Virtual Cafe Scientifique, University of Southampton

Virtual Cafe Scientifique

About Electric Cars

Archived site - this website is out of date and kept online for reference only.

An updated ECS Virtual Café Scientifique is currently under development, as part of the EPSRC POLMAT project.

Currently available technology (2013) relies typically on a 100Ah battery which has a range of 100 miles and requires 6 – 8 hours charging at 3kW from a standard 13A plug (routinely described as slow charging).

Fast changing can be achieved from a special outlet providing 75A and allowing a full charge in 3 hours (this connector has to be installed professionally at a cost of £500 - £1000).

Rapid charging is proposed which provides 125 A and will give 80% charge in 30 minutes – which could be useful if away from home with a partially discharged battery.

One problem for people without off-road parking is that it isn’t possible to trail a cable from your house to your car parked in the road, so specialised charging points will have to be installed in areas where cars have to be parked in the road - and this will be expensive as well as disruptive while the cabling is put in place. 

Another problem is that, over the 100,000km lifetime of an EV battery, the environmental benefit of an electric car is only about 10 - 14% better than for a petrol car. That’s because the materials and processes required to build the car and, especially, the battery are very polluting. The electric car isn’t quite the clean option we like to think.