Travels With My BEV

Who would have thought there could be so much ‘mileage’, in having a BEV. No, not my best friend, my BEV is a Battery Electric Vehicle, writes Helen Chessum.

Bought last year just before the pandemic took over our lives, BEV turned out to be the perfect lockdown project, providing endless hours of fun looking at stats with my husband, the engineer.

BEV records your driving stats and shows how energy-efficiently you drive. My husband was keen to make sure I didn’t drive on his stats. When we came to the first review I had a little chuckle when my stats beat his. Of course, this facility isn’t exclusive to electric vehicles. Anyone can make use of these stats on newer cars to reduce their own fuel consumption. It’s not rocket science: the more steadily you drive the less fuel you use!

As BEV doesn’t have a fuel tank, you have two displays to guide you: battery charge level and range display. Range anxiety is an issue for BEV owners so you need to be more aware of your charge level and range to manage your nerves, especially on a longer outing. Charging points are not on every corner like petrol stations. On a trip back from Exeter I suddenly got a shock when a flashing warning message was triggered: only 12 miles left in the battery!

The range display is where the magic starts. This is not a specific measure like the charge level indicator, but a prediction based on the conditions, previous driving style and the weather. I can leave home with a range of 140 miles, arrive in the centre of Newton Abbot and still see a range of 140. I’ve driven eight miles but according to the display I haven’t used any energy! It feels like magic but it’s due to energy recovery.

Both feedback displays really are useful to moderate your driving to save energy. At first there was a downside as I became obsessed with the displays but I have now found a good balance. I have to confess I was never so aware of my driving in my old petrol Polo.

BEV also has a blue and green zone energy display, next to the normal speedo. All part of the learning curve, I have trained myself to drive in the green zone as much as possible to maximise this energy recovery and make the magic happen. However, this can have some hairshirt consequences when you see how much energy is drawn from the battery by the radio or the heating. Early on I occasionally drove home shivering and with no entertainment just to protect my stats. This is the extreme end of the energy saving sport. But joking aside, it does graphically ‘drive’ home how much energy it takes to power the mod cons in our cars we take for granted.

What about charging and range anxiety I hear you ask? Well I’m fortunate to have a drive and can park right next to my charger. Much trickier if you live in town. The 13 amp charge lead comes as standard but takes about 10-11 hours to charge fully. Your next investment is a rapid charger. Just plug BEV into her life support overnight and bingo! Or not quite, as my other energy-saving challenge is to charge BEV as much as possible from our solar panels, using truly low-carbon electricity. So overnight is not the ideal time to charge. This all takes some management and engagement with BEV and her charger. So here’s the trick – plan ahead and charge only when you need to travel. At this time of year it’s much easier as there is (usually) more sun. If my journeys are local BEV doesn’t need to be fully charged every time and I can divert some of the solar power to other appliances in my house or to our batteries.

Of course I do still need to use the grid electricity for part of the year. The grid is using more power from low-carbon sources as we make the changes to combat climate change. But there is no guarantee the energy I’m drawing is from renewables. I have to live with that for the time being. By charging BEV from the grid only when I absolutely need to, I’m making quite an impact on my carbon footprint.

The next big challenge with BEV is driving to Bristol and back, which is outside BEV’s 145 mile range. This will involve charging away from home – a new adventure. So wish us luck! 

Site options for the Teignbridge local plan to be consulted on

A meeting of the council executive on 1st June passed a motion to run a public consultation on site options for the local plan from 14th June to 9th August.

Executive Committee meeting

You can watch the proceedings of the executive committee here , this gives access to a recording of the whole meeting, the local plan is item 6 on the agenda, which you can select from the menu on the right.

Jackie Hook said “We will have to choose some sites, help us to choose the least damaging. This isn’t however about who can gather the biggest petition against a site, this is about bringing to the council’s attention additional planning related information and knowledge.”

Local plan consultation on sites

Part 2 of the local plan has now been published and can be found here.

Housing Numbers

As you may know, the Government has told Teignbridge it must build 751 houses a year (they had planned to order 1,532 houses a year!). The council therefore has to identify the sites where the houses can be built. If we do not do this the Government will take over planning at Teignbridge and increase the numbers by 20%.

This consultation asks that members of the public help by:

  1. Checking through the sites and see what may be proposed in your community and commenting about the sites.
  2. Sharing the consultation with your friends and family living in Teignbridge. It’s really important as many people as possible know about the proposals and say what they think to Teignbridge.

This could well be the last time local people are given a say in major planning decisions like this.
The Government is proposing to bring in a new system under which land will be zoned. Anything designated for ‘growth’ will be deemed to have ‘planning permission in principle’.
Government ministers claim their plan will eliminate ‘red tape’ but many fear that it abolishes any meaningful involvement of residents and local councils in planning matters.
The consultation on the possible housing sites ends at 12 Noon on Monday 9th August 2021. Do please have your say 

Low Carbon

Chapter 11 states Teignbridge’s 2018 carbon footprint and analyses emissions trends over the period 2008-2018, showing that the transport, buildings, agriculture and waste sectors have not reduced over that period.

Electricity consumption is estimated to grow from 468GWh to 940GWh (101%) as a result of electrification of heat and transport, as well as growth associated with growth mandated by the plan.

The report doesn’t give any detail of how this electrification will be achieved, but the proposed increase in electricity consumption is close to our own estimates based on widespread EV take-up and retrofitting the existing housing stock to near Passiv Haus standards. Indeed the growth in electricity demand is slightly lower than we estimated, so some other demand reduction must be assumed.

Possible sites are identified for 217GWh of wind and 726GWh of solar, totalling 953GWh. So on a whole year basis enough to meet demand. The report identifies a number of constraints, which mean that this much renewable generation is unlikely to be buildable.

Peak demand occurs in the winter, when solar generation is producing least. We see already that in the recent sunny period that grid carbon intensity for the South West can get as low as 30g/kWh when most energy comes from solar and nuclear. Contrast this with winter when on a calm day most of our electricity in the South West comes from gas when grid carbon intensity can exceed 400g/kWh.

The report identifies an increase of 201GWh of demand from heating, which will mainly be needed in the winter months. It also identifies 49 GWh from additional housing, if we assume that this will also be biased towards winter, the additional winter demand could increase to 230GWh. This is more than could be supplied by the identified wind resource. So Teignbridge will need to import more renewable energy from elsewhere during the winter.

A large amount of land is identified as suitable for solar development. Here there is also scope for a significant contribution from rooftop PV, however, this is limited in practice by the ability of local substations to deal with local generation.

I thought my diesel car would have to go

More than seven in 10 people in the UK are concerned about climate change, surveys show. Nearly half think it is caused mainly or entirely by human activity. This is good news: if enough people are convinced by the scientific evidence that we are the cause of the problem, there is hope that we can be the solution too.

The question is, can we wait around for the government, or industry, or someone else, to take responsibility and action? Tackling climate change feels like too large a task for individuals but I have come round to the view that what we do both individually and collectively is crucial. 

Making changes to the way we live is a challenge, of course, and it is easy to make assumptions about what will make the most difference. In my case, I thought driving was my biggest carbon emissions problem. You see I love driving – it’s always been my escape route from life’s troubles. I can just jump into my car and go somewhere – anywhere. 

When I realised a couple of years ago what a mess we’re making of our environment I became almost embarrassed to drive my old diesel car. I thought it would make my carbon footprint really high. So I tried out both electric and hybrid cars – in fact my husband really wanted one. But however much I tried I really struggled with them. They were automatic, and it felt as if the car was in control rather than me doing the driving. So I decided the car would have to go. 

Then some friends suggested I use a carbon footprint tracker to find out how I was spending my carbon budget. Imagine my surprise when I discovered my car made a relatively small contribution to my footprint, due to the low mileage I now do. I try to walk most places, usually with my dog – everyone where I live knows me by my dog!

My highest emissions turned out to come from stuff, which is almost more embarrassing than my car being my biggest problem! The damage my spending on DIY projects, outdoor clothing, gadgets, etc, does to my bank balance is bad enough. The fact that it’s also damaging the planet is double trouble. I now pay much more attention to where my stuff is produced, and  make a conscious effort to buy local, even if it means I don’t receive it the next day. 

At least I now know how I am spending my carbon budget, and more importantly, what actions I can take to reduce it.

I was so close to selling my car and making the massive mistake of thinking I was now clean and green. And I could have carried on accumulating more stuff without a thought to the real cost to the environment of each new purchase. 

So my advice to all my friends is, if you want to make changes, just check they are the ones that will really make a difference to your impact on our planet. 

Let’s make 2021 the year of climate action!

Decarbonising Transport setting the Challenge

DfT has launched Decarbonising Transport setting the Challenge. This recognises that current and planned policies will not result in net zero by 2050. This consultation plans to produce a Transport Decarbonisation Plan within 7 months.

Details of the challenge can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/876251/decarbonising-transport-setting-the-challenge.pdf

This document reviews current and already proposed future policies towards meeting net zero by 2050. The challenge recognises that these policies alone will not achieve net zero. Public participation in the challenge will take the form of:

  • Stakeholder Events
  • Workshops
  • On going public engagement

You can share your views on decarbonising transport, register to receive regular updates on the progress of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan and information about the consultation workshops by emailing TDP@dft.gov.uk.

We will publish our views and hope to take part as an organisation.

Transport Documents Updated

Transport related documents have been updated to reflect comments received. These are the Parish Pack, Transport Policy and the TECs Electric Vehicles review.

We have published updated versions of:

Transport Policy

This has been updated to reflect comments made in response to the original release. Updates include a new section on the national speed limit, and revision of the carbon calculator section to reflect recent progress.

EVs document

This document provides an extensive review of the pros and cons of buying an EV, subjects covered include:

  • Introduction to EVs including types of EVs
  • History of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)
  • Travel Range
  • Emissions including comparison with internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEV), NOx emissions, non tailpipe emissions
  • Manufacture and disposal emissions and the use of Lithium, Cobalt, Graphite and rare earths. Recycling of batteries and Lifespan.
  • Efficiency and payback calculations compared with similar ICEV.
  • Efficiency of Rapid Charging
  • Driving, Towing, Insurance and taxation
  • Charging, connector types, different types of chargers

Mapping Teignbridge Transport emissions

We have recently produced detailed mapping of transport emissions in Teignbridge. This mapping shows estimated emissions from each road, and assigns these to Parishes and Census output areas.

This mapping can be viewed on our Maps and Data page.