The Magic of an EV by Russell Peel

Traralgon EV charging station

Since there are now charging points for Electric Vehicles (EVs) in Traralgon, Sale, Bairnsdale, Metung and Marlo (for Telsa EVs anyway), you might think they have arrived.  In fact we are still in a very early stage which relies on early adopters who are willing to perhaps be at the bleeding edge.  And EVs are in no way all alike, they cover the full spectrum from mundane and practical to exciting/exotic/ultra-expensive, so whether or not to consider an EV depends on what you are trying to achieve.

If you have the means, and don’t mind taking a risk with your money, the currently available Tesla S is a new type of transport.  They are so unlike a regular fossil fuelled car they can’t be directly compared.  They are smoother, quieter, much simpler to drive, much simpler to make, much simpler to maintain, and just fun because of the instantaneous thrust of an electric motor.  You can’t sense how different without actually driving one, it feels totally different to a conventional car.

However, and unfortunately, the rest of the EV pack is less far less exciting, and although somewhat more affordable, in no way an attractive proposition compared to a conventional car, yet!

If your aim is to be environmentally responsible in the present, it is also difficult to fill your EV with renewable electrons to reduce your global warming impact.  To use your own solar energy you need to be prepared to spend thousands on a solar system at your house, plus an inverter, and unless you want to leave your car plugged in and going nowhere when the sun is shining, you also need a separate battery to time-shift the power.  And even if you purchased a 10 kWh battery for your home, it would only top up about 10% of the car’s capacity each night (50 kms of range), these cars have big batteries that take a lot of charge.

So at the present time you are still dependent on the electricity grid to charge your car, and in Victoria that means you are using brown coal generated electricity.  Even though an EV is very efficient, the overall CO2 emission is not as good as, and certainly no better than, an efficient diesel powered conventional car.  So, you aren’t going to save the environment by buying one either, yet!

What you are doing by buying an EV now is accelerating the future.  If no-one is willing to accept the financial penalty and potential inconvenience of owning an EV, then no-one is going to make EVs, and then there is no future change.  Someone needs to step up and be at the leading/bleeding edge, and it could be you!  It hurts the wallet to buy a Tesla, but from then on it is fun, fun, fun and about 500,000 people have already made that decision, that is the size of Tesla’s order book.  Yes there are other EVs around, but they are in a different ball game and difficult to find anyway as they are a dalliance of a fossil-fuelled car manufacturer who is just putting their toe in the water.