Tesla arrival tells us that the future is electric transport

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Tesla Model S launch highlights electric vehicles are a reality in Australia.

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Photo: Sam Parkinson

The Tesla Model S launch earlier this week marks the beginning of electric vehicle technology becoming commonplace in Australia.  Add to that the trends we are seeing in electric bicycles and motorbikes, and it is clear that the electric transport revolution is well underway.

Passenger vehicles currently contribute about 7% per cent of Australia’s total CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions; with a shift to electric vehicles powered by renewables this could be eliminated.  Beyond Zero Emissions, an Australian-based, not-for-profit climate change solutions think-tank, is currently developing a zero carbon plan for personal transport.

The plan is based upon electric vehicle technology, and with the advent of an affordable, some might say seductive, electric sedan, that plan comes even closer to reality.  The BZE plan will outline the potential for zero carbon personal transport in Australia, including the cost of a national shift to electric vehicles over ten years.

Modelling by consultancy AECOM and others has highlighted that a shift to electric vehicles appears near inevitable given underlying drivers.  As petrol prices continue to rise over the long term and batteries prices continue to fall, electric will become the cheaper alternative.

BZE’s modelling shows that over 90 per cent of our passenger trips can be met with electric vehicles. Up until now, longer regional journeys using electric vehicles have been more problematic – with a 500 km range the Tesla Model S changes that.  Modelling indicates that even without explicit policy support, around 90 per cent of new vehicle sales in 2030 could be electric vehicles of some kind (including plug-in hybrids, hybrids and battery electric vehicles) .  As has been observed in the photovoltaics industry, technology transitions can happen rapidly; when market conditions align, volumes increase and prices decline exponentially.

Electric vehicles are more expensive up-front, with a premium of around $21,000 to $50,000 compared with similar internal combustion engine vehicles, largely due to the cost of the large battery required.  The savings come in the operation.  Assuming petrol prices at $1.50 per litre and typical fuel efficiencies, an internal combustion engine vehicle might cost over $11 per 100km, while a comparable electric vehicle will do the same distance for $2.30 (assuming off-peak charging at around 12 c/kWh).  Those savings add up, particularly for people who drive long distances.  For small vehicles that drive long distances, electric vehicles could be the cheaper option over their lifetime from as early as 2016.

There are concerns that electric vehicles won’t be able to offer the same convenience as internal combustion engine vehicles, particularly when it comes to refuelling.  Early studies suggest that most people will find it convenient to do most of their charging at home, taking advantage of lower off-peak tariffs.  To supplement that, Tesla is already developing a number of charging stations in Sydney and Melbourne and plans to build a charging network across Australia. The take-up rates seen in the US and Europe of the model S also have the potential to drive the development of more charging stations in Australia.

Others question the green credentials of electric vehicles, noting that around 80% of Australia’s electricity is produced by emissions intensive coal-fired generation at present.  Even without a shift to renewable energy, electric vehicles have around the same greenhouse intensity as internal combustion engine vehicles, according to AECOM’s modelling.   However, with a shift to renewables, electric vehicles become carbon free.  The purchase of 100% Greenpower is available to all consumers at a premium of only 20-30% over their current electricity tariffs, and makes the electric vehicle’s carbon credentials squeaky clean.

Aside from eliminating personal transport carbon emissions, the most profound impact of a shift to electric vehicles may ultimately be in energy independence.  Rather than remaining reliant upon imported oil, electric vehicles offer the opportunity to shift to personal transport powered by the eternally renewable wind and sun.  With some of the best renewable resources in the world, Australia seems well placed to take advantage.

Stephen Bygrave is CEO of Beyond Zero Emissions

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9 Comments
  1. Rob 4 years ago

    It seems like a no-brainer doesn’t it. I think the only obstacles currently remaining are the high purchase price of most EVs and how conveniently it is to recharge them, especially if you can’t recharge where you live. Solve those two problems and they’ll fly off the shelves.

    • Peter Campbell 4 years ago

      Ex lease low milage 2010 year model Mitusbishi iMiEVs are on Carsales.com.au for around $17K now.
      I bought a 2012 ex demo iMiEV over a year ago for $24K drive away. It goes well and not so expensive.
      Meanwhile my 2009 converted car is still going fine, better than it ever was as a petrol car.
      A few friends have bought plug-in hybrid Mitsubishi Outlanders in the $40Ks
      I am in a set of townhouses and lucky that a neighbour whose unit is next to the parking area was agreeable to let me have a subsidiary meter in his meter box and to pay him for what I add to his bill.

  2. David Osmond 4 years ago

    I’d say the price premium is as low as $10,000. The Nissan Leaf is $39,990 drive away, and is slightly better spec’d & bigger than the $29,148 Nissan Pulsar STS.

  3. Peter Campbell 4 years ago

    A cheap way to buy greenpower for your car or house is through C3 – community climate chest. It is not for profit so you can deduct the cost from your tax.

  4. Petra Liverani 4 years ago

    I can’t help feeling that EVs will explode in sales in the early 2020s at which time range and cost will be acceptable and ICEs and hybrids will fall by the wayside. Obviously, not everyone is going to be buying new cars and it will be interesting to if, when EV sales start to go up, conversions will take off too.

  5. Tim Forcey 4 years ago

    I just spent $1,000 on new timing belt / water pump service and other service (oil change etc) for our Astra. Any timing belts / water pumps / oil in an EV? 🙂

    • Baz 4 years ago

      When it comes to repairs and maintenance the convectional mechanical workshop should begin to be concerned.. EV’s will have a cooling system for the battery packs, generally water cooled via a water pump. Brakes operate much the same, so brakes and brake fluid.. Tho with regenerative braking the original brake pads would last a long long time. And no oil what so ever..

  6. Jim5437532 4 years ago

    Essentially nothing is “zero emissions”. There are Tesla related emissions during manufacture, charging and disposal. Claims of “zero emissions” and being “green” are typically fraudulent. Even the manufacturer and disposal of solar panels can include toxic materials and heavy metals.

    The Tesla is not as “safe” or “environmentally friendly” as “advertised”. “Green” and hyped “safety” is often used as fraudulent marketing schemes. Tesla batteries are hazardous, toxic, harm the environment and contain heavy metals.

    Elon Musk and his sycophants don’t care about the environment.

    Elon Musk quote:
    “F**k Earth! Who cares about Earth?”

    Several months ago the Tesla and Bitcoin fan boys were spamming a bunch of hype about the Tesla that was bought with Bitcoins. Beyond all the hype, it seems the truth is that it was bought by a crook with dirty money. The Tesla fan boys (the Tesla Mafia) have been cheering on and supporting organized crime.

    Blake Benthall was an employee of Elon Musk the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors. Allegedly some of the laundered money was used to buy a Tesla. Elon Musk is on record making fraudulent claims about Tesla batteries. Elon Musk and his corporate shills falsely claim that Tesla batteries are non-toxic, nonhazardous, environmentally friendly and landfill safe.

    According to TESLA Motors, the high voltage battery (lithium-ion battery) can release toxic vapors; including sulfuric acid, oxides of carbon, nickel, aluminum, lithium, copper, and cobalt.

    Tesla fan boys are shills that spam slander, lies, FUD, hate, and ignorance. Tesla fan boys have no credibility and are a laughingstock. lol They ought to be in prisons or/and mental institutions. They don’t want you to believe experts, instead they want you to believe lying, ignorant shills. They have no clue when it comes to science and technology. They are greedy people don’t care about the environment, safety or truth..

    Tesla fan boys can’t handle the truth.. Tesla fan boys fear and hate truth.

    A few examples of the hate, ignorance and lies the Tesla Mafia has spammed:

    WeaponZero “Lithium ion batteries are non-hazardous in both materials and waste”

    WeaponZero “lithium ion batteries(non-toxic)”.

    WeaponZero “There are no toxic heavy metals in a lithium ion battery”

    WeaponZero “lithium ion batteries do not pose risk if they are land filled”.

    WeaponZero “lithium ion batteries are non-toxic”.

    WeaponZero “As I mentioned before, heavy metals are not a bad thing just because they are heavy metals. Lithium ion batteries are considered non-toxic. The CEO of BYD even drank one”

    WeaponZero “if a battery is discharged and not being used, even if compacted there is no issue”

    WeaponZero “landfill fires have nothing to do with lithium ion batteries”

    WeaponZero “I have done way more research on manufacturing of batteries and heavy metals than you”

    Peter Gordon “Tesla batteries are 100% non-toxic and declared completely safe for landfill”.

    Peter Gordon “Tesla lithium ion cells contain no heavy metals, nor any toxic materials”.

    teddyg “To set the record straight our vehicles at Tesla, including our batteries, are non-toxic”

    Doug_G “The batteries are non-toxic”

    FANGO “Just in case anyone here doesn’t know, btw, Li ion batteries are completely non toxic”

    ERIC VFX “Lithium is Non-Toxic”

    FANGO “lithium ion batteries are non-toxic”

    tonybelding “lithium-ion batteries are non-toxic and landfill-safe, so there is effectively no problem with dumping them in a hole”

    WeaponZero “To note, 0 Tesla batteries exploded”.

    WeaponZero “There is 0 Tesla cars at risk of fire”.

    WeaponZero “Actually, those things you see flickering are not battery cells but fireworks”

    grendal “there were no explosions”.

    grendal “the car didn’t explode”

    grendal “no car has ever exploded”.

    grendal “You also said the car exploded (it did not) and released toxic fumes when neither happened”.

    NΘΘR “This is not even an explosion”

    CMCNestT . “The battery did not explode”.

    sranger “False, they are fireworks (4th of July after all)”

    Albertico “The car did not explode at all”.

    strata8 “Did not explode”.

    Tesla755 “No batteries exploded”

    stopcrazypp “It didn’t actually explode”.

    stopcrazypp “the amount of gas expelled is not enough to act like a rocket and carry a cell two stories high”

    stopcrazypp “not any sort of explosion”.

    Xixo “Teslas were actually not explosions”.

    Stewart Pid “the batteries didn’t explode”

    Dave_SRQ “There haven’t been any Tesla Model S recalls”

    sranger “I used LiFePo4 cells. They do NOT heat up when charger or discharged at up to 1000 amps so NO cooling is needed for these cells”.

    VulpineMac “They’re capacitors, not “batteries”.

    grendal “Even with this stupid thief that wasn’t even wearing a seatbelt the tally is that ZERO people have died in a Tesla”.

    Greenforce88 “The guy survived”.

    geoffrey bailey “zero fatalities”.

    geoffrey bailey “He was lucky that didn’t kill him”.

    Albertico “the driver survived this accident”.

    grendal “the fact that the thief and his passenger are still alive after this happened is telling”.

    Simonts “The driver survived!”.

    jeepesq ‘this thief was only ‘injured’ and not killed”

    Mirko “Guy steals car, walks away alive”.

    Peter Gordon “zero fatalities for Tesla”.

    Peter Gordon “There have been zero fatalities in a Tesla”

    Peter Gordon “no fatalities”.

    9Awesomeb “He did survive the crash”

    Albertico “The Tesla does not have anything that can catch on fire in the front”.

    WeaponZero “For this to happen to a lithium ion battery is extremely rare, though more common with lithium polymer batteries”.
    (WeaponZero doesn’t know that lithium polymer is a type of lithium ion battery) lol

    9Awesomeb “SOMEBODY would have at least gotten burned in one. But there have been ZERO!!”
    (Several people have been burned/injured unplugging Teslas from chargers)

    Mark Yates “NICKEL, Aluminium, Lithium – the prime components of a lithium battery are not heavy metals”.

    The facts are that Tesla batteries are toxic and contain heavy metals; despite the fraudulent claims by Elon Musk and Tesla sycophants..

    According to most scientists; commonly encountered HEAVY METALS are chromium, COBALT, NICKEL, COPPER, zinc, arsenic, selenium, silver, cadmium, antimony, mercury, thallium and lead.

    On page 18 of the 2012-2013 emergency responder guide for the Tesla model S. There are sections on firefighting and fire damage related to the high voltage battery; indicating that the battery can release TOXIC vapors. Including sulfuric acid, oxides of carbon, NICKEL, aluminum, lithium, COPPER, and COBALT.

    The leaking chemicals can be so dangerous, that it seems to suggest evacuating civilians from the proximity of a Tesla battery fire and it’s plume of toxic fumes. Emergency responders should wear full protective gear and self-contained breathing equipment to protect themselves from the toxic materials from the Tesla battery..

    The facts show that Teslas have exploded. Despite that the Tesla driver was killed in West Hollywood, Tesla fan boys exploited the tragedy by spamming fraudulent claims. The Tesla driver died but was revived by emergency responders, only to die again later at the hospital. Many Tesla shills falsely claimed he did not die, some even claimed he only had minor injuries and walked away. Many denied that the Tesla battery burned, exploded or that there were toxic fumes. Etc….

    Google:.

    “Photos: Stolen Tesla Splits In Half and Explodes After Crashing In West Hollywood”

    “The Tesla’s lithium battery exploded into flames that shot up several stories into the air”

    “Video shot from a nearby apartment showed burning lithium batteries popping and sending fiery debris more than three stories into the air”

    “A stolen Tesla speeding up La Brea Avenue at up to 100 miles per hour was sliced in half, and its lithium batteries exploded and burned, in a crash that injured at least six people today”

    “Tesla Model S Explodes After Accident in Mexico”

    Despite the fact that Tesla’s battery “armor” is aluminum; Tesla shills have spammed fraudulent claims that it is steel.

    ABC News; possibly via Elizabeth Jarvis-Shean, a spokeswoman for Tesla Motors. “The Model S battery’s 16 modules are located underneath the car, protected by a steel plate.”

    ABC News; possibly via Elizabeth Jarvis-Shean, a spokeswoman for Tesla Motors. “The Model S’s steel plate keeps its battery protected during everyday driving.”

    jvonbokel “AFAIK, the bottom of the battery pack (and possibly the whole pack) is already steel”

    brainboyz “They’ve got a 1/4″ plate of steel shielding the battery”

    perpenso “They’ve got a 1/4″ plate of steel shielding the battery”

    GregP507 “Tesla, which has a 1/4″ steel plate on the bottom”

    lph “strongest floor you will ever see with a 1/4″ steel plate at the bottom (also almost bomb proof IMO)”

    Igor “a 1/4 steel plate”

    TonkaMan97 “1/4″ steel plate”

    nafhan “slicing through a quarter inch of steel”

    ebno-10db “punch through a 1/4″ steel plate”

    dm2 “They were already using a 1/4 inch steel plate as an underbody shield”

    teddillard “huge spike that went through 1/4 in steel”

    Elios “the battery pack is protected by a 1/8″ steel plate”

    superhumble “The tesla has an armored steel plate under the car, a spike shot through this plate and the battery with tons of force.”

    mcintyre1994 “They hit a trailer hitch, fast, and it pierced 1/4 inch of steel armor.”

    octoberasian “The chances of this happening again in the Tesla vehicle is slim to none”

    Elon Musk and Tesla shills/fanboys are such lowlife scum that they slandered firefighters that risked their lives to put out the first highly publicized Tesla battery fire. Elon Musk and Tesla shills/fanboys slandered the firefighters claiming they shouldn’t have cut a hole through the firewall. According to the report by the firefighters, when they first tried to put out the fire with water, the fire flared up then didn’t go all the way out. They followed Elon Musk’s procedures, but Elon Musk’s procedures failed because the fire did not go all the way out because firefighters couldn’t get enough water on the battery. So the fire reignited. Firefighters then cut out the firewall and only then were able to successfully and completely extinguish the fire. Elon Musk and Tesla shills/fanboys are advocating what failed, and bashing what was successful..

    Most electricity is generated by coal, some of the hazardous pollution from burning coal is radioactive. Ecoterrorists don’t need a dirty bomb, they can just drive a Tesla. Tesla batteries use hazardous materials, toxic chemicals and heavy metals that are known to be health hazards and harmful to the environment. Teslas can waste a lot of energy via battery heating, battery cooling, vampire loss, etc..

    Tesla sycophants don’t want you to believe sources like Scientific American. Instead Tesla fan boys want the public to believe greedy corporate shills.

    Scientific American “Coal Ash Is More Radioactive than Nuclear Waste”

    According to eLOON Musk we don’t have much longer to live. According to eLOON Musk; computers are supposed to become self-aware, takeover and start killing humans in five years and no less than 10 years

    eLOON Musk is a pitchman, that ought to be in prison like Kevin Trudeau. Elon Musk and his cronies are examples of corporate greed. Tesla, eLOON Musk, and Tesla sycophants ought to be under SEC investigation.

    Though eLOON voices warnings of impending doom about AI, don’t assume he is against it. He and his companies have vested interests and are developing AI. Is he a madman contributing to the end of the world for mankind?

    Note: quotes used under fair use doctrine.

    • blackandwhite 4 years ago

      Jim take your blinkers off – absolute garbage post if Ive ever read one!

      Paid Troll!

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