What’s wrong with alcohol?

According to Optare, one of the biggest challenges to electric bus manufacturers is heating; a massive drain on battery life which could be better used for operating range.

I’m familiar with this issue; although our brilliant heating/cooling experts such as Eberspacher and Webasto have developed ingenious electric heating units, the fact is, providing heat is a pretty linear equation. No matter which way you cut it, if you need a defined amount of heat to fill a defined space, and have done all the insulating you can, you will need a very similar energy input.

But why are bus manufacturers wedded to the ‘all-electric’ mantra, as if one of Sadiq Khan’s main concerns is engine preheaters? It seems to me that the miniscule amounts of fuel used by these devices have a similarly miniscule effect on air quality and, if this is a worry, they could be run on ethanol.

Ethanol is extremely cheap to make, safe to use, produces only water and CO2 – and since ethanol is made with non-fossil materials such as plants, even the CO2 is acceptable to environmentalists.

Yes, it does mean someone will have to top up the heating tank from time to time, but surely that’s not a major issue? Air conditioning is the real challenge, not the technology to heat water….

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