Energy Comparison

DRAFT – INFORMATION TO BE CHECKED, created < 24/06/09, updated 09/10/2017, 01/03/2020

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Energy Comparison by mode of transport

Climate Change model

Mode                                                                                                  Energy required

A walking person                                                                                  100W?

An Austin 7(HP, tax class[1930's] ) car                                                   5KW (70 KM/Hr max, 30 MPG), But might be 10BHP, therefore 7.5KW.

A Mini car 40 BHP                                                                                  30 kW (110 KM/Hr max, 30-50MPG)

A sporty car 100 BHP                                                                            75KW (Audi are currently advertising a 220 BHP car)

Single deck bus:-

Diesel/electric with Ultra Capacitor energy storage.                            125KW diesel engine with road traction

by 85KW electric motor. From epcos components journal 1/01.

- Simulated efficiency as a conventional diesel bus                              49.6 L/100KM. at 17 kW.

- Simulated efficiency (management 1) as a diesel/electric bus            39 L/100KM. at 13.2KW, with 1.5KWh Ultra Capacitors.

- Simulated efficiency (management 2) as a diesel/electric bus            36.4 L/100KM. at 12.3KW, with 1.3KWh Ultra Capacitors.

Note 25% reduction in fuel used over the simulated conventional bus.

A two car Tram                                                                                      150 kW – 800 KW (80 KM/Hr top speed)

6 Car Train                                                                                             750KW Hastings Line Diesel, Class 201..3, 2 X 500BHP 268 seats Hastings Diesel Ltd

4 Car Train (existing)                                                                             375KW Class 411 electric, 4×64 seats, 2×250 BHP. (BR’s ABC 1984)

4 Car Train (new)                                                                                   1200KW Class 375 electric (, 242 seats, 6x200KW, 160 KM/Hr Max

7 or 8 car Intercity 125                                                                          1689KW, Class 253 and 254, 2250BHP, 200KM/Hr. (ABC 1984)

A320 Aeroplane                                                                                    1% of its fuel used is 100,000 Gallons a year. ( Engineering Technology July 2000, Microperforations Save Fuel)

From New Scientist Magazine 17-4-01 (worst first)

* Internal Combustion engine (hydrogen fuel)                225g/KM.

* Internal Combustion engine (petrol)                            220g/KM.

* Internal Combustion engine (diesel)                            155g/KM.

* Internal Combustion engine (natural gas)                    150g/KM.

* Petrol-electric hybrid                                                    145g/KM

* Electric Vehicle                                                            140g/KM.

* Fuel cell (compressed hydrogen)                                 110g/KM.

* Diesel-electric hybrid                                                   105g/KM

* Natural gas-electic hybrid                                             95g/KM.

* Fuel cell (compressed natural gas)                               90g/KM.

Society of Automotive Engineers. Jurgen Louis of Shell research (estimated from a graph)


HP            – Horse power simple estimate used as pre World War 2 taxation class based on Cubic Capacity. (Possibly 150LB weight that a horse could drag for a number of hours)

BHP          – Break horse power a much more accurate measure of power measured output using a dynamometer

KW           – Kilo Watt. 0.75KW = 1 horse power.

KWH         – Killo Watt Hour

MPG         – Miles per gallon

European Car Free Day, 22 September 00

Earlier this month the public will have been reminded in a small way of the 1973 fuel crisis, and other occasions when oil based fuels have been in short supply. At that time predictions were made about the consequences of what would be occurring now if that warning were not headed. Do you recall the following?

* Climate change – It is now very noticeable that summers and winters are warmer

- Air quality is poorer (Up to 24,000 people die annually due to vehicle emissions – New Scientist January 1998).

* Do you recall predictions made in the 1970’s of fuel riots in the year 2000? – Will this be the way we will live from now on?

What do you think the lessons were of the fuel shortage early this month?

* During the week 9th to 15th September air quality improved in cities and the roads were quieter (Independent says 75% reduction in pollution in cities).

* Injury rates dropped (channel 4 say’s by a third). Note in 1970’s injuries were halved in USA when 55 MPH speed limits were introduced (according to Sara Newman Tunbridge Wells TAG).

* Supermarkets who are supplied Internationally shelves were emptying. – Is it sustainable to purchase apples from New Zealand, when apples are left on the trees in Kent, the Garden of England. – Transport costs must be too low.

* Is high reliance on oil and gas a good idea? – For power production should energy conservation, and coal be considered further. How can that be applied to transport?


* Transport Planning for the next twenty years should consider that Oil may only be available for essential use. Is future road building sensible planning?

- Creating local transport authorities, like London Transport to integrate all public transport to make the buses arrive and on time. Additionally insure that bus stop information is correct. Would planning for this type of solution be more productive?

* Is tax allowances on fuels such as cars, buses, lorries (tax deductible), and farm vehicles sensible? – This does not encourage better fuel use (Trams used a 12th the energy of a conventional bus. Electric trains are even less.)

* Should more non-discriminatory measures be introduced, to answer point made about low income rural living, for example:

- 50 MPH speed limit on all road vehicles?

- Progressive taxation on engine power based on break horse power instead of CC? (A 1950’s, 175 CC motorbike would do 50 MPH or so a modern 128 CC may do more than 100 MPH, this is four times the power output though CC’s are less)

The AA tell us (Today, Radio 4, 29-9-00) that the costs of running a car are the lowest ever and that the fuel tax escalator was the best way to persuade people to consider alternatives, Transport 2000 make a similar point. Transport 2000 says that fuel duty is £23 billion, but health impacts are £11.1 billion. If other external costs are taken in to account the figure is £42 billion per year. Why is motoring subsidized?

Transport 2000 quote government statistics that show a significant switch to rail, and cycling. This is despite rail and bus fares rising more than all motoring costs since 1987. I understand that passenger usage of East Coastway rail services have increase 70% year on year.

You can’t steer a car above 60 MPH you can only aim it. A 50 MPH speed limit and no lane discipline on motorways, like in America, naturally makes it difficult to go faster than the average. It is quite OK to pick your favourite lane and speed and sticking with it.

Fuel economy comparison:

1) 1909 De-Dion a big two seater car at the Bentley Motor Museum did 62 miles to the gallon.

2) An 1930 7hp car e.g. ford Anglia (95E), Austin 7 or Morris 8. 30-40MPG.

* Both above cars ran on low octane fuel is not available now.

3) A 1960-70′s mini does 50 MPG at 35 MPH  and 35 MPG at 65 MPH.- The SU carburettor in the Mini is relatively efficient at differing speeds.

4) Audi 80 GL built in 1975, soon after the fuel 1973 crisis, is a mid range sporty car did 40 MPG at 90 MPH.

5) 1979 VW Golf N does 36 MPG 30-70MPH on very low octane fuel, though not as low as the De-Dion.

6) Citroen BX16RS though not as sporty as the Audi performance is 30-40MPG at 30MPH-100MPH.

It is said that cars are efficient at there optimum speed, this is true for the Citroen (and most cars) but not for the Mini. The myth is that therefore you should run the car at that speed (100 MPH with the Citroen), but there is still a small MPG therefor fuel saving at lower speed. I think that ozone which is a lung irritant is reduced, but in any case injuries due to crashes are much less severe. The truth is cars are designed to go fast and commercial vehicles are designed for least cost. The worst myth is that Park and Ride is good in some way but the encouragement of short car runs results in fuel consume of up to 40 times higher (full choke) when the car is first started.

Physiology of car driving:- Cars with internal combustion engines have been popular for there noise, mechanical knowledge needed to run them, and having gear change. An early car would be superior if it had gears, though there may only be two gears. Similarly a modern car superior if it has five gears. This aggressive charter is surely the reason that they superseded steam road cars made 1700′s to 1850′s which were quiet, clean, with no gear change required.

Petrol cars started appearing in this country in the 1880’s, after regulation to protect horse drawn vehicles was circumvented, were by comparison more noisy, dirty, and require gear changing the early ones also needed hand cranking to start them. These vehicles were technically inferior. For example the drive shaft broke when cornering on some early models because a differential was not fitted this device was invented by Charles Darwin’s grandfather and was incorporated in to the more refined earlier steam cars. Electric car’s would still run people over, could have higher performance the petrol cars with four driven wheels running at computed speed – but like the steam cars would be silent and clean, with no gear change required. Is this why they are not popular, there surely is no reason why an internal combustion engine should not generate power for electric traction (like a diesel electric train).

I would appreciate if my thoughts could be checked and developed and used to argue for energy efficiency policies.