Electric Cars Vs Petrol Cars: How Much Can You Save?

The next new car you buy should be electric. 

I’m serious about this.  I’m willing to include fuel-efficient hybrids in my advice for now, but anyone who’s not in the habit of chucking laps around the Strzelecki Desert should consider an all-electric car next time they’re looking to buy a new vehicle or a pricey second hand one.

There’s a sound financial reason why and that’s the low running costs of EVs (Electric Vehicles).

The fact electric cars are cheap to run isn’t news.  It’s easy to find articles on the internet saying this.  But a plentiful portion of the population remains unaware of how large the savings can be, especially when the EV is at least partially charged by a rooftop solar power system. 

So I’ve decided to throw my hat in the ring and give my own estimate.  (My hat is easy to recognize.  It’s made of chocolate in case I have to eat it.)  Even I was impressed by what I found.  Over 10 years, the savings on fuel and servicing — compared to running the average Australian passenger car with $1.50 a litre petrol — comes to around $20,000. 

Resale Price Of Conventional Cars Will Plummet

If you buy a conventional car instead, not only will you miss out on these savings, I’m certain your vehicle’s value will soon plummet as EVs destroy demand for internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

Second-hand cars currently command high prices thanks to the pandemic, but the next few months may be your last chance to unload a petrol or diesel-powered car at a good price.  We’ve seen Tesla electric cars drive down the resale value of luxury cars they were competing with over the past few years.  Now the Tesla Model 3 has fallen in price and more affordable electric cars are becoming available, we’ll see the same happen with mid-range and lower cost conventional cars.  

Australians already recognize the advantages of EVs.  This CarsGuide article says the Tesla Model 3 may outsell Toyota Camry this year.  I’m tempted to buy a Tesla Model 3 myself.  The only thing holding me back is — if I buy a nice car, I’ll need a nice place to keep it and next thing you know, I’ll have spent over $200 renovating my home1.

Tesla Model 3

A Tesla Model 3 with some Snowtown wind turbines in the background.

The Electric Vehicle Council Calculator

I was going to refer you all to the Electric Vehicle Council EV Cost Calculator.  It’s good for estimating the running costs of EVs versus conventional cars across Australia under various conditions.  But it had better be good, as we all paid for it through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. 

Unfortunately, it’s been down all weekend, so I can’t tell you how close its figures come to my own2.  But from what I can remember, back in the days when it worked — Friday was one of them — it was pretty good.

Making My Own Estimate

I will estimate how much it costs to charge and service an EV driven 12,600 km per year.  This is the average for Australian passenger cars in the 2017/18 financial year.  I chose the year so the result won’t be affected by the pandemic3.  I’ll compare it to costs for the average Australian petrol-powered passenger car driven the same distance. 

To do this, I’ll need figures for…

  • The cost of electricity — both from the grid and rooftop solar panels.
  • The range an EV gains when charged with 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity.
  • Annual servicing costs. 

I’m going to assume the cost of replacing tyres is the same for both types of vehicles and ignore that expense.  I’ll also assume they don’t smack into anything and not account for crash repairs.  Another assumption is they won’t break down out of warranty and leave the owner out of pocket for repairs.  Because very little can go wrong with an electric car, this is a reasonable assumption.

EV Subsidies & Road Taxes

At the State and Territory level, various subsidies have been introduced for EVs:

  • NSW:  $3,000 off 25,000 EVs with a purchase price of $68,750 or less plus no stamp duty for EVs up to $78,000 for a maximum reduction of $5,540 in total.
  • SA:  $3,000 off the purchase price for 7,000 EVs with a purchase price of $68,740 or less.
  • VIC:  $3,000 off purchase price for over 20,000 EVs up to $68,740 or less.

Counter-productively, these three states have also put taxes on EVs that will — to start with — be used to pay for subsidies on EVs.  This is very stupid.  It’s not even robbing Peter to pay Paul. It’s robbing Peter to pay Peter while charging Peter for the administration costs of robbing her4.  

The tax will be a per km charge for full EVs and plug-in hybrids:

  • Plug-in hybrid:  2 cents per km
  • Full electric vehicle:  2.5 cents per km.

Fortunately, SA and NSW are unlikely to introduce their tax for several years, but you already have to shell out in Victoria if you have an electric vehicle.

You may get some consolation from the fact if you buy an EV now, a $3,000 subsidy will cover the cost of a full EV’s road tax for 9.5 years if driven the average distance for a passenger car.  Because many who buy new cars don’t keep them that long, the road tax for your first EV purchase will be more than covered for most — provided you don’t wait too long and miss out on the subsidy. 

Australian-made electric vehicle

EVen Australian made EVs will have to pay the tax.

Electricity Costs

Electricity costs aren’t difficult to find.  The SolarQuotes Electricity Retailer Comparison page shows what’s on offer across Australia.  Plans with the following grid electricity charges and solar feed-in tariffs in cents per kilowatt-hour are currently available:

  • Adelaide: Grid 32 cents,  Solar feed-in 12 cents
  • Brisbane: Grid 19 cents,  Solar feed-in 11 cents
  • Canberra: Grid 25 cents,  Solar feed-in 10 cents
  • Darwin: Grid 29 cents,  Solar feed-in 8 cents
  • Hobart: Grid 25 cents,  Solar feed-in 10 cents
  • Melbourne: Grid 20 cents,  Solar feed-in 10 cents
  • Perth: Grid 29 cents,  Solar feed-in 4 cents
  • Sydney: Grid 24 cents,  Solar feed-in 12 cents

To keep things manageable, I’m only considering flat tariffs, but if you have a time-of-use tariff and take care to mostly only charge during off-peak periods, the cost of grid electricity can be considerably less.  You may also be able to find special offers for EV charging.

If you don’t have solar, you may be able to find a flat tariff plan with slightly lower grid electricity charges than these, but I’m only looking at plans that are good for homes with solar power systems. 

Range Per Kilowatt-Hour

When I drove a Tesla Model 3 I averaged 1 km of driving for every 0.145 kilowatt-hours of energy drained from the battery pack.  This gives an average of 6.9 kilometres per kilowatt-hour.  But a home EV charger is only around 85-88% efficient5. So, assuming the charger I used was 88% efficient, that’s 6 km of range for every kilowatt-hour of electricity used to charge the EV.

Tesla Model 3 owners have told me they use less energy per km on average than I did.  There are also more energy-efficient electric cars such as the Hyundai Ioniq, which appears to manage 7.1 km per kilowatt-hour around town if 88% efficient charging is used.  So a figure of 6 km of range per kilowatt-hour used to charge the car is reasonable, even if the average charging efficiency is worse than 88%.  The Tesla Model 3 is also high performance with plenty of interior and cargo space, so it’s fair to compare it to a petrol-powered passenger car with average fuel efficiency.   

Petrol Cost Per KM

The average Australian passenger car consumes 11.1 litres of petrol per 100 km.  That comes to a lousy 9 km per litre.  Australian vehicle fuel efficiency is now worse than in the United States and has been for years.  This is because the US has vehicle fuel efficiency standards, and we don’t. 

This is a clear example of how our Federal Government is dumber than a sack full of hammers used for hot air balloon ballast.  The US imports around 24% of its oil and have fuel efficiency standards, while Australia imports 87% and has none.

Petrol is $1.66 at the moment, but I’m going to assume it will average $1.50 per litre.  This will make the fuel cost per km 16.7 cents. 

As electric cars increase in number, the demand for oil will decrease, and this has the potential to push down the oil price and make conventional cars cheaper to run. But, on the other hand, fossil fuels may be hit with carbon and pollution charges that push up their prices. 

Cost Of Grid Charging

If an EV gains 6 km of range from 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity, the energy cost per km will be its cost divided by 6.  If grid electricity is used at 24 cents per kilowatt-hour, the energy cost will be 4 cents per km.  That’s less than one-quarter of the 16.7 cents per km cost of petrol. 

On average, an EV will consume 5.8 kilowatt-hours per day.  These days only four solar panels can provide that per average day.  But, in practice, you’ll want a lot more than that.  Especially if you get two electric cars.

Grid+Solar Charging

If energy from rooftop solar panels is used to charge an EV, the cost per km is even lower6.  As the household won’t receive the solar feed-in tariff they would if the energy had been sent into the grid, charging with 1 kilowatt-hour from solar energy effectively costs the solar feed-in tariff.

Provided they haven’t installed undersized solar systems, many households will be able to charge their EVs with 50% or more solar energy.  This is because plenty of cars are parked at home during the day for long enough to make this possible.

Some appear to think almost every car is driven to work or a train station in the morning and left there all day, making it unavailable for home solar charging.  While this is true on weekdays for many passenger cars, it was only 50% before the pandemic and will be less now working at home is more common.

The graph below shows the energy cost per km for the average Australian petrol-powered car compared to an EV in each capital.  The costs in cents per km for EVs are in dark green for charged 100% from the grid, and light green for 50% grid charged and 50% charged by rooftop solar power:

Energy costs cents per kilometre - petrol vs. electric cars

As you can see, even in the most expensive cases — 100% grid charging in Darwin and Perth — the cost of using petrol is three and a half times higher.  In the lowest cost situations — 50% grid + 50% solar charging in Brisbane and Melbourne — the cost of petrol is over six and a half times higher.

90% Solar Charging

People with EVs that are often parked at home during the day will have the opportunity to charge them with up to 100% rooftop solar energy provided they have a smart charger or another method to ensure they are almost exclusively provided with solar energy. 

While most people won’t manage 100%, as there will be times when they go on long trips and charge away from home, 90% solar power is definitely achievable.  In this case, the cost per kilometre in the different capitals will be:

Charging with 90% rooftop solar power is cheap no matter where you are and cheapest in Perth, where petrol costs 15 times more per km.  This is due to WA’s low feed-in tariff for new solar installations.  It averages around 4 cents through the day but is only 3 cents per kilowatt-hour before 3:00 pm, so if EV charging is done before then, it will only be around 0.9 cents per km.

Cost Of Servicing

There’s a lot of variation in what people pay for car servicing.  My parents pay a few hundred dollars a year, while some regularly fork out over $800 for a single 10,000 km service.  I will assume a reasonably frugal, but not rock bottom annual cost of $400 for conventional car servicing.  This includes the replacement of parts with limited lifespans, such as mufflers. 

The cost of maintenance for electric cars is far less.  Or at least it definitely should be.  Currently, electric car manufacturers seem torn between using low service costs as a selling point and bilking customers out of as much money as they can.  Finn’s Tesla Model S has done 32,000 km, and he has paid nothing for servicing so far. 

I’m going to allow $100 a year for EV servicing.  This should be an overestimate, as very little needs to be done with electric cars.  If you know how to refill the wiper reservoir and check the brake fluid, you should be right for a very long time. 

Annual Cost Petrol Vs. EV

At $1.50 per litre, the cost of driving the average Australian passenger car 12,600 km over a year comes to $2,100.  Adding $400 for servicing brings the total to $2,500.  The graph below shows how this compares to EVs in capital cities with those 100% charged from the grid in dark green and 50% grid + 50% rooftop solar charged in light green:

Annual energy and servicing cost - electric vehicle vs. petrol car

Don’t Worry If You Can’t Charge With 100% Solar

With the electricity plan examples I used, the lowest savings from charging with 50% rooftop solar compared to 100% grid are in Brisbane and come to $84 a year.  Not a huge amount, but still worthwhile.  The greatest savings from 50% rooftop solar charging are in Perth and come to an appreciable $262 a year.  That’s around $2,600 over a decade.    

Annual EV Savings

The graph below shows how much you’ll save per year on energy and service costs by driving an EV.  The dark green columns show savings when charging 100% and light green columns show savings from charging 50% from the grid and 50% from rooftop solar power:

Electric car annual energy and service savings

For EVs 50% charged by rooftop solar, the savings come to over $2,000 per year in every capital except Adelaide.

If you are in Victoria, the EV tax will reduce the savings by $315 a year, but at least that’s a lot less than the $3,000 subsidy available for new EVs in the state.

Annual EV Cost With 90% Solar Charging

To really rub in how cheap running an EV off solar power is, I made the graph below comparing annual energy and service costs for the average petrol passenger car versus an EV 90% charged with rooftop solar panels:

Annual EV cost charged 90% by rooftop solar

When an EV is mostly charged with rooftop solar, its annual running costs are typically less than one-seventh those of the average petrol-powered car.  In Perth, thanks to their low solar feed-in tariff, it’s under one-tenth. 

Drive 25,000 KM A Year?  Double The Savings

The savings above are for EVs driven the national annual average for passenger cars of 12,600 km.  If you drive 25,200 km a year, savings double to around $40,000 over 10 years.  Clearly, an EV is a no brainer for anyone who racks up a lot of kilometres — with a possible exception if they’re racked up driving long distances through the outback.  In that case, you should consider buying a hybrid.  Or possibly a long-range Tesla. 

Comparison With A Small Petrol Car

The average Australian petrol passenger car only gets 9 km per litre.  But if you’re considering buying a small electric car, you may think the appropriate comparison is a small petrol-powered car with higher fuel efficiency.  If the service cost of $400 a year is left the same, the annual running costs of petrol-powered cars with varying fuel efficiencies will be:

  • 9 km per litre (11.1 litres per 100 km) — $2,500
  • 10 km per litre (10 litres per 100 km) — $2,290
  • 15 km per litre (7.5 litres per 100 km) — $1,660
  • 20 km per litre (5 litres per 100 km) — $1,450

Even for a petrol-powered car getting 20 km per litre, which is extremely good if it isn’t a hybrid, the total of its energy and service costs will be double that of an EV that gets 6 km of range per kilowatt-hour.  But note a small EV is likely to be more energy-efficient and have moderately lower running costs.

Electric Mini

The Electric Mini isn’t large, but when I drove this one I got less range per kilowatt-hour than I did in a Tesla Model 3.

Overlooked EV Costs

There are some expenses involved with EVs that are sometimes overlooked.  These include:

  • A home charger
  • A charging cable
  • Potentially higher insurance and repair costs
  • Battery replacement

Home Charger: 

An EV can be charged from a regular, 10A powerpoint, but I recommend getting a home charger.  It’s faster, more efficient, and a smart one will let you maximize your solar self-consumption by giving the option of only charging when your rooftop solar power system is supplying surplus energy.  Having one of these installed may set you back around $1,500.  If you have 3 phase power, I recommend paying a few hundred more for a 3 phase charger.  This will allow faster charging if you’re in a rush. 

Charging Cable:

Some public EV chargers require you to bring your own heavy-duty charging cable.  

Higher Insurance & Repair Costs: 

EVs generally don’t have higher insurance costs than conventional cars, but if you’re willing to spend more to get an EV to take advantage of its lower running costs, your insurance premiums will reflect having a more expensive car.  

I have heard of EV owners being charged ridiculous amounts for repairs, but I’ve heard the same for conventional cars, so I’m not entirely sure there is a large difference here.  But as EVs are fairly new in Australia, this could raise repair costs for those who usually get their spare parts from a wrecker.

Battery Replacement Costs: 

Most EVs have battery warranties that last 7 or 8 years with normal use, and I think few people will want to replace theirs before 10 or more years have passed.  I expect many EVs will keep their original battery packs for 15 years7, but we’ll have to wait and see how that turns out.

So far, none of the people I’ve talked to who are interested in buying a new electric car are much worried about the cost of replacing the battery pack.  

At the moment, the price of EV battery packs is around $140 per kilowatt-hour.  I wouldn’t be surprised if in 10 years electric car manufacturers couldn’t source them for half that amount.  

At $70 per kilowatt-hour, a 50 kilowatt-hour battery pack would cost $3,500.  Whether or not you’d be able to buy a compatible one and have it installed for that much is another question.  But if the manufacturer of your EV wants to charge an outrageous price for a battery pack replacement, in Australia, I expect you’ll be able to get a third party battery installed at a reasonable price.  

Potential Additional EV Savings

I’ve mentioned some EV expenses that are sometimes overlooked, but they also have potential financial benefits that include…

  • EV electricity plans allowing grid charging at greatly reduced cost when wholesale electricity prices are low.
  • Payments for EVs supporting the grid by providing power when it’s in high demand.
  • Far lower wear and tear than internal combustion engine vehicles.

Grid Electricity Prices For EVs May Fall: 

As the amount of renewable energy generation increases, periods where wholesale electricity prices are either low or around zero will increase.  This means electricity retailers are likely to offer plans or options for people with EVs that allow them to charge cheaply at these times.  There may already be offers available for EVs in your area. 

Increasing renewable energy generation also means the long term trend is for both wholesale electricity prices and solar feed-in tariffs to fall.  This will take time as we still have a lot of coal capacity to close down, but in the future self-consuming your solar electricity by using it to charge your car is likely to be an even better idea than it is now.  

Vehicle To Grid Payments (V2G): 

EVs can be paid for supplying energy to the grid when wholesale electricity prices are high.  This is only possible when the EV is plugged in, but most cars spend most of their time parked at home, so there’s plenty of potential to make money this way. 

But while V2G is being trialled in Australia, there are no schemes available for normal EV owners to join at the moment.  I expect this will change soon.  There is far too much money that electricity retailers can potentially rip off from normal Australians for this opportunity to be ignored for long. 

Some EV manufacturers — such as Nissan — are ahead on V2G, while others — such as Tesla — are behind.

EV Motors Don’t Wear Out Like Petrol And Diesel Ones Do:

Internal Combustion Engines wear out and eventually have to be rebuilt or replaced, but electric motors can keep operating for decades without problem with little or no maintenance.  Some electric trains have used the same motor for 80 years and have it rewired every generation or so.  

An electric car that has its battery pack replaced after 10 years will, mechanically, be almost as reliable as a new car.  Almost nothing can go wrong with the motor, and there is nothing that can go wrong with the exhaust system because it doesn’t have one.  The suspension8 and body will still be that of a 10 year old car, but provided it’s not beat up, its resale value should be much higher than for a 10 year old conventional car because it simply won’t develop the mechanical problems a conventional car that age can.

Unless, of course, no one wants to own a car because we’re all using robot taxis by then.

EVs Will Improve But Petrol & Diesel Cars Won’t

EVs are rapidly improving, and within one or two years, there will be more electric vehicle models available with even better specifications.  While I don’t know what will happen with prices in the short term, over time they will fall. 

Some people currently in the market for a new car will be tempted to put off buying an EV until better models are available.  This means they’ll miss out on savings on running costs they could be getting now and may mean they’ll miss out on subsidies.  But they may be happy keeping their conventional car for another year or two until the EV model they want is available.  I don’t recommend buying a new petrol or diesel car now, or even a moderately expensive used one.

Conventional cars won’t hold their value for long.  We’ve already seen the “Tesla Effect“, where Tesla electric cars have caused the resale value of competing luxury cars to suffer extreme shrinkage.  This is happening in Australia now, and as EVs go mainstream it will happen to all makes of internal combustion vehicles.  Anyone who buys a new petrol or diesel car now will see its trade-in value plummet over the next few years.

Your car is probably your second biggest purchase after your house. Avoid it becoming a stranded asset by making your next car an electric vehicle.

And while on the topic of EVs, check out the latest episode of SolarQuotes TV; The Ultimate Guide To Owning An Electric Car in Australia.

Footnotes

  1. I’ll end up spending even more if my son realizes I’m not actually authorized to issue a credit towards an engineering degree if he puts up a new carport.
  2. This isn’t me avoiding work.  I wrote a whole section ready to plug figures into, but it didn’t come online before beer o’clock.
  3. The figure for last financial year was 11,100 km for passenger cars — a 12% reduction.
  4. Peter can be a girl’s name.
  5. I expect EV charging will become more efficient in the future, but we’ll have to see how that goes.
  6. Unless you are one of the decreasing numbers of people with an old, high, solar feed-in tariff locked in.
  7. Electric car batteries are cycled far less than home batteries and so should have a better chance of lasting years past the end of their warranty.
  8. Some electric cars have suffered suspension problems due to the weight of their battery packs, but presumably, manufacturers will make them as durable as conventional cars.  Not out of kindness, but to minimize the number of suspension repairs that have to be done under warranty.
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. Alan Gregory says

    Charging is expensive on public fast chargers, so we avoid those if possible. Having said that, Nissan pay the fast charger bills for the first year! Many (slower) charging points, e.g. those at Tourist Information centres, are free to use, though this might have to change when EVs become more numerous. Charging is often free at EV dealerships.
    Average servicing for our Nissan Leaf has usually cost just under $100 p.a., but of course there can be one year which costs more, e.g. timing belt for an ICE. In our case, the higher cost was due to the need for new wiper blades.

    • This is not correct. Charging at fast chargers costs only a fraction of the cost of petrol. It certainly is not expensive. We charge at fast chargers when we do driving holidays and we save big $$$ on fuel. But, why not charge from solar (as we do 95% of the time) and it’s many time cheaper than petrol – plus zero-emissions.

      • Alan Gregory says

        Fast charging is expensive compared with other charging costs. I wasn’t comparing with petrol. We normally charge from solar.

        • We pay 16 cents/kWh (20 cents – minus the RACQ discount) and I think that’s a bargain. This is considerably cheaper than if I charged at home using grid electricity – plus it’s 100% offset with renewables. It’s a win win.

      • Randy WESTER says

        Charging at public fast DC chargers does cost a fraction of the cost of driving on gasoline, but sometimes that fraction is seven fourths, because there’s little competition in Canada so far.

        We’ve paid up to $20 an hour for a ’50 kw’ charger that actually delivered 32 KW. You get about 5 KM to 1 KWh, so the 32 KW you get for $20 (62.5 cents per KWh) will get you about 160 KM in a Model 3 in cool weather at 90 kph.

        $20 at $1.50 a litre will take a Prius Prime about 302 km at 90 kph in cool weather (22.7 km/l)

        And the Model 3 needed a $614 CHAdeMO adapter, while the Prius doesn’t need a gold plated funnel to go to a small town.

        For overnight charging at home we pay only 20 cents per KWh, with a solar feed in credit in daytime of 7.5 cents.

        Tesla V3 chargers usually deliver 250 KW initially at around 40 cents per minute , so they can be as little as 10 cents per KWh, increasing to 80 cents per KWh if you need to pack in that last 10% to go to 100% charge.

        • “We’ve paid up to $20 an hour for a ’50 kw’ charger that actually delivered 32 KW. You get about 5 KM to 1 KWh, so the 32 KW you get for $20 (62.5 cents per KWh) will get you about 160 KM in a Model 3 in cool weather at 90 kph.”

          I’m unaware of any charging in Australia charging purely in minutes like you suggest. Evie Networkw did have a time and Keh charge but was changed to kWh model.

          “And the Model 3 needed a $614 CHAdeMO adapter, while the Prius doesn’t need a gold plated funnel to go to a small town.”

          In Australia the Model 3 comes with a CCS2 port, do no need for expensive adaptors.

          “Tesla V3 chargers usually deliver 250 KW initially at around 40 cents per minute , so they can be as little as 10 cents per KWh, increasing to 80 cents per KWh if you need to pack in that last 10% to go to 100% charge.”

          Tesla in Australia charge per kWh at 52c.

          • Randy WESTER says

            52 cents per kwh seems a bit extortionate, but at least it’s the same charging connector so you can bounce over to the competition.

            52 cents at 180 wh per km would cost about 9.4 cents per km after the first 400 km, versus 6.6 cents in a Prius Prime, aftwr the first 40 km.

  2. Excellent article thank you Ronald.
    A few qualifications:
    1. Installing a home wall charger only make sense if you have at least 7 kW of PV to spare for hours at a time. The majority of systems installed to date are under this capacity, even without accounting for lower real-time performance. If not, trickle charging at 2 kW makes more sense, environmentally and financially.
    2. To be fair, the cost comparison should recognise depreciation. New ICE cars might depreciate faster now than EVs, but if you already have one and are looking to upgrade, spending an extra say $40,000 will cost you at least 10% of that capital outlay every year in depreciation and potentially foregone earnings elsewhere. If your old ICE car is worth say $20,000 and also depreciates at 10% per year, that’s a difference of roughly $10,000 over five years. Not a dealbreaker for me, but worth factoring in. Of course this will become less of a barrier is the price of EVs drops.
    3. “Some public EV chargers require you to bring your own heavy-duty charging cable.” I think you are conflating public fast (>50 kW) chargers, which are tethered, with slower destination (7-22 kW) chargers, which are not.

    • “Installing a home wall charger only make sense if you have at least 7 kW of PV to spare for hours at a time. The majority of systems installed to date are under this capacity, even without accounting for lower real-time performance. If not, trickle charging at 2 kW makes more sense, environmentally and financially.”

      Why? You can install a Zappi that will follow your exports all day and divert to the car and if need be can use the full 7kW (if your car supports it) to charge the car in a hurry. So a smart charger gives you the best of both worlds.

      This will help the grid especially during the middle of the day on weekends when there is lower demand on the grid and high solar exports.

      • Good point, but at an average installed cost of around $2000 for a smart wall charger, you would need to have at least 5 kW of PV charging the car for a couple of years (?) just to pay off the capital cost versus trickle charging when the sun is shining – if you are at home of course. For sure, Zappis are great tech, so if you’ve got a big PV system, absolutely agree.

    • I disagree. We charge our EV from our 6.6 kW rooftop solar (5 kW inverter), using a Zappi smart solar charger. It’s absolutely brilliant and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Why on earth would anyone use grid electricity if they have the option to only use 100% solar. BTW, EVs are superbly brilliant cars.

      • Not quite sure what you are disagreeing with, because your reply is consistent with what I said earlier about larger systems. Relying on a trickle charger does not mean you are charging from the grid – we do it during the day to charge from PV.

        • You said you need you need “at least 7 kW”. We don’t have this large a system, plus we are limited to 5 kW production (minus what the house is consuming). These days almost all residential rooftop solar installations are for 6.6 kw or above. This is no reason not to charge an EV from solar.

          • Mark Byrne says

            1. I said at least 7; you have 6.6. That’s pretty damn close.
            2. I recognised the value of Zappis but also made the point that they cost extra so that needs to be factored in.
            3. Once again, you can charge an EV from solar without having a wall charger.

          • My off peak tariff is 9.9c and my FIT is 13c. It makes more sense to charge my Tesla at the off peak rates and maximise my FIT returns. Off Peak is 7pm to 7am so I could charge with a 10A socket unless doing a lot of kilometres. I actually schedule the charging on my Tesla Wall Chatger

  3. Patrick Lum says

    Thanks for this informative article. I am looking a building a new home which is only about 500m away from an existing Tesla commercial charger. I am wondering if there is any reason to build a 10A powerpoint home charger at my garage in this new build. This will save me around $1,500 for the installed as per your estimation for a one phase power. However, I will more likely go with a 3 phase power and pay a few hundred more for a 3 phase charger. The only downside of not having a home power charger is that I may not have the ability to have a Vehicle To Grid facility if my future vehicle has this capability. So based on my scenario, would you still recommend that I have a home power charger in my new build in spite of the fact that there is already an existing Tesla commercial charger located only 500m away from my block of land? Thanking you in anticipation.

    • Yes- definitely have your own charging option, though it does NOT need to be fast.
      15A single phase will give most people more than enough. I have never needed more than that, and have never needed to charge from 0 to 100%. Just 40 to 70% would be more typical.

      The Model 3’s max is 32A single phase (about 7kW) or 16A 3phase (about 11kW).

      The only person needing the full 11kW might be an Uber driver who does very big kilometres.

      • Patrick Lum says

        Appreciate your kind reply, Dave. What is your rationale behind your recommendation? I was thinking of charging at the Tesla charger located at the resort 500m away from my new home and not bother having my own unless I can see the benefit of having one. Thanks.

        • Patrick, I suspect the best rationale is your own time & convenience. Even with a charger just 500m away, you still have to drive there, hang about for half an hour or so while the car charges, then drive home. Unlike ICE cars you don’t have to go anywhere special to “fill up”. You can just plug it in when you park in your own driveway or garage & the car will charge while you eat dinner, watch tv or sleep. You lose no time other than the few seconds to plug in.

        • G’day again Patrick
          The benefit is both convenience AND cost.
          I’m not sure what the charger is that’s 500m from you, but if it’s a Supercharger it’s much more expensive than charging at home.
          If it’s a destination charger it may indeed be free, or may be for guests only. (That is what they’re intended for.)
          Who wants to leave their car 500m away for hours while it charges?
          It also may be in use by others when you want to charge.

          It’s also far more convenient at home, because you plug in, set a start or finish time and max desired charge level and let it do it’s thing while you sleep.
          Where are you?
          Example: Superchargers cost 52c/kWh here in SEQ, whereas I can charge off peak at home for 16c/kWh.

          As I mentioned: just a 15A socket in the garage would suffice using the standard supplied car charger.
          In fact, many people get by with just a 10 amp socket.
          (Just 10 amps @240v will give you 2.4kW, and something like about 130 kilometres of added range in eight hours.)

          Another cheap option is buy a 32A tail for the (free) supplied UMC charger, and with just a 32A single phase socket in the garage, you’ll get 7kW rate of charge, (which would more than fill an SR+ from 0 to 100% in eight hours.)

          You will live to regret it if you have no means of charging in your garage.

  4. A great article – thanks Ron.

    I recently bought a Volvo XC60 Recharge plug-in hybrid. A big expense but it should prove very versatile in the long run. It has an electric range of about 40km which is fine for my city driving, and about 700km range from the petrol engine in hybrid mode (~4L/100km country driving).

    On sunny days I am charging the battery from PV solar in about 4 hours (empty to full, 10A 240V outlet in the garage). After several months (with travel restrictions in Greater Sydney) I have used about 20 litres of petrol while clocking up over 1000km – the first fuelling since I bought the car (I topped up the tank at about 2/3rds full).

    Volvo have just announced that the 2022MY will have twice the electric range:
    https://www.volvocars.com/au/about/australia/i-roll-enewsletter/2021/October/range-and-performance-boost-for-90-and-60-recharge-models
    A pity I can’t upgrade mine!

    I like the “hold” function which will hold the battery charge at the current level. I have used this to save charge for when I reach city limits, then switch to electric. The petrol motor will even charge the battery while you drive along. I only wish I could tap in the battery while camping , like some other PHEVs do.

    I expect that many more PHEVs will become available in the next few years, along with pure EVs. The MG brand (from China) already has some impressive models for a similar price to their ICE counterparts. PS Volvo is owned by a Chinese car maker.

    • When (more likely IF) roadside EV chargers become run of the mill, a PHEV makes most sense. Zero fuel for the daily commute, and no range anxiety for the occassional long haul. And, they are designed to be topped up off a standard 10amp 220V wall outlet.

      If you want a larger battery then the numbers start screwing up: 2.5kW chargers are not going to be enough. Can our power girds really delivery that much base load? 10s of 1,000s or millions of EVs sucking up 250kW per home at 6pm when commuters get home?

      Therein lies the short fate of full EVs.

      Our future vehicles won’t be EVs; instead they will be be short/medium range PHEVs with NH3 fuel backup for their long range ICEs.

      • Wrong.

        PHEVS are a fail for lots of reasons including lugging all that extra weight around and the same oil change and other servicing requirements etc as any ICE vehicles.

        Yes, we owned a PHEV for three years, and our service costs were pure extortion. It was good around town on battery, but that didn’t last long and our battery range kept decreasing due to a very poor BMS which kept reducing the battery capacity by a fixed algorithm.

        As for EV charging, time of use charges will mean that virtually everyone will charge from solar if they can, or after midnight when power stations are idling.
        We do either of those depending on circumstances, and weather etc.

      • Geoff Miell says

        skris88,
        You state: “Our future vehicles won’t be EVs; instead they will be be short/medium range PHEVs with NH3 fuel backup for their long range ICEs.

        The evidence/data I see indicates you are flogging a dead horse.
        From a tweet by Transport & Environment on 22 Aug 2017, comparing energy efficiencies:

        BEVs: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _73%
        HFCEVs: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 22%
        Power2Liquid ICEVs: _13%
        https://twitter.com/transenv/status/899976235794788352?lang=en

        You can’t beat the Laws of Physics!

        • Ian Thompson says

          Geoffrey Miell – clearly maths, engineering, and the ability to discriminate misleading information, is not your forte.
          You provide a link to a ‘Transport & Environment’ site, showing a chart that at first blush appears to have been created by some ‘flash Harry’, with little knowledge of real-life conditions.
          If I go through these figures, I find:

          Transmission efficiencies typically as low as 90%, suggest we use 7% losses, see https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-29/sa-businesses-cop-the-cost-of-energy-lost-leaving-the-state/11051718

          This gives a Fuel Production efficiency of perhaps 93%.

          Battery charger efficiencies are up to 93%, down to 39%, some hold 75%, probably closer to 12% losses, see https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2590116819300116
          Battery round-trip efficiencies between 80% and 95%, suggest 92% (8% losses), see https://arena.gov.au/assets/2015/08/battery-test-centre-report-5.pdf
          Large motor drive inverter efficiencies up to 97%, maybe 91% at 12.5% load, suggest 10% losses, see https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy-efficiency/energy-star-canada/about/energy-star-announcements/publications/variable-frequency-drives/application-considerations-and-estimated-savings-for-vfd-drives/15385
          Large motor efficiencies typically vary between 70 and 96%, but down to 40% to 80% when load is only 10-15% of rating, suggesting 75% is more realistic in a mostly part-load automotive application, see https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/motor-efficiency

          When I now factor all these revised factors into the chart, the EV Overall efficiency becomes 0.93 x 0.88 x 0.92 x 0.9 x 0.75 = 56.5%…!

          I my view the error the author has made, is to have used ‘best-case’ figures, for a motor running at its peak efficiency point, for example. No vehicle spends all its life at full load – more typically if cruises along at a small fraction of its rated power and torque most of the time. Under these circumstances, a whole series of parasitic losses (e.g. cooling fans, switching losses, windage losses, etc.) have a disproportionate impact of overall efficiency. I’d agree things will only improve with further development – but their 73% figure is misleading.

          Geoffrey – if you had read some of the tweets, you would have seen that several correspondents thought the chart was ‘one dimensional’ (as did I), and not representative of real-world issues. One commented range, charge time, and vehicle price were deal breakers for many users.

          Yes Geoffrey, I agree ‘You can’t beat the Laws of Physics!’ – however your post has misled by not considering all the issues (of Physics). Surely you realise that the efficiency of conversion is not the ‘be all and end all’ here? Whilst the BEV shows the highest efficiency (even if not as high as you think) – the reality is that it must also carry around a heavy battery – and this will mean more energy will be needed (at the wheels) to drive against increased rolling drag, and the increased inertia loads (agreed partially, but not all, recovered by regenerative braking). Plus, increased tyre wear rates.

          The reality is that you should be considering ‘the cost of transportation’, not just ‘cherry-picking’ those parts that look good for your ‘preferred agenda’. Having said all that, I do agree we will likely ultimately go the way of BEVs – but from a more considered approach.

          • Geoff Miell says

            Ian Thompson,
            You state: “The reality is that you should be considering ‘the cost of transportation’, not just ‘cherry-picking’ those parts that look good for your ‘preferred agenda’.

            And yet I see you’ve just cherry-picked worst-case for BEVs and ignored doing the same treatment for the HFCEVs and P2L ICEVs cases.

            I’d suggest your focus on trying to nit-pick a portion of the Transport & Environment graph fails to comprehend what’s important. Even with your cherry-picked generator-to-wheel energy efficiency calculation for BEVs at 56.5%, it’s still far superior to those of HFCEVs and P2L ICEVs.

            But I’m not just relying on the Transport & Environment generator-to-wheel energy efficiency analysis.
            See: https://theconversation.com/hydrogen-cars-wont-overtake-electric-vehicles-because-theyre-hampered-by-the-laws-of-science-139899
            Also: https://thedriven.io/2021/05/14/why-we-should-use-electric-rather-than-hydrogen-cars/

            You state: “One commented range, charge time, and vehicle price were deal breakers for many users.

            I’d suggest HFCEVs and support infrastructure are significantly more expensive than for BEVs and associated infrastructure. Fuel cell performance deteriorates with age, and there are only three hydrogen refueling stations in Australia (Canberra, Melbourne & Sydney) for specialist fleet cars and these are not open to the public – that’s highly restrictive.
            https://www.drive.com.au/news/australias-third-hydrogen-car-refuelling-station-to-open-within-months-in-brisbane/

            BEV owner/driver Finn Peacock says charge time isn’t an issue, mostly done overnight.
            https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/electric-cars-sqtv10-mb2217/

            IMO, the case for HFCs for light road vehicles just doesn’t stack up. There may perhaps be some argument for long-distance heavy road vehicles.
            https://www.transportenvironment.org/discover/comparing-hydrogen-and-battery-electric-trucks/

          • Geoff Miell says

            Ian Thompson,
            You criticize me, saying I “should be considering ‘the cost of transportation’…” Where’s your analysis, Ian? I don’t see any from you.

            A post by the NRMA in June 2021 looked at the question: Electric vehicles: should I buy an EV? It included:

            In general, electric cars cost substantially less to run (per km) than petrol or diesel versions. In some instances, EVs can cost as little as one third per 100km compared to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, according to a 2019 Federal Government report.

            Plus, running costs will continue to reduce as technology improves. The report estimates that, over a 10-year period, the total cost of owning an EV will be $5,000 less compared to petrol vehicles by 2021, and $11,000 less by 2025. This translates to savings of approximately $1,700 a year by 2030.

            https://www.mynrma.com.au/cars-and-driving/electric-vehicles/buying/should-i-buy-an-ev

            The running cost comparison is with fuel priced at $1.50 per litre, EV charged from grid at $0.18 per kWh (off-peak rate) or $0.09 per kWh (solar feed-in tariff).

            As I highlighted in an earlier comment, Australian fuel prices are expected to reach $2.00 per litre by Christmas 2021, so I’d suggest that makes continued ICEV ownership even less attractive. If fuel prices get to $3 per litre (as some say may perhaps happen by late-2022), and BEV purchase prices fall further, I’d suggest it becomes a ‘no brainer’ for the next new vehicle purchase being a BEV. The sticking point I see is limited BEV choice available in Australia.

            As for the notion of “short/medium range PHEVs with NH3 fuel backup“, I’d suggest the woefully poor generator-to-wheel energy efficiency figure for this type of technology, and the added complexity of a hybrid system, is indicative that running costs for these will be much worse than for BEVs.

        • Ian Thompson says

          So, Geoffrey, are you saying (to borrow from James Patterson) ‘the Earth is flat, the Sun rises in the West, and the Moon is made of blue cheese’ if this is what it takes to suit your ‘preferred Agenda’ (that has already been thoroughly discredited by Nicholas Geary)?

          You state: “And yet I see you’ve just cherry-picked worst-case for BEVs and ignored doing the same treatment for the HFCEVs and P2L ICEVs cases.”

          Wrong, Geoffrey – you really do need to read the contents of my (engineering) references before you make a real fool of yourself – I in fact re-calculated the T&E chart, using middle-of-the-road realistic data – these by no means worst case figures. You MUST know that your Heat-Pump HWS does not always provide peak CoP but its performance degrades at low outside air temperatures (and also as the water heats up). Most people know this. My purpose was to demonstrate that you should be taking more account of engineering reality, and less of ‘snake-oil salesmen’. It was not necessary for me to also recalculate the other columns, as I had already discredited your reference source (which used peak efficiency for everything – obviously not in touch with reality) and HAD ALREADY CONCEDED that the 56.5% figure was still superior – even considering the BEV has still to carry around a heavy battery. Energy efficiency is only part of the equation. But I did note the P2L IC column shows a motor efficiency of 30% – which also appears unrealistically high.

          Recalculating EV ‘worst-case figures’ gives overall efficiency = 0.9 x 0.61 x 0.85 x 0.9 x 0.7 = 29.4%. The reality is going to be somewhere between 29.4% and 73%, so my 57% is not out of the ballpark – and I do concede the actual figure will be a variable about this figure according to use profile.

          I generally agree with your subsequent comments – and the argument for HFCs for long-haul heavy road vehicles (where heavy batteries would detract from their income-earning payload capacity). Bit one-dimensional quoting Finn’s charge-time acceptance though – here in WA I couldn’t even contemplate a long trip to our North-West in a BEV – and even when we get chargers, I’d hate to arrive at a charge station only to find that the bays were all currently occupied. I still think, at present, that range, charge time, and vehicle price issues are real deal breakers for many – and numerous blogs on this site would seem to support this view.

          • Geoff Miell says

            Ian Thompson,
            IMO, your nit-picking on the Transport & Environment figures doesn’t change in any way that generator-to-wheel energy efficiencies for BEVs are undeniably far superior to those of HFCEVs and even better than for Power2Liquid ICEVs. That was my point. IMO, your so-called “engineering reality” is just demonstrating your eagerness for petty one-upmanship.

            You state: “…here in WA I couldn’t even contemplate a long trip to our North-West in a BEV – and even when we get chargers, I’d hate to arrive at a charge station only to find that the bays were all currently occupied. I still think, at present, that range, charge time, and vehicle price issues are real deal breakers for many – and numerous blogs on this site would seem to support this view.

            I think you lack imagination and are engaging in cognitive dissonance on the rapidly changing energy paradigm, much like what’s been happening at the G20 and in Glasgow.
            http://www.climatecodered.org/2021/11/with-net-zero-2050-and-15c-in-same.html

            Published in the Oil & Gas Journal on Oct 29 was a post titled Morgan Stanley: Global oil supply likely to peak earlier than demand, which quotes some of a recent Morgan Stanley research note (bold text my emphasis):

            “In the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s ‘Net Zero’ scenario, oil demand peaks much earlier and falls sharply to 72 million b/d 2030. Yet, even in that scenario, the IEA estimates that the oil industry needs to invest $365 billion per year. Last year, global capex fell to $350 billion and has not rebounded in 2021, and probably won’t in 2022 either. If capex stays stable at current levels, global oil supply will likely roll over around 2024 and then decline sharply thereafter.

            https://www.ogj.com/general-interest/economics-markets/article/14213072/morgan-stanley-global-oil-supply-likely-to-peak-earlier-than-demand

            Fuel prices are expected to be $2 per litre by Christmas 2021; perhaps $3 by late-2022? Where will fuel prices be at in 2023, 2024, and 2025? I’d suggest if a sharp decline in global oil supplies begins as Morgan Stanley suggests in the next few years, then you probably won’t be contemplating a long trip anywhere in your ICEV.

          • Ian Thompson says

            Geoffrey Miell

            You state: “Ian, why are you advocating delay, delay, DELAY in rapidly reducing our GHG emissions?”.

            1. Wrong again, Geoffrey – I am not, and have NEVER, AT ANY TIME suggested we should delay reducing GHG emissions – you are making this up, to suit your ‘preferred Agenda’.

            2. Whilst I do agree with much of what you say, I am concerned, however, that much of your thoroughly discredited ‘preferred Agenda’ will have the effect of INCREASING our production of GHG emissions, and/or of DELAYING the reduction of GHGs in the short term.

            You state: “IMO, your nit-picking…your so-called “engineering reality” is just demonstrating your eagerness for petty one-upmanship”.

            1. I guess your opinion shouldn’t surprise me – it’s apparent you lack either the technical skills to extrapolate to the ‘bigger picture’, are having difficulties with comprehension as Nicholas Geary has already alluded to, or you are simply ‘playing dumb’ for shallow political purposes.

            2. I do agree with your statement “…it’s still far superior to those of HFCEVs and P2L ICEVs”, but you appear to have missed that I had already acknowledged this. My point, that you have also again forgotten, was NOT one-upmanship, but rather pointing out that you continue to reference sites that severely lack technical depth and accuracy.

            3. So, Geoffrey, are you suggesting we should accept shabby thinking? For my part, I think it important that we get things ‘right’ – and the shift from a BEV efficiency from 73% to 57% is significant, “IF” you are not too narrow-focused or lack engineering acumen.

            In previous posts, Ronald Brakels has quite clearly indicated, I believe:

            1. Unscrupulous Solar Vendors have used ‘blended’ calculations, to sell batteries by ‘faking’ the energy cost savings benefits, whereas PV-alone will provide a better return, and

            2. Taking your Rooftop PV ‘off-grid’ will result in increased CO2 emissions – as this will prevent your excess energy (FiT) from being used elsewhere to offset Coal or NG generation.

            For example, I (mostly) agree with your statement (and that of the NRMA), that: “If the Tesla Model S is charged from zero GHG emissions generators then the emissions are zero”. Although I did note they show an IC fuel use of 9L/100km for comparison purposes (this is very much a ‘gas-guzzler’, and I’d think not too representative of our actual passenger vehicle fleet). The provisos (you know, the conditional “IF” that Nicholas Geary had to correct you about previously), are:

            1. There is no such thing as a ‘zero GHG generator’ – they are all ‘low GHG’,

            2. Presently, ALL BEVs are effectively charged from 100% coal/NG sources, and

            3. Your quoted sources either make claims of ‘zero emissions’ for BEVs, or use a fake, shonky method of ‘blending’ coal with renewable power.

            Perhaps I can help you with a better understanding? If you will let me?

            As I write this, Australia’s total electricity Demand is ~ 27.7 GW. About 10.5 GW is coming from wind and PV, 2.0 GW from Hydro, and the balance (~ 15.2 GW) from coal and NG. For the sake of calculation simplicity, let us say we now take a very large number if petrol vehicles of the road (obviously having no impact of electricity savings) and replace them with BEVs – and that there are now sufficient BEVs on charge, to add an additional Demand of say 2 GW.

            Where does the extra 2 GW Generation come from, to balance this extra Demand? There appear to be only 3 alternatives:

            1. The FF generator outputs are ramped up to cover the additional demand – in which case the BEVs are being charged 100% from coal and/or NG-fired thermal sources, with low overall thermal efficiency (I’d think this is currently the most likely scenario), or

            2. The Renewable sources have been sufficiently curtailed, that they can now provide the extra demand (increasing from 10.5 GW to 12.5 GW) within their current capacity limits, or

            3. The extra Demand comes from a ‘blend’ of items 1 & 2 above.

            Perhaps, Geoffrey, you can see my point?

            Either renewable-sourced capacity is presently being spilled (wasted) if favour or FF sources – in which case our focus should be or redressing this egregious failure to reduce CO2 emissions (alternatives 2 & 3 above, and what a huge barrier this would be for further new renewable investments) – or we ARE charging BEVs with 100% FF sourced energy as I suspect – in which case we had better be damned sure these BEVs, despite there much higher efficiency (not including the coal generation efficiency losses), will not be emitting MORE CO2 than the petrol cars they replace.

            Obviously, Geoffrey, this situation will change soon – but perhaps not tomorrow – and I’d be more inclined to listen to what Nicholas Geary has had to say about the time-frame of this than you (no disrespect – but he DOES appear to have a far better grip on the social and political realities).

            Geoffrey – I had presented detailed calculations previously, that show petrol IC vehicles are highly likely to emit significantly less CO2, than Coal-charged BEVs – more so now the BEV efficiencies have been recalculated down, hence my concern (NOT simple point-scoring), that we get these numbers correct. Per kWh produced, petrol generates considerably less CO2 than coal – and our Australian coal stations are notoriously inefficient.

            So, despite the issues of cost, depreciation, fuel prices, etc., I’m saying that until we have sufficient excess renewable sources to charge our BEVs (not simply diverting home rooftop PV from otherwise offsetting FF generation), the lowest CO2 generating option is to DELAY replacing our vehicles with BEVs for the interim.
            Alternatively, if we DO have sufficient under-utilised renewable sources already, perhaps you could use your time more effectively by focussing on ensuring these are used FIRST to reduce our (less efficient, and far more polluting) FF generation sources – BEFORE insisting we otherwise change to higher-polluting BEVs.

            You should understand that the steps through an optimum pathway (e.g., minimising CO2), are axiomatically THEMSELVES optimum steps – let us focus on minimising our CO2 generation, by ensuring we ALWAYS follow a minimum CO2 generating pathway. AND, Geoffrey – let’s have a PLAN.

      • Erik Christiansen says

        No, there is no “IF” regarding rapid proliferation of EV chargers. They’ll substantially replace petrol stations this decade. Even SlowMo acknowledges that the vehicle fleet will be 90% EV by 2030. It’s not just Norway buying over 85% EVs now, China is around the same, with their smart consumers having amazing choice like the Polestar 2 and Xpeng 5. These vehicles are cheaper than an equivalent ICE vehicle, in addition to be dramatically cheaper to fuel and maintain. With ranges of 300 and 400 km or so, most of the Chinese offerings would exceed my range needs.

        Tesla is on track to sell nearly a million EVs this year, and between 2 and 3 million next year, with two new factories opening in the next month or two, one in Germany, one in Texas. Their aim of selling more than 7 miliion EVs annually by mid decade is likely to be exceeded. (They’ve stopped taking unpaid pre-orders, as delivery leadtimes are already an embarrassment as demand runs amok.)

        Hertz’s order for 100,000 Teslas, delivered in the next 14 months, gives Tesla 4.3 billion US$ @ around 30% profit. (Tesla saves around $2k/car as it does not advertise. More is saved by not selling through dealerships. Production efficiency is amazing, and evolving with each new factory.)

        VW has just scrapped its emergency plan to jerk production from ICE to EVs, because it risks the company’s bankruptcy. A new crisis emergency plan is needed, to switch faster, to try to keep the company viable. The sacking of 30,000 workers is under consideration, as rapid escalation of automation is essential to survival. Tesla’s automation improvements in China have eliminated 1/3 of the production machinery, and their assembly labour is 10 hrs to VW’s 30 hrs. The base of a Tesla is now the battery pack and a massive alloy casting in front, and one behind, eliminating nearly a hundred parts and their assembly. The seats are put onto the battery pack, and the whole goes in in one whack.

        Musk has declared that production optimisation is his passion, and will be central to viability of vehicle manufacture. Mind you, the Chinese vehicles are still cheaper, and the best are very good, as far as filmed reviews can reveal.

        It is the phenomenal rate of EV sales in China which delays export, but BYD and others are cranking up, so we may see them in 2022. I’d wait for a Tesla with LiFePO4 batteries (cheaper and better), or grab a BYD Dolphin, or Polestar 2, or Xpeng 5. I will be looking for a removable battery pack. As the Tesla 4680 packs bond the cells and battery pack into a single structural unit, it’ll have to be replaced in toto, but is it detachable from the front and rear castings? A utility, such as the Cybertruck would be handy, but with 1.3 million pre-orders ($100 deposit), and the Texas factory having to crank out sedans as well, it’ll be 2024 before there’d be any for down under, I figure.
        There’s the Rivian, but they’ve only made 150 as I understand it. (Nope, no “thousand”.)

        V2H would be nice, but not a deal breaker, as I plan to build an EV farm buggy with some Zenaji LTO batteries, and will add V2H to that once the standards stabilise.

    • There’s a ‘Retirement Village’ next door, and about 25 of the residents scream around on battery-powered ‘wheelchairs’/’scooters’ (and hold races up and down the driveway!) They also tell me they have no problems getting down to the local hospital and back for regular treatment, about 8km away. The (subsidised) batteries (2×35-75ah l/a -deep-cycle agm) are replaced twice a year, and the ‘used’ ones are thrown out. Needless to say I’ve got a LARGE battery-bank made up of them. After a year of running the unit I currently live in (inc. frugal a/c) those batteries are still charging at 14.4 volts: which is to say they’re ‘as good as new’. And the more innovative ones tow little ‘rickshaw’-type trailers (wheel-barrow ‘trays on bicycle-wheels when they go down to do their shopping.) Bottom line: Solar-panels are down to 20 CENTS per wp; SUITABLE (as above but larger) batteries can be bought with a 3-year unconditional warranty for WAY under $2 per ah. All that’s required are people who (as those of MY generation) either didn’t HAVE a car or six or else used them sparingly, EVEN back when petrol cost about ‘thruppence’ (that’s three cents!) per GALLON. The rest is outdoing the Joneses bullshit! (AND playing a LARGE role in climate-change!)

  5. Kim Wilkinson says

    hi Ronald,
    My Hyundai Ioniq has cost $160 for each of the first 2 services.
    As the Ioniq only comes with a repair kit in case of a tyre puncture, I decided to purchase a full (spare) tyre which cost a few hundred $.

    • What do they do for the $160?
      I think it’s a rip off to be honest.

      Our model 3 could go the whole of the warranty period without a service, with no effect at all on the warranty, (though I will be doing a brake fluid change as a preventative measure likely at about three years.)

      For example:
      I’ll bet that $160 doesn’t include a brake fluid flush at an appropriate interval.

      • Richard Courtenay says

        Hi Dave, if you don’t get your Tesla serviced at the required intervals you will void your warranty. All cars have brake fluid changes as per the log book. Its not the cost of the service ( your Tesla cost twice the price of a Hyundai) its making sure you follow the log book service. You think you own your Tesla but they are monitoring every klm you drive and can alter any performance parameters they wish to.

        • There IS no required servicing on the Model 3 for the whole of the warranty period. None, nada, zilch.

          I wasn’t debating the merits or otherwise of the Ioniq- it’s great if it fits your usage needs (but would not for us, too little range for a regular trip we do.)

          I’m saying the $160 service is a rip off.

          • Richard Courtenay says

            Hi Dave,I’ve just looked at the the 2021 Tesla warranty which states that they recommend certain maintenance jobs be done as required. Also they give you a 190,000 km or 8 yrs (whichever comes first) warranty on battery and motors. However there is only an 80,000 km warranty on the rest of the car which includes all the body electronics. All 2nd hand buyers of Tesla’s take notice.

  6. I get the environment aspects of the EV but the reality is this.

    I worked out that for me to changeover to an EV (with trade in, etc) based on my current annual kms travelled, petrol has to reach $3.65/litre just to breakeven with the changeover alone. (I would be expected to pay at least $35,000 in changeover costs).

    $35,000 buys a lot of petrol at today’s rate. So, petrol effectively has to more than double in price. Now, petrol was about 80-90c/litre in 2000, so it’s taken about 20 years to double. It will probably take another 20 years for petrol to double again.

    At $1.669/litre, that will buy me nearly 260,000kms with that changeover price. At my current rate of driving, that’s about 17 years!

    Rego/CTP/Insurance/Tyres are probably for par. The only thing missing really is service costs (about 3c/km for my car per year).

    To offset my 17000km of petrol burning, I would need to generate clean energy to the equivalent of 3926kWh. Easily done with my excess solar PV exports to the grid to either offset FF generation or provide someone else with clean energy to charge their car.

    How is this figure arrived?
    1litre of petrol = 2.3 kg CO2 emitted
    I use about 1400 litres of petrol pa
    So, that’s about 3220kg of CO2 emitted pa.
    To offset that with clean kWh, I need to generate 3926kWh (where 1kWh offsets 0.82kg of CO2 from a FF power station). I export over 6500kWh well over what I need to generate from free solar energy to offset my carbon emissions with a large margin.

    What’s cheaper? Buy a new EV at $60-70K or buy a bigger solar PV system at $10k to offset the same amount of CO2 and displace FF somewhere along the line??

    After all, CO2 is CO2 regardless where it came from.

    The reality of the situation is that there are better and cheaper ways to offset CO2 emissions. And until petrol hits $3.60/litre, I’ll stay put with my ICE and run into the ground, then I’ll consider looking at EVs.

    The only people that would really benefit are those who drive a very high number of kms per year (I guessitimate at least over 35,000km) or work provides the EV at $0 cost to me. Or, people that have the money to buy it because they don’t really care about the price of fuel but rather have the car for what it is.

    • Kim Wilkinson says

      Hi Graham,
      There are several EVs costing much less than “Buy a new EV at $60-70K “. My Ioniq cost $50k.
      .
      Suggest you re-run the figures with EV cost of say $45K

      • Yes, but they’re small cars. I don’t want a small car. That’s the trade off for EVs, to keep price down, you need to downsize the car and mostly likely range of the battery. There’s a trade off somewhere with EV pricing and some of those trade-offs won’t be worth it and/or not suitable.

        • My Mitsubushi Outlander PHEV with zero range anxiety for long runs and a 50kms range for the daily run cost me $37,000 brand new 12 months ago. There are deals to be had!

        • John Mitchell says

          But if you want a large car then your whole argument about fuel economy tends to fall over. You can’t have it both ways. FWIW I completely agree that currently there’s nothing on the EV market that’s competitive with a Land Cruiser, a Patrol or a Triton. Probably not likely to be for a while. If that’s your weapon of choice then clearly stick with the ICE.

          You’d need something like the Rivian or Ford F150 in Australia. And we probably aren’t going to see anything like that for 3 years at least.

          • @John,

            I’m not after a Landcruiser sized car. More something along the Kluger size, the current Klugers have decent economy (sub 10l/100km). My 2008 Kluger achieved about 11.2l/100km (3.5l – AWD) over its 200,000km journey.

            So, a Tesla Model X which sells for about $200k+ (even Tesla estimates $8k savings in petrol, pffft what a joke for that price), just doesn’t stack up economically at all. I could get at least 3x Klugers for that. If I really am concerned that much about CO2 emissions by avoiding petrol burning, I would rather spend $50k in a massive solar/battery system to offset my petrol burning CO2 emissions and inject a fair of clean electricity into the grid and still be $150K in front. I guess it’s true that only fools part with their money. It’s clearly a pipedream chasing EVs at the moment.

            This is the point I was trying to say, to get a cheaper EV for economical reasons and breakeven costs as Kim Wilkinson says for $45k just doesn’t cut it. I would have to significantly downsize the car. There’s a bit of sacrifice to be made going EV. At this point in time, EVs and their costs don’t add up.

            No point comparing economics when the car’s physical dimensions are radically changed. The EV and ICE car should be compared like for like except for the engine and whatever is the difference is the willingness to pay to go electric.

            A similar sized EV to match my current car will be very expensive. Unless I win lotto, well… it’ll have to wait otherwise.

    • Geoff Miell says

      Graham,
      You state: “Now, petrol was about 80-90c/litre in 2000, so it’s taken about 20 years to double. It will probably take another 20 years for petrol to double again.

      Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance.
      See my comments below: https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/electric-vs-petrol-car-savings/#comment-1281436

    • Trevor Jolly says

      I get to work and back on my pushbike for 69 cents. Let’s hope the price of baked-beans doesn’t skyrocket during the looming crash/reset.

      • John Mitchell says

        LOL Trevor – very good 🙂

        • Trevor Jolly says

          It comes and it goes. My wife, on the other hand drives through heavy traffic to her gym-of-choice (needless to say that’s NOT the closest one) to spend a couple of hours on an exercise-bicycle. I keep wondering how homosapiens got by without ‘household’ vehicles (often several of them) for the 4 billion years before approximately 1960.

      • David Issko says

        I noted that Heinz triple pack of baked beans has in fact, increased somewhat recently. You might want to reassess that 69 cent cost upwards a little. Hope it’s still affordable for you.

        • Trevor Jolly says

          Yeah. I noticed that. They put it down to “the price of transport”. But since there’s more competition between grocery retailers than car manufacturers I’ll just buy a more basic brand. (ie. without the unnecessary ‘luxury extras’.) Or perhaps grow my own; how hard can it be to bake a bean?

    • Jeff Ellis says

      “I worked out that for me to changeover to an EV (with trade in, etc) based on my current annual kms travelled, petrol has to reach $3.65/litre just to breakeven with the changeover alone.”
      I am inclined to think that petrol prices will drop as more electric vehicles are purchased.
      I would like to buy an electric vehicle, although now have a diesel van which I fill up approximately once every month which is about $95-105 x 12.
      So not yet enough to trouble me and also that manufacturers, such as Toyota don’t appear to be doing much gut busting in electric that would compel me to make a move.
      The prices are ridiculous, when considering I bought my diesel van new in 2017 for $37000 including on road costs.
      The manufacturers are just using this as a means to ream buyers by including a lot of glitzy unnecessary doodads. Although this has been a trend which has even been happening with trade vehicles to bump up prices with a bit of cheap glued on glitz.

      • Problem is that diesels are absolutely filthy, and killing us all. I’m sure you’ve heard of “dieselgate”.
        They’re really horrendous for emissions, and even so called “clean” diesels, though the average Navara which constantly belches black smoke should be put off the road..

        Yes, I have a diesel too, (2014), relatively clean as it at least has a DPF, but now used rarely and only for heavy towing. It did less than 3,000 kilometres last year, all of which was OUT of the big city.

      • Geoff Miell says

        Jeff Ellis,
        You state: “I would like to buy an electric vehicle, although now have a diesel van which I fill up approximately once every month which is about $95-105 x 12.
        So not yet enough to trouble me and also that manufacturers, such as Toyota don’t appear to be doing much gut busting in electric that would compel me to make a move.

        The BBC reported on Oct 28 in an article headlined China rations diesel amid fuel shortages that included:

        Some truck drivers are having to wait entire days to refuel, according to posts on social media site Weibo.

        China is currently in the midst of a massive power crunch, as coal and natural gas shortages have closed factories and left homes without power.

        And this latest issue is only likely to contribute to an ongoing global supply chain crisis, say analysts.

        https://www.bbc.com/news/business-59059093

        Matt at CrudeOilPeak.info in his latest (Oct 31) post headlined China peak diesel concludes with:

        Diesel supplies should not be taken for granted. Apart from current uses, Diesel is needed as construction fuel for the many projects to decarbonize the economy. The transition to replace Diesel must happen before there are Diesel shortages for supply reasons. The world should learn from the Covid supply chain lessons.

        https://crudeoilpeak.info/china-peak-diesel

        I’d suggest accumulating indicators I see show it would be foolish to assume petroleum fuel supplies in Australia will remain plentiful and affordable for the longer-term.

        Jeff, what would compel you to make a move?

        • Randy WESTER says

          Are plugin hybrid work vans, or battery powered ones with decent range and durability, available?

          The Nissan NV200, for instance, is no longer sold in Canada, but maybe they still offer them or something similar in Australia?

          For any company running a fleet of vehicles, it might make sense to start buying a few electrics, but for a one vehicle contractor, it might be quite limiting to be unable to accept work outside a 90 km radius.

          • Geoff Miell says

            Randy WESTER,
            AFAIK, the Nissan e-NV200 is only available in Australia as a grey import.

            Nissan has unveiled an e-NV200 all-electric camper concept, but it looks like it won’t be supported in Australia.
            https://www.drive.com.au/news/nissan-unveils-e-nv200-all-electric-camper-concept/

            It might make sense to start buying a few electrics for companies running a fleet of vehicles, if there was a reasonable choice. I think it’s not quite there yet for Australia, thanks to government policy discouraging vehicle-makers.
            https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2021-04-20/australians-want-to-buy-electric-cars-what-is-stopping-us/100071550
            https://evcentral.com.au/new-ev-calendar-2020-2021-2022/

          • Randy WESTER says

            Not having carbon emissions regulations and a fine structure, is something Australia shares with Canada.

            I don’t think it’s fair to refer to Australia’s open market as ‘doscouraging’ vehicle makers, when the actual mechanism is in Europe is to actively discourage internal combustion cars, and provide a subsidy on electrics.

            The underlying economics don’t change with fines and subsidies- if the actual cost in value of materials and labour is truly nearly double for an electric car, it’s going to have to last twice as long or cost less than half as much to operate, to reach per-km cost parity.

            And about that operating cost, and CO2 emissions, why is there a different system of accounting for renewables versus EVs?

            I.e. suppose adding 10 KW of solar will reduce CO2 emissions by 12 tonnes a year from coa. Why, then, would an electric vehicle that consumes *all* the electricity produced from those panels be considered to have emitted only 8 tonnes, because the grid power is only 2/3 coal?

            And then there’s part ‘b’ of the myth, that charging at night from coal fired generators and at lower rates in Australia, is somehow only coal that ‘would be burned anyway’.

            In the article you linked, the EU has ‘deemed’ that EV emissions are always zero – the kind of political accounting that once only came from the Soviet Union. Small wonder that the actual physical reductions achieved are not as great as the promises.

  7. Geoff Miell says

    Ronald,
    You state: “Petrol is $1.66 at the moment, but I’m going to assume it will average $1.50 per litre. This will make the fuel cost per km 16.7 cents.

    Some pundits are suggesting fuel prices in Australia may get to $2 per litre by Christmas 2021, and “possibly even $3 in late-2022, adding approximately $3000 a year to the two-car family’s fuel bill.
    https://www.drive.com.au/news/fuel-prices-at-record-highs/

    Ouch!

    See also my earlier comment at: https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/petrol-diesel-electric-cars-mb2082/#comment-1157107

    Only the US tight oil Permian play production is now increasing. Other tight oil plays are flat or declining.
    https://twitter.com/aeberman12/status/1453714837830348804

    Few of these US oil and gas plays have actually provided ANY cash flow – they’ve mainly lost billions of dollars for investors. Is it any wonder investors are wary of putting more money into ‘money pits’?
    https://www.desmog.com/2021/07/16/us-shale-revolution-no-fracking-investment/

    As countries come out of confinement from the COVID pandemic, demand for oil and fossil gas will likely increase. A suppressed global supply due to a lack of investment during the pandemic in new developments is unlikely to meet this demand, so fuel prices will inevitably rise.

    You state: “As electric cars increase in number, the demand for oil will decrease, and this has the potential to push down the oil price and make conventional cars cheaper to run.

    Humanity has exhausted most of the cheap-to-extract oil. The costs to extract the remaining global oil reserves are increasingly more expensive. The era of cheap oil is now over. Either oil prices stay high, or oil producers go broke.

  8. What about the amortisation of the up front additional cost of an ev over the equivalent ice model? That difference in cost would, at more normal fuel prices than now, pay for a substantial protion of the additional fuel costs.

    I would regard overall cost of ownership over the life of the vehicle as not much better than line ball for those without PV who can charge at home for “free”.

    Another few years as more maufacturers get their EV’s into their model ranges and absorb the costs of the adaptation of their range, and with improved battery technology and proof of performance and life, EV’s may well prove cheaper, but I’m not convinced yet. Assumptions of falling values for ice vehicles and battery replacement costs are semi speculative in my view.

    • John Mitchell says

      Is that a hypothetical or a real world thing you’re quoting? You don’t give any examples or calculations like Ronald did.

      If you’re saying over the life of the vehicle the cost is line ball – that’s actually remarkable given where we were a few years ago. Ronald might be overselling it a bit, as an actual “cost saving” right now, given the models available in Australia. Within 2 years it will be a “no brainer”.

      But don’t buy an EV because it’ll save you money (it might at some future time), don’t buy one to save the planet, don’t even buy one to reduce harmful pollutants in suburbs and cities (they’ll definitely do that) – buy one because they’re simply better to drive.

  9. Add to the mix, EV brake pads last longer because of regen braking, also you don’t get that filthy brake pad mess on your shiny mags after a long trip. EVs do not vibrate as much as internal combustion engines car so bits don’t tend to fall off as much or rattle. They are just more fun to drive.

  10. Nicholas Reid says

    I say: Unless you are wealthy, keep your present petrol driven car for a few more years, and wait until EVs with better batteries come on to the market. That should be three or four years away.

    When the better batteries arrive, EVs with the current generation of batteries will depreciate a lot.

    • John Mitchell says

      That’s an interesting perspective. You could also buy an EV now and enjoy the better drive and sell it in 4 years time to upgrade.

      My view: I don’t think better batteries will depreciate the current crop of EVs – I think they’ll do what car makers do and charge more for the better battery. Particularly as the newer tech is likely to cost more. But you could well be right. What you’re describing is the Osborne effect. Don’t buy something yet, because something better is around the corner. I think it’s a toss of the coin.

    • That is my plan. I believe technology in EV is on a charge and will accelerate.

  11. Robyn (Pogmore) says

    Um, sorry, this is so interesting, but something I dont get. A friend owns a hybrid and says it charges itself as it goes, from the tyres or something. Why wouldnt the fully electric cars do that, anyway? Or have I got it all wrong? Can you explain all that to me, please? Sorry that I am not on your tech level, but I love your blogs, and have got a lot out of them.
    So, do some EV’s charge themselves as they go?
    If so, how? And why dont all EV’s do so.?
    Thanks, R

    • John Mitchell says

      Robyn – that’s Toyota’s “self charging hybrid ad” at work. But as many like to point “There’s no such thing as a self charging hybrid”.

      Ask your friend if their car will keep going if they don’t put petrol in it? No? Of course not – the car drives off petrol and there is a small electric motor and a small battery that form part of the power train.

      Like all EVs that motor can act as a generator (by spinning in reverse) when slowing down and retarding speed downhill. This is call regen braking and nearly all EVs do it to regain energy. So this puts a small amount of energy back in the small battery and the hybrid can then drive short distances on that regained energy – before it needs the petrol engine again to make it go. But remember – you have to attain that speed or climb that hill to begin with. This aids fuel economy. Nothing more. The car won’t go more than a kilometre or two without fuel. I hope I explained this clearly enough for you to understand? if not feel free to ask further questions.

      If Toyota ever do make a real “self-charging hybrid” they’ll have broken the law of conservation of momentum.

  12. George Kaplan says

    Upon seeing this piece I knew it’d be interesting, though as a skeptic I figured I would have a different conclusion. Should the next car be electric? Not likely, unless war with Beijing breaks out – thereby cutting fuel supplies, or EV performance radically improves and costs plummet.

    This piece postulates EVs are cheap to run and service, but is this true in the long term?

    Tesla 3 might outsell Toyota Camry? Okay interesting, but that’s still only the 8th listed vehicle – with Toyota Hilux, Corolla (car), RAV4 and Prado all being more popular.

    Very little can go wrong with an EV? I could get that argument about an old fashioned manual, but the more electronics the more (highly expensive) stuff can break.

    Is the average Australian vehicle still a car these days, or is it a ‘gas guzzling SUV’? If your car is getting 12 km per litre for instance then you’re getting a 33% increase in performance, or a 33% drop in costs, i.e. something closer to 11 cents per kilometre. Note too that buying when petrol is low means petrol costs could be lower still.

    Assuming a higher FiT, and 6 km per kWh, you’re looking at $2-$3 per kilometre for home charging off solar. If FiTs drop then costs will drop too, but so too will solar revenue.

    Not discussed in this piece is the purchase price of an EV, or range. Given an EV costs roughly twice what a petrol vehicle costs, you’re looking at far greater depreciation, or a far longer period of depreciation, either of which balances savings made for power. Then too there’s the range consideration. A “cheap EV” is pointless if it can’t do the mileage required, and unlike petrol cars there isn’t a station to refuel on every corner.

    While I haven’t heard of the ‘Tesla Effect,’ how much resale do EVs actually have? For that matter, how many new car owners are thinking in terms of resale? If folk plan to keep their car until it fully depreciates …

    Oh another thing not factored into this piece fuel taxes. Roughly a third of the cost of petrol is tax paid to the government to hypothetically pay for roads. Since EV owners aren’t paying that tax, new taxes will need to be worked out somehow – either mileage taxes for EVs, or perhaps location taxes – charged on the basis of being inner city, suburbs, or rural. The latter would function as an anti-congestion\pro-mass transport. Alternatively I guess the government could just add a ‘fuel tax’ to electricity usage charges which might further incentivise the shift to off-grid solar?

    • John Mitchell says

      “Assuming a higher FiT, and 6 km per kWh, you’re looking at $2-$3 per kilometre for home charging off solar. If FiTs drop then costs will drop too, but so too will solar revenue.”

      Wow – you’re getting a really high FiT. Let’s see 6 kms per kWh – you’re getting $12 – $18 kWh FiT?

      What exactly are you disagreeing with? Your figures are clearly wonky and Ronald’s seem just slightly generous. I’m struggling to find any cohesive argument in there.

      eg A Tesla Model SR+ costs just under $65K on the road in NSW (and that doesn’t include rebates on stamp duty and government grants). A BMW 3 series which is a similarly sized and equipped car costs $75,900 drive away. Hmmm – the EV is actually cheaper. Go for the Model 3 Long range then – still cheaper than the BMW which is a very similarly sized vehicle. The BMW certainly has a nicer interior – but performance and size wise these vehicles are very similar, although the Model 3 is definitely quicker. Whatever – EV’s are twice as expensive? Where exactly?

      As far as maintenance on an EV it’s not something Ronald made up, it’s born out by the stats. And every modern car has electronics – about the only one that possible has more than standard is Tesla. Most EVs have similar, if not identical, electronics to their petrol equivalents. Some like the Niro, the Kona, the MG are identical to the top of the range ICE equivalents. So that is a very dubious argument.

      Yes – Ron probably oversold the “lack of maintenance” – there’s still steering arms, suspension bushings etc and EVs are on average heavier so tend to wear out these components faster. But compared to the constant maintenance need on an ICE vehicle it’s a much smaller cost over the life of the vehicle.

      Will all that save you money, given the current range of vehicles on sale In Australia? No – but everything is a lot closer together now over the life of the vehicle. And given the fact that the UK is banning the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030 and the EU from 2035 then buying an ICE vehicle now is a bigger risk proposition.

      • George Kaplan says

        Doh!!! X_X

        That should be 2c-3c per kilometre, 12c-18c per kWh for FiT. Right maths, wrong units – c rather than $. Thanks for the catch.

        I’ve simply compared EV prices to ICS prices in the past. Note while Tesla and BMW may be loosely on par pricewise, the average Australian does not buy BMW – at least not in my neck of the woods.

        EVs twice as expensive is within the context of the Australian car market. Do I really need to dredge up an old article? The base Volvo Polestar 2 comes in at $59,900 plus on-road costs. Said article states the Toyota Yaris hatchback sells for less than half that price and comes with added features, but even the Toyota Corolla only comes in at just under $29,000. Now feel free to check my maths but $29K\$59.9K=48.4% or less than half the price.

        If the Tesla Model SR+ costs just under $65K – your figures not mine, then a new Corolla comes in at 44.6% the cost of said EV. Again EVs are more than twice the price.

        But it’s not just capital cost\depreciation – though you’d need to buy a looot of litres to spend $30,000 or so on petrol, there’s also the range difference. By my figuring the Corolla should be able to do 800+ km – 16.6r km per litre, and a 50 litre tank. If you have figures for a Tesla Model SR+ please let me know, a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus ranges from 250 km (cold weather highway driving) to 510 km (mild weather city driving). (Cold weather means -10°C with use of heating, mild weather means 23°C and no A/C. Given Tasmania winters or WA\NT\QLD summers, the cold weather figure is probably more useful than talking of a mere 23°C and no A/C).

        Note that the top 10 best selling cars for September are the Toyota Corolla, Hyundai i30, and the Toyota Camry, with the other 7 being SUV\4WD types. No EVs appear to make the list, and no BMWs appear either.

        Does UK and EU plans to ban sales of new petrol vehicles from 2030\2035 really impact Australia? Not as far as I can see. Ford and Toyota aside, Europe tends to prefer their own brands – VW and Renault, with Fiat, Volvo, and LADA so European trends should have little direct impact. Frankly it looks like Japan buys more Toyotas than Europe, North America buys 5x the number Japan does, and Australia buys about a tenth of that in Japan. In short what America and Japan do are what will dictate what Australia does. Should Republicans retake Congress in 2022, and the White House in 2024 …

        I’ll accept the EV v ICE divide is getting closer. I’m not convinced that EV is yet absolutely the way to go.

  13. Hey Ronald, you’re spot on and absolutely right: ICE vehicles are going to cost a buyer a lot more in the long run.

    I’ve burnt only 150 litres of E10 in my PHEV these past 12 months and 11,000 kms (mainly because the ICE insists on kicking in once in a while so the fuel does not rot , etc) – but being a plug-in hybrid EV, with the added bonus of Zero Range anxiety.

    And with fuel shooting up to $2.00 and will do again (and more), it’s a no brainer.

    Of course I live in a detached home with a garage and 6.6kW of solar panels so charging is not a problem.

    Still thinking of getting a solar battery for my panels, since our rebates are dropping even further then the measerly 11c my provider currently gives me, but prices of batteries are exorbitant!

    • Richard Courtenay says

      Hi skris88, I made the same comment about grid congestion about 18 months ago on a different forum and got shouted down. The next dayTritium backed up my comments and stated as I had done the expected costs to upgrade the grid would be substantial. 1 350 kw fast charger uses the equivalent of a street of houses. It will require major cable and transformer upgrades plus grid scale generators when the sun doesn’t shine or hail stones break your solar panels !!

  14. I have absolutely no doubt EV’s are cheaper to run than a petrol/diesel car. None at all.

    The problem with your calculation is that manufacturers are charging nearly double the price of their ICE cars for electric. The hyundai Kona ICE is 35, or electric 62. (yes I just saw they released a version with a smaller battery for a little less).

    So according to my lease calculator the difference between 35k and 62 is about $800 a month. Which I really doubt I’d make that kind of saving.

    The problem is manufacturers in Australia seem to have limited available supply and are picking insane prices and happily selling the few cars they can get – supply and demand and all that.

    When the price of EV’s get closer to equivalence I’ll buy one for sure.

    • Randy WESTER says

      I don’t think the short supply of electric vehicles is an Australia-only problem.

      It looks the same in Canada, the basic Kona EV is twice the price of the gasoline model (there are few diesel cars here, they won’t start at 35 below zero unless plugged in with an engine heater running)

  15. 11c feed in miserly?? Try 4c here in WA!!

  16. So how Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Car. In Australia?

    “Typically, it costs more to charge an electric vehicle at a rapid charging station but the charging time is decreased to only a matter of minutes (as opposed to a matter of hours or days):

    Level 3 Public Charging Stations usually charge about $0.30 – $0.60 per kWh
    Level 2 Public Charging Stations usually charge about $0.20 – $0.25 per kWh
    Level 1 Home Charging Stations usually cost about $0.15 -0.30 per kWh
    Better yet, EV drivers can save almost $3 per day by making the most of the free 7.5kWh charge available at JOLT rapid charging stations. With only a 7 kWh free charge, JOLT users can gain ~45km of range – enough for the average daily commute in Australia!”

    I think this information is germane to the current discussion and I have no connection to Jolt of any kind this was lifted directly from their web site.

    All of us with sufficient roof space and suitable regulatory situations can certainly do better but there will be many people living in higher population density situations who may not have access to solar energy.

  17. I keep an eye on EVs as I would like to make the change but why has the massive price differential between ICE and EV just been hand waved away?

    This results in lots of extra costs for financing and insurance, or importantly, opportunity cost.

    Honestly, to get an equivalent vehicle in an EV to what I use it would require about 50 years of fuel and service cost differential to make up the difference.

    And the warning about ICE values dropping faster?

    All that means is late model low km ICEVs will be even cheaper to buy. And if EVs are in heavy demand, then their prices will rise exacerbating the price gap.

    In reality massive drops in ICEV value is just a furphy – the market will do what the market always does and depreciation will revert to the mean.

    ICEVs will be around in big numbers for a long time.

  18. I listen to Toby Hagon of EV Central web site on ABC Radio’s Night Life Thursday night and he is quite a source of info on EVs.

  19. Ian Thompson says

    Sorry Ronald – good analysis if you only include running costs alone.

    However, a large component of the Cost-of-Ownership, is depreciation.

    RAS WA have prepared tables of the total cost of a range of vehicle types, including electric.
    https://www-cdn.rac.com.au/-/media/files/rac-website/car-and-motoring/running-costs/2020/car-running-cost-guide2020.pdf?la=en&modified=20201021031408&hash=C2E0B382EEDA8517337F38091F9044328126F92B

    If you compare an IC Mitsubishi Outlander (Medium SUV, at $ 285.41 / week), for example, with an electric Outlander PHEV at ($ 337.88 / week), you can see that over 5 years the electric option is 18.4% more expensive to own. I can agree that this situation is likely to improve over time. I suspect they have not included your ‘Overlooked EV costs’.

    Another point though, that I have posted previously, is that going to electric right now, during transition to net zero emissions, means that these vehicles will necessarily be charged from coal-fired power stations of known poor efficiency and high CO2 emissions (or otherwise from rooftop PV or other renewables, thereby displacing the emissions savings from available from these sources – effectively an emissions ‘time shift’).
    If fact, using references provided by Geoffrey Miell I was able to calculate that modern, efficient petrol IC cars are more than likely to generate significantly less CO2 emissions (despite the much-vaunted ‘abysmal efficiency’ of IC – really a myth), than those of electric vehicles (powered by coal, and with power transmission, charger, and 1-way battery charging losses included). Non-plugin IC hybrids will generate even lower emissions. To take Geoffrey’s quote, he and you are proposing “burn now, pay later”.

    Ronald – you mention ‘6km of range, per kWhr’ of energy taken from the grid. My argument is, that this is only ~ 16km of range, per 8 kWhr of thermal energy from burning ~ 1 kg of coal
    https://www.google.com/search?q=how+many+kWhr+per+kg+of+coal&client=firefox-b-d&ei=871_YfuEHcWzmgfRpbb4AQ&oq=how+many+kWhr+per+kg+of+coal&gs_lcp=Cgdnd3Mtd2l6EAMyBAghEAo6BQgAEIAEOgUIABDNAkoECEEYAFDh5gNY74oEYKWpBGgBcAB4AIABgQOIAcsXkgEFMi05LjKYAQCgAQHAAQE&sclient=gws-wiz&ved=0ahUKEwi7yrGB9_bzAhXFmeYKHdGSDR8Q4dUDCA0&uact=5

    (allowing 33% thermal efficiency for the conversion to electricity, coal mining and transport energy, transmission line efficiency, etc).
    Producing about 2.42 kg of CO2.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=how+much+co2+is+produced+per+kg+of+coal&client=firefox-b-d&oq=how+much+co2+is+produced+per+kg+of+coal&gs_lcp=Cgdnd3Mtd2l6EAMyBQgAEIAEOgcIABBHELADOgYIABAWEB5KBAhBGABKBAhBGABQuLUHWI3QB2DE4QdoAnACeACAAbwCiAG6FpIBBTItOS4ymAEAoAEByAEIwAEB&sclient=gws-wiz

    My more than mid-sized petrol car achieves about 16 km per litre of petrol burned (6 L/100km), producing about 2.3 kg of CO2.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=how+much+co2+is+produced+per+kg+of+petrol&client=firefox-b-d&ei=ur1_YaTBH47bz7sPwu26gAk&oq=how+much+co2+is+produced+per+kg+of+pertol&gs_lcp=Cgdnd3Mtd2l6EAEYADIHCCEQChCgATIHCCEQChCgAToHCAAQRxCwAzoECAAQDToFCAAQzQJKBAhBGABQxvwCWLOVA2D3swNoAXACeACAAcQCiAGTFpIBBTItNi40mAEAoAEByAEIwAEB&sclient=gws-wiz

    That is, the electric car produces 2.42 / 2.3 = 5% more CO2 emissions, than my 10-year-old family sedan, assuming we are burning high quality bituminous coal – significantly worse if burning brown coal.
    I’d almost guarantee a modern non-plugin hybrid would do far, far better than my old car – maybe reaching nearly 25 km / litre (4 L/100km) of petrol.

    Burn now, pay later indeed.

    • Geoff Miell says

      Ian Thompson,
      Re depreciation: I’d suggest ICEVs will depreciate much more rapidly from now on as the cost of fuel likely rises significantly higher and ongoing affordability to operate them becomes a much bigger concern for owners.
      See my comments above at: https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/electric-vs-petrol-car-savings/#comment-1281436

      I certainly don’t trust your GHG emissions calculations.

      The Driven published a piece titled EVs smash petrol cars on emissions, even with a coal-powered grid on Feb 12, that began with:

      An entirely electrified passenger vehicle sector would substantially reduce Australia’s emissions even if the electricity grid was entirely powered by coal, according to recent research which exposes more holes in the federal Coalition government’s Future Fuels Strategy.

      The study, published by Transport Energy/Emission Research (TER), makes a detailed comparison of emissions from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). It finds that, even with Australia’s 2018 energy mix of around 80 per cent fuel (mostly coal) and 20 per cent renewables, transport emissions would fall by between 16 and 40 per cent if the fleet was fully electric.

      https://thedriven.io/2021/02/12/evs-smash-petrol-cars-on-emissions-even-with-a-coal-powered-grid/

      In the ABC programme titled Fight For Planet A, presenter Craig Reucassel drag raced in a Tesla Model S against a Holden HSV GTSR W1 at the Sydney Dragway. See the YouTube video segment titled How Fast Is An Electric Car? | Fight For Planet A below. At time interval 0:03:57 the CO2 emissions are displayed for the respective vehicles:
      Tesla Model S: _ _ _ _ _ 153 g/km (if charged from current grid)
      Holden HSV GTSR W1: 476 g/km

      If the Tesla Model S is charged from zero GHG emissions generators then the emissions are zero.

      Ian, why are you advocating delay, delay, DELAY in rapidly reducing our GHG emissions?

  20. firstly, how come Canberra missed out when you detailed Government sunsidies?
    The ACT has Australia’s most generous financial incentives for the purchase and registration of ZEVs. Zero Emmission Vehicles)
    -Stamp duty exemption
    ZEVs that are purchased for the first time are eligible for a full stamp duty exemption.
    -Two years free registration
    Two years of free registration will be available for new or used ZEVs registered in the ACT.
    -Sustainable Households Scheme:
    The Sustainable Household Scheme will provide zero-interest loans of between $2,000 to $15,000 to eligible ACT households to help with the upfront costs of investing in energy efficient home upgrades, including ZEVs.
    (Link: https://www.environment.act.gov.au/cc/zero-emissions-vehicles)

    I feel that EV prices are currently (!!) high because of three factors:
    Development costs,
    The novelty value,
    Added “luxury” etc gadgets to make the buyer feel they are getting value for money.
    2 factors aren’t justified in ther long term. Someone (China) will see that and produce “consumer” level cars. Basic, no frils cars for everyone.
    That will force the prices down on the current crop of luxury EVs.
    Then your ICE car will be worth scrap value only.
    The technology behind EVs will develop like the computer technology. Faster/more efficient, way cheaper.
    Why not, an EV today is only as complicated as the technology. Once that’s integrated (etc) EVs will be far simpler.
    About as complicated as a mixmaster.

  21. James Silcock says

    If a EV battery only costs $3,500 why dose an EV car cost $20,000 more then an ICE equivalent?
    Electric motors seem smaller and less complex then an Ice engine, so that should be a price saving.
    There are a bunch of things to no longer needed like petrol tanks and mufflers, that should be a price saving.
    I am sure the electronics would be more complex, so that would be a price increase, but a speedy home computer with a 24 inch monitor would come in well below $3000 so this cannot account for such a large price difference.
    I think the battery costs a lot more then you estimate, Did you try and get quotes on replacement batteries, or even service costs?
    Maybe there are readers who have some experiences that maybe be able to give more realistic figures?

  22. Comparing a Tesla to a BMW is ridiculous.

    There is no comparison on the quality of build. Tesla are atrocious in this respect and rank very poorly in auto dependability rankings.
    https://www.drive.com.au/news/tesla-jaguar-alfa-romeo-land-rover-among-the-least-reliable-brands-j-d-power-report/

    Indeed Tesla refuse permission for owners in many locations to participate in data gathering by industry monitors. Just let that sink in – Tesla can and do refuse permission for owners to report their ownership experience to independent industry research organisations.

    Their only saving grace is they are ranked ahead of Jaguar on dependability. Which ain’t saying much.

    • “Tesla can and do refuse permission for owners to report their ownership experience to independent industry research organisations”

      I find that very difficult to believe. Tesla may not forward their own data, but they can’t stop individuals from reporting their experiences. You don’t sign away your right to free speech when you buy a Tesla.

      • Here is the JD Power quote about Tesla’s result in their annual dependability survey:

        “Tesla profiled for first time: Tesla receives a score of 176 PP100. The automaker is not officially ranked among other brands in the study because it doesn’t meet the ranking criteria. Unlike other manufacturers, Tesla doesn’t grant J.D. Power permission to survey its owners in 15 states where it is required. However, Tesla’s score was calculated based on a robust sample of surveys from owners in the other 35 states.”

        https://www.jdpower.com/sites/default/files/file/2021-02/2021%20U.S.%20Vehicle%20Dependability%20Study%20%28VDS%29.pdf

        So yes, Tesla can and do prevent their owners from being surveyed about their ownership experience. They are the only manufacturer who do this. What are they afraid of? That people might realise their quality control is crap? How about fixing that instead of preventing people from responding to customer surveys.

        It is the complete antithesis of this very website which is built on the principle of customer feedback helping to keep industry standards high. Can you imagine what SolarQuotes would make of a Solar Inverter manufacturer who actively prevented people from providing feedback on their product?

  23. I would love an EV, but they are all either too big or too expensive or both. I currently drive a 1998 Toyota Starlet; it’s a fantastic car, suits my needs perfectly, and costs less than $2,000 per year all up, including petrol, servicing, insurance & rego. The only small-ish EV is a Mini, at an eye-watering ‘From $61,353’. If we ever get the Hong Guang Mini EV or equivalent here I would definitely buy one of those.

  24. Dominic Wild says

    Battery costs from memory:

    Hybrid Toyota Camry: $4,000, probably every eight years warranty, so $500/year cost.

    Nissan Leaf EV: $11,000 installed or $1,400/year fixed cost assuming eight year warranty.

    As has been said before, wait until the Chinese start exporting cheaper no frills EVs before prices come down. At the moment, there is no stock anyway of anything, hybrid, plug-in hybrid or EV. Forget plug-in hybrids as all you get is 20-30km for an extra $6,000 to $8,000!

  25. That is my plan. I believe technology in EV is on a charge and will accelerate.

  26. I think you may have made a typo under ‘Battery replacement Costs’. You probably meant to use ‘could’ rather than ‘couldn’t’.

    I have a few questions for the experts. One is about EMF given that the driver and passengers are sitting on a big battery. Is this a health issue for users?

    The other was with the calculation of cost at the beginning of the article. The distance travelled was not mentioned but the information is meaningless for calculating savings over 10 years unless one has an indication of distance travelled annually.

    The last question is in regard to bigger electric cars, something you don’t read a lot about. We tow a heavy trailer and need something with grunt and mass. I have read that the prediction is trucks will lead the way with EV vehicles but I’ve heard not much more since then. Does anybody have an update on this.

    Thanks

  27. Firstly I would say its an excellent article (as usual from Ronald).

    Like his “solar subsidised” slow cooker article its naturally biased towards his (valid and sensible) view point. Prior to his article I had actually done the same thing but went one better and used a multi-cooker which is basically a pressure cooker that has better heat retention. I do like his satay recipe however which I had not thought of. You could make an argument that rather than using PV for a slow cooker you could set up some mirrors ect and put a camp oven in the sun and it would do the same thing (thermal solar).

    You could also setup some kind of wood fired oven to cook food using free wood you find on the side of the road ect. I remember a few years ago that someone worked out that they could install a firebox in their house and have free heating by subscribing to free paper based marketing material and they would then burn it. Its much cheaper than solar however its actually a terrible idea for obvious reasons so cheap is not always good.

    On the subject of EV’s you can easily obtain a handy list of car running costs to work out the best option for your circumstances. What Ronald has done is point out that EV’s can make good economic sense. That said if your looking at running costs you would be well served to look at all options and would see that for example here:

    https://www.racq.com.au/cars-and-driving/cars/owning-and-maintaining-a-car/car-running-costs

    If you pick out the best cars (for running costs) they still beat EV’s but some EV’s make a good showing and may under a very particular set of circumstances work out to be a decent option.

    Personally I dont mind if people rush out and buy EV’s or petrol cars drop in value. Strong sales of EV’s now will mean a greater supply of used examples in the future and they are going to have to compete on the used market against these cheap ICE cars that Ronald has promised us.

    Looking at the Corolla hybrid for example it offers a lot of the benefits of an EV like the regenerative braking and I would have to say its actually very similar in size to a model3 which is surprisingly tight in terms of interior space. The Camry hybrid also makes a good showing and they are really roomy and would be great for a family holiday/trip.

    The main issue holding back EV’s is the cost of the battery. Its a tough one to solve as batteries are now getting close to the price of the raw material cost due to mass production. What this means is they either need to come up with a new chemistry that uses cheaper raw materials (this generally takes at least ten years) or some how work out how to produce those raw materials at a cheaper cost due to larger scale mining or new methods ect. Its possible that batteries will actually increase in price temporarily as demand outstrips supply of the raw materials.

    The free servicing and reliability points could do with some further investigation. For example I looked up the Nissan leaf and it stated that the costs were roughly $200/12 months or 20,000k’s. Given that a similar ICE (note by ICE I also include hybrid ect) that might be $400 12months/15,000ks however if the average person is doing say 12,000k’s then your talking a $200 difference annually on servicing.

    Ironically for most cars its not the ICE thats the cause of reliability issues – its often electrical. Tesla for example have a lot of wizardry that has little to do with its electric power train but more about shifting attention away from the high cost. Its the same business model that BMW adopted in the late 80’s when they were on the verge of bankruptcy. They made a trendy good looking, high tech cars however they were never incredibly reliable or good value but they did have huge brand appeal and lived up to their “ultimate driving machine” moniker. A lot of the earlier Tesla’s had plenty of “gremlins” which was due to all the high tech “bling”. If you took it in for repair you generally had to go into the city as they only had one dealership and then they would give you a regular car as a loan car (not an EV).

    Most Tesla owners added a Tesla to their “fleet” so battery lifetime is of little consequence although I agree with Ronald that they are likely to be reliable. I think all that will happen is over time the capacity will degrade so my tip would be if you can afford an EV go for the larger battery model as that one will be more sought after on the used market later. That advice of course puts an EV further out of reach for the average person though as extended range models also cost more.

    One thing I would like to see the government do is to not overly subsidise EV’s but instead invest in more charging infrastructure, training programs for “EV certified” mechanics and to allow for importation of used EV’s from overseas. Seeing as we dont have a local car industry to protect I think it makes sense to allow for used examples to be imported however they would need to be fully inspected for safety which would create local jobs/industry.

    Perhaps have a CEC of automotive that would certify workshops to work on EV’s and also a panel of experts should review the models/years/grades that can be imported so we dont get rubbish.

  28. Ian Thompson says

    Geoffrey Miell

    You state: “Ian, why are you advocating delay, delay, DELAY in rapidly reducing our GHG emissions?”.

    1. Geoffrey – I have NEVER, AT ANY TIME, nor will I ever, suggest we should delay reducing GHG emissions.

    2. Whilst I do agree with much of what you say, I am concerned, however, that some of your ‘preferred Agenda’ will have the effect of INCREASING our production of GHG emissions, and/or of DELAYING reductions, rather than reducing GHGs, in the short-medium term.

    You state: “IMO, your nit-picking…your so-called “engineering reality” is just demonstrating your eagerness for petty one-upmanship”.

    1. As a professional engineer, I found this comment rather insulting – no, my comments were never intended to be ‘one-upmanship’ – I really do believe we need to be accurately propagating real-world information, not ‘urban myth’ – and have a solid reason for this.

    2. I do agree with your statement “…it’s still far superior to those of HFCEVs and P2L ICEVs”. You appear to have missed that I had already acknowledged this. I am, in fact pursuing a different issue – where the shift of BEV efficiency from 73% to a more realistic 57% is somewhat significant.

    3. I also accept that these figures, and those of the efficiency of IC vehicles, will vary up or down according to several factors – but unlikely significant in the argument I am about to offer.

    Perhaps I can help with a better understanding of my model? If I may?

    When I was writing my first draft, Australia’s total electricity Demand was ~ 27.7 GW. About 12.5 GW coming from wind, PV, and Hydro, and the balance (~ 15.2 GW) from coal and NG. For modelling purposes, let’s say we now take a very large number of petrol vehicles off the road (obviously having a large GHG reduction impact) and replace them with BEVs. Let’s also say that there are now sufficient BEVs on charge, to add an additional Demand of 2 GW.

    Where is this extra 2 GW Generation going to come from, to balance this increased Demand? There appear to be only 3 alternatives:

    1. Ramp up the FF generator outputs to cover this additional demand – in which case the BEVs are being effectively charged 100% from coal and/or NG-fired thermal sources (I’d think this is presently the most likely scenario, at present).

    2. Access otherwise heavily curtailed renewable sources, so that their unused excess capacity can now provide the added demand (increasing from 10.5 GW to 12.5 GW), or

    3. Use a ‘blend’ of items 1 & 2 above.

    My point – if we are using coal to charge our BEVs (replacing ICVs) – item 1 – this will result in a very low overall energy efficiency for the BEV – perhaps 17-21%. This is lower than the 20-35% efficiency indicated for an ICV in the following: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engine_efficiency In addition, coal produces 8-42% more GHGs than gasoline per kWh of energy generated: Combustion of Fuels – Carbon Dioxide Emission (engineeringtoolbox.com) Therefore, my calculations show CFBEVs (coal fuelled BEVs) will, on average, emit significantly more GHGs than gasoline ICV’s.

    Erring on the low side of averages, about (25/19) x 115% = 58% more emissions – probably at least.

    How do I get to the BEV efficiency of 17-21%? Well, our coal-fired power stations are lower-performing sub-critical designs and are old and decrepit – with an optimistic thermal efficiency of perhaps 37% at best. 37% of 57% = 21%.
    However, the 37% is calculated considering coal FOB at the power station. This does not include the energy offsets to mine iron ore, blast-furnace refine it into steel, fabricate this steel into coal and iron ore mining machines, provide energy to operate these machines, then transport the coal to the power station. This does not include the coal-bed fugitive methane emissions, which are of course significant GHG issues.

    I have suggested a real-world overall efficiency of perhaps 30% when considering these significant additional ‘parasitic’ energy costs – one would hope the coal plant calculations have already factored in running pumps, conveyors, fans, etc., in the plant. 30% of 57% = 17%. But I have no solid data to confirm this – yet – just a ‘estimate’ – please feel free to update this. Changes won’t impact these figures much.

    If, however, we are using renewable energy from heavily curtailed sources – item 2 – aren’t we effectively just doing the same thing? Sure, the BEVs will then ‘appear’ to have near-zero emissions, and the full gasoline-generated emissions savings will be realised – but then that ‘clean’ energy will no longer be available to supplant higher-polluting coal-generated emissions elsewhere. Wouldn’t a lower-GHG option be to utilise this ‘spilled’ energy to supplant existing coal generation of grid energy?

    Geoffrey, either renewable-sourced capacity is presently being spilled (wasted) if favour of running FF sources (possible, if bound by contracts) – in which case our focus should be on redressing this egregious failure to reduce GHG emissions (alternatives 2 & 3 above, and what a huge barrier this would be for further new renewable investments) – or we ARE charging BEVs with 100% FF sourced energy as I suspect – in either case of which going to CFBEVs now, is only going to INCREASE our GHG emissions at this point in time.

    Obviously, Geoffrey, this situation will change soon – but perhaps not tomorrow – I think we could afford to listen to what Nicholas Geary has had to say about the likely timeframes.

    So, notwithstanding the issues of cost, depreciation, fuel prices, etc., I’m saying that UNTIL we have renewable sources sufficient to supplant ALL of our FF generation, and then sufficient excess to charge our BEVs without recourse to FF (not simply diverting home rooftop PV from otherwise supplanting FF generation), the lowest GHG generating option is to DELAY replacing our gasoline vehicles with BEVs for the immediate interim. This problem is worse if we charge at night – when no PV is available.

    We should understand that the steps through an optimum pathway (e.g., minimising GHGs), are axiomatically THEMSELVES optimum paths – let us focus on minimising our GHG generation, by ensuring we always follow a minimum GHG generating pathway.

    • Geoff Miell says

      Ian Thompson,
      You state: “I have NEVER, AT ANY TIME, nor will I ever, suggest we should delay reducing GHG emissions.

      See the 2nd last paragraph in your latest comments where the word “DELAY” appears – you seem oblivious to the irony. 🙄

      I pay attention to people who do credible science and engineering work – people like Professor Andrew Blakers (I’ve linked to his work previously, which it seems to me you appear to reject/dismiss) and Dr Saul Griffith FRSN.

      Saul Griffith made a 2-part presentation to the NSW Royal Society in Aug & Sep 2021. Griffith is a self-confessed “energy nerd”.

      The YouTube video titled Our Energy Future — Part 1: Context and Castles, published by RoyalSocNSW on Aug 25, duration 1:05:33, is linked below.

      The second part is titled Our Energy Future — Part 2: Crushed Rocks, published Sep 15, duration 1:06:20.

  29. Ian Thompson says

    Geoffrey Miell

    You state “See the 2nd last paragraph in your latest comments where the word “DELAY” appears – you seem oblivious to the irony.”

    Not much irony there, Geoffrey – I had used the word deliberately and advisedly – maybe the real problem here is one of english comprehension.
    There is in fact a WORLD of difference between ‘delaying action to reduce GHG emissions’, and ‘delaying to prevent an action that will INCREASE the emissions of GHGs’ – polar opposites, in fact!

    I am also disappointed that you did not get onto my deliberate error of omission – nor understand what I had meant by the “Total energy cost of Transport” – I had certainly given you a big enough hint.

    Anyway – further increases in GHGs due to the premature promotion of BEVs – and the concomitant increased death rate that this action will likely engender – including to your loved ones – are on you. Please feel free to continue to ignore factual data.

    Just to re-state the blindingly obvious – there is really no such thing as “blended” coal and renewable charging of BEVs at present, while coal and NG are being required elsewhere. It’s 100% coal.

    • Geoff Miell says

      Ian Thompson,
      You’ll excuse me for not accepting the word of someone who IMO consistently and continually demonstrates cherry-picking of data, ignores inconvenient evidence/data, indulges in heroic assumptions, and advocates for much more expensive nuclear and gas-fired electricity generation and for DELAYING BEV uptake.

      I’ll take the word of more informed and scientifically based analyses that indicate BEVs produce far less GHG emissions overall than ICEVs, even when charged from a currently (but soon to rapidly diminish) predominately fossil fuel-based electricity generator grid.

      And please don’t heroically assume that coal- and gas-fired generators will continue to operate until the end of their respective design lives. I’d suggest they will go broke (as does ESB chair Kerry Schott) long before that, as more flexible, cheaper renewables and energy storage systems become operational and eat their profits.

      As for household transport savings, see Dr Saul Griffith’s presentation (per link above in my earlier comment) from time interval 0:32:36, where the projected savings per year for the average household including finance for BEVs becomes cheaper than ICEVs by 2024 – that’s only a few years away. It seems the assumption includes the fuel price for ICEVs at $1.50 per litre. If fuel prices get to $2 by Christmas 2021 and $3 by late-2022, as I’ve indicated earlier some pundits suggest (and you seem to ignore), then I’d suggest the cross-over point would arrive much sooner.

      So the overwhelming evidence/data I see indicates it’s not, as you state, “the premature promotion of BEVs.” New BEVs are already demonstrating lower overall GHG emissions, and very soon (if not already) more cost-effective than ICEVs.

      IMO, your apparent advocacy for delay, DELAY, DELAY and continual disparaging of renewables is on you.

      • Randy WESTER says

        It’s strange to keep complaining that there’s some powerful ‘fossil fuel’ evil force tryingbto delay the deployment of a billion EVs.

        There just isn’t. Electric vehicles are getting close to TCO parity. Some websites have used wildly improbable and optimistic depreciation numbers to show this happening a long time ago, or use a BMW sedan as the comparison model.

        But there seems to be a problem of supply. Tesla is booking deliveries of theit base Model 3 for 11 month delivery. Their pickup truck might be twice that long, or even longer. The Volkswagon EVs are unavailable in Canada too. The Semi is maybe shipping to its first customer soon

        So congratulations on EV development and building charging networks, but between here and the electric driving future there is a lot of hard work. Hopefully Australia and Canada get some battery manufacturing and EV assrmbly plants. We need a billion vehicles and the 1% mark is tough to reach.

        • Geoff Miell says

          Randy WESTER,
          It’s strange to keep complaining that there’s some powerful ‘fossil fuel’ evil force tryingbto delay the deployment of a billion EVs.

          There just isn’t.

          Randy, I think you are very naïve if you can’t see that oil companies will do everything they can to delay, delay, delay the end of their large multi-billion dollar businesses. It seems the CEOs are willing to lie under oath about it – see: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/oct/29/big-oil-ceos-just-lied-before-congress-its-time-theyre-held-accountable

          Yep, constrained supplies of BEVs is a very big problem, and the scale and time constraints for transition are enormous. I see with rapidly rising petroleum fuel prices and diminishing supply volumes likely soon, disruptions to countries with less resilient energy security is inevitable. Brace for impact.

          • Randy WESTER says

            Why would anyone expect the companies that make up ‘the oil industry’ to be different from any of the other million roiling mass of competing individuals and organizations in any human endeavor?

            Thinking that, would be truly naive.

            These companies reported certain non-representative information about their operations that would leave potential customers with a positive impression? Gee, no kidding, eh? If you’re at all swayed by BP’s story about supertanker paint that fights VOC emissions, I don’t know what to say.

            Corporations are somewhat sociopathic by design. They’re not at all like the political parties that we vote on, to form governments, to make laws, to keep them from harming anyone.

            How does that compare to Elon Musk’s announcement that there would soon (2019) be fleets of self-driving Tesla cars, that owners could lend their cars into, that would make their Model 3 cars worth a million dollars?

            Or the patently ridiculous meme that solar panels deployed on the same land that a nuclear power plant takes up would generate ‘the same amount’ of energy?

            The short supply of batteries and other issues that are slowing or largely preventing a transition to renewable energy aren’t just ‘a very big problem’.

            Yes, you’re right that cutting off Australia’s oil supply would make operating the economy pretty much impossible. So where’s your national carbon tax? Your solar panel factory? Surely there’s a lithium ion battery plant? An EV assembly plant? Steel mills? Nothing?

            Is that *all* because of a few ‘feel good’ ads in an American periodical that wouldn’t convince any thinking adult?

        • Ian Thompson says

          Hi Randy WESTER

          Our local automotive club here in Western Australia has presented some studies of the TCO of numerous vehicles, broken down into vehicle classes (e.g. small SUV, small sedans, large 4WDs, etc., etc.), and including several electric vehicles. They include depreciation, insurance, R&M, registration, resale value, fuel cost, etc., etc., within PDF spreadsheets.

          https://www-cdn.rac.com.au/-/media/files/rac-website/car-and-motoring/running-costs/rac-car-running-cost-guide-2021.pdf?modified=20210923080122&_ga=2.43183141.1843956618.1637134311-373075422.1637134310

          They show A$ TCO/week for a 5-year ownership. It is a little difficult to compare like-with-like between EV and IC, but in general I’d say that here, on average, the EV appears to involve an approximate 16-20% TCO premium over the 5-year period of ownership – so not quite parity yet. And a hefty initial cost – at which may cause many to baulk. I did wonder if extending the ownership to 10 years might improve this (the fuel cost margin should favour the EV), however the total standing costs appear to favour the ICV, and whilst the depreciation % was about the same for the EV & IC vehicles I looked at over the 5-year period, I am not sure that the perceived need to replace the battery before long might rear its ugly head by the 10-year point – decreasing the resale value. I wouldn’t buy a 10 year old EV, yet.

          Also – a lot of fleet operators appear to change-over their vehicles every 3 years of so. So – I feel the jury is out on the parity issue, here in WA. Maybe as gasoline prices surge, the situation will change – however as fuel is only about 10% of the TCO, I suspect this will take some time (you can buy an awful lot of gasoline, for the EV cost premium).

          BTW – I liked your comments about the solar *industry* (or lack thereof) here in Australia. I was googling ‘Wind Turbines manufactured in Australia”, and it seems most of the ‘hits’ related only to Installers, or Assemblers of TKD turbines. Something similar happened with a search for “Australian manufactured Lithium Batteries” – the hits were about 20:1 for sales outlets of imported batteries, but I did get 2 manufacturer hits (unless these, too, are ‘manufacturing’ from mostly imported parts – it wasn’t easy to determine this). I did note our famous Big Battery was supplied by Elon Musk…

          Disappointing, as I feel we have a long, long way to go.

          Of course, one can always buy an EV on ideological grounds – even if my calculations suggest at present this will result in INCREASED GHG emissions (we will use a lot more coal power, to support the increased electrical demand – coal is inefficient, and produces more GHG than gasoline per kWh of energy produced).

    • Ian Thompson says

      Geoffrey Miell – you state: “You’ll excuse me for not accepting the word of someone who IMO consistently and continually demonstrates cherry-picking of data, ignores inconvenient evidence/data, indulges in heroic assumptions, and advocates for much more expensive nuclear and gas-fired electricity generation and for DELAYING BEV uptake.”

      IMHO, I have noted your discussions appear to follow a predictable pattern – you make a statement, then if anyone challenges your pronouncement, you first go to the ‘Chicken Little’ defence then, if necessary, go to character assassination. So, do you feel it is ok to impugn my professional integrity and technical competence, even though you know NOTHING of my experience and background? Do you feel this at all represents the ‘Scientific Method’? I feel sure the issues here clearly relate to a lack of comprehension and technical skills, of strong confirmation bias, and a lack of good judgement.

      IMO, your statement very succinctly and accurately reflects you own behaviour (well, apart from the nuclear aspect – where you have specifically rejected even learning something about this).

      Do you feel renewable sources are already so perfect, and somehow so exalted and privileged that they are inviolate from the normal scientific method of critical review? Goodness me, Geoffrey, even your ‘pal’ Prof. Blakers is subject to oversight and peer review – and I strongly doubt he thinks himself Omniscient.
      Do you think your reference to the T&E chart is in any way a “more informed and scientifically based analysis”? I can tell you now, even my 2nd year engineering students would have ridiculed this a lacking credibility 40 years ago. Do you think your reference to the Commodore/Tesla drag race figures (although interesting) related to anything more than a social media ‘video grab’? That the figures provided in any way represented solid scientific proof of ANYTHING? Do you think the fact that journalists (and others) go about promoting BEVs as ‘zero emissions’ (without you correction of the facts), is that much different than the ‘VOC-reducing paint’ example that Randy Wester discussed?

      Personally, IMHO you are playing directly into the hands of the Fossil Fuel Generator’s business case. Do you not agree with me, that coal generators are inefficient, and are responsible for massive GHG (and other serious) emissions? Do you not understand that BEVs represent an increased DEMAND on our electricity grid? Do you not understand that our electricity supplies rely heavily on coal and gas generation, and are likely to remain so for at least 5-10, even 20 years? Just how do you think this extra demand is going to be provided? Increased coal output? Or from currently curtailed renewable sources – if so, why will you not admit this? Why have not those sources already been utilised to supplant coal generation, already? Is it possible our roll-out is not perfect, after all? That batteries are not at the level of providing storage economically yet, so lack investment security? Or, not available in the quantities needed? Or is it that coal stations do not ‘load follow’ very well (nor, Ronald, would I expect the ‘thermal’ part of CCGTs to load follow very well – even though the GT part would).

      IMO, BEVs WILL eventually become low GHG emitters – even if they were only 15% efficient. Can you understand, Geoffrey, that if (a ‘conditional’ Geoffrey – in case you forgot Nicholas Geary’s lesson) BEVs are charged 100% by coal, will also carry the inefficiency of the coal station performance – in series? Do you understand that coal produces more GHGs than gasoline, per kWh of thermal energy produced? Can you understand that if all renewable sources are already fully committed to supplanting FFs (e.g. at night), that BEVs WILL be necessarily charged from FF sources? That even if you say you charge from your own rooftop PV during the day – in reality all you are doing is to deprive that energy from supplanting coal-sourced energy from elsewhere?

      Can you understand, even if you disagree with my more realistic assessment of BEV efficiency, that at best, the savings in GHG emissions will at best be only marginal (and I think worse) than remaining with ICVs? That you would get more ‘bang for your buck’ by fixing your ‘perfect’ renewable system, so that it CAN replace FF-sources. I feel that maybe you have ‘lost the plot’.
      More to come…

      • Ian Thompson,
        I see lots of rhetorical questions from you, but I don’t see any credible evidence/data and analysis to support your ideological position.

        I don’t think renewables are “perfect”. Based on the evidence/data I see, IMO it’s all we have available to work with in the remaining (and rapidly diminishing) time available.

        The evidence/data I see indicates the Earth System will inevitably cross +1.5 °C global mean warming threshold, and it’s likely BEFORE 2030. On humanity’s current GHG emissions trajectory, the Earth System will reach at least +3 °C by 2100 (and probably higher).
        For example, see table 1 at: https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-12-253-2021

        Crossing +1.5 °C global mean warming threshold means the beginning of likely exponentially worsening global food security.

        Crossing +2.0 °C warming threshold could begin to trigger a “Hothouse Earth” scenario, and melting of all ice sheets and glaciers essentially becomes unstoppable.

        Crossing +3.0 °C warming threshold means many equatorial and mid-latitude regions, currently home to billions of people, likely becomes uninhabitable – too hot/humid.

        Crossing +4.0 °C warming means likely the end of human civilisation (NOT necessarily the end of the human species).

        Professor Schellnhuber wrote in his Foreword to David Spratt & Ian Dunlop’s 2018 report titled What Lies Beneath: The Understatement of Existential Climate Risk, that finished with:

        In conclusion, one should not be overly critical of the IPCC, since the scientists involved are doing what scientists are expected to do, to the very best of their ability in difficult circumstances.

        But climate change is now reaching the end-game, where very soon humanity must choose between taking unprecedented action, or accepting that it has been left too late and bear the consequences.

        Therefore, it is all the more important to listen to non-mainstream voices who do understand the issues and are less hesitant to cry wolf.

        Unfortunately for us, the wolf may already be in the house.

        https://www.breakthroughonline.org.au/whatliesbeneath

        Disruption is inevitable. Brace for impact.
        Your apparent wilful ignorance of inconvenient evidence/data is not helpful.

      • Ian Thompson says

        Geoffrey Miell

        You state: “I see lots of rhetorical questions from you, but I don’t see any credible evidence/data and analysis to support your ideological position”.

        Yet, you have answered NONE of those questions. Just what sort of “credible evidence” do you expect me to provide – I’d have thought my questions to you (as you call ‘rhetorical’), were effectively statements of logic and established fact. If not, how so – or don’t you have any answers?

        What do you understand is my so-called ‘ideological position’? As far as I am aware, I don’t have one – never have – have ALWAYS worked from technical facts. Certainly not nuclear, as I am ambivalent about that – just feel we should not be ruling out *new nuclear*, any more than the ‘as yet not invented’ technical solutions that ScoMo proffers as the way forward. Please provide detail. Ronald’s battery report worries me – are grid-level batteries similarly unreliable and short-lived? If not, why not?

        You state: “Your apparent wilful ignorance of inconvenient evidence/data is not helpful”. Just what evidence/data are you accusing me of being ignorant of? Surely not climate change, as I agree with this, and accept the information you have provided as most likely true. Surely not the empirical data references, which I have already provided? Is it simply that I have brought up some ‘inconvenient details’, that you cannot get your head around? I’d have thought my presentation of the BEV issues should be quite easily understood. What do you not understand about them, or what do you disagree with? I had tried hard to cover the range of alternatives. Please provide specifics.

        Why do you say my ignorance, if it truly exists, is ‘wilful’? ‘Wilful’ implies intentional, or deliberate – whereas I be hardly that, if you have never provided any ‘helpful’ responses. Or it could mean ‘headstrong, or strong-willed’ – but isn’t that a positive, if we seek to find the truth?

        I feel you could be a lot more ‘helpful’, if you would provide a plan of how we are going to get achieve nett-zero emissions in Australia – suitable for peer and public review as per the ‘scientific method’ you have proposed, and that I have always followed.
        Also, an outline of the technical arrangements for supplying, for example, SA with solely renewable energy when other States are similarly so provided – transmission lines and capacity, storage capacity, installed wind capacity, installed PV capacity.

        I’d find this extremely edifying, as I noticed on the NEM widget last evening that after the sun went down (no PV), the total wind generation from the whole of Australia (incl. WA) was showing less than 1 GW, about 0.3 GW of that in SA. When the total demand was ~25 GW – with 20 GW from FFs (balance from Hydro). I’d find dealing with that quite a challenge and would really appreciate understanding how you think this would be done. Especially as the Big Battery was generation only 0.002 GW at that time, having I guess run flat from generating 0.04 GW for a couple of hours earlier in the evening – I did note the wind picked up a little several hours later – to just a little over 1 GW.

  30. Richard Courtenay says

    Hi Ronald, thankyou for your site. You must derive great pleasure from the “experts” questioning your knowledge of your subject. I just want to thank you for explaining why South Australians pay almost double Queensland prices for power. To pay less they have to spend thousands on solar and batteries because S A has to import power from Victoria. When it gets dark its very dark !

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Richard. This article doesn’t explain the difference between SA & QLD retail electricity prices. Here’s what you want:

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/south-australia-electricity-prices/

      The article is a few years old but things are pretty much the same except South Australia’s wholesale electricity prices — what generators are paid for supplying electricity. They are now the cheapest on the mainland and have been for around two years now. This is thanks to the state’s large amount of renewable generating capacity, both on rooftops and in wind farms.

  31. Yes Tesla recommends regular “service” – checking the brake pads/brake fluid, changing the cabin air filter when it starts to smell, replacing the tyres when they are worn out, but can you show where Tesla says failing to do this voids the warranty?

    • Randy Wester says

      In Canada, Tesla also inspects the pads and lubricates the caliper mounting hardware as everything corrodes from the road salt, and they replace the airconditioner’s refrigerant dessicant.

      Right, there’s no warranty requirement to spend $100 a year having the car checked over. But…

      1. There’s more likelihood they’ll spot any developing warranty issues within the warranty period if they’re checking more frequently, and

      2. Some of the services should reduce the likelihood of a Vacation Ending Flatbed Event. There are way fewer moving parts than on a ‘fossil’ car with an automatic transmission, but there *are* moving parts.

  32. David Thrum says

    Perhaps the cost includes (non-existent) engine oil replacement?

    https://thedriven.io/2021/09/29/my-life-with-an-ioniq-electric-car-and-managing-dealer-bills-for-oil/

    • Ian Thompson says

      Well, David, they do have a double-reduction gearbox! That has oil in it – also used for cooling. Motor bearings may be oil-spray cooled and lubricated – although the Model S Performance may use ceramic bearings.

      • No need to be condescending.

        In an EV, oil is only for transmission – comparable to a manual gearbox or differential in an ICE car. As far as I am aware, Hyundai cars (Ioniq or otherwise) do not need gearbox and/or differential oil changed annually, and if they did, it would apply to the hybrid and plug-in hybrid models as well.

        As a reference point, Tesla does not require drive train oil changes. Ever.

        https://www.tesla.com/en_AU/support/car-maintenance

        • Ian Thompson says

          Hi David

          Sorry you perceived me as being condesending – I wasn’t – maybe you were being a little over-sensitive for some reason? Many people are not aware that EVs have oil lubricated and cooled gearing, or that their motors can spin up to 9,000 rpm and require internal oil cooling – and often oil spray lubricated and cooled bearings – but maybe not the ‘s’ Perfotmance model.

          My comment was merely meant to be ‘tongue-in-cheek’ – after all, you did suggest charges for ‘(non-existent) engine oil replacement)’. Hence my ‘!’ mark.

          I do understand Tesla use an oil filter of sorts – but don’t know if it ever requires replacing.

          I hadn’t read the manual.

        • Geoff Miell says

          David Thrum,
          As a reference point, Tesla does not require drive train oil changes. Ever.

          BEVs usually have reduction gearboxes and differentials that are lubricated by transmission-grade oil, similar to ICEV transmissions and differentials.

          Per Lease Fletcher UK:

          EVs also have transmission fluid or ‘gear oil’, which needs to be replaced, albeit infrequently. The Tesla Model S manual suggests this should be carried out once every 12 years or 150,000 miles.

          https://www.leasefetcher.co.uk/guides/electric-cars/do-electric-cars-need-oil-changes

          I’d expect that to be a reasonable maintenance requirement interval.

          But it seems the Hyundai Ioniq needs to have its transmission oil replaced after 1-year or 15,000 kms. Whether this is just for a one-off ‘run-in’ requirement, or the regular maintenance interval, it’s not clear to me.
          https://www.newsy-today.com/hyundai-kona-and-ioniq-electric-cars-still-need-an-oil-change-for-what/

          I’d suggest its best to know the maintenance requirements for a particular model before committing.

          A deep dive into the details of the 18,000 RPM performance rear motor and drive unit from a 2015-2016 Tesla Model S P90D can be viewed in the YouTube video titled Understanding the Tesla Model S Performance Motor, published 17 Feb 2021, duration 0:46:31, below:

          • David Thrum says

            Thanks for the details! Yes I understand that the drive train (motor, any reduction gears, and differential) require oil, and I’d guess pretty special (expensive) synthetic oil. Maybe Hyundai doesn’t use such high-grade lubricants and thus require more frequent transmission oil changes, but I would doubt that – having owned both Hyundai and Kia vehicles, they were both really well put together and I’ve no doubt their maker are committed to quality components and consumables.

            I think there may be a different issue at play here, and that is the future role of dealers for traditional car makers. Dealers make a margin selling cars, but most of their revenue comes down the track from servicing the vehicles that they sell. If EVs are likely to generate lower ongoing service revenue than ICE vehicles, dealerships are effectively incentivised to sell ICE vehicles (including hybrids and plug-in hybrids) rather than pure EVs. So perhaps Hyundai has a mandated maintenance schedule for EVs (warranty coverage depends on it) to at least ensure some ongoing service revenue for the dealerships whether actually needed or not.

            This is not an issue for Tesla of course, but it is something that all of the traditional OEMs will need to grapple with as the EV market grows (which I think will happen more quickly than any of them would like..).

          • David Thrum,
            This is not an issue for Tesla of course, but it is something that all of the traditional OEMs will need to grapple with as the EV market grows (which I think will happen more quickly than any of them would like..).

            Yep. And the traditional OEMs know it and need to play catchup to Tesla if they wish to stay relevant.

            Apparently Tesla’s Model 3 is now the best-selling vehicle in both Europe and the UK.

            Recently, Ford CEO Jim Farley held an internal meeting with some 20,000 Ford employees, and a good portion of that meeting was about Ford’s competition, primarily Tesla.
            https://cleantechnica.com/2021/11/06/fords-ceo-says-tesla-needs-to-be-taken-seriously-as-the-dominant-player-in-the-ev-market/

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