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What a brilliant and novel idea!


nomoss

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Oh no not more smart motorways.

Every time I go back I seem to hit motorway closures and delays due to roadworks that make an already long journey seem endless, and smart motorways stress me out. You have to be so alert to all the variable speed limits and when you should and shouldn't be using the hardshoulder as a driving lane etc. And there's nowhere safe to go if you break down.

Yes I know you should be alert at all times, and no doubt it becomes second nature to motorists who use these motorways a lot but when you live in rural France and don't visit the UK often, and being on a motorway with four or five lanes in each direction is a bit mindblowing in itself , when the motorway is smart as well it adds to the stress.
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In the thread title I was actually referring to the irony of the fact that what was called the "Road Fund Licence", now "Vehicle Excise Licence" was originally introduced to ............................................... pay for better roads[:D]

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Totally agree ET.

And where will the funding be for the infrastrructure for electric cars and public transport. From taxes on transport in general?

Why can't people see the political stupidity of this rather than falling for it and voting for them? Its pure hasbara.

The tories are for the super rich only and, contrary to what they portray, not helping SMEs at all. The budget will be very "interesting". Grrr.

Promises, promises and promises.

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Every country is Europe collects tax on car fuel and as Europe moves towards electric cars the amount of tax income is going to get smaller and smaller.

The problem with the direction the industry is going in at present with battery powered cars is totally wrong. It's driven by government and not by the industry and it is gong to be a costly mistake.

Battery powered cars firstly create a big strain on the existing overloaded electricity delivery system, I am not talking about generation because that's not the issue but distribution i.e. National Grid in the UK.

People will lose jobs because of battery powered cars from garage staff, tanker drivers and refineries. There is no way to tax the "fuel". They take far too long to recharge. You need an extra infrastructure to enable charging on, long journeys which is being installed at a slow rate.

The answer, which many large manufacturers are designing cars for, is fuel cell (Hydrogen) powered electric cars. Firstly you need to go to a garage to fill it up so you can tax the fuel. Secondly they take perhaps a minute longer to refuel that a fossil fuel car. So you can keep the existing supply chain from making the hydrogen, delivering to garages and garage staff. There is no drain on the existing power grid.

On the environment side there is no pollution, no need for rare minerals to make batteries. All the government needs to do is to tell garages that they must install hydrogen tanks in their garages over the next five years. It won't cost the government a dime, everyone still has a job, the government gets their tax and everyone is happy.
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Unfortunately, there's an element in your argument, CT, that you haven't taken into account. The Consumer.

It's taken a long time for us to arrive at the point where people are gradually starting to buy in to the concept of electric cars. They've been around for a good while, but are still an expensive investment for the average person. The fact that people are being encouraged/incentivised to buy them is slowly driving the upfront purchase price down, but for lots of people they're still financially out of reach.

Whilst there may be a longer term view in the automotive industry, or indeed with governments (and this is certainly not going to be a UK-only problem: as you've been keen to point out previously, we have little in the way of motor manufacturing in the UK) that there are other ways to go, the development of alternative technologies by manufacturers has been a question of choice. All of them have been looking at such alternatives for decades, and they came to the conclusion individually and collectively to develop electric vehicles. They could have skipped that step altogether and gone straight to fuel cells: nobody held a gun to their heads and stopped them!

Now there's a dawning realisation that alternative technologies aren't just a nice thing to stick in a concept car at the Geneva show, but a necessity. However, it takes years and years to persuade consumers that they should invest their own hard-earned cash into a car with such technology, and everyone from governments to manufacturers has been focusing their efforts on persuading consumers to buy electric, in order to drive down the cost of such vehicles to a point where they're actually affordable.

Unless and until a manufacturer launches a fuel cell vehicle that's attractive to the mass market, and has the infrastructure to support it, consumers aren't going to be convinced to buy one. It's a chicken and egg situation, I know....but in the end, government and manufacturers can only push things so far. After that, much of the rest is consumer driven. No pun intended.
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The car manufactures have been pushed into alternatives because of two reasons, oil running out and pollution, the latter being the biggest reason.

Consumers won't have choice other than to buy electric cars in the near future, 2040 is not that far away (21 years). This is the governments choice not the car manufacturers.

Hybrid cars are only a stop gap and even now not all manufacturers, especially the French, don't make hybrid cars to cut pollution but to enhance performance of existing cars.

Historically only one car maker has ever constructed a refuelling infrastructure and that's not a very good one.

Originally a petrol car was too expensive for an ordinary person to own. Fuel cell cars are out there driving around now and you can buy one just like you can a battery powered car. The next generation of electric cars will cost no more than a normal car BUT the thing that will hold them back, be they battery or fuel cell will be a recharging/filling infrastructure.

The point is as somebody pointed out the human cost in jobs and income. The production and delivery of petrol and diesel in the UK accounts for over 250,000 jobs and has a value of just over £16bn in 2017. There are 8,450 plus petrol stations and each on average employing three people so another 25,000 plus jobs. The UK government collect £28bn a year in tax on car fuel. It collects tax on battery power cars through VAT which equates to about 5p per charge yet it collects 58p per litre on fossil fuel cars which equates on the fact that the average compact car hold 60 litres to £34 per tank a decrease of 86% in income of tax that cars make for the government.
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It's not a problem these days, they are as safe as an LPG self service station. The technology of connecting to the car is well proven. I've been running around in a hydrogen fuelled test car for a month now. The only problem is I can only fill it up at work. Have to say it's brilliant it uses around 3.2 litres per 100km in town (that's about 88mpg) but unlike a hybrid or petrol the figure does not change much wherever you drive.
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I'm delighted that you've completely bought in to everything your employer wants to say about new car technology, CT. You're a great ambassador. However, consumers aren't necessarily as compliant as manufacturers want them to be.

Here's a little story which was published in a book I used as a reference for a training course I developed, long ago and far away, for Nissan. Back in the day, Ford in the USA used to run consumer focus groups for new models (and probably still do:it's established marketing practice). Anyway, they'd invite existing customers who'd bought a particular model to come along and ask them various questions about why they'd chosen it.

On one occasion, a guy who had bought a particular Ford Estate was being questioned by one of the marketing guys. He was a target consumer for this particular model, but they wanted to check that the reasons they thought people were buying this model were correct.

"So, was it the A/C as standard that attracted you to this model? " asked the Ford guy "or was it the heated windscreen, or the smoothness of the gearbox?" (Or whatever. Who cares)

"No" said Mr consumer. "It was the carpet in the boot"

He went on to explain that as the owner of two golden retrievers, he'd found that the Ford was the only Estate car in which the carpet allowed for the swift and easy removal of dog hair.

The moral of the story is that consumers have their own agenda, and it's not always the agenda that the manufacturer wants them to have,
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It was indeed a long time ago. I am not interested in any of that stuff, I am only interested developing existing technology which is my job. The principle of fuel cells is very old, 135 years old.

The bottom line is that consumers won't have a choice, they will get what we make. I don't "buy in" specifically to Ford but the technology. Bit like most of the cars will be self drive with override. It's here already in one form or another in standard and mid range cars that cost 20k or less. Forward facing radar that stops you crashing into the car in front, lane control, automatic parking etc. and of course basic speed control has been around for years.

I am afraid you are very much out of touch and new rules apply. It's a different century since when it appears you were involved at these levels.
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[quote user="Cathar Tours"]It was indeed a long time ago. I am not interested in any of that stuff, I am only interested developing existing technology which is my job. The principle of fuel cells is very old, 135 years old.

The bottom line is that consumers won't have a choice, they will get what we make. I don't "buy in" specifically to Ford but the technology. Bit like most of the cars will be self drive with override. It's here already in one form or another in standard and mid range cars that cost 20k or less. Forward facing radar that stops you crashing into the car in front, lane control, automatic parking etc. and of course basic speed control has been around for years.

I am afraid you are very much out of touch and new rules apply. It's a different century since when it appears you were involved at these levels.[/quote]

They've had self drive cars for years![:D]

But if you refer to self driving cars, I hate to think of the results of external sensors failing to see what's going on because they get covered with a plastic bag, a leaf, insects, or birdshît.

It happens to aeroplanes, and they are up in the (mostly) clear blue sky, not down on the dirty, rubbish-strewn, bug-infested roads.[:(]

EDIT: And how does lane control work on lanes (that's what roads in the country are called) without any little white lines in the middle or on the edges, and few, if any, road signs?

Will there be thousands of people running around in every country, spotting local changes and registering them on a world-wide GPS or similar database, or will these much-heralded cars only be available in certain countries?

Will manufacturers produce one set of cars for countries which allow/can support electric/fuel cell/driverless cars, and another set for those which don't, or will they just give up on exporting to those countries?

A West Australian friend tells me that buyers of new land Rovers there, if they are in a remote location, remove the engines and electronics and replace them with units with carbs and distributors, which they can fix well enough to get back the few hundred miles they might be from home. There is no MOT equivalent there, so nobody cares.

All these "really great" ideas for cars of the future seem to be proposed by those who live in cities in Western Europe, or nutty Japanese.

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Thanks for the insights, CT.

In fact one of my jobs is to proofread a car magazine and I have proofed various road test reports of these scifi things. Occasionally what I read makes me splutter - things like, you press a button and the steering wheel folds away and you just leave the car to get on with it - but I try not to have a view. It just makes me glad that I'm old and won't be part of it. I guess if you grow up with it that's fine, but adjusting to it is hard.

All the fun's gone out of driving. Maybe it never should have been fun, it was basically about getting from A to B after all, but it did used to be fun and there was skill in it too before cars had all the electronic controls that they have now. 60mph in my old Hillman Imp was thrilling. Finding a radio station that stayed tuned in and didn't crackle was thrilling. Getting the heater to work was thrilling. Now you drive at 90+ listening to any music you want with the air con set just right, and there's no thrill in any of it.

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Actually, CT, that's about 12 years ago, but thanks for writing me off as a dinosaur. Luckily, after Nissan (and much more recently) I worked for a bit with Ferrari. I'm not a petrolhead at all, but I must admit it's nice to see cars being made by and for people who have a passion. Mind you, they don't give you a courtesy car when you put yours in for a service. ??
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[quote user="EuroTrash"] ............ Now you drive at 90+ listening to any music you want with the air con set just right, and there's no thrill in any of it.[/quote]

I don't. I drive at around 120 - 130 (kph) on the Autoroutes with the window open and no aircon, as I prefer fresh air, with the radio off, because I don't want to be distracted from concentrating on the idiot coming up behind me about 30 kph faster, wondering if he will pull out to pass me before the car on his outside has a chance to miss him, or whether he's just peering at his satnav or "device", or the if other idiot coming up equally rapidly in the inside lane, who sped up after I passed him is going to try and cut in front of me because I am in the middle lane in anticipation of passing a line of lorries.

A thrill a minute, and that's just a couple of them on the A9 to Montpellier............

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" I don't want to be distracted from concentrating on the idiot coming up behind me about 30 kph faster, wondering if he will pull out to pass me before the car on his outside has a chance to miss him, or whether he's just peering at his satnav or "device", or the if other idiot coming up equally rapidly in the inside lane, who sped up after I passed him is going to try and cut in front of me"

Exactly my point.

Any idiot can drive fast these days, drivers don't need skills or road sense any more.

You always did get them, but the more no-brainer driving becomes, the less folks use their brains.
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All the car makers are moving through hybrids into electric powered cars even Ferrari (Fiat) and Bugatti (VW) both of whom produce hybrid cars. Ferrari develop, like Mercedes and many others, through F1 which is hybrid based now. Ferrari has developed an all electric car for FE next year. I wonder if the rear caret can be removed to be cleaned if your man puts his dog in the back, if he ever does of course.

Car manufactures are very aware that people like the experience of driving and the automation installed into them should not take that pleasure away. This is why cars of the future will be manual, semi automated and fully automated.

Fully automated mode is much better driving in big towns and cities where driving is defiantly not a pleasure for many. Semi automatic is great for motorways, like for lane control and the ability for the police to control speed when there are accidents or roadworks ahead. We have all seen people ignore speed restrictions in road works on motorways for example. The thing is, excluding situations like accidents and road works, drivers should always retain a choice.

As to birdshit on sensors etc. well you don't honestly believe this has not been thought of and solutions found?

If you look at your car today there are already many automated functions which you take for granted and don't even think about, automated lights, windscreen wipers, environmental control etc.

The thing that all companies are working towards is to make cheap affordable electric powered cars be they battery or fuel cell for ordinary people. Governments have forced this move to electric cars by law and have given the industry time to develop all electric. What they have failed to legalise the creation an infrastructure plan for both battery and fuel cell recharging. It is nice to see that France and Germany are rolling out hydrogen refill stations and charging points at quite a rate compared to the UK which is catching up but very slowly. Every apartment in my block has an underground parking spot all of which have electric fast charge points.

Love them or hate them they are coming.

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[quote user="Cathar Tours"] ........................

As to birdshit on sensors etc. well you don't honestly believe this has not been thought of and solutions found? .......................... [/quote]

I'm quite sure solutions have been found, but "solutions" nowadays very frequently, even usually, just consist of a further layer of complications added to already over-complicated systems.

I wonder who is going to repair these wonderful systems?

Even if they can afford the agents' incredibly high repair charges, more and more people find that the agents can't even diagnose faults, let alone repair them.

Many just throw parts at the car, in a hope that eventually they will win, and if not, present the owner with a large bill and tell him he needs a new car.

Obviously the future customers for new cars will be the wealthy who live in or near cities, and the gullible.

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What's to service in an electric car with an engine that has one moving part, no oil or filter, no water etc. Batteries and fuel cells also have no moving parts. Things that do need servicing are filters for the heating/cooling system and brakes which are the same. The clever bit, the ECU does not have to carry out any of the functions that one in a fossil fuel car has to. Those functions are simply replaced by others as are the sensors. All in all the ECU won't cost any more than the one in your current car. Microchips have a life expectancy of hundreds of year although manufactures typically state 30 to 50 years because of faults created by external forces. In other words they don't fail unless something else fails which causes them to fail. Therefore servicing these cars will be considerably cheaper to the end user than now and repairs like the replacing the ECU will cost around the same as will the sensors.

So in five to ten years an electric Ford Fiesta will cost no more than a fossil fuel one yet it's running costs will be hugely cheaper.
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