Top 10 Electric Car Myths Busted

Some people have strange ideas about electric cars. 

I know because they’ve been kind enough to share them.  I’ve collected so many I’ve made a Top 10 list.   

Thanks to myths spread by people with inadequate regard for the truth, many are unaware of EV advantages.  Myths are spread in dark corners of the internet and under bright lights by people working to be reelected.  One example is Scott Morrison:

Scott Morrison EVs end the weekend electric car myth

This is what our Prime Minister claimed a couple of years ago. He’s changed his mind since then, but don’t worry. I’m sure his change of heart is sincere. Just as I am, at all times, 100% sincere in everything I write.

Ending the weekend is not among my Top 10 myths because it was too stupid to make the cut.  Many myths that did make the list contain a core of truth but either wildly exaggerate problems or ignore improvements made in the 11 years since the first modern, mass-produced electric car — the Nissan Leaf — was launched. 

But other myths contain only a core of crazy. If those responsible ever got behind the wheel of an electric car, they’d head straight for Crazytown at ludicrous speed.

Electric cars aren’t perfect but are far better than some would have you believe.  Despite all the myth-information, the days of conventional cars are numbered.  Petrol and diesel vehicles are so bad I die a little inside whenever one drives by. 

This is because their exhaust fumes are toxic. 

My Top 10 EV Myths

Traditional Top 10 lists start at 10 and work their way down to 1.  Well, screw that.  I have no idea if information wants to be free, but it sure as hell wants to be organized.  Otherwise, it’s merely data.  I will present the myths in the order that makes the most sense for the reader, which means more important points first. But don’t worry, I’ll save a big one to finish on.

  1. You pay a large premium for an EV.
  2. Driving an EV emits more CO2 than conventional cars.
  3. Emissions from battery manufacture outweigh reductions from EV use.
  4. Batteries rapidly deteriorate and become useless within a few years.
  5. Electric vehicles have no or low trade-in value.
  6. We can’t recycle batteries.
  7. Switching to EVs wastes resources by causing conventional cars to be scrapped.
  8. Maintaining an old petrol or diesel car is greener than driving an EV.
  9. Charging electric vehicles is painfully time-consuming.
  10. EVs don’t have enough range — AKA “range anxiety”.

Myth #1. You Have To Pay A High Premium For EVs

Electric cars aren’t cheap.  Especially not in Australia.  So when I call out this myth, many people are going to call me crazy.  There is a strong core of truth to this belief, and it’s the hardest for me to defend as being a myth — but I’m doing it anyway. 

Right now1 the lowest cost petrol-powered car is around $17,000 while the cheapest electric car is around $45,000.  So, if you are looking to buy a new car for under $30,000, you’ll have to pay 50% to 265% more to go electric.  That’s a huge premium that definitely makes me look like a nutter.

MG ZS EV - busting the electric car price myth

The MG ZS EV is a nose charger with a real-world range of (hopefully) over 200 km. It will set you back around $45,000 on the road.

But the premium disappears — or mostly disappears — when EVs are compared to conventional vehicles of around the same price.  This evaluation depends on personal preferences and driving habits so there’s room for disagreement, but I consider a Tesla Model 3 — which you can now get for around $62,000 — to be better than any petrol or diesel car of similar price.  This is also true of the more expensive Tesla Model S.  This is because they offer better performance and a quieter ride than the similarly priced competition.  

Because Australians spend an average of around $41,000 when buying a new car, those that spends more than this will generally either pay no premium or only a small one to get an EV.  An electric car can save over $2,000 a year when driven the average annual distance2 The resale value of conventional cars is likely to drop dramatically over the next few years. Even if a sizable premium has to be paid, an electric vehicle could still be well worth it.

Annual energy and servicing costs - Petrol vs. electric car

This estimates the difference in running costs between the average Australian passenger car and EVs when driven the average annual distance for the 2018/19 financial year of 12,600 km and a petrol price of $1.50 a litre. It varies by state and charging habits, but households with rooftop solar will often save over $2,000 a year.

Fortunately, the current situation where lower-cost electric cars aren’t available won’t continue.  Manufacturers can supply them at a price similar to the cheapest conventional cars.  For example, this is the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV:

Wuling Hongguang Mini EV

Note: That lady is tiny. (Images: The Driven)

It has sold over 400,000 units in China.  It seats four people, has a top speed of 100 km/h, and sells for around $7,000 after receiving little or no subsidy.  Its real-world range is only around 140 km, but a version with over 300 km of official range is in the works.  That should have over 200 km of range in real life.  

Wuling Hongguang will never sell this car in Australia.  It needs improvements in power, quality, and ability to handle the average Australian arse size.  But it’s not hard to imagine an improved version being sold here for around $17,000 in a few years — the same as the cheapest petrol-powered cars.

Myth #2. EVs Emit More CO2 Than Petrol & Diesel Cars

The idea that driving electric cars results in greenhouse gas emissions equal to or greater than conventional cars is crazy talk.  There’s no core of truth to this myth.  The best that EV sceptics can claim is an electric car charged from a grid that’s heavily dependent on old coal power stations may be worse than a similar-sized fuel-efficient hybrid or a considerably smaller conventional car.  Even this won’t last as grids are becoming cleaner.

It’s not difficult to determine the approximate emissions of an EV charged from Australia’s dirtiest grid…

  • Including losses, an electric car needs to be charged with around 0.15 kilowatt-hours per km driven.
  • Victoria has Australia’s dirtiest grid and, over the past year, emitted around 1 kg of CO2 per kilowatt-hour supplied.
  • This gives an average of 150 grams of CO2 per km for an electric vehicle charged from the Victorian grid.

If we do a similar calculation for a petrol-powered vehicle…

  • The average Australian passenger car burns 0.11 litres of petrol per km.
  • Including emissions from extraction, refining, and transport3 — petrol emits around 2.6 kg of CO2 per litre burned.
  • This comes to an average of 286 grams of CO2 per km.

So even when charged from Australia’s dirtiest grid, a typical electric car will only result in 52% the CO2 emissions of the average Australian petrol passenger car.  If the car is charged 50% from rooftop solar4 it drops to only 26% the emissions of the average car and less than any hybrid vehicle on the market. 

If we use the average grid emissions for Australia of around 690 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour5 it comes to 104 grams.  This is more than the 90 grams per km, which is around the best a fuel-efficient hybrid can do in real-world driving, but an EV would only have to be charged 15% from rooftop solar panels to do better. 

This graph shows the grams of CO2 emissions that result from driving 1 km. The Australian average of 690 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour supplied for grid generation was used.

Given the amount of additional solar panels people are installing on roofs in preparation for EVs, the average electric vehicle will have no problem beating even the best hybrid on emissions per km.  Also, because I’m expecting coal power stations to be closed at an accelerated rate, I’m certain the typical electric vehicle bought today and only charged with grid electricity of average filthiness will have lower emissions per km over its lifetime than the best currently available hybrid. 

Myth #3. Emissions From Battery Manufacture Outweigh Any Benefits

I’ve shown EVs don’t emit more greenhouse gases than conventional cars per km driven.  But there’s another myth saying the manufacture of EV battery packs releases more emissions than driving saves.  While the production of the battery pack is emission-intensive, it doesn’t come close to outweighing electric vehicles’ emission benefits.

A recent estimate put emissions from EV battery pack manufacture at the equivalent of 75 kg of CO2 per kilowatt-hour.  This is terrible.  If true, it means producing a 50 kilowatt-hour battery pack results in greenhouse gas emissions equal to 3.75 tonnes of CO2. 

But an EV charged entirely from the Australian grid will, on average, result in around 182 grams less emissions per km than a conventional car.  This means it would only have to be driven around 20,600 km to pay off the emissions debt from its battery pack.  As the average Australian car is driven 12,600 km a year, that’s around 20 months.  If the electric vehicle was instead 50% charged from rooftop solar, it would only have to be driven around 16,000 km — around 15 months of average driving. 

But emissions from producing the battery pack don’t tell the full story because manufacturing the rest of an EV results in less emissions than for a conventional car.  An electric motor is much simpler and lighter than an internal combustion engine, and EVs don’t require fuel tanks and exhaust systems.  This means manufacturing emissions aren’t as bad as just looking at the battery pack suggests. 

In their 2020 Impact Statement, Tesla says the their Model 3 with a 50 kilowatt-hour battery pack must drive only 8,600 km to compensate for the additional emissions compared to the manufacture of a comparable conventional car.  That distance is eight months average driving in Australia, but I’d expect it to be less as our grid emits more CO2 per kilowatt-hour than almost every other country.

Electric car grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour of grid electricity

Poland may be the only developed country with higher grid emissions per kilowatt-hour than Australia.

Emissions per kilowatt-hour of battery capacity produced are falling and will continue to fall.  This is because manufacturers are always seeking ways to reduce energy and material inputs to cut costs, while energy is becoming cleaner.  Tesla claims they will decrease the energy required to produce their new 4680 battery cells by over 70%.  While Tesla is a company that often exaggerates, I’m certain emissions from battery manufacture will fall in the future.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they were already significantly under 75 kg of CO2 per kilowatt-hour.

4. Batteries Deteriorate Rapidly

Another myth is EV batteries deteriorate rapidly.  Some say they’ll be knackered after only five years, while others very confidently make the very vague claim they’ll only last “a few” years.  This view is clearly not based in reality, as all major electric vehicle manufacturers provide far longer battery warranties:

  • Tesla Models S and X:  First of 8 years or 240,000 km while retaining 70% capacity.
  • Tesla Model 3 Long Range and Performance versions:  First of 8 years or 192,000 km while retaining 70% capacity.
  • Tesla Model 3 Standard Range +:  First of 8 years or 160,000 km while retaining 70% capacity.
  • Nissan Leaf:  First of 8 years or 160,000 km
  • MG ZS EV:  7 years with unlimited km for non-commercial use.
  • Hyundai EVs:  First of 8 years or 160,000 km.

You can expect an EV battery pack to last at least as long as its warranty.  If it doesn’t, you’re entitled to a repair, replacement, or refund.  Unless, of course, the company’s no longer around because it went bankrupt from the cost of replacing lousy batteries. 

Just as you can expect the engine in a conventional car to last well beyond its warranty period, you can expect an electric vehicle battery pack to do so as well.6  If we assume a battery will last 160,000 km — the lowest km distance in the warranties above — that’s nearly 13 years of average Australian driving. 

But the typical battery pack may last longer than that with only moderate loss of capacity.  Here’s a graph showing the capacity of Tesla S and X EVs averaging around 89% capacity after 320,000 km:

Tesla Model S/X battery capacity retention

This graph is from page 22 of Tesla’s 2020 Impact Report. (I added the red comic sans myself.)

This represents 25 years of driving for the average Australian passenger car, which is a lot longer than Aussie cars usually last.7, so it definitely looks as though batteries can last a long time.  

But because Tesla likes to spin things as positively as they can, there are a couple of things the graph above doesn’t point out that may result in the average EV battery pack suffering greater capacity loss:

  1.  The graph shows results for large 100 kilowatt-hour battery packs.  A 50 kilowatt-hour battery pack, which is closer to what most EVs have, would have to be cycled twice as much to drive the same distance, assuming the same energy consumption per km.  This could cause twice as much degradation from cycling.  Capacity loss can be further increased if a smaller battery pack provides higher power output per kilowatt-hour of storage.
  2. This information comes from Tesla vehicles that were driven a high number of km per year.  This means capacity loss may be greater for the typical car driven the average distance per year. 

While things may not be as good for the average EV as the Tesla graph suggests, if battery capacity loss is three times the rate shown, it will still have two-thirds capacity after 25 years.  While any loss isn’t good, it’s nowhere near as bad as the myth would have you believe.  I’m not saying you can count on an EV battery lasting 25 years.  Modern battery packs haven’t been around long enough for us to know.  But I’m confident most electric vehicles sold today will still have their original battery in 15 years and they’ll have only suffered moderate capacity loss.

Myth #5. Electric Vehicles Have No Trade-In Value

One myth is EVs have low or even no trade-in value.  There is some truth to this.  Electric cars will continue to improve, which will push down the trade-in value of an EV you buy today.  But it’s a stupid myth because if electric cars continue to improve, it’s going to push down the trade-in value of internal combustion engine vehicles even further. 

This myth likely got started for the following reasons:

  1. The first modern, mass-produced electric cars that began to appear 11 years ago were often expensive for what you got and so were mostly bought by enthusiasts.  This meant they received lower prices on the second-hand market, who are mostly people who can’t afford to be too enthusiastic. 
  2. Many of the first electric cars had limited ranges, and some, such as the original Nissan Leafs, suffered battery deterioration problems.  
  3. Many countries had EV subsidies, but in places like the US, the subsidy was received after the vehicle was bought.  This made it appear electric vehicles were taking a larger hit to their trade-in values than they were.
  4. Unfamiliarity — people without a lot of money to spare don’t want to take a chance on a new type of car their uncle won’t know how to fix.
  5. EVs were improving rapidly, which meant people would often wait to buy a new model rather than purchase a second hand one.

But these issues mostly no longer apply.  While new models of EVs will continue to improve and lower-cost models will appear, and this will hurt the trade-in values of today’s EVs, internal combustion engines will be hurt even more.  This is because electric vehicles are — for the majority of people — a superior product. 

Once EVs have demonstrated they break down far less often thanks to electric motors being so simple, have much lower running costs, and their batteries can last long term, demand for second hand EVs is likely to be far stronger than for conventional cars. 

Petrol and diesel cars are also a risky proposition from an environmental regulation point of view.  While the oil price may fall as EVs become increasingly common, global warming isn’t shaping up to be something we don’t need to worry about.  This means conventional car drivers may end up paying for their carbon emissions.  If it costs $80 to remove a tonne of CO2 from the atmosphere and sequester it long term — a very low estimate — that will add around 21 cents to the price of a litre of petrol. 

Tesla Model 3

This electric vehicle is on sale for 3% less than the price of a new one, so clearly, at least one person thinks they retain value.

Myth #6. EV Batteries Can’t Be Recycled

One myth is EV batteries can’t be recycled.  But they can and will be because there’s valuable stuff inside.  The main material is stainless steel and, by weight, steel is the most recycled metal in the world.  They also contain copper, which is in such strong demand by recyclers my entrepreneurial friends, Pigdog and Spider, accept it in lieu of cash in their business transactions. 

Other elements such as lithium, cobalt, and manganese require specialized equipment to recover, but they can be collected by recyclers as mixed metal dust that’s shipped off for further processing.  Alternatively, battery packs can be returned to their manufacturer to be directly recycled into new ones. 

The current per kg costs of metals in a battery are:

  • Steel scrap: $1.07
  • Copper scrap: $5.90
  • Cobalt, refined: $112
  • Nickel, refined: $28
  • Manganese8, refined:  $2.80
  • Lithium as carbonate (16.7% lithium by weight):  $205   

Lithium has quadrupled from its price in 2020 and is at a record high.  This is expected to cause a shortage of at least some brands of home batteries in Australia over the next few months and may affect the supply of EVs. Happily, it will also increase the focus on recycling.  The price spike won’t last, but improvements in recycling will.

While it’s technically possible to reuse everything in a battery pack, it’s not economical for some materials such as carbon — which is very cheap.  Some people will be upset that not everything is recycled, but it makes no sense if the money would do more good elsewhere, such as solar energy and wind generation.  

Myth #7. EVs Waste Resources By Causing Old Cars To Be Scrapped

One odd myth is EVs require petrol and diesel vehicles to be scrapped and so waste resources.  I’d agree if conventional cars in good working order were being scrapped, but this isn’t what happens. 

When you decide to buy a new electric car rather than a new conventional one, your decision results in one more EV being made than would otherwise occur and one less internal combustion engine car being made.  Buying a new electric vehicle doesn’t result in a new conventional car being hauled off to be scrapped.  It displaces them, so they never exist in the first place and never consume resources. 

This myth may have been fed by the “Cash for Clunkers” program in the US.  This was a subsidy for automakers wrapped in the skin of a dead environmentalist as a disguise.  This scheme ended 11 years ago and resulted in the sale of very few EVs, as not many were available in 2009. 

I know no country currently paying people to scrap conventional cars and replace them with EVs.  If you trade in your still running six-year-old car for an electric vehicle, the car yard isn’t going to send it to a wrecker.  They’re going to sell it for as much money as they can get.

If demand for conventional cars falls so far ones currently considered roadworthy end up being scrapped, that’s not a waste of resources.  That’s freeing up resources, such as steel, trapped inside a vehicle that’s obsolete thanks to technology, making EVs clearly superior in terms of quality, running costs, and reliability. 

Myth #8.  Maintaining An Old Car Is Better For The Environment Than Buying An EV

Related to the previous myth is the odd idea maintaining an old car is better for the environment than buying an EV.  This comes in two main flavours:

  1. The additional CO2 emissions from making an EV are so high it’s better to keep your old car operating.
  2. Greater emission reductions can be achieved by spending the money elsewhere, such as on solar power.

The first point doesn’t make sense.  As I showed earlier with myth number three, it doesn’t take long for an EV to make up for the additional emissions that result from its production thanks to lower emissions from each km driven — which can be zero when charged with clean energy. 

Any comparable conventional car will emit more emissions every km, and these extra emissions will occur until it’s replaced with something better, such as an electric vehicle.  No benefit ever occurs from keeping a conventional car running unless it benefits your bank balance from not shelling out for a new car.

Cumulative emissions - Average passenger car vs. EV

This graph is stupid, not because it assumes there are no CO2 costs for oil and spare parts required to keep an existing conventional car running but because it ignores the grid will become cleaner over time. It’s stupid because if a conventional car is still roadworthy when it’s replaced, it will — in the vast majority of cases — be sold and used rather than scrapped.  But even with the assumption, it suffers existence failure if an EV is bought. The conventional car’s cumulative emissions from driving alone are greater after three years than manufacturing and driving an EV.

The second version of this myth is true.  There are options providing far more environmental benefit per buck than buying an electric car.  For example, buying a large solar system will cut emissions far more than spending the money on an EV, and I heartily recommend this course of action. 

If you do this, you won’t have a new car, so you will be making a sacrifice.  You may have a conventional car you can keep operating, but eventually, it will wear out and need to be replaced.  As there are likely to be plenty of second-hand electric cars on the market by the time this happens, the sensible thing to do would be to replace it with one of them.

So please spend a lot of money on solar power and potentially other better ways of helping the environment before you spend money on an EV, but if you are going to spend a considerable amount of money on a car, then please make sure it’s electric — or at least a fuel-efficient hybrid – if that’s a better match for your driving habits and budget.

Myth #9. Charging An EV Is Time Consuming

One myth that never seems to run out of energy is EVs are time-consuming to charge.  When this one’s brought up, it always seems to be in the context of a long trip of hundreds of km or more to a remote outback town.  Some things these hypotheticals often ignore are:

  1. Many electric vehicles have a longer range than myth spreaders realise9.
  2. Many EVs can use high power DC chargers which I’ve seen add a dozen km of range in a minute.  With the right car and right charger, it can apparently now add 100 km of range in 5 minutes.
  3. The less energy remaining in a battery pack, the faster it charges.  This means charging to less than full can save time.
  4. Human beings need to take a break from driving every now and then — or at least they should.
  5. Most Australians don’t travel to remote outback locations.  From the way some people write about EVs and range, you’d think Cunnamulla was the place to be, but trust me, you can go to Cunnamulla and wait a very long time for someone who isn’t a local to show up.  People who drive long distances in the outback are smart enough not to buy an electric vehicle that isn’t suitable for the task.

It is true on a long trip, even EVs able to be rapidly charged take considerably longer to “fuel up” than a petrol or diesel vehicle.  What makes this a myth is the underappreciated fact most electric vehicle owners spend less time “fueling” than those with conventional cars.  This is because normal day-to-day charging takes so little time.

When the typical EV owner gets home, they spend under 30 seconds plugging in their car and the next day spend under 30 seconds unplugging it.  They may spend less than 5 minutes on this in a typical week, while a service station visit is usually at least 10 minutes.  If an EV owner comes out only 5 minutes ahead per week, that totals over 4 hours a year.  This could be split into a dozen 20 minute sessions of rapid charging.  With a suitable car, this could add over 2,000 km of range. 

But the actual comparison is better than this.  This is because a lot of charging time isn’t wasted but is spent peeing, eating, sightseeing, or reducing fatigue until it’s safe to drive again. 

It will depend on driving habits and the type of EV owned, but assuming one that matches the driver’s needs is used, the typical electric vehicle owner should come out ahead on time spent fueling. 

Myth #10.  EVs Don’t Have Enough Range — AKA “Range Anxiety”

Range anxiety is not a myth.  It is something that exists.  But a major reason why people have it is they fall for the myth that EVs don’t have enough range for the typical driver.  

There are several EVs available with real-world ranges of over 300 km.  This is more than enough to suit the majority of Australians. As mentioned in the previous myth on charging times, the typical electric vehicle owner spends less time charging than a conventional car owner spends putting fuel in the tank.  

It’s possible to buy an EV without enough range to meet your needs, and this will force you to charge at inconvenient times.  But it’s also possible to buy a pair of pants that are too small.  Simply ‘not buying pants’ to avoid this possibility would be stupid.

Electric car WLTP ranges

WLTP stands for World harmonized Light-duty vehicle Test Procedure.  It does not give a realistic result, so I have included 70% of its figure on the graph above to allow for real-life driving conditions reducing range, as well as minor battery capacity loss.  EV manufacturers normally know exactly how much range their cars get in normal use, but they keep these figures to themselves.  (While I still gave a 70% figure, user reports put Hyundai EVs closer to the WLTP figure in real-world conditions than other major brands I’ve looked at.)

It is true, thanks to their lower maximum range and longer refuelling time, EVs can add to the time required for longer trips.  But when their other advantages are considered: 

  • Less time spent fueling overall for typical drivers.
  • Lower running costs.
  • Greater reliability thanks to the simplicity and durability of electric motors.
  • Usually better performance than comparably priced conventional cars.
  • A far quieter ride.

People should be suffering ICE anxiety over how their Infernal Combustion Engine cars are causing them to miss out on all this. 

Don’t Believe Myths — But Don’t Fall For Hype

That was only my Top 10 list for EV myths.  There are plenty more out there, so be wary of falling for any I didn’t mention.  Unfortunately, plenty of people are willing to deliberately mislead and even happier to repeat something that sounds good without checking if it actually is. 

But the prevalence of myths is partly due to EV manufacturers themselves.  For example, rather than simply giving the real-life range people achieve in their cars – something they have exact information on – they give the results of tests that don’t reflect real-life driving in a deliberate attempt to mislead people into thinking their vehicle’s actual range is better than it is. 

This is a real pity because, after the emission scandals by Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche, and Volkswagen, there was a great opportunity for EV manufacturers to position themselves as the honest alternative.  But they failed to do so.  Hyundai appears better than the average EV maker when it comes to honesty but, who knows?  If I could read Korean, maybe I’d change my mind.

So while it’s important not to fall for electric vehicle myths, you should also watch out for EV hype.  Current EVs are worthwhile for most Australians who spend the average amount or more on a new car, but it’s vital to do your research because you can’t trust car manufacturers.  Not even electric ones. 

Footnotes

  1. Actually, due to supply problems, you may have to wait a while for your new car to arrive.
  2. The average Oz passenger car was driving 12,600 km in the 2018/19 financial year.
  3. Going from oil in the ground to petrol in a tank increases emissions by around 13%.  This doesn’t include embodied emissions in oil infrastructure.  I also haven’t included the small amount of embodied emissions that could be applied to each kilowatt-hour of grid or rooftop solar generation.
  4. To be nitpicky this should be additional solar power capacity and not existing solar capacity, as existing capacity is already reducing emissions.  But plenty of people are installing extra-large solar systems because they have or are planning to get an EV.
  5. A more optimistic figure puts Australia’s grid emissions at around 650 grams per kilowatt-hour, but I can’t work out how it was determined, so I’m using the more pessimistic 690 gram figure.
  6. A 50 kilowatt-hour battery pack in an EV that has been driven 160,000 km will only have been fully cycled around 500 times.  This is very different from home batteries which typically have warranties covering thousands of full cycles.
  7. The average age of passenger cars on the road is around 10.6 years. But because the number has increased with rising population and wealth and because commercial cars that get driven many km bring down the average, most cars in private hands from when they’re first bought last longer than that.
  8. This stuff litters the oceans, so while it’s called a rare-earth element, it’s not rare.
  9. I’ve also seen people assume an EV will start with an empty battery pack and will have to spend time charging before it can go anywhere, just like people always drain their petrol tanks before going on a long trip.
About Ronald Brakels

Ronald was born more years ago than he can remember. He first became interested in environmental matters when he was four years old after the environment tried to kill him by smashing fist sized hailstones through the roof of his parents’ Toowoomba home. Swearing revenge, he began his lifelong quest to reduce the harm the environment could cause. By the time he was eight, he was already focused on using the power of the sun to stop fossil fuel emissions destabilizing the climate. But it took him about another ten years to focus on it in a way that wasn’t really stupid

Comments

  1. Excellent article Ronald.
    Re the emissions issue, the three public fast charging networks that we use (in NSW) – NRMA, Chargefox and Evie – all guarantee that you are charging from 100% renewables. It should therefore be possible for owners who have PV at home and use public fast chargers to achieve the 100% figure even when charging away from home (although strictly speaking it should be shown as 100% renewables rather than 100% solar, because some public fast charging will be using wind energy).

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Thanks for the information, Mark. I think I’ll look into how those public chargers offset their emissions.

    • can you confirm that the electricity cables run from the wind solar farm straight to the electric car chargers, if not then how do they tell electricity from coal and gas to not to go to these chargers.

      • Ronald Brakels says

        The EV charging companies presumably pay for LGCs or possibly another offset method, as this is less expensive than investing in their own private grid.

      • Not sure if you are tongue in cheek or not. You actually buy energy. Not electrons.
        The NEM is a collection of 100 generators – Coal. Wind. Gas, Battery, Solar and then there are about 8 million households that used to just use the energy. Its like a big lake. All the energy from the generators go into the lake. Then the users take that energy out the other side. Its energy, not physical. The electrons do not care if they came from solar or gas or the big guys or just your rooftop solar. They are just energised electrons.

        The electrons move from your green generator. But they only move a 0.02cm per second, or an inch a minute. Then the energy comes out to the charger.

        Most days on the NEM there is about 22 GW effective, although nominally there is 55GW of theoretical generation. And there is about 12.5GW on rooftops.
        So the energy you get into the car came at the speed of light out of a generator somewhere. Might have come from Wallys rooftop at Adelaide and out at Cairns. Virtual.

        While the power network is called a network, it is quite unlike the Internet, where the packet of data from this computer has to trundle along to the solarquote computer in 1 intact packet. Or a train network, where you definitely want to get off the train in 1 piece.

  2. To find the premium for an EV compare the Ev version of the same make and model eg Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed. Or similar size and performance cars eg Camry and Tesla Model 3 (getting specs close as possible between them) (Yes I know the outlander is a PHEV, but you get my point. While it has and ICE as well it has a much smaller battery pack so there is some tradeoff between the two)

    “The Mitsubishi Outlander hybrid wagon also fails the five-year test against its ICE equivalent, costing the consumer $67,380 over that period, compared to $54,285”

    See https://reneweconomy.com.au/ev-vs-ice-the-cost-gap-that-is-holding-australia-back-99666/

    • I know you have supply in the footnotes
      But I would happily move to an EV tomorrow if there was stock and choice available.
      Thére is a complete lack of choice compared to elsewhere in the world.
      Then when you eventually decide on a particular model they are almost impossible to get any stock of.
      Take for example the Hyundai Ionic 5
      Completely sold out in Aus. Is currently on rationing between the state’s just to place an order with a minimum then of at least 6 mth wait for stock if you lucky enough to get an order in.
      We seemed to have missed the boat here in Aus and still remain the dumping ground for ICE for most car makers.
      I’m just saying that if there was variety and stock the take-up would probably be better as I believe there is people ready to take the jump which would then somewhat help demistify the myths

  3. Love my EV! (8 years an old Imiev, added a H Kona electric 18 months ago).

    In 18 months of Covid, we have added 37K Kms to the Kona. It was a dealer demo 8K & 12M old.
    So far 2 services, plus tyres. (The old std fitment was horrible: now Bs Ecopia which use slightly more energy, but work well.)
    I only use the 10A charger (abt 15Km/hr) but that more than suffices. Mostly 100% solar. Ins & rego cost much the same as an ICE. Driving the 720Km to Sydney I reckon adds an hour to the ICE trip: we charge twice so we arrive with Kms avail for the commute.
    One thing with EVs is the stop start traffic is much more economical: I have seen under 11 kw/100, so much less than the 15 odd on the highway.

    One tip for NSW owners: Foxcharge give a discount (currently 20%) for NRMA members. (Link your membership to the account). When you consider the NRMA network, plus FoxCh, you will likely never need to go near the ripoff high cost fast chargers (up to 80c/Kwh, but 60 is common)

  4. Ian Thompson says

    So Ronald – what you are saying is that if you charge you EV from home PV, rather than export that energy to reduce coal/NG-sourced energy elsewhere, you will reduce emissions dramatically?
    How do you figure that?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      From the article: “To be nitpicky this should be additional solar power capacity and not existing solar capacity, as existing capacity is already reducing emissions. But plenty of people are installing extra-large solar systems because they have or are planning to get an EV.”

      • Doug Foskey says

        Ian,
        any reduction in the use of fossil fuels is a positive. For a start, little Petrol or Diesel is mined or produced in Australia, so using any form of locally produced sustainable energy is a positive to Australia´s balance of payments. Even mining companies are realising this cost saving. My EV mostly ruins from excess energy from my Solar system. There is an excess of PV energy produced at the peak time around midday, so locally using that energy is a positive.
        As far as I am concerned, the faster we move to a sustainable lifestyle the better. I am old enough to remember how the planet has drastically changed in my lifetime. I want my grandchildren to have a pleasant future. I feel there must be changes quickly introduced to keep within the 1.5 degrees global average raise. We all damage the planet with our current lifestyle, but I try to live softly on the planet. I feel that Australia should have higher goals than is currently proposed by both major political parties.
        For our future, I hope we will succeed, even though I probably will not see the results in my remaining lifetime.

        • Ian Thompson says

          Hi Doug Foskey

          With the greatest of respect, Doug – I think you may have missing the point.

          The point is, swapping from one form of fossil fuel (e.g. petrol), for another form (e.g. coal), does not NECESSARILY result in any reduction of GHG emissions at all.

          You say your EV runs on excess energy generated by your rooftop PV – which is good for you in terms of costs (you are only paying for the lost opportunity cost of the FiT benefits you would otherwise receive). But, you seem to forget that the excess PV you are using could have otherwise been employed to fill the demand of any non-PV neighbours you have. If all generated renewables have already been fully committed (i.e. not shut down) – then their demand can only be met from fossil fuel sources – e.g. coal.

          My argument is, that any extra demand imposed on the grid, must necessarily be picked up using coal or NG – UNLESS some of the renewable sources are already switched off (curtailed, totally wasting their available contribution), and can be brought back online in time to pick up this extra demand – and at the time it is needed.

          I’ve provided more explanation in a post towards the end of this blog.

          Just to make it clear – I, too, feel that any reduction in the use of fossil fuels is a positive. It’s just that at present, I feel EVs will not eliminate even 20% of the emissions of ICVs – they may even take us backwards (petrol emits less GHGs per kWh of thermal energy, than does coal, coal mining emits methane, a very strong GHG, and our coal stations are very inefficient). I feel we would be better off getting the full 100% reduction of coal emissions, by first eliminating coal stations through the use of renewables (coal, wind, hydro, nuclear) – rather than maybe only 20% (or even negative) nett GHG reductions through a change to EVs at the present time. EVs are merely a ‘smoke & mirrors’ side-show – and a minor issue at that.

          This will change, once we no longer rely on coal and NG as a ‘backstop’ for increased energy demand.

  5. I will still take issue with #1.

    The price disparity of comparable cars is still very significant and depreciation is by far the largest cost of new vehicle ownership. It dwarfs energy and servicing costs.

    The build quality and service ethic of low end Chinese brands like MG are yet to be determined since they have not been in the market for long enough. Tesla ranks next to last on independent customer service survey results and their build quality is still pretty questionable. These things matter.

    What decent EV SUV or wagon or family mover can I buy at the same money for anything approaching the quality of offerings available in ICEVs?

    None.

    Model 3 is a smallish sedan. That just ain’t going to work as a family workhorse.

    The Wuling Hongguang Mini EV is a hideous death trap which would never pass safety standards required for sale in Australia. It’s a ridiculous example of a cheap EV.

    We will all love EVs when prices get closer to parity but it will take longer than we think, and the ICEV fleet in Australia will be around for a long time yet.

    Small things like, no dealer near me sells EVs. They can’t as yet afford to train their staff and service departments. I made enquiries about some new EVs (e.g. Hyundai Ionic 5, new Kia EV models, even the Kona EV) and they won’t sell them as we have to be within a certain distance of the handful of accredited dealers.

    It will be years before the system is ready to sell significant numbers of EVs. While Tesla will happily sell me one of their cars, it’s 500km to the nearest Tesla dealer should a problem arise. No thanks.

    As to emissions, I still have my doubts but it’s probably positive. Far more important IMO are the fact that:
    i. the energy for EVs is made here and not imported, and hence EVs reduce a strategic weakness being our reliance on foreign oil supply, and
    ii. improved air quality in urban environements

    • Geoff Miell says

      Alex,
      We will all love EVs when prices get closer to parity but it will take longer than we think, and the ICEV fleet in Australia will be around for a long time yet.

      And what will the ICEV fleet in Australia run on if, as you say, they “will be around for a long time yet”?

      See my comments at: https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/sa-electric-car-subsidies-mb2266/#comment-1334526
      Also: https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/tesla-ev-range-test-mb2228/#comment-1292766
      And see Matt’s data/analysis of Australia’s fuel import dependencies at: https://crudeoilpeak.info/australian-fuel-import-dependencies-sep-2021-data

      • Myth1

        Mini Copper 3door is 43K

        Mini 3door electric is 61.5K

        Thats a price premium, more so then usual.
        I beleave the normal price rise is closer to 12K for electric versions of existing models.

        Myth 4 Batteries Deteriorate Rapidly
        I admit i have no evidence to counter this point.
        However there are many blogs i have read on this website saying how unreliable home batteries are, arnt they essentially the same technologies? If car batteries are so reliable why arnt we putting them on our homes?

        • James,
          Was your comment in response to me or Alex?

          The Mini Cooper 3-door hatch Classic with 1.5 litre/100 kW petrol engine with 7-Speed Steptronic transmission with double clutch is priced at drive away price starting at $42,961 RMRP.

          The Mini Cooper S 3-door hatch Classic with 2.0 litre/141 kW petrol engine with 7-Speed Steptronic transmission with double clutch is priced at drive away price starting at $51,594 RMRP.

          The Mini Electric 3-door hatch Classic with 135 kW electric motor with 1-speed transmission is priced at drive away price starting at $61,479 RMRP.
          https://www.mini.com.au/models/3door

          I’d suggest you can’t directly compare the Mini 1.5 litre engine variant performance with the electric variant. The electric variant looks to me like it sits somewhere between the 1.5 litre and 2.0 litre petrol variants.

          But what will the petroleum-fuelled Mini variants (and other ICEVs) run on in the longer-term (as I asked in my earlier comment)? Nobody seems to want to deal with that very inconvenient question. 😉

      • Hi Geoff

        ICEVs will run on the same fuel they always have. We will have ICEVs on the road in Australia for decades to come. They will eventually phase out but this isn’t a rapid change thing. EVs currently make up <1% of new car sales. Ramping up to near 100% is going to take quite a while, especially while ever we keep the emissions standards we have.

        Most car makers are still producing mostly ICEVs, they are not ceasing production until the decade 2030-2040. Even then it will take quite a long time for the national fleet to renew as cars on the road are not replaced immediately.

        BTW – the example of the Mini is pertinent to my point. You might choose the 100kW ICEV model because that's all you need. To have an EV Mini you won't have the choice of a cheaper option. So right off the bat you are $19k in the toilet and that's an awful lot of $ to make up in energy and maintenance savings. For me the equivalent EV is ~$50k dearer than my car. $50k!

        But the real issue is the EVs currently available are not the type of cars the masses want. Sure, the sedan crowd are currently catered for (e.g. Model 3) but people movers, SUVs and utilities are what will make the market move. Those are coming but the EV price premium for budget conscious families and tradies is going to see the introduction of such models here to be fairly slow.

        • Alex,
          ICEVs will run on the same fuel they always have.

          And where will these fuels come from in future and at what prices?

          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

          See also: https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/sa-electric-car-subsidies-mb2266/#comment-1334526

          I think you (and probably many others) still can’t comprehend the possibility of petroleum fuels becoming unaffordable/scarce in your lifetimes, and very possibly happening soon.

          • Ian Thompson says

            Geoffey Miell

            Firstly – Seasons Greetings.

            Geoffrey – you are being ripped off.

            Earlier this week we purchased a tank of 98 RON from Ampol (you know, the gold-plated variety) at $ 1.60 / litre, without any discounts – my 10 y.o. car is designed to benefit from using this. Of course, if I was a fool I could have gone elsewhere and paid more.

            Have you bothered to check the best price of basic UPL? This suits a large majority of vehicles. Did you have to go up to 95-PULP to prove you case?

          • Geoff Miell says

            Ian Thompson (re your comments at January 16, 2022 at 6:20 pm),
            “Geoffrey – you are being ripped off.”

            How so? Have I stated what fuel I’m buying and at what price? I think this is another example that your perceptions of reality are unsound.

            Earlier this week we purchased a tank of 98 RON from Ampol (you know, the gold-plated variety) at $ 1.60 / litre, without any discounts

            Do you want a gold star, Ian? 🙄

            Unfortunately, today AVERAGE prices for 91-ULP in places like Alice Springs are $2.02/litre, Tennant Creek ($2.02/l), Mataranka ($2.05/l), Maningrida ($2.27/l), Derby ($1.99/l), Exmouth ($1.90/l), Emu Bay ($1.91/l), Kingscote ($1.91/l), Katoomba ($1.81/l).
            https://fuelprice.io/nt/?fuel_type=ulp91
            https://fuelprice.io/wa/
            https://fuelprice.io/sa/
            https://fuelprice.io/nsw/

            People living in places like those referred above (and there are also numerous others in regional Australia) have the limited choice of either paying the going price or going without. I’d suggest there isn’t the practical choice of going elsewhere; or are you suggesting they all move to and live in places where fuel is cheaper, Ian?

          • Declan Power says

            Ian

            It really depends on where you live and what is available. And what your vehicle requires and the number of newer vehicles using 91 is diminishing, I doubt it is the great majority any more. The cheapest is E10 which I won’t use for good reasons, and my vehicles require either 95 or diesel. Even with discount of 4c/L the 95 price is 171.9 locally, 91 is not even available in the majority of servos in reasonable distance. Usually that servo is competitive with others but given but not today on fuel check when I need to fill.

            At present in my general area the lowest price for 95 is 165.9 but if I am not going that way (it is opposite to most other things I visit in the local region) it would cost me more than a litre extra in fuel. So taking into account other costs, not worth it for a 48-50L fill. Diesel prices are OK at the moment though.

            I haven’t owned a vehicle which runs on 95 for years except my motorcycle but that is not in use for some time.

          • Ian Thompson says

            Sorry Geoffrey

            Please double-check your perception and English comprehension!

            It is not all about you, Geoffrey – I was using the ‘you’ (are being ripped off) in the plural sense – I could have used ‘you all’, or ‘you guys’, but this would not prove necessary for most sensible people, and in any case seemed too American!

            A gold star Geoffrey, really – don’t you feel this comment somewhat puerile?

            And yes, Geoffrey – remote areas in WA have ALWAYS paid a premium for fuel – it’s to do with transport costs, don’t you know? I guess I have to accept you feel the need to try to dig yourself out of an untenable error of judgement/reality.

            Just for interest, though, have you realised that China connected their first HTR-PM onto their grid before Xmas? A GenIV SMR? The second to go on-line later this year?
            https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Demonstration-HTR-PM-connected-to-grid

            That Finland’s fifth nuclear reactor, Olkiluoto 3 (OL3), has reached first criticality? May be already grid-connected?
            https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Europe-s-first-EPR-reaches-criticality

            That China’s 2nd Hualong One was made critical before Xmas?
            https://world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Second-Chinese-Hualong-One-achieves-first-critical

            I think maybe it is your perception of reality showing itself to be unreliable.

        • Ian Thompson says

          Hi Alex

          Geoffrey Miell appears oblivious to the implication in his Morgan Stanley link, that demand for oil will continue to increase until the end of this decade.

          The ‘hypothetical’ concept of ‘peak oil’ – that is, the maximum available supply rate (based on the decreasing yield of existing wells, and decreasing discovery of new sites) – has been promoted as being ‘imminent’ for some 70 years now. Each time is has been proposed, the timeframe has been moved forward by TECHNOLOGY – e.g. steering drill bits, horizontal drilling, fracking – the list goes on. Now, I’m not saying this process will, or should, continue – but perhaps he is just being disingenuous for political gain?

          Geoffrey appears to have missed the point or misunderstood that ‘peak oil’ is when production reaches a MAXIMUM, and can not be further increased (and will in fact commence a decline) – he appears to think this is when oil production abruptly ceases. Obviously, I’d think, if the demand for oil is decreased dramatically in say, the transport sector (through electrification), between now and 2030, then the availability of oil should increase (and costs decrease). Due to market forces. Perhaps he is not confident that we WILL electrify by 2030?

          I agree with you, Alex – it is more likely that changes will occur steadily.

          It does appears his prediction of petrol at $2/litre by Xmas has been proved a Furphy – unless you only look at gold-plated petrol in niche markets.
          The Terminal Gate Price of ULP is now about $1.51 throughout most of Australia? http://www.aip.com.au/pricing/terminal-gate-prices

          • Geoff Miell says

            Ian Thompson,
            Geoffrey Miell appears oblivious to the implication in his Morgan Stanley link, that demand for oil will continue to increase until the end of this decade.

            I think this is another example that your perceptions of reality are unsound. 🙄

            Goehring & Rozencwajg recently stated:

            …our models suggest that we could be entering a new period in the history of oil – a period without any excess global pumping capability.

            https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/sa-electric-car-subsidies-mb2266/#comment-1331035

            Global Head of Equity Strategy at Jefferies, Christopher Wood, told CNBC on Dec 1:

            “In a world that really reopens — which is a big ‘if’ — the oil price can go significantly higher,”…

            “The issue for me is not the oil price, the issue is the pandemic. The oil price is gonna go higher in a fully reopened world because nobody’s investing in oil but the world still consumes fossil fuels,” he said.

            “So oil can go much higher and that can definitely escalate an inflation scare,” Wood said.

            https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/01/oil-prices-could-soar-to-150-in-a-fully-reopened-world-jefferies.html

            You speculate: “…but perhaps he is just being disingenuous for political gain?

            Geoffrey appears to have missed the point or misunderstood that ‘peak oil’ is when production reaches a MAXIMUM, and can not be further increased (and will in fact commence a decline) – he appears to think this is when oil production abruptly ceases.

            I think you are the one being disingenuous and are wilfully misrepresenting my statements made in this blog and my intents.

            Accumulating indicators I see suggest it would be foolish to assume petroleum fuel supplies in Australia will remain plentiful and affordable for the longer-term.
            https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/next-car-electric-mb2225/#comment-1294072

            You state: “ It does appears his prediction of petrol at $2/litre by Xmas has been proved a Furphy…

            Firstly, it’s NOT MY PREDICTION. It was reported occurring in some parts of Australia in Oct 2021. This is another example of your unsound perception of reality.

            Secondly, in Australia today (Jan 13), the price for 91-ULP ranges between $1.61 to $2.27 per litre in NT. https://fuelprice.io/nt/?fuel_type=ulp91

            The price today for 95-PULP ranges between $1.598 to $2.049 per litre in Perth. https://fuelprice.io/wa/perth/?fuel_type=ulp95

            And in Brisbane today 95-PULP ranges between $1.525 to $2.079 per litre. https://fuelprice.io/qld/brisbane/?fuel_type=ulp95

            And in Sydney today 95-PULP ranges between $1.567 to $2.059 per litre. https://fuelprice.io/nsw/sydney/?fuel_type=ulp95

            I wouldn’t characterize 95-PULP as “gold-plated petrol in niche markets”.

            Ian, just because you don’t personally experience/perceive something happening doesn’t necessarily mean it hasn’t happened. 😉

        • Geoff Miell says

          Alex,
          Dec 22: “ICEVs will run on the same fuel they always have. We will have ICEVs on the road in Australia for decades to come. They will eventually phase out but this isn’t a rapid change thing.

          How quickly circumstances have changed in less than 3 months.

          Per fuelprice.io, average pump prices per litre for ULP-91 today in the capitals:
          Sydney: _ _$2.16
          Melbourne: $2.12
          Brisbane: _ $2.18
          Perth: _ _ _ $2.08
          Adelaide: _ $2.20
          Canberra: _$2.08
          Hobart: _ _ $2.19
          Darwin: _ _ $2.06

          Per AIP, terminal gate prices per litre for diesel today in the capitals:
          Sydney: _ _$2.137
          Melbourne: $2.139
          Brisbane: _ $2.137
          Perth: _ _ _$3.130
          Adelaide: _ $2.139
          Hobart: _ _ $2.201
          Darwin: _ _ $2.174
          http://www.aip.com.au/pricing/terminal-gate-prices

          Some in the industry expect the price of diesel could reach $2.50 within a week, which would amount to a more than 50 per cent increase in three months.

          https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-14/fuel-excise-tax-calls-to-be-cut-within-federal-government-petrol/100907104

          This is undeniably a rapid change thing. The era of cheap oil is over.

    • Doug Foskey says

      Paul,
      I own a Kona EV. Yes, the purchase price is currently higher, but the total cost of ownership is less over a reasonable time. The servicing is a lot less about $250 for a 20K service, & the overall servicing is less (eg brakes get an easy life with regen). In my 37K of ownership, I have paid about $6 for commercial charging. Even when I pay a road usage fee & for charging when travelling, the cost per km is about 50% of buying fuel at current prices (remember fuel is a finite resource, so will rise in price based on availability & demand).
      In the last 12 months ICE cars have increased in price by 10-15%, where EVs have stayed relatively the same (a Tesla 3 is still about $62K, which is cheaper than an equivalently spec´d BMW for example) My crystal ball says EVs will compete on price within 5 years for 2 reasons: The cost of ICE vehicles will certainly rise due to their complexity & reducing world demand. Also the pollution standards for ICE vehicles must rise because we are currently the dumping ground for unwanted spec ICE vehicles. Compare this to EVs where most of the cost is in the battery. If you reduce the cost of batteries (by using cheaper more accessible materials & the benefits of production scaling) the EV will reduce quickly in price. Match the increase in cost of ICE vehicles with reduced cost of EVs to reach my estimate of 5 years. Once the costs get closer, the reduced running costs of EVs will mean most purchases will be EVs. I consider this transition like the change from Horse drawn vehicles to ICE vehicles last century. Perhaps Elon Musk is the modern equivalent to Henry Ford?
      I feel there will be transition issues to solve, but most are able to be solved. We definitely need our governments to help the transition. Australia can become an energy superpower, but not with a recalcitrant Federal government. The future for Australia may rely on the decisions of the next government.

      • Thanks Doug,

        I don’t doubt that for many owners the total lifetime cost of ownership is lower for EV’s than ICE’s, particularly for people who can recharge off their own solar during the day..

        But it is quite clear that today if you buy the EV model of a car with an ICE equivalent you will pay a substantial premium over the ICE model price.

        Yes you may/will likely recover that premium over time if you drive sufficient km’s but you still paid a premium to buy the EV.

  6. George Kaplan says

    #1 seems to be dependent on terms. If you want an inexpensive vehicle then EVs are premium. If you’re looking at the BMW range then EVs are a non-premium alternative. All depends on your terms.

    As regards the average of $41,000 on new cars, is that actual cars, or vehicles including SUVs? The linked article has new sedans averaging $44,557 and new SUVs averaging $43,545. Given SUVs comprise about half the market now, and electric SUVs aren’t particularly well known, are EVs actually competitive in the SUV market?

    #3 Is battery manufacturing concerns about emissions, or materials?

    #4 If Tesla only guarantee their batteries as retaining 70% capacity after 8 years then your range is only guaranteed to be 70% after that period. This leads into range anxiety issues. Yes the graph suggests better performance but it’s not a stable range like a petrol vehicle.

    #9 100 km recharge in 5 minutes? So about 1/8th the range of a petrol car in the same refuelling time frame, or enough to get halfway in a basic trip for many people, let alone a long trip.

    If the typical EV owner plugs their car in when they get home, and unplug before leaving, then aren’t then mostly drawing on grid energy rather than solar?

    Looking at my own figures – both solar generation and EV range\battery, I’m estimating 1-3 days to recharge after a basic trip. I don’t live out somewhere like Alice Springs, and do have a large solar system roughly 90% fed into the grid on non-AC days, 70-80% on days when the AC is used. If you live in the middle of the city then recharging is less of an issue – you don’t travel far, but then you probably won’t have solar either – win some lose some.

    #10. Thank you for putting in the 70% of battery range graph. I’d always been nervous about range limits of full batteries, and this confirms my cause for alarm. That being said I’m a little unclear on where the figures come from. At ev-database.org the Model 3 Standard Range Plus has a range of 250-510 km depending on travel and climate. The graph has it down as 448 km. Perhaps mostly city driving in mild weather? If you’re mostly doing highway driving in other than mild weather …

    The Tesla Model 3 Long Range appears to have a decent range listed – 614 km, as does the Model S – 652 km. Even at the 70% mark it might be possible to do more than one trip on a ‘single tank of electricity’, at least until you factor in city v country driving. It’s only an estimate of course, but I’d be guessing ~350 km for a 70% battery if mostly driving highways. Of course the Tesla Model 3 Long Range costs a ‘mere $70,000 or so, while the Tesla Model S comes in at a ‘mere’ $133,000 which equates to about 3x – 6x new Corollas, or 1x new Corolla and a looot of ‘free’ petrol. All in all I still prefer an inexpensive petrol option that offers ~800 km on a full tank, or ~400 km on a half tank, and comes with the surety of fast reliable refuelling. It’s interesting to see EV progress but the range still needs to rise, and the cost needs to plummet, a lot!

  7. Everyone knows, and “Q” has confirmed, that EVs cause CoViD-19.

  8. George Kaplan says

    Random idea for those like myself with range anxieties, might it be possible to hire an EV to test whether the minimum or maximum range listed for a particular variant is most accurate?

    I tried a couple of sites and while Hertz do have the Tesla Model 3 as an option, it’s not clear where it’s available – presumably somewhere in Australia since it’s under the Green AU heading, just not my area obviously.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      You can give Evee a go. I used it to rent a Tesla Model 3 and its owner was extremely helpful:

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/evee-review/

      My experiences with the Model 3 and the range I was able to get are described here:

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/tesla-model-3-review/

      • Doug Foskey says

        My 3c worth…
        In my Kona EV, a 720Km trip to Sydney would add just over an hour charging time to the driving time. If I want to arrive with more charge, I might add 40 minutes to that at Olympic Park (to my mind the worst EV charger I have found! absolutely zero Disability access…). Remember my Kona is 2 yrs old, so limited to 50Kw max charge rate. (The new ones are higher). I have a meal/rest when I charge.
        If I leave home with a fully charged battery, & travel at the limit I easily reach (from Lismore, NSW) Port Macq interchange or even Nabiac (370Kms). I like to have spare charge, so Port M would be my choice.
        To put the range in perspective, I always run Eco mode, & get a real world range of 380Km at 90% charge. (I rarely charge to 100%). I only use the plug-in charger that adds about 15Km/hour. If required, I can charge at 7200W (max 240v for my Kona) or add about 75Kms/hour.
        So, that is my EV.
        How much will it cost to run an ICE vehicle at $5/L?? Consider that electricity costs are likely to reduce, the future cost I think will be far lower for the EV. I already know people waiting for EVs to drop to replace their ICE cars. It will happen, & my prediction is 5 years to approaching purchase parity. What will you buy them?

        • Erik Christiansen says

          Doug, in China an Xpeng P5 costs about the same as a Toyota Corolla, and is far superior in so many ways. They have ICE price parity now, admittedly with some subsidies – but then most of the world has them, including USA. Your estimate of price parity here in 5 years is pessimistic, I hope, as that’s 3 years behind the rest of the world. It would take continued government obstruction for Australia to remain an EV technological backwater.

          As Geoff Miell showed, there are a number of EVs with 1,000 km range, and one with 1,200 km. They’re not cheap, so I’m intending to wait 2 years for prices to come down. With Tesla heading for production of 2 to 3 million EVs next year, and 3 to 4 million in 2023, BYD spending billions on several new factories in an attempt to overtake Tesla, with about half for export from 2022, the fight for market share is on from the start, moderated only by excess demand keeping prices up.

          As for trade-in value, in a few years it is the ICE technological clunkers which will rapidly become valueless. In China, BYD has this year switched from 50:50 ICE/EV manufacture to 93% EV’s as ICE doesn’t sell. Please check ICE sales around the world – they’re falling everywhere, at an increasing rate, while Chinese EV manufacturers have increased sales by more than 300% yoy. OK, Tesla is only up 200% or so, but the new factories in Texas and Gruenheide will help there, and there’s a second factory in China in he pipeline. By 2024 I doubt that anyone will seriously consider buying a new ICE vehicle, and by 2029 it is doubtful that there will be an ICE car mass manufacturer left on the planet. Yes, Toyota and South Korea have sufficient sunken investment in hydrogen to be left behind like a Betamax video tape, but even that can only play as fuel cell EV, I expect.

          Whether Ford can build and ramp up its billions of dollars of new EV factories quickly enough to avoid bankruptcy is uncertain, but GM does not seem to be doing enough to have much chance, at least without a government bailout. They may end up as Chinese-owned badges, like Volvo, MG, and others. Toyota’s insistence on an ICE primary focus may well see it go under as well, according to reports. (Have a look at the constant flow of updates from “The Electric Viking” as a convenient funnelling of other sources. Things are moving very fast now, except in this backwater.)

          • Peter Channon says

            Thank you for some real common sense I have placed an order for the mid size SUV in the BYD range as I believe it to be one of the safest ev’s in the world, have a look at their leading battery systems that they are currently selling to other ev builders, I believe they are currently number two in total sales in China with Australian prices reputably to start at $35.000.

  9. Declan Power says

    Myth 11

    If a battery plays up, or some other problem around the battery occurs, the whole battery has to be replaced at huge cost. This is not correct although it is also peddled by the EV makers particularly Tesla. Their standard approach when a problem is not a simple mechanical one or a software issue but battery related (particularly low battery capacity) appears to be replace the whole battery unit.

    However, with the appropriate skills and testing capabilities often repairs/replacements can be done which are on systems external to the battery modules themselves or even individual modules replaced as it may be only one or two modules which have reduced capacity significantly.

    However, this does require diagnostic and repair capcity and the availability of replacement parts and these are particularly lacking in Australia currently. But in Europe and the US where the EV market is much more developed these capacities are emerging and in time we will have specialists here too. But it also raises the issue of how to train mechanics particularly new ones entering the field and being TAFE trained. The advent of electronics and computers in cars was very gradual but still many mechanics are incapable or proper diagnosis and repair.

    The shift to EVs will be much faster and I am certain our repair industry will dramatically lag the demand for proper repair services. I doubt TAFE has any current capacity to train apprentices or mechanics in sophisticated EV diagnosis and repair and the manufacturers are not that interested due to our low volumes sold here.

    But it is achievable – perhaps a role for an innovative, forward thinking government to provide leadership and reform to to support the shift. Hmm. Pity we don’t have one of those…….

    • Chris Thaler says

      The current “right to repair” movement seems to be gaining traction now in Australia, and if successful will provide technical support information to anyone that may want/need it. Properly educated techo’s are a part of the answer along with appropriate repair parts rather than “module replacement” being mandated.

      • Declan Power says

        The “right to repair” issue is an important one to deal with but it doesn’t seem to be as big an issue here as in say the US. We have clear guidance and rulings from states etc enabling recognition of non-dealer servicing retaining warranty etc. But it would be very good to have access to the full range of diagnostic materials and updates. It won’t solve all the problems though – an importer would be entitled to charge a fair price for those materials and only the big service chains (eg Repco, Ultratune etc) would be able to afford the range of vehicle data to service many different vehicles. And the complex computer gear such as used by VW dealers and the range of specialist tools would probably be beyond the financial reach of even most aftermarket VW specialists.

        Module replacement rather than individual part servicing/replacement can also come down to a cost equation as well – tracking down the failed part may cost more than replacing a module as the you have to factor in the importer’s high cost of large inventory holdings. It is only when vehicles get older that the aftermarket tends to come to the rescue.

        The problem emerges more for EVs when they are out of warranty on batteries. A single battery module or a fan and control module might solve the problem, but if we don’t have sufficient skilled diagnosticians, trained technicians particularly in the risks of HV electricity and some specialist gear, plus an aftermarket and used market for battery and related parts, then the prohibitive cost and poor resale value of older EVs will remain.

    • Yes, despite that battery energy density is enough to make EVs feasible, unfortunately it isn’t high enough just yet to make manual battery swapping practical for EVS yet, other than bicycles and scooters (for which it’s a matter of course).

      A mere doubling of energy density would make this a reality, and then degradation of Li-ion batteries, range, capital cost, and charge time all become non-issues.

      The single biggest component of the price of an efficient, modern drivetrain is the battery, and manual battery swaps will mean that hiring full batteries (and returning empty batteries) is the most cost-effective and convenient way to put energy in your private car, just like swapping/hiring gas cylinders is the normal way to get energy to your barbeque,

  10. Geoff Miell says

    For those with ‘range anxiety’, Chinese upstart Nio has unveiled its ET5 model on Saturday.

    Expected deliveries commencing in Sep 2022.
    A “short-range” variant includes a 75 kWh battery and 550km driving range (according to CLTC standard).
    Other variants available include a 100 kWh battery offering 700km range and a 150kWh battery with 1,000km range.
    https://thedriven.io/2021/12/20/nio-unveils-et5-electric-sedan-with-ultra-long-range-of-up-to-1000kms/

    It seems myth #10 is about to get blown away conclusively.

    • George Kaplan says

      Leaving aside that it’s another Beijing product – a major problem in itself, what’s the highway range on those? If highway driving is less than two-thirds the city driving (max) range listed, then you’re really talking about <360 km, <460 km, <660 km for the assorted variants. Note too that these figures are predicated on range estimates being accurate when your article says it's actually "Not Even #$%^ Close".

      Yes the figures sound good, but if they're completely unrelated to real world driving then they aren't worth much.

  11. Ron, I must be missing something if you look at the graph in your article which shows the annual energy and servicing cost of petrol vs various electrical power options I agree with your $2,500 for the IC no problems. But I cannot figure out where you are going to charge the electric vehicle using 100% grid power? If you are in Western Australia the graph shows $709 to charge from the grid and this includes servicing according to the caption. Let’s assume the EV requires no servicing so we have an expenditure of 70,900c for the year. Now divide this by 12,600 and I get 5.6c as the sum to be paid for each kWh of power to be drawn from the grid.
    I just checked the cost of charging an EV at any of the RAC’s charging stations in WA and they are selling power at 45c/kWh and if you are a member you get a 20% discount which will place your charging costs from the grid in WA at 36c/kWh.
    Are you able to shed any light on this situation as it seems to me that the graph in your article is potentially very misleading unless I have missed something?

    • Back to school for me should have divided the annual kms (12,600) by the kWH/100km (say 11) and then divided into 70900 being the annual cost of power in cents. So it should be 12600/11=1145kWh/year and then 70900/1145 comes to about 6.9c per kWh?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      It will vary depending on the electric car but they get 5-9 km per kilowatt-hour. Also, most charging from the grid occurs at home. I used the typical flat residential electricity price, but in practice it should be less than this as people will make use of off-peak rates, etc.

  12. Your article is fine for “normal driving”.
    What about those of us that love exploring this great country of ours towing a caravan?
    When can we expect an EV capable of visiting rural and remote areas with say a 2500kg van behind the vehicle?

    • Declan Power says

      Neil, there will be a number of people for some years yet for whom an EV will not be appropriate for a purpose such as this. That includes you and me. But most people, including me, have access to s second vehicle (OK, I have several others but I am a car nut!) so for people like us the answer is to use an ICE for the “wide brown land” remote towing and an EV for most other tasks. I know of people who do that already.

      But if you are one of those “wide brown land” travellers who stick to the bitumen (not me, but many do), something like a Rivian which should be available here within a few years will do the trick. There will be others with similar capabilities but different body formats too particularly as batteries improve eg solid state etc. Because you can charge in most parts of Australia where there are main roads, it just takes some planning.

      But another mistake many people make is to think that you have to recharge to full at each charge. Not at all. Just as I sometimes don’t take on a full diesel load at places where the price is very high when I know that I will be in/near a larger town soon, so too can you just recharge enough to get you to the next convenient charge points eg overnight stay or whatever.

      That is my plan – stick with the current 4WD for the foreseeable future, get an EV to replace my daily driver when changeover comes around and then replace the tow vehicle when a suitable alternative and improved network of charge points is in place.

      • I found a cheaper, easier, and more convenient way to deal with this problem.

        I own the smallest car that I could find, because nearly all my trips in that car are by myself, or with one other person and/or some stuff on the odd occasion. Actually, that’s reflected in the Australian Bureau of Statistics, where the average daily drive is about 40km.

        Sometimes I want to tow my boat hundreds of kilometres with a few uni mates and go fishing for the long weekend. Rather than have a big car sitting in my driveway or parked at work, I just hire the best car available for the job when I need it.

        It’s beautiful being able to return it when I’ve finished with it, rather than parking such an expensive asset 95% of the time, as we do with cars.

  13. While accepying all your points, I live in rural NSW. I regularly do long trips and my vehicle has a range of 1300km. I also do outback trips with long distances between any refuelling opportunity. I can carry jerrycans, but an extra battery is not really feasible.
    If I could afford 2 cars the day to day one would be EV. As it is I will wait for improvemennts or maybe Hydrogen technology. (As long as the lunacy of producing it with gas is scrapped)

  14. When you use an average price it doesn’t mean that half the people spend less and half spend more, that’s the median price.

    Poorly constructed article with many strawmen claims. No one says keeping an old vehicle running is better for the environment than running an EV, some argue that an infrequently used exist ICE vehicle might be less impactful than requiring a brand new EV to be built, since the build impact is unlikely to be repayed with infrequent use.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Thanks for pointing that out. I have fixed my mistake. That was sloppy of me.

      I think it would be difficult to write a Top 10 EV Myths article without mentioning strawman claims. It would be a Top Zero EV Myth article.

  15. Was the cost per km charges on EV by gov included ?

  16. None of these articles look at the bigger picture. Petrol tax on fuel is 42.7c/litre and this is used to build and maintain roads. When you do a comparison between petrol and electric cars the petrol price should be reduced by this amount to do a fair comparison or add it to the EV costs to equalise the comparison. As more EV’s join the fleet it is likely that the fuel price will start to drop.

    There will be times when an EV needs a new battery and at this moment in time it could cost anywhere between $5000 and $10000. If you ignore this fact you are not comparing apples with apples.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      The big pictures should also include the environmental cost of burning petrol and diesel. As the article mentions, at a carbon price of $80 a tonne that comes to around 21 cents per litre.

      Also, the article has 565 words on battery replacement.

      • Fuel excise does not go directly to funding roads, it goes into general revenue to be divied out along with other expenditure. As an EV driver I do believe that road users should pay for the upkeep but the system should be fair and apply to all equally. It needs an overhaul.
        There are health benefits from not having millions of cars pumping out pollution and particulates from burning 33GL of fuel every year.
        On of the best features of our EV is if the little one falls asleep in the car you can have the aircon running an not a whiff of fumes to be smelt. Compare that to the school pickup with tens of cars idling on a hot day blasting out aircon.

        Very nice article and the figures match what I have been recording for our car over 30000kms for the last 18months charged via solar and on the WA grid. Saved over 4 grand in our super efficient Ioniq compared to our old car that got the average Aus fuel consumption, emitting 34g CO2 charged with 60% renewable sources.

  17. Ron,
    I have enjoyed your article and it will help when conversing with unbelievers.

    I have been reading the RethinkX reports (free download: https://www.rethinkx.com ), transport and energy reports are relevant to your article. These very plausible predictions of the future of energy and transport should, I believe be compulsory reading for all decision makers and politicians.

    In particular:
    2035 will be the effective end of fossil fuels as an energy source and they will only be used in feed stock in manufacturing (even Rolls Royce have announced phasing out ICE by 2030);
    In large cities individuals will not bother to own their own car as the cost of transport as a service (TAAS) will drop to about 10% of ownership, to about 4c to 6c per kilometre.
    TAAS using autonomous EVs will reduce road carnage, reduce pollution, increase traffic density (reducing requirement for ever increasing freeways etc), free up garages and parking lots to other socially beneficial uses.

    Have a read and pass on your opinion. I can’t wait, and it could happen sooner as long as the fossil fuel lobby don’t put up too many road blocks by corrupting too many politicians.

    IMF reports say the fossil fuel subsidies are at about $600-800 billion pa, mainly health costs due to pollution and premature deaths run at about 800000.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      I had a look at the executive summary of their transport report and, while I’ll need time to digest it, they make a pretty good case.

      Thanks for the link.

  18. Ron, I was reading an article see link below about EV charging losses by and was surprised at the significant losses that can be encountered. It has to be said that the losses appear to be much higher when supercharging at high currents and so people self charging at modest rates will not be really troubled. It would however materially increase the charging costs on longer trips using high power commercial chargers. Not sure if you can include the link and for the record I have no connection to the contents of the link.

    https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/other/tesla-model-3-charging-losses-explained/ar-AAS0bV6?ocid=msedgntp

    • Crikey, That’s bad news. I hope the losses never get anywhere near the 75% losses of the energy contained in petrol!

      :-O

  19. Richard Kirby says

    I have a Chinese made Tesla Model 3 Long Range. I’ve had it three months and considered an Audi, a Hyundai and a Kia. The build quality is excellent. I have zero issues with paint, panel gaps or bodywork. For me the quality issues are gone.

  20. Switching to EVs is not optional. It’s just a start and technological progress will take batteries and electric propulsion to unimaginable levels (maybe something we haven’t even dreamed up yet). Lithium batteries haven’t been an option before electronic technology became available that can efficiently control them. In the future people will wonder how we could put up this air pollution for so long (15 times the sulfur level of other countries!).

    • David Fairburn says

      Thought I’d have another look at how much EV’s will save the Australia planet…NOT as much as believed.

      Not much anyways.

      So to some figures… for years I have been reading how all transport is our 3rd biggest greenhouse emitter and growing, but makes up only 17 percent of our total greenhouse emissions.

      This figure I have read from three different sources so is presumably okay.
      Then private vehicles make up half that 17 percent, say 8 percent.
      So if tomorrow every private car was an EV and charged from solar then the best greenhouse saving would be 8 percent reduction.
      But say half that again, because half of the EV’s at best would be charged from coal, or non renewables, so that makes 4 percent reduction. This part of the equation I am not sure about, but given it would be likely 75% charged from from coal I am being realistic, except South Australia of course.
      Now currently Australia’s fully EV fleet sits around 1.5percent of all vehicles. so 1.5 percent of 4 percent.

      Equals 0.06 percent reduction currently. Really? All the hype for 0.06%.

      But but with blue sky, and we can say 20x EV’s uptake in two years time, still equals 1.2 percent reduction in greenhouse gasses.

      One coal fired power plant offline would I am guessing be about 5 times that at say 6 percent reduction.

      So EV’s are a line from Govt. to take eyes off the prize…coal..

      Sure EV’s are great but lets get some perspective.

      Is my figuring of sums incorrect??
      Please tell me where I went wrong!

      • David you are right.
        All this assumes the power for those EV’s comes from clean sources. I like the idea of EV’s but with the possible savings in CO2 emissions being so low surely for once the government has got it right to not subsidise EVs with a small return and rather let market forces do the job,
        Meanwhile they should be focusing on replacing the coal fired power stations first followed by the gas powered power stations which will achieve really significant reductions in CO2 emissions.
        And yes clean fuel would be ideal but inaction from the government on this front is inexplicable and inexcusable.

      • Thanks for your reply, David.

        I honestly can’t be bothered to dig up the figures needed to counter yours. But I can tell you that, personally, I find it worth going electric even if all things were equal, just to get rid of those noisy, stinking machines.

        Do you not value clean air and a quiet environment that fosters a relaxed state of mind? If you do, your next car has to be electric!

        Although I find the often mentioned sentiment “your entitlement to individual transport should not be taken for granted” not a bad one either. Though I believe I worked hard enough for my entitlement to drive, by commuting to work by bicycle whenever possible:)

        I am typing this while my electric car is being charged by solar power. I managed to afford a cheap electric car after investing my modest savings in shares of global environmental companies, including Tesla 🙂

        There is no point in engaging in boring bean counting and dodgy politics. Remember, even a small bit of change makes a big difference if you multiply it by 8 billion.

        I bet you’ll find this video amusing https://youtu.be/mk-LnUYEXuM

        Cheers, Tony

  21. Ian Thompson says

    Hi Ronald, Finn

    I must preface my comments – in the fullness of time, it is my opinion that we will make huge GHG emissions reductions in our vehicle fleet, through the uptake of electric vehicles. And maybe public transport.

    However, I must query your methodology used to debunk ‘myth #2’ (that EVs emit more CO2 than petrol & diesel cars).

    Firstly, for comparison to EVs you have used the ABS figure of 11.1 L/100km for Australia’s Passenger Vehicle Fleet. Yet the average age of the Fleet is quoted at 10.6 years, and there is no question that the efficiency of IC engines has increased dramatically over the last 20 years (my 180kW larger family sedan is about 10 years old but gets around 6-6.3 L/100km – admittedly mostly highway travel at 110 km/hr., but some city driving – and it has NEVER got worse than about 7.2 L/100km). ABS note that older vehicles are ‘gas guzzlers’, and conclude that the reason efficiency improvements (which relate to reduced number of cylinders, reduced engine capacity, and other things) have NOT translated to significantly improved fleet results, is that buyers have moved towards buying larger, more powerful, and heavier vehicles (most observers are well aware of this) rather than take the fuel economy improvements (increased weight increases inertia energy required and also rolling drag, more powerful engines run less efficiently at the lower part-load requirements, and larger sizes increase aerodynamic drag losses).

    So, in a sense you have compared a moderately small, late model EV, to a combination of much older ‘old clunker’ gas guzzlers, and a higher preponderance of more modern but larger heavier 4WDs, and big SUVs that have more recently distorted the Fleet fuel consumption? Comparing apples with oranges? I think you need to be comparing like-with-like – I have seen new IC cars of a similar size to the Telsa Model 3, that get closer to 6 L/100km – or even quite a lot less than this on the highway cycle (c.f. your drive).

    Secondly, you have added upstream CO2 costs for petrol (extraction, refining, and transport), yet you have not done the same for the coal component of energy used (more about that later). After all, coal isn’t found ready to burn at the entrance to the power station – if often requires the removal of overburden, digging and transport out of the mine, transport to the station, and processing to make ready to burn. Not to mention the CO2e of the fugitive methane liberated, nor the fact that significant energy is used to run conveyors and blowers (although I accept these latter costs and emissions are possibly included in the power station net efficiency figure). You have not included the GHG penalties to build power lines to take the coal-sourced electricity to the EV charging stations, nor the GHG cost to build these (this ASLO applies to renewable supplies). To make a balanced argument, you should also include these extraneous factors.

    Thirdly, you use a figure of 0.15 kWh/km as the charging energy required for an electric car. Yet on your Tesla Model 3 drive you used 0.145 kWh/km from the battery – with a charger efficiency at the high end of 88%, this calculates to 0.165 kWh/km. And we have seen fast charging can have far, far greater losses – maybe twice as much or more – due to the action of the BMS. It appears you did mostly highway driving – so the figure for city driving will be worse (interestingly, if regenerative braking were 100% efficient, you should get a BETTER figure for city driving – no inertia-related braking losses, far less aerodynamic losses, similar total rolling drag losses?). You have also not included transmission-line/transformer losses from the power station. If you are using closer to the Ioniq figures, you should also be comparing with a smaller ICV. BTW – I drove a Model S in Melbourne a few years ago – and like you found the ride somewhat harsh for an up-market vehicle – I understand they’ve since changed to air suspension, so maybe better now. Again, we need to be comparing like-with-like.

    Fourthly, you use a ‘blended’ mix of renewable and coal sourced energy in your CO2 emissions calculations – to me, this is comparable with using blended solar/battery savings to disreputably justify selling batteries to solar customers. At the present time, the realities are that if renewable sources are already fully committed, then adding an extra demand to the grid will have to be made up by coal and gas-sourced energy. Yes, you could say that every other consumer carries a slightly increased emissions component, but this is functionally equivalent to saying this extra demand is met from 100% non-renewable sources (and the status of existing customers isn’t changed). To be fair – you did say ‘to be nitpicky then additional solar power capacity (not existing) should be added – as existing capacity is already reducing emissions.’ However, I remain a little unconvinced. If the average punter is going to drive home from work late in the day, and put his car on charge overnight, then until we have batteries charging batteries, or more wind capacity, his car will be charged from only coal/gas – wind will be fully committed. Not everyone is a pensioner who can charge his car during the day – and even then, the GHG savings are negligible (although, I agree he can save some fuel costs – a very small component of TCO). Of course, extra infrastructure at work could change this, but at considerable cost considering the low duty-cycle. I can anticipate you might say the extra solar capacity will ‘offset’ the coal charging – but the problem is, it is more likely to bring forward the time when far more curtailment of excess rooftop PV capacity is required to be invoked (or more wind and large solar use will need to be curtailed, making investment decisions far more difficult). There is nowhere to ‘put’ the offset.

    So – I feel that at the present time it is far more representative to assume these EVs are being charged with near-100% coal/gas – even if owners charge them from their own rooftop PV (i.e. denying export). I’ve already seen examples of where wind and large solar are being curtailed, and it will do the transition to renewables no good to exacerbate this.
    My calculations show the present difference between EVs, and late model ICVs in terms of GHG emissions (including fugitive methane), is marginal at best – pushing EVs at present is merely changing from one form of GHG emissions (gasoline), to another (coal, NG). We would get far more ‘bang-for-our-buck’, to allow new renewables to REPLACE coal and NG – with a 100% benefit – rather than simply exchange one source of GHGs for another, with very little benefit.

    Of course, I do accept this environment will change before too long, as FAR more batteries are put in place to allow ‘offsets’ to prove more effective, and wind capacity is increased dramatically to cover low generation timeframes overnight when a lot of new charging is needed.

  22. Of course, don’t forget that you’re talking about one form of GHG emissions (gasoline) at 90% of the energy making it to the wheels (once the energy makes it from the well to the charge point, which is comparable to the gasoline equivalent from well to bowser).

    Hey “Aussies” – you know what has INFINITE energy efficiency? You might be able to work it out.

    It’s a big mistake we’ve made with our massive sprawled cities, obliging ourselves to use a car each several times every day just to attend to the basics of life.

  23. Ian Thompson says

    Hi Old Gregg

    Not sure if you are responding to my (technical) post immediately above – but either way, it is not clear what you are talking about. I can’t make any sense out of it – perhaps you could clarify what you mean? What do you think allows 90% of the energy from the charge point, to make it to the wheels? Even Geoffrey Miell’s grossly overstated ‘Claytons’ EV efficiency is only 75% (you know, the energy efficiency figure you use, if you haven’t got even a modicum of a clue). What about the Coal Station energy efficiency ahead of this, of only about 33%?

    Perhaps you are confusing ‘efficiency’, with ’emissions’?

    The easy answer to your question, re- what has infinite energy efficiency, is, wait for it – NOTHING (Entropy, Second Law of Thermodynamics).
    Perhaps you were thinking, ‘walking’ – however this is only about 1-2% energy efficient, and emits GHGs too…

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