Ode to the Internal combustion engine
A traveling salesman’s
Ode to the Internal Combustion Engine
I hadn’t intended to put this one on until the end of the month, but having seen the news tonight???
I had been work stressed all day, and now having been crawling on the motorway coming home I was even more stressed. I had called at six motorway service stations, and between them not one of the five hundred or so service point’s had been free. Now as I turned off the motorway, I was driving with one eye on the road and one eye on the battery charge meter.
I have to admit as I arrived home that I never ever had been as glad to see our gates as I was that night.
A look at my watch as I plugged in the charging lead, told me that it would be another six hours before my allotted charge time kicked in, and I knew full well that with the battery being so run down, that the allowed four hours charge would scarcely bring it out of the amber.
As I shed my jacket, I’m sorry to say that when I greeted my wife Joan, my first words were.
“Oh for the good old internal combustion engine.”
“I take it you’ve had a hard day then.” She said taking my jacket to hang up.
“Not a charging point available between Bristol and here, and tomorrow I’m supposed to be back in Cardiff.”
“Cardiff again?” She exclaimed.
“Yes Cardiff, and the car’s battery is so flat that it would fit under a carpet, I’m going to have to ring the office first thing in the morning and see if they have a fully charged car that I can borrow.”
“Well you’ve got half an hour while I finish dinner to get a shower.”
I was right, in the morning the allotted four hours charge had put in a mere forty eight kilowatts, and that into a three hundred and fifty kilowatt battery, well it had hardly made a splash.
“Has it made it any better?” Joan asked as I came in from the garage.
“No,” I told her, shaking my head. “But it will get me to the office, and once there I can put it on an unlimited charge.”
“But what about your Cardiff call?”
“All I can hope for is that there will be a fully charged pool car spare, there usually is at least one.”
A gentle drive to the office thankfully made hardly a dent in the battery reading, and I was right about a car. Jim the garage attendant come mechanic came across to me as I parked, and being surprise at seeing me in that morning asked.
“Morning Bill, is the Car giving you a problem?”
“That’s it in one Jim, the battery’s flat. I had to drive back from Newquay without a charge.”
“It’s not something wrong with the car then?” He asked
“No just the holiday season, and with every single charging point in use, and a que as long as your arm waiting for a point. Well that meant there was no chance of a top up. Meaning that when I arrived home the gauge was well into the amber, and my allotted four hour charge last night did little or nothing to help.”
“Four hours, is that all you’re allowed?”
“All our street is on a four hour charge now.”
“Four hours, what’s that? forty kilowatts.”
“Four hours on a sixty amp supply and that’s it, just same as everyone on the street is allowed.”
“Four hours, forty-eight Kwh, that’s just a slash in the tank. Nine days to achieve a full charge you must be joking.”
“That’s it Jim. There are one hundred and seventy two cars charging on my road and that means we are limited as to how much power; and just when we can draw it from our local substation, otherwise they say it will melt. Charging was bad enough when electric cars first started to take off, but now with twenty nine million on the roads, it’s impossible.”
“Well the powers that be wouldn’t listen in their rush to abandon petrol and diesel. I always said there would be a limit on how much and when you would be able to charge cars once electric cars took off. Anyhow, you have to be in Cardiff so take these.” He handed me the keys to the Mini. “And I’ll put yours on charge for when you get back.”
I have to admit it, the Mini did well, yes I found it small and with a thirty five Kw engine, grossly underpowered, but with a two hundred and fifty KWh battery and two, two hour top ups, it got me to Cardiff and back with ease.
My car had been charging all day on one of the company’s unlimited industrial hundred and fifty amp chargers, so that meant there had been thirty Kw an hour going into the battery for ten hours.
I arrived home to find the street and many of the houses in darkness. We were one of the lucky ones; we had something like three hour’s power for the lights thanks to a solar powered backup battery.
“How long has the power been off?” I asked.
“About half an hour so it should be back on soon, too many homes trying to cook and shower all at once.”
“And charge.” I added. “I’ll wait for my shower till later on, I take it dinner will be delayed.”
“No I’ve held it warm using the battery power so we can at least eat. Oh the powers back.”
There was a moment or two of power before it went off, and then on again. This time it stayed on.
“Did you get to Cardiff all right?” My wife asked as she served dinner.
“I did, I took the mini, grossly under powered but it got me there and back.”
“What about the car, did you get that charged?”
“If the power stays on tonight, yes it should be fully charged.”
“If that’s the case we can visit Sally and Martin to take Gerome’s birthday present, I would hate to miss his first birthday.”
“Well its only fifty miles, and if we take it easy I don’t see why not. With the battery fully charged and two four hour charges before Monday, well that should just about cover it.”
I was greeted by Jim this morning waving his copy of Motoring Today, and excitedly saying.
“Have you seen this, Toyota have cracked the hydrogen problem?”
“You mean that they have managed to produce a cheap reliable fuel cell?” I asked.
“No, they are going back to the old internal combustion engine with a new fuel delivery system to run it on hydrogen. They say by the middle of next year they will have hydrogen filling points at all of their dealers and most supermarkets.”
“I thought that the fuelling and on car storage was the problem with hydrogen.”
“Not any longer.” He replied showing me the article. “They have a new fuel tank and filling system that lets you fill the tank just like petrol.”
“What’s the price going to be?” I asked.
“Not given yet, but apart from the fuel system its old technology.” He answered. Then as I handed him my keys I said.
“While I’m here, put my car on charge will you.” Then as I walked away with his Motoring Today I told him.
“I have to make Blackpool tomorrow.”