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Issue #52 - Rare earth metals from old coal mines, blimps as the new commercial jets, four day working week improves the environment, and quantum computing helps battery development.

The EV Musings Newsletter
Issue #52 - Rare earth metals from old coal mines, blimps as the new commercial jets, four day working week improves the environment, and quantum computing helps battery development.
By Gary Comerford • Issue #52 • View online
bp Pulse has just this week announced (very quietly) another price hike for their public charging. The last ‘big’ price hike was in July 2019 when all rates were updated. Since then - 4th December just 6 months ago - they increased the price of their High Powered Charging to 42p/ kWh for contactless payment (They originally said 47p but this was deemed to be ‘an error’).
The new price bumps the cost of a kWh of electricity for subscribers from 15p to 23p - a 53% increase. This is just 4p/ kWh cheaper than paying via the app. Perhaps now is the time to cancel subscriptions?
Those of you who follow social media will have seen lots of negative comments on there from people who are having problems with bp Pulse units and the bp Pulse app, alongside long wait times to get through to customer service.
bp Pulse is the network that has changed its rates more often than any other charge company, yet it has the backing of one of the largest oil companies on the planet. I suspect there is something going on behind the scenes which we do not, yet, know about.
I think this story will run and run.

This Week's Podcast.
The EV Musings Podcast: 91 - The Charging Hub Episode
Top Five EV/ Renewable Stories.
Turning Coal Waste Into Rare Earth Metals for Renewable Energy
When talking about climate change and other environmental issues, we tend to spend a lot of time talking about the ills that come from burning coal. What gets talked about less often is what gets left behind when a coal operation closes. Mines have a lot of rejected material, and the mine itself needs to be cleaned up.
The long-and-the-short of this situation is that coal mining was something that happened for hundreds of years and was good for society and bad for the environment. Now that coal as a source of fuel is pretty much dead the need to clean up what was left has brought about the possibility of using that exercise to recover rare-earth metals. Whilst li-Ion batteries do not contain rare-earth metals, other parts of an electric car do.
The added bonus of this is that communities that relied on now-defunct coal mines for their livelihood can get a second lease of life by taking on the mantle of the clean-up and extracting these metals.
Airships for City Hops Could Cut Flying’s CO2 Emissions by 90%
Did you know that 47% of regional aeroplane flights connect cities that are less than 230 miles (370km) apart, and emit a huge about of carbon dioxide doing so?
For those fancying a trip from Liverpool to Belfast or Barcelona to the Balearic Islands but concerned about the carbon footprint of aeroplane travel, a small Bedford-based company is promising a surprising solution: commercial airships.
This idea will get blown away by critics for several reasons:
  1. The perceived time issue (Barcelona to Palma de Mallorca takes four hours. In a jet flying time is 1 hour )
  2. The ‘Hindenburg’ association. Nobody wants to travel in a flying bomb. (The blimps run on inert helium, not explosive hydrogen)
  3. The testing issues they’ve had with landing in high winds. (These blimps don’t, really, like breezy weather when they’re landing.)
But I think this has a lot of potential. As the article says they’re aiming for the 230-mile transit which is almost half of all passenger flights and - due to congestion and security issues at airports - can take a similar length of time in a commercial jet as it can in a blimp. The CO2 footprint per passenger on its airship would be about 4.5kg, compared with about 53kg via jet plane.
Another one to keep a future eye on.
Four-Day Working Week Would Slash UK Carbon Footprint, Report Says
The introduction of a four-day working week with no loss of pay would dramatically reduce the UK’s carbon footprint and help the country meet its binding climate targets, according to a report.
The key to making this move work is to ensure that the amount of money people get does not get changed if they work a day less. That’s going to be a hard sell for a lot of companies “Hey, you’re paying me £600 per week to work 5 days, imma just be coming in four days but you’re going to still pay me the same.” will not be easy for a lot of business owners to swallow.
But if you can get over that issue the climate benefits will be great.
Perhaps this is an area in which the government will need to take some of the money it has earmarked for climate change issues and say “We’ll pay the additional day’s money for each employee who only works four days
This Supermarket Chain Just Made the First Zero-Emissions Food Delivery With a Class 8 Truck
Volvo and Albertson’s have teamed up to create a system where heavy-duty electric trucks can start replacing old diesel semis.
The company, the second-large grocery chain in the U.S., is testing two of Volvo’s VNR Electric trucks in Southern California. The trucks will make local deliveries and then return to a distribution centre for charging, with a 150-mile range
Auke Hoekstra has long since said that there is a definite business case for electric trucks - even really big ones - that can travel a defined route and get back to base for a recharge.
Albertson’s supermarket chain in the United States has just proven this case.
The beauty of this setup is that the trucks are being leased to the grocery chain and using state-level funding to keep costs low. This makes electric trucks a very tempting proposition for customers.
Will Quantum Computing Deliver a Big Leap Forward for Battery Cells?
The Cologne-headquartered German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC) in the UK is the latest pair to explore how quantum computing could help create better simulation models for battery development.
Quantum computing harnesses the phenomena of quantum mechanics to deliver a huge leap forward in computation to solve certain problems
Got to admit this boiled my noggin for a while.
Apparently what this is saying is that using quantum computing i.e computing using quantum level mechanics rather than ‘normal level’ mechanics - can provide enough processing power that new battery models can be simulated without needing to build prototypes.
Basically, they’re saying you can get to where you want to be with batteries quicker - and easier - than with the current process.
A cool EV or renewable thing
After the success of its test-drive programme throughout 2020, where thousands of test drive slots were fully booked within hours of being made available, Polestar UK has opened a new test drive hub to meet demand.
Situated in Milton Keynes (where else), the hub will give 7,000 consumers the opportunity to experience the Polestar 2 this year.
They’ve got 8 of the cars at the site and you go - in convoy - around Milton Keynes driving yourself - to get to know the car and its operation.
To quote Jonathan Porterfield from ‘Bums In seats’. That’s the best way to get people into EVs. With the two other sites, Polestar has for test drives they should be able to send 28,000 people in a Polestar test drive this year.
That’s got to be good for EVs
Something To Think About.
If, after listening to the podcast, you know of any hubs I may have missed in my recap, please let me know by emailing me at evmusings at
Thank you.
Click the mystery box photo for a surprise.
Go on. Open it. You know you want to!
Go on. Open it. You know you want to!
Did you enjoy this issue?
Gary Comerford

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