Author Topic: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway  (Read 19790 times)

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Offline nctnico

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #50 on: December 22, 2017, 05:39:02 pm »
I just object to branding the idea as crazy off the bat without taking other factors into account.
Like what? What could possibly save this idea?
As told before: Running out of space to put solar panels. If I take my own roof as an example: it will be very hard to mount solar panels on it due to two large windows.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline f4eru

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #51 on: December 22, 2017, 10:05:25 pm »
Wow.
Nobody figured out yet how to put panels around windows.
Now that's a thing.
Figuring out how to solve that problem alone will take billions in research, and will make rooftop solar a factor 30 times less economical, so solar roadways can compete on a 1:1 cost per watt basis.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2017, 10:09:13 pm by f4eru »
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #52 on: December 23, 2017, 12:39:27 am »
Wow.
Nobody figured out yet how to put panels around windows.
-Sigh-  :palm: Did you ever think about building code involved with placing solar panels on a roof? Things like required space from the top and bottom of a (pitched) roof and margins to the left and right eat up a lot of square meters you are not allowed to use.
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Offline benst

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Online james_s

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #54 on: December 23, 2017, 04:39:01 am »
-Sigh-  :palm: Did you ever think about building code involved with placing solar panels on a roof? Things like required space from the top and bottom of a (pitched) roof and margins to the left and right eat up a lot of square meters you are not allowed to use.

And there's no building codes to deal with when putting solar panels in roads?

Maybe it won't work on your house, it's not really practical on my house either because it's surrounded by tall trees, but it would still be a lot more practical than putting solar panels in the street. No matter how you slice it, solar roads is a stupid idea, there is *always* somewhere more sensible to put them. Maybe it doesn't make sense to put them on your roof or my roof, so you put them on the roofs where it does make sense to do so and looking around I see a *LOT* of wide open roofs that aren't covered in solar panels. Just look on google earth, look at any country you want, there are millions and millions of roofs, walls, structures, millions and millions of square meters of surface area devoid of solar panels. Put the panels where you can, then put wind turbines where it's sensible to put those, and hydro dams, and tidal turbines, and fossil fuel plants, and everything else. We don't need any one tech to cover all of our energy needs.
 :horse:
« Last Edit: December 23, 2017, 04:46:01 am by james_s »
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #55 on: December 23, 2017, 09:16:14 am »
Anyone who complains there isn't enough roof space is clueless and demonstrably wrong.
Random factory outside of Paris:
https://www.google.com.au/maps/place/Paris,+France/@48.9809092,1.8513427,1535m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x47e66e1f06e2b70f:0x40b82c3688c9460!8m2!3d48.856614!4d2.3522219
Not a single solar panel. Stupid.

Random small town outside of Paris
https://www.google.com.au/maps/place/Paris,+France/@48.9535897,1.8075935,440m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x47e66e1f06e2b70f:0x40b82c3688c9460!8m2!3d48.856614!4d2.3522219
Not a single one with solar panels. Stupid.

I could do this thousands of times and find roof space available all over France, and they are ideally located *right at the load*.
Solar Roadways is a demonstrably stupid idea until all the factory and housing roofspace is all taken with solar panel. And even then you can start to cover carparks, and elevate the panels on the roads like the South Koreans are doing etc etc.

As a comparison, a random western Sydney suburb, I didn't even hand pick it
https://www.google.com.au/maps/place/Baulkham+Hills+NSW+2153/@-33.7328145,150.9114091,195m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x6b12a29795cee0c9:0x5017d681632ad50!8m2!3d-33.76288!4d150.99212
Count the roofs with solar panels. Scroll around the rest of Sydney and look at the solar uptake:
http://pv-map.apvi.org.au/historical#11/-33.7826/150.9350
Some suburbs are over 25% solar uptake
« Last Edit: December 23, 2017, 09:18:16 am by EEVblog »
 
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Offline Fungus

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #56 on: December 23, 2017, 11:29:42 am »
What could possibly save this idea?
Changing technology and market forces.

What factors in the equation could change to make this economic/sensible?

The solar radiation per square meter isn't likely to change anytime soon, neither is geometry.


Edit: Now China is at it: https://electrek.co/2017/12/21/china-solar-roadways-transparent-concrete-solar-cells-charge-cars/
« Last Edit: December 23, 2017, 11:36:36 am by Fungus »
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #57 on: December 23, 2017, 02:48:29 pm »
Anyone who complains there isn't enough roof space is clueless and demonstrably wrong.
Better do some numbers first to see if the roof space is actually large enough to generate enough electricity. Spoiler alert: it isn't! Many roofs are pitched so you can only use half of the roof space. Subtract roof space lost due to ventilation pipes/chimneys, windows and building code requirements and the amount gets even smaller. In densely populated areas you get a double whammy. Homes have mutiple floors and a tiny roof space. So the roof space is the smallest where you need it the most. I understand this is hard to understand for people who live in countries where space isn't an issue an each home has a large surface area and thus a big roof.

For example: I have a house which is similar to 90% of the houses in the city I live in (all with a pitched roof). I can fit 20m^2 of solar panels on my roof (if I remove all the windows) which is good for about 2000kWh/year according to an online tool. With a usage of around 5000 to 6000kWh per year the solar panels on my roof would not be sufficient to deliver even half of the electricity usage. So off the bat I can prove your statement that there is enough roof space is false. And I have to note that my roof has the perfect angle and direction for solar panels!

Like I wrote before: roof space alone isn't going to cut it so there have to be alternative surfaces which can be used to put solar panels on.

Colas is a big company. It doesn't necessarily mean they are going to deploy solar roadways in France. Besides that all the major highways in Europe have an emergency lane which is basically an unused surface so ruggedized solar panels put on there won't see as much wear as when they are driven over constantly. However for accellerated testing you want to see how it holds up under load so it is better to put the panels on the actual road surface. I'm not saying putting solar panels on a road is the ultimate solution but if at some point the numbers add up it may be a sensible solution somewhere sometime. Don't forget it took over a century for electric cars to make some sense!
« Last Edit: December 23, 2017, 03:52:21 pm by nctnico »
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Offline Fungus

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #58 on: December 23, 2017, 04:29:15 pm »
With a usage of around 5000 to 6000kWh per year the solar panels on my roof would not be sufficient to deliver even half of the electricity usage. So off the bat I can prove your statement that there is enough roof space is false.

Only of there's no possible way you could reduce that.

 

Online james_s

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #59 on: December 23, 2017, 06:08:00 pm »
Who says roof space alone has to cut it? You're still operating under the assumption that solar alone must meet ALL of the power needs which isn't the case. That still doesn't change the fact that until ALL usable roof space is covered in solar (it isn't, not even close) it makes no sense to look at far less optimal locations. Roads are very near the bottom of what is even remotely feasible, it's just a stupid idea, it will always be a stupid idea, no amount of mental gymnastics or excuses is going to change that. It's not like we're all a bunch of country bumpkins who have no concept of what a dense urban area is like. No matter how you slice it, the least suitable roofs are still going to be better than the most suitable roads. It's irrational to keep spouting excuses why the most sensible locations wouldn't work. Once all suitable roof space is covered in solar panels then we can start discussing alternative locations but until then the debate is over.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #60 on: December 23, 2017, 06:50:05 pm »
Who says roof space alone has to cut it? You're still operating under the assumption that solar alone must meet ALL of the power needs which isn't the case.
I think my calculation was clear enough to show that solar alone isn't going to be enough.
Quote
That still doesn't change the fact that until ALL usable roof space is covered in solar (it isn't, not even close) it makes no sense to look at far less optimal locations.
<snip>
It's irrational to keep spouting excuses why the most sensible locations wouldn't work. Once all suitable roof space is covered in solar panels then we can start discussing alternative locations but until then the debate is over.
It is not irrational because you have to define 'suitable roof space' first. There can be many reasons why people don't put a solar panel on their roof. Building regulations can be a tricky one. For example: in the NL there is a special exemption for solar panels and heat collectors but several conditions must be met.

Regarding France: As Dave noted very few roofs in France seem have solar panels. From my own traveling through France I have to come to the same conclusion. However before you can say 'we must use the roofs first' you have to find out why people in France don't have solar panels on their roofs. From looking at what the French pay for their electricity I doubt that it is because the electricity is too cheap for solar panels to make sense financially. So there must be other reasons which in turn make it sensible to look at other places to put solar panels. Just stating they are stupid is rather short sighted.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2017, 06:54:33 pm by nctnico »
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Offline NANDBlog

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #61 on: December 24, 2017, 09:22:40 am »
1) Not everywhere is like in the NL.
2) You are in write only mode. You completely ignore all the good arguments, and concentrate on your one little stupid one, which is your roof is not big enough. And claim, that it is like that everywhere in the NL.
3) You ignore stuff, like the factory roofing, car parks, and other buildings. Go to Oosterwolde and check out the industrial park. 0 solar panels. Until that is done,solar roadways is a stupid idea.
4) It is completely unimaginable, that you will just import energy, right? Like from Germany, which has plenty of space for solar panels for both countries. You already import 30%. In the new EU, thinking strategically about single countries is pointless.
5) It is 27 times worse. If they would listen to you, and solve the NL's problem with solar roarway, the energy price would go 27 times of the price now. Do you, personally, want to pay that money? Seriously? I dont thing so, right? Imagine, getting an electricity bill of 1500 EUR. And BTW your car will be electric, because the NL goverment said so. Imagine, you have to pay for charging that.

It solar roadway is a solution to a non-existing problem, and it is probably net energy negative.

And the price of elecricity in France is 60% of the price here. NL has also dirt cheap electricity, thanks to relying on fossil fuels.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2017, 09:29:20 am by NANDBlog »
 

Offline Red Squirrel

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #62 on: December 24, 2017, 09:44:12 am »
I just had an idea.

How about....

SOLAR FREAKING RAILWAYS!

You put solar panels between train track rails to power the freaking trains!

Seriously though, that would probably be more viable than putting them on roads.  :-DD  The lack of power produced when the train passes over could also act as a method to signal where the trains or any obstacles are!  It's brilliant!   
 
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Online EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #63 on: December 24, 2017, 10:12:22 am »
It solar roadway is a solution to a non-existing problem, and it is probably net energy negative.

It is so expensive, requires so much maintenance, and produces so little energy per sqm that it's guaranteed by design to be net energy negative.
 

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #64 on: December 24, 2017, 10:19:36 am »
Better do some numbers first to see if the roof space is actually large enough to generate enough electricity. Spoiler alert: it isn't!

You are wrongly assuming that the entire nations energy needs have to come from solar, that's massively wrong.

Quote
I'm not saying putting solar panels on a road is the ultimate solution but if at some point the numbers add up it may be a sensible solution somewhere sometime.

It's practically the worst possible solution for utilising solar panels, and it always will be.
Even if every rooftop and carpark cover was fool it still wouldn't be viable because of the cost and maintenance, not to mention the countless problems to do with it's use an actual road surface.
No matter how desperate the situation gets, it's will always be more viable to built the solar panels over the roads than on them.

Quote
Don't forget it took over a century for electric cars to make some sense!

Ridiculous analogy.
 

Offline SparkyFX

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #65 on: December 24, 2017, 12:03:58 pm »
I am not missing the point, I'm bang on. Only an idiot would put solar panel on the road instead of on roofs and poles.
In my opinion the whole point there is not that it´s solar panels, but the road part of the "solar road". Therefore it´s funding of ... roads. The municipal areas probably promise themselves or imply "free road maintenance" by using solar panels funded by private investors plus some tax money, instead of tarmac. Maybe the model is based on some strange butterfingering via the energy produced.

To investors such a project might be presented as a solar farm, calculated by their expected values. To the city it is a road. To the tax payer it is a futuristic thing/new street lights that kind of vibes/implies compatibility with electric cars. What is done there is a mix of concepts and neglection of downsides (like lack of redundancy, electrical supply/grid suddenly becomes road).

So if something breaks, they don´t fix the pothole, they exchange the panel after all, which is then - road maintenance(?), electrical work(?), warranty case?. All they need is a manufacturer unwise enough to guarantee their specs for a road grade panel. Which - given the grooves that heavy trucks do leave in roads (even those up-to-spec) after some years - sounds quite adventurous, even with a concrete base that has it´s own issues. Compensation strategies, like disallowing the users that do cause damage to protect the panels, kind of does not serve the purpose of saving you from cost. It skews the calculation because the damage is then done elsewhere and more concentrated than before which a city needs to pay for as well. You can´t lock out a whole city from road based freight transport.

Probably private investors usually would not invest in a typical, public tarmac road or in fixing potholes, but burning it in a solar installation project seems to sound better.
I assume they only got that far because you can always juggle the numbers between road installation cost, road maintenance, energy output and tax money to make the calculation look good by throwing all costs in the same pot and claiming to compare to that, problem is, it isn´t competitive in any of those. For a solar farm it is too inefficient by design (they didn´t reinvent the solar cell itself), for a road it is too expensive to build and maintain and too complex in structure. All thats left is an impression of a futuristic design, but it is not durable enough for that to last a certain amount of trucks rolling, braking, accelerating on it all year long to keep that impression before it became self financing.

Admittedly the idea itself sounds very compelling (sunlight is quite cheap), but having the solar cells above or next to the road would make a lot more sense in terms of durablity, ROI and financing of roads. Probably does not work that way in the US, where whole houses are transported on streets.

Population density comes with more traffic and therefore more infrastructure and therefore less unused space. I don´t see a reason to exaggerate such considerations as long as there are more viable alternatives. So roof installations, installing it in less constrained spaces like bike ways or pedestrian walkways or seperate solar farms are usually the way to go, if seen from the energy production point. Even if there was a magic bean that turns roads into ever lasting constructions, then a) it could be used to build any road that way b) consider the job loss for road maintenance. As long as that is impossible, roads and infrastructure itself probably needs to be cheap or at a certain price/performance ratio and kind of separated to stay redundant and good in it´s core purpose. E.g. a typical accident spills quite some liquids on the ground, i wouldn´t assume that to be spec´d into a solar panel and have a super road that is good in everything.

Same goes for things like inductive charging in roads, altough more simple, but still a mix of concepts, adding up the downsides.
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Offline drussell

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #66 on: December 24, 2017, 01:10:38 pm »
Don't forget it took over a century for electric cars to make some sense!

That is simply not true.  Up until 100 years ago, electric cars were more popular than internal-combustion engine powered cars and were poised to become the standard method of transportation.  Most used NiFe or NiCd batteries.

It was only because the infrastructure for gasoline distribution became more widespread more quickly for various reasons (most of them not technical, more political and chummy-chum business tactics than anything else, sound familiar?) that gasoline took over for transport instead of electric.  In hindsight, it probably would have been better all-around if it had worked out the other way but who knows!  :)

It has just taken 100 years for people to get back to trying to exploit the already known advantages of electric vehicles.

It is going to be very interesting to see how the road tax situation plays out, though.  That is going to be one of the biggest show-stopper to electric vehicle adoption.  Currently one of the reasons touted for buying electric is "well, it costs less per mile to run."  Disregarding the incentive programs and tax credits on the vehicles themselves, in most jurisdictions a huge percentage of what you pay at the gas pump is taxes, ostensibly for road maintenance and infrastructure, etc.  The more you drive and the more gasoline your vehicle consumes, the more you're contributing to that funding.

With electric vehicles, currently you're getting a free ride vis-a-vis gasoline/diesel.  Sooner or later they're going to have to find a way to tax that.  Either everyone's electricity rate is going to have to skyrocket for all power consumed, regardless of whether you're using that power for lighting or computing or vehicular transfer.  I think that's a terrible idea, though I'm sure some places will try to implement that sort of scheme.  I believe it would be best to have to tax you at yearly registration time or something for miles driven.  (This will quite possibly lead to rampant odometer fraud, though, of course.)  Personally I think they should then remove all those extra taxes on the gasoline also and just make everyone pay the same rate but they'll probably actually start adding excessive "sin tax" on gasoline instead.  The system is all rigged.  :)

 

Offline nctnico

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #67 on: December 24, 2017, 01:12:15 pm »
It solar roadway is a solution to a non-existing problem, and it is probably net energy negative.
It is so expensive, requires so much maintenance, and produces so little energy per sqm that it's guaranteed by design to be net energy negative.
You make assumptions about maintenance costs and costs to build structures to put solar panels over a road (not to mention the years it will take to get the permits to build those structures) but I see no numbers to back those assumptions. What would be more interesting is to figure out why there are so little solar panels on roofs in France. That will probably (partly) answer the question why the French deem it interesting to invest in solar roadways. I'm pretty sure the people at Colas did the same calculations you did and yet they went ahead.

I agree the 'Solar friggin roadways' with their illuminating tiles (if they work) are just a gimmick and far from serious but if a multi billion dollar company invests in some kind of technology I try and take it more seriously because these kind of companies typically don't flush money down the drain and have long term goals. Judging by the other test installations posted on Colas' website my guess is that they don't aim to put solar panels on highways at all but on surfaces with lighter use like parking lots, sidewalks, bicycle lanes, etc.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #68 on: December 24, 2017, 01:12:47 pm »
Don't forget it took over a century for electric cars to make some sense!
That is simply not true.  Up until 100 years ago, electric cars were more popular than internal-combustion engine powered cars and were poised to become the standard method of transportation.

Yep, remember electric trams, etc.



And those old segways:



« Last Edit: December 24, 2017, 01:21:28 pm by Fungus »
 
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Offline nctnico

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #69 on: December 24, 2017, 01:21:10 pm »
Don't forget it took over a century for electric cars to make some sense!

That is simply not true.  Up until 100 years ago, electric cars were more popular than internal-combustion engine powered cars and were poised to become the standard method of transportation.  Most used NiFe or NiCd batteries.

It was only because the infrastructure for gasoline distribution became more widespread more quickly for various reasons (most of them not technical, more political and chummy-chum business tactics than anything else, sound familiar?) that gasoline took over for transport instead of electric.  In hindsight, it probably would have been better all-around if it had worked out the other way but who knows!  :)
I doubt that because reasonable range and weight just don't work with those battery chemistries. Not to mention wear on the batteries themselves. Li-ion is barely good enough for an electric car. Also setting up a charging network isn't difficult. It just takes an investment and I'm seeing more and more fast charging stations for electric cars around here.

You are right about taxation and that worries me too. Over here about 64% of the price of gasoline is taxes so if electric cars start to form a substantial part of the cars then the reduction in tax income for the government will he huge. I'm wondering how they plan to rectify that.

@Fungus  :palm: Do you really think trains and trams run on batteries? Oh and just in case: trams / trains don't need wires overhead. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground-level_power_supply https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stud_contact_system. I love the 'Segway' picture though. Good find  :-+
« Last Edit: December 24, 2017, 01:39:02 pm by nctnico »
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Offline Fungus

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #70 on: December 24, 2017, 01:26:08 pm »
With electric vehicles, currently you're getting a free ride vis-a-vis gasoline/diesel.  Sooner or later they're going to have to find a way to tax that.  Either everyone's electricity rate is going to have to skyrocket for all power consumed, regardless of whether you're using that power for lighting or computing or vehicular transfer.  I think that's a terrible idea, though I'm sure some places will try to implement that sort of scheme.  I believe it would be best to have to tax you at yearly registration time or something for miles driven.  (This will quite possibly lead to rampant odometer fraud, though, of course.)

London already has enough ANPR cameras to recognize which cars are entering the city and send them a bill:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_congestion_charge

 

Offline Fungus

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #71 on: December 24, 2017, 01:28:15 pm »
@Fungus  :palm: Do you really think trains and trams run on batteries?

Um, no. No I don't.

The point you're trying to dodge was that there were far more electric vehicles on the roads 100 years ago than gasoline ones...

Don't forget it took over a century for electric cars to make some sense!

...and they made perfect sense to everybody.

« Last Edit: December 24, 2017, 01:29:57 pm by Fungus »
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #72 on: December 24, 2017, 01:34:41 pm »
You are right about taxation and that worries me too. Over here about 64% of the price of gasoline is taxes so if electric cars start to form a substantial part of the cars then the reduction in tax income for the government will he huge. I'm wondering how they plan to rectify that.

a) Vehicle tracking.
b) Separate electricity meters for vehicle chargers.
or,
c) A combination of both, to help find the cheats.
 

Offline drussell

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #73 on: December 24, 2017, 01:36:41 pm »
You make assumptions about maintenance costs and costs to build structures to put solar panels over a road (not to mention the years it will take to get the permits to build those structures) but I see no numbers to back those assumptions.

Let me get this straight...  You're saying that you believe it will be less costly to design a robust enough panel for in-road use, get that tested and approved, build the panels and install them into the road surface, then maintain them over the long term than it would be to stick them up on poles above the road surface?!   :wtf:

That's insane.   :scared:
 

Offline drussell

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #74 on: December 24, 2017, 01:44:19 pm »
London already has enough ANPR cameras to recognize which cars are entering the city and send them a bill:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_congestion_charge

Yes, but the vast majority of places do not have such a system and it most certainly isn't going to be installed everywhere, on every road.  :)  That's totally unrealistic. 

Multiple meters would be too easy to cheat.  Mandatory tracking of some kind is far more likely, unfortunately.  Hopefully just total miles or total charge input tracking being mandatory for the manufacturers to make visible and reliable somehow rather than actual vehicle tracking (GPS style), but I highly prefer the miles-driven approach which can simply be an odometer reading.
 


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