A point I have made to many people but which generally results in blank stares is that for the foreseeable future we're going to have a mix of technologies.
That is the big trend underway in energy and it's already well established.
Not so long ago, depending on where you lived, all electricity came from either coal, oil or hydro with it being fairly uncommon to find more than one major source within any grid. The only places where that is true today are a few remote towns relying on diesel.
As recently as 20 years ago practically all cars, utes and small vans in Australia had petrol engines. Today diesel dominate for utes and is widely used for cars and vans.
The only energy interconnections between states in 1989 were NSW and SA for gas and NSW and Vic for electricity. That was it. Today we have all state except WA interconnected with gas and we have all except WA and NT interconnected for electricity.
Solar is now a significant energy source but was close to zero just a decade ago.
So there's a definite trend toward diversity and in the context of vehicles we're likely to see that continue to increase.
Yes we will have EV's.
Yes petrol and diesel will both still be around for quite some time yet. Not forever but they're not finished yet that's for sure.
Natural gas will probably play a bigger role too, especially for heavy vehicles.
The biggest mistake anyone can make in all of this is to assume that it's an all or nothing proposition. Either all EV's or no EV's. All renewable electricity or all from coal and gas. Etc.
In reality there's going to be a mix of technologies for the next few decades that's pretty much certain.
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I took it for a spin up and over Mt Mee this afternoon, and then back into the city for dinner, got home with 44% charge left and plugged her in for a scheduled charge to begin at 7.00am when my solar panels are producing.
A feature I love is called “driver assist mode”, it’s different to the autopilot mode, it’s more like cruise control, except the car will automatically slow down for corners (even on the bends of MtMee) and keep safe distance with cars ahead.
Ofcourse autopilot is great to on the freeway.
I am still learning bits and pieces, the more I learn the more I love it.
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I do agree that protesting "the mining industry" is misguided. I am (was) an ecologist and the direct environmental impacts of mining are minuscule compared with those of broad acre agriculture and urban development - but the mythology persists. In my experience, Australian miners are often at the forefront of environmental science and management and that is one of their competitive advantages when expanding operations into other countries. IMO, the public perception problem is deep and arises from:
Legacy issues - mines operating early last century did so without environmental considerations and have left some truly awful and very expensive long-term problems (eg. Rum Jungle and many, many gold mines). These are deeply etched in public consciousness. The perception that miners take their profit (often with little benefit to the community) and then saddle the public with huge long-term costs, is very pervasive.
Industry Groups dominated by the big coal miners and the O&G sector (many of them multinationals) actively undermining (no pun) reasonable Government efforts to bring in more reasonable tax and CC emissions policies. They play hard and they win.
A Few Bad Apples - people like That Big Bloke and the woman who got her daddy's iron ore business - blatantly buying politicians and distorting policy in their favour. There are, of course, smaller and less visible cowboys (and girls) in the industry (as there are in any money-making enterprise, including in the renewables sector).
I'd really like to see the benefits and outstanding performances of the modern sector more widely known, but I don't see that happening while the current power imbalance in public policy remains.
One speaker reviewed the Euro scene in terms of the plans of the major manufacturers (VW, Audi, Renault and Mercedes) and how the Governments, power companies and ancillary industries are working with them. Key highlights for me were:
Big focus on cars as mobile batteries - charging at depots/work places during the day and discharging at homes at night.
Lots of associated businesses - charging network providers, ICE conversion companies (!), battery recycling/repurposing - are considered part of the industry and have the backing of the manufacturers.
Battery life is seen as challenge, but not one they are overly worried about as they say "exhausted" car batteries can (and already are) being repurposed for conventional energy storage (Renault does this). They also accept that batteries will get better year-on-year. Most manufacturers build their cars around "drop in" batteries anyway.
Of the car companies discussed, only Merc expects to be making ICE cars (petrol, NOT diesel) in 15 years time (Merc says about 30% of their output will still be high tech (very low emission) petrol engines.
Germany expects that electric cars will start to put pressure on the (European) grid by 2026. The gap will be filled by renewables.
Australia will continue to receive very few new European EVs over the next three years as 1) their priority is reaching critical mass in Europe for infrastructure reasons, 2) battery supply constraints, 3) majors need to maintain car sales when the new Euro emission standards come into force, and 4) Australia's side air bag requirements are a PIA.
The rest of the talk was about the measures the ACT Government is taking to promote uptake of EVs (and Hydrogen). I'll summarise briefly:
No sales tax and a 20% discount on registration (already in place)
More than 30 free public charging stations (55 charge points) already operating (plus one Hydrogen refuelling station)
Govt working with regional councils along major highways to ensure lots of charging points.
All ACT Government fleet cars to be zero emissions by the end of 2020. Bus fleet to follow. (EV Ambulances and a fire truck are being trialled)
Looking towards other incentives for private uptake and review of development rules for new unit blocks to have charging stations.
I asked about the replacement of fuel excise as a revenue source (a very Canberra question). Local Govt people were aware of this as a long-term issue but think the national uptake will be so slow that it won't become an issue for around 10 years.
Other matters raised included that fact the Australia currently sees 23 models of commercial EVs - Europeans have a choice of 125. The fact that we have no have national strategy and are unlikely to have one anytime soon was highlighted (but that's just Canberra Bubble talk!).
Tea, coffee and mint slice biscuits were provided. I indulged.
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