Making EVs commercially in AU: If not NOW, When?

Open for any sort of non-technical discussion regarding EVs
IVI
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Making EVs commercially in AU: If not NOW, When?

Post by IVI »

I'm new here, so if there's a -better- Aussie (or even overseas) group, web site or forum to put & discuss this topic... I trust you'll let me know. :-)

First, a bit of background:

A few years ago, I was impressed by Shai Agassi's ~18-min talk, on TED.com (I was even more impressed by his ~hour-long, Australia-specific, version of that talk, eg, on FORA.tv).

As you'd know, Agassi has raised millions in venture capital from a group of Israeli investors, with an eye to bringing EVs to a number of the world's "transport islands"

+ Israel (if your car is outside Israel, it's been stolen; a [BetterPlace.com] EV could offers extra anti-theft protection, since you can't recharge it, or replace a flat battery with a charged one, except in Israel);

+ Denmark (where a 60% purchase-time tax on CO2-emitting cars encourages early adoption of EVs);

+ Hawaii (a "real" island); and

+ maybe AU (a "real big" island, of driving islands, eg, capital cities).

Recently, about 30 EVs were delivered to Israel (most for employees to drive & show in-context), and roll-out of the BetterPlace charge-point & battery-swap infrastructure continues - there & in its other islands (AFAIK, Canberra is in-line to be AU's first show-venue for their EVs).

I'm not only impressed by the vision & chutzpah of Agassi & his multi-barreled business plan, I'd also like to participate - at some level - to help bring EVs to AU & elsewhere.

I've spoken to a few AEVA / SA branch members (& some of their friends, who have completed conversions of a few petrol-cars to electric), eg, at Science Alive! (at the Adel Showgrounds), where they were happily showing their work - from sports car to sedan to electric Gopher, etc.

So far, however, no one has expressed any interest in helping to create a -new- Australian auto industry - capable of designing & building EV's here, in AU... except very subtly, eg, by showing (with their converted examples) that EVs can work here.

Is the larger -political- context the problem in Australia?

More recently, I heard the PM claim that AU -can- design & build cars, & I have no doubts that we can...

but Aussies seem to need leadership & direction, ie, before the scope of Australian EV making can change:

+ from -hobby- ("see what -I- can do" - converting existing cars into EVs)

+ to -industry- ("see what -WE- can do" to create EVs, so folks can buy commercially in AU).

The current Minister for Manufacturing insists that - to "save Aussie jobs" in car-makers' remaining factories -and- at the many suppliers they depend on - the gov't must continue to "support" the -old- auto industry (read: pour more millions into the ones that remain in AU, so they might hang-on a little longer, even while -refusing- to leave petroleum-based technologies behind, and move us to the future: EVs).

Consider Mitsubishi's final years in Adelaide: After years of accepting millions of dollars of gov't support, Mitsubishi closed their Adelaide factories, and built new EV factories, in Japan, not AU.

All that tax-payer-funded "support" for -old- auto making technology turned out to be money wasted... Aussie jobs were lost in the end.

Subtly related events in AU's political context:

On Australia Day, I heard an award-winning Aussie Scientist -contrast- the size of overseas & Australian Science Grants, eg:

+ in North America (OK, he meant USA... Canada isn't quite up to the US mark, project for project): -one- researcher can get -millions- of US Dollars PER YEAR, to carry out their research; VERSUS

+ in Australia: he revealed [with some embarrassment], to an American colleague, that an Aussie Scientist might get a few 100,000's of Aussie dollars to spend across 4 - 6 years (or similar period), to carry our his research.

Around the same time (perhaps while some of you were returning from your Dec. Holidays?), I heard that AU's C'th Gov't has decided to pay pokie-venues(!) ~$87,000,000 to "trial pre commitment" gambling-limits. intended to help gamblers & pokie addicts reduce their poker machine loss-rates [when a change to "$1 per bet" could be brought-in at the order of the Gov't [with NO legislative change].

(Some of the above is - you'll say - isn't quite on-topic... but it is part of what has moved me to ask: WHY AREN'T WE BOTHERING TO DESIGN, BUILD & PROMOTE a -new- Australian auto industry: ie, one that produces only EVs?

Sooner or later, the -current- Aussie auto industry players & their suppliers -will- fall-over... ie, after EV's take hold, in the larger world, outside AU.

Why not make public support for -existing- auto makers be -conditional- on them making EV's - designed for Australian conditions - in AU?

Bringing the -new- EV auto industry up-to-speed - while the -old- one tools-down & shrinks, eg, to mostly trucks & buses - will create -new- jobs, eg, even picking-up workers, who've been shed by the -old- auto industry, in recent years (eg, after Mitsubishi's closure or - very recently - Toyota's downsizing).

If that's "too much to ask" then new auto industry support moneys (and the $87 million now ear-marked to go to pokie venues in ACT & NSW, IMO) should be used to support the creation of that -new- auto industry, to help it make even -small- numbers of EV's (at the start), here in AU, ie, rather than none, as planned by the -old- auto industry, today.

The -old- auto industry's support funding can also be redirected to building some of the infrastructure needed for EVs, in AU.

Since EVs require fewer systems & many fewer parts, it's -easier- than ever to create -new- EV auto maker, than it would be to start a new -old- technology auto maker, today.

OK... so who's interested in discussing this kind of "modest proposal"?

Where [else] is it being discussed?

How can this kind of thinking (as a spin-off of Agassi's vision) "bubble-up" into some substantial, either with public funding - or (why not?) maybe some private investment (of "patient capital")... to bring this -new- EV auto industry into existence?

If not here (in this forum or on this web site), then where?

TIA

PS As a Radio Ham, I know: "Making "1-off's" [EVs], as a Hobby, is Cool"

but, for a country, with shrinking -old- tech'y auto makers (even Toyota) downsizing, all around AU: "Making EVs commercially is Essential"
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Making EVs commercially in AU: If not NOW, When?

Post by whimpurinter »

Hi IVI Image

I'm buying an electric car, it just hasn't arrived yet.

It seems to me that employment is the no. 1 issue in this country. Employment above everything else.

We like to be employed by the big companies because this gives us security.

I'm not sure what the statistic is now but I've seen anything from 70 to 90% employment figures for activity relating in some way to the "auto" industry.

Our standard of living means high income and high expenses. Other desperate people in the world will work for very little, and some of these people make cars. They also live in denser populations, away from us, so markets are bigger, closer.

So, should we build cars here but have people here say "they're unaffordable!" We already say they are unaffordable at the price of the Leaf, or the Electron, though some of us value the type of car above the more affordable, mass-produced, highly-refined petrol-sippers (with inherent high-maintenance - which the big manufacturers build-in). Not high maintenance, like it used to be, thanks to the Japanese, who used quality (but the odd high-priced part) to by-pass the American profit model.

Then we have the "free-market" mob (on both sides) who would shoot down any attempt by the Government (any Government), say, to create an industry from scratch. Whichever Government describes that future will be destroyed by all the people employed in the "auto" industry.

The only way to create this industry is for people to decide that an ev is important enough, to them, to buy one, ahead of numerous other considerations, like an overseas or national holiday, furniture today, instead of later, a house that costs $30 000 less than the minimum they can afford etc.

But people simply cannot afford to buy an ev today, because the choices in the paragraph above are not in their way of thinking. I've put off a few people by suggesting that the car they're driving could be "modified" into a completely different car.

Also, I feel that unless you're having a Prius modified so that you have both a longer-distance-capable ev with engine for really-long distance capability, you need two cars in the family unit, an ev and a non or hybrid car. This also raises the far-too-expensive question (even if a reasonable proportion of the complainants have a pretend exotic car like a bmw m3 AND a holden (not exotic, but pricey anyway). They have those two cars because everyone need two cars, but can't have a petrol and an ev because having to have two cars is ridiculous.

Then you have to ask the question: Why do we need electic cars, the climate is changing anyway, we're simply going to have to adapt. What a laugh Image   Here, we have one side of local government saying how they would have made choices to avoid flooding (after the event) and a large slice of the community saying they have been abandoned by both the authorities, and insurers. Their buildings are in an inappropriate place, and will be for the next flooding event.   IF climate change leads to more flooding (just one side effect), then we won't be adapting any time soon.

Our entire economy is based on supplying either energy-intensive natural resources (one time only, come and get it), or supplying highly-polluting natural resources. As has been pointed out, countries that had oil, but don't now, are now 3rd-world countries, because they lived off that resource in a high style, but could do nothing else.

That brings me to the main comment by the government. Without a car industry, we are supposedly a low-skill workforce, never mind that WHEN the american industry decides to abandon ship, nobody will employ the basic unit, the car "assemblers", and with them, the accessories manufacturers.

It's seemed to me, for so long, that Australian business has never had a long-term view. A politician cited the current gas stuff-up and 40-billion "investment" over 40 years, or such, as evidence that "australian" industry has a long-term view. I mean, what is she on? Feel free to blast this argument, it is really what I'm here for Image

The major manufacturers are highly effective in removing any attempt by Australian Industry to do what you, IVI, are suggesting. The Australian government is a puppy which must follow industry rules, the current rules, and you know what they are because it's what they've always been. If the australian government doesn't follow these rules, then the "other" australian government will "assist" industry to maintain these sensible rules.

I'd be all for a new industry in australia which creates a new, or modified ev using funds to Universities to establish Australian patents as part of their courses with which to create the new FX, an ongoing project to refine a fine electric vehicle. But industry would find that abhorent, because it would interfere with their standard models for profit. The rest of the world (US) might threaten us with isolation for interfering with the "free market".

Finally, the general Australian community 'still' hasn't fully accepted the urgent need to get rid of the exhaust fumes. I think it is going to take many more ev's sitting silently beside them at the lights before the mainstream are going to be shamed into joining the new world. I'm in a bit of a hurry so this has had to be short. All in all, I'm for ev's. Image
Last edited by whimpurinter on Tue, 31 Jan 2012, 10:35, edited 1 time in total.
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Making EVs commercially in AU: If not NOW, When?

Post by Sheany »

There's a couple of obstacles that would need to be overcome.

Firstly, Australia's love affair with Holden. It's an Australian icon, and something that can't be taken away from our image. I think that if a new car brand came on the market, Australian's would be very reluctant to look, particularly if it wasn't a whopping V8 that could carry a football team in the back seat.

Holden and Ford have a huge culture around them, namely the typical Aussie hoon. Picture Jeremy Clarkson with a mullet, and you're pretty spot on.

The next obstacle is money, provided you could generate interest in the vehicle.
In Revenge of the Electric Car (don't ask me how I've seen it) Elon Musk is talking about Tesla Motors. Initially, the original business plan called for around $35 Million. Elon says that that figure was really closer to $200 Million when all said and done.

Now this is a company that is just converting a Lotus to electric with a specialised powertrain, much like the Blade electric. To go all out and start a brand from scratch, with a scratch built car is going to cost significantly more, obviously. And if what Bladecar says about Ross Blade getting no joy from Bosch, the biggest automotive electrical manufacturer, not playing ball, that would pose a very significant issue for any vehicle being made.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for EV's. I as much as anyone would love for a local scratch built EV company to come online and lead Australia technologically. We all know Australia has the capability, but trying to convince the nay sayers is where most businesses would fall flat.

I think EV's need an example like White Zombie running around the streets causing embarrassment to all these done up Falcons n Commodores. EV's are still seen as slow and 'useless' to Australian conditions.
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Making EVs commercially in AU: If not NOW, When?

Post by BigMouse »

It seems to me that the Australian government is painfully inconsistent with its policy. It introduces a "carbon tax" under the guise of reducing emmissions, but exempts fuel for motor vehicles from the tax. At the same time, they government offers no incentive at all to citizens to buy "green" cars. There is a long list of countries offering tax breaks, rebates, and subsidies to offset the cost of an EV or hybrid, but Australia is not on it.

It also doesn't help that the cost of these cars is artifically inflated due to the overall pricing climate in this country. Why the Honda CR-Z hybrid costs $38,000 here but only $19,000 in the US when the currencies are roughly on par (AUD actually being slightly ahead) and the cars come from the same factory in Japan, is beyond me. This price fixing (which is not limited to vehicles as I'm sure everyone on here is aware) is what's stifling the EV market in Australia. Who is going to spend $50,000 on a Nissan Leaf when they can get a Ford Focus for $20,000? The $25,000 profit being made by SOMEONE on that Leaf needs to be reeled in before any progress can be made.

Buying an EV is not cost prohibitive in other parts of the world, but it is here, and it's due to greed, not the cost of the technology.
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Making EVs commercially in AU: If not NOW, When?

Post by AMPrentice »

You have to get rid of 99 per cent of the Gov to get anything done here to do with the evolution of transport, food or social issues.
A niche area that the big wigs arent looking into is easier not easy but a way to introduce EVs would need to be non-competitive to whats out there.
Commercial delivery vehicles for the city could be a good area much like early Mazda 3 wheelers t2000 utes or tuk tuks
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Making EVs commercially in AU: If not NOW, When?

Post by whimpurinter »

Posted today at 8.31pm

Mmmm, it's the bird in the hand. Both possible governments desperately protect the bird in the hand. They have no faith in the two in the bush.

They believe in the two birds in the bush, but they would have to leave their safety levels, and the extra-government is going to put doubt into the minds of the voters.

Many of the voters I talk to don't particulary like birds anyway.
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Making EVs commercially in AU: If not NOW, When?

Post by IVI »

No "2 birds in the bush"???

Where is your evidence? Here's mine for the opposite claim:

Defense has 3!

1. Air Force
2. Army
3. Navy

Emergency Services has heaps!

1. Ambos
2. Firies
3. Police
4. SES

In the -old- tech'y auto industry, they support heaps!

1. Ford
2. Holden
3. Toyota

(and others, I'm not aware of...)
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Making EVs commercially in AU: If not NOW, When?

Post by IVI »

"Leave their safety levels"?

Look motorbikes offer NO protection from side-on collision.
Postie bikes offer the same kind of risk.

No one's even thinking about banning them!

EV's offer a lot more protection, like their petroleum predecessors,
so where is any safety issue in EV's.

We have to -stop- accepting limits, here, ie, where there are comparable risks.

If our law-makers refuse to remove false barriers to market entry,
these barriers need to be taken to the same international "competition tribunals" (by any name) as our non-Aussie competitors are prepared to take Aussie companies or gov'ts, for unduly blocking entry to our market.
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Post by whimpurinter »

Sorry IVI, this seems to show what a shocking novelist or writer, in general, I am.

I was being obscure by using the saying "A bird in the hand in worth 2 in the bush" which, as you know, means, it's better to stay on the safe side, or keep what you have, than risk what you have for twice of what you're not sure of.

So I was saying that the governments don't go out on a limb (in this case to champion new directions, or new technology) or bet on industry that's just developing, or isn't well established yet.

They'll support established industry with established workforces, even if the viability of those industries is gradually dissipating, in preference to industries which may have a very strong future.

There's a good reason for this of course. Established industries have contacts and economic muscle to damage the government if they feel themselves 'unnecessarily' picked on.

I don't understand your examples, maybe you want to expand on what you meant, if they apply after my explanation.
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Making EVs commercially in AU: If not NOW, When?

Post by whimpurinter »

Hi IVI,

I meant individuals or groups or governments feeling safe (within the things that they do and have always done) - nothing to do with the safety of vehicles.

The only barrier to market entry is the battle with the long-established players, the large manufacturers and their suppliers, including fuel, which can be insurmountable without huge resources, determination and a willing customer base, none of which apply to Australia (instead, we have a v e r y small customer base which will eventually come out of the woodwork into a significant customer base.

OT, after watching the blade videos on their main page showing people driving around, I can't wait to get ours and to have many years of plug-in local commuting. Once we get them, we will feel free to go where we want, as often as we want, the only cost will be what we do when we get there (significant cost, that is). We do have the panels to re-charge these cars.
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Post by Paul9 »

I agree with almost all the theory that has been expressed in this thread. Unfortunately the chances of the Aus government putting funds into an Aus EV industry is lower than my chance of winning lotto!

I have thought about this issue a little since finishing my EV conversion and feel that the only way an EV industry can develop in Aus is to start with an EV conversion business. Now I know there are a number of EV conversion businesses at present but I believe(?) that they only make to order. Someone needs to start making EV conversions so that a prospective purchaser can walk into their "showroom" (which may initially be the parking area out the back of the workshop) and look over say 5 or 6 completed conversions.

A major problem with new EV's is their $50,000 price tag! Few people will fork out $50,000 for a car the same size as a Honda Jazz when they can buy the Jazz for $18,000. EV conversions should be able to be done for $20,000 cost and sold for $30,000?? Plough the profits back into extending the number of conversions on show in the "showroom".

Marketing should maybe be aimed at early adopters who are normally those with greater than average disposable income. Early adopters were those who spent $10,000 on a flat screen TV 12 years ago. Their purchases create a gradual increase in turnover for the manufacturer who can then reduce costs and therefore prices.

The conversion vehicles could be thoroughly detailed after all the ICE components have been removed but prior to the conversion process commencing (as we did with mine). A vehicle which looks near-new could sell better than the same vehicle without "refurbishment".

I believe a number of businesses were commenced along these lines in the US but the purchaser's deposits seemed to dissappear and the business owners are now unable to be found! An Aus EV industry would need investors prepared to invest their money and lose it if the business model they work with is unsuccessful.

Just my minimally researched thoughts,
Cheers
Paul
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Post by whimpurinter »

Posted: Today at 4.22 pm

The Blade Electron is that car, except that it does cost $48,000, just like the Nissan Leaf and the Mitsubishi imiev.

That says right now that you can't buy a $30,000 car, unless you build it yourself. Some people here would know in what way you'd have to limit the car's capabilities in order to keep the price down to $30,000.

The knowledgeable people here know how difficult it is to make a reliable, reasonably-powerful ev with an acceptable range (and an acceptable range is NOT being able to drive from Sydney to Newcastle and back or Brisbane to the Gold Coast and back. You need a modified Prius for that (in order to get 0.3 L/100Km).

Blade say that their customers are just those people, people who can see the future and will direct their cash to such a car, rather than getting the Mercedes that 4 other people on their block own (or even a Jeep, for that matter).

In Blade's case, it appears from afar that with their expert knowledge (the current car is the Mk 6) of how to build an ev that performs at a standard customers would expect, they can build one once every 3 months. If they knew that there were enough customers in the pipeline, I'm sure they could cut that time down.

If you do a search for a New Blade Electron, I think you'll find one for sale today, ready to go. So it is available. If you want 6 Blade Electrons sitting in a car yard in each capital city as well as many major towns, that's not likely to happen at this stage of ev introduction.

People have got to weigh up the advantages vs the disadvantages of an ev for capital city travelling (perfect for heavy traffic, no engine needed to run the A/C, just plug it in when you get home, no checking what foolish price is applicable for "your" particular version of fuel, and they can ignore the dire predictions for where the price of fuel is going to go to in the not-too-distant future.

Having said that, the same will apply to elecricity, but you can't dig up your own oil, you can dig up your own electricity.

Last edited by whimpurinter on Thu, 02 Feb 2012, 11:30, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Paul9 »

The Blade Electron, as you say, costs $48,000. This limits it to the really early adopters! As far as I am aware it starts by stripping a brand new vehicle which means you are up for $10,000 more than if you convert second hand cars. My partner paid $16,000 for her brand new Hyundai Getz but would be real lucky to get $5,000 for it 8 years later so the price reduction could well be more than $10,000.

Secondly I believe the Blade cars use AC systems which are more expensive than DC systems. I don't know the price differential but it appears to be many thousands of dollars.

I would not fill a "showroom" with 6 $48,000 brand new Blade Electrons but I would fill a "showroom" with 6 $30,000 second hand conversions. If there is only one Blade Electron for sale today then the builder obviously cannot see sufficient demand at a $48,000 price. Maybe at a $30,000 price there may be more demand but this could only be done converting second hand cars.

Regards
Paul
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Post by whimpurinter »

Updated: 7.22am

The Electron is for early adopters, because anyone buying an ev today can only be an early adopter.

When you could have bought a new Getz (which you no longer can), then you could have chosen to have them build the car from new, but a second-hand base was always an option.

Part of the story of $16,000 to $5,000 loss of value is irrelevant to the ev case. Watch TopGear and some stories dwell on being able to buy Porsches, BMWs, other such cars, for over $100,000 less than when new within 10 years of them being bought. The inescapable fact about those cars was that they were, by then, high maintenance, you only bought one if you were a tragic for that sort of car. You had to be as rich as if you could have bought a new one to maintain it, or be prepared to be poor.

As we all know, when you start to really buy parts for modern cheaper cars as they get older, it is usually around the 10-year-old mark and it is exactly at that point that the "suppliers" tell you that parts are becoming very hard to get, because for some time, the "manufacturers" have built in the 10 year 'obsolesence' factor, just because they don't want to hold the parts and they really want you to buy a new one (complete with 30% loss of value when you drive it out of the showroom.

If you bought an Electron today, in 10 years time, you could still treat it as something very useful, and something different, like a Monaro. You would not have a 10 year old Getz, and it would only be as valueless as such a car if you let it fall into disrepair, as you might tend to do with the standard Getz. Aside from that, assuming that they continue to trade, they will upgrade your car to whatever you ask them for, and you get an increase in performance (at an even lower cost, by then).   Should they go belly-up, they have built the cars from non-propriety equipment, they've done the one thing that most manufacturers don't do.

All the while, you have a car which is ultra-cheap to run and independent of ever-rising prices if you have just enough panels to cover the charging cost.

$30,000 ev's would be great right now, but the argument against price is half the reason why people will not simply go out and get one. The other half is that they've never had one.

Go out and buy a $48,000 Holden right now and you have a middle-of-the-range car with standard petrol and service costs and at least medium depreciation. After 10 years, you've got nothing.

"If there is only one Blade car..." I don't know, but there was at least one Blade car for sale the last time I looked. How many would you be looking for?

Re dc vs ac, I wouldn't want an ev where its motor had brushes because I know that brushes mean noise, brush wear and armature wear. Just my thing. If you build an ev for yourself, and you enjoy the build, dc is great.
Last edited by whimpurinter on Fri, 03 Feb 2012, 02:22, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by IVI »

Anyone care to analyse BetterPlace.com's "Buy a car like you bought your mobile" (ie, by buying "Km's" analogous to (mobile) "air-time")?

The $30-40K price tags -don't- seem to apply in BetterPrice's business model, in which:

+ their EV costs ~US$12K to build (What deal in Israel? DK? etc.);
+ they own the battery (so, there's less to buy);
+ they enjoy income from battery-swap station (as elec'y market player);
+ they plan to capture market-share via lower buy price & increased convenience (of refueling, maintenance, fuel-price, etc.)
+ they'll attract "Greenies" by adding renewable energy sources to grid

See Shai Agassi's 50-min Melbourne talk, now also on YouTube (as well as non-free Fora.tv):

"Better Place (Shai Agassi):
the Electric Car revolution
(full Australian speech)"

. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Nxt2bCHKqM

(Also on AEVA / SA branch's audio / video page)
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Making EVs commercially in AU: If not NOW, When?

Post by whimpurinter »

Edited: 11.35am

Hi IVI,

You can buy an Electron for $35,000 (I think) if you don't buy the batteries but lease them. I haven't looked at that data for some time, but I invite others to if that's the way they lean Image

When you buy a mobile, you can get a new phone included in the price-plan. You might as well get the mobile this way, because the price-plan does not favour buying one when you add in the HIGH COST OF DATA. The HIGH COST OF DATA is paying for the phone Image Also, you'll note that price plans only cover 2 years, everything's for short term, after all, you'll probably want to get a new one when the next model comes out.

I think it was Blade who pointed out that every time you do a battery swap (discharged battery for recharged battery) in one of these businesses, you will be paying GST because the battery mob will be providing a service.

Compare "planning to capture market-share via lower buy price & increased convenience (of refueling, maintenance, fuel-price, etc) with   "Pay a high price, (and there will be extra for the panels, but a one-off extra over, say, 20 years ((excluding possible repair to your own inverter)), own your own batteries (Blade suggests that the current batteries may last far longer than the 8 years he nominally claims), have any maintenance required done either by yourself, if you're capable, or with any provider in that area, according to what YOU wish to pay, fuel-price, well, already mentioned that, - one price, at the start, for 10 years.   Expensive, no, you tell me, I say no. RE BetterPlace, Increased convenience, well, yes, when we get to the stage of LONG distance ev's.

Long distance ev's aren't what I'm expecting, or planning for, any time soon, though, long-distance hybrids (such as the previously mentioned modified Prius (nilco2) which can do the long distance for next to no petrol (11 litres for 1000 km, if I remember rightly, (first you charge your batteries with your solar power)) can fill that role.

The "Greenies" already have their panels, even if they baulk at supporting a successful local supplier of perfectly-practical ev's (of course, not everyone will be able to buy at that cost, but those people won't be in this market for a long time).

I think that BetterPlace are great, because that is what it will take to get the hordes out of their petrol-guzzlers. If everyone went in the direction I'm going, supplying my own electricity, paying a lot for the vehicle and then planning (and hoping) to be just a little behind at the 8 year mark, but after 8 years of hassle-free quiet, environmentally successful driving, well, that's the alternative to "BetterPlace".

BetterPlace are the new Exxon, BP, Shell. Still necessary for a lot of people, but there are better alternatives for a lot of people.

Now, I don't really want any more of those. They lock in price, they limit your options. Can you imagine looking at your BlabberPlite bill and seeing that it's still higher on wednesdays, that they didn't charge extra at the start of a long weekend, for a change.

Of course, if eveyone did what I'm planning to do, they would (and I've heard they will) tax the electricity that my own panels produce, even though the government didn't put a cent towards the purchase of those panels. The government runs on a budget, and if we do the right thing and reduce our consumption of any number of nasty things, then the tax rate goes up on those, and other things, in order to maintain the income. This happened with Brisbane water.

The Government will love BetterPlace, seeing employment and taxes from the employees and the company, but the profits, more and more, will be going overseas.

But never mind, as Dick Smith said on ABC radio during the week, to paraphrase, "We will end up seeing 2 petrol companies, 2 banks, 2 newspaper companies, 2 car makers...." in the WORLD, as we continue on the way we are, because that is what ENDLESS GROWTH leads to Image You can't get bigger if you don't eliminate others, but the futility of the claimed "efficiency road" will be there for all to see when you have 2 of each company. Because, just as in a yacht match race, they claim to be keeping each other in check, but in reality, they just want to pip each other over the line.

In a match race, the time (prices) are irrelevant. Leading, at the end, is all that matters.

In a world of 2 of each company, which group or entity, in the world, will be taking the world's profits? Scary, ain't it.

I say BetterPlace are for the also-rans, those who discover an ev future because they are suddenly offered new products, just as the old products disappear.

And I say, you buy an ev for the environment, above all else, but then also because you can.

Everybody, repeat after me "We are all individuals".
Last edited by whimpurinter on Sat, 04 Feb 2012, 06:35, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by IVI »

Naw... BetterPlace's Shai Agassi was (eg, in his Melbourne talk... have you view/heard it end-to-end?) quoting more like "cents / Km" & suggesting that:

+ since that cost is expected to -drop- on into the future,
+ those who agree to pay the -current- (higher) price - ie,
. over a long enough period - could have the car ~"free"...

Suppose they could do that (it's not so different from the
mobile phone subsidy schemes, really)... Could that work?
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Post by IVI »

I got the impression that - in BetterPlace's business model - it -doesn't- matter which leg of their "charging infrastructure" you "fuel-up" with, you're still paying according to a pre-agreed "cost per Km" rate, each month.

Presumably, you'd need to sign-up for a set number of Km's per month, like mobile plans; so, if you fly off for a holiday trip, you'd not be getting much value for that month's payment (unless someone is home to drive your car), but that'd also be true for your home ADSL Internet or a mobile plan, too.

Is no one here in contact with folks (eg, in Denmark or Israel) lucky enough to be able to sign-up for such EV's there?

If not now, when?

If we rely on locals (some with unrevealed vested-interests), we're missing essential info on which to decide these matters.

Are any other EV makers offering any form of battery-swap service yet?
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Post by IVI »

Since swapping batteries won't take as long as refilling a petro / diesel / gas tank, today, wouldn't you agree to see this like "changing horses" in the wild West?
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Post by whimpurinter »

See, all that stuff you've mentioned (no, I haven't seen it) is exactly what I am going to try to avoid, because that's where I'm at at the moment.

I'm getting a car that is devoid of the obligations, that won't cost a certain rate because the only people you can deal with are operating at a mutual cosy level.

Swapping batteries is a little way into the future, but not on the horizon for people like me who either are building, have built, or simply decided to buy an ev because it will be mine, and not a (Put WorldWide Vehicle Manufacturer Name Here). That sort of infrastructure will have to be unavoidable and a bit of time will have to pass before I'll see the writing on the wall with battery swapping.

Petrol-free running would be great, but if the cost was a phone-like deal, I wouldn't be in it readily. Not when you can buy your phone and create your own data.

IVI, you're looking for betterplace validation, but I wouldn't be your standard customer, the customer that your advertising would be aimed at. It would be Prius long-range for me, or the next better thing, but along the same lines. Maybe 0.05 L/100K, or hydrogen hybrid, with the hydrogen generated readily with solar cells   Image
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Post by woody »

The sums I've done go along these kind of lines:
1. 20k/ year at 10 L/100km at $1.50/L = $3,000/year
2. Electric Car does 150Wh/km @ $0.10/kWh off peak = $300/year
3. $6000 Battery does 2,000 cycles, range of 70km / charge = 140,000 = 7 years
4. After 7 years I am ahead because I would have spend $21K on petrol, instead I spent $6k on battery + $2.1K on electricity so I am $12.9k ahead :-)

This is nice, but assumes your pack lasts 3,000 cycles and you drive a fair bit quite regularly...
Planned EV: '63 Cortina using AC and LiFePO4 Battery Pack
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Post by whimpurinter »

Edited: 11.39am (That's Queensland Time) Image

Hi Sheany Image ,

I rode my Vectrix scooter over to a mate's place on the Bathurst 1000 afternoon. 3 doors before his place was a very noisy house with 'Holden' banners and some people visible with stubbies in their hands.

My Vectrix is a very noisy bike with a significant whine coming from the rear drive and I can tell you I was wishing I could have hit a 'stealth-mode' button in order to sneak past better on my "ELECTRIC" transfer blue scooter.

I've got to say thank-you for pointing me to the White Zombie web-site. How good to see the Yanks doing what they do best. It's hard to beat them. We have people who can, but, for understandable reasons, don't (at least, not with help from all those specialist sponsors).

People close to me are going through the 'Evo' and 'Skyline' phase, and I can well understand it, as we, in the late 1960's and early 1970's saw metal-flake,chrome wide wheels, twin-strombergs, extractors, dash-gauges as the thing to have, and to watch drive by. But they'll get over it, and the main-stream then ought to be semi-independent electric cars for the hot-rod crowd, and their hanger's-on, and their friends, and acquaintances, and for those who know somebody who knows somebody.

As I say, I don't know what the long-distance future will be, but only new inventions could turn a standard ev into a 600km range car.

But, sh*t, buy a dog, if you want one, but don't expect it to be a cat.

(Hey, how interesting that White Zombie is recharged in 20 minutes between drag runs. I wonder what that does to the batteries, or whether it is significant).
Last edited by whimpurinter on Sun, 05 Feb 2012, 06:40, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by IVI »

Mate, you're still paying "Standard Rates"... ie, if you have an electricity service to charge you EV.

We're -all- interconnected... You']] need parts that were made by a big auto-maker. Tyres come from pretty sizable companies, all over the planet.

Israelis can work together... Danes can work together...

What AU needs, IMO, is to work together... so we don't have to buy more of our tools & toys (of the fuel to keep them running) from places like
China & the Middle East.

There's lots of sun (for Solar Energy; I like wind) & other resources here in AU, & I see an easy path towards EV making, here in AU, EXCEPT:

...Aussies - IMO - need to work together like the Israelis & Danes do.

"From little things (like today's BetterPlace.com) big things come" ;-)

PS Who wants to take bets on how our cities' temperatures will drop, ie, after we're all driving EV's, that don't pump out heat-waste into the air around them...? :-)
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Post by whimpurinter »

Edited: 10.47am

I'm not sure exactly what you're pushing for, but if your battery-swap company results in many ev's on the road, quite soon, that will be great Image

Me, I'm going to be driving my Electron, with a non-leased battery, charging off our PV system much of the time...   and loving it.


You've really got to want to go green. I've been driving petrol cars and bikes all my life, still am,...for a little while.


Anyone who doesn't have at least half-baked plans to buy a battery job ought to be an electrician, or electrical engineer in this forum.   Image
Last edited by whimpurinter on Wed, 08 Feb 2012, 05:46, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by tdean »

Hi,

I cant see it happening anytime soon. The idea that we'll all be running around in EV's is just a pipe dream. The car industry is under enormous pressure now, cars are not selling like they have. The Holden Commodore got toppled the other day by the drift to four cyclinder runabouts. Its not because they are more environmentally friendly either, its just the price tag. I would love to buy an factory built EV but not at the prices being advertised. My wife bought a KIA Rio Sport a year ago just to drive to work a few times a week, paid $16,500. Its a reliable car, cheap to run, looks good, easy to park, 5 year warranty unlimited Km. Where are the factory built EV's to compete with that?
"We only have one future, and it will be made of our dreams, if we have the courage to challenge convention." - Soichiro Honda
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