Tesla, Trump, Turnbull and the troglodytes: The best stories of 2017 | RenewEconomy

Tesla, Trump, Turnbull and the troglodytes: The best stories of 2017

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The death spiral for cars; Tesla’s Big Battery – and electric truck; the two faces of Malcolm Turnbull; and all the other stories that caught our readers’ attention this year.

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In 2017, RenewEconomy was visited by more than 2 million readers, who read more than 8.3 million items. So which stories were the most popular, and what did they tell us about the year that just was?

Or, in other words, what did you miss?

Once again, Tesla has comfortably dominated the pop charts. But where in 2016 it was the unveiling of the Model 3 electric car, and the rollout of the US company’s residential and commercial battery storage products that captured our readers’ attention, this year Elon Musk has gone Big.Tesla-Semi-via-Tesla

This year, it was the Tesla Truck – Musk’s all-electric semi-trailer – followed by the promise, tender and installation of the Tesla Big Battery in South Australia, that were among the most read stories.

They came in just after Giles Parkinson’s report on the death spiral for cars, which has so far notched up just under 250,000 views.

Transport as a service – brought to you by electric vehicles

Our most read story for 2017 was the May article by Giles Parkinson, provocatively titled Death spiral for cars: By 2030 you probably won’t own one.

It is based on a report by independent thinktank RethinkX, which predicts that by 2030, the overwhelming majority of consumers will no longer own a car, but will instead use on-demand electric autonomous vehicles that will be owned by fleets rather than individuals.

“The provision of this service may come virtually free as part of another offering, or a corporate sponsorship. Imagine, for instance, paying a token sum for a ride into town after buying a latte for $4.50. Or getting a free ride because the local government has decided to make transport easier.”

What was fascinating was the response. After being linked on the US right wing website Drudge Report, the response gave  a fascinating insight into Trump’s America. The overwhelming response could be best summed up as : I’ve got a truck, and I’ve got a gun, and you’re not having either of them.

Elon and the Big Rig

The second most read story for the year (until yesterday) was another Giles Parksinon report on the huge implications of the latest electric vehicle offering from Tesla – the long-range Tesla Semi.

The all-electric truck was officially unveiled just over one month ago, but it was this story – predicting that the arrival of the Semi would disrupt to the road freight industry in the same way the Model S, 3 and X was doing to petrol cars; the Spacex program the space industry; the battery storage devices and the solar tile the utilities and roofing industries respectively – that really piqued reader interest.

Elon and the Big Battery


What can we say, people just love this story. And why wouldn’t they?

It has all the ingredients of a best seller: Extreme weather; big blackout; Tweeting tech billionaires; state government versus federal government; new technology versus incumbent industry; and of course the delivery and powering-on of the world’s biggest grid-connected battery storage system right here in little old Australia. Which leads us to the next contender…

Big Battery trumps coal

Published just days ago, the popularity of this story – 200,000 views and counting – resembles the big battery itself, which – as Giles puts it – is already working “to rub in the message about a cleaner, faster, smarter grid to the technology dinosaurs in the eastern states. Marvellous stuff.”

Turnbull and the troglodytes

This last story, which comes in at number 5 for top posts this year, is significant for a couple of important reasons. Firstly, as the headline suggests, the Clarke & Dawe video this story contains absolutely “nails” the tragicomedy that is the Australian energy policy debate – no easy task, take it from us.

It is also significant because its star – New Zealand born comedian John Clarke, appearing here as “Wal Socket” – died not long after the story was published. A great loss indeed. As we wrote back then, “we can’t think of anything else to say, but to invite you to watch it.”

Other stories to grab attention were:

Turnbull’s own installation of an expanded solar array and battery storage at his Point Piper home;

The admission by a senior coal executive that “clean coal” was a myth;

US solar plant costs fall 30 per cent in one year;

and The case against Tesla and battery storage just hit peak stupid, summing up all that is wrong and misleading about the energy debate in Australia.

Look forward to 2018!

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  1. Ben Dixon 3 years ago

    It’s been a great year Sophie, the troglodytes will need to start turning their heads forward so as not to trip badly on the path to renewables.

  2. Joe 3 years ago

    The Clarke & Dawe video is GOLD.

  3. My_Oath 3 years ago

    Some great memories, Although I do have to admit I missed the kerfuffle after the Trumpers discovered that page! Probably a good thing for my blood pressure.

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