New Green Jack New Green Jack

23 responses to “Guest Post: Dave and the Nemesis”

    • Alex Scargall

      Hello there Dave, ive read your post and can say you seemed to like the car and you have stated the benefits very well of electric vehicles. The car does seem to handle and drive very well as can be seen clearly in the many videos/demo’s of the car. However I do have some questions, firstly how practical was the car? would you find it suitable to do your commute not only in the summer but on the cold wet winter journeys which would be inevitable for all drivers, do you think the reliablity would be as good or greatly deminished in bad weather? Also how would you tackle charging the car with the cable in the rain, as the UK has a high rainfall would you have felt safe to charge the car under such conditions with the set up you were using? I know these are weird questions for you but having a car for a couple of weeks and having one on a perminant basis are completely different senarios. I just want your opinions on how practical you think the car would have been on a more permanent basis as many electric car owners seem to enjoy in the summer month but hate in the winter.

        • Dave Dawson

          Hello Alex,

          In response to your questions ; the car was (or is) as practical as any 2 seater performance car. I have driven it in the wet and dry and the warm and cold conditions that we are likely to come across in the UK.

          Would I use a 2 seater Lotus in the snow? Probably not, but the thing here is that the type of engine did not make the experience any different for this type of vehicle.

          With regards to the cable and charging, there is pretty good weather protection at the vehicle end of the cable and the socket on the wall has a water proof cover that ‘locks’ the plug in so the weather makes little difference to charging.

          I think I would feel the cold a little more in the winter in this particular car as it has no heater, but a family saloon with an electric motor should make no difference in winter use.

          Dave

            • Alex Scarrgall

              Thanks for the feedback i think like many other people i have been spoilt by air con and electric heaters. Have you seen the details of the air power car that goes on sale this year. It would be good to see the electric vs air comparison to see which one comes out on top. I do support zero carbon cars but havent found one yet that can replace my megan for performance and price but hopefully soon it will be possible.

    • Paul D

      There is a fundemental problem with this post and that is the 100 mile round trip commute. This is a massive NO NO for anyone claiming to be green.

      I normally like reading this blog, but frankly this is totally unacceptable, 1. from the point of view of Dave and 2. from the point of view of Ecotricity employment methods.

      To be honest it isn’t totally Ecotricitys fault. These days employers can not discriminate based on distance required to commute, anymore than they can on race or age.

      However surely Dave could live near work from Monday to Friday and travel home at the weekends?? This would have been normal many years ago. Or companies would offer a relocation package. Another point is that cars enable people to live away from public transport routes. Personally in the past, public transport was always a number one priority when finding a place to live, even when my main transport was a car.

      For me, the car iin this article is a red herring. Far more important is the way technology can cause people to make wasteful and polluting decisions, as a result of the convenience that technology creates.

        • GrumpyCabbie

          I think it was a great article. The boss lets an employee test his one of a kind electric sports car. OK, so the guy lives 50 miles away from work and that isn’t 100% green. Maybe not, but 50 miles in an EV is much better than 50 miles in a Range Rover or even a VW Golf.

          It was a test to see how well and how far the car could go on the extremes of its range as well as giving an employee a little bit of fun for a few weeks. It shows traditional car users that it’s possible to drive larger distances by electric and that’s a good thing, esp if they’re topping up with green Ecotricity electric :)

          And Dale, if you’re at a loss with what to do with the car for a week, I’m more than happy to look after it for you :)

            • Paul D

              Maybe you didn’t read the post by Dave. The guy owns a car and a motorcycle, even when I wasn’t ‘green’ I never owned more than one vehicle. There are people out here that take climate change and the environment seriously and buy electricity from Ecotricity assuming that their employees have the same attitude and do everything possible to minimise their impact on the world.

              Commuting 100 miles everyday does not equate to an attitude of understanding the issues. As I stated in my original comment, the problem is that ‘personal’ transport (aka personal freedom) equates to climate changing carbon footprints and environment danaging resource grabbing.

              The advantage of public transport is the fact that it is inconvenient and thus psychologically manipulates people to impose self restrictions on their journeys.

                • GrumpyCabbie

                  The company is the greenest out there IMO and as green as they can get. Remember, they have to have enough staff to process 60,000+ customers and have to be an equal opportunity employer by law. They can’t legally just employ ultra greenies who live 2 miles away or they’ll be sued to high heaven. It’s hard to get good staff and the guy who lives 50 miles away might be the best person for that job – who knows what his cirumstances are or were? Maybe they offered him the car to try and encourage him to be greener still? Perhaps it’s greener that he moves nearer work, but that’s his choice. Let’s not single to poor guy out, he was just writing a blog after driving the bosses car for a few weeks.

                  So there’s the ideal, utopian green paradise and the unfortunate real world. I think Ecotricity have the best balance of any supplier out there and strive to be better, but it’s an open market and you’re free to spend your £’s where you feel fit.

                    • Chris

                      An interesting debate. I think there are wider questions to be asked about how society has changed. People don’t put down roots in one place anymore. Husband and wife will now often both work demanding jobs miles apart. Neither has a job for life anymore. They chop and change friends and live miles away from close relatives in order to chase careers, status and stability. I have a few friends in their mid twenties who have been made redundant a couple of times already, forcing changes in jobs/careers they didn’t want. Quite a recent phenomenon (it used to be mainly old people made redundant for young/cheap!!) . It’s almost impossible to keep moving with job opportunities these days. In my view the private sector as a whole has been squeezing far too much out of its workers over recent years, and given too little back. So it would be nice if companies could support workers who want to move closer to work.

                      However I think criticising Ecotricity because one of their employees lives too far away is a bit like criticising Ken Livingstone for his tax affairs. Neither smells of roses, but the idea that either has any real baring on customers/voters is inaccurate to say the least and barely relevant. I buy Ecotricity because they re-invest their profits in building new renewables and thus invest in a more sustainable, more stable, cleaner, less conflicted future for our planet. They invest far more of MY money in this, than any other energy provider. The day this changes, I’m gone! Yes I care about how the company operates as a whole, but you accept that some things aren’t realistic and make compromises if its core mission stays intact and you get a sense that they care.

        • Dave Dawson

          Hi Paul,

          I had started to write this response to your comment this morning and have since seen that Dale has replied himself, however I thought It appropriate that I gave my own response anyway.

          I agree that my home being 50 miles from work is not an ideal scenario and in an ideal world we would all work from home and use technology to enable us to work in a carbon neutral way, however as Head of Customer Services for Ecotricity I need to be in the office as much as I can to help my team provide the quality of service that our customers have come to expect and I like to be hands on in helping us achieve that.

          Moving from Worcestershire to Gloucestershire has always been an option, however, I am married and my wife’s business is in Worcestershire so we felt is better that we lived near to one of our places of work to ensure that we minimise the impact of our family’s daily travel.

          Public transport isn’t the most practical solution for me – not from a point of self restriction but more of a realistically practical restriction due to the two locations involved. For example, to use the train I would need to drive the 10 miles to my nearest station then more than double the duration of my commute as there are no direct trains running between the 2 locations. I personally choose to not increase the length of my working day by around 2.5hrs each day, but I do acknowledge that this could be an option if I wished to do so.

          What I did was to buy a motorcycle that reduced my costs and the fuel consumption involved, but I can assure you that whilst I do have a deep understanding the issues and my own personal circumstances are far from ideal, I would like to think that Dale employed me for my capability as a Customer Services Manager and not based upon where I live.

          Incidentally, we recently surveyed our staff in relation to this particular subject and the findings are as follows;
          Around 50% of Ecotriocity staff live within 5 miles of the Stroud offices
          25% of staff walk to work
          9% cycle
          5% ride a motorbike
          7% use the bus or train
          Of those that have to drive, 17% currently car share
          I am not sure how that stacks up against the norm nowadays but they are the facts in relation to our staff and it will continue to improve i’m sure.

          Dave

    • Dale Vince

      An interesting point raised here and some very good points in response.

      Ever so briefly I’d just like to offer my perspective –

      Dave was head and shoulders the best person for the job, many years ago when he first joined us.

      I always ask about distance to work, because it’s a factor in sustainability, not just the environmental meaning of that, but the actual longevity potential.

      A long commute is not ideal, from a people or planet perspective. I care about both.

      But it’s important to bear in mind we live in a world in transition. The emergence of mainstream electric cars is new and the potential this gives us to resolve conundrums like this one – is very exciting.

      What Dave’s trial of the Nemesis shows us is that an electric commute to work, is a realistic prospect. Even for our most distant team member.

      We’re also looking to shift our pool cars to electric. Yes we have cars that burn oil right now – that’s part of operating pragmatically in this world. But at the same time seeking to bring change.

      It’s an exciting time and I think the actual red herring in this story is the distance Dave drives to work – the criticism of that overlooks so many practical issues (which many of us face in this modern world) and at the same time ignores the potential for new technology to change things, for the better.

      Cheers.

        • Russ Sciville

          Hey Dale,
          Why don’t you put a heater in your car?
          Mine has a 2kw PTC Ceramic heater (positive Temperature Coefficient) and my next car in build a 4kw one.
          The heater matrix is only about 100mm square and will work on most pack voltages as they are self compensating regarding current draw as well as being extremely safe when installed in the air flow correctly.
          You can find them in certain fan heaters for around £15.

          Make it an all season car to shut up some of your detractors.

          Nothing wrong with a Lotus in the snow and the electric drive control is far superior than a clutch in slippy conditions.

          By the way, as Paul D notes, 50 miles to work is a long distance but using 50mpg engines, I bet his usage is not much less than the average 15 mile distance through cities in a petrol car.
          He has a cheek to tell Dave not to see his family each night. I guess Paul D lives over his work place.

          Regarding external charging, as long as the cable is protected by an RCCD and the ends suitably weather protected, there should be no cause for concern as all European building sites use 220v power protected this way in far more hazardous and wet circumstances.

    • M. Omnes

      Hi,

      A couple of points to add to this debate.

      To suggest that Dave should not go home to his wife and children every night because he lives 50 away is ludicrous. Also I don’t agree owning a motorbike and a car is necessarily unenviromentally friendly, infact I’d do it myself except I’d be afraid of getting killed.

      However I think you have made a good point, but I think in a company the size of ecotricity there is bound to be a couple of people who live far away, and I was actually pretty impressed by the commutting figures that Dave supplied.

      But I would still like to suggest that Ecotricity off set the damage caused by their commuting employees by planting some trees around Stroud, and I would even like to suggest where I think they should begin!
      There is a strip of grass along Merrywalks about 15mx2m. It is just beyond Halfords in front of the car park on the LHS as you walk towards the bridge. Three Rowans trees well spaced along there, would cheer up that strecth of road a lot, and give Dave and all his fellow commuters something nice to look at when they are stuck in traffic along Merrywalks! Rowans trees are great trees that look great for most of the year, and they have lots of magical myths associated with them, ideal for Stroud.
      Of course I think other trees should be planted in other places as well, but I haven’t really got any other ideas to suggest as to where.
      I look forward to walking by those Rowan trees, one day soon!

      M. Omnes

    • Keith Gerrard

      Hi Dale
      I see the car is still out there showing the way for EVs.
      Have you seen the new FIA Formula E regulations.
      Based on my 2010 paper to the FIA.
      Are you interested in a team involvement?

      The 50 miles each way commute is just a commercial fact of life at present.
      It will be nice when companies can structure to encourage more home working.

        • Adam @ Bootstrap Cafe

          Yes Keith, totally agree on the homeworking point.

          I work in commercial energy (just about to have a big push on alternative energy, even if it does hit my pocket short term..)

          I’ve worked from home for years and consider the daily commute a waste of Life and resources.

          I rarely meet my clients face to face, the time for that is over with the Internet as a communication tool.

          Dale & Paul, love what you guys are doing with Nemesis and your company in general.

    • Grace

      What a great experience, it sounds like having an electric car wouldn’t be any hassle at all apart from having to charge it but I’m sure it would become apart of anyone’s routine once they got into doing it. The only thing that is wrong with electric cars is that you can’t travel far distances but I’m sure that will be perfected in the near future!

    • Russ Sciville

      Grace, charging the car is a 5 second job when parking.
      You come back the next morning to a fully charged car.
      Check out the latest cars from Tesla which have a range of over 300 miles.
      Dale’s tie up with “Welcome Break” is having fast charge points installed on the motorway network which give an almost full charge in an hour of supping coffee and eating cake.

    • Chris

      Have Ecotricity seen this?

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19830232

      For me all this is, is confirmation that Ecotricity should do everything it can to forge new working relationships with electric car manufacturers – of which there are now a good few! Ecotricity should be supplying the factories and the customers. Can Ecotricity also find any use for discarded batteries/cars too?

      I also wondered what you thought of Elon Musk and his Hyperloop idea? I find the guys ambition increasingly inspiring. From what I gather, the Hyperloop idea is an evacuated tube, coated with solar panels for mass transport at high speed. It uses (as in, its net loss) barely any power at all in theory. Does this make sense to more technical minds you have access to? Elon is being a little sketchy about the details.

    • Russ Sciville

      I have downloaded the paper referred to in the BBC report and soon find it flawed.
      They compare an EV to average ICE usage and then the paper is based on this assumption.

      I foresee that initially, most pure EV’s will be used for short to medium journey use due mainly to the present energy capacity of cell technology.
      If this usage was compared to an ICE used for short journeys in traffic, the comparison would soon be in the EV’s favour as short journeys in traffic cause the EV to use less energy than if driving at speed.

      Also, how can the energy used in an EV’s cell production be more than that taken by an ICE in 1000 miles, it just does’t compute. They are mostly plastic, steel, copper and a small amount of Lithium powder etc.
      Also, the contents of a lithium cell will be almost completely recyclable. There is nothing left of the oil used by an ICE at the end of its life apart from loads of contaminated oil which surely has an environmental cost.

      There is so much anti EV bias these days.
      Also, why don’t building regs require every new house to have solar cells on the roof? As we go into an energy famine in a few years time it seems madness to me that they are not installed as a requirement.

    • celia emmott

      The problm I brought to your attention regarding the solution to my ecotricity bill by your staff was to advice me to move to another supplyer. Your answer to my question was far from carbon efficient, it generated further postage, 2 a4 sheets of paper and repeated information and no resolution to the problem.This seemed like further churning of information. . Do you really want anyone who questions the way their bill is charged to leave Ecotricity instead of questioning the inappropriatness of the bill.
      I did not ask about the unit charges I just asked about being billed for a meter that I do not and have never used to my knowledge. Please do not pass me back to any of your team of champians without confirming first to me that your solution would be to ask me to leave your company. It is not fair to let the staff make these mindless decisions on your behalf. It would appear that they are polite and powerless in this situation.. Celia

    • Dean Vickers

      What has happened to Dale? He hasn’t posted on this blog in ages.
      Apart from his success with the car has nothing else happened this year.

    • save card

      everyone talks about ecology and green this green that but very little has been done in practic. Government have the most big responsibility but there are chasing other interests