Saturday, September 05, 2020

ALTERNATIVE PUBLISHING: BEAT SCENE / BILL BUTLER / STEVE PEREGRINE TOOK


The Generalist blog is riddled with stories about the Beats, who have been an inspiration to me since I was a teenager. I have accrued a substantial library of books, records, videos, posters and Beat memorabilia but my collection, knowledge and understanding is nothing to compare with Kevin Ring's dedication to the Beat Cause. He started producing his magazine 'Beat Scene' in 1988 and it's still riding high and never fails to be interesting. This is a summer 2019 issue, published to mark the 50th anniversary of Kerouac's death.

It's latest form is a chunky  perfect-bound magazine, published four times a year : £8 for a single copy; £30 for four issues. Contact Kevin here: kevbeatscene@gmail.com

Kevin also publishes a substantial series of chapbooks [named  for street literature in the 18th century], limited numbered editions. He was kind enough to send me two gems. The first dates from May 2008 and the Pocket Book series.



'Go' by John Clellon Holmes, first published in 1952 is considered the first Beat novel. I loved it. Holmes and Kerouac met at a party when they were both young. 'Remembering Jack Kerouac' is a little gem, consisting of two lengthy letters, written to Jay Walsh (publisher of a Jack Kerouac newsletter in New York). Two of many. Walsh wanted to know more about Kerouac and Holmes responded with a stream of letters most of which have been long forgotten. In his short intro, Kevin says of these two letters:'Importantly they are from a man who was a longtime friend of Kerouac's who knew him as well as anybody. So many works on Kerouac today are written by people who never knew him, many written by individuals born after he died. Holmes was there, his words are from the source. I love this little book. It brings Kerouac to life.


That is a wonderful aperitif to this long-awaited biography of Bill Butler and the Unicorn Bookshop in Brighton, written by Terry Adams. I have written a couple of detailed posts on Bill and his marvellous bookshop which opened in 1967.

See: https://hqinfo.blogspot.com/2012/05/bill-butler-unicorn-bookshop-better.html

It's where we went to print our own magazine 'Swan' on the Gestetner duplicator, to get Beat books from America, psychedelic posters and to chat with Bill and Mike, one of the first 'out' gay couples in the town.
Bill was a big guy, former US Marine, published poet, publisher and one of the drivers of the underground press and scene.

I was working at Frendz magazine in 1972 when they published a big profile of Bill which Terry refers to. This book is the first substantial biographical profile since.

Bill was a truly great guy who died too young. One of his great mottoes was 'Move The Word'. That's still what it's all about.

There has been a gradual revival of interest in Bill and the shop. The original shop was painted with a mural by John Upton and was repainted a while back, I was asked to give an opening talk.

[See: https://hqinfo.blogspot.com/2017/04/bill-butler-in-brighton-unicorn.html]

I knew Terry had been to the shop in the old days and found out he was also a collector of Unicorn material, including many posters. This book had a very long gestation period and has been a labour of love. Its a run of 125 numbered copies.

Terry sent me an email: 'Knew I'd never be able to do a "Chapter one...Bill was born etc, Chapter two etc etc"...type thing. So just started at a point of interest to me and let it flow(ish). Probably a bit like an evening in the pub telling my favourite Bill / Unicorn anecdotes. I enjoyed doing it over a 10 day period last time I spoke to you, and I guess that's the main thing...plus I have packed a lot in, which is good to get out there.'

Bill was hounded by the police. Terry takes us through the raids and the trials. He gives us a sense of the times, the atmosphere of intimidation. Bill's piratical publishing included work by Kerouac and Dylan, Ballard and Burroughs.This book gives a good feeling of the underground days in Brighton. Could be useful in these virus-ridden times.
Stay cool.

Contact:-
kevbeatscene@gmail.com
£8 including postage.


*

My last post was about Hawkwind and the Ladbroke Grove scene so it's appropriate to thank Fee Warner for sending me  a copy of this tribute to Steve Peregrine Took, one half of the original Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Called 'A Trip Through Ladbroke Grove' The Life and Times of an Underground Hero. Dedicated to the people who loved him, lived with him, worked with him and put up with him.'

I always remember him  with fondness. He was certainly a handful. I once got stuck in a lift with him and Tony Secunda. That's another story. .

It would be fair to say this is not a conventional biography. The layouts are lively all-over-the-place collages of info, photos, drawings, using different coloured inks and typefaces. Why not! It was all a bit crazy back then.

I think it's also fair to say that Fee is on Took's side and feels he hasn't had enough of the limelight. I certainly have enjoyed dipping into this extensive catalogue of incidents from what you could call a colourful life. One of the things she highlights is Took's musical abilities. Turns out he was an accomplished multi-instrumentalist. It is not unusual in the music business to come across highly-talented people who tend to overdo things a bit or a lot. You had to be tough to survive the touring schedules and conditions of the time.

This second edition is revised and no doubt further corrections may be in order (or out of order). My contribution is the Crow cartoon on p58. Not by Barney B but by Edward (Barker). Crows were one off his main signature animals along with curly haired men (vaguely resembling Mick Farren) who looked as if they pissed and out of their heads. I enjoyed making another trip through the Grove in my mind. It's now in the Archive. Gratefully received.









Tuesday, August 18, 2020

HAWKWIND RULES

Who would have thought at the time that such a book would exist.  An encyclopaedic multilevel 500 page volume on the history of Hawkwind which I'm privileged to have a copy of.

It's elegantly produced, finely illustrated (great cover work from John Coulthart) and packed with original interviews and interesting essays not only on the rise of Hawkwind and their long legacy and numerous line-ups but also on the underground culture  and science fiction scene that surrounded them..The limited print run edition has already sold out but a paperback version is due in a while.

We were there in the early '70s in the Ladbroke Grove scene, working on Frendz magazine in our office on Portobello Road. During that early period Hawkwind would assemble there before going down the road to the Mountain Grill for a meal before heading off for the gig. Mike Moorcock was also a regular visitor as he lived down the road at the time he was editing New Worlds'  magazine and was interacting with the band himself, co-writing some of their material. The interviews with Mike are brilliant

When 'Silver Machine' hit the charts, I was briefly recruited  to join Stacia and Renée LeBallister as a dancer on that successful tour. I lasted seven shows before both sides agreed that was enough. I have written before on my links with the band and about my bolero jacket which was specially made for me. I saw their all-night shows with the Pink Fairies at the Seven Sisters Club (also worked on the door), at the first Glastonbury Festival, hung out in their geodesic at Bickershaw Festival in May 1972 and got spiked up by them at a benefit concert they played with Mighty Baby in West London.

My tiny memories are not included in the book (no worries) although a copy of the piece I wrote on Hawkwind for the NME is published under my pen name Dick Tracy.

[You can now see many of my Dick Tracy articles @ generalistarchive.co.uk]


See Previous Posts:

There are three accounts of my Hawkwind connections
https://hqinfo.blogspot.com/2009/02/my-bolero-jacket-1-hawkwind.html

https://hqinfo.blogspot.com/2009/02/my-bolero-jacket-2-beatles.html

http://rockpopfashion.com/blog/?p=133

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

10 ALBUM SERIES:GREAT MUSIC FOR GRIM TIMES

It has passed on now but, for a while, back in the early day of the virus, many of us were encouraged to choose some of our most memorable albums on Facebook. This my selection. Hope you enjoy:

1. Indo-Jazz Suite (1967): First heard when 17 at boarding school, at a time when I was trying to get high by smoking crushed-up joss sticks. I don't remember buying it. It has my name on the back in biro, an upside down pencil drawing of someone's head and the name Jeffries. Suspect he might have lent it me and I never gave it back! This original mono copy is now rare. A treasure.



2. JouJouka: This album is a live recording of the Moroccan group the Master Musicians of Joujouka in performance on 29 July 1968 in the village of Jajouka in Morocco and released on Rolling Stones Records in 1971, It was produced by Brian Jones.

I guess this was my introduction to world music. It opened my ears. I have always loved it and have never been able to listen to it without going into some kind of trance. It's magic music for the soul. You can hear the dogs barking. 
You can listen to the whole album here:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwEoDGeNyrE



3: Christo Redentor. This glorious completely instrumental album, recorded in Nashville and LA, featuring the top session musicians from both camps, was created and led by young guitarist Harvey Mandel. This ambitious and unusual record, released in 1968, was the theme tune of spring 1969 for me as I recall. I had been working as a trainee librarian in Brighton Public Library since the previous September and was to leave in May. Lunchtime I'd weave my way through the ornate grounds of the Pavilion and down to the Laines where I would hang out in a tiny boutique that played good music. All names escape me at present. This is where i was first captured by the strange cool allure of this wonderful album.The whole is a psychedelic quilt of grooves that have subsequently been sampled heavily, especially the track that always moves me 'Wade In The Water'. I was DJng at that time as Freaky John May and, from then to now, WITW is always the first track I will put on to give the room immediately a warmth and a cool groove that tells you you're in for a good night, So many thoughts and feelings wrapped up in this one. Read more here: http://therisingstorm.net/harvey-mandel-cristo-redentor/


4. Anthology of American Folk Music
It is my great pleasure to introduce you to what is considered one of the most influential releases in the history of recorded sound. In 1952, this 3-album compilation of what Greil Marcus later dubbed 'old weird American music' brought unknown music from the '20s and '30s into the modern limelight. It was put together by the remarkable Harry Smith a genius beatnik outsider, multi-talented and scholarly, who was an avid collector of '78s. When his money ran short, he tried to sell the cream of his collection to Folkway Records. Instead they suggested he produce this marvellous compilation which they released on the new-fangled LP format. The Anthology has profoundly inspired and influenced Dylan and generations of popular musicians. These songs lie at the roots of American music. They are moving, inspiring, chilling, powerful. This record is not cheap but it's the best money I've ever spent. It will blow your mind. Read more about Harry here:   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Everett_Smith…
Also fabulous is the DVD of 'The Harry Smith Project Live', a series of three five-hour concerts in London New York and LA in 1999 and 2000, staged and produced by Hal Wilmer and Nick Cave, in which modern day musicians perform some of the albums' highlights. Involved were Lou Reed, Elvis Costello, Beck, David Johansen of the New York Dolls, Philip Glass and many others. Its brilliant. Read more here: https://pitchfork.com/…/albums/9587-the-harry-smith-project/

 5. The Rock Machine Turns You On.
This album did what the title promised. It turned me on to a whole lot of stuff. The first budget sampler album from a mainstream record company, released in 1968, 

It features Bob Dylan, Moby Grape, Spirit, The United States of America, The Zombies, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, Leonard Cohen, Blood, Sweat and Tears, The Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, Taj Mahal, The Electric Flag, Roy Harper, Tim Rose, Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera. Still sounds great.








6. Will the Circle be Unbroken
This is truly a remarkable record. I am not a huge country fan but this is something else. Firstly its a three album set. You don't come across those often. Its also a kind of summit meeting of the two cultures: the straights and the freaks. The brain child of Bill McEuen, the manager of the long-hair Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, he decided that he wanted the band to record a three-disc acoustic set in Nashville with the country performers he most admired. First he got Roy Acuff (who had sold more than 25 million records) and his prestige persuaded other country greats to join in the project. These include Maybelle Carter, Earl Scruggs and brothers Kirby, Randy and and Gary, Merle Travis, Doc Watson and some wonderful Nashville sidemen. This is finger picking and fiddling at its highest level, beautiful and extraordinary playing in fact and also some great down-home chat in-between tracks. This album is rare and pricey but have just discovered a very affordable upgraded version on CD with extra tracks. In addition, there are albums 2 and 3 plus a 'Will the Circle be Unbroken Farther Along' (2003) all of which I'm itching to listen to. Enjoy.

7. Farewell Aldebaran.
It's time to go out there where this album lives. Forget trying to classify it. I have had three copies of this gem in my life so far. I lost the first vinyl somewhere, bought the second off a strange guy in Shepherd's Bush and lost that somewhere else. Many years later, got the re-issue CD which kept disappearing into my stacks. Suddenly it turned up again.
So there's Judy Henske and Jerry Yester, experienced singer/songwriters. They had a baby in Jan '68 and decided to decamp from Greenwich Village to the San Fernando Valley where this album was written during the Year of Revolution. Spring of '69 they signed to Zappa's label Straight Records and recorded it in Sunwest Studios in Hollywood..
Jerry had been in the Loving Spoonful and he arranged and co-produced it with Zal Yanovsky from that same band. Judy Henske, dubbed "Queen of the Beatniks", came from a family of poets. Her magical imaginings conjured up remarkable unexpected lyrics which she sang with her incredibly powerful and haunting voice,honed in nightclubs and late-night dives.
The outcome is poetically described by the Liner Notes writer Barry Alfonso as being 'A gorgeous blossom of exotic folk-pop...Snarling rockers, Genteel Ballads and Gothic mood pieces'. It's a stone cold cult classic which fascinates and compels me still with its strange swirling moods and styles.My advice is don't try and resist. Just give in to it.
[The re-release CD from Omnivore Recordings is beautifully put together with a great booklet with all the lyrics and there's five instrumental demos as extra tracks]

8. Songs To A Seagull: This holds a special place in my heart. It was in the window of a record store in Brighton. I came back at lunchtime and bought it. First thing: It's a heavy cardboard sleeved edition for distribution in Canada! Rare. Second thing: The cover painting by Joni is is exquisite and I love the fact that, in the picture, the name of the album is made up of birds. Wikipedia has just informed me that there was printing error which explains why part of the title is cut off.
Also learnt that in the track title 'Sisotowbell Lane', the name stands for "Somehow, in spite of trouble, ours will be ever lasting love"
The very next day after this purchase I came down with heavy flu that kept me in bed for several days. At that time I had a beautiful old-school record player on a little table right next to the bed. In a delirium I listened to this album again and again and again and again. It was so different and so inspiring and filled my head full of visions. I have loved Joni ever since like millions of others for her wonderful artwork and her rapturous songs which are imprinted on my consciousness.
Produced by David Crosby with Steven Stills on bass, the album was recorded in 1967 at Sunset Sound and released in March 1968 by record label Reprise. Joni was hanging out with Crosby at the time and later with Graham Nash.
Before the album Mitchell had already written songs that were hits for other artists - ”Both Sides Now" and "Chelsea Morning" for Judy Collins, "Eastern Rain" for Fairport Convention and "Urge for Going", "The Circle Game" and "Tin Angel" for Tom Rush - but she chose to record none of them for her debut. [https://www.discogs.com/master/220439?filter=true]
'Mitchell was "discovered" c. 1968 when ex-Byrd David Crosby pulled up in a sailboat outside the Florida club she was playing and took her to L.A. At the time, folk was out of fashion yet Mitchell managed to pull down an unprecedented major label deal for a girl and her guitar: total and complete artistic freedom, with the caveat that Crosby would produce her first album. It was rare for a woman to be writing and recording her own material at the time, let alone to be an unaccompanied solo act.' 'https://pitchfork.com/…/…/17269-the-studio-albums-1968-1979/


9. East-West.
Back in the day I really dug the Butterfield Blues Band and particularly this remarkable album which blew minds back then and still does the business now.
What makes it extra special for me is the fact that the BBB actually played live in the Town Hall in Lewes on Saturday 19th November 1966, their last ever gig in Britain and I have a copy of the poster signed by the band to prove it. 
They came over to promote this album on a Georgie Fame package tour and afterwards played a number of London gigs, including Eel Pie Island, and hung out with Eric Clapton and the Cream. Why they made Lewes their final gig is an intriguing question.

For reasons too lengthy to explain, last Xmas and New Year I became fixated with this fantastic Chicago blues outfit and ended up buying numerous albums, two documentaries and a massive biography. What makes them and this album so great?
This band is special, Paul Butterfield was and is regarded as one of the greatest harp players, white or black. Michael Bloomfield is similarly considered to be one of the great guitarists. That's what Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan thought. Elvin Bishop, the other guitarist, grew up in this band and is also highly rated and admired. MIke Naftalin is cool and hot on organ and piano, and, in the engine room, Jerome Arnold on bass and Billy Davenport on drums, lured away from Muddy Waters' band, are driving those beats. This was one of the early mixed race bands, kicking off in the middle of the Civil Rights movement, in Chicago, a hotbed of unrest.
The album is a joy and is doubly interesting because of the 13:10 minute title track - featuring extended soloing by Butterfield, Bloomfield and Bishop - which explores Eastern influences and intertwines them with the blues - a pioneering recording. At their height and in concert, the band were known to improvise on this for up to 45 minutes. Enjoy.

10. Another side of Bob Dylan.
It was inevitable in an exercise like this that Bob Dylan would appear somewhere in the ratings. This particular album had a stunning affect on me because it came out in 1964 when I was 14 and, more importantly, I had just got my first guitar (thanks mum). Mine was a musical family. My mum was a singer and my dad was a choir master and organist. I had a strong voice and a passion for music and an ambition to try and write my own songs.
This album completely floored me with its remarkable, powerful and unusual songs, many of which I learnt to sing and play. In addition, the back cover was covered in poetry, another thing I was dabbling with myself. At the time it stopped me in my tracks. I thought I'd never be able to match this strange eloquence and style which seemed to open doors that I didn't even knew existed.
As things have turned out, I have continued to play and sing to this day. I happily made up songs after a few drinks at parties but they just flew out the kitchen window and for many years I never wrote anything down. It was only when I formed my own proper band BOHO in 1999 that I began songwriting in earnest and have now got some tunes to my credit that I am pleased and proud about.
Strangely, in later years, I met and interviewed Ramblin Jack Elliott                 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/…/music/3…/Woody-Bob-and-me.html

I discovered a set of Dylan previously unseen pictures by Douglas R. Gilbert from exactly the time in Woodstock when Dylan had just finished the album. One photo even shows him typing the poems for the back cover. This resulted in a book 'Forever Young' in which I am credited. You can read the full story here: https://hqinfo.blogspot.com/2005/09/lost-dylan-photos.html






Sunday, May 24, 2020

THE DEAD REDS:DICTATED DEMOCRACY. Review by DICK TRACY


DICTATED DEMOCRACY
by Dick Tracy
[NME 1975-1982]

When I started writing this review it was a Saturday afternoon somewhere in the middle of the Coronavirus. The night before, I read that Phil May of the Pretty Things had died and, one hour later, there was news of minor protests in London’s Hyde Park and across the country against the lockdown.

I’m listening to the new Dead Reds limited edition six-track album called Dictated Democracy. It’s dark and heavy and it’s on blood red vinyl. It seems to capture the restless mood we’re in and signals a wake-up call.

All music venues are closed, many of which are never likely to reopen. Musicians around the country and the world have suddenly found themselves without an income.

When the Rolling Stones are filmed in lockdown you know the world is changing. Their ‘Living in a Ghost Town’ video with its empty city streets around the world could bear contrast with the Dead Reds video for ‘Shut It Down’.

In the DR's hands, the bleak and blank streets of London are accompanied by the plugged-in sound of hell, power chords, a gravelly growl enunciating proclamations of apocalypses unless we make the Change. I’m sure Keef would approve.

https://youtu.be/WbE9LrZPwZo

This track in particular catches the mood of the moment even though it was written four years ago. The whole album carries the atmosphere of our times and seeks to reach out, connect, encourage and strengthen the will of the listeners to adapt and evolve and create a new musical world operating on different principles.
*

Last night, I was fortunate to get a great Skype interview with two of the band – Jez Green (vocals and bass) and Max Gibson (guitar) Check their site for details.

Jez gives the music a solid foundation that’s made of rock but also rocks. His powerful vocals address strong feelings which will resonate across the country. In person a cool cat, once plugged in Jez gets right on the bronco and delivers those lyrics at full power.

Jez and Thomas Miles Woodridge (aka Miles) were schoolmates and write the songs. Miles brings the sound of Paul Butterfield’s Chicago right into the mix, adding a vital streak of rhythm and blues.
Max Gibson’s already built himself a reputation for his truly excellent economical and fluid hi-power guitar work which shines out and crowns this forceful combo.

The band lucked out when Jez and Miles advertised for a thunderous drummer, and Joss Love walked in and captured the seat. This album demonstrates his control and his Mike Tyson power.

On the last track 'Dead Man Walking', Bethan is joined on vocals by John Fairhurst, the Wigan-based bluesman. It's a strong song about death, demons and devils, written by Max, which also features his first slide guitar outing, inspired by JF's example.


The Dead Reds and John Fairhurst are fronting a new DIY culture and a fresh, hard street-level music which draws from the past but restates it in a musical language and style that is totally in the zeitgeist.



John F is the co-founder/owner of That Sound Studio in London’s Tottenham where the album was made. It’s stuffed with analog gear and the results are in the grooves. The production and engineering are great, thanks to Eric Mikalsen. Each instrument is clearly distinct in a full resonant sound mix by Jake Rousham at Metway Studios in Brighton.
*
Having experienced the Dead Reds live in a small room with a full-on audience, I can testify that they lift you off your feet, barrage the earlobes, uplift the spirits and shake up the souls.

Dead Reds channel Sabbath, the Zeps, Black Crows, Rage Against the Machine, add additional musical seasoning with blues and folk inflections, and make it their own. They reach back to musicians who, in turn, had reached back to the black musicians of the Southern US states and the musical ferment of New Orleans.

Dead Reds are ‘front of the line with a picket sign’ as their lyric to ‘Shut Down’ says. ‘They’re trying to shut us down/they won’t break us’. In ‘Wild Country’ they talk about brothers and sisters living off the land with free hugs and free drugs. In ‘Mind Attack’ a powerful harp blows while the singer is screaming at the TV, the world is fucking crazy.

In one their previous videos there are clips from  Peter Finch in the movie ‘Network’ saying ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore’

On our island, what makes the Dead Reds distinctive and important is they are expressing a feeling of unrest shared by many. This dirty rebel music aims to challenge the darkness and ramp up the light. It’s an album with a social conscience and a voice and a sound that will energise the emerging counter-culture.


Friday, February 28, 2020

CLIMATE CRISIS: GREENING CARS / HYDROGEN FUEL CELL EVs


Less attention has been paid to the development of hydrogen fuelled cars and even less to plans already in place to construct hydrogen economies. THE GENERALIST investigates. Our story begins with the earliest known hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.

1966
1966 GM Electrovan prototype cutaway MOTORTREND [Nov 1, 2016]
           by Frank Markus
In 1966, General Motors Engineering Staff outfitted a forward-control GMC Handivan with a fuel-cell propulsion system. Though fuel cells had been in use since the early 1800s, GM was first to use one in a vehicle. The company had been experimenting with electric vehicles and was looking to combine the electric motor with a longer-range, faster refueling source of electricity.
The Electrovan's remarkably power-dense (for the time) fuel cell supplied a continuous output of about 32 kW that could peak at about 160 kW. It was made up of 32 thin-electrode modules connected in series. The motor and powertrain controller were mounted under and between the front seats. Also under the floor were the 32 fuel cell modules interconnected by some 550 feet of plastic piping. The "fuel" storage was pretty unique: cryogenic hydrogen and oxygen tanks and an electrolyte reservoir mounted behind the middle bench seat. That one contained some 45 gallons of potassium hydroxide that filled the modules, piping, and reservoir. Just the electrolyte weighed 550 pounds; the whole van? A stout 7,100 pounds.

Nevertheless, the Electrovan could hit 70 mph, accelerating to 60 in 30 seconds. Overall range was a pretty impressive 150 miles. Because of safety concerns, the Electovan was only driven under its own power on GM-owned property. Shortly after it was built, tested, and unveiled to the press in 1966, the project was scrapped due to cost concerns. The bill for the platinum in the fuel cell would cover the purchase of a fleet of Handivans, and then as now there was no real viable hydrogen infrastructure in place.
 2001-2002

National Hydrogen Energy Vision and Roadmap
In response to recommendations within the National Energy Policy,  the US Department of Energy (DOE) organized a November 2001 meeting of 50 visionary business leaders and policymakers to formulate a National Hydrogen Vision. A National Vision of America’s Transition to a Hydrogen Economy – to 2030 and Beyond was published in February 2002 as a result of the Hydrogen Vision Meeting. This document summarizes the potential role for hydrogen systems in America’s energy future, outlining the shared vision of the market transformation.
In April 2002, DOE followed up with a larger group of over 200 technical experts from industry, academia, and the national laboratories to develop a National Hydrogen Energy Roadmap. This roadmap, released in November 2002, describes the principal challenges to be overcome and recommends paths forward to achieve the vision.
*

The FreedomCAR partnership


In January 2002, the FreedomCAR Partnership was established as a research and development collaboration between the Department of Energy and the U.S. Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), a partnership formed by Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Corporation, and General Motors Corporation. 
In September 2003, the Partnership was expanded to the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership by bringing the major energy companies (BP America, Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil Corporation and Shell Hydrogen) to the group. 
In June 2008, the Partnership was expanded to include two utilities, DTE Energy and Southern California Edison. 
In May 2011, the Partnership was expanded once again to include the Electric Power Research Institute and Tesla Motors and was renamed U.S. DRIVE Partnership (U.S. DRIVE) where DRIVE represents Driving Research and Innovation in Vehicle efficiency and Energy sustainability.

Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership
Third Report (2010) National Academies Press
See also: https://afdc.energy.gov/files/pdfs/freedomcar_plan.pdf


2003

President Bush's Hydrogen Fuel Initiative,  January 28th

In his State of the Union speech, President George W. Bush put forth his hydrogen fuel initiative:
"Tonight I am proposing $1.2 billion in research funding so that America can lead the world in developing clean, hydrogen-powered automobiles."
"A simple chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen generates energy, which can be used to power a car producing only water, not exhaust fumes. With a new national commitment, our scientists and engineers will overcome obstacles to taking these cars from laboratory to showroom so that the first car driven by a child born today could be powered by hydrogen, and pollution-free. Join me in this important innovation to make our air significantly cleaner, and our country much less dependent on foreign sources of energy."

President George W. Bush looks over a scooter powered by solid hydrogen fuel during a demonstration of energy technologies at The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2003. "Cars that will run on hydrogen fuel produce only water, not exhaust fumes," said the President in his remarks. "If we develop hydrogen power to its full potential, we can reduce our demand for oil by over 11 million barrels per day by the year 2040." White House photo by Paul Morse. 

Thursday, February 6, 2003

Bush touts benefits of hydrogen fuel

Cites risk in reliance on 'foreign sources' of oil

CNN Report [Extracts]. Full text here

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States can change its dependence on foreign oil and "make a tremendous difference" in the world and the environment, President Bush said Thursday as he announced details of a $1.2 billion initiative to make hydrogen fuel competitive for powering vehicles and generating electricity.
"We can change our dependence upon foreign sources of energy. We can help with the quality of the air. We can make a fundamental difference for the future of our children," the president said at the National Building Museum in Washington. "Hydrogen fuel cells represent one of the most encouraging, innovative technologies of our era."
Bush outlined several advantages to hydrogen fuel: that it can be produced from domestic sources, that the sources of hydrogen are abundant and that it's clean to use.
*
"Cars that will run on hydrogen fuel produce only water, not exhaust fumes," meaning they could dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help America "take the lead when it comes to tackling the long-term challenges of global climate change," he said. 
But the greatest result of using hydrogen power, Bush declared, will be the nation's energy independence.
"It's important for our country to understand, I think most Americans do, that we import over half of our crude oil stocks from abroad. And sometimes we import that oil from countries that don't particularly like us." The president said this dependence is risky.
"To be dependent on energy from volatile regions of the world, our economy becomes subject to price shocks or shortages or disruptions, at one time in our history, cartels. 
If we develop hydrogen power to its fuel potential, we can reduce our demand for oil by over 11 million barrels per day by the year 2040."
Bush vowed he would work with Congress to push hydrogen fuel cell technologies, reiterating the pledge from his State of the Union address that a child born today will be driving a hydrogen, pollution-free vehicle as his or her first car.
*
Bush outlined several advantages to hydrogen fuel: that it can be produced from domestic sources, that the sources of hydrogen are abundant and that it's clean to use.
"Cars that will run on hydrogen fuel produce only water, not exhaust fumes," meaning they could dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help America "take the lead when it comes to tackling the long-term challenges of global climate change," he said.
But the greatest result of using hydrogen power, Bush declared, will be the nation's energy independence. 
"It's important for our country to understand, I think most Americans do, that we import over half of our crude oil stocks from abroad. And sometimes we import that oil from countries that don't particularly like us." The president said this dependence is risky.
"To be dependent on energy from volatile regions of the world, our economy becomes subject to price shocks or shortages or disruptions, at one time in our history, cartels.    If we develop hydrogen power to its fuel potential, we can reduce our demand for oil by over 11 million barrels per day by the year 2040."
Bush vowed he would work with Congress to push hydrogen fuel cell technologies, reiterating the pledge from his State of the Union address that a child born today will be driving a hydrogen, pollution-free vehicle as his or her first car.

Critics faulted Bush's proposal.

The president's plan, said Daniel Becker, director of the Global Warming and Energy program at the Sierra Club, "serves as a shield" to protect automakers from improving fuel economy, a step he said would reduce the nation's dependence on foreign energy faster than Bush's plan would.
"We look forward to the day 20 years from now when hydrogen-powered cars are widely available. But we can't afford to sit back and wait for that day. We need to do something to address the problem immediately," Becker said.
The president's hydrogen fuel initiative calls for $720 million in new funding over the next five years to develop the technologies and infrastructure to produce, store, and distribute hydrogen for use in fuel cell vehicles and in generating electricity.
Combined with the FreedomCAR (Cooperative Automotive Research) initiative, the White House said, the president is proposing a total of $1.7 billion over the next five years to develop hydrogen-powered fuel cells, hydrogen infrastructure and advanced automotive technologies.
The president's hydrogen fuel initiative seeks to lower the cost of producing hydrogen enough to make fuel-cell cars cost-competitive with conventional gasoline-powered vehicles by the year 2010, according to the administration.


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The 2003 invasion of Iraq was the first stage of the Iraq War. 
The invasion phase began on 19 March 2003 (air) and 20 March 2003 (ground) and lasted just over one month.

*

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 25, 2003

Hydrogen Economy Fact Sheet
U.S.-EU Summit

Cooperation on the Development of a Hydrogen Economy
 'Hydrogen is the simplest element and most plentiful gas in the universe. Yet hydrogen never occurs by itself in nature, it always combines with other elements such as oxygen and carbon. Once it has been separated, hydrogen is the ultimate clean energy carrier.'
 The U.S. Space Shuttle program relies on hydrogen-powered fuel cells to operate shuttle electrical systems, and the crews drink one of the by-products: pure water. 
Hydrogen is one of the most promising alternatives to hydrocarbon fuels, such as gasoline. Hydrogen can be produced from a wide variety of domestic resources using a number of different technologies. It can also provide a storage medium for intermittent and seasonal renewable technologies, and can be used in combustion processes and fuel cells to provide a broad range of energy services such as lighting, mobility, heating, cooling, and cooking.
On June 25, 2003, the United States and the European Union agreed to collaborate on the acceleration of the development of the hydrogen economy.
Both President Bush and European Commission President Prodi have made the development of a hydrogen economy a major priority.
President Bush's Hydrogen Fuel Initiative, announced on January 28, 2003, envisions the transformation of the nation's transportation fleet from a near-total reliance on petroleum to steadily increasing use of clean-burning hydrogen. 
President Prodi at the European Union June 16-17 High Level Group on Hydrogen and Fuel cells Conference noted that hydrogen now looks like the best candidate to address sustainable development.

U.S.-EU collaboration on the development of a hydrogen economy will provide a strong foundation for the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy (IPHE), announced by the United States in April of this year.
[The International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE), formed in 2003, is an international governmental partnership currently consisting of 19 member countries and the European Commission.They are: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, European Commission, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Italy, South Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Russian Federation, South Africa, UK, US. On their website you can click on the national flags to see what progress has been made.]
*

 2004
In February 2004, DOE published its Hydrogen Posture Plan, which describes DOE’s “plan for successfully integrating and implementing technology research, development and demonstration activities needed to cost-effectively produce, store and distribute hydrogen for use in fuel cell vehicles and electricity generation. It was updated in fiscal year 2007 to reflect progress and renamed as the Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program Plan in fiscal year 2011. 
President George W. Bush plugs in a hydrogen-fueled car in 2007 
with then-Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally and Vice President Dick Cheney. 
Washington Pool/SIPA/Newscom

2005-2007
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 and Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007
are 'historic pieces of legislation [which] support many of the principles outlined in the National Energy Policy to strengthen our nation's electricity infrastructure, reduce dependence on foreign oil, increase conservation, and expand the use of clean, renewable energy. 
EPACT 2005 focuses partly on hydrogen and  EISA 2007 partly focuses on improved vehicle fuel economy including fuel cells and reflects strong Congressional support for research and development of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. These two Acts make the long-term commitment necessary for a market transformation by authorizing the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Program through 2020 and by requiring coordinated plans and documentation of the Program’s activities.
Source:  Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership
Third Report (2010) National Academies Press
uel Cell Technologies Program Multi-Year Research, Development and Demonstration (MYRDD) Plan - Section 1.0: Introduction


/
2018



Alternative Fuels Data Center/US Dept of Energy


Gassed up and ready to go  
by Alice Klein (NewScientist/ 8th September 2018)

'Hydrogen-Powered cars have had a bumpy ride. Back in 2003, they were touted as "one of the most encouraging, innovative technologies of our era" by US president at the time George W. Bush. Then the Tesla revolution came along and they were left in the dust by their battery-driven electric rivals. Now, there are signs of a comeback.'
At the moment, there are only about 6000 hydrogen vehicles on the road globally, compared with 2 million electric vehicles.  
A recent survey of more than 900 global automotive executives by consulting firm KPMG found that 52 per cent rated hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as a leading industry trends
Japan has announced plans to put 40,000 hydrogen vehicles on the road in the next five years, and South Korea 16,000.
Germany wants to have 400 refuelling stations for hydrogen vehicles by 2025.
California has already opened 35
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PROS AND CONS
The ability to rapidly refuel is one of the main advantages hydrogen vehicles have over their electric counterparts, says Macleod. Filling up a hydrogen car takes about the same time as filling a petrol one, rather than the hours it typically takes to recharge an electric car's battery. You can also go further on a full tank of hydrogen-about 500 kilometres, compared with 300 kilometres for a standard fully charged battery.
Although hydrogen reacts cleanly — the only thing coming out of the exhaust pipe is water —hydrogen vehicles are more energy-intensive than electric ones if you factor in fuel production and transport, says Jake Whitehead at the University of Queensland, Australia.
At the moment, most hydrogen is extracted from natural gas —a fossil fuel. "Green" hydrogen can be made by splitting water using solar or wind power, but this involves multiple steps, each using energy along the way. Whitehead's modelling shows that hydrogen vehicles require between 80 and 100 kilowatt-hours of electricity to travel 100 kilometres, compared with about 20 kilowatt-hours to travel the same distance in a battery vehicle.
Hydrogen cars currently cost about 13 cents per kilometre to run, compared with 8 cents per kilometre for petrol cars. 

The shorter refuelling time and longer range of hydrogen fuel cells make them appealing for taxis, buses and long-haul trucks, Hydrogen fuel cells are already finding applications in these heavy-use vehicles. 

 Amazon has recently invested in hydrogen-powered forklifts for its warehouses.

US manufacturer Nikola Motors, meanwhile, says it has received 11,000 pre-orders for its hydrogen fuel cell truck.

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Revamped 2nd generation Toyota Mirai goes on sale at the end of 2020.
The first generation Mirai was launched in Japan in 2014 selling at $60,000. They have since sold 10,000.
FCEV EUROPEAN ROLL-OUT

Green Tomato - a London-based private hire taxi service with a fleet of Toyota Mirai FCEVs (Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles) is one of the participants in a €26million demonstration project called Zero Emission Fleet vehicles For European Roll-out (ZEFER) which began in September 2017 and will run until September 2022.

The project will deploy 180 FCEVs (Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles) in Paris and Brussels (60 vehicle taxi fleets), and London (50 private hire vehicles and 10 deployed to Metropolitan Police fleets). The vehicles will each complete at least 40,000km, totalling over 1 million km between them using more
than 100 tonnes of hydrogen. Green Tomato claims that running costs of the hydrogen cars are comparable with a Toyota Prius, refueling takes the same time as a conventional petrol or diesel car, and the range is 300 miles (480km) per refill.

In October 2019, 13 hydrogen-powered FCEVs travelled  a combined total of just under 6,000km from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Norway to converge in Hamburg for a Hydrogen for Clean Transport conference.

This was made possible by following a network of 32 Hydrogen Refuelling Stations (HRS) funded by the pan-European Hydrogen Mobility Europe (H2ME) project, targeted to expand to 49 by 2022. The recently launched h2-map.eu shows the location and live status of 137 HRSs, more than half of which are available in Germany.




FCEVs deployed in the H2ME project included: the Toyota Mirai; Symbio’s new generation of the Renault Kangoo Z.E electric van; Honda’s second-generation FCEV; and Daimler’s new-generation Mercedes-BenzGLC F-CELL SUV.

H2ME project partners Audi and BMW announced plans for releasing small series hydrogen vehicles in the coming years. In total, more than 1,400 FCEVs will be deployed by 2022.

There are currently more than 550 hydrogen vehicles for private and business use across the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Scandinavia, and other European countries.

The number of hydrogen refuelling stations is rising, but currently there are only 139 across Europe, including 12 in the UK and 6 in London.

Hydrogen Fleet Exceeds 1.6million km threshold Jonathan Manning/ 20th Jan 2020
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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

CLIMATE CRISIS: GREENING CARS / GLOBAL OVERVIEW + AUSTRALIA / NORWAY / CHINA / UK

These are fast-moving disruptive times for the auto industry worldwide. In the mainstream media, electric vehicles are receiving most attention but there is much more to be discovered behind the headlines. It's a complex picture which THE GENERALIST will try and make sense of.



One of the best places to start perhaps is the KPMG Annual Global Automotive Executive Survey, now in its 20th year. KPMG member firms operate in 147 countries and in many fields including accountancy, sustainable investment, financial consultancy. Their top-line mission: to build 'a future where everyone feels included and diversity is embraced'. So how do people working inside the industry feel about the future?. Here's some edited highlights from a section of the report entitled 'The Future of Combustion'.

There will not just be the one and only powertrain technology
Based on country and area of application, multiple drivetrain technologies will co-exist alongside each other – execs globally believe that by 2040 there will be a fairly even split: 

Battery Eelectric Vehicles [BEVs] (30%), Hybrids (25%), Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles [FCEV] (23%) and Internal Combustion Engines [ICEs] (23%). 

Globally Hybrids (71%) and BEVs (71%) are the clear investment focus of  execs. Regionally, Hybrids are remaining the number one investment focus of execs from North America, South America and India & ASEAN. Chinese and Western European execs clearly focus on BEVs. 

Consumers still prefer hybrids and ICEs over fully electric vehicles. Clear favourite for their next car is a hybrid. Consumers from more rural areas clearly prefer ICEs over all other technologies' 

KPMG: 'This distinctly shows that most consumers have significant doubts about the market maturity of complete new alternative technologies' 
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DIESEL COMEBACK?

 'We have concluded that diesel was technologically never dead, just socially unacceptable....we will see a continuous supply of diesel fuel. Its production is linked directly to the production of gasoline; both originate in the processing of crude oil.

The majority of consumers no longer considers diesel to be a viable option. Globally more than two-thirds of consumers oppose diesel. In China, the leading market of battery electric technology, the disapproval rate was 82%.


'Continuing failure to comply with ecological standards would continue to lower the social acceptance of diesel'.
*

FUTURE MIX

The future will be a mix of different drivetrain technologies
 The automotive industry is in the middle of a product-driven disruptive period. Driven by industrial policies, as well as society’s increasing ecological awareness, alternative electric powertrains are pushing their way into (mature) automotive markets, currently still with limited success.  

Challenges for e-mobility, such as infrastructure, cost and charging, remain high.
BEVs, FCEVs, full electric hybrids or engines powered by alternative fuels only account for a marginal fraction on today’s roads. Global executives believe that we will see a strong increase in the [their] share...over the next decade. However, in their opinion ICEs will still account for the largest share of cars by 2030 (31%).
 It’s completely understandable that we will have a mix of different drivetrain technologies. [They] will co-exist and complement each other, varying in their respective areas of application, car size, also factoring in industrial policies and dependency on raw materials.
In summary, we believe that the times when the OEM's [Original Equipment Manufacturer] technology strategy exclusively determined the offer in the market are over. Nowadays, regulators, industrial policies, infrastructure and raw material access are driving the agenda.
  KPMG: 'Infrastructure obviously plays a key role in the future success of alternative drivetrain technologies. Today’s gas station infrastructure is very pure, while the “refueling / recharging” infrastructure of tomorrow will be diverse.'
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AUSTRALIA 
Dutchman ends 'world's longest electric car trip' in Australia
April 7th 2019
Ditchman Wiebe Wakker took just over three years crossing 33 countries in his 95,000 km journey by electric car  - a retrofitted station wagon nicknamed "The Blue Bandit" - from the Netherlands to Australia to prove the viability of such vehicles in tackling climate change.

Source: phys.org
Following the UK’s announcement that it will ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2035, Macquarie University Professor Graham Town nominates the year Australians will make the switch to all-electric vehicles. 
'Although we’ve been a bit slow off the mark, Australia could ban the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) cars from 2030.'That would align us with other countries planning to prohibit petrol and diesel cars in the near future, namely Norway in 2025; Demark, India and Germany in 2030, Britain in 2035; and China and France in 2040.' 
So far there has been no national policy to address the adoption of electric vehicles. However the Federal Government is expected to release a national strategy later this year.

Many Scandinavian governments have supported the uptake of electric vehicles by waiving sales tax on fully electric vehicles and this has resulted in much higher uptake rates.
In Norway, the government is rolling out free charging infrastructure, so the majority of all new vehicles sold are now electric.
Additionally, these and many other countries are electrifying their bus transport systems, with targets to replace petrol and diesel buses by fully electric buses 10 or more years ahead of their targets for light vehicles.
There are currently less than 20,000 fully electric vehicles on the road in Australia, out of a total of about 20 million registered vehicles.
Analysts predict that the purchase price of an electric will be on par with ICEs by about 2025. Given the much cheaper running costs and environmental benefits, most people in the market for a new car are likely to switch then, if not before.
Most states are in the process of rolling out fast-charging infrastructure along main highways to accommodate longer trips and tourism by electric vehicles. For example the Queensland Government is implementing an ‘electric super highway’ charger roll-out plan to enable tourists to do fly-drive holidays using electric vehicles.
Latest News:  The Electric Vehicle Council says 6,718 full electric and hybrid plug-in vehicles were sold in Australia in 2019, up from 2,216 the year before. The Guardian/6th Feb 2020

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NORWAY 



The fleet of plug-in electric vehicles in Norway is the largest per capita in the world. In March 2014, Norway became the first country where one in every 100 passenger cars on the road was a plug-in electric; the market penetration passed 5% in December 2016, and attained 10% in October 2018. The Norwegian plug-in car segment market share has been the highest in the world for several years, achieving 29.1% in 2016, 39.2% in 2017, 49.1% in 2018 and 55.9% in 2019.

'As a result of the successful policies implemented to promote EV adoption, the stock of electric vehicles in Norway has increased rapidly, resulting in several unintended consequences, and raising several complaints and criticism. These include: high public subsidies as compared to the value of the reduced carbon footprint of electric vehicles; the possibility of traffic congestion in some of Oslo's bus lanes due to the increasing number of electric cars; the loss of revenue for some ferry operators due to the large number of electric cars exempted from payment; and the shortage of parking spaces for owners of conventional cars due to preference to electric cars (although this was actually the intended policy).'

Source; An extensive Wikipedia entry Plug-in electric vehicles in Norway

Refuelling industry looks to Norway for answers on how to evolve 
Archie Hall (Financial Times/ Feb 15 2020)
In Bergen, Norway’s second city, close to one in five cars in are now fully electric                               — the most of any city, anywhere. Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that 57 per cent of global car sales in 2040 will be electric. Norway crossed that threshold in March.
Norway’s government wants to end sales of fossil fuel-powered cars by 2025 and has waived its heavy taxes on new car purchases for electric vehicles.
 Many multinationals that run petrol stations are visiting  the city to try and see whether the electric car mean the end of the road for roadside refuellers?

'After buying Norway’s largest petrol station network in 2012, Canadian refuelling giant Alimentation Couche-Tard designated Norway its “laboratory” to study that precise question. 

British consultancy Insight Research also offers fuel retailers what it calls Norwegian “retail safaris” where they can pay to tour petrol station sites across Oslo.

A Boston Consulting Group study published last year found that at least a quarter of petrol stations worldwide risk closure by 2035 without significant changes to their business models. Under BCG’s most aggressive scenario, 80 per cent could shut.

In Norway, while charging outlets are increasingly available at petrol stations, the majority of electric vehicle owners use them only monthly, according to the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association. Day-to-day, most charge at home or at work.
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CHINA
 "We are witnessing a transition from internal combustion engine vehicles to zero-emission vehicles" The transition will take time, says Wang. He calculates that even if close to 100 per cent of Chinese car sales are EVs by 2031, they will still only number around 30 per cent of all cars on roads. 
 -- Yunshi Wang, director of the China Center for Energy and Transportation at the University of California, Davis

China buys more EVs than any other nation. In 2018, 125 million electric cars - 984,000 of which were solely battery-powered - were sold in the country, accounting for more than half of all EVs sold globally.  
 A significant proportion of them were made by BYD Auto, a firm headquartered in Xi'an, China. In 2018, BYD sold nearly 248,000 zero-emissions vehicles globally, outpacing Tesla's sales of roughly 245,000.  The company began in 1995 as a manufacturer of batteries for mobile phones and digital cameras, and has since expanded to produce battery-powered cars, buses and trucks. In July 2018, it launched a fleet of 37 fully electric double decker buses as part of London's public transport system. 
The shift has been driven by a Chinese government goal of reaching 5 million "new-energy" vehicles - including battery electrics, hybrid cars and fuel-cell cars - on China's roads by 2020, when yearly sales of these cars should hit 2 million.'
 Even though the Chinese EV market is already the biggest in the world, EVs still only make up an estimated 4 per cent of total car sales there. 
The world leader is Norway, where last year 46 per cent of cars sold were EVs.  
  • Energy security is also a concern. About 70 per cent of China's crude oil is imported. "China wants to rely mostly on electricity, which it can produce domestically," says Wang. 
  • The Chinese government has been subsidising electric car designs for a decade and has given financial backing to many EV manufacturers. It has also invested in infrastructure for charging the vehicles.
  •  By the end of 2018, China had an estimated 342,000 public charging points - and new residential buildings are required to have somewhere to plug in. In comparison, there are about 67,000 public chargers in the US. 
Source: 'China drives Into the Future' by Donna Lu [ New Scientist/13 July 2019]
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Huge government subsidies were introduced in China in 2010 to kick start the EV revolution. Those subsidies are due to run out at the end of 2020, although there has been recent specualtion that a rethink may be possible, Sales of electric vehicles declined for the last six months of 2019 and the latest news is that coronavirus outbreak has caused a most severe downturn in sales of EVs in China which is dragging down the global market. According to Bloomberg News: The virus has brought the broader auto industry to a virtual standstill'.

SHANGHAI MOTOR SHOW


UK

[Investors Chronicle /Feb 12, 2020]

By Alex Janiaud, Nilushi Karunaratne amd Tom Dines

The UK government has brought forward its intention to end the sale of new combustion engine-powered cars and vans to 2035, fuelling concerns about the future of the automotive industry and the UK’s readiness for the advent of electric vehicles.... the government prepares to withdraw its plug-in car grant in March, which has supported electric car sales growth and provided customers with as much as £3,500 to purchase low-emission vehicles.
Out of the 149,279 cars sold in the UK in January 2020, only 4,054 were battery electric vehicles, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) – although this was up from 1,334 in 2019. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles accounted for 4,788 of car sales, again having increased from 2,268 cars last year.
Diesel and petrol car sales fell 36 per cent and 9.5 per cent, respectively, year on year in January, as part of a broader downward trend in automotive sales, in a sign that the UK’s electric car boom may have relied in part on the government’s grant.
“For the UK market to stand any chance of meeting the extremely challenging 2035 goal, an extensive package of government support is vital,” the SMMT said. It advocated extending grants to all ‘ultra low emission vehicles’, citing negative consequences in other European markets from prematurely removing support “before the market is ready”.
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Infrastructure/Charging Points:



A report commissioned by Scottish Power suggests the UK will need 2.6m public charging points by 2050 to meet its net zero target. Slow progress is being made.

According to charging point locator Zap Map, there are more than 30,000 charging connectors spread across almost 11,000 locations. Recent growth has been driven by the installation of faster charging points.

National Grid (NG.) has called on public funding for “ultra-rapid” charge points, capitalising on the proximity between the UK’s main transport corridors and high-voltage transmission network. It has identified 54 motorway service stations that could put 99 per cent of electric vehicle drivers within 50 miles of a charging location.

BP (BP.) acquired Chargemaster in 2018 and had more than 7,000 charging points in the UK at the end of last year. For Tufan Erginbilgic, outgoing chief executive of BP’s downstream business, the ultimate aim is to “closely replicate the current fuelling experience”.
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Aside from having enough charging points, a critical question is whether the electricity network can cope with increased demand.

National Grid’s ‘Future Energy Scenarios’ report forecasts that annual electricity demand from road transport could increase from around 1 terrawatt hour (TWh) in 2020 to up to 96 TWh by 2050.

Major schemes to introduce new grid capacity typically take five years of planning and delivery, and thinktank Energy Systems Catapult believes there is a “real risk the uptake of EVs is potentially much faster than the investment cycles within which network operators operate”.

National Grid is confident additional demand can be met through ‘smart charging’ which manages energy consumption. Charging can be deferred from peak times to periods when there is spare capacity and consumers are incentivised with cheaper off-peak power. Regulator Ofgem calculates that flexible charging would enable at least 60 per cent more electric vehicles to be charged, reducing the need for expensive upgrades to network infrastructure.

If the UK is serious about ramping up its electric vehicle infrastructure, it might look to emulate the Netherlands, where Total SA (TTA) was awarded Europe’s largest electric vehicle charging contract to install and operate up to 20,000 new public charging points. 

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As the auto sector shifts away from petrol and diesel engines, the manufacturers and infrastructure companies are – understandably – expected to face the bulk of the work in facilitating the shift towards electric vehicles... the sector is facing sharp declines in the number of new car registrations here and now.

The consumption patterns of electric vehicle owners are different from those of traditional drivers, with demand for oil products disappearing and less demand for parts replacements.
 The heavier average weight of electric vehicles, along with higher rates of acceleration, are expected to drive increased demand for tyres.
The service intervals [on an EV] can be around every 25,000 miles, compared with 10,000 miles currently, and batteries have fewer parts than internal combustion engines, meaning fewer things can go wrong.
“It’s going to be significantly longer service intervals, less complexity for things to go wrong. So, there will be a gap to your [aftersales],” he said.

However, this does not mean that electric vehicles will be the government’s favoured automobile option in the long term. Mike Allen of Zeus Capital notes that, at the start of the century, diesel was seen as the environmentally friendly option endorsed by the government, but now faces bans.
“I can fully see a situation where people [who] own electric cars suddenly have to pay more for their electricity to charge up their cars because of the pressures on the national grid, and the government saying you should drive a hydrogen car,” he said.