It may be a short week and in the middle of a nationwide lockdown but there’s still plenty to talk about. Here’s a roundup of a few things that caught my attention recently.
Real time train capacity
As I’ve talked about before, it’s been impressive the number of changes and improvements Auckland Transport have been able to make in just a few weeks. Although, much of it is stuff they really should have been delivering anyway – perhaps a good example of a crisis clearing the way of obstructions and giving staff more freedom to get changes made. Hopefully will keep once things start to get back to normal they will keep much/most of these changes in place. Examples of some of the changes include
- Buses not accepting cash fares (services are now free anyway but AT still want you to tag on with your HOP card to help manage demand/services).
- Rear door boarding on buses
- Putting pedestrian crossings on some intersections on automatic so people don’t need to push the beg buttons to cross. Although they should do this to all crossings and also have signs up telling people they don’t need to push them. Perhaps something simple like below.
Note: While removing more beg buttons is great, it has been highlighted to me that it hasn’t changed the overall traffic phasing cycles and in some places, like on Fanshawe St, there can still be a very long wait for the pedestrian crossing to trigger, often with no sign of any vehicles. It would be good if AT could also adjust the signals to phase faster to address this.
Just over a week ago AT implemented a good change to their mobile app showing real-time capacity levels on buses, which is why they still want people to tag on. This week they’ve implemented the same feature for trains.
Again this is something I hope they keep/adapt for use after the crisis is over. It’s a feature used overseas, particularly on busy metros to help people find which carriages are less crowded, thus helping spread the load and speeding up dwell times. While this isn’t quite that detailed, it could help people make decisions about how they travel, for example do they try and catch the next bus/train or grab a coffee and get the next one etc.
Traffic volumes down
Unsurprisingly traffic volumes are down considerably on what they were prior to the lockdown and the NZTA are now publishing just how much it is based of a the weekly traffic counts at a number of sites around the country. In Auckland they are so far only showing the results for traffic on SH1 at Rosehill (south of Papakura) which happens to be one of the quietest places on the Auckland Motorway network but nonetheless shows a dramatic drop.
Across the sites they’re showing they say
- Auckland traffic is down 75.9% compared to last year, and when compared to last week there is a 66.2% drop in light traffic and a 50.0% drop for heavy traffic.
- Wellington traffic is down 81.7% compared to last year, and when compared to last week there is a 65.9% drop in light traffic and a 74.6% drop for heavy traffic. Please note that heavy traffic figures will be affected by an accident on Saturday 28 March that has left the Aotea Quay offramp closed (so some heavy traffic will be going via the Hutt Road instead).
- Christchurch traffic is down 77.2% compared to last year, and when compared to last week there is a 60.6% drop in light traffic and a 61.2% drop for heavy traffic.
- Hamilton traffic is down 74.3% compared to last year, and when compared to last week there is a 62.5% drop in light traffic and a 47.8% drop for heavy traffic.
- Dunedin traffic is down 80.6% compared to last year, and when compared to last week there is a 63.9% drop in light traffic and a 54.5% drop for heavy traffic.
Here’s the Auckland graph for light vehicles.
Road Deaths update
One thing we’re definitely hoping to see during the lockdown is a reduction in the number of people killed and injured on our roads and which for the last few years has been tracking around one person per day.
We went into lockdown on 26 March and things had already started getting quieter on the roads before then but we still ended up with 31 people dying on our roads in March which is not that different from the previous few years.
The real example will be what happens this month as the 4-week lockdown will extend till at least 22 April and therefore rules out Easter travel which can be one of the more deadly times of year on the roads. As of the 7th, we’re sitting at four deaths so far in April. As a comparison, the month with the lowest ever number of road deaths was April 2012 when we had eleven.
Birmingham’s Transport Plan
Internationally one of the big themes for cities right now is a focus on making them better for people (instead of cars). This is all part of tackling the big issues such as climate change, congestion and safety. Cities that get it right are making themselves more liveable for residents and therefore more attractive to businesses. Across many cities there now seems to be almost a competition going on as to how can transform their city the fastest.
Birmingham have put up this video of their transport plan. It’s less than two minutes long but clearly lays out the four ways they’ll improve transport in the city. One of the things l like about it is that it’s incredibly clear, there’s no ambiguity in what they want to do which is reduce the use of cars, including by restricting their use in places.
This is what we need to be doing too, and also essentially what Access for Everyone in the city centre is. But we need Auckland Council and Transport to be much more explicit about it. Currently it still feels like we’re in the stage of trying to have it all, of adding some good things but only if it doesn’t impact on the ability to drive everywhere.
Both Auckland Transport and the NZTA have pushed back the window for consultation on a number of projects. These are
Lake Rd – Extended to the 26 April – we wrote about the project here.
Matiatia layout – Extended to 21 April.
Northern Pathway – 19 April – we wrote about the project here.
SH16 Brigham Creek to Waimauku
Work to make SH16 between Brigham Creek and Waimauku safer will start to kick off once the COVID-19 lockdown finishes now that design work to “widening the road and bridges, adding a flush median, flexible safety barriers and making it safer to make right-hand turns” has finished. Work will start on the Huapai to Waimauku section starting with enabling works to shift a gas main.
Design of the Brigham Creek to Kumeu section is still underway and construction is not likely to start till late next year. They say this is in part due to the need to now build a shared path at the same time meaning they need more funding.
Vehicles are the low-hanging fruit
Finally today, an interesting podcast featuring Dr Paul Winton from 1point5.org.nz on why transport is the lowest hanging fruit to meet our emissions reductions goals
If you can’t see the red man, you have to push the button. If you can see the red man up and no one has pushed the button, the automatic call is working. While transporting my mountain bike in my car around Auckland I have noticed this at many locations. From what I can tell it is 7am-7pm.
Funny thing at wide roads like Fanshawe St is that if that all four corner crossings are running, you are going to have a long wait anyway because those are often long crossings. Especially if you arrive just after your crossing has started. I think one runs as least 30 seconds long.
”While transporting my mountain bike in my car around Auckland “
you could, you know, try riding it…?!
What’s wrong with Ari giving their Mountain Bike a well deserved rest but still treating it to a ride around the city? Clearly this is Ari Bueller’s Mountain bike’s day off.
Clarky? Is that you?
Unfortunately that’s not the case with many of the cycleway beg buttons, even where the cycle crossing is painted next to the pedestrian one.
The cycle signals always show red, but won’t ever turn green unless you push the button.
I have no idea why they were implemented that way. Numerous times I have approached a beg button, assuming the cyclist already waiting has pushed the button, and they haven’t. Result is we miss the phase, I ask them to please push the button, and we wait through the whole cycle again.
Ever walked across when only the cycle beg button was pushed?
You can get stranded in the middle of the road with traffic going both ways, because the cycle phase is shorter than the pedestrian phase.
Trouble is, plenty of people wouldn’t know. For example, a family out exploring by bike, and speedy aged 8 presses the cycle button cos he gets there first, and is on a cycle. The parents, crowded on the footpath by the group, can’t get to the buttons but think that’s fine because the button’s been pressed. Mum and the little one aged 4 end up walking across the road with their bikes, after a slow start, because getting going in the crush is hard.
I discovered this myself when being tooted, yelled and gesticulated at for still walking my bike across when the cars had a green.
I thought maybe there’s been a communications campaign about how the buttons work, so everyone else knew, but me… and emailed the head of AT comms.
A couple of times.
Never had a reply.
The AT Media Manager left AT over a year ago and he does not seem to have been replaced by anyone who knows what they are doing.
Must look out for that one, wasn’t aware either.
Check the bike beg button, there’s usually a light right beside the button
The Paul Winton recording was interesting. He is clearly very passionate about a de carbonized future.
There are some points he has got wrong though.
BEV HGV’s are not an option in any foreseeable future for NZ. Building a charging infrastructure for fast charging those types of vehicles are not financially viable for a country of our size, with such a small population. There are also the issues of range and weight. The range of a diesel truck is between 1000 – 2000kms and the distances are actually limited by driving hours. The range on a BEV truck is 200-300 kms and with a much reduced payload capacity. That has a negative impact on the TCO.
These vehicles are not really available. Maybe one day in the far distant future, but for now, GHG reduction of 90% can be achieved by using biofuel. This also has no Capex cost, which is very attractive to small fleet operators, such is normal in NZ.
Eventually, HFC HGV’s will become more available and they are much more likely to replace ICE engines than BEV. NZ can produce Green Hydrogen as we have an abundance of renewable electricity and hydrogen has an energy density far greater than can be stored in Lithium batteries.
Interesting though on his stats on Norways uptake on BEV cars. Goes to show what a country can do when it is rich petro dollars. Sadly we only have Milk.
“There are some points he has got wrong though”
I’m not so sure about that. He has a PhD in Engineering. What makes you think that your opinions are of greater validity?
“BEV HGV’s are not an option in any foreseeable future for NZ. Building a charging infrastructure for fast charging those types of vehicles”
Why is fast charging a requirement? The construction of heavy vehicles makes them amenable to carrying standardised battery modules suspended from the chassis rails. Such modules could be readily exchanged with simple equipment and charged at rates compatible with existing electrical infrastructure.
“GHG reduction of 90% can be achieved by using biofuel”
It’s still burning stuff with poor thermodynamic efficiency and putting crap in the air. The land used for this biofuel could be used for food production or trees for a longer term effect.
“Eventually, HFC HGV’s will become more available and they are much more likely to replace ICE engines than BEV”
Hydrogen-fuelled transport is a herring of the reddest hue. It has an energy efficiency of ca. one third that of battery-electric vehicles.
“NZ can produce Green Hydrogen as we have an abundance of renewable electricity”
Really? We can’t manage 100% renewable electricity generation but we have an “abundance” ? No, Daniel, there’s none to spare at the moment in spite of Ms Wood’s proclamations. I don’t doubt that more can and should be built but that comes at a cost and using it to make “green hydrogen” with its inherent inefficiencies is a poor use of capital and embedded energy.
There are issues with BEV trucks – reduces payload being the main one. We’re not there yet – I think this vid explains it well (about half way through they go the truck example)
We can’t manage 100% renewable electricity generation but we have an “abundance”
We don’t have an abundance of renewable energy. Genesis Energy “dirty power” is producing about 15% of NZs power, and more in dry years.
Surely Ms Wood is not proclaiming that we do. In a recent piece of correspondence from her, undated, she stated that she had seen a public statement that Genesis hoped to “stop using coal by 2030, if it can.” (I had asked her what correspondence she had undertaken with Genesis about ceasing operation of the coal and gas turbines.)
Perversely NZ may indeed have an energy surplus post covid 19. There could be such a massive worldwide demand destruction for steel and aluminium that the now marginal businesses at Tiwai and Glenbrook close. That is of course unless the govt decides to pay Rio Tinto to continue to operate . Sorry I forgot, they already do.
“Surely Ms Wood is not proclaiming that we do. ”
That is exactly what she has proclaimed”:
Ah what a wonderful plan. NZ is able to use the renewable energy that we generate to produce a valuable green hydrogen and the other 15% from Huntly is used for what, EVs? But I guess thats ok because EVs are inherently so environmentally friendly.
The super profits that the power companies have made recently should have gone to build extra power generation capacity without having to place the burden of this on customers (well customers who don’t own an aluminium smelter) and not to enhancing shareholder wealth.
Maybe decarbonising the grid is one of the issues that this government has to face first without looking at current marginal prospects such as hydrogen. If the govt decide they have to cushion customers from any price rises then they will simply be repaying the excess profits they have already pocketed.
I don’t know where you get your stats from on energy efficiency. Hydrogen has an energy to weight ratio ten times greater than lithium batteries.
The BEV industry has long dismissed HFC technology, but the reality is, HFC is much more promising as a future fuel.
NZ can make green hydrogen from our SI hydro capacity. Instead of selling cheap electricity to Australian aluminium companies, we can convert it into an energy that we can even export.
Fact is, we can export hydrogen, but we can’t export electricity.
Fonterra trucks do not want to change batteries every few hours, they want to be able to operate more or less how they are now on diesel. Hydrogen in the medium/long term offers that and bio fuel offers this in the short/medium term.
The biofuels used in the US and Europe (including Norway) are made from waste and residues. I don’t know of any country where heavy goods are Widespread transported by BEV.
Your idea of having a stock of batteries all around the country sounds very inefficient, when a truck running on biofuels or HFC could just fill up at a central depot.
You also did not address the problem of the weight of these batteries and how that reduces the load a BEV HGV could take.
I also think your criticism of Dr Woods is fair. I have met her and found her to be very much aware of what can and cannot be achievable in NZ. Genesis is still burning coal, but have made a commitment to stop. Sadly, the coal powergen mostly goes to Auckland. That means the dirtiest fuel will often be in those Remuera Tesla’s
Norway is a shining example, but not because of their oil money. To start with, they have fewer cars per person than NZ, so they haven’t been wasting their money on depreciating assets like we have. Second, even before EVs they had very high purchase taxes on vehicles, up to and beyond 100% in some cases, plus 25% GST, in addition to congestion charges and tolls. So they had priced private car transport more in accordance with its true cost. That made it easier for them to remove these taxes for EVs. Most European countries have also introduced very steep CO2-based annual registration fees, something that is not even on the table in NZ.
New Zealand is starting from a very different position. Having gone all in on cars and roads we now need to draw back on both, as well as electrifying the fleet. But look at all the fuss over the (very modest) feebate and the proposed fuel efficiency standards.
So, yes, from an engineering perspective, transport is the low-hanging fruit for cutting emissions. But politically it still presents some challenges.
And here is a video showing the roads and parks e.t.c around Auckland and it seems to look like a scene after a nuclear war i.e everyone seems to have almost vanished ;-
And this is another video ;-
In Hamilton there is no light yellow haze to the sky, it is cleaner and the air smells ‘sweeter’.
Interesting the changes AT have made to minimise Coronavirus transmission. I can’t help wondering if PT will ever return to the usage levels of 6 months ago. Will any concept of social distancing be retained, could we see any general screening of passengers before boarding, such as temperature testing/ fever detection? And deny boarding to sick people?
Is the safest mode for travel the SOV or family only vehicles when transporting children?
“Is the safest mode for travel the SOV or family only vehicles when transporting children?”
Over 300 people die every year on our roads and we have had 5 die through covid 19. Do you really think that the SOV is the safer option?
And then there’s the longer term perspective. How safe are your kids going to be in 20 years if we do exactly as we are doing right now in terms of degrading the state of our planet? Will they have access to fresh water – just last week Auckland Council said water restrictions might be necessary. What will there chances be of being affected by a significant weather event? Or maybe just a greatly affected economic outlook as NZ copes with climate change effects.
I am heading towards the demographic that could be most affected by covid19, but I will be on the bus.
“could we see any general screening of passengers before boarding,”
Unlikey. With over 1500 bus stops around Auckland, how would you achieve this?
I won’t be using public transport any time soon. It appears to be the cities and areas most reliant on public transport that have been hardest hit. In Wuhan public transport was stopped back in January.
This article predates the SARS-CoV-2 virus but is probably still relevant to the role of PT in spreading disease. https://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12940-018-0427-5
That’s a big change for you then, miffy.
The role of private transport in spreading disease is much higher, of course.
I have worked at home for 20 years so I haven’t really noticed the level 4 lockdown. I had started using the park and ride and busway for afternoon meetings but I won’t be doing that again until the virus is completely eradicated from New Zealand. I think most people will be far better off on their bike or in a car for some time yet.
I still can’t believe that buses and trains are running.
Buses and trains are still running as many people have no choice but to use public transport for essential travel.
We will not be better off, healthwise, if those who were using PT change to using their own car. The air pollution and physical inactivity-induced preventable diseases would be even worse than what they were.
Biking is definitely a preferred option here. And we could be far better served than we are. AT has quietly haemorrhaged on cycling, sitting on cycling funds instead of rolling out its own cycleway programme, and has failed to uphold its own commitments to the Safety Review’s recommendations about how to make cycling safer, such as the safer speeds and shifting the maintenance programme to include safety improvements instead of building like for like.
I don’t know if you’re following what they’re doing at the moment, miffy, with the Innovating Streets programme, but I’m looking forward to your witty responses if I get around to posting about it. As I saw an advocate write the other day, AT wouldn’t recognise an opportunity if you dipped it in chocolate and served it on a doily.
Exactly. We should be providing options for essential workers like free parking, taxis and ubers. Is the plan to get as many essential workers into anonymous close contact as possible? I can’t see that ending well.
There is a good reason Wuhan closed PT down and there is a reason they managed to get rid of COVID-19.
Heidi we would all be better off if essential workers change to their own cars. Nobody should be in close proximity to someone they can’t trace later. So long as there is still SARS-CoV-2 in our country then PT should be closed. It makes as little sense as air travel. We can either copy the countries that got rid of the virus or we can copy places like London and New York.
miffy – from my observation of PT loadings at the moment it is basically just a big heavy uber anyway, with greater spacing between the passenger and the driver.
It would probably have been cheaper to have just provided Ubers but the physical distancing is better on PT at the moment.
If you’re looking past Alert Level 4 at all, you’re being blind to the effects of private transport.
When I need to travel further than my bike can get me again, miffy, I’ll be taking the bus. I will try not to go at peak hour, of course, but I feel that wearing a mask and taking good personal hygiene measures provides an option preferable to using a taxi, given the bus offers more air flow and ability to sit further away from others (offpeak).
Whereas putting cars on the road instead would put the many people who are trying to use a bike at more risk, forcing some of them into their cars, creating big public health problems, and would add air pollution which we know contributes heavily to all sorts of diseases including, perhaps, exacerbating the effects of Covid.
Had AT been responsible and lowered speed limits and created emergency cycle lanes as other cities are doing, this caution about car use might not have been so critical. As it is, it is.
Gee, can Auckland just change the city name in that video from Birmingham to Auckland?
1– reallocating road space
2– transforming the city centre (restricting through-traffic)
3– prioritising active travel in local neighbourhoods
4– managing demand through parking measures
Lol. Works already done for us. Thats what we need. So clear so simple.
“Note: While removing more beg buttons is great, it has been highlighted to me that it hasn’t changed the overall traffic phasing cycles and in some places, like on Fanshawe St, there can still be a very long wait for the pedestrian crossing to trigger, often with no sign of any vehicles. It would be good if AT could also adjust the signals to phase faster to address this.”
Unfortunately this shows a lack of understanding of traffic lights. The one reason it’s taking longer for the pedestrian crossing to trigger is that the traffic lights are having to serve the other pedestrian crossings. This is particularly bad on X intersections with split side road phasing. Previously you might have to wait say 20 econds for a crossing parrallel to the main rd, now you can be waiting 50+secs and there’s nothing to explain to the average punter why they have to wait that long. Pedestrian crossings have minimum value walk and crossing times; can’t be reduced even if you want to.
The fact is that by placing automatic demands you’re increasing the average crossing delay. So yay, AT have reduced the risk of us contracting covid19 by touching the beg button and have instead increased the risk of jaywalking. Re-writing the software to change to BD / exclusive pedestrian phase is not practically achievable.
And then think of those poor people who live in adjacent buildings being tortured by the sound from these things, now that the ambient noise level has dropped.
Quite frankly it was a poorly thought out idea to automate the pedestrian buttons in lockdown, despite the great intentions.
Can they reduce the traffic times though so overall more is given to the pedestrians? Without thinking too hard or doing the maths, perhaps it’s better to do barn dances rather than automating all the separate pedestrian phases & reducing vehicle green times. This is also much more convenient for pedestrians.
There is no “traffic time”. The intersection phase times are being governed by the pedestrian times. SCATS is trying to reduce cycle time but can’t because it takes a certain about of time to cycle through each pedestrian crossing.
You can just press a big red button and choose to operate as a Barnes Dance (unless it’s been specifically written into the software).
The irony: the people on this forum complaining about beg buttons and now that it’s happened they ‘re complaining about it.
“There is no “traffic time”. The intersection phase times are being governed by the pedestrian times. SCATS is trying to reduce cycle time but can’t because it takes a certain about of time to cycle through each pedestrian crossing.”
It’s completely disingenuous to say that this is happening everywhere. Go and stand at the intersection where Fanshawe Street joins the motorway if you want to see an intersection that doesn’t follow this at all. Or go and try to use any midblock crossing in New Zealand if you want to see auto-centric signal design.
The truth here is that pedestrians don’t need traffic signals at all. Traffic does. So all the delays to pedestrians are due to the traffic. And all the sound associated with the signals being heard in the apartments is due to the traffic.
To accommodate traffic, you’re saying that SCATS is limited to what it is doing now because the people in charge haven’t programmed it to allow more pedestrian-focused phasing options such as the Barnes Dance. Well, that needs fixing.
Let’s not forget that many, many cities are responding to Covid-19 by closing inner city streets. Some locations in Auckland city centre – probably not Fanshawe St, but several others – could have this whole situation solved by road closures.
“It’s completely disingenuous to say that this is happening everywhere. ” Never said it was happening everywhere. Please re-read what I said
“Or go and try to use any midblock crossing in New Zealand if you want to see auto-centric signal design.”
Midblock on Mokoia Rd Chatswood outside the supermarket. 5 secs delay before green man most of the time. How’s that auto-centric? Very pedestrian friendly if you ask me. I can think of plenty similar
“You can just press a big red button” should have read can’t. Typo my bad.
“To accommodate traffic, you’re saying that SCATS is limited to what it is doing now because the people in charge haven’t programmed it to allow more pedestrian-focused phasing options such as the Barnes Dance. Well, that needs fixing.”
Heidi you need to understand how traffic lights work before making these sweeping kind of comments. A Barnes dance isn’t pedestrian focussed in certain situations.
I agree. Should have closed the roads and turned the whole lot off
That heavily depends on where you are. If that mid-block crossing gives green after 5 seconds, that is really an exception, I’ve never seen that in Auckland.
Usually there is a long delay (I would guess 3 minutes) before you get a green man. There is a similar crossing at the netball field on Northcote Road, and for a long time I didn’t know if it worked at all because it took so long for it to change to green after pressing the button.
There is one in Point Chevalier where you can see a nearby signalized intersection, and you can see that intersection go through 2 full cycles before you get a green man.
“I agree. Should have closed the roads and turned the whole lot off”
Certainly in some places it would’ve worked well.
“Heidi you need to understand how traffic lights work before making these sweeping kind of comments. A Barnes dance isn’t pedestrian focussed in certain situations.”
Long wait times for pedestrians are not pedestrian focussed, but the Barnes Dance concept doesn’t require long phases per se. Using a full cycle between B.D. phases is the source of the problem, but users of the system can allow more Barnes Dance phases per cycle if they stop prioritising traffic. It’s not a fault of the Barnes Dance concept itself. Barnes Dance systems will probably rise in popularity when bikes and pedestrians can cross at the same time, as they do successfully and respectfully in cycling-friendly cities. It’s a pity this wasn’t part of the Accessible Streets package.
I was responding to your idea that “You can’t just press a big red button and choose to operate as a Barnes Dance (unless it’s been specifically written into the software).”
This is a good time to look into the reasons for why Barnes Dance is not an option that’s easy to roll out immediately, and how that can be changed.
“That heavily depends on where you are. If that mid-block crossing gives green after 5 seconds, that is really an exception, I’ve never seen that in Auckland.”
Yes, for example, I’ve noticed the newish (thank goodness) Great South Rd pedestrians only light controlled crossing from Penrose Train Station to near the bus stop on the other side (4 lanes) will activate orange light for the traffic I think immediately if it hasn’t been used for a while but if it has fairly recently been activated then you have to wait a fair amount longer. I can see this is to prevent traffic hold ups.
Energy density is unrelated to energy efficiency, Daniel. Hydrogen has been touted by our government as a vector for delivering electricity to the motors of vehicles. As such it loses around 80% of the electricity on the way whereas the BEV route loses around 30% on the way. Hydrogen is just a bad way of transporting electricity.
The energy efficiency of exporting NZ electricity in the form of hydrogen is even worse. The economics of it are so bad that it will not fly.
The notion that NZ has an abundance of renewable energy compared to other nations just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. In the NZ context the “hydrogen economy” is a political diversion to deflect criticism of the decision to stop future oil and gas exploration.
When it comes to matters of thermodynamics a PhD in engineering trumps a politician with a history degree irrespective of your having met the holder of that history degree.
The confusion starts with how do you measure BEV performance. The BEV industry wants to measure only from the grid to the wheel, but that is distorting the true picture.
If you take a more sensible approach and calculate the well to wheel numbers, green hydrogen is better than BEV. This is both on Energy Efficiency and CO2 emissions.
Looking at an energy mix of 30% fossil, 70% renewables (what NZ would likely be with any large uptake of BEV), the supply chain for 30% would be: extract gas, ship to refinery, process gas compression, ship to NZ, burn to make electricity, power grid, charge batteries.
Alternatively for 100% green hydrogen it is: water electrolysis, hydrogen compression, transport, fuelling tank.
On top of this, the BEV needs this supply chain every 200kms while the HFC truck needs it every 600kms.
Dr Woods is a clever woman – one of the better cabinet ministers. She knows that BEVs are perfect for small vehicles and that HGV will need HFC and Biofuels to be the solution.
But of course the future is fluid and technology, both BEV and HFC is developing rapidly. The short term solution for our HGV fleet is biofuels, because that can deliver massive GHG reduction without any Capex, works on any existing fleet and is technology available now.
You are probably right that Dr Woods is a clever woman. Politics is a tough career and the media will find and amplify the one thing in one hundred that you say which is silly or wrong. I imagine even those politicians who come across as quite dim, are not.
However, she doesn’t seem to have a grasp on the government’s opportunities and responsibilities to influence climate emissions via prices at the petrol pump. Nor any understanding that short term trends in petrol prices influence decisions that have long-term, destructive consequences for people on shoestring budgets.
Both electrolysers and battery chargers would be on the same grid and would be exposed to the same renewable/fossil mix so not clear as to why you think it is not an apples-to-apples comparison.
The link I provided is a BEV/HFC comparison published by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). It clearly demonstrates the abysmal energy efficiency of HFC vehicles when compared to BEVs on the same basis. You may want to take a look at the FCV conversion efficiencies downstream of the the hydrogen tank before making your unsubstantiated claims.
The idea that BEVs will use the portion of grid electricity that is non-renewable and FCVs will use the portion of the grid that is renewable is just bizarre. How does it know?
Biofuels made from waste or residues a GHG solution for heavy transport? What renewable waste stream will provide the requisite energy to provide for NZ’s heavy vehicle fleet and do it it without any capex on plant to effect the conversion from this waste energy source into a diesel substitute in sufficient quantity?
Green Hydrogen production in the South Island would be producing a transportable fuel instead of making Aluminium.
This is not the same as the National grid charging batteries for trucks in the North Island.
An electrolyser in Bluff will be running 100% from hydro. A BEV in Auckland will be running on a powergen mix that still includes coal.
Excess hydrogen can be shipped to the NI or exported. Global Hydrogen demand is expected to grow massively over the next decade and a premium will be paid for green hydrogen over that produced by steam reforming.
There is no doubt that BEV works very well for light passenger vehicles, but it works appallingly bad for heavy goods transport.
Apart from a Hydrogen plant in the SI, smaller electrolysers can be attached to existing retail fuel stations. Using solar and wind, hydrogen can be produced on site. Yes, you could do the same to charge BEVs, but you can refuel a HFC truck in 5 minutes, it would take hours to recharge the batteries in a BEV HGV.
As for biofuels, these are already being made overseas in Asia, Europe and the USA. The waste streams are varied and even include animal fats from NZ.
Global production is currently around 7 million tonnes and that is expected to increase rapidly.
The advantage of biofuel is that the fleet operator (in NZ this is typically 4 trucks) can reduce their CO2 emissions by 90%, just by switching from diesel to biofuel. They don’t need to do any engine modifications to existing equipment.
Instead of having to fork out an eye watering amount of capex for a BEV, they just switch fuels. They don’t have additional weight or range concerns, they just get on with it.
It’s pretty obvious that biofuel is going to be a popular choice for HGV Operators in NZ, once they are forced to pay a carbon cost.
Personally, I look forward to all solutions, BEV, HFC, Biofuel and even hybrids. Cleaner energy, however way we do it, is good for everyone.
One thing I have noticed recently is the gas supply seems quite unreliable it keeps breaking down which is why we keep have to burn coal in the Huntly power station using coal from Indonesia which seems more reliable. It always breaks down when hydro levels are low or when Transpower needs to do maintenance on the inter island link. In my view we should move to replace gas for generating electricity as soon as possible I would use geothermal as it seems to be able to consistently produce 800 to 950 megawatts of electricity 24 hours a day 7 days a week.If you look at this website you will see that gas powered generation goes up and down so presumably it is not as cheap as geothermal. Apparently there is 500 megawatt of consented geothermal power which could be developed. We could use the gas to make methanol which can be sold to gain overseas funds and help the balance of payments which I suspect will become important in the coming months and years. We also need more electricity to replace process heat in industry particularly coal fired boilers which generate steam to dehydrate milk. There could be stand alone wind turbines or solar which could make hydrogen if private companies see it as economic and want to invest but public money should only be used in small amounts as an incentive to get the private sector to invest. That is the Governments policy and I support it.Maybe Hydrogen will never be a thing but its worth a small outlay just in case it is.
Look at this website every time your bored you will learn how our network works.
I also found the http://www.1point5.org.nz podcast insightful.
Dr Paul Winton talks briefly in the podcast about “green” infrastructure projects, such as public transport and active transport in Auckland. He states that they would achieve emissions targets as accepted fact, and he even raises the highly controversial light rail project which is further from being resolved than it was 3 years ago. My main issue with his EV argument is that shifting freight and people by EVs would still use the same road infrastructure as combustion engine vehicles and so may still result in congestion with the associated productivity losses. And this is where the Rapid Transit Network 2.0 discussion really comes into its own.
As this blog community is well aware to achieve the emission target we need to fight for some key Auckland urban #infrastructure projects that are already under construction (pre-Alert level 4) to really accelerate our shift away from last century’s “moar roads only philosophy”*;
1) Public Transport – City Rail Link Ltd, Ameti Eastern Busway, Airport to Botany Rapid Transit, Auckland’s Low Emissions Bus Road Map, Waka Kotahi’s Northern Corridor Improvements, KiwiRail’s Auckland Metro Rail Programme
2) Active Modes – Most of the above projects support walking and cycling improvements, plus Auckland Urban Cycle Ways Programme e.g. Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive Shared Path, and Waka Kotahi’s Innovating Streets for People.
Then build support and consensus for some key future projects – such as accelerated delivery of the The Auckland Transport Alignment Project including the Rapid Transit Network, and the Auckland Urban Cycle Ways Programme,
Then the topical question really becomes what are urban Auckland’s “shovel ready” projects that are eligible for infrastructure growth funding (post-Alert level4) that strategically support http://1point5.org.nz objectives?
(*this pipeline of Tamaki Makaurau green infrastructure projects is obviously not exhaustive)