6 thoughts on “Who’s holding back electric cars in Australia?

  1. I don’t know the cost of implementing the fuel economy measures on vehicles (I think it is substantial) but there were 20 million registered vehicles in Australia (a few electric and many diesel so the calculation is rough) at the start of 2021 so the $6b savings amounts to $300 per vehicle annually or about $6 weekly. It is certainly helpful if the cost of upgrading the fuel efficiency of cars is not too high. Of course, the case is stronger if you account for Australian carbon emissions reduced – supposing emissions are reduced to levels in the US this would reduce CO2 per km by about 1/4 so, assuming vehicles emit 20% of our emissions, this would cut Australia’s total emissions by about 5%. Of course, electrification trends are likely to dominate reductions in emissions over the next decade or so as you point out.

    I am unsure if car dealers would be opposed to selling new cars that used much less petrol even if they were much more expensive because people are sensitive to petrol costs. The cost of retrofitting refineries needs to be factored into the cost of moving towards better fuels even if the government pays these costs.

  2. Seems to me there are rather a number of pretty obvious things holding back the sale of EVs in Australia – or anywhere else:

    • the very high initial capital cost
    • the limited range of current batteries
    • the limited number of recharge places
    • the risk of very serious fires from lithium batteries
    • the high cost of a replacement battery after x years

    And of course there is the reality that the electrical energy required to charge EVs still comes from conventional fossil-fuel sources in the main. I need someone to explain to me why EVs are viable at this stage – given all of the above.

  3. Cargill: – “And of course there is the reality that the electrical energy required to charge EVs still comes from conventional fossil-fuel sources in the main.

    Most (if not all) of the NEM’s fleet of coal-fired generator units will likely close in the 2020s & 30s.
    See my slides 24 through 26 in a pdf file (10.4 MB) at: https://www.ipcn.nsw.gov.au/resources/pac/media/files/pac/project-submissions/2022/05/mt-pleasant-optimisation-project-ssd-10418/20220708t144208/theclimateenergycrisis20220708.pdf

    Tom Quinn tweeted a thread on Jun 28 about scenarios on how long it could take Australia to transition its vehicle fleet away from petroleum fuel dependency.

    At 99% EV sales by 2030, even at this pace, it’s suggested 80% of Australia’s vehicle fleet would still run on fossil fuels. What will the price of fuel be then in 2030 to operate them? $5/litre? $10? $20? Would there be enough fuel supply to meet demand, or will fuel rationing be required? – see also my slides 42 through 47.

    IMO, introducing ICEV fuel efficiency standards for Australia (probably by 2025 at the earliest?) would now be of little benefit. I think most people simply don’t appreciate how quickly the global petroleum fuel supply and prices situation will likely change in this decade.

    Australia imports 40% of its diesel, the premier transport fuel enabling our critical supply chains, from Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, as China’s military “exercises” around Taiwan practice with mobilising fighter planes, helicopters and even warships, aiming to simulate a blockade of Taiwan and include practising an “attack on targets at sea”, according to state news agency Xinhua.

    Evidence/data I see suggests remaining highly dependent on petroleum fuels diminishes Australia’s energy security. Time to leave crude oil/petroleum fuels before they leave us.

  4. Shame… ‘We’re Not in Norway’: Mitsubishi Australia’s CEO on Why They Won’t Be Bringing a Full EV Down Under”

    August 5, 2022 

    …”but why isn’t Mitsubishi going all-electric in Australia?

          “At the moment, if we had to switch to pure electric, all we’re really doing is shifting the problem from the tailpipe to the power station,” Westcott told Gizmodo Australia.

          “We’re in Australia. We’re not in Norway, we’re not in Europe.”

    “So then, why is Mitsubishi bringing PHEV technology back? Why hasn’t Mitsubishi launched an electric competitor to the Hyundai Ioniq 5 or the Kia Niro?

          “At the moment, we have insufficient charging infrastructure in this country,” Westcott said.

          “It’s going to require billions of dollars and a number of years to build all of that. Whether that money comes from private enterprise or whether it comes from government, it’s going to take time to do that.”

    “It’s hard to disagree with Westcott on this point in the Australian market. Transition-wise, with 76 per cent of our grid still being powered by fossil fuels, you’re really only transferring emissions from one sector to another by driving an electric vehicle.”

    “Aussie car owners typically drive for 34 kilometres per dayon average (which largely defuses the argument of EVs having a lower range).

    “If you go really fast, the petrol motor will start providing energy to the front wheels, but for most uses, it can be functionally an electric car, charged in the garage with the petrol engine disabled at speeds below 70km/h (though the battery of the new Outlander only provides 84km range without petrol-to-battery generation).

    “Our customers use our previous generation Outlander in fully electric mode 84 per cent of the time,” Westcott added.”


  5. Cargill: “the risk of very serious fires from lithium batteries”. The absolute and relative risks are both low. Provisional US data suggest that BEVs are less likely to catch fire after a crash than ICEs, though if they do the fire is harder to put out. Insurance companies do not seem to be worried. BYD, who sell LFP batteries, publish videos of tests involving hammering nails into them, without much effect.

  6. Cargill: – “• the very high initial capital cost

    The total cost of ownership (including running costs) of BEVs is significantly cheaper than ICEVs. See the Electric Vehicle Council’s cost calculator.

    Cargill: – “• the limited range of current batteries

    How far do you want to go, Cargill? Per ABS, the average kilometres travelled per year by state/territory:

    Aus: _12,100 km _ 33.2 km/d
    NSW: 12,000 km _ 32.9 km/d
    VIC: _ 12,400 km _ 34.0 km/d
    QLD: _12,100 km _ 33.2 km/d
    SA: _ _11,500 km _ 31.5 km/d
    WA: _ 12,100 km _ 33.2 km/d
    TAS: _ 10,900 km _ 29.9 km/d
    NT: _ _12,500 km _ 34.2 km/d
    ACT: _ 11,800 km _ 32.3 km/d

    Some BEVs have a range up to 696 km, while others achieve as little as 100 km. The average range is around 330 km.

    I’d suggest for most people, the range of BEVs is not an issue.

    Cargill: – • the limited number of recharge places”

    Every 10 or 15 amp GPO is a potential recharge facility. There are portable type 1 / 2 EV chargers with Selectable Charge Rate between 6, 10 and 15 amps available, fitted with 15 amp Australian plug (larger Earth pin). Up to 3.6kw charging rate or approx. 15-20km of range per hour. If only a 10 amp GPO is available (say when charging overnight away from home), then a power adapter can be used, like the range of Ampfibian 15A To 10A Power Adaptors (for indoor, undercover and weatherproof applications).

    Meanwhile the network of fast chargers continues to grow in Australia.

    Cargill: – “• the risk of very serious fires from lithium batteries

    Hybrids (3,474.5) and ICEVs (1,529.9) have substantially more fires per 100,000 vehicle sales than BEVs (25.1), per AutoinsuranceEZ, updated 27 Jun 2022. Most fires occur due to collisions. Poor maintenance is another contributing factor.

    Cargill: “• the high cost of a replacement battery after x years

    IMO, that’s a very vague statement. How high, and compared with what? And how many “x years”?

    Battery longevity for BEVs is at least 100,000 miles (160,900 km). That equates to more than 13 years average Australian use. California mandates a warranty of 10 years or 150,000 miles.

    The average lifetime mileage of an ICE vehicle is about 133,000 miles. While experts estimate the average EV battery will last around 200,000 miles, some manufacturers already promise much more than that.

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