January 23, 2015

Electric Trains, Ferries and Automobiles

Filed under: Uncategorized — Marcus Tettmar @ 3:09 pm

Electric cars and hybrids are becoming more common and it’s great to see more and more of them on the road. My next car, due next month, will be a plug-in hybrid.

I see the industry moving rapidly. Advancements in battery technology and range are happening all the time. If I didn’t have a large family I’d be happy with a small pure-EV with a range of over 200 miles. But I don’t think it will be long before larger family sized cars can do the same. In fact Tesla recently revealed a prototype 7 seater – the Model-X – which promises a range of 270 miles. Right now it’s a bit pricey, but it won’t be long before other manufacturers catch up. I can’t wait.

The same technology is now being tried in other forms of transport. Near my home town of Harwich this month the first battery powered train was tested. Much of our train network has been or is being electrified. But inevitably there are gaps which at present must be filled by diesel engines. A battery powered solution would allow trains to continue to work on electricity through the gaps and recharge when back on overhead power.

Recently I read about a battery powered electric chain ferry in Norway. It has now been sailing for over a year. Great stuff. There’s a chain ferry near us in Poole Harbour. I hope they look to similar technology.

Of course we also need to make sure the electricity used to charge these batteries is not being made by burning coal. But it’s good to see this kind of progress towards a reduction on our dependence on oil, which is sorely needed:

A third of the world’s oil, half of its gas, and 80 percent of its coal reserves must remain unused if we are to have a good chance of avoiding potentially devastating climate change.