Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Discussion about EV/Battery charging infrastructure, Electric highways etc.
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Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by Warb » Wed, 17 Apr 2019, 12:45

I'm new to the world of EV's, but my wife and I are interested in the "idea" of an electric car. We've been discussing the issue and have a couple of questions regarding the practicalities of EV charging and ownership.

There's a lot of talk at present about fast chargers, but I'm not sure how these will work (from a practical viewpoint) in the real world. I do understand the change of habits required to slow charge whenever you can, rather than to fill an empty tank, but for those of us in rural areas it's not that simple. On a long journey we might need to use fast chargers, and this is where the problems seem to start. It's fine to say we have the technology for a 350kW charger, but do we have the infrastructure? 350kW is a lot of power, and that's only charging a single car - the 30 minute charge may take a lot longer if you're 4th in the queue, especially if people behave as they do now and take 10minutes to pay for their fuel (and buy coffee, groceries etc.). Does the existing local grid have the capacity to supply multiple 350kW chargers? Or are we looking at completely new supplies dropped straight from the high voltage grid? Given the instability of our existing grid, where almost any thunderstorm cause an outage, can it actually cope? And for those who live in towns, is there sufficient capacity in the local transformers to allow every household to add several kW of constant overnight draw? I've seen a great deal of talk about the actual charging, and the source of the power (renewables etc.), but very little about the bit in between! If every house on a street plugs in a couple of cars, even on 15amp circuits, that's a lot of extra power through the transformer. What headroom is there to accommodate this?

I'm also interested in the range of these vehicles. Government figures for traditional vehicles have no meaning in rural areas, because almost the entire official "test" is at low speeds. We, in contrast, turn out of the driveway and accelerate to 100kph, engage the cruise control and simply steer for the next hour - on the trip to our nearest department store we only disengage the cruise control twice (for about 300m) in an entire hour of driving. So with no regenerative charging, air-conditioning full blast and constant 100kph driving, what does the claimed 400kmh (or whatever) range turn in to? For traditional vehicles a claimed economy of 7.4L/100km translates to a real world 11.5L/100km (a 55% increase in consumption) given our use. That's not caused by aggressive driving, it's simply what happens at 100kph!

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

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Re: Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by T1 Terry » Wed, 17 Apr 2019, 14:46

As far as the country area fast charging, are they on the grid or stand alone? I thought about this on my last trip to WA and back, a lot of gaps between the power poles out there. What I did see were a lot of solar arrays appearing at each servo. These servo's sort of double as the town store/pub/motel and any thing else you can think of really. Some have small towns a km or so away from the highway, yet to venture into one to see how the power the houses there.
I got to thinking about how these service stations were going to fair when electric vehicles start to become more predominant. I guess the same thing happened when the horse was replaced by the automobile, how did the stables in each town adapt? They became service stations, and I think the same will happen with the electric vehicles. The service station will add big solar arrays, big battery banks and the back up diesel generator. Fuel is expensive at these outback service stations, so there is no reason an electric vehicle recharge wouldn't cost a lot more than it does in the city.
If the demand is there, the supply will rise to meet the need and make a buck out of it while they are doing it.

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Re: Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by Warb » Wed, 17 Apr 2019, 20:42

"Big" solar arrays would need to be huge. I have a few arrays, the largest being 22kW of panels on a 20kW inverter, but that wouldn't make any impact on a fast charging system. The 20kW system pushed out 120kWh today (and yesterday much the same), which would need to be stored in batteries with a net loss due to inefficiencies and is still only enough to charge 4 Nissan Leafs (30kWh batteries and 160km range according to a Google search) per day. From memory that 20kW array is maybe 40m long (ground mounted). That's a massive spend and a lot of space for a servo to be able to charge 4 cars per day, when the sun is shining (wet season up north?). I'm also not really sure about the concept of using a diesel generator as backup, because unless it's a huge generator it would take hours to produce the power to charge the batteries, and also suffer from inefficiencies (and still have the high diesel cost!). It would still seem easier to put the diesel in a car!

Even on the grid, the infrastructure isn't necessarily there to supply the power. There needs to be enough free capacity in the incoming high voltage lines to supply what's required, and big enough transformers to cover the load. We can drip-feed batteries from a low power input, but that only gives us fast charging for as many cars as the battery will supply, and everyone else has to wait. Whats the benefit of a 30minute fast charge with a 4 hour delay over a 4.5 hour slow charge?

The horse analogy doesn't work quite so well because the fossil fuel can be brought in on a truck (as, effectively, was the "horse fuel") and requires far less infrastructure than that required to house and refuel a horse. The adaption from horses to cars to was buy a tank+pump and sack the stable-boys! To recharge 8 electric cars a day would require maybe $60K of solar, plus the batteries, the charging system and generator. I have no idea how much a battery capable of outputting 350kW might cost, but I'm guessing it wouldn't be cheap. I'm told that it costs about $4.50 to power an EV for 100kms. That's a lot of investment to sell a maximum of maybe $80/day of power. And you'd still have to tell the 9th car to wait until lunchtime tomorrow! Maybe the analogy is good after all, the "coach house" incorporated a hotel to spend the night whilst your horses "recharged"!

But even in somewhat bigger towns, I'm not sure that there's enough capacity in the grid to deliver the required power. A fast charger supplied from a battery sounds good, but if it can only charge one or two vehicles and then needs hours to recharge itself from a lower capacity grid, is that viable? "We can fast charge the first two cars of the day, but everyone else will have to wait"?

It would seem that in a city we should simply make every parking space a "slow" charger, such that everyone tops up at every stop. That would remove the need for huge throughput fast chargers and seems a viable solution. But for long distance travel and rural areas I'm struggling to see how it will work without a massive upgrade of the power grid..... Which is a shame because I do want an EV!!!

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Re: Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by francisco.shi » Wed, 17 Apr 2019, 21:59

Firstly for slow charging of cars at home the grid is already capable. An electric stove is on a 25A circuit. If you turn two hot plates at the same time that will be 5kw. Add to that another 3kw for the hot water and another 3 or 4kw for all the other things in the house. The grid has to supply this power every day when people get home and cook dinner and take showers watch tv turn air cons on etc and when they get up in the morning and cook breakfast make a few cups of coffee cereal etc. Then after people go to sleep the power demand drops and the transformers wires and generators sit middle waiting for the morning. If electric cars charge during the time we are sleeping and not using power the grid can easily supply the load.
As for fast chargers all you have to do is look at the power transformers located outside the service stations. Most of them are pad mounted 500kv to 1000kva. We have one outside our factory which doesn't get used anymore because we do not manufacture anymore.
A 1000kva transformer can fast charge 33 Nissan leaves per hour from flat or 10 Tesla model Xs per 1hr from flat.
A fast charger charges you about 45c per kwh but only pay 25c or less for electricity if you are using this much so if you had the fast chargers going for 8hrs per day the service station would make $200/he out of that 1000kva transformer.
The service station could then put solar panels to save 25c/kwh which would pay back the cost of the panels in about 3 yrs and most rural service stations are in the middle of nowhere where space for the solar panels is not an issue.
So electric cars will not be a problem for the grid they will make the power companies happy because they can sell more electricity at a time when they almost have to throw it away (When we are all sleeping and no one is using electricity but the coal power stations can not ramp down)
Just think about it, none of the electricity companies has said electric cars will be a problem to them.

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Re: Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by dgh853 » Thu, 18 Apr 2019, 07:50

NRMA are installing DC fast chargers in 40 regional towns across NSW. While I wouldn't call them remote towns, the existing infrastructure is easily able to cope with the small number of EVs at present. There are Tesla Supercharger stations spread across the entire USA with large current draws so your concerns may only be real for very remote locations such as outback Australia.

In terms of remote regions, the question is how can the infrastructure support electric vehicles travelling over 300 km per day and require a fast charge. If you're doing 100km to and from your closest store then that's easily achievable with current EVs and you can charge overnight at home at a lower cost.

For those who are travelling in remote areas and driving more than 300km in a day then fast charging solutions are available to support this now. At the recent Smart Energy conference in Sydney, https://www.ev-australia.com.au had a 120kW fast charger with 160kWh battery backup. It used a small 22kW AC connection to the grid which would presumably run around the clock pulling a relatively small amount of ongoing grid power with support for high discharge for EV fast charging via battery. This would support a current Kona electric driving 300km, charging for 45 minutes and then returning 300km. Given drivers need to eat and rest, I think this ratio of driving to charging (6 hours driving to 45 minute charging) would be more than acceptable for most real world scenarios. Note that the current Kona electric only charges at a max. 70kW.

Suitable EV availability is likely to be more of an issue. Currently, manufacturers have focused EV design on urban vehicles. While range for these vehicles is now very good (400+km), the sort of vehicles that dominate out in rural areas - utes and large 4WDs - have been subject to much less electricification. The reason for this is simply battery cost. Utes and large 4WDs have poor aerodynamics and require more battery and therefore more cost. There are some excellent PHEVs available now, such as the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV ($25K used) and there will be more PHEVs in the space in the next 5 years that are a good bridging technology to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. The large size of remote vehicles will mean that full SUV/Utes won't be to coming onto the market in earnest until batteries fall further in price - closer to 2025 I would expect.

If you're interested in real world EV range at highway speeds - https://abetterrouteplanner.com/ leverages thousands of EV drivers and their actual achieved economy to plan routes and energy required accurately for different EVs.
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Re: Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by jonescg » Thu, 18 Apr 2019, 09:36

I'm both pleased and disappointed to see battery buffered fast chargers being designed. Pleased because it's such a good idea, disappointed because I had this idea 3 years ago but couldn't get the financial support for it. Still, it's a great idea for those places who will see less than 6 cars a day needing a charge, and can keep the thing topped up from a modest solar array.
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Re: Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by Warb » Thu, 18 Apr 2019, 13:07

francisco.shi wrote:
Wed, 17 Apr 2019, 21:59
Firstly for slow charging of cars at home the grid is already capable. An electric stove is on a 25A circuit. If you turn two hot plates at the same time that will be 5kw.....
My wife and I had discussed this issue. In reality the use of power is spread over a period of several hours, some people eat (and therefore cook) far earlier than others, for example. Very little water heating is instantaneous, most is gas or off peak power. The reality is that even now in times of stress (heat waves etc.) the grid can struggle, and people don't turn their air conditioners off at night. The charging of EV's is therefore potentially a significant addition, even at night (assuming the off peak hours are sufficient to charge the vehicle) when "active" use of power is minimised.
francisco.shi wrote:
Wed, 17 Apr 2019, 21:59
As for fast chargers all you have to do is look at the power transformers located outside the service stations. Most of them are pad mounted 500kv to 1000kva.
I had a look this morning at 3 petrol stations I drove past. All of them are supplied by the same post mounted transformers that are supplying the rest of the street. The newer residential developments are indeed supplied with underground power from large pad mounted transformers, but everything older than maybe 5-10 years in this area uses shared (small) pole mounted transformers and above ground wires.This is, of course, easily fixed with the installation of dedicated transformers, assuming that the HV lines have the required capacity. Given that much of the system was spec'd years ago, are we certain that it does?

The petrol stations in question are all in a rural town, but realistically none of them have the space for a large PV installation.
francisco.shi wrote:
Wed, 17 Apr 2019, 21:59
So electric cars will not be a problem for the grid they will make the power companies happy because they can sell more electricity at a time when they almost have to throw it away (When we are all sleeping and no one is using electricity but the coal power stations can not ramp down)
Just think about it, none of the electricity companies has said electric cars will be a problem to them.
And nor would I expect them to, as you say it is additional sales. On the other hand, the power companies have (supposedly) spent a great deal "gold plating" the grid - a large part of the cost of power is "poles and wires" - so complaining would be an embarrassing thing to do, but they still tell us that rooftop solar could destabilize the grid. It's sometimes hard to know what is real, what is driven by the profit motive and what is just noise! It's also interesting to consider what happens as we close down those coal-fired generators and lose that nighttime overproduction. The theory is that this will be covered by batteries charged by solar during the day (and wind, Snowy 2 etc.), but we're adding load all the time. As previously, I'm not thinking of a few EV's in the next few months, I'm looking at the 50% EV target and beyond.

I do believe that large scale adoption of EV's is achievable, it just worries me that we're overlooking the infrastructure requirements. I remember one of those "motivational posters" I saw on an office wall in California in the 1990's. It said "obstacles are things you see when you take your eyes off the goal". It amused me because the office belonged to a pumped up marketing executive, who we repeatedly had to rescue after another of their great but under-thought plans left them up a creek with no paddle in sight. Almost everything they wanted was indeed achievable, but rarely as easily, cheaply and quickly as they wanted.

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Re: Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by Warb » Thu, 18 Apr 2019, 13:25

dgh853 wrote:
Thu, 18 Apr 2019, 07:50
NRMA are installing DC fast chargers in 40 regional towns across NSW. While I wouldn't call them remote towns, the existing infrastructure is easily able to cope with the small number of EVs at present.
This was one of the reasons I started getting interested, and also one of the reasons I started asking questions. A fast charging station sounds like a really good idea, and whilst there are only a small number of EV's it is indeed brilliant. But what happens when the numbers grow? For example, in my area there are 4 Tesla destination chargers (not fast chargers), and that's more than adequate. In fact it is probably rare for any of them to be used. But what happens when the numbers of EV's grow? What happens when 50% of the cars on the road are looking to charge? As I said, fast charging is great but I get annoyed when I have to wait 10 minutes for a fuel pump because someone is taking their time to pay. How many parallel fast charging stations will be required to prevent long delays? The NRMA stations have (if I remember correctly) 2 fast chargers. The third car will have to wait 30minutes before it can start to charge. Look at the number of cars in a traditional petrol station, and then imagine each takes 30 minutes to refuel rather than 5. Alternatively, look at the number of pumps and then multiply that by 120kW (Tesla Supercharger). That's either a lot of power or a lot of delay! Once again I appreciate that for short trips and local use, with overnight home charging, none of this is an issue (for those with private parking or other access to overnight charging), but for those traveling outside cities it needs to be thought about.
dgh853 wrote:
Thu, 18 Apr 2019, 07:50
At the recent Smart Energy conference in Sydney, https://www.ev-australia.com.au had a 120kW fast charger with 160kWh battery backup. It used a small 22kW AC connection to the grid which would presumably run around the clock pulling a relatively small amount of ongoing grid power with support for high discharge for EV fast charging via battery. This would support a current Kona electric driving 300km, charging for 45 minutes and then returning 300km. Given drivers need to eat and rest, I think this ratio of driving to charging (6 hours driving to 45 minute charging) would be more than acceptable for most real world scenarios.
Indeed it is, but that's a single vehicle. What is the recharge time for the second vehicle? The chargers battery is now flat, so the second vehicle has to wait for the first to finish, then can only charge at the 22kW rate of the grid connection, during which time the chargers own battery cannot recharge. So now we're back to parallel chargers and the 22kW grid connection limit. This is the very basis of my concern; there are a lot of cars out there and the ability to charge one in 30 minutes is irrelevant if you're not first in line.

Perhaps we'd be better served by considering the constant throughput of cars per hour, rather than individual "one-off" charge time?
dgh853 wrote:
Thu, 18 Apr 2019, 07:50
Suitable EV availability is likely to be more of an issue. Currently, manufacturers have focused EV design on urban vehicles. While range for these vehicles is now very good (400+km), the sort of vehicles that dominate out in rural areas - utes and large 4WDs - have been subject to much less electricification. The reason for this is simply battery cost. Utes and large 4WDs have poor aerodynamics and require more battery and therefore more cost.
Interestingly, other than farm "work" vehicles, we'd be quite happy to have a small car. The reason we don't is simply that you can't put a functional bullbar on a hatchback. I've never understood the need for city people to own SUV's or 4WD utes, out here it's largely because they're the only things we can equip with bullbars (and extra lights) to make sure we get home at night. If somebody made a small EV that had powerful headlights and a front bar that could withstand a 'collision with a roo or deer, and a 400km range, I'd already have bought one!
dgh853 wrote:
Thu, 18 Apr 2019, 07:50
If you're interested in real world EV range at highway speeds - https://abetterrouteplanner.com/ leverages thousands of EV drivers and their actual achieved economy to plan routes and energy required accurately for different EVs.
I will certainly do that.

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Re: Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by dgh853 » Thu, 18 Apr 2019, 14:16

Hi Warb,

To cover the obvious one or two cars at a time issue, there needs to be multiple fast chargers, just like we have dozens of pumps at petrol stations. Nobody was building a 20 pump petrol station in 1900 but then there wasn't the demand then either. The fast charger network grows to match the electric vehicles. In Australia, my experience is that fast chargers are under-utilised. When we have queues then that's an obvious sign to the EV charging businesses that we need to add more stations/locations and they'll happily do it and take our money.

So, do we need dozens of fast chargers at each location? Yes, we do. For high traffic sites, there will be a need for network infrastructure just like there are 4G towers up and down the major highways to provide mobile coverage.

Just keep in mind the fact that only people driving 300+km per day or those who can't plug-in at home/work need these stations. So, nationally I'd expect to see less electric fast chargers than petrol pumps of a comparable fill rate.

I would recommend you look at the charging infrastructure in places like Norway where they have already surpassed 50% of new passenger vehicles sold being electric (technically 58% in March 2019). eg. Nebbenes in Norway has 42 superchargers and that's just for Teslas!

In Norway, there are more frequent fast charging locations on the highways between towns (e.g. 50km apart rather than 150-200km which is the norm in Australia ATM) and dozens of fast chargers at many of those locations.

Norway has managed to handle it without major electricity outages. No reason why we can't. Australia is bigger I hear you cry! Sure but how many people are driving vast differences outside the existing electricity grid. I reckon well under 5% of the population. Will these be the last ones served by electric vehicles, potentially, but that's the case for most similar technologies like phone lines, mobile, fuel etc. These services are not as good in remote locations as it's more expensive to support them per capita. Off-grid options have been discussed already and I think provide an effective cap on what remote owners would need to pay for home and remote charging. Bear in mind that charging from off-peak grid electricity at 15 cents per kWh costs the equivalent of 37.5 cents per litre. Grid solar about 25 cents per litre equivalent. That $1.25 difference per kWh can buy a lot of battery and fast charger equipment and leave room for profit and savings for the electric owner versus buying petrol.

The cars available today - Hyundai Kona, Tesla Model S/X/3 are all capable of meeting the needs of much more than 50% of the car driving population in Australia now. The only question to my mind is upfront cost - how low does it have to be for the majority of people to get onboard. We've seen with solar where around 25% of all homes have taken it on and payback periods are 5 years. EV payback periods are around 10-15 years. So a little way to go before we're selling 200,000 a year like we are with solar PV. Hopefully people also appreciate the crap they're pumping out of their petrol cars and move a little faster for the sake of everyone's health.

Covering off on the previous solar discussion - high penetrations of solar on the grid can lead to high voltages at times of peak output. The grid wasn't designed for two-way flows in parts of the grid and this causes problems. To achieve higher concentrations of decentralised generation, the grid needs to change the technology it uses and be smarter in the way it balances supply and demand.

I'd also recommend having a look at https://opennem.org.au/#/all-regions to understand how much spare capacity there is available overnight. It's very significant and there have been studies done by AEMO on how many EVs can be supported without augmentation of generation. Their Integrated System Plan is another good reference in that regard. The massive increase of renewable generation occurring at the moment would be orders of magnitude greater than EV usage so I don't think generation capacity is an issue in Australia at all. The usual point raised about this is "everyone will come in and plug in when they get home". No they currently don't and won't. Why. Do you buy your petrol at $3? No. You buy it when it's cheaper. For EV's fuel is half-price or better between 10pm-7am via off-peak or controlled loads or 9am-5pm if you have solar.
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Re: Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by Rusdy » Thu, 18 Apr 2019, 15:20

That opennem is awesome! WA has similar one (with even better graphics, part snapshot below) in the past. But then, AEMO took over...

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Re: Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by antiscab » Thu, 18 Apr 2019, 22:37

there's also an app called electricitymap and renew watch.

Those pole top transformers are usually 350kva, and dinner time cook peak tends to run from 5pm to 9pm. It won't be long until the cheap rate moves to during the day, and the expensive time to during the night.
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Re: Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by Warb » Fri, 19 Apr 2019, 05:56

dgh853 wrote:
Thu, 18 Apr 2019, 14:16
The cars available today - Hyundai Kona, Tesla Model S/X/3 are all capable of meeting the needs of much more than 50% of the car driving population in Australia now. The only question to my mind is upfront cost - how low does it have to be for the majority of people to get onboard. We've seen with solar where around 25% of all homes have taken it on and payback periods are 5 years. EV payback periods are around 10-15 years. So a little way to go before we're selling 200,000 a year like we are with solar PV. Hopefully people also appreciate the crap they're pumping out of their petrol cars and move a little faster for the sake of everyone's health.
Thank you for your reply, it was very useful. What you have said is pretty much exactly what my wife and I have discussed, my concern has been that what we have been seeing in the media has not covered any of it. It seems obvious that we need to change the grid to support the use of EV's (especially outside major cities) and allow multiple fast charging systems, but this has not been mentioned in the coverage I have seen. The political announcements also seem to push EV's with no apparent thought to the underlying infrastructure. Given the size of Australia, and the associated slow rate (and high cost) of infrastructure installation, this seems a major omission. It's nice to know that it has been considered........

Until the payback period for EV's falls below the average duration of car ownership (which is around 6 or 7 years, I believe), there is no financial incentive to buy one, as you say. The current pricing is a significant disincentive - Google suggests a top of the range "fossil" Kona is $36K, whilst the base electric version is $55K.

In rural areas there are other deterrents including range and charger availability, lack of 'roo bars and lights, and possibly most importantly lack of "fixability". I can fix most things on an old Land Rover by the side of the road, at home I can rebuild it from the floor up. My wife can have her current car serviced in town without leaving her desk - the mechanic comes and picks it up! But an electric vehicle? If it goes wrong it's a recovery truck trip to the nearest trained dealer, possibly >100km, probably >250km. Admittedly this (and the lack of 'roo bars) is more apparent with every generation of car (even the latest 4WD utes are not really very good as farm "work" vehicles). The knowledge and skills will filter out to rural areas, but will take time to do so. I'm not sure the necessary "ruggedness" will ever arrive (too small a market), but I'll keep hoping!

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Re: Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by francisco.shi » Fri, 19 Apr 2019, 08:57

I think the adoption of EVs will not be immediate it will be gradual. I think the political parties target of 50% EVs by 2030 is not difficult to achieve. They will be slowly increasing and as there is more demand on the grid the grid will be upgraded gradually, or perhaps people will start putting up more solar panels to power their EVs so there will not be more demand on the grid.
50% if EVs is also not going to be a problem because there will be another 50% of vehicles that will be fossil fuel based for those who can not use an EV for whatever reason. I think 50% EVs fleet is already viable. The only issue is car manufacturers do not want to make EVs because they loose on all the investment on fossil fuel drive trains.
Also I think the biggest issue is people think that EVs have to be cheaper than conventional cars to be viable but they do not have to.
For example the difference between the bottom of the range model and the top of the range model is significant. It gets you thinks that do not give any economic benefit. EV's have many other benefits that people would be prepared to pay more for. A BMW is far more expensive than a Kia but people pay more for the BMW. The BMW is not economically viable compared to a Kia but people buy them. EVs need to be marketed as such. They have many other benefits to fossil fuel cars that are not being marketed correctly which will be worth the extra price.
Another thing that is not being considered is that EVs are much more expensive because they are a niche market. When I look at the complexity of a fossil fuel drive train, consider all the things you need to add that you do not need on an EV I think the cost of manufacture of an EV is probably not much more if not the same as a fossil fuel vehicle.
An electric motor and inverter would cost the manufacturers probably under 2k to build. The batteries are about $120/kwh so for a 30kwh battery you are talking about $3600 so the drive train for an EV would probably cost about $5600. I am sure the fossil fuel drive train including exhaust multi ration gear box, fuel tank etc would not be much less than that. So I think the reason EVs are expensive at the moment is because there is not enough competition and volume yet.
I am converting a Mitsubishi Pajero. This is the kind of car that would suit you. It has a bull bar, it can tow it can go off road. After the conversion it will have more ground clearance than it had before, it will have almost 3 times the power as the original petrol engine and it will probably drive better because the weight distribution will be lower. It will even have a frunk. The only disadvantage is the range. Other than range it will be far superior to the fossil fuel version. If you look at the conversion, Mitsubishi could do the same as what I am doing and sell them. It would in fact be easier to manufacture. I estimate it will cost me about $20k to convert. I am sure Mitsubishi could do it for the same. If they put $20k on top of their top model and offered an electric version it would be cheaper than a Tesla for about the same performance and it would be a true 4WD. I am sure people will buy it.
You can see the conversion here: http://forums.aeva.asn.au/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=5721

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Re: Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by antiscab » Fri, 19 Apr 2019, 09:18

Warb out of curiosity, from which part of Australia do you hail?

Roo bars aren't exactly complicated to make in one off quantities. I had a housemate who made his own and welded it to a Holden combo. This vehicle was used regularly to go to bush doofs, and he did indeed encounter all manner of fauna. A boiler maker and panel beater he was not, and the cleanliness of install reflected this, but it was effective. Roos were the most common, and he had hit 7 before moving on to a new vehicle.

It's likely no business has been able to make a business case to make small numbers of bullbars for small vehicles. You've hit onto a chicken and egg problem there. I doubt it will get resolved, more likely we'll end up with Rivian sized vehicles replacing the similar sized ones already in use for country areas.

the current generation of vehicles can support the needs of more than 50% of new car buyers at the current level of total fleet penetration (0.01% or smaller) (ie the country fast charging bays are always un or under utilised, and no need for away from home charging normally)
For cars available for $50k - $60k, the driving range has tripled in the past 10 years. I expect the same will happen in the next 10.
if the target is hit, it will mean 50% of new cars in 2030 will be electric, have 3 times the range of present vehicles (600km at country highway speeds) and be entering a total fleet penetration of approx 5 - 10%. Cars in Australia last a long time....

Edge of grid towns are also moving from load only to generation exceeding load. Likely by 2030 generation exceeding load during the day will likely go all the way to the local transmission limit. increasing supply at edge of grid it is already cheaper to install solar and battery than run new transmission line.

considering the possibility of having a 500kw solar array (doesn't need to be on site necessarily), and using present day connection maximization with a 500kwh buffer battery, dealing with a 350kw 100kwh charge every 10mins at a 5-10% total fleet penetration doesn't seem too unreasonable. That level of solar penetration is likely regardless of whether EVs achieve that level of penetration. See the first trial of using solar generation to enhance farm yields https://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en/press- ... april-2019

Edit: fuel pump electricity usage off by a factor of 1000. electricty usage of the pumps no longer relevant
Matt
2017 Renault zoe - 25'000km
2007 vectrix - 156'000km
1998 prius - needs Batt
1999 Prius - needs batt
2000 prius - has 200 x headway 38120 cells

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Re: Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by Warb » Fri, 19 Apr 2019, 11:11

francisco.shi wrote:
Fri, 19 Apr 2019, 08:57
I think the adoption of EVs will not be immediate it will be gradual. I think the political parties target of 50% EVs by 2030 is not difficult to achieve. They will be slowly increasing and as there is more demand on the grid the grid will be upgraded gradually, or perhaps people will start putting up more solar panels to power their EVs so there will not be more demand on the grid.
I have no doubt that eventually there will be no fossil fuelled vehicles, simply because it will be nigh on impossible to buy fossil fuel - it will be taxed out of existence. How this impacts us farmers is another matter, we can't charge from solar because that's when we use the machines! But that issue also impacts domestic usage, to charge from PV the owner needs to store the PV through the day to recharge at night (assuming their car is "at the office" through the day), so the expense increases

I suspect in reality the adoption of EV's will go hand in hand with many other changes. The employment market is changing, more people are working from home etc., and the nature of "work" is changing, certainly in the western world where we don't make anything anymore. The saddest thing to me is that we still are looking at big cars to carry single occupants around cities........
francisco.shi wrote:
Fri, 19 Apr 2019, 08:57
The only issue is car manufacturers do not want to make EVs because they loose on all the investment on fossil fuel drive trains.
I find that hard to believe. I agree that they are "set up" to make fossil fuel powered cars, but that's easy to change, especially in a world where so much is outsourced. I suspect it's the normal process of extracting as much money as possible from early adopters and using that money to fund an expanded production system for when the early adopter market is saturated and prices drop. That's certainly the way with everything else in the world!
francisco.shi wrote:
Fri, 19 Apr 2019, 08:57
Also I think the biggest issue is people think that EVs have to be cheaper than conventional cars to be viable but they do not have to.
For example the difference between the bottom of the range model and the top of the range model is significant. It gets you thinks that do not give any economic benefit. EV's have many other benefits that people would be prepared to pay more for. A BMW is far more expensive than a Kia but people pay more for the BMW......They have many other benefits to fossil fuel cars that are not being marketed correctly which will be worth the extra price.
People pay more, basically, when they think they are impressing someone. The BMW driver thinks everyone in lesser cars is jealous and, from an evolutionary viewpoint, that he will "get the girl". Yes, there are people who will pay for luxury or performance because they actually enjoy them, but above a certain point it is irrelevant because the additional luxury or performance is simply not noticeable or usable in the real world. As you say, at present the "other benefits" are not being marketed, to the degree that I have no idea what they might be. The result is that the EV is only a status symbol to those who believe being an environmentalist carries status. For everyone else it's just a massive price for much the same vehicle.

francisco.shi wrote:
Fri, 19 Apr 2019, 08:57
You can see the conversion here: http://forums.aeva.asn.au/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=5721
I'll have a look!

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Re: Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by Warb » Fri, 19 Apr 2019, 13:09

antiscab wrote:
Fri, 19 Apr 2019, 09:18
Warb out of curiosity, from which part of Australia do you hail?
I live in the Mudgee area of NSW, but I'm originally from England.
antiscab wrote:
Fri, 19 Apr 2019, 09:18
Roo bars aren't exactly complicated to make in one off quantities.
The making of it isn't really the issue. The problem is that a bullbar only "works" if it's mounted securely to the chassis, and at that point we come to a screaming stop for a number of reasons. Modern vehicles don't have a chassis, or any other solid structure to mount to, because they have crumple zones and controlled deceleration to trigger airbags. They also must be "pedestrian friendly". These features are of course very worthwhile to increase pedestrian safety and absorb energy in a crash (thus reducing danger to passengers). However they inevitably result in a car that becomes totally undriveable after hitting an animal. The fitting of a bar to such a vehicle is illegal unless it's undergone rigorous testing and is airbag compliant, and rather unfortunately those approvals largely render the bar useless - a friend of ours hit a roo not long ago in a new Pajero, the (correctly fitted and approved) bar pivoted backwards, speared through the radiator and destroyed both front tyres. The point of the bar is that you can then drive home, except she couldn't and was stuck (with three young kids) on the side of the road in a mobile dead-spot...... On the other hand, I suppose the lack of radiator on an EV removes one problem!

antiscab wrote:
Fri, 19 Apr 2019, 09:18
For cars available for $50k - $60k, the driving range has tripled in the past 10 years. I expect the same will happen in the next 10.
Interesting. As a novice to the world of EV, it would seem to me that because the fossil fuel vehicle has already pushed the development of aerodynamics, the only developments in the world of EV can be batteries, motors and energy reclamation. As we've been using electric motors for a long time, I would have thought that the law of diminishing returns would have kicked in by now, and we'd be pretty close to the limits of efficiency. That just leaves batteries with increased capacity, and possibly better energy harvesting under "braking". Would that be correct, and if so are we talking about entirely new battery technologies or simply more of them?
antiscab wrote:
Fri, 19 Apr 2019, 09:18
Cars in Australia last a long time....
They don't rust, certainly! I'm not sure they will continue to last a long time as they develop beyond the point where they can be kept running cost effectively. It is entirely feasible to keep an old car running indefinitely because no single part is worth very much (except on exotic cars). Modern cars aren't quite the same, a single small but massively expensive component can make the entire vehicle unusable, yet be worth more than the value of the car. This applies to fossil fuel vehicles and EVs alike......
antiscab wrote:
Fri, 19 Apr 2019, 09:18
considering the possibility of having a 500kw solar array (doesn't need to be on site necessarily), and using present day connection maximization with a 500kwh buffer battery, dealing with a 350kw 100kwh charge every 10mins at a 5-10% total fleet penetration doesn't seem too unreasonable. That level of solar penetration is likely regardless of whether EVs achieve that level of penetration. See the first trial of using solar generation......
Using conventional theory for PV array sizing, a tracking 500kW array will yield perhaps 2500Kwh/day (depending on location and time of year), so only 25/day cars total and finishing with a flat buffer battery which includes only 5 charges after about 6pm, and no early charges the next day! That 100kwh should, however, translate to several hundred km of travel which is more than the daily requirement of most city drivers, though I imagine we are talking here about out of town service stations? For city travel the overnight charging option (for those with access to power) is still better.

It also occurs to me that the biggest issue for longer distance travel where fast charging applies is that much of the demand for fast charging is likely to be at the same times, as people set off with a full (overnight) battery, drive then stop for lunch, then drive, then stop for dinner. Fast charging stations around 80% charge range from a city will be swamped at lunchtime!

The mix of ag and PV interests me greatly, and we have discussed it on the farm many times. There are some difficulties, notably that the PV system has to be on a very tall frame that is in turn very wide, and hence very expensive. In the study you linked to it was 5m high, but is required to allow machinery underneath. This in turn creates the possibility of a very expensive accident, and increase the chance of wind damage. However it seems obvious that the shading and cooling effect of the panels would likely assist plant growth in hot climates, although there is also the potential for issues with water (especially here in Australia) as the rain will run off the bottom of the panels and not underneath them. We have considered an installation at much lower height that allows grazing underneath, and provides shade for animals. The issue with all of these systems is scale - on a small scale they work well but larger scale using machinery (even spraying on grazing land) requires thought. Small machines take longer to do a job but fit under or between panels, larger machines are quicker but the panels need to be higher and more widely spaced.

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Re: Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by mikedufty » Fri, 19 Apr 2019, 15:20

At least the stranded outside mobile range thing is easily fixed now. You can buy a satellite communicator like a garmin inreach for substantially less than a roo bar.
I'm not sure if EVs are going to be better or worse than ICE for long term serviceability - possibly the biggest obstacle is the electronics getting locked down by the manufacturer preventing people from fixing things themselves. I think John Deere were already doing it with tractors and some ICE cars have issues.
We had a fault on our EV recently and there was some discussion online that second hand parts from a wrecked car would not be accepted by the computer system, but it turned out that particular part could. Also turned out that the multi thousand dollar part (charger) that failed could be repaired by knowledgable people for a couple of hundred dollars by replacing cheap electronic components. I imagine as EVs become more mainstream the knowledge and expertise to do that sort of repair may be easier to come by. Maybe when there are lots of old second hand ones, people will manage to hack the computers or replace them entirely with an open source system to allow people to keep old bangers running.

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Re: Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by Warb » Sat, 20 Apr 2019, 07:04

The inReach does fix the communication issue, though over time the subscription cost adds up, but the car is still undriveable. In our friends case, a 'roo that would have bounced off her previous vehicle made her new Pajero undriveable, in fact nearly causing a major accident as the bar pivoted back and took out both front tyres at 100kph. It required roadside recovery, $11K of repairs and left her having to find an alternative vehicle for several weeks.

The ability to fix electronics is an interesting point. Traditional electronic are relatively easy to fix but custom chips and so forth become much harder. I think you are largely correct in suggesting that the entire system will be replaced with open source systems, though that is subject to the normal (and much ignored!) laws about vehicle modification. The other issue is cost of batteries. I read that the anticipated life is "about 5 years on average" and the cost of replacement is around $5K. Both of those numbers are Google suggestions, I have no idea how accurate they might be. However the point is that $5K of batteries in a 5 year old car is OK if you plan for it, but in a 10 year old car it's a far greater portion of the cars total value.

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Re: Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by mikedufty » Sat, 20 Apr 2019, 11:11

Batteries could be a problem. Very hard to know how much though, as we won't find out how well they last until they have been around for longer. The early Leafs and i-MiEVs have only been around for 8 years, but have had considerable problems. The promise is that the batteries in newer cars will last better. Tesla's seem to be doing well. I don't think any have claimed a battery life less than 8 years. I don't think you will find an unsubsidised replacement under $10,000 either. If the batteries generally have a good life though, it is likely faults can be fixed without replacing the entire thing. Tesla are moving towards smaller modules as the replaceable items. Individual cells might end up being replaceable in cars with larger cells than the Tesla. Certainly when I sold my i-Miev a number of potential buyers were put off when they discovered a replacement battery would cost as much as the entire car was worth ($13,000). Plenty of people have been replacing i-Miev batteries, but I think it is only viable due to lack of alternative EVs at that price range. After market cheaper upgrade batteries may become a thing as EVs get more popular though.

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Re: Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by bladecar » Sun, 21 Apr 2019, 06:14

I'm all for EV's but just noting that our 6 year old Elantra manual goes down to somewhere like 5.4 l/100 at highway speeds (not sure about A/C use after all this time and up to high 9's around town.

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Re: Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by HuffnPuff » Sun, 21 Apr 2019, 07:27

At this point in time I’d imagine electric cars are really a ‘city’ thing. Short drives, plenty of charging infrastructure etc. the more battery vehicles out there the more infrastructure will get built.

The big energy companies know thugs are changing and will work towards supplying what the market demands. Of course, in the meantime they’ll whine and complain and try to get government subsidies to pay out as little as possible to provide any infrastructure.

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Re: Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by bladecar » Sun, 21 Apr 2019, 07:43

Warb wrote:
Fri, 19 Apr 2019, 05:56
dgh853 wrote:
Thu, 18 Apr 2019, 14:16
The cars available today - Hyundai Kona, Tesla Model S/X/3 are all capable of meeting the needs of much more than 50% of the car driving population in Australia now. The only question to my mind is upfront cost - how low does it have to be for the majority of people to get onboard. We've seen with solar where around 25% of all homes have taken it on and payback periods are 5 years. EV payback periods are around 10-15 years. So a little way to go before we're selling 200,000 a year like we are with solar PV. Hopefully people also appreciate the crap they're pumping out of their petrol cars and move a little faster for the sake of everyone's health.
Thank you for your reply, it was very useful. What you have said is pretty much exactly what my wife and I have discussed, my concern has been that what we have been seeing in the media has not covered any of it. It seems obvious that we need to change the grid to support the use of EV's (especially outside major cities) and allow multiple fast charging systems, but this has not been mentioned in the coverage I have seen. The political announcements also seem to push EV's with no apparent thought to the underlying infrastructure. Given the size of Australia, and the associated slow rate (and high cost) of infrastructure installation, this seems a major omission. It's nice to know that it has been considered........

Until the payback period for EV's falls below the average duration of car ownership (which is around 6 or 7 years, I believe), there is no financial incentive to buy one, as you say. The current pricing is a significant disincentive - Google suggests a top of the range "fossil" Kona is $36K, whilst the base electric version is $55K.

In rural areas there are other deterrents including range and charger availability, lack of 'roo bars and lights, and possibly most importantly lack of "fixability". I can fix most things on an old Land Rover by the side of the road, at home I can rebuild it from the floor up. My wife can have her current car serviced in town without leaving her desk - the mechanic comes and picks it up! But an electric vehicle? If it goes wrong it's a recovery truck trip to the nearest trained dealer, possibly >100km, probably >250km. Admittedly this (and the lack of 'roo bars) is more apparent with every generation of car (even the latest 4WD utes are not really very good as farm "work" vehicles). The knowledge and skills will filter out to rural areas, but will take time to do so. I'm not sure the necessary "ruggedness" will ever arrive (too small a market), but I'll keep hoping!
As an aside, I continue to think that at this stage an EV should be the 2nd car in a two-car unit, ideally. And it should be the 2nd car. People here often say that in this 2-car setup, it's the EV that is preferred by the residents. This is usually city environment.

I have never hit wildlife while driving though I have passed a herd of cows aside the road at late dusk while traveling at high speed on my motorcycle when I was 17 (we know plenty who never made it through that period). I reckon EV usage can often be done when wildlife are less active, and where you are trying a little harder to take account of them, though you will know far better than I what the risk is.

When my imiev was being assessed as to what the cause of the indicated fault was, they asked me if my car had been fast-charged. I told them no, but that it may have been by the previous owner. I would always choose slow charging over fast charging as my limited knowledge tells me that batteries far prefer that treatment. I wonder if it would have muddied the waters if I had told them that I always fast-charged the car.

Economic sense is very important but, for me, if I ever hear the comment "I've done the sums and it doesn't add up", I know there are sums that they are not including, and think are not important, at least not while they are alive. Their children are fast beginning to think otherwise.

There really is no maintenance on these EV's (exception - the critical place of the 12V battery is a total fail, in my view, and a wonderful opportunity for the makers of 12V batteries to shorten the life of these batteries and control the price - convinced this is happening now - choose a high quality battery ((choose your manufacturer)) and be prepared to trickle charge the 12V as required, until you have usually a major fault and the hope is that, like a new TV, you will ignore that scenario and say to yourself that the fault will happen quite quickly, or not for a long time. In the meantime, check the tyres and the washer water, and ignore everything else :) The drive-battery life is still quite unknown in this early stage of each EV model's run so maybe a small delay while checking on reports from the most users of a particular vehicle are all that can be done. Then take the plunge.

Finally, I think that big business will do us over in a general sense. Motorcycles are very reliable, but when a rectifier does its arse, it's usually over $600 to replace it. The battery-balancer thing (forget its name) cost me $1000 dollars. A 6 year old car. Aside from tyres, I think that would be the major cost for this car. So they'll get their money because THERE IS NO COMPETITION IN THIS NEW WORLD OF COMPETITION POLICY. Electronically locking their own spare parts to the car so that only their spare part can be used is anti-competitive and I'm sure there's a law about that but no means of enforcing it. The only good thing is that, as time goes by, the manufacturer will be better qualified to determine the problem for the ordinary driver, but not guaranteed to find that problem, just as it is today. I only hope there is no charge as you see today where they say 'There is an $80 fee if we have to use electronic fault finding' as I've seen in the past at the usual dealer location for petrol cars. Any means to do you out of your cash. There, surely I've said enough.

Edit "used" to "use" and rearranged three sentences

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Re: Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by Warb » Sun, 21 Apr 2019, 14:58

bladecar wrote:
Sun, 21 Apr 2019, 06:14
I'm all for EV's but just noting that our 6 year old Elantra manual goes down to somewhere like 5.4 l/100 at highway speeds (not sure about A/C use after all this time and up to high 9's around town.
That's the exact opposite of my experience - at 50kph my Ranger (and previous Hilux, wife's Prado etc.) will use around 5l/100km, but that increases dramatically as speed increases. It was the discrepancy between the official quoted figure and what we were actually achieving that made me investigate the standard "test", at which point I discovered that the test was almost entirely at town speeds, with only a small percentage being at >80kph......

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Re: Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by Warb » Sun, 21 Apr 2019, 15:25

bladecar wrote:
Sun, 21 Apr 2019, 07:43
I have never hit wildlife while driving though I have passed a herd of cows aside the road at late dusk while traveling at high speed on my motorcycle when I was 17 (we know plenty who never made it through that period). I reckon EV usage can often be done when wildlife are less active, and where you are trying a little harder to take account of them, though you will know far better than I what the risk is.
Unfortunately at this time of year there is no avoidance of dusk and nighttime driving for those returning from work, and the period of a couple of hours either side of dusk/dawn are the peak times for animals to be on the road as they move from daytime haunts to their feeding grounds. It's often said that you never see the animal that you hit, and that's frequently true because the ones you hit come out of nowhere (behind trees etc.). Sometimes they are hidden quite some distance from the road in the scrub, but panic and run the wrong way as a car approaches such that they appear from nowhere in full flight. Normally if you see a beasty you can avoid it (hence big lights!), though unfortunately many people who attempt this end up hitting a tree instead. That's part of the reason for 'roo bars - if you can't COMPLETELY SAFELY avoid the animal it's better to hit it straight on than to end up off the road or in the path of an oncoming vehicle.

I try to avoid driving at night (as a farmer I don't have to go to town every day, unlike my wife who does), but sometimes it's unavoidable. On two occasions in the last couple of years I have come very close to hitting a large animal at speed. Once was a fallow deer buck that came out of a roadside ditch filled with long grass, it _just_ got across in front of me but the long grass it was trailing from its antlers actually passed over the bonnet of my Hilux so I must have missed it by a matter of cm's - in the "life flashing before my eyes" milliseconds it took to happen I had actually resigned myself to hitting it. The second time (and this kind of thing happens quite frequently) a kangaroo obviously panicked on the other side of the road as I approached from one direction and another vehicle approached from the other. The other vehicle hit it, I got sprayed with gore. The other vehicle was an old Land Cruiser ute and was able to drive home undamaged, though the driver was quite shaken. The biggest thing I have hit recently was a fox, which did no damage to the Ranger. My wife has dents in the side of her vehicle where a 'roo ran in to her!

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Re: Newbie question about practicalities of charging and range

Post by Warb » Sun, 21 Apr 2019, 15:41

mikedufty wrote:
Sat, 20 Apr 2019, 11:11
Batteries could be a problem. Very hard to know how much though, as we won't find out how well they last until they have been around for longer. ............. After market cheaper upgrade batteries may become a thing as EVs get more popular though.
I fail to understand why we have not simply standardized battery systems and made them replaceable. In fact that's not true, I entirely understand it (profit!). However it seemed to me, right from the outset, that a replaceable (leased) battery would be the sensible approach. The EV owner would pay a monthly fee to lease a battery, and then simply drive in to a service station and have it replaced rather than recharged, much the same way that LPG bottles are used. The service station would them slow (or fast) charge it ready for the next driver. I read that this is "not feasible" due to "engineering issues", but honestly that seems to be nonsense. The issue is that someone other than the EV purchaser would have to pay the upfront cost for the batteries, and the car manufacturers would have to come up with a standard fitment that all brands would use, which of course they don't want to do (profit!). From an engineering viewpoint this does not seem too hard, and the vehicles insurance would cover loss of the battery in the case of accident etc. But like most eco products we're not really making EV's to save the planet are we? We're doing it to make a buck!

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