Tuesday, October 3, 2023

When it comes to EVs, a picture is worth a thousand words

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Kookaburra, ARR.News
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The map below is demonstrative of the unrelenting push by Australian bureaucrats and politicians to force rural and regional Australians out of the bush and into the cities and large regional centres:

Map courtesy Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources

This map is to be found in the recently cobbled together Electric vehicle charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure where it is needed which forms Part 1 of the Federal Government’s Future Fuels and Vehicles Strategy .

Such a ‘strategy’ must have been put together by people who live in cities and who travel to the regions only on holidays when they have plenty of time to spare and don’t want to venture too far away from population centres when they do.

Why do they need to have plenty of time to spare? Because once one starts driving EVs one needs to develop zen and the art of vehicle re-charging. No more dropping into the petrol station for a quick refill whilst out doing the grocery shopping. Oh no, you need a plan which takes into account all the variables. Type of car, location of charging station, type of charging station, compatibility of the charging station with your car, air temperature, how much load do you have on board, where you plan to go next, will you be going uphill?

On it goes. You will need a slide rule or an app.

There is some very useful information here in a good article in CarsGuide from 2020. The article goes into some detail about the complexities involved and includes a run down of charge times for various EVs:

  • Nissan Leaf – using standard mains power, zero to full – 24 hours
  • Telsa Model 3 – one hour for every 48ks to be travelled
  • Jaguar i-Pace SUV – one hour for every 11ks to be travelled – so 48 hours for a full charge
  • Hyundai Kona Electric – Plugged into the mains at home will be 28 hours for a full charge of the battery pack.

All of these times can be reduced through the use of fast charging stations or investment in wall-packs etc – but that all costs money – and around an hour seems to be the quickest time in which one can get back on the road. No doubt technology will improve these times but right now it is not a realistic option anywhere, let alone in rural and regional Australia.

Why should the great strategists who created this plan not wish to venture too far away from population centres? Because, using the helpfully provided scale on the map, it would seem that one will have travelled well beyond the pale after around 100 ks from a major centre. Indeed, the statement is made:

Figure 4 shows 403 fast charging stations will be built in blackspot areas in 14 of Australia’s most populous regions. ARENA estimates this will give 75% of the population convenient access to fast public chargers. Figure 4 indicates the locations of existing charging stations and proposed charging station locations from round 1 of the Future Fuels Fund, with shading indicating a 100 km radius around each charger.

What about the other 25% of the population? What about anyone wanting to travel more than 100ks from a charger? Because, remember, you have to be able to get back…

Even the statement:

The expanded $250 million Future Fuels Fund is expected to extend coverage to around 84% of the Australian population

does not deal with those two key questions.

The plan goes on to suggest that:

Only around 25% of charging is likely to occur at work or through public electric vehicle charging infrastructure (McKinsey 2018).

This statement appears to assume that 75% of vehicle charging will be done other than at work or using the public network. Presumably this means that the Federal Government is assuming that 75% of vehicle charging will be done overnight at home. So where are travellers meant to charge their EVs when travelling across those vast areas shaded in grey on the map? Or won’t anyone be allowed ‘out there’?

Implicit in that same statement is another assumption, being that electric vehicles will generally be re-charged overnight at home. Really? In remote Australia? Even within 100ks of the national capital there is not sufficient electricity infrastructure to make that feasible.

On top of that come the costs of (a) acquiring an EV or hydrogen powered vehicle (for which there are also few places to re-fill) and (b) installation of a home charging station. To quote from the website of EVSE, a leading distributor of EV chargers:

A specific level 2 electric vehicle charging station is the best solution for an EV owner given the increased charging speeds, enhanced safety features, and the connectivity to the vehicle and even to your smart home or solar PV system. The majority of the cost of setting up a Home EV Charging station will come from the hardware itself, which will range from between $1000 up to $2500.

For more information about home electric car charging, click here.

When considering what EV charging station is right for your home, it’s always worth thinking about your needs now and into the future as this could save you a lot of money down the track. Installation is necessary through a licensed electrician and can be a very simple process taking around an hour for $800 if very little upgrades are required, or an increase in cost (+$1000) if you don’t have flexibility with EV charger location and require upgrades to circuits and breakers.

Are we all expected to make this investment of around $3000? What if a residence is not connected to the grid? Or the connection is unstable – which is often the case the further out of town one is? What happens when that cockatoo fries itself on the nearest transformer to your home and all the Country Energy crew are on call-outs for another twelve hours? Such are the realities of life beyond the Great Divide.

Apparently not factored in at all to the plan appears to be the ever increasing cost of that most essential element – electricity.

The RACV has some useful information about hydrogen powered vehicles compared to petrol powered vehicles and EVs.

It is a long road ahead before either EVs or hydrogen vehicles are viable in rural and regional Australia.

The Federal Government’s ‘strategy’ is only trumped in its failure to grasp the reality of life in rural and regional Australia by the latest pronouncements made by the NSW Treasurer Matt Kean, as reported in The Age:

NSW Treasurer and Environment Minister Matt Kean says his government has signed a pledge with the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) to boost electric vehicle sales and says it is on track to make 50 per cent of all new vehicles sold in the state electric by 2030.

The three-page joint pledge with COP26 says federal governments who sign will seek to work “towards all sales of new cars and vans being zero emission by 2040 or earlier, or by no later than 2035 in leading markets”.

Speaking to the ABC on Tuesday, November 8, Mr Kean stated:

We’ve spent $170 million in charging infrastructure which means that if you live in a densely populated area there will be a fast charger within five kilometres of your home, but if you live in the outer suburbs or in the regions, we are creating EV charging super highways. So we’re rolling out the infrastructure.

This is rubbish. There are no EV super highways. According to the map above, none are planned. A not small issue is that there are limited numbers of farm EVs.

How can this policy possibly work in a country as large as Australia? It cannot.

Unless, of course, along with many other policies, it is a policy designed in such a way that one of its effects will be to force people out of the bush.


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