Tasmanian electric highway proposal

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carnut1100
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Tasmanian electric highway proposal

Post by carnut1100 » Tue, 18 Aug 2015, 02:29

At the launch (which sadly I was unable to attend) Clive put a case for an electric highway linking pretty much all of Tasmania for less than $1m.

Permission has been given to share this summary and provisional map, so here it is.
Note that this is currently a proposal and not a project under construction, but AEVA Tas are working with stakeholders to try and make this a reality.




One of the issues hindering the uptake of electric vehicles is the limits on range arising from a lack of opportunities to recharge when travelling.  Well planned publicly accessible charging infrastructure with good coverage will overcome this issue.  This is a chicken-and-egg situation...without more EVs there is no incentive to roll out public charging infrastructure; lack of public charging infrastructure inhibits uptake of EVs.

According to Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan: infrastructure comes first and where adequate infrastructure is rolled out, EV sales follow.

There are a number of industries that stand to gain in the long term from increased EV uptake in Tasmania: electricity industry (increased energy sales + increased asset utilisation); tourism (supports “green tourism”); electrical contractors (install chargers); fleet vehicle operators (reduced running costs of EVs); councils & state government (support emissions reduction strategies); EV manufacturers/sellers; and the RACT (supporting a sustainable motoring future), as well as EV owners. 

The “Electric Highway” proposal aims to break down the lack of public charging infrastructure barrier by installing a network of publicly accessible chargers throughout Tasmania.  This would be jointly funded by those organisations who have a vested interest in increased EV penetration.  Public EV chargers will not make a profit for some years, until EV penetration increases and the publicly accessible charging assets become well utilised.  Hence the project would not be attractive to investors; it must be funded by proponents with a long term interest, accepting the initial capital investment will not provide a direct commercial financial return via user charges. There is also the possibility of interest from philanthropic donors keen to promote greener transport.

It’s expected that EV owners will carry out the majority of their vehicle charging at home or fleet base (overnight), and to lesser extent at workplaces.  This is expected to cover the vast bulk of charging for day-to-day use (85%-95%).  A publicly accessible charger network will enable long-distance travel to be undertaken in an EV, which is currently not possible.  A publicly accessible charger network is therefore expected to be only used for a small portion of total EV charging.

It is expected that there will need to be about 100 to 250 cars per charger (mixture of fast and slow chargers – more cars are needed to support a fast charger than a slow one) to support them economically given expected patterns of use. There would need to be 3000 to 5000 EVs on the road (and no additional sites installed) for the basic charge network to break even, and many more EVs to be a “cash cow”.  But given the infrequent use on a per-vehicle basis, it is not necessary for charging costs to be free or even subsidised to make electric vehicle travel much cheaper than fossil fuels. 

Basic details of current developing proposal are below.  It’s not “set in stone”, and could change as better options or ideas are brought to the table:
network of chargers comprising
4  x fast DC chargers (50kW), located at Hobart, Campbell Town, Devonport, Queenstown would allow longer range vehicles with larger batteries (eg Tesla, 65 kWhr batteries range greater than 300 km) to travel around the state and recharge quickly
16 to 20 x ‘medium’ DC chargers (25kW), located at other population centres or tourist destinations with a maximum 80 km spacing on all major routes.
18 to 28 x AC chargers (7 kW), located in various other places, mostly destinations where visitors will stay for a while.
The network would allow a car such as a Nissan Leaf to be taken basically anywhere with confidence that it can be recharged. However, if going to places depending on slower chargers, trip times would be substantially extended or recharging completed on an overnight stay. 
Charging would not be free. Free charging establishes unsustainable customer expectations, draws users away from charging at base (where timing can be more discretionary and avoid adding to peak demand) to ‘on-demand’ charging where realistically managing peak demand would be harder. Free charging also eliminates the potential for future charge points to be installed on a commercial basis. Pricing would ideally be kept as equivalent to ‘a little cheaper than petrol or diesel’. However, as away from base charging would represent only about 10% of most EVs energy supply, and charging at base is likely to be closer to about one third to half the price of petrol, EVs would still be seen as having an operating cost advantage. (EV maintenance costs are also lower) Charging would be open-access (ie don’t have to have an account with a particular charging service provider such as Charge-point, but there may be account cards offered as well, with a discount for card holders).
Capital cost is estimated to be under $1M, based on assumption that most locations are on council-owned land, and councils (or other site owners) are prepared to make in-kind contribution such as basic civil works (eg trenching & backfilling for cables; pour concrete slabs if required). $1M has some allowance for negotiations with councils, an energy retailer, insurance provider, connection application fees, but it’s been assumed much of this back-end office work would be undertaken pro-bono by project proponents. The bulk of the $1M covers cost of chargers + installation, approvals and applicable fees.
Given no potential beneficiary is likely to fund the project solo, the business model is that a network developer/operator would be formed and seek contributions from potential beneficiaries of the network. The network/developer operator would contribute a portion of the capital and seek contributions from other stakeholders to jointly fund the capital cost plus contribute in-kind support. All contributing organisations would be recognised (eg branding of chargers, media coverage). A contributing organisation may choose to be an investor in the developer/operator organisation with an ongoing commitment to its success and management, or it may make a one-time grant (or in kind assistance) and have not further direct role in operations.
The network developer/operator would ensure that the network is maintained, insured, billing is undertaken and that access is 99%+ reliable and consistent across the state. In jurisdictions where charge points have been provided by community groups, local governments acting independently, or inadequately resourced small businesses, the record of unreliable, inaccessible or otherwise unsatisfactory charge points has not been good.
TasNetworks involvement is ultimately required (either at standard rates or pro-bono) to deal with connection issues. Early involvement will ensure chargers can be located at places with sufficient spare network capacity, to avoid or at least minimise the need to upgrade distribution transformers.
The charger network does not have to be built all at once. While it could be built up over time, it is most likely to be effective if rolled out in stages that provide more or less complete coverage along a route or region. Stages could be (not necessarily in this order):
Midland Highway – Hobart to Burnie (probably 7 sites)
East Coast Highway (probably 9 sites)
West Coast Highway (probably 9 sites)
Hobart peri-urban area (probably 6-9 sites)
Peripheral regional areas (far north east, far north west, Strathgordon, central highlands) (remaining sites)

Much of the impact of the network will not be achieved until coverage is sufficient to be able to claim that EVs can go ‘anywhere’ in Tasmania, particularly for offering EV tourism.

Once the basic coverage is complete, additional stations would be added in response to demand. They would not add to EV mobility but would add to convenience. Initially there would be expansion of the number of outlets at stations experiencing waiting times on a regular basis (increase network capacity). As EV number grow, host sites wishing to attract EV owners to their site (visitor attractions, shopping locations, etc.) may offer chargers, (increase density of the network) as well as accommodation providers (EV tourism).

All of these future installations would be on a commercial basis with capital costs funded from user charges. As EV numbers in Tasmania pass 6,000 vehicles (about 2% of the fleet) most charge stations should be quite profitable: perhaps some time around 2025 – unless incentives or a carbon price on motor fuel are introduced in which case this could be much sooner. (In Norway, EVs are currently 2.5% of the fleet and growing strongly.)




The map I am having trouble adding from my iPad so I will edit this later to include it!

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Chuq
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Tasmanian electric highway proposal

Post by Chuq » Wed, 19 Aug 2015, 16:53

Great write-up carnut1100!

It would be interesting to see a cost estimate for the Hobart-Launceston-Burnie route for starters.

If you are still having issues with the map you can email it to me and I'll post it?

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Tasmanian electric highway proposal

Post by jonescg » Thu, 20 Aug 2015, 01:31

It looks great, and I'll happily share some more comments when I'm back in Perth. Tassie makes so much sense for an electric highway.
AEVA National Secretary, WA branch vice-chair

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carnut1100
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Tasmanian electric highway proposal

Post by carnut1100 » Fri, 21 Aug 2015, 23:14

Map will be easy when I log in using the computer, but I'm on holiday with the iPad for all my browsing until Sunday night.

It is a great write up, and I don't take any credit for it!
Clive Attwater did it, and gave permission to share it.
I have been doing back of envelope calculations on something like this for a year or so now, but Clive has gone much further than I ever managed!

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Tasmanian electric highway proposal

Post by 4Springs » Sat, 22 Aug 2015, 13:09

There was a question from the floor at the launch which proposed crowd funding part of this project. I wonder how that would go? Hopefully that person has some experience, subsequently joined the AEVA, and will turn up at the next meeting!

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Tasmanian electric highway proposal

Post by Chuq » Sat, 22 Aug 2015, 14:44

I wonder if they mean crowd funding in the traditional sense, or large scale crowd funding at the corporate level (ie. RACT, TasNetworks, Hydro, local governments, State Gov, Nissan dealers, Mitsubishi dealers, land owners)

Let's assume that the Hobart-Launceston-Burnie section is $300,000 (made up for sake of calculations) of the $900,000.

Split the cost between the groups above and it something like $30,000 per company.
Of course, some of the organisations listed would be supporting in other ways than a purely cash contribution. But it is not a big number for organisations like that.

The difficulty would be if only a small number of those businesses/groups can make a financial contribution. Then suddenly we need $75,000 or $100,000 per group. Then the amount becomes too much and then others drop out.. and so on.

Some contributors may have a preference between donating to a non-profit (tax benefit for them) or owning a share in the operating company. Could get confusing - I imagine Clive has had discussions around this.

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