New Green Jack New Green Jack

26 responses to “The Wind Car – Episode 8 of 6”

    • Chris

      Another encouraging video Dale. I do love it when a plan comes together.

      I think you’re right about Capitalism. I can’t see it failing completely, more likely that it will adapt and (hopefully) take on more ballsy government intervention. It’s a solid first step from the government that we’ve been hearing. As long as manufacturers don’t just use it to put up prices and make £2k more profit. I hope it includes some small print to encourage manufacturers to keep prices accessible. Also this won’t actually happen til 2011 – after the next election! But I’ll cross my fingers anyway.

      The SMMT made a good point in the link you posted. We need more (green) charging points around the UK to promote the making of EVs. I know we all discussed this already, but I still think charging stations or perhaps charging points in some form could be a solid concept.

      If for example we had coin-operated green charging posts in the car parks at existing major motorway service stations, you would be servicing the people who would really need and use them. These drivers are often on longer journeys and need extended battery ranges. They also commonly stop for a rest/coffee/meal and so would have time to charge. Also, couldn’t these posts be used for laptops, mobile phones or GPS devices?

      I know most car journeys are short and battery ranges are getting longer, but until they exceed petrol car ranges and come with domestic docking/charging stations that you just drive into (rather than going through the easily forgettable palava of getting out a reel and plugging it into your kitchen socket before leading it down the garden, over the gate etc) I still think public charging points will always be required on some scale.

    • Derek Thomas


      The name Zero would be fine. Great progress. Look forward to seeing the finished car.


    • Des Fleet

      love the car ….its fab…..go go go zero carbonista!!!

    • Josh

      I can’t wait to see the test drive, any estimation on performance, or even a power:weight ratio?

    • leo

      yes, i’m the first!!
      Dale, get some school kids to name it…it’s their future..

    • Tommy Murphy

      I agree whole-heartedly Dave. I think there is a genuine yearning for people across the world to be able to invest directly into companies who are doing the right thing, from renewable energy companies to manufacturers of electric vehicles, low carbon based public transport infrastructure and sustainable agriculture. For too long the major pension funds based in the city or on wall street have invested purely on performance without any real regard to the long term sustainability of the economic model of the companies or sectors that they were investing in. Hence we are where we are today. The opportunity to change that may be at hand.

    • Adsolar

      The problem with Displaced Emission Vehicles (aka Electric Vehicles) is the displacement of the energy production – out of site & out of mind. Replace all cars in London with EVs and whats going to supply the energy, Kingsnorth ? Or, perhaps, Ecotricity are going to develop an Eco-ring of wind turbines encircling London ? Otherwise, the idea of ‘zero’ or ‘wind powered’ is misleading. Currently, Ecotricity supply ~1/3 of its energy sourced from wind. Add EVs to the mix and the proportion (of energy from wind) will go down unless additional wind farms are developed to meet the new demand. This is fine in principle but given the plannning logjams, true 100% ‘wind powered’ is a long way off. Great aspiration though.

        • Eli Green

          Considering the amount of customers’ money that Ecotricity is putting towards new green technology, the Eco-ring you mentioned may not be that far off of a concept.

          The thing about “out of sight (not site, sites are places), out of mind” with energy production is a bit of a debate on both sides. While the energy production is certainly not zero emissions when it comes from “brown” sources, there are many other types of clean energy being produced, including hydro, thermal and solar. Even if that energy is coming from “brown” sources, the fact of the matter is that it’s being produced anyway, so charging from those sources would not significantly increase the load or emissions coming from that production (though I do understand that at that point it’s not truly zero emissions anymore). The idea at that point would be that the car outputs zero emissions while in use.

    • Cathy Gorrett

      Fantastic! Fantastic! Fantastic!

    • Dave Howey

      Sorry, but you’re missing the point. Have you considered the energy of current (petrol/diesel) cars? Do you know that a petrol engine basically wastes about 4/5ths of the fuel energy as heat? (An electric powertrain wastes about a mere 1/10th of the electricity). Have you considered the challenge of peak oil? What about climate change? The future is either electric cars, or no cars at all. I don’t have a problem with no cars at all (if we have better trains and buses and more bicycles) but being realistic I think electric cars probably have some place. I challenge you to sell us any other option. Business as usual? No thanks. Biofuels? Not in Northern Europe. Hydrogen? Where you gonna get it from? Electric cars are the only long term option, whether we like it or not. It’s either electric cars and more grid capacity, or no cars at all post peak oil. You might be able to get CO2 down to 90g/km with a decent small diesel, but it will never go any lower. With electric you start around this level, and potentially can go down to zero as you clean up the grid. So, again, there is no other endgame (road car technology) solution.

    • MW

      Adsolar, I think the phrase that applies most is don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good.

      Sure EV’s on today’s grid will mostly be charged from off-peak electricity from nuclear and coal plants, but with guaranteed demand for off peak power, and concern about carbon emissions, the baseload unit of choice becomes nuclear rather than coal. Add in a big wedge of wind power, combined heat and power (Some Scandinavian countries get more than 1/3 of electricity from such power plants) where buildings are already on the gas grid, and efficient electric heat pumps where they are not.

      If you look @

      You will see that conversion losses in power generation and transmission amount to as much energy as is used domestically. A similar figure applies for transport, every unit of energy put in the fuel tank only about 1/10 goes towards moving the car, the rest is lost as waste heat from the engine or in the driveline. Of course the energy that does move the car is then lost as heat when the car brakes.

      Electric transport and combined heat and power have many useful things in common, for example.

      Per day if you require 20 units of heat and 10 electric assuming gas central heating (90% efficient) and 50% efficiency from generation and transmission of electrics – gas required = 22 units for heat + 20 for generation of electricity = 42 total

      Plus you drive a 30 mile round trip @ 30 mpg which is roughly 30 units of energy (1GGE~33kWh)

      Your fuel demands are 72 units

      Now assuming you had CHP and an electric motorbike / scooter

      CHP assuming 33% electric efficiency and 50% thermal efficiency, 42 units of gas would give you 14 units of electric + 21 units of heat.

      The extra 4 units of electricity would take you 30 miles (Vectrix says 60 miles on ~4kWh)

      Your total liquid fuel demand would be 42 units

      You have cut your liquid fuel demands by about a third.

      Now assume you can save 2 units of electricity and 5 units of heat a day with efficiency,.
      Generate 5 units of electricity a day with renewable energy (large wind) and 2 units of heat (small solar)

      You now need 12 units of electricity, 5 from large wind and 7 from CHP along with 13 units of heat .

      The CHP fuel demand would then be cut another third, down to 22 units of fuel delivering 11 units of heat and 7 of electric.

      There is no single silver bullet, but a combination of renewable energy, combined heat
      and power, electric transport, radical energy efficiency and advanced nuclear power will all have to play a part in a larger transformation of the energy supply system.

    • Dave Howey

      MW, I think we broadly agree but I must discourage your enthusiasm for combined heat and power, for 2 reasons (1) CHP gives, at best, a marginal improvement (perhaps 10%) in energy usage compared to a good quality condensing boiler and a very efficient CCGT power station – see for the details. Your electric car doesn’t car whether it gets its electricity from your CHP unit or a good CCGT gas power station. More importantly, though (2) CHP locks the country further into being dependent on gas, and cheap gas – like cheap oil – will soon be in short supply. See David Strahan’s excellent book

      What we need are good quality heat pumps (air, or ground source where possible) for heating, not CHP. Yes that increases grid electricity requirement. But yes, that also unlocks us from being dependent on gas in the long term. At the end of the day we need a zero CO2 emission energy system, not a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions. The climate is not interested in shaving a few % off here and then, we need to push towards total zero CO2 emissions, and CHP will not give us that.

        • Tommy Murphy

          Hi Dave

          Gas not required for locally based CHP works perfectly with bio-fuels such as wood-chip etc, The entire slough industrial estate is powered by CHP and excess power supplies 2000 homes locally. Its beautiful!
          Click on the link:

            • Dave Howey

              Tommy, yes of course you’re right– but this kind of wood powered CHP will not meet anything more than a few % max of the country’s demand max. There is simply not enough land area in the UK to grow enough wood to supply the majority of people with this kind of energy. Nice for those who can do it (who are near a wood supply); for the rest of us the long term solution must be heat pumps!

        • Tommy Murphy (Ordinary Guy)

          Hi MW
          I like your use of the phrase “don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good” It sums up what should be a broad based approach towards a zero carbon world
          I am just an ordinary guy with no real specialist knowledge, but my gut feeling is that we do need a mix of lots of different things big and small, and that way we’ll get a lot more individuals, companies, city councils etc, coming on board, doing their bit and the combined effect will all add up. If we sit around theorising over one single bullet, the ordinary guy will just loose interest and leave it up to the ‘experts’ and no momentum will be created. This renewable consciousness movement needs as much momentum as it can get.

            • Dave Howey

              Just to clarify: I agree that we need a lot of solutions and I agree that the ‘perfect’ can be the enemy of the good, and I also agree that there is no single bullet. BUT I suggest that not all solutions are actually ‘good’. Some are ‘pointless’.

              Simply saying we need to do a mix of things that will just magically add up and solve the problem does not make sense. And to quote my favourite book on this subject “if we all do a little, we will get… a little”. We actually need a lot, not a little.

              By the way, you don’t need specialist knowledge to engage with the debate, (although I suggest that basic arithmetic is good–something most politicans seem to be lacking). Do read this book cover to cover if possible!

    • Simon

      The car looks great. Looking forward to the test drive.

    • Radderz

      I just can’t wait till there is competition with electric sports cars, what with the Tesla finally coming to market. It seems to be going from one extreme to the other just to prove the point to everyone that thinks electric vehicles equals <100 mile range, <50mph top speed.

      It’s a shame this car isn’t going into production, I would love to be in the queue with my savings jar to support such wonderful and exciting technologies.

    • Eli Green

      A couple more name thoughts (in case Blade wasn’t still in the running). They’re just simple variations on the Zero and Carbonista names, but maybe you’ll like them. Zer0 or Carb0n (note the 0 instead of the o). That’s it really.

      Really hoping Blade is in the running though. I guess people didn’t really like Turbin.

    • MW

      Dave, I am a big fan of air source heat pumps, and think they would be a perfect way to balance wind power. Especially since the gas grid doesn’t normally extend to rural areas and heating costs on heating oil and electric heating tends to be two or three times the cost of gas central heating.

      Solar PV panels are unlikely to be effective in the UK, but solar thermal water heating can cover most of a houses demand in the summer, and wind typically has a much higher capacity factor in the winter when electric demand is higher.

      I see a mutli directional approach of developing industrial CHP in places with a high thermal load, installing heat pumps in areas without access to the gas mains. But the main emphasis should be on improving insulation and sealing air tightness of buildings to reduce heating demand and heat loss, as well as responsive demands for commercial electricity users

      Basically: electrify transport, electrify heating, generate as much low carbon electricity as possible. Where you are using fossil fuels, make sure you are using them as efficiently as possible. Grid energy storage technologies will improve, but for now demand response is far cheaper and easier to implement.

      Imagine if every other light in the supermarkets was dimmed for a couple of hours a day to shave the top off the peak. A HVDC connection to Iceland, as part of an eventual world wide electricity grid would be a good start too.

      Of course if we could actually make some of this technology in this country it would be really good.

    • Jeffrey Lam

      Looking forward to seeing the car in action. Keep going. Hope the money’s not running out!

    • James


    • Alex

      Great stuff – any news on when the car is going to be up and running/test driven etc?