Electric camper van

Jul 18, 2017
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Seems some students from Holland have been touring Europe in an electric camper van. Good luck to them however maybe they should be concentrating on looking for alternative environmentally friendly source of power like hydrogen?
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Seems some students from Holland have been touring Europe in an electric camper van. Good luck to them however maybe they should be concentrating on looking for alternative environmentally friendly source of power like hydrogen?
What’s the problem with an electric camper van?
There are two methods of producing hydrogen. One is environmentally friendly, the other not so. Unfortunately the better one is not that common yet. Irrespective how many hydrogen refuelling points are there compared to electric charging points. Precious few.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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What’s the problem with an electric camper van?
There are two methods of producing hydrogen. One is environmentally friendly, the other not so. Unfortunately the better one is not that common yet. Irrespective how many hydrogen refuelling points are there compared to electric charging points. Precious few.
I never said there was anything wrong with the campervan although it probably not be very good in the UK unless they plugged it in every night. It is after all a concept vehicle.
I did suggest that maybe they should be spending their time looking for something more environmentally friendly not necessary hydrogen.
 
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Jan 31, 2018
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There are already commercially available ev camper vans. It's just this is a student solar thing. Nissan ,fiat ducato and the London taxi form all produce commercial camper vans already.
 
Jul 23, 2021
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Seems some students from Holland have been touring Europe in an electric camper van. Good luck to them however maybe they should be concentrating on looking for alternative environmentally friendly source of power like hydrogen?
Warning - pedantic post.

What is more environmentally friendly than solar power?

This group are engineering students, looking to demonstrate the viability of solar power for activities such as using a camper van, not students researching alternative energy "sources".

I know you said "like hydrogen", but for the record, hydrogen is not a power (or energy) source. Its a (potential) storage medium. Just as oil (or coal or gas) is not a source.

Strictly speaking, there are no energy "sources". The amount of energy in the universe is essentially fixed, and all we are doing is looking for ways to convert it from one form to another. Fossil fuels are simply forms of solar energy gathered by ancient organisms and stored a long time ago.

The production of hydrogen (as a store) uses energy harvested from somewhere else (solar, wind, nuclear, tidal, geo-thermal, hydro). As the amount of energy we can harvest (as a country or globally as a species) is limited, finding ways to use less energy for the same task (being more efficient) is a very useful skill, which is what this team were practicing.

Converting energy we have already harvested into hydrogen, and then back again into other forms of energy is not very efficient. Hydrogen has a reputation as being the alternative solution to fossil fuels, because its a gas, and can be pumped into a container for keeping while we wait to use it. The reality is its hard and expensive to come by, difficult to store and - if we are talking about environmentally friendly transport - uses a lot more energy to complete the end task than directly charging vehicles with environmentally produced electricity.

Does hydrogen have a future as an energy store? Probably yes, if we have large amounts of very low cost energy that cant be directly consumed (like when the wind blows a lot over night, and the wind farms are running flat out), and we have no where else to store it.

Should we be using expensive, daytime produced electricty to feed hydrogen production in order to make the refuelling of a car (or camper-van) a bit more convienient? IMHO, no.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I never said there was anything wrong with the campervan although it probably not be very ogg in the UK unless they plugged it in every night. It is after all a concept vehicle.
I did suggest that maybe they should be spending their time looking for something more environmentally friendly not necessary hydrogen.
I suspect it's just a typo but exactly what do you mean by "ogg" It's not an abbreviation I recognise.

Even in the UK, there's some useful quantity of solar energy to be collected, but it might need to be supplemented from grid sources.

And when you suggest:-
"they should be spending their time looking for something more environmentally friendly"

Are you suggesting their camper is not environmentally friendly? What are you trying to compare it to? It's certainly more ecofriendly than a gas guzzler.

You mention Hydrogen, but as we all know that is not a viable system at the moment, and is unlikely to be so for many years, if ever!

Please put some meat on the bare scaffolding you have laid out before us to explain your thinking.
 
Jan 31, 2018
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Personally find it quite exciting. Ev makers don't at the mo put solar panels on roofs as I don't think it's as yet capable of providing enough juice to be cost charge effective, can anyone elucidate on this ,? but I admire their efforts.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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I suspect it's just a typo but exactly what do you mean by "ogg" It's not an abbreviation I recognise.

Even in the UK, there's some useful quantity of solar energy to be collected, but it might need to be supplemented from grid sources.

And when you suggest:-
"they should be spending their time looking for something more environmentally friendly"

Are you suggesting their camper is not environmentally friendly? What are you trying to compare it to? It's certainly more ecofriendly than a gas guzzler.

You mention Hydrogen, but as we all know that is not a viable system at the moment, and is unlikely to be so for many years, if ever!

Please put some meat on the bare scaffolding you have laid out before us to explain your thinking.
As per my post we should be looking for alternative source of power as solar and wind are not a constant. :D
 
Jul 23, 2021
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Personally find it quite exciting. Ev makers don't at the mo put solar panels on roofs as I don't think it's as yet capable of providing enough juice to be cost charge effective, can anyone elucidate on this ,? but I admire their efforts.
It's mostly a question of physics, but there is some engineering too. The sun shines about 1kW of energy onto 1 square meter of the earths surface. A solar panel is only about 15% to 25% efficient at converting that energy into electricity, so at best you can only expect about 0.25kW from 1m2 of surface area. If you imagine you have 6 square meters of surface area (2 x 3) then you produce around 1.5kWh of electricity every hour.

A typical electric car will have an efficiency of between 3 and 5 miles per kWh. So for 12 hours of full sunlight, you could gather enough electricity (18kWh) to drive between 65 and 90 miles.
Of course that assumes full sunlight for 12 hours a day. In the UK, it may only be 1/3 or 1/6th of that.

A "standard shape" camper van or motorhome will be more like 1.5 to 3 miles per kWh, but may have a proportionally bigger surface area for gathering energy.

So - spending time on making more efficient panels for gathering, batteries for storage, motors for drive train, aerodynamics for reduced loss, is a worth while exercise.

I too find it exciting - if, through this engineering effort, you could reach say 40% efficiency in panels, and get to 6miles/kWh, you have upwards of 100miles a day (in summer) just from the roof. Thats pretty cool.
 
Jan 31, 2018
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Brilliant post Tobes-thank you. It'll come !
Buckman I know wind isn't a constant but in terms of light modern solar panels still produce even on cloudy days-as Tobes says they just need to get a lot more efficient.
 
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May 7, 2012
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The electric camper van is just about here and plenty more will follow soon. Possibly they area better bet than an EV car and caravan at the moment as they can get into the recharging points far easier.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Brilliant post Tobes-thank you. It'll come !
Buckman I know wind isn't a constant but in terms of light modern solar panels still produce even on cloudy days-as Tobes says they just need to get a lot more efficient.
I understand that but what I am trying to put across is that we still need to looking for an alternative source of power whatever it will be. Electric IMHO is not the answer, but at the moment is a good substitute.

Living in the countryside with power cuts from time to time makes you think hard about relying solely on electric. During the past summer we had to long power cuts with one being nearly all day and the other only 2 -3 hours.

If it was middle of the winter we would have had to drag out the gas heater to keep warm. We also have a small camping gas stove as a backup. Worst of all we need to fit an old style telephone so that we can phone out as no mobile signal.

Now people are being offered £5k grants to change their boilers away from gas so another drain on the system? If it gets really cold, air source heating will struggle. Also if you are taking heat out of the atmosphere perhaps that wil have a negative effect overall on the environment when loads other people are doing the same?
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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Even a hydrogen powered vehicle will most probably and logically be Electric. Using it in ICEs is only ever going to be an interim step, IMO.

Whilst there probably is finite energy in our "Universe", the only bit likely to concern us is that harvestable on Earth, and I suspect the only genuine "renewable" down here is from the sun, it drives all the others.

Only last week Dpd delivered here in a fair sized 100% electric van, there surely is no great step converting that into a camper?
 
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Jul 18, 2017
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Even a hydrogen powered vehicle will most probably and logically be Electric. Using it in ICEs is only ever going to be an interim step, IMO.

Whilst there probably is finite energy in our "Universe", the only bit likely to concern us is that harvestable on Earth, and I suspect the only genuine "renewable" down here is from the sun, it drives all the others.

Only last week Dpd delivered here in a fair sized 100% electric van, there surely is no great step converting that into a camper?
It should not be an issue converting the van however at the end of the day you still need electric to power it throughout the year and that electric needs to come from somewhere even if it is a polluting coal fire power station.
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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Now people are being offered £5k grants to change their boilers away from gas so another drain on the system?
Is not a big issue going to be matching the "radiators" to low quality energy?

I did the calcs back in the 70s for the system I installed, and recall using quite a high radiator surface temperature. With heat pumps surely these are not going to get to those temperatures meaning all my radiators will also need a significant increase in size or emission ability. Not an issue being discussed and one that must greatly impact those planning conversion to heat pumps.
I am trying hard to get my 1970s boiler and system to outlast us, but it's not looking good.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Is not a big issue going to be matching the "radiators" to low quality energy?

I did the calcs back in the 70s for the system I installed, and recall using quite a high radiator surface temperature. With heat pumps surely these are not going to get to those temperatures meaning all my radiators will also need a significant increase in size or emission ability. Not an issue being discussed and one that must greatly impact those planning conversion to heat pumps.
I am trying hard to get my 1970s boiler and system to outlast us, but it's not looking good.
If I recall correctly we were told by the government of the day to switch to gas boilers from storage heating and now government is telling us to switch to air source as gas boilers are bad?
We were also told that going diesel was better by the government of the day and now we are being told that diesel is bad and we need to switch to petrol or EVs.
I am wondering what is next on their agenda that the government said is good for us, but are now going to say is bad for us and we need to spend more money to comply with their wishes? :sneaky:
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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It should not be an issue converting the van however at the end of the day you still need electric to power it throughout the year and that electric needs to come from somewhere even if it is a polluting coal fire power station.
Surely how that and its distribution system are going to be achieved, must have been thoroughly sorted out and planned for long before we determined as a country to end all our polluting existing arrangements? ;)
 

Ern

May 23, 2021
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There is not enough emphasis on conserving energy, in my opinion. We have all come to expect and demand private and personal mobility, but if we are going to achieve a carbon-neutral existence this indulgence has got to stop, or at least be radically reduced. Perhaps a couple of bikes with lightweight tents is a good way for students to see the world.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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It should not be an issue converting the van however at the end of the day you still need electric to power it throughout the year and that electric needs to come from somewhere even if it is a polluting coal fire power station.
A short while back a table of UK energy supply sources was posted into the thread. Coal was only responsible for a very low percentage of UK power. Here is todays at 0940 BST. Zero coal usage.

https://gridwatch.co.uk/
 
Nov 11, 2009
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If I recall correctly we were told by the government of the day to switch to gas boilers from storage heating and now government is telling us to switch to air source as gas boilers are bad?
We were also told that going diesel was better by the government of the day and now we are being told that diesel is bad and we need to switch to petrol or EVs.
I am wondering what is next on their agenda that the government said is good for us, but are now going to say is bad for us and we need to spend more money to comply with their wishes? :sneaky:

You are quoting from timescales when the general awareness of climate change from global warming was very low except perhaps from some dedicated voices in the wilderness. IE PoW, CRU, David Attenborough etc and others around the world. Gas was good at the time as we had lots of it under the North Sea, and it allowed dirty polluting coal stations to close, or convert, which wasn't a bad move as gas is cleaner than coal.

Next on the agenda....fusion perhaps.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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There is not enough emphasis on conserving energy, in my opinion. We have all come to expect and demand private and personal mobility, but if we are going to achieve a carbon-neutral existence this indulgence has got to stop, or at least be radically reduced. Perhaps a couple of bikes with lightweight tents is a good way for students to see the world.

Five of us went to Oxford yesterday to see the Jack Whitehall show. Travelled by train and thanks to Covid the trains were pretty empty and spotlessly clean too. They ran on time as well. Bikes might have been pushing it a bit, even Dusty's electric options.
 
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Jul 23, 2021
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I understand that but what I am trying to put across is that we still need to looking for an alternative source of power whatever it will be. Electric IMHO is not the answer, but at the moment is a good substitute.
The point though is that the source of all our renewables will be via electricity generation. Gas, Oil and Coal will have to go away. I think the question you are looking to have answered is how will we store energy in sufficient quantities, and with sufficient distribution to eliminate events such as power cuts.

Even a hydrogen powered vehicle will most probably and logically be Electric. Using it in ICEs is only ever going to be an interim step, IMO.
Totally agree.

Whilst there probably is finite energy in our "Universe", the only bit likely to concern us is that harvestable on Earth, and I suspect the only genuine "renewable" down here is from the sun, it drives all the others.
I agree - on a human scale, there are 4 "sources" of energy available to us.
  • Solar (which drives the climate and so includes wind and hydro where rivers are topped up by rainfall)
  • Tidal (driven by the energy embodied in the moon orbiting the earth)
  • Geo-thermal (driven by the heat that is present in the earths core)
  • Nuclear (fission and fusion)(driven by the energy stored in the subatomic forces)
Everything else (I think ?) is derived from one of these.

Living in the countryside with power cuts from time to time makes you think hard about relying solely on electric. During the past summer we had to long power cuts with one being nearly all day and the other only 2 -3 hours.

If it was middle of the winter we would have had to drag out the gas heater to keep warm. We also have a small camping gas stove as a backup. Worst of all we need to fit an old style telephone so that we can phone out as no mobile signal.
This is not a question of a reliable energy source, but of a reliable distribution.

So a combination of lots (and lots) of renewable generation, coupled with both local and grid level storage, and an emphasis on robustness of our whole infrastructure seems to be the way forward for me.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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The point though is that the source of all our renewables will be via electricity generation. Gas, Oil and Coal will have to go away. I think the question you are looking to have answered is how will we store energy in sufficient quantities, and with sufficient distribution to eliminate events such as power cuts.

Totally agree.

I agree - on a human scale, there are 4 "sources" of energy available to us.
  • Solar (which drives the climate and so includes wind and hydro where rivers are topped up by rainfall)
  • Tidal (driven by the energy embodied in the moon orbiting the earth)
  • Geo-thermal (driven by the heat that is present in the earths core)
  • Nuclear (fission and fusion)(driven by the energy stored in the subatomic forces)
Everything else (I think ?) is derived from one of these.

This is not a question of a reliable energy source, but of a reliable distribution.

So a combination of lots (and lots) of renewable generation, coupled with both local and grid level storage, and an emphasis on robustness of our whole infrastructure seems to be the way forward for me.
As you state storing energy is the biggest obstacle at present. However if for example a sub-station goes or there is a physical breakage in distribution supply over which the distribution company has no control, then no heating, hot water etc. At least with gas you will still have heating and hot water.
If we could harness the earth's magnetic field we could have a source of endless clean power. The question is being able to do that! TBH I think that is our future and the way electric will be derived. I do know that it is being investigated and has been for sometime.
 
Jan 31, 2018
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I totally agree that our consecutive governments have gone down rediculous paths in the name of saving the planet-and had to back track-are they in the pay of large companies-some would say so but they seem very poor at making the correct decisions. Closing all coal stations before we have an alternative to simply chase figures is a case in point. And of course blowing them up-our local council are objecting to a solar farm on a WEst Burton but happily investigating a nuclear dump on the coast between Sutton on Sea and Mablethorpe-you couldn't write it could you.
Porsche have already developed a system of making a liquid fuel suitable for petrol engines simply by using electricity, and carbon dioxide etc from the air-why is this not being ramped up and fast I do not know. I think EVs for short journeys and synthetic petrol for longer is the perfect solution to our issues-how we make the electricity to make the petrol and power battery cars is the biggest issue and must be green and renewable-wind, sun and water for me-nuclear does not in any way come classified as green or renewable imo-but of course the government seem happy with risking it!!!1
 
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