Electric Cars Will Roll Over The Competition

Tesla Superchargers

Tesla superchargers connected to Tesla S electric luxury vehicles in Adelaide sitting opposite Mitsubishi MiEVs.

The Electric Car Revolution Is Coming And Cannot Be Stopped

Electric cars are approaching a major milestone.  Soon they will reach 1% of total world vehicle production.

If you don’t think that’s a big deal, consider how quickly things changed once 1% of people had the internet or 1% had smartphones.  This might not seem like a reasonable comparison, as a brand new electric car costs more than twice as much as the latest iPhone, but things are definitely taking off.

These countries have electric vehicles as the following percentage of new car sales:

  • Norway 35%
  • Iceland 8%
  • Sweden 4.6%
  • China 2.6%
  • Germany 1.3%
  • USA 1.1%

Australia is above 0% but not by much.  I tried to graph it, but setting Australia at one pixel high meant I couldn’t fit Norway, Iceland, or Sweden on the page1.

Because Australia is behind the curve most people here haven’t even seen an electric car, let alone thought about buying one.  But I am expecting sales to boom.  One prediction is 40% of new cars could be electric within 20 years time, but I think that figure could be reached earlier.

Soon I’ll write an article about charging electric cars with rooftop solar and just how much extra solar panel capacity you may need.  But it doesn’t change the conclusion I’ve already reached that you should install as much solar as you can.  The fact your car is likely to be electric in the future only makes this more important.

I’m writing this article to convince you an electric car revolution is coming.  There are a number of reasons why I think this including:

  • performance
  • environmental benefit
  • depleting oil supplies
  • possible government subsidies.

But the main reason electric cars will rule the roads is because they will be cheaper to own and run than petrol or diesel vehicles.

To be clear — I am not saying as battery prices come down electric vehicles will become cheaper than petrol and diesel burning vehicles in the future.  I am saying that even if battery prices never become cheaper than they are today, electric cars will still be more cost-effective once they are produced on a large-scale.  Electric cars beating the competition is already baked into the cake.

Cost Of Petrol Per Kilometer

To compare the cost of careening across the country between conventional cars and electric vehicles, we need to look at how much the petrol required to drive 1 kilometer costs.

Australian passenger vehicles only get an average of 9.4 kilometers per liter.  At its current price of around $1.25 a liter, this means we spend an average of 13.3 cents on petrol to drive 1 kilometer.

While this is much more than the cost of electricity required to drive an electric car the same distance,  we must also consider the cost of wear and tear on battery packs.

Mel Gibson guzzeline

The Mel Gibson gets 15 kilometers to the tin of dog food.

The Current Cost Of Vehicle Batteries

I’ve already stated battery prices are low enough for electric cars to soon out compete conventional ones, so you are probably expecting me to tell you how much they cost.

The trouble with that is I don’t actually know their cost.  It’s a secret.  But I do have a pretty good idea.

Looking at the example of Tesla battery packs used in Tesla S sports cars and new Model 3, the CEO of the company, Elon Musk, has said their cost is:

“Below $190 per kilowatt-hour.”

That comes to under $241 Australian at today’s exchange rate.

Battery Pack Lifespan

Unfortunately, battery packs, which are multiple battery cells all wired together in a sound and sturdy structure and ready for use in an electric car, won’t last forever and eventually need to be replaced.  The good news they is they look like they’ll last the average driver for over a decade.  Tesla’s now have a warranty of 8 years with unlimited kilometers.

Australian passenger cars are only driven an average of around 14,000 kilometers a year, so a typical driver will have only done 112,000 kilometers by the end of the warranty.  But if the battery can handle someone driving over 30,000 kilometers a year for 8 years without a problem, hopefully it can handle someone driving 14,000 km a year for a little over 14 years.  This will give an average of 200,000 kilometers before it needs replacing.

The standard Tesla Model 3 has a 50 kilowatt-hour battery pack.  If it costs $240 Australian per kilowatt-hour it’s total cost will be $12,000.  If it can offer 200,000 kilometers of driving before it needs replacement then the cost of wear and tear on the battery will come to 6 cents per kilometer.

Cost Of Electricity Per Kilometer

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency the Tesla Model 3 gets almost 7 kilometers per kilowatt-hour.  While US figures are far more realistic about car ranges than European or Japanese ones, I am still going to knock it down to 6 kilometers per kilowatt-hour to allow for charging losses and real world driving conditions.

The cost of residential grid electricity varies according to location and retail plan, but a fairly typical price after discounts are applied is 25 cents a kilowatt-hour which comes to 4.2 cents per kilometer.

Cars can also be charged with electricity from rooftop solar if they are at least sometimes parked at home during the day.  If a home has a feed-in tariff of 11 cents and charges a car with 50% solar and 50% grid electricity it will come to 3 cents a kilowatt-hour.

Those who have a time-of-use tariff can charge with off-peak electricity and it is also possible to use a controlled loadSpecial rates for charging electric cars may also be available.

Tesla S

Watt are these Tesla S sports cars currently doing? They’re receiving a faster charge than they can get at ohm.

Battery Cost + Electricity Beats Petrol’s Per Kilometer Cost

With battery pack wear and tear coming to 6 cents per kilometer the cost of electricity can be added to see how well it compares to petrol’s average cost of 13.3 cents per kilometer.

Under the following charging conditions, the total cost of driving 1 kilometer in an electric vehicle is:

  • 100% grid electricity at 25 cents per kilowatt-hour = 10.2 cents per kilometer
  • 50% solar with an 11 cent feed-in tariff + 50% grid electricity at 25 cents = 9 cents per kilometer
  • 100% solar with an 11 cent feed-in tariff = 7.8 cents per kilometer.
  • 100% off-peak or controlled load electricity at 12 cents per kilowatt-hour = 8 cents per kilometer

So even if completely charged with 25 cent grid electricity electric cars are much cheaper per kilometer than a conventional car that gets 9.4 kilometers per liter and is still cheaper than a conventional car that gets 12 kilometers per liter.

If an electric car is completely charged with solar electricity that would have received an 11 cent feed-in tariff if it was instead sent into the grid, then it would be cheaper per kilometer than a conventional car that gets 15 kilometers per liter, which is far more fuel efficient than average.

In addition, electric cars have other cost advantages.

Electric Cars Are Cheaper To Make Than Conventional Cars

Before the cost of batteries are included an electric car should be considerably cheaper to manufacture than a comparable petrol or diesel car.  Some reasons why are:

  • An electric motor is far simpler and cheaper than an internal combustion engine.
  • There’s no exhaust so there is no muffler or catalytic converter.
  • There’s no fuel tank
  • Minimal soundproofing is required.

Electric vehicles have additional features, such as regenerative braking, but overall the savings should be substantial.  I’m not a rev-head, so I can’t really estimate how much cheaper it is likely to be.  If it was a horse it would be easy, as I know exactly how much their different components are worth per pound, but as it’s a car I can only make the guess that it would be a couple of thousand dollars less.  If this is correct, then a $12,000 battery pack would result in an electric car only costing $10,000 more than a comparable conventional one.

Mass Production Is Required To Bring Costs Down

Electric cars will cost less to make than internal combustion ones, but only once they are mass produced in large numbers so the per unit cost will be low. Nissan and Tesla are now doing this with their cars, and there are large manufacturers in China doing the same to supply their domestic market, but it is still early days and in general electric vehicles have a long way to go to reach the high volume, low cost, level of manufacturing seen in the conventional auto industry.

These are either Mitsubishi MiEV electric cars or giant chrome coloured Christmas Beetles from Queensland.

Because it costs a vast amount of money to develop an electric car and build a production line, manufacturers are charging early adopters a premium to defray these costs.  This premium has fallen considerably, but there is still a long way to go before we see the very small mark-up per unit of non-luxury conventional cars.

Shiny and Chrome Beetle

No, wait…I’m pretty sure this is a Christmas Beetle.

Electric Cars Require Less Maintenance

Another useful source of savings is due to electric cars requiring less maintenance. There’s no oil to change, no muffler to wear out, nothing to tune, no spark plugs to replace, and even the brake pads last longer thanks to regenerative braking2.

If you look at the maintenance schedule of a Nissan Leaf you’ll see it recommends maintenance every 12,000 kilometers, which is not very impressive compared to my Hyundai Getz’s 15,000 kilometer service cycle.  But when you look at what needs to be done, it’s considerably simpler than for a petrol powered car.

I expect in the future, as manufacturers iron out the bugs from their electric vehicles, they will become more confident about extending their service cycles and further reducing the amount of maintenance required.

Fortunately, in Australia you can have your car serviced by a competent third party without it affecting your warranty and this can potentially save money over having it serviced by the manufacturer.

Electric Cars Have Awesome Performance

Now that I’ve covered the cost advantages of electric vehicles, it’s time for me to address the elephant in the zoom…

Blue Elephant

When your blue elephant starts to red shift, you know it’s moving fast.

Electric cars can have astounding acceleration and a lot of people are going to want to buy them simply for this reason.  Because of the way electric motors operate, any electric car that can do highway speeds — which will be all of them in Australia — will have excellent 0 to 60 acceleration and awesome 0 to 40 acceleration.  This is even true for even the Japanese Nissan Leaf, which is not designed to be sporty3, but can still go from 0 to 60 in under 5 seconds.

Leaf Acceleration

Image Source: Nissan

While rapid acceleration shouldn’t be very important to sensible people, it appears not many of us are very sensible and good acceleration is a poplar feature.

Another advantage of electric vehicles is their extremely smooth ride, as the motor is metal spinning smoothly in an electromagnetic field, and not a series of controlled explosions repeatedly pounding pistons.  Many people find the smooth ride of electric cars extremely satisfying, but I own a horse, so anything with wheels feels like a smooth ride to me.  (You know, I probably never should have nailed those car springs to poor Tonto 4’s hooves.)

Electric vehicles are also extremely quiet.  So quiet that in some countries they are required to generate noise when moving at low speed so people will know they are there.

Environmental Benefit

Humanity really needs to stop releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels and it would also be nice if we could stop filling the air in our towns and cities with toxins.  Fortunately, electric cars can assist with both these problems.

Because an electric car motor is around 90% efficient and petrol engines are only around 25% efficient, it is possible for an electric car charged from the grid to result in less greenhouse gas emissions per kilometer driven than a petrol powered one, even if around 73% of electricity is generated from coal, as it is in Australia.

A conventional car that gets 9.4 kilometers per liter will emit around 300 grams of CO2 per kilometer, including the CO2 emitted during the petrol’s refining and transport.  An electric car using grid electricity will only result in around 140 grams of CO2 emissions per kilometer.  So even compared to a very efficient conventional car that gets 15 kilometers to the liter, an electric car running off grid power will produce fewer emissions.  But a hybrid car that gets 30 kilometers to the liter will only result in about 94 grams of CO2 emissions, coming out well ahead of a grid powered electric car.

Some states, such as South Australia and especially Tasmania, have very low emission grids.  However, because their grids connect to Victoria, which is the Mordor of Australia, charging in those states doesn’t make a large difference to a car’s emissions as charging it will either result in less clean energy being sent to Victoria or more dirty energy being sent out.

The interconnected nature of the grid means if you charge your car using rooftop solar it is not as green as it may seem, as you will be sending less clean energy into the grid as a result.  But if you have intentionally installed enough extra solar panel capacity for your car then I think you’re entitled to consider it as running off clean electricity.

The good news is the amount of renewable energy capacity being built in Australia is currently undergoing a mini-boom after may years of delay.  I hope this will keep up, allowing an electric car bought now to have greater emissions reductions over its lifespan than an efficient hybrid.

When it comes to toxins directly released into the atmosphere by a vehicle, electric cars emit none.  Well, that new car smell is probably mildly toxic, but it is nothing compared to burning oil products.

Oil Prices

On the 11th of July 2008 the price of oil went over $155 a barrel.  At the start of 2016 it was down to $37 a barrel.  Today it is around $72.  As you can see, there can be a lot of ups and downs.  If oil prices rise the economics of electric cars will improve while the opposite will happen if they fall.

Because the discovery of new sources of oil has not kept up with the rate of depletion in old oil fields, we are definitely set to see higher prices.  This will increase the uptake of electric vehicles and as their numbers grow, oil use will fall and the price of oil will plummet.  Lower oil prices should then slow their uptake, but by that time electric vehicles should be considerably cheaper and environmental protection is likely to be stronger, so my guess is the uptake of electric vehicles will continue mostly unabated.

But don’t put too much faith in what I say about future oil prices.  If I could accurately predict them I assure you I wouldn’t be living in this crummy 30 room palace.

Range Anxiety

Electric vehicles have one drawback.  Their single weakness, their Achilles wheel, is their lack of range.  My Hyundai Getz is capable of driving over 500 kilometers in town on a full tank of petrol.  If I compared that to the ranges given by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a number of electric cars:

EV Ranges

The bottom two on the graph aren’t that bad compared to my Getz.  For some electric cars at least, the range problem seems to be overstated.  But their inability to rapidly fill up on liquid fuel does make them unsuitable for some purposes.  If you are constantly traveling long distances between country towns then even the longest range electric vehicle may not be for you.

But the range problem is not as big a deal as many people think it is.  While we all seem to think that at any moment we could jump in our cars and drive beyond the black stump, it’s really surprising how few of us actually get around to doing that.  And on the rare occasions we do get around to it we could always borrow or rent a suitable vehicle.  The savings from an electric car might be more than adequate to pay for the occasional rental.

At the moment many families will solve this by having multiple cars.  My parents have two and they usually drive the most fuel-efficient one.  If they bought an electric car they would use it for most of their driving and they’d keep a petrol powered one for long trips in the country.

Also, Tesla has mostly solved the problem, in countries like the US anyway, by producing long range cars than can use a network of superchargers that can get a battery pack from almost flat to 50% in as little as 10 minutes and to 80% in 30 minutes — although usually it won’t be that fast.  While superchargers are pretty quick, it is still possible that cars in the future to be charged at an even faster rate.

Supercharger

A Tesla supercharger. (Image credit: Tesla, of course.)

Another option to extend range is to use a plug-in hybrid that has batteries but can use an internal combustion engine for long distance driving and can refuel rapidly with petrol.  The very pricey BMW i8 is an example.

Government Subsidies

Around the world governments have given subsidies to encourage the uptake of electric cars to help usher in a more environmentally safe form of transport.  In order to assist this transition the Australian government has done nothing.

Well, this isn’t true.  Electric cars do receive an indirect subsidy in the form of the fuel excise on petrol, diesel, and LPG that they don’t have to pay.  There is a risk the government will declare this to be unfair and place some kind of charge on electric vehicles while ignoring that it is unfair to allow internal combustion car owners to emit greenhouse gases and toxins without paying to clean up the mess.

Personally, I think the ideal situation would be for the Australian government to give no subsidy at all to electric cars.  Instead, I think internal combustion cars should pay the full cost of removing their CO2 emissions from the atmosphere and for the cost of the health problems they cause.  It makes more sense to raise the cost of what we don’t want, than to lower the cost of electric cars.  This is because someone who might have been happy with a bicycle and occasional taxi trips (or horse rides) might decide to buy an electric car they don’t really need if it is cheap enough after subsidies.

Increasing taxes on fuel burning cars will require brave politicians. Which we don’t have on either side. So I will accept subsidies on electric cars as a second best solution.

Self Driving Cars

One development I haven’t mentioned yet that has a huge potential to rapidly eliminate oil use from ground transportation is autonomous vehicles.  If people start giving up private car ownership because self driving electric taxis are cheap and convenient, then each one could potentially replace 10 private vehicles.

There are now over 1.2 billion internal combustion engine vehicles in the world.  Replacing them all will take decades.  But if one self driving car take the place of 10 it literally makes the task an order of magnitude easier.

There are people who say self driving cars are still decades away and the reason they give is that making a car drive itself is really hard.  And that is true, but I don’t think it will take long for them to be ready for unsupervised use4.  One reason is self driving cars don’t have to be perfect, they only have to be better than humans, and most humans don’t realize how bad they are at driving.  They literally don’t know.  And while teaching computers to drive is really difficult, computers are becoming disturbingly good at teaching themselves.  If you don’t believe me, go find out who the world champion at Go is.  I won’t tell you whether or not the champion is human, but I’ll give you a hint – if you prick him, he won’t bleed.

Hope For The Future

I used a figure of $240 per kilowatt-hour for battery packs based on Elon Musk’s statement that they cost under $190 US.  But he has promised further declines in the future and says he will be disappointed if they don’t fall to $100 US a kilowatt-hour by the end of the decade.

Now when Elon says he will do something, he often will do it.  But not on time.  So I think there is a good chance he will be disappointed.  But fingers crossed there will only be joy joy joy down in his heart come the end of 2019.

But we don’t need to rely on Tesla to lower battery prices.  In China they have been soaring in reverse for some time now.  While most Chinese battery back production isn’t as high performance as Tesla’s in the US, Nissan’s in Japan, or LG Chem’s in South Korea, it competes well on price using a safer and easier to handle lithium chemistry.

I also think there is an excellent chance Australia will get some kind of subsidy for electric cars within the next few years.  The Coalition may come up with one as an environmental fig leaf to cover up its sins, while ignoring the fact that a fig leaf is normally only good for covering one penis and they have a hell of a lot more dicks than that.

But even if Australia does nothing at the policy level we will still benefit from developments overseas where entire countries are planning to eventually ban internal combustion engine cars and this will only spur electric vehicle development.

Footnotes

  1. China fit, towering above Australia like that time in Shanghai a bunch of us challenged the locals to a game and we discovered they had bred basketball players since the 1930s.
  2. Regenerative braking means energy that would normally be lost as friction against brake pads is instead used to generate electricity to power the vehicle. It doesn’t mean you can cut a piece off the brakes and it will grow back.
  3. I have been told the Nissan Leaf is a “Mamachari” which appears to translate as “Mother’s bicycle with a basket on the front”.
  4. I’m not as optimistic as Elon Musk, but then not many are.
About Ronald Brakels

Many years ago now, Ronald Brakels was born in Toowoomba. He first rose to international prominence when his township took up a collection to send him to Japan, which was the furthest they could manage with the money they raised. He became passionately interested in environmental matters upon his return to Australia when the local Mayor met him at the airport and explained it was far too dangerous for him to return to Toowoomba on account of climate change and mutant attack goats. Ronald then moved to a property in the Adelaide Hills where he now lives with his horse, Tonto 23.

Comments

  1. Brilliant article (as usual!) Our eBikes have already changed our lives. We hardly ever use our cars or motorcycles these days.*

    We’re holding off purchase of a new car, until more electricks hit our shores. Our current five fuel-fired vehicles have certainly served us well: 1985, 1988, 1990, 1992, and 2002. We’ll probably keep one motorcycle and one 4WD. The other three will go cheap… and rego savings will be significant… .

    The new Nissan Leaf is expected to markedly extend the range (you’ve cited) of its predecessor… but we may wait for the new electric Mini BMW has planned. Miss my ’69 Mini K, so an electric Mini could be a lot of fun… .

    * Rainy days excepted… .

  2. Agree an excellent and well written and thought through article. My only question is – if and when the electric car revolution arrives in Australia will the charging station be compatible with the several models that will be available or will it look like today (a Shell station, a BP station) etc. Your thoughts would be welcome on this.

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Most charging in Australia will be done at home. Public chargers will be used by people who have to travel long distances or who lead disorganized lives. In Australia a normal power point can provide over 130 kilometers of range in 10 hours, which is far more than most people average in a day. Not all cars are happy to be charged at that rate though.

      • Jack Wallace says:

        Let’s hope you don’t have a heart attack ~ or you wife goes into labour…or you kid gets carted off to hospital ~ during that 10-hour charging period…..
        I tried foregoing my big heavy smelly noisy Stihl 084 for a geewhiz electric chainsaw for use around the garden/woodpile. Quite useless… in three weeks and burned out. Been using the Stihl (often for seriously hard work) for over 30 years.

        • Jack Wallace says:

          That’s not to say I’m some sort of Luddite. But let’s face it, some jobs can ONLY be done effectively with a suitable power-plant. eg y’wouldn’t want your electric toothbrush to be powered by a lawn-mower engine. But is certainly a place for internal combustion engines which can NEVER be replaced by electric-type engines. Mobility and remote-use power-providers are a good example.

          • I’m surprised you’ve experienced problems with electric (lithium-ion) chainsaws. Both ours manage really well. We have four chainsaws… and use them at nine properties… and they’re lighter, very reliable and durable. We do keep a few extra (charged) batteries. They’re the only saws I’d ever use while standing on a 4WD roof, or high up a ladder… .

            During the last 27 years, I have destroyed three fuel chainsaws*… but to be fair our ten acres initially had five huge wind-rows… now all gone (four fireplaces here). We also ‘donate’ a year’s firewood to a (more) elderly couple in town.

            Because we maintain a lot of properties, we have a lot of power tools, including hedgers, whipper-snippers, pruners, drills, mowers, etc. With the exception of two electric mowers, our lithium-ion power tools are the _best_ tools we own. Yes, my Husky 372XP (fuel) chainsaw is irreplaceable for immense timber, but at my age, I’m enjoying a range of battery-powered tools on a daily basis, in ‘retirement’… .

            * One Husky, one McCulloch, one Makita… .

        • Ronald Brakels says:

          Not sure that’s how electric cars or people work.

        • What brand of electric chainsaw? Some are good – some not, same as petrol.

  3. Once you drive an electric car you’ll never go back to the noisy, smelly version. They are so much nicer in every way. The peace and quiet is marvelous as well.
    For practical domestic use I don’t think battery life & replacement will be an issue for most people. The car management system manages battery temperature and also stops you from abusing the battery so the batt lasts a very long time. That said there’s still awesome acceleration available if that’s your thing. Some Holden/Chevy Volts in the USA have done over 160,000 Km on pure electric since 2012 with no measurable capacity loss. Electric with petrol range extender is very convenient. Drive electric in the ‘burbs, with back up for long trips, if needed. I love my Volt, just a shame we don’t get the new models, if only we drove on the same of the road as the USA…..

    • Jack Wallace says:

      Why do you remind me of the early-model version VW owners? 😉 Apart from anything else, something I really resent is machinery that over-rides MY decisions/options —> “stops you from abusing the battery”

  4. Ronald
    How about comparing apples with apples, and comparing electric cars with new model petrol cars, not with 20 year old Commodores and Falcons.?

    According to drive.com.au, the Tesla3 will cost AUD$50K for the poverty pack model – but you’ll have to wait until 2019 before it is imported.
    A Suzuki Celerio is available now and costs AUD$20K. It uses 4.7 litres per 100km; just half the 9.4 L/km you use in your comparisons.

    If retail electricity prices in Australia have doubled in the last seven years, what will they be in 2019 when the Tesla arrives on our shores? Maybe 40% higher than today ? No, too much? Well how about 30% higher?
    How about working out the maths again using the expected cost for the price of electricity in 2019, not the cheapest power available today, and the petrol consumption for cars that are sold today.

    Ahh, but you intend to charge it with electricity generated from the solar panels on the roof. They will be the same solar panels that are going to charge your Tesla Powerwall (which should have become an economic proposition if the price of retail power has gone up by 30% or 40%). Maybe your 30 room palace has enough roof area for a collection of panels to charge the battery and charge the car. Most people will not be so lucky.

    And as for the people without off-street parking, well they’ll be out of luck won’t they? Same goes for all the renters who live in houses without solar panels, or the people who live in apartment blocks. I can’t see them buying electric cars any time soon.

    How many years will it take before the cost of buying and powering a $50K Tesla 3 falls to less than the cost of buying and powering a $20K Suzuki?

    I think electric cars will come eventually, but not as quickly as you seem to expect. The manufacturers will keep the price high initially, to maximise their profits. The first people to buy the cars will be mathematically-challenged greenies, and government institutions keen to demonstrate their moral credentials. ie the same crowd who purchased the Toyota Prius when it came out, twenty years ago. Their high purchase cost and failure to deliver against headline economy claims have made a mockery of the hype gushed out at the time. Don’t expect all-electric cars to be much different.

    • Hmmm. Every time we visit Vancouver and Victoria BC, we’re impressed that taxi fleets are now predominately Prius… .

      • Lawrence Coomber says:

        Lessor;

        Yes taxi fleets and public bus transport make up a large bit of the 1% and Vancouver is a good example as are many cities notably in China in particular Shenzhen.

        Nothing seen in Mumbai yet though.

        • Jack Wallace says:

          A shame, that. At least in Mumbai you’d get more than 3 consecutives1 minutes of power-providing sunshine to get you to work.

      • “Every time we visit Vancouver and Victoria BC, we’re impressed that taxi fleets are now predominately Prius… ”

        You don’t have to go abroad – you can see the same in Canberra.

        The economics of running a Prius covering 140,000 kms a year are quite different to those of a Prius travelling 14,000 kms a year. A taxi cab owner can amortize the high purchase price over many more kilometres than a private owner can.

        • True.

          Being O.F.s ourselves… with ‘limited range’ (but no anxiety about it… 🙂 ) our next (and most likely _last_ ) new car will be an EV. I expect it to outlast at least one of its owners. 😉

    • The Model 3 is not yet in production. The standard range version has not been submitted for EPA evaluation, nor is there a planned production date, for it, nor right hand drive. Tesla claim there is a pre-order waiting list of 400,000 cars, where 2019, is always the the following year.

      The longer range version cost US$9000 ($11477) more than the standard model. The warranty for the standard version is 8 years or 160,000km
      The warranty for the longer range version is 8 years or 192,000km
      each without capacity warranty. I am sure we all remember the Powerwall’s warranty. (The additional warrantied 32,000km costs AU$0.35/mile.)

      Other than the cheapre ICEV’ available right now, the Prius offers Toyota build quality, much lower total life cycle emissions, and without leaving behind a 75kWh battery that does not yet have an effective means of recycling.

      And last but not least, there is no need to install solar to charge it.

      • As far as battery recycling of car batteries in the future, most all car batteries are considered “spent” when their battery capacity has been depleted by 20% of its rated capacity.

        Thus a 50 kWh battery pack is now rated at 40 kWh. That seems to be the most used or purchased battery pack in the future electric cars.

        An the average home in the USA (I have no idea what that would be for an Ausie home) is 30 kWh a day or 900 kWh a month.

        But the average American home is very wasteful so if one builds a new energy efficient home that say requires 1/2 the average kWh usage then a 40 kWh battery pack would be a great thing. Also very very “cheap” as it would be bought at scrap battery prices.

        And I suspect that in home use the battery pack should last a minimum of 10 years if not 15 years with generally light usage if the battery pack is sized correctly.

        So a typical EV battery pack will have a 2nd life after it is used for an EV. And maybe after 20-30 years you will actually have to “recycle” it in the conventional sense but taking it apart and recycling the contents of the package.

    • LOL – you’re complaining about comparing apples with apples and you comparing a Suzuki with a Tesla… Tesla is a luxury brand – how about comparing a Suzuki with an iMiev …

  5. In the section “Environmental Benefit”, you mention engine exhaust consisting of C0².
    This is incorrect … combustion engines emit CO (carbon monoxide) which very poisonous and is why people can commit suicide by putting a flexible pipe from the exhaust to the interior of the car; why smog develops in congested cities; why, if you stand in a city centre at a pedestrian crossing waiting for the lights to change and stop the vehicles, you will know, your body will tell you, that you are in a hostile environment.
    Countless do-gooders including most politicians, don’t know the difference between carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Ignorance is bliss sometimes, but not in this case.
    Without CO², plant life would cease to exist and following that, so would all living beings. There is more CO² in the atmosphere than O² (oxygen), which by the way, all plants produce at night time in the conversion of CO².
    So please stick to what you know … be informed … get educated and don’t follow the crowd who invariable are chasing their tails anyway.

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      If your combustion engine is producing CO instead of CO2 then it’s probably not receiving enough O2 from the oxygen piston. The amount of O2 it pumps is determined by the weight of the piston and there is a little reservoir for molten lead on the top. Some of it has probably drained out at some point, so if you just top it up it should be fine. I had the same problem myself when I was living on Venus where there is more CO2 in the atmosphere than O2.

  6. Robert Bandura says:

    Excellent article, but with the majority of our population living in the big cities, there is also enthusiastic people living in country areas. I could not get around in a pure electric car where I live…but my Outlander plugin hybrid (I cannot afford a Tesla) gets me to work and back every day in electric mode, but if I do go to the big smoke (mainly exhaust fumes), the distance is assisted by a reasonable frugile petrol engine, which charges the batteries so I cover 650 km with a 45 litre tank. So hybrids may cover the immediate future, without range anxiety.

  7. Lawrence Coomber says:

    Great article Ron thank you.

    A couple of observations though from a fringe seat dweller within the EV electrical industry in China.

    There is no such technological and practical concept foreseeable or explainable in the short to medium term as a ‘Global EV Omnipresence’ in the same proportions that we are all aware of globally as the current fossil fuel reciprocating engine vehicle genre.

    There is no similarity between EV technology and Cell Phone technology global take up at all. Both industries’ requires different underpinnings to advance; they are very different quantum requirements.

    It is not simply a story about more EV production lines being rolled out (which is not a big deal at all – production lines are mature engineering science, automation centric, and simple to replicate just about anywhere. No it’s much more critical than that non-issue. I will just touch lightly on 2 of many sub topics that do deserve a focussed debate each:

    1. We often hear about the Supply Chain Imperative: this relates to a sustainable and reliable global supply chain of the necessary material resources being economically available to global production centres. No global decision makers are pushing this topic, and for such an important subject (to many it seems) we are not seeing any international press about this either, and nothing much is happening in academia that I am aware of as well. The take away – this subject has no global momentum at all. Without universal national governments policies in place, the supply chains do not exist and can’t be established. But it gets worse – much worse.

    2. The Immutable Energy Equation (I think you know this well Ron). Or the Global Energy Imperative: simply defined as: ‘Abundant, Energy Dense, Highly Reliable, Clean, Safe, LOW COST, Power available to All People and Businesses Everywhere’. This is a critical must have imperative globally before any/all other technologies become plausible or be seriously contemplated as ‘global audience take up’ technologies such as EV’s, and solving the generation imperative technology issues, has the secondary effect of reducing GHG emissions from fossil fuel generation to insignificant proportions.

    But of course there is very little momentum or interest in useful energy dense new age generation technologies scientific research and development outside of China.

    So the 1 percent EV figure you mentioned will rise quite quickly to 5% globally and then flatten out.

    It is currently an ‘expanding boutique audience’ technology and cannot move beyond that unless a lot of expensive infrastructure (think public priorities here) is put in place globally and this of course becomes a priority expenditure consideration for national Governments. It simply can’t happen – yet.

    The global EV industry hurdles are immense and advancement is now totally dependent on the Global Energy Imperative being satisfied fully, and reaching a harmonised level of maturity as a platform to move from. 100 years is a conservative minimum estimate from my perch.

    I am advising the 5 billion poor people of the world without access to reliable electricity to cook dinner (but reading Solar Quotes Blogs of course) to not discard their bicycle tyre pump just yet in the hope of a winning a Tesla in the national lottery; because they won’t be able to charge it up, and being ‘energy starved’ they may have different needs to satisfy before the Tesla becomes interesting.

    Lawrence Coomber

  8. Quick change batteries with built-in power meters allowing you to pay for the power used when you swap would make electric cars more practical.

    • Quick swap was already tried by a company called “A better Place” (I think that is the right name) and they failed.

      The reason was that if was to expensive to build out the swapping stations and they could not raise enough money to do build them. They ha the swap down to less than 5 minutes.

      Tesla also had a battery swap on their cars, but no one seemed to want to take the time out to do it. Therefore, it has been abandoned to the best of my knowledge by Tesla. Since almost every EV owner charges their EV at home at night there really seems to be little reason to swap a battery when in the mooring you wake up with a fully charged battery bank. Also with an at home battery swap you would need t buy another battery! Yikes!

      That said, Tesla is going to introduce a EV semi truck soon. I believe that in the case of a Semi that has to travel much greater distances may get a battery swap feature. This way they could keep on trucking for quite a while. To recharge a 400 kWh battery pack takes hours not minutes and no one is going to want to pay their drivers for sitting around waiting for a HUGE battery pack to recharge. But I could be totally wrong. Only time will tell if I ma right or wrong.

    • Jack Wallace says:

      Except for the pro0fit-margins of the suppliers/distributors of the quick-change batteries!

  9. we have enough stored oil to last a long time but the UK is intending to ban the sale of NEW petrol/diesel cars by 2040.
    Electric cars will slowly become more popular – but we obviously need the infrastructure in place to charge them.
    Maybe if batteries weren’t so heavy you could charge a spare set during the day from PV and physically replace them – or just buy 2 cars and charge the second one during the day!

    • People who charge only by PV will have to have a different charging strategy than this with ” unlimited” storage by having a grid connection.

      Indeed one will need to have a 2nd EV or a 2nd battery pack to catch all the sunshine during he day so you can use that sunshine at night!

  10. “…we obviously need the infrastructure in place to charge them…”

    Fortunately in SWWA it’s already there (thanks in part to RACWA).

    Tesla is committed to increasing infrastructure world-wide. Some supermarkets abroad already have (multiple) free charging stations in their car parks. It’s an incentive to shop there. This may become commonplace… .

    At present, many WA wineries and winery restaurants are happy to let us charge our eBikes free-of-charge.* We envisage charging stations for EVs being initiated at such venues soon. In the Okanagan and Oregon last year, we _often_ saw EV charging stations… especially around Portland itself.
    Couldn’t get my missus out of the Tesla X… but the Australian price is hard to justify.

    * We get around 90 kms+ out of a 13c charge. That’s a healthy MPG!~

  11. Is there any issue with the resources of metals, rare earths and other materials needed to produce that many electric or hybrid car batteries?
    Some Blogger on a finance site I used read kept asserting that scarcity of these materials would be a severely limiting factor. He had been a director of a battery company so seemed to have some credibility, but I really don’t know.

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      There’s nothing that will kill electric cars due to scarcity. Lithium is not that rare. Cobolt is used in many cells but isn’t required. What happens to the price of copper will be interesting as the cost of most metals has been trending down. But basically, if there is a shortage or bottle neck prices go up leading to increased production or the use of substitutes. So there should be no hard limits to electrifying ground transport.

      And if cars drive themselves we might end up only making far fewer than the 70+ million a year we currently do, which will help reduce the need for resources.

  12. Howard Patrick says:

    Great article – I think a lot more will be seen of people installing PV systems with the charging of their future EV in mind; SolarEdge having already taken this direction.

    A company 24M is aiming for $100 with its battery which is produced at less cost than Tesla/Panasonic and with higher energy density. The Leaf has Nissan/NEC batteries and it is NEC that is evaluating the 24M battery. Might see the next Leaf with same physical size battery pack but significantly increased range.

    Done the track the EV battery will provide energy to the grid in times of peak demand; if the price is right.

    The following concerns 24M; the battery technology being touted for a factory in Darwin.

  13. Yes electric cars are coming. But will the average joe be able to buy one.
    Noooooooooooooooooooo. Petrol will still be cheaper for the next 20 years.
    Breath in smoke out he he.

    • Well guess what! you can buy a used EV with very low milage for less than $6000 USD.

      Please do not tell people that the “average Joe” will not be able to buy one. They are a great deal today and prices will continue to fall for used EV’s because the market does not know how to price them. That is an advantage for the “average Joe”

      The problem with the “average Joe” is that they have been led to believe, like you, that EV’s are to expensive to buy for the “average Joe” when indeed used Evs are very affordable.

  14. Whilst the article went into the relative costings per km for Tesla cars, I suggest that the article would be enhanced by including per km costings comparisons of other brands, like the Nissan Leaf. I think the Nissan leaf has a range of about 200km, and is expected to cost about 20K AUD, so a small fleet of them could be had for the price of a Tesla cart. That would then allow, as one person suggested, using one car while a second one is soaking up the sun.

    And, the Nissan Leaf appears to be a Wonder Car, in terms of capability and endurance – see http://reneweconomy.com.au/modified-nissan-leaf-become-first-electric-vehicle-complete-mongol-rally-75337/

    One thing that gets me, is that, whilst Australia hosts an annual international solar powered vehicle rally, that has solar panels on the vehicles, none of these commercial electric vehicles, seems to have the equivalent.

    Most people reading this, would probably be too young to remember a television series, broadcast about 40-45 years ago, named Logan’s run, which featured (that many people have probably forgotten) a hovercraft that was powered solely by photovoltaic panels (so, they could only travel during bright daylight). Why these new, electric vehicles, do not have an equivalent; photovoltaic panels generating electricity, on the upward facing surfaces of the vehicles, so that, while the vehicles are moving, and, sitting still, during daylight hours, at least some charging of the battery (a battery is a system of cells, so, each vehicle has a single battery, as a collection of cells) could be occurring, to, amongst other things, increase the range of the vehicle, is not explained.

    • Aaron Murphy says:

      Those solar cars are usually extremely light, single person vehicles with poor performance. They are designed to literally use as little power as possible and to maximise solar surface area.
      The reason highway-capable electric vehicles do not have solar panels is because there is not enough surface area to generate enough power to do anything more than run the air con and radio (if that). The added weight of the solar panel also reduces the cars efficiency somewhat.
      Also, would anybody buy a car covered in solar panels for their daily driver?

      If solar panels were lighter, or somehow solar paint was created, there wouldn’t be any issues. But right now, they aren’t going to help the car much in terms of range or energy cost savings.

      • “…If solar panels were lighter, or somehow solar paint was created…”

        That was Dyesol’s plan, over two decades ago. They proposed that sprayed onto any surface (didn’t need to be flat) their ‘dye’ would become a solar panel. They’re still working on it… .

        At a time when virtually anything we can imagine will almost certainly be achievable, it’s an interesting proposition. I’ve recharged my car’s 12v battery from a small panel atop the dashboard, for the last decade.

        And while camping, we’ve noticed many other grey nomads using solar panels to (re)power a Thumper (or similar), which runs all (y)our lights, fridge/freezer, laptops, iPads, etc., etc. Just a decade ago, I couldn’t have imagined this kind of independence, far from civilisation.

        No wonder Musk recently advocated fiction reading, as a mind-expanding vehicle. Seems to work for him!~

  15. Range is really almost a non issue because the average person, again in the USA, drives an average of 40 Mile RT.

    Thus my Mitsubishi MIEV works fine for me with a range of 50-60 miles. We also have hybrid but we use the EV 98% o fetch time. The Hybrid is leased and we use it of strip that i obeying the range if the EV. The only real advantage of an long range EV for most people is that they do not have to charge it every day. But for someone who is off grid charging a little each day may work much better than trying to fill it up all in one go.

    But almost every person that has never owned an EV seems to believe that range is a big issues with EV’s when in reality i tis definitely not of rtes AVERAGE person. But their again an EV is not for EVERYONE but of most people they work fine.

    One other thing that you have not posted out is that 98% of people who own EV’s change them form home, overnight. Unlike an ICE you wake up with a full tank of fuel.

  16. Regarding the post by Aaron Murphy, with


    The reason highway-capable electric vehicles do not have solar panels is because there is not enough surface area to generate enough power to do anything more than run the air con and radio (if that).

    I expect that a car air conditioner would drain quite a bit of power, in an electric car (and not impact on the performance of a car with a diesel engine > 2l), and so, if adding solar panels would cover that, especially here in WA, they would be worthwhile.

    But, with a car that would, without extra input, have a range of 200-500km, then, in the time taken to cover that distance, 1kW of solar panels on the roof and bonnet and boot (and, sides?), could increase the range somewhat, could they not?

  17. For people who are interested in the actual mechanics of building a DIY electric vehicle, rather than speculating how many green angels can dance on the head of Tesla 3 battery pack – may I suggest looking at : http://electricvogue.blogspot.com.au/

    That blog describes a project to convert his 1965 Vogue to battery power. Eight years down the track he has covered over 30,000 kilometres in it.

  18. Chris Thaler says:

    Just one smallish problem, how far will I be able to tow my 2.4 Tonne caravan from Alice Springs along the Tanami (highway) Track towards Halls Creek (1000 Km) before my electric tow vehicle requires a full recharge. Not much out there between Yuendemu and Bililuna.

  19. Thank you for a good article. We have recently purchased a Toyota Camry Hybrid Altise 2.5L vehicle to replace our 3.0L petrol Camry. I currently get around 4.2 liters on highway conditions and usually travel 900 to 1000 klms per tank of petrol. Not bad for a 2.5L.

  20. Yeah, that’s impressive!~

    The technology is improving every day. Our eBikes manage almost 100 kms on a recharge, but this item which I just read with interest, indicates EVs’ future potential, as batteries evolve:

    http://www.bike-eu.com/home/nieuws/2017/9/tesla-e-car-battery-technology-now-arriving-in-e-bikes-10131513

    Double the kms… 🙂

  21. A valid problem Chris, so a current electric vehicle is probably not a good choice for you. However, the vast majority of people in Australia do not live in Alice Springs or own a 2.4 tonne caravan. The vast majority of people live in a city & only drive a short distance each day. For them an electric vehicle is not a problem at all.

  22. My Tesla Model S has done just under 100,000km. All batteries have an initial degradation in the first few thousand km of around 4-5%. Mine is still stable around this mark. I expect that a replacement battery will be quite inexpensive by the time my battery needs replacing

  23. Judging by some of the comments here and on other blogs, a lot of people still need to be educated on electric cars. Generally when I edumacate people, their last response in the conversation is “but what about the noise of a V8 engine?” I tell them they can put on a V8 soundtrack in their electric car.

    Even fossil fuel providers are seeing the writing on the wall. Shell is planning “no petrol” fuel station: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/09/23/plans-uks-first-no-petrol-station-journey-towards-clean-motoring/

    Breakthrough on lithium batteries from the guy who invented lithium batteries in the first place. Faster charge, more cycles, more charge, safer: http://reneweconomy.com.au/battery-breakthrough-by-94yo-inventor-addresses-costs-and-life-cycle-20181/

    Elon Musk teasing Tesla testing new battery chemistry http://bgr.com/2017/08/04/elon-musk-tesla-battery-research-breakthrough/

    Electric and battery technology is not standing still. Unlike the internal combustion engine which is essentially the same thing it was 100 years ago. Sure, incremental improvements have been made to ICE over the last 100 years but an ICE is still essentially the same as it was 100 years ago. Electric cars have only just begun!

    Besides, electrical cars allow for exciting things like spherical tyres. Goodyear concept tyre. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSFYwDDVgac. I imagine magnets would be used to control the tyre which requires electricity, fossil fuel would not be able to do it.

    An engineer once told me any problem can be solved – you just need to throw enough smart people, time and money in a room and the engineers will make it work.

    To all you naysayers, start having a bit of optimism in your life.

  24. You should mention AGL’s electric car plan. All you can charge for $1 / day.

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      There’s a link in the article to AGL’s $1 a day plan, although it’s pretty well hidden. But I’ll mention it in more detail when I get around to writing an article specifically on charging electric cars with solar and other options.

  25. Great article. As EV’s and big storage systems proliferate, the need for reliable solar will be that much more desired, also. I think the days of the centralized power topology for solar PV are nearing an end — AC Modules which decentralize the power topology will be the preferred solution. Enphase and SunPower are pushing AC Modules; Enphase now has 6 panel partners — Jinko Solar, LG, Waaree Energies, SolarWorld-USA, Mission Solar Energy, and Tindo Solar using their microinverters to produce AC Modules. SunPower’s AC module has gone from 67% to almost 90% of the company’s residential PV product portfolio. AC Modules offer reliability, fault tolerance, and besides that, they offer much quicker installation times and manpower cos savings. FOr those new to the concept, an AC Module is the combination of the solar panel and the solar electronics into a single product SKU — no longer will installers shop for panels and electronics separately — makes purchasing easier, less mistakes, higher efficiency.

  26. I question how many people base their buying decisions on economics and fuel economy. The proliferation of SUVs over the last 10 years would suggest that it is not anywhere near a dominant factor in purchase. A lot of people are driving around in vehicles that are grossly oversized for their everyday needs. In fact the buying decisions for these (based on the marketing) is often the infrequent use cases such as camping or carrying a kayak.

    There seems to be an assumption in the article that internal combustion engine technology has reached an efficiency plateau. Competition does amazing things for innovation and the ICE isn’t going to just rollover.

    I’m in the camp of EV winning the day but it taking a lot longer than say 5-10 years which this sort of article seems to imply.

  27. Jack Wallace says:

    Back to the Future? —> Electric vehicles first appeared in the mid-19th century. An electric vehicle held the vehicular land speed record until around 1900. The high cost, low top speed, and short range of battery electric vehicles, compared to later internal combustion engine vehicles, led to a worldwide decline in their use; although electric vehicles have continued to be used in the form of electric trains and other niche uses.

    Now all we need is to build tall clock-towers all over the joint and figure out exactly when lightning will strike them! 🙂

  28. @ Ronald — Ronnie, Ronnie, Ronnie… we’ve all been waiting for your comments on the news that Australia could go 100% solar if we developed a smidgeon of the 400 billion potential pumped hydro sites… er … 22,000 potential pumped hydro sites – https://theconversation.com/want-energy-storage-here-are-22-000-sites-for-pumped-hydro-across-australia-84275

    Why are you keeping us waiting? Why? Why? Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy? [turns off drama queen mode]

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Well, more energy storage would be nice, but at current costs often doesn’t make much sense unless the storage can provide services other than electricity arbitrage, such as ancillary services, avoided new transmission lines, etc. What we should be doing is rapidly expanding renewable capacity and if a small portion is lost due to transmission bottlenecks and lack of storage that is a small loss compared to the ice caps.

      I may get write about this at some point that hopefully won’t be too far distant.

  29. One cost of petrol cars not factored into the equation (admittedly, this is a societal-level cost rather than a cost to the individual) is the cost to human health of petrol cars.

    Ronald mentions it a couple of times, for instance, when he writes “When it comes to toxins directly released into the atmosphere by a vehicle, electric cars emit none.”

    Combustion of hydrocarbons releases volatile organic compounds, Sulphur Oxides, Nitrous Oxides and particulate matter (super-tiny-tiny-particles). They’re all appallingly dangerous to human health (and animal and plant health). They cause heart disease, cancers and respiratory illnesses. In the marine shipping industry, there was an estimate in either 2008 or 2012 (I forget which) that emissions from ships cause an estimated mortality of 60,000 people a year. It’s probably much more by now.

    Every premature death is an appalling and preventable human tragedy. Economically, that’s God-alone-knows-how-much-costs in terms of lost productivity, lost taxes, lost output. Then there are the direct payable costs of healthcare, drugs, palliative care, funeral needs.

    And, just to re-state, every death is a tragedy. Children with out parents. Grandchildren without grandparents. Brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, all lost. The scale of the human grief and mourning is uncountable and tragic beyond measure. On compassionate and moral grounds alone, governments should be moving fast to encourage the take up of electric cars.

  30. Saltypete says:

    Looking, reading, waiting. I have seen enough of what is going on that I am not planning to buy another ICE car – ever. I do not think that I am alone in this. Also not in any particular hurry. My low ikm commode is probably heading toward scrap value even more quickly. Lots of brands are gearing up for a good spread of electric models by 2020. As this nears I think that there will be increased buyer resistance to ICE car purchases.

    Recharging on interstate travel is going to be a bonanza for some places. Having travellers captive for at least 30 mins is going to favour quality meal and beverage service. I think that there are lots of other changes eg social licence to take deep sea oil reserves that will start to play out.

    It’s going to an interesting 2020 to 2025….,

  31. Saltypete – if you have an ice car, I expect that it would be pretty cold and uncomfortable.

    In researching the Nissan Leaf cars, they appear to be only available with an automatic transmission.

    Do electric cars come win manual transmissions?

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Call me suspicious, but I suspect you know ICE stands for Internal Combustion Engine.

      Electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf don’t come with automatic transmission they come with no transmission and have a single fixed gear. This is another piece of expensive equipment electric cars can do without. The old Tesla Roadster has 2 gears and I believe the electric motor in the BMW i8 has 2 gears, but that’s probably it. There’s no need for a reverse gear either, as the motor can be spun backwards.

  32. That last line of my last previous message, should have been

    Do electric cars come with manual transmissions?

    UPDATE 7th Oct:

    In researching the Nissan Leaf cars, they appear to be only available
    with an automatic transmission.”

    comes from search results from
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&biw=&bih=&q=%22nissan+leaf%22+%22for+sale%22+australia&btnG=Google+Search&gbv=1

    with the results including

    https://www.carsguide.com.au/buy-a-car/all-new-and-used/all-states/all-locations/all-bodytypes/nissan_leaf

    http://www.drive.com.au/listings/buy-used-cars/australia/nissan/leaf

    From what you have said, the “automatic” transmission that is
    specified in the advertisements, appears to mean more a “Continuously
    Variable Transmission”, but, like in the Star Trekking Across The
    Universe song, “Always going forward, because we can’t find reverse”
    (or something like that).

  33. “Call me suspicious, but I suspect you know ICE stands for Internal Combustion Engine. ”

    ICE/ice means many things that are not immediately obvious.

    In relation to cellphones, I do not remember for what, the “I” in “ICE”, stands, but, an international convention (or so, I believe), is to enter into a cellphone “Contacts” directory, “ICE” as the name for the first person to call in the case of an emergency, such as where the cellphone user is found unconscious or dead, or, otherwise incommunicable, and someone needs to be contacted, to inform them, and to identify the incommunicable cellphone possessor..

    “ice is also used, in these days of increasing bastardisation of the English language, to refer to the narcotic drug also known as methylamphetamine, in which case, an “ICE car” could draw the attention of the DEA and other acronyms, in the USA, and the AFP and all kinds of other acronyms, in COTUSA (= Countries Outside The USA).

    The gratuitous use of acronyms, in order to be obscurantist, simply obstructs communication.

    • Saltypete says:

      Except that the word next to ICE is car……..
      If you read a little more widely you will find that this acronym is quite commonly used in the context of manufacturers moving to electric vehicles.
      I apologise for challenging a respondent….

  34. In thinking further about it, I think that, for cellphones, “ICE” represents ICoE” = In Case of Emergency”.

  35. Electric chain saw are NOT crap. I have two and would NEVER go back to a gas powered change saw. The fuel is free (solar), the chain oil is not. Never have any issues starting in in the coldest weather. I plan to build a potable unit I can take in the woods with me that should work great. The world is going all electric, Get used to it. GAS powered chain saws will be history in 10 years or less as will gas powered lawn mowers. Thank goodness for that!

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