How-To: Buying an Electric Car
Provided by Copper Development Association Inc.
John Hipchen doesn’t necessarily think of himself as a pioneer. But when it comes to buying an electric vehicle, he’s a consumer in a new world.
A former chemist, and now a technical marketing consultant for the Exel Consulting Group based in Palatine, Ill., Hipchen, 55, became an official l Nissan LEAF owner last month. He began the purchase process last year and blogged about his EV adventure in coppertalk, the CDA blog.
“Rising fuel costs are not only impacting our economy, but also the way we live,” Hipchen says in a blog entry. “As a big believer in human ingenuity, I am willing and even anxious to change my lifestyle in exchange for efficiency, a better environment and lower costs.”
In a series of blog entries, Hipchen covers questions all consumers should consider when purchasing an EV:
- What are my driving habits & how much do I pay for gasoline?
- Will my home accommodate an EV charging station?
- What are the features of the EV and how much will it cost?
- Is there infrastructure for charging stations in my geographic area?
“I learned about electric and insurance rates and all the variables -- it’s important for consumers to analyze the economics in detail before they make a purchase,” Hipchen says. “If the economics work, we’ll likely see the purchase of EVs exceed expectations.”
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Copper is a Key Component in EVs
Copper is a key resource for both the electric car and the infrastructure that makes them run. The average car produced in North America has 50-55 pounds of copper in it. In an electric car, that amount can triple.
Although EVs and hybrid vehicles don’t yet have wide consumer appeal, the emerging technology is good for the environment and the economy, says Bob Weed, CDA vice president OEM.
“Even if EVs are only a small percentage of the market so far, there now are fewer cars burning gasoline and releasing tailpipe emissions,” Weed says. “The copper industry is pleased to be an important part of this energy technology.”
Automotive Copper Facts to Consider
The average car produced in North America has 50-55 pounds of copper in it. In a hybrid vehicle, the amount will double. In a pure electric car, the amount of copper will triple.
More than two-thirds of the copper will be found in car’s wiring harness and electrical components.
Copper has the highest conductivity of any metal that can be practically used for conveying electricity.
Each year in the U.S., nearly as much copper is recovered from recycled material as is derived from newly mined ore.
Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector
Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre.
At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable.
How optimistic is the outlook for the UK’s turbine bid?
Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.”
“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement.
The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.
“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government.
“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.
“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”
However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future.
“We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.”
The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours
This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly