Carr's chance to rev the EV engine

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Alan said the "world was not rushing towards switching from petrol to electricity for transportation" (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine, January 12.)
That's right. It isn't. Had a look at the sales projections for petrol and diesel vs electric cars? It will take decades for electric to make an impression and they are still no damn good. This is basic physics to do with the energy density of even the best of batteries today. Exotic battery technologies in the lab today will take 15 years to bring to market if there are no show stoppers.
Tesla has received huge chunks of taxpayers money. Electric cars are only sold because they are in part taxpayer subsidised (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine, January 12).
They are a fashion item, designed to impress like minded. They do not help the environment and other than for limited city driving are pretty useless in their current state of evolution. In Australia, they are mostly coal powered, efficiency is poor compared to IC engines due to losses in electricity production and subsequent use in the EV and they contain large amounts of very toxic substances which will new to be dumped or recycled at some point in the future.
I don't want my children to have to face up to the debacle that large numbers of EVs will produce in the future. As a transportation method, they are as bad as the horse, unless we get rid of them from general use, I think the clean-up will be prohibitive.
To be competitive, any global organisation, industry or country needs to recognise its strengths and weaknesses. Our wide land has in the past and will continue to provide cost effective GDP through mining and agribusiness developments (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine, January 12).
There is technology available to produce renewable carbon fibre from the lignin contained in wood or straw. This fibre can be used to build low weight high strength car bodies that have good fuel economy, whether a liquid fuel or electric power is driving them. The residual biomass left over after lignin is extracted from the biomass feedstock can then be converted through further processing into ethanol. These are nearly ready to go technologies we should be looking to support the car industry with R&D funding.
In decades to come electricity may come from solar hydrogen capable of generating power 24/7. This is the type of technology we need for wide spread usage of EV cars but it is still a long way off.
The article lost me right at the start with the silly observation that there was as electric car and that the world was rushing to implement them. Firstly the handful of EVs that exist are small, smaller or micro and suit almost no one and as a result almost nobody actually buys them. The Volt and Leaf might sell a few more if they actually ever get here. But they too are very expensive and can't get very far without a time-consuming recharge (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine, January 12).
Europe has huge subsidies on EVs (like on everything else) and still can't shift them.
EVs are fundamentally flawed and almost nobody wants them. There's no point in throwing a whole lot of money at a solution no one actually wants.
Oh and let's not forget that they are less environmentally friendly that normal cars. The toxic materials in the batteries leave 20 years of tailpipe emissions in the lurch.
Spot on Alan - but doesn't this issue stir the pot (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine, January 12)? I guess it takes all sorts. How about the Ford or Holden diehards - where are they in this? Possibly in their own burnout smoke.
I think electric propulsion is the future - the Volt would be ideal for Australia, and Kim Carr should demand its production here as a condition for government support. Home recharging has the potential to be a really important component of a smart grid, but this seems beyond our government.
Sigh – at least we have a hybrid government – a Nanny State and a Granny State.
In the US the Nissan Leaf has sold around 12,000 in the first year. They have a four to six month wait after placing the order. They just cannot get enough of them.
What will need to be done here is to prevent the Australian rip off.
We expect to pay more in Australia. The leaf sells for around $31000 less $2800 tax deduction. In the UK the Leaf sells for $10,000 more than in the US. The word is it will sell in Australia for $20,000 more than in the US. It is this ripoff that the government should attack as it attracts the luxury car tax (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine, January 12).
Alan, you made the point that quietness is one of the strengths of the EV. I find, as a pedestrian or cyclist, they are alarmingly quiet. Perhaps they need a Whippy van soundtrack (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine, January 12).
The other point that's gone missing is an overview of the cleanliness of fuels.
Think EV: Dirty coal to power station through wires to charging point. Think IC engine: Dirty coal to power station to oil refinery through land and sea transport to fueling point + vehicle emissions.
Liquid fuel doesn't come without a carbon footprint of its own. Of course many of the overseas refineries would be powered by clean nuclear energy.
It's not the power generation capacity for EV charging that's the problem; it's the peak demand capacity of the grid. Bring on the plug-in EV and charge it overnight - it would be as complicated as putting out the dog. Then charge a premium for the boost charge during the day (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine, January 12).
Alan,
Thank you for a very pertinent and thought provoking article (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine, January 12).
I would just like to add that Australia already has a Australian built Electric car, with full production Licence.
The 4 door Blade Electron EV, has been on sale for 4 years (At least two years before iMev, Leaf ,and Volt). In fact it could be said to be the world's first production EV, in the modern era.
Curiously, this small, but viable vehicle is totally ignored by the Australian media. Both Labor and the Greens have also carefully ignored the Australian product. (For all the rhetoric, not one member of the 'Green Party' has actually bought a Blade Electron!)
Owners of the Blade, rate the Blade superior to the imported iMev and in many way on a par with the more expensive Leaf.
The extended range GM Volt/Ampera drive train would be perfect for Australian motorists, who have already embraced hybrid technology.
This is like debating film vs digital cameras (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine, January 12). What price Kodak today? The electric cars are here and China has taken the lead. It's time.
Going to Detroit with a bag of money is one sure fire way of coming back with a hole in your bag (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine, January 12).
Better to go to Detroit with an idea. Remember the Bolwell (A great car made in Melbourne).
The Falcon has real Aussie input, so we design a car (like the Falcon we designed). Go to China, organise a few factories in China (after consulting our Chinese advisers) have the body built in China and sent back to Australia. Then we put a small petrol (or diesel engine) plus a battery and electric motors. Twin (power source) engines give you a realistic cruising range and low fuel consuption.
Then we go to Detroit and negotiate with Ford on their price for using their name and network.
Ford became Ford because of an idea (production line) not from a big bag of money.
Reading through these responses convinces me that EV's will never replace the internal combustion engine... I think the future of personal automobiles is very murky (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine, January 12).
Well said Alan (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine, January 12), Ford's engine wont meet EuroV emission standards which come into play from 2016 - so expect another begging bowl then to further tweak the Geelong engine or more likely, Ford won't make engines here.
Americans grow up playing poker.Their business leaders have an instinctive knowledge of when to raise the negotiating stakes and invariably our politicians cave in and send a minister rushing off to Detroit to save the Australian car industry (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine, January 12).
We can visualise how one sided the negotiations really are and the congratulatory smirks in Detoit board rooms after yet another Australian politician has departed to tell Australia how they have just saved a remnant of the car industry. As for the people who use Defence as a rationale for as long as I can remember the Australian Army has used a variety of overseas sourced vehicles some of which are bolted together in Australia.
I am always amazed at the way the pollies give our money away. What ever happened to the word investment? Surely we can receive shares (US ones) or some collateral, just to give dollars away! Maybe if we gave the pollies super? Now that's an idea (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine, January 12).
In the short term pure EV's don't make sense for both range and infrastructure reasons. By contrast, plug in hybrids don't need new infrastructure and have the same range as conventional cars when required. We should be championing plug in hybrids (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine, January 12).
We should put money in hydrogen cell technology, better battery technology and nuclear power generation to charge them. Not in vehicles of any kind (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine, January 12).
It seems the commentators have a far better understanding of alternative transport vehicles than the author. EVs are not economic, and they are certainly not green or sustainable (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine January 12).
Thanks Alan, great positive story (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine, January 12).
Love it, love it, love it!!! (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine, January 12.) This makes beautiful sense. Of course, unfortunately things that make sense immediately go on death row in the political arena!
Go Alan!!
Thank you Alan for your candid comments. Calling a spade a spade is long overdue relative to the dens of overseas interests that scheme to manipulate our national interests for their easy and immediate profit, and at our ultimate long-term expense (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine, January 12).
The car industry, banking, energy production, and mining (especially mining) all need a good dose of the 'un-spun' truth to act as a long overdue 'detox' medium for arrogant corporate plutocrats.
May I nominate yourself to lead this catharsis towards cleaning up the commercial lies that hide behind the required timidity that is conveniently formulated within political correctness, and hang out all of the absolute facts and numbers on the public 'clothesline' for all to see. I, like most Aussies believe in "Yes - you CAN say that!". I love your graphic comparisons as they surely do 'short circuit' the spin doctors.
I know of no other country than Australia whereby endless driving inside a metal box is so devastatingly necessary. The best and cheapest motor vehicle is the no-vehicle. Town planning is the answer and a good public transport system (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine, January 12).
It seems a bit obvious. But since the internal combustion engine in all its forms has been so successful would the money not be better spent on pouring money into research into the synthetic production of replacement fuels that can be used in similar engines? (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine, January 12.)
I think that is what the public really want for their intercity and freight vehicles, pollution free synthetic fuels produced at minimal cost – perhaps using solar power as the energy source to make them.
As for electric vehicles, rather than long range vehicles, what many of us need are small local runabouts we can charge from PV cells on our roofs. A range of 250,000 and a top speed of 100kph, with good acceleration on hills, is ample for what we want. To encourage their use I'd scrap registration on them when owned as second cars.
Electric cars are being aimed at the wrong end of the market. Their most likely market would be in the over fifty-fives.
One of the big issues with governments and vehicles is the innate conflict of interest in their tax revenues (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine, January 12).
You would think that the government would be pushing hard for more public transport and more efficient vehicles. They are with their words, but they are not with their actions.
The issue is, every litre of petrol garners 45c of fuel excise. Your average commuter delivers, I'd guess, about $2 a day in tax. Annualise that, and that's an extra $700 per commuter.
Sure, they tell you they spend it on roads, but do they really?
Unlikely.
They are as dependent on fuel excise as they are on stamp duty from housing sales. Disrupt either of these and the state governments are royally screwed.
What about CSIRO's aXcessaustralia car? (Carr's chance to rev the EV engine, January 17.)
Launched in 2000, the aXcessaustralia low emission vehicle (LEV) was a hybrid petrol-electric concept car that had both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor.
The aXcessaustralia car was designed and built by a consortium of more than 80 companies to showcase Australian automotive expertise and won several design awards.
Why doesn't Kim Carr do something for Australia and get behind what is still a viable automotive project, thereby providing the Australian car industry with an opportunity to showcase Australian engineering, design and manufacturing?