We have a monthly meeting, on the 4th Monday of the month. These meetings are held at the Arreton Community Hall, Main Road, Arreton, 7.30 for 8.00 p.m. The usual format of the evening is that we listen to a speaker on some relevant topic, view videos, or have some form of quiz, as well as having a general 'noggin and natter'. Visitors to the Island are welcome to come along laughter.
25 members attended the monthly meeting at the Arreton Community Centre for an illustrated talk by Colin Palmer, the Chair of the Wight Community Energy project. His subject was 'The rise and rise of electric cars'.
He started by reminding us that, in 1900, 38% of cars in America were electric, many used as taxis. It was 1865 French physicist Gaston Plante invented a rechargeable battery that would make electric motoring a more practical proposition. However, since the talk, I have found out that a
Victorian inventor Thomas Parker, in 1884, created an electric car that he would regularly drive to work in his hometown of Wolverhampton. In fact, Parker's electric car was being driven more than a decade before the first petrol-powered cars arrived in the UK. It is worth remembering that Parker's invention came a year before the world's first production car – the Benz Patent-Motorwagen. It was in the early 30s, when petrol supplies and distribution improved that electric cars went out of favour. The internal combustion engine took the lead and never looked back, until now.
In the 1940s, there was resurgence when dairies used battery-powered electric vehicles; there were thousands on the streets in England and Scotland delivering milk and bread.
He also referred to the Island’s achievement when the Enfield 8000 was designed here by IOWA member, John Ackroyd, in the early 70s. This was powered by conventional batteries. A nice example is owned on the Island, by Barry Price.
Since then, a number of manufacturers have dabbled but the development of suitable batteries, to give them an acceptable range, has been the real challenge. In a way, it was Tesla
who led the way, their slogan – 'From Model T to Model 3'.
Colin then referred to the sales growth of EVs (Electric Vehicles). In 2011, they were almost unheard of but, today, there are some 5 million. That includes both cars and public transport vehicles, with China now leading the way. He told us that last year; some 5000 new cars were sold on the Island, including 80 EVs. Most are charged at home but there are 20 public charging points around the Island. Range wise, they are an ideal car for the Island but, unfortunately, far too expensive. He predicted that by 2021, electric powered cars and those powered by an IC engine would cost the same.
He commented on charging EVs in built up areas where the current proposal is to have them on lamp posts but this does have real limitations for those who want to park today’s cars outside their home.
There is also the possibility of using induction charging for stationary and moving EVs, but this would be a major road project. He summarized some of the advantages of owning and electric car. Fewer parts are required and as a result they are cheaper to maintain, fuel costs 3p a mile as opposed to 15p for petrol cars.
Apparently there is a company, ‘Electric Classic Cars’ who supply parts should you need to convert your own classic car to electric!
Finally, he referred to his experience of owning a 2015 Nisan Leaf, but only for use on the Island. This was a most interesting, thought provoking, talk.
(In a way, the Enfield with today’s technology would make a nice little car for Island use. Ed.)