Triple Header!

With the release of the Labor government’s Electric Vehicle policy and the Reserve Bank Review, as well as my semi-regular column for Independent Australia, I’ve been pretty busy this week. I haven’t got time to summarise them now, so I will just provide links.

Quiggin, J. (2023) Electric vehicles: Time to get out of the slow lane. Inside Story 20 April,

Quiggin, J. (2023) The RBA review ignores the global failure of inflation management to prevent financial chaos. The Guardian 20 April

Quiggin, J. (2023) Younger voters and Independents could spell end of two-party system. Independent Australia 21 April,

7 thoughts on “Triple Header!

  1. What would the Australian political system look like without the Liberals? The most likely outcome in the short run is something like what has happened in France since the rise of President Emmanuel Macron — a centrist government (Albanese Labor) balancing a combination of Left-wing Greens and Independents on one side and a Right-wing rump on the other.

    In the longer run, though, Labor will have to move to the Left or risk being displaced in its own turn by younger voters keen for change.

    Is that what’s happening in France? Are there any indicators of Emmanuel Macron moving to the left, or of his party doing so?

  2. JQ, in the linked op-ed on electric vehicles: “A normal home EV charging station, sufficient to charge a fully electric vehicle overnight, will cost between $1000 and $3000.”·

    Let me be very picky here, as there is a lot of misinformation about and JQ is a trusted source. The assertion is technically correct but still IMHO misleading.

    The bottom of the range for home charging isn’t $1000, it’s $0 – if you are wiling to compromise on “overnight”. Your shiny new EV comes with a trickle-charge AC cable that plugs in to a standard 220/240v domestic socket, which you probably have in your garage, along with a 3-wire extension cord (new say $15). Going by the one supplied with my Kona, it’s limited to 10 amps, so you will only charge at about 2 KW. With the 39-kwh battery on the Kona, that gives a maximum time to full charge of 20 hours, or two full overnight sessions. In practice you will very rarely charge from 0% to 100%, so this is the outside case. Still, such long charging times will create problems if your regular weekday drive is more than say 150 km, or you need to make two long trips from home at short intervals, which will be rare. You can live with this by accepting some inconvenience.

    On the other hand, being Australian you probably have low tolerance for inconvenience. You may be thinking of buying an EV with a >50 kwh battery and >400 km range, whicb increases the problem. You don’t want the hassle of plugging in every night, and will resent the inability to schedule so as to fully catch cheap and low-carbon night ToD electricity prices. So you decide to upgrade to a Level 2 AC charger. What will this cost?

    The representative 40-amp Enel-X Juicebox charger, designed in Italy and sold in many countries, goes for about $700 in the USA. I assume the price won’t be very different in Australia. You have to pay in addition for professional installation, which will vary a lot. I don’t know how much mine cost in Spain, as the charger was supplied free with the car as a promotion. It took two electricians a short morning to run a fat cable 5 metres from the house panel by the front door to a convenient wall in the carport, drill the holes, and wire it up. I paid €100 extra for a load balancer. I doubt if the whole operation cost Hyundai as much as €1,000. This looks a reasonable price point for a typical Australian EV owner or prospective owner with a standard suburban house and off-street parking.

    Is it possible to pay as much as A$ 3,000 for a Level 2 charger? In edge cases, probably yes: say if you live hundreds of miles out in the Outback or another area with few installers, have decrepit home wiring not updated since 1930, or live in an apartment block above a communal basement garage with no power supply beyond lighting. In the last case, the condo association needs to take the matter in hand. There are technical solutions that allow shared use of chargers with individual billing. I suggest that while A$3,000 is a possible price for an installed charger, it’s not a probable one. The modal price should be much closer to A$1,000. Contradictory evidence welcome, of course.

    Geek note: your maximum charging rate may well be less than 40A/ 9 KW from the limitations of your home supply. My charger is throttled to 5 KW to stay within the measly 5.7 KW of my house supply contract. That’s 8 hours from empty to full, all within the cheap ToD rate window.

  3. James Wimberley highlights JQs statement: “A normal home EV charging station, sufficient to charge a fully electric vehicle overnight, will cost between $1000 and $3000.

    Many Australian legacy domestic circumstances only have a single-phase 60 amp (A) electricity supply. A single-phase Level 2 charger is limited to 32 A capacity. For a household drawing high currents concurrently for other purposes (e.g. stove, air-con, etc.), this could be a problem.

    Are Level 2 chargers in domestic settings (particularly if there’s only a single-phase supply) cost-effective for all circumstances, or limited to high demand/use charging scenarios?

    There are portable type 1 / 2 EV chargers with selectable charge rate between 6, 10 and 15 A available, fitted with 15 A Australian plug (larger Earth pin). Up to 3.6 kW charging rate or adding approximately 15-20 km of range per hour.

    If only a 10 A GPO is available (say when charging overnight away from home), then a power adapter can be used, like the range of Ampfibian 15 A To 10 A Power Adaptors (for indoor, undercover and weatherproof applications).

    Would a simple 15 A portable charger be more cost-effective and a better compromise for most people’s circumstances, providing 15-20km of range per hour of charging time?

    I’d suggest unless one needs to travel longer distances every day or often (where a faster, ‘smarter’ home charger may be justified), for most people, the few instances when one needs a faster charge rate, then one goes to a nearby fast charger. IMO, it seems currently, there’s no one system that suits all.

  4. To be effective with home charging an EV you will need >32amp single phase supply. That’s a cost.

  5. Rog: As I showed in my worked example, 5KW / 21 amps works just fine for me and my Kona. There is no benefit from charging in 4 hours instead of 8, you are asleep anyway. Well, maybe a little if you have fancy hour-by hour ToD grid pricing and can concentrate your charging between 2 and 6 AM.

    Geoff: The €100 load balancing gadget suspends EV charging if there are heavy loads elsewhere. But who runs their oven and dryer at 1 AM? I could probably have saved the money.

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