Lotus Elan

The Elephant in the room

PostPost by: richardcox_lotus » Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:53 am

So the Uk Govt has said it wants to ban the sale of new petrol (and diesel) cars in 2030.

Existing cars will still be allowed on the road.

But for how long? And where will that leave the classic car market?

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PostPost by: trw99 » Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:32 am

There are 1.5 million historic vehicles on DVLA database, 56% of which are SORN.

Classic vehicle business worth £7.2 billion to the U.K. economy.

4,000 classic businesses employ over 34,000 folk.

700,000 classic enthusiasts.

Classic vehicles account for less than 0.2% of total miles driven in U.K.

Above figures are from U.K. FBHVC.

I don’t think we need fear the onslaught of EV. The availability of fuel for our cars could eventually become a problem. I could also foresee a time when there may be restrictions on when and where we can drive them.

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PostPost by: ericbushby » Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:34 am

Many of our MPs own classic cars and they have formed a Cross Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicle Group.
It`s aim is to support and promote the use of old vehicles in Britain. It seems like we have at least some of them watching out for us.
On the cynical side I think some of the wealthier ones will buy them to avoid capital gains tax but even they might want to drive the cars now and again.
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PostPost by: Elan45 » Wed Nov 18, 2020 5:49 pm

Just look at how quickly the digital photography took over the whole market. I have 3 top of the line 35mm SLR bodies from the 1970s and 80s and about 10 lens 24mm to 500mm and all but one fixed focal length that are nearly worthless.

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PostPost by: Frogelan » Wed Nov 18, 2020 7:25 pm

Let's have closer look at this perhaps.

Firstly, it is a tradition for English PM's to try to leave an ecologically inspired legacy. Something to tell the grandchildren etc. This news confirms that the present incumbent is very close to mummification (less electricity than if he was to go back into his fridge). Mrs May suggested 2035 I believe, shortly before being rearranged.

Secondly, whilst there is a case for the 'lectric car, battery systems involve mining rather unpleasant rare earth minerals and have recycling problems. In addition, power generating infrastructure in certain countries is not exactly upto scratch.

As I am rather an eco-warrior who happens to also enjoy historic motor racing and modern GT racing and rallying, but not F1), I feel strongly that it is for enthusiasts and the industry to show the way forward.

Firstly, this can start by wasting as little fuel as possible: I do most trips under 60km by bicycle. It keeps me fit and costs next to nothing. Let's remember that Mr Tony Thompson tells us that every extra kilo adds to lap time...

Secondly, if we are going to use fuel, let's not waste it. Personally I am shocked that certain manufacturers are still producing smog blowers for soccer moms.

Just what were Ford thinking when they decided to produce the 2020 Bronco ? :roll:

Surely soccer moms in the US can be persuaded by Ford that small is beautiful.

Why not shrink the Bronco to take a 3 cylinder hybrid and provide a pair of trail running shoes. Mr Thompson's weight saving advice is not just for middle aged blokes like most fo us on the Forum!
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PostPost by: USA64 » Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:11 pm

I really think all these -eco-warriors- should ask themselves whether these -fossil fuels- were -sequestered- before or after the Ice Ages and why! :cry:
We are supposed to be having fun, are we not?
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:44 pm

10 to 15 years seems to be the time we have left to enjoy the old cars on the road as we do now. As mentioned above, the lack of petrol stations will play some part in that, but the price of fuel and running a fossil fuel powered car on the road will undoubtedly be the biggest factors in stopping the cars from being used.

I'm sure you've seen the government plans for increasing power generation and installing charging points where vehicles can't be charged in a driveway or garage. Something that was slipped in last week was Richi Sumac talking about changing the way cars are going to be charged for using the road via a National Road pricing scheme.

I spent 3 years a while back on a team designing the businesses, systems and infrastructure for a National Road Pricing scheme for central government. The issues of phasing out fossil fuelled car were one of the principal drivers for this initiative, or rather, the loss of revenue from fuel tax was.

One of the main benefits of a new pay-by-the-mile system is to be able to change behaviour of society by being able to vary the charge by weight of vehicle, emissions, time of day, usage suitability and road traffic density.

You won’t need a crude system like the London Ultra-Low emission zone, or the planned banning of fossil fuel cars by many cities including Bath and Oxford. Instead you can vary the price per mile depending on vehicle characteristics, time of day and location.

For example, living in the countryside with a registered farm and running a LandRover Discovery, you could be charged at 30 pence per mile on the country roads, 60p per mile in built up areas. Living in Chelsea with an Audi Q8 that never leaves central London, £20 per mile may by more appropriate.

As fossil fuel cars are phased out, government will help their departure by slowly increasing the per-mile charge on such cars. This can be a considerable hike in the case of the Q8 in Chelsea, and perhaps a very modest increase in the more eco-friendly fossil fuel cars until viable and economical EVs become available. And you can bet that’s going to happen quite soon with some of the Asian manufacturers spending a lot of money to develop the sub-£10k electric car.

Interestingly, the subject of classic cars came up in a couple of ministerial meetings I attended, with them being seen a something to treat differently to everyday cars (for several reasons!)

The solution came down to the owners having a couple of options……either tax (per mile) your car like an everyday car, which would attract eye-watering costs per mile due to emissions, or tax it as a ‘classic’. That would limit you to a certain number of miles per year, and with different pricing strategy per road section, encourage you to stay away from built up areas.

Or you may just want to trailer your old classic to the track a few times a year.

Bottom line guys is that this isn’t some new fad that government are bringing in. It has been planned for well over 20 years now, and they have fully costed designs sitting in the wings waiting to be refined and funded, that can be rolled out in a few years time.

10 or 15 years is still a long time to enjoy the cars though!
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PostPost by: Andy8421 » Thu Nov 19, 2020 5:32 am

Elanintheforest wrote:10 to 15 years seems to be the time we have left to enjoy the old cars on the road as we do now. As mentioned above, the lack of petrol stations will play some part in that, but the price of fuel and running a fossil fuel powered car on the road will undoubtedly be the biggest factors in stopping the cars from being used.

There is well known quote from Rudiger Dornbusch "In economics, things take longer to happen than you think they will, and then they happen faster than you thought they could"

Got a smartphone? The first Apple iPhone was launched only 13 years ago. Should you have some time on your hands 'Losing the Signal' a book about the demise of RIM (the maker of the Blackberry) is worth a read. One section describes the relief the management team had when they saw the first iPhone because 'it didn't have any buttons'.

The 'Kodak moment' is now a term in common use. The comment earlier about about film is interesting. I can't find it now, but I had a link to story from a professional photographer who described how, in the space of less than a year, it went from no professional photographer using digital cameras, to nearly every professional photographer using digital.

The acceptance of successful technologies hits a tipping point. The Tesla model S was launched 8 years ago when drivers thought electric cars were like a golf cart. Now I can't park in my little village in Surrey without seeing at least one battery vehicle nearby, usually a Tesla. There are a number of public charging points in the village, and a Tesla 'supercharger' installation not far away.

I do think Boris' target is achievable, though legacy ICE cars will still be in circulation.
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PostPost by: Frogelan » Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:36 am

There are lots of points of debate here:

- Consumption: do developed countries really need to whittle away at finite resources making more "stuff". Producing or recharging a Tesla is not the solution. It makes sense however, to change our approach.

In the same way, Apple devices use a cloud to store private and public data on citizens. Why ? This storage burns away electrical resources and creates CO2.

Is this really necessary or even ethical ? [Yes, I am a Blackberry user since 2002 ;-) and it works just fine]

- Health: it really makes sense to take exercise and using a bike is a good way to combine exercise and for example a commute or shopping. If you are in good health, you can work on and drive your Elan for longer...

I'm off out for a run ;-)
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PostPost by: LaikaTheDog » Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:20 pm

And there was me thinking this topic would be about how battery electric is the next diesel... Hydrogen fuel cells are the future.
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:29 pm

Great discussion, it reminded me of an article I read a couple of years ago about how short the timescale was between horse drawn transport being replaced by motor driven transport.


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PostPost by: Andy8421 » Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:56 pm

LaikaTheDog wrote:And there was me thinking this topic would be about how battery electric is the next diesel... Hydrogen fuel cells are the future.

Putting aside the efficiency of fuel cells vs batteries (ICE around 30%, fuel cell 50%, lithium ion 90%), the question no one has a good answer for is where the hydrogen comes from.

Most commercial hydrogen comes from steam reformation of natural gas. This is favoured by the existing fossil fuel industry (not surprisingly), and is not low carbon. Hydrogen produced by electrolysis is carbon free, but is inefficient (around 80%), and the electricity to drive it still has to come from somewhere.

Hydrogen is a swine to store, and I doubt will ever be used successfully for car transport. Of all the fuel cell powered trials of cars in the US, I believe that only Toyota remains. Hydrogen could however have a role in shipping, where weight doesn't matter and cryo storage would be possible.

Edit: Interesting comparison of the efficiency of hydrogen vs lithium ion assuming clean renewable electricity.

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PostPost by: MrBonus » Thu Nov 19, 2020 8:42 pm

As noted in my signature, I am also a Tesla owner. Since buying this car, I have had serious reservations about continuing to own two classic cars given the regulatory and technological direction of cars today.

For 90+% of driving, the Tesla is simply superior to every daily driver I've had. No warm up time, almost no maintenance, I never have to stop to refuel unless I'm on a road trip (something I haven't done since last Christmas thanks to COVID), and it's violently fast. It's the fastest point-to-point car I've ever owned, and likely faster than many exotics at "sane" speeds.

With climate concerns as well as a growing charging infrastructure, it's pretty clear that electric cars are the future everywhere, not just in Europe (although I don't doubt the states will be slower to adopt). I suspect many of our classic cars will be like the steam cars that come out for the summer car show season - used sparingly for weekend duty, with a severely scaled back network of fueling stations and a greatly reduced number of vendors to procure parts.

I do hope I'll still be able to tear up local back roads in 20 years with the little Elan, assuming someone is still making the basic maintenance components.
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PostPost by: mbell » Thu Nov 19, 2020 9:16 pm

I think it is hard to argue against battery electric cars for personal transport replacing ICE for the vast majority in next decade or two. Other sectors like trucking and freight I think battery electric will be more of a subset of the market and will probably need a different solution available due to energy density and charging problems of batteries.

For me I'll stick to ICE and manual gearbox for as long as possible, as I simply really enjoy driving them. I had a quick go in a model 3 and it drove ok (better than average), but it was not involving to drive. The electric power train is simply too perfect IMO, touch the pedal and there is almost unlimited instant acceleration, which is kind of intoxicating but also very one dimensional experience and any Muppet can get in it and drive it, no skills needed. So pefect for the average driver here....

TBH based on how most new cars driver these days, it seems most people these days simply don't care whether a car is good to drive or not. As most modern cars I've driven were simply terrible. I recently had a 2020 or 21 Subura Outback as a loaner, I found the complete lack of feedback of the controls somewhere between unnerving and scary. The driver "aids" where very annoying and more of an annoying distraction that assistance.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Fri Nov 20, 2020 12:33 am

While the trend to electric cars is inevitable the rate at which it happens in various countries will be driven by things like government mandates, tax incentives and the practicality of the infrastructure changes needed to support the country specific driving distances and population densities.

For example while space saver or no spare tyres are the norm in European cars these days, but their adoption in Australia is a major issue if you drive outside the major cities and where it may be a 5 day wait or a 1000 km drive to find a replacement tyre. As a result I have just needed to spend significant money to get a real spare tyre for my Touareg V8 TDI that has just replaced my Landcruiser (which had a real spare tyre under the floor) as my tow car and there is no place to put it except in the back of the car consuming luggage space needed for race day spares and equipment.

Having enough charging stations and the power supply infrastructure from major power lines to a remote recharging station to run them ( as well as enough coffee drinking seats while people wait) to recharge 500 to 1000 cars in an hour on a holiday weekend and where it takes 20 minutes per car on the country highways will also be a challenge to do economically compared to a current fossil fuel filling stations where it takes 2 minutes per car and all the needed fuel is easily delivered and cheaply stored in underground tanks to support the peak demand . Production of synthetic "green" carbon neutral petrol and diesel is possible and will maybe be more of an option for places like Australia. There is a lot of farms with a lot of diesel powered machinery spread very thinly across a huge area here and I don't see Tesla making battery electric wheat headers anytime soon .

I think that here in Australia I will be able to drive my Lotus and get fuel for my race car trailer tow car for the rest of my driving life at least .

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