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Issue #53 - Royal Mail going electric, Tesla M3 is the best-selling EV in the UK, cheap lithium from seawater, and EV charge points = 'Red phone boxes'?

The EV Musings Newsletter
Issue #53 - Royal Mail going electric, Tesla M3 is the best-selling EV in the UK, cheap lithium from seawater, and EV charge points = 'Red phone boxes'?
By Gary Comerford • Issue #53 • View online
If you’re Patreon member of our little community next week should be a good one for you. Alongside the regular episode (which All-Access and VIP level patrons get early) there will be a brand new patron-only episode released on Thursday.
We’ll be talking about tariff increases at major Charge Point Operators and whether Ecotricity has lost its claim to be the worst charging network in the country.

This Week's Podcast.
The EV Musings Podcast: 92 - The Charging Wasteland Episode
Top Five EV/ Renewable Stories.
Royal Mail Launches First Delivery Office to Operate an All-Electric Delivery Fleet
Last-mile delivery is one of the key drivers of pollution and CO2 emissions. Anything that can be done to reduce this will always be a tick in the plus column for climate change.
So seeing that the Royal Mail has launched its first-ever completely electric delivery office was very welcome, indeed.
The office in Bristol now has 23 fully electric vans that will carry all the mail from that office with no emissions.
Even though the driver for this was the introduction of a Clean Air Zone in Bristol, I’m confident that the cost reductions in fuel and maintenance will encourage the Royal mail to do a similar thing with other depots.
If only we could get the US Postal Service to do the same!
Scientists Have Cost-Effectively Harvested Lithium From Seawater
As with all breakthroughs that occur in a lab setting I would advise caution with this.
However, it does appear that researchers in Saudi Arabia have managed to get a little closer to the holy grail of lithium extraction - seawater. Not only that they’ve done it in a way that’s cost-effective.
Lithium is one of the key ingredients in a Lithium-Ion battery. These batteries - of course - are used in electric vehicles, computers, phones and numerous other technologies.
Currently, lithium is extracted from brine or mined from ore in open cast mines. The process is environmentally damaging and expensive. This new process is a lot cheaper, uses ocean seawater as a source, and produces a waste product which is an input to desalination plants to provide fresh drinking water.
These Gorgeous Vases Are Made From Discarded Plastic Bags
With 300 million tonnes of plastic being produced every year - and a large chunk of that being used once and discarded, plastic pollution is becoming one of the scourges of the environment.
So anything which can take that unrecyclable plastic and use it in a second use is to be welcomed. More so when it can be used to create something beautiful such as a vase.
Seoul-based designer Jisun Kim is making beautiful, translucent vases out of plastic bags for Lexus Korea’s Creative Masters series, which explores the creative vision behind the craft of various artists. Kim’s project takes plastic bags, which are both ubiquitous and bad for the environment, and reincarnates them as a beautiful piece of home decor.
Electric Vehicle Charging Points Should Be ‘As Iconic as Red Telephone Boxes’
In ‘WTF?’ news the UK’s Department For Transport wants to rebadge chargers to create iconic street furniture after a survey found that people thought they were eyesores.
In 2020 a survey of 2,000 motorists conducted by Seat found that a third of UK drivers believe that electric vehicle charging points are eyesores. Forty-nine per cent of responders said they did not want chargers installed on their street.
Note the survey was conducted by Seat - a company that at the time of the survey did not have an electric car available for purchase so take the survey results with a pinch of salt.
Not sure this is the right approach. What about you?
Tesla Model 3 Becomes Most Popular Battery Electric Car on UK Roads
There’s no doubt the Tesla Model 3 has been a watershed for electric vehicles. It’s not a coincidence that every new EV on the market is (falsely) branded as ‘A Tesla killer’.
So it was no surprise to learn that the Model 3 has become the most popular EV on Britain’s roads, beating the previous champion the Nissan Leaf. There are now 39,900 Model 3s in the UK, compared with 38,900 Leafs.
Globally, the US carmaker was the largest seller of electric cars in 2020 but two European carmakers – Germany’s Volkswagen and Stellantis, a product of the merger between Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler – sold more electric cars than Tesla in western Europe during the first three months of 2020
A cool EV or renewable thing
Cleantech and Renewables little stories
A couple of journalists from the Cleantech website are looking to surface more of the smaller EV and renewables stories from around the world by creating a reader-supported project to build a low-emission mobile newsroom, so the two reporters can cover the EV and clean technology stories that don’t get told.
As they say themselves in their tweet stream to launch this initiative:
”When a major automaker introduces a new EV, they bring in journalists from all over the world to make sure their story gets told. Small businesses, like a used EV dealer, a small town pizza place using EVs to deliver, can’t do that, and it’s sad when their story goes untold”
They’re looking to get followers so they can launch a crowdfunding campaign to buy an old EV and a trailer. They’ll go travelling around (presumably the US to start with) to find these smaller stories and surface them.
Follow the team on Twitter at @UntoldEVStories for more information.
Something To Think About.
Finally...
It’s good to see the new Gridserve/ Electric highway roll out continuing apace. Over the last two weeks, they’ve upgraded 18 locations to the new ABB units. However, I was at Chievely Services the other day and the brand new charger was not working for the Chademo connector. It was also the only one on site so that was an issue. The other charger - which was CCS only - was operational.
That’s not a good start. Let’s hope it improves.
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Gary Comerford

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