An electric car may be more affordable than you think. Two events coming up in April offer the chance to find out more about affordable electric vehicles.
First, come to EV Me Now!, a free webinar presented by renew.org next Monday 12 April at 7pm. Clive Attwater, Vice-President of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association, will give an update on EVs in Australia. Then Anthony Broese van Groenou, co-founder of the Good Car Co, talks about affordable electric vehicles and bulk buys.
Second, Tesla Chatswood hosts an exclusive event for members and friends of Zero Emissions Sydney North on Tuesday 20 April, from 6 pm to 7 pm. The Tesla is the world’s favourite electric vehicle. Attend the free webinar then book your test drive.
Read more about electric cars, bikes and other clean alternatives here. The Zero Emissions Sydney North includes many EV owners and they are always happy to show off their vehicles. You can meet them at Mosman Markets on the first Saturday of the month. Have a crawl around a Nissan Leaf, a Tesla and a Hyundai Kona, plus check out the latest in affordable electric transport, the scooter! If you have a motorbike licence you can take it for a test drive. Otherwise, you can try out the electric bikes on display. See you soon!
Last Saturday we had electric cars, an electric motorbike, electric bicycles and electric scooters on display. Some were available to test drive as well (although only for those with a licence, sorry).
The pictures tell the story. In just a year, Zero Emissions Sydney North has held more than 20 Solar My House parties and webinars, two Electric Vehicle webinars and a Solar Open House day. Our volunteers have attended Mosman markets, delivered flyers and hosted parties. After lengthy research, we have partnered with two businesses with renewable energy at their core.
We’ve built a core group of volunteers and found friends and colleagues across local government and not-for-profit organisations. We’ve won two grants and helped people put more than $250,000 worth of solar panels on houses in the Northern region of Sydney. This is roughly equivalent to planting nearly 5000 trees, or saving of nearly 2 million kilometres of fossil-fuelled driving!
All that remains is to say thank you to all the brilliant people and organisations who have walked alongside, including:
Our Advisory Team and all the individuals and businesses who have said ‘yes, sure, what can I do?’ And last but definitely not least, a heartfelt thanks to all our amazing volunteers, many of whom star in the video.
We are a not-for-profit association of volunteers working across the Northern Beaches and the North Shore. We operate as part of the national Beyond Zero Emissions network. Our focus is on practical projects that will accelerate our transition to net zero emissions.
“What happens if my electric car runs out of electricity?”
It’s a question Anton Vikstrom, sustainability champion, electric vehicle expert and co-founder of the Good Car Company, has answered many times. He doesn’t hesitate.
“You pull over and call roadside assistance,” he says with a wry grin.
That’s before he explains that it’s quite hard to run out. The car gives realtime updates on your remaining mileage, and you can use various apps to plan your route. Australia has a growing network of fast chargers. Plus in an emergency, unlike a petrol car, you can recharge at any standard powerpoint.
Electric cars aren’t going to fix climate change on their own but they are an important part of a zero emissions future. They’re also really smart pieces of technology. There’s something very exciting about a car which is virtually silent, needs little maintenance and runs on sunshine. If you join our community bulk-buy you could be driving one sooner than you think.
Our last Electric Vehicle Webinar was a sell-out, so we recommend you register as soon as possible, and please tell your friends and family to get on board too.
Community is an amazing thing! When Mosman Council decided to restart its arts and crafts market (after a COVID hiatus) a team of ZESN volunteers sprang into action by organising a low emissions market stall. We had three electric cars on display across the day, and electric bikes available to try out. Chris demonstrated how the variable speed pool pump can save money and Theo gave demonstrations of an energy audit kit. HUGE THANKS to everyone who worked so hard, especially Mosman Council. 10/10 would recommend!
For other low emissions market events please visit our events page. Or why not sign up to our newsletter and get regular updates! We are a not-for-profit association of volunteers operating as part of the national Beyond Zero Emissions network. Our focus is on practical projects designed to accelerate our transition to net zero emissions.
We offer webinars and information sessions so that you can reach your own low emissions goals.
When I drop by to talk about sustainability trends in real estate, the answers are clear. From the street, Matt and Georgi Bates’ house looks much like its neighbours: a weatherboard cottage with a picket fence and a bullnose verandah. But walk out the back and it’s all happening. There’s a new garage going up on the back boundary, complete with solar panels to heat the new pool. There’s an electric car charger, batteries and a green wall, ready to plant.
“We’re pretty much off the grid,” says Matt. “The oven’s running off the battery and we’re feeding to the grid. We have about 6kW [of panels] on the roof, providing about 5.5kW per hour. We realistically only need about 3kW per hour for our charging and usage.
“We’ve got a Tesla [car]. We’re putting in a pool. That’s going to have heating costs, but we’re not going to run it on gas. We’re putting more solar and another battery on. We will run it on the sun and the battery.”
Matt and Georgi’s top TV tips: Ewen McGregor’s Long Way Up, a rollicking adventure through South America on *electric* Harley-Davidsons!
A self-confessed sustainability nerd, Matt has driven the research and design of their renovation. Georgi, meanwhile, has driven the Tesla.
“I’m not a car person. But particularly during Covid, working from home, the Tesla is another office, another workspace. I recently got into a petrol car and it felt like a dinosaur. It was a nice car, but it’s amazing the difference of the sound and fuel compared to battery operated.”
Beyond their own home, Georgi is seeing interest in solar power, sustainable building and energy efficient housing growing.
“It starts with someone [putting on solar] in the street then everyone is curious. They all speak to Matt and ask about the benefits. And I’m starting to see more of a shift with people wanting to put green gardens on their garage roofs, or looking into rooftop gardens.”
New energy rating scheme
This trend is set to strengthen with recent developments in the building codes. At the moment the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme – aka NatHERS — requires new houses to score at least 6 out of 10 for energy efficiency. In 2021, NatHERS is set to be extended to existing homes, so that when you buy or sell, just like household appliances, each property will come with an energy efficiency star rating. At which point it’s not just about saving money on a power bill: it directly affects the value of your house. So Matt and Georgi are not just champions for sustainability: they’re smart investors. Does solar increase the value of my house? Yes.
“I think sustainability is the future of real estate. It will become one of the must haves.”
Georgi Bates is a partner at Cunninghams Real Estate. Whether you are looking to buy or sell, or just to find out more about the market, she’s happy to hear from you. And if you want to find out more about rooftop solar, explore our website or come to one of our free webinars.
A guest post from Robert Gavin and Di Elliffe, owners of Evie the Nissan Leaf, who recently took them all the way from Hobart to the Northern Beaches. Rob and Di participated in the Good Car Company‘s first community bulk buy.
We are not frequent car drivers. Our preference is for active transport – riding our electric bicycles and walking – around our hometown (Hobart) and when we are in Curl Curl we use our Brompton folding bicycles, and public transport for longer trips.
But, like most families, we occasionally find a car convenient … so when our existing fuel sipping car was due for a trade-in we took advantage of The Good Car Co bulk electric vehicle purchase of second hand imported Nissan Leaf sedans – and so Evie joined our household in May 2020.
The Good Car Co is a Tasmanian-based initiative giving Australians access to reliable, affordable second hand electric cars. Register here to find out how you could be part of their next bulk buy, or join us at ‘Accelerate your transition’,our free webinar on electric transport.
Evie is a 2017 Nissan Leaf with a 30kWh battery. When we bought her she had done 13,000 kilometres, and she cost $30,000 … effectively, almost a new car at just over half the price of a current model. Inside and out, she was in perfect condition, and The Good Car Co ensure the battery is at least 85% useable prior to purchase. The cost included purchase, shipping to Australia, conversion to Australian standards, and insurance while in transit – all handled by The Good Car Co.
Her first job was to help us move all our household goods into storage. The back seats fold down to provide a good volume of space (though a little odd in shape). Evie excelled at this task, quietly running to and from our store with countless loads of boxes. Around Hobart she averaged 7.2 kms per kilowatt hour (30 kWh battery, so a notional range of 210 kilometres, though in practice this was closer to 170 kms for us). We charged her at home where we had off street parking and access to a household power point and our own solar panels.
Her second job was to take us to Sydney in June. Being a city girl, a road trip was a bit of a stretch for a Nissan Leaf like Evie, but we quickly found that, as long as we were prepared to take it easy and enjoy the trip, the journey with Evie was a treat.
We stayed in a small B&B in Campbelltown, Tasmania, to break our journey to Devonport where we caught the ferry. This was because the distance between Hobart and Launceston was greater than Evie’s range, so she needed a slow (overnight) charge somewhere along the way. On our return, this will not be a problem because Campbelltown now has its own fast charger.
A fast charger will recharge a Nissan Leaf from low to full in 20-30 minutes. An overnight charge on a domestic power point (10 amp) will take about 12 hours.
In Melbourne we charged up in Coburg and headed North. Like Tasmania, Victoria does not have a well developed fast charging network yet. It was very frustrating driving past countless petrol stations along the way to the next fast charger. … When are we going to grasp the future?.
How to charge
Using the app “Plugshare”, we plotted our trip based on available charging stations. In Victoria we stopped at Seymour Park and then at a fast charger in Euroa. The Seymour Park stop was for three hours, and we had a great walk along the Goulburn river while waiting. An EV gets you fit as well!
Travelling at speed is a big drain on the battery, and we found our optimum cruising speed with Evie turns out to be between 85 to 95 kph. At that speed we could achieve a theoretical 150 km range comfortably. Given the slower travel speed, if an alternative route was available we would always choose it over the freeway. Fortunately, the old Melbourne to Sydney road is still running close by for much of the trip. It winds its way through the countryside and it is a pleasant, quiet and comfortable alternative road to use.
After spending the night in Wangaratta we headed off into NSW via Albury. Once in New South Wales we were pleased to find that the NRMA has a network of fast chargers to compliment commercial chargers already available. Plotting a route for an electric vehicle of a Nissan Leaf range all the way to Sydney is easily done. We stopped at Yass, ready to head into our destination the next day after an overnight slow charge.
On average we were charging Evie up three times a day to allow for contingencies. Just as well, actually, because we had a minor drama at Tarcutta where a fast charger was not working properly and we could not charge up at all … so we had to drive relatively slowly to the dog on the tuckerbox (Gundagai) for our next charge.
Slowly does it
While frequent fast charges are not a problem, doing four of them in one day sent the temperature of our batteries into the red zone. I learned to enjoy the slower pace the car is more comfortable with.
Entering Sydney, Evie came into her own and it was a pleasant drive from the South up to Curl Curl. By the time we reached our destination she had reached 6.9 kms per kWh, nearly the same result as suburban driving around Hobart. It cost us just over $20 for energy for the entire trip. Charging overnight at motels was included in the tariff, and NRMA fast chargers are free at the moment.
Living and driving around Curl Curl for three months, we have enjoyed having Evie there when we need her. In suburban Sydney she is achieving 7.6 km per kWh. We charge her up during the day, at home, taking advantage of home solar to get free energy from the sun. We charge up about once a fortnight. Best of all, it is really satisfying to know we are travelling in a Nissan Leaf without contributing anything towards global warming.
Our shopping centre has six priority spaces for electric vehicles (Stocklands, Balgowlah), so it is always easy to get a park. If we are going over 100km there is always a fast charger somewhere along the way.
Nissan Leaf: the verdict
In summary, a 30kWh Leaf is an ideal runabout for everyday suburban driving. It is easy to drive and has more than enough energy for a full day of commuting. Being 100% electric, the mechanics are simple and reliable. Nissan also produce a small electric van which can come configured with five or seven “fold away” seats. These are also imported by The Good Car Co at a good price. Although second hand, these cars look and feel like new. They will easily pay for themselves in fuel savings over their life.
The Good Car Co are a pleasure to deal with. Anthony, Anton and Sam are passionate about transitioning away from carbon based transport and they have worked out a successful business model that everyone (including the planet) benefits from.
Robert and Di are leaders in climate activism in Tasmania. They volunteer with Bicycle Network Tasmania and Coast Watchers. Their next big project is setting up Australia’s first community owned electric vehicle carshare for an apartment block in Hobart.
The Good Car Co is a Tasmanian-based initiative giving Australians access to reliable, affordable second hand electric cars. Register here to find out how you could be part of their next bulk buy.Or join us at our next EV webinar, where Anthony and Anton will be our guest speakers.
It was one of those lightbulb moments. Ursula Hogben, founding member of Zero Emissions Sydney North (ZESN) was filling up her car at the local petrol station when, chatting to her kids, she said, ‘it’ll seem really strange to you in the future that we all put petrol in our cars and all drove around burning fossil fuels.’ Her son’s reply pulled her up short.
“Mummy, it seems really strange now. Why wouldn’t you just have a battery and fill the battery up from the sun?”
Yes. Of course. Why wouldn’t you? It was the starting point for the next Zero Emissions Sydney North program, Zero Emissions Vehicles.
“If you’re trying to make a difference it feels really incongruous to then be filling your car up with fossil fuels each week and emitting greenhouse gases as you drive around,’ says Ursula. “We want to help people move away from fossil fuels and be part of industry level change. Supporting active transport, E bikes and EVs gives everyone low emissions choices.”
Electric cars in Australia
Electric cars — EVs, as they’re known in the business — are the exception in Australia, but that’s changing as manufacturers and consumers rush to catch-up with the worldwide shift to low-emissions transport. Elon Musk’s high performance Tesla has made electric cars desirable, and now other manufacturers, along with government incentives in some countries, are making them affordable. But what’s available? How do they work? Where do you get them? What do they cost?
ZESN’s Electric Transport working group has been doing the research and finding out answers to these and many more questions. Next week, Ursula will host the first of ZESN’s regular events to share what they have learnt. Accelerating your transition covers why people are buying EVs, how EVs perform, the financial savings (and the environmental benefits), and features guest speakers who will be more than happy to answer questions.
“We want to help make EVs more accessible. We looked at options and we’re glad to partner with Good Car Co a Tasmanian-based company pioneering the import of low mileage, reasonably priced (from $19,000!) second hand electric cars with a guarantee and user support. We’ve also done a research review of Councils installing EV chargers to help people who can’t charge at home. We’re very excited that Mosman Council is installing an ultra-fast charger soon!”
Webinar coming up
If you’re even slightly curious affordable about electric cars, don’t miss Accelerating your transition. Our events are informal with plenty of time for questions, and Covid-safe online for the moment, so you can join the conversation from home. EV owners will be there to share their stories, and we’ll be taking registrations from interested parties so we can make a Good Car Company bulk buy a reality.
Maybe you’ll be driving an electric car sooner than you think.
Since publishing this post, we’ve been able to confirm three electric cars and four electric bicycles will be at our first stall at Mosman Arts and Crafts Market on Saturday October 3. Come and see the Nissan Leaf and the Hyundai Kona (from 9.30am) and the Tesla (from 12.30pm) and chat to the owners about the driving experience.
For the curious, young and old, there will be hands-on exhibits, like a pool pump which could save you $100s of dollars, and a photovoltaic panel, converting the sun into power in real time. Plus have you seen the Tesla PowerWall battery in action? We’ve got an app for that, and you’re invited to come and play.
We’ll be there from 8am till 3pm, with information on ways to reduce your emissions ranging from rooftop solar to electric bikes to home efficiency tips. If you’re in the area, please drop by and say hello.
Many thanks to Mosman Council for their support, and don’t forget to sample the food, have a good coffee and browse the beautiful, hand-crafted jewellery, clothes and other treasures while you’re there.
Ursula recently attended a webinar hosted by RenewEnergy featuring two electric car — aka ‘electric vehicles’ or ‘EVs’ for short — enthusiasts. Turns out EVs are good for towing, great for work, and light on maintenance. Read on…
David Cann and Bryce Gaton answered questions at RenewEconomy’s EV webinar on 18 May 2020.
David Cann is a member of the Adelaide Electric Vehicles Association (AEVA). He is also a founder of the Nissan LEAF Owners Australia and the Hyundai Ioniq and Kona Enthusiasts Facebook groups.
David has owned three EVs. His first EV was a second hand Nissan LEAF, purchased in 2015 as a spare car and shopping runabout. He didn’t realise it would become the only car he and his wife would use for the next 4 years. They haven’t used petrol cars since!
On long trips David charges his EV overnight where he’s staying using a standard power point. He’s never been charged for it, although he does like to leave a bottle of wine or some beer at AirBnBs to say thank you 🙂
David has driven his EV from Darwin to Adelaide and Sydney to Cradle Mountain. He’s been able to charge at hotels, caravan parks, even AirBnBs when on long trips, often using a standard power point and charging his EV overnight. He always offers to pay extra for the electricity, and has never been charged for it (other than at commercial fast chargers), although he does like to leave a bottle of wine or some beer at AirBnBs to say thank you 🙂
Bryce Gaton is editor of the AEVA newsletter and a writer for RenewEconomy and The Driven specialising in electric vehicles. Bryce has owned four EVs. His first was a conversion, which he did himself. The second was a Nissan Leaf, which he loved and kept until he decided that he needed a battery with more range. The third was a Berlingo van conversion, which he sold last month to a mechanic who wants to practice conversion work on a classic car. Bryce is now very happy with his fourth, a Kona.
How will I charge?
Single phase at home is fine to charge most vehicles, overnight. A DC charger is good for a fast charge while out and about including on a road trip. Three phase power may be nice to have but it is not necessary to have this at home. Most people are fine with charging overnight at home with the occasional use of fast chargers when out and about including on long trips.
Do shopping centres with charging stations cater for all types of EVs?
Yes but you will need leads and maybe an adaptor if you drive an older Type 1 socket EV.
What about servicing?
One of the major differences of owning an EV is far less servicing time and cost. This is because there is no internal combustion engine to need servicing. The most regular task is to have the wheels rebalanced. Brakes last well due to the cars’ regenerative braking technology. David’s Hyundai Ionic has done over 20,000 kilometers but, apart from annual services and inspections has ‘never had spanner on it’. Likewise, his Tesla Model 3 has done over 10,000 km, and has not needed any servicing or repairs.
Should I buy a second hand Electric Vehicle?
The good thing about second hand EVs is there are few moving parts to break. A key issue is battery range, but if you do not drive far each day, driving in the day and charging at night may work very well, even with an older EV.
Can you use electric vehicles for towing?
The Hyundai Kona can tow and many people add tow bars to them, which increases the cars flexibility and use.
What about an EV as a work vehicle?
The more driving you do, the more money you are likely to save on petrol and servicing, which means EVs make good sense for businesses who do considerable driving. If we had more EV utes and vans in Australia, we’d see much more take up by business.
How can we encourage more Electric Vehicle transport in Australia?
New Zealand and other countries have far more EVs than Australia, per capita. This is because: (i) other countries have removed disincentives to buying an EV, such as a luxury car tax, (ii) other countries have added incentives to buy EVs based on fuel economy measures and lower emissions, and (iii) other countries have net zero emissions targets and charge a congestion charge for polluting vehicles.
How do I find out more?
The Australian Electric Vehicles Association has put together a great fact sheet comparing range, battery size, cost and tow rating for all EVs currently in Australia. https://www.aeva.asn.au/files/230/ Meanwhile, Zero Emissions Sydney North has its own EV working group and we welcome volunteers. To find out more, get in touch: http://www.zerosydneynorth.org/join-us/