Doctor Diesel

North of the Border

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It’s really good to see Diesel Car keeping up with developments in alternative fuel in Eco Car, and I have a feeling that in a year or two there’s going to be a sudden uptake of electric vehicles ñ something that the government could easily accelerate, if they only used some money sensibly to encourage sales. 

But I wanted to draw your attention, Doctor, to something that I only came across recently, that will particularly interest our Scottish readers. I discovered that, and this is really significant, electricity generated by power stations, and other means (hydroelectricity, wind, nuclear etc.), creates only half the amount of carbon dioxide emissions per kiloWatt-hour as the UK average, which comes about partly because there are no coal-fired power stations now operating in Scotland. The figures are around 

200g/kWh of CO2 for Scottish electricity, and 400g/kWh for the UK average, and it means that you would need to have a diesel car with emissions of somewhere around 25 to 30g/km CO2 to match it. I am no fan of Scottish nationalism, but this is something of which they should be rightly proud, and you might make your Scottish readers aware that there is now a much greater incentive for them to convert to a plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle, than there is for those of us in the rest of Great Britain. It’s a great pity that nobody seems aware of the significance of this, and that manufacturers are not evidently promoting electric power for cars in Scotland. Where are you guys? 

Neil Hopkins

A great piece of information Neil, and I’m ashamed to say that I had not come across this fact, and particularly because I have only recently been trying to look (with some difficulty) at making comparisons between the efficiency and greenness of the various power sources available for road transport. It is a very difficult area, and the only fly in the ointment is that a significant proportion of the Scottish electricity is nuclear power sourced (is it fair to call it renewable?), and it’s not the carbon dioxide emissions that are the key here (although the construction of nuclear power stations must generate huge amounts of carbon dioxide), but the legacy of nuclear waste that takes thousands of years to decay, and is something that merely postpones the problems for future generations to deal with.

But I think, on balance, that if I was a Scottish resident, these facts would incentivise me towards buying an EV, although we have to reflect that, outside maybe half a dozen cities, the potential for range anxiety in the wilds of Scotland is considerably greater than in more populated parts of Britain. Many thanks for your input Neil.

Best regards,

Doc Diesel

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