August 20, 2020

Reporting on… Electric Vehicles (2)

Ursula recently attended a webinar hosted by RenewEnergy featuring two EV 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 Vehicle Association (AEVA) and a founder of the Nissan LEAF Owners Australia and the Hyundai Ioniq and Kona Enthusiasts Facebook groups. 

David Cann 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 for standard drivers to have this at home. Most people do not need a fast charger at home and are fine with charging overnight at home (or their accommodation) most of the time, 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 including 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 EV? 

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 I use an EV 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 EV 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 Vehicle 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/

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