly before then. So if you're thinking about this, worth thinking about the timings of everything and how long cars are going to be on the roads for. Thank you very much.
Sarah: So thank you very much, Ellie. So again, we're going to stop for a few minutes just so you can write down a maximum of two questions each for Ellie. Again, one question per post-it, please.
Transcripts provided by Just Transcription. These transcripts have been automatically created and then reviewed by two editors. If you find an error in the transcription where it does not match the video, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.