Transportation is much wider than just road vehicles. It includes air, ocean, trucks, personal vehicles such as cars, motorcycles, bicycles scooter, golf carts and mobility scooters. Most of these are powered by fossil fuels burnt in an internal combustion engine (ICE). These are major contributor to the worlds green house gas emissions and contribute to the Global warming trend and climate change.

Internationally, there are news reports covering the commissioning or building of zero emissions vehicular ferries and coastal steamers, short haul route aircraft and heavy road transport vehicles. In Australia, there are various businesses that make BEV trucks and Buses. These are all being powered by either Batteries or hydrogen fuel cells. Railways have been electrified in various parts of the nation and world for many decades. This network needs to expand so all diesel engines are removed from the tracks.

GADSA welcomes the moves in the broader Transportation arena but is most concerned with personal transport.

In Australia, changes to the vehicles on our roads can be anticipated. Many vehicle manufacturers have announced they will cease the manufacture of ICE vehicles by various dates from 2025 to 2045. This is propelled by the tight vehicle emissions in Europe. Australia has comparable weak emissions requirement for vehicles despite vehicle emissions causing 1,700 premature deaths and hundreds of thousands of hospital admissions annually caused by respiratory and coronary disease. Australia’s inefficient engines add significantly to the drivers and the nations fuel costs.

There are a range of fuel efficient and zero emission vehicles currently in and proposed for release in Australia. The emissions of all vehicles is available from the Green Vehicle Guide.

Electric Vehicles

Electric Vehicles are powered entirely by battery stored electricity. This technology is rapidly changing at the moment. Batteries are improving, are now very safe, and their cost is falling dramatically. Manufactures warrant the battery for around 8 to 10 years. Replacement battery costs are falling but are now about $0.50/Wh installed.

Most Electric Vehicles get charged at home, often using the rooftop solar, making this energy virtually free. On longer road trips, Fast charging facilites exist along major highways from Adelaide to Cairns. Governments, Organizations and private investors are all investing in these facilities in anticipation of the nation going electric. The network will bet better over time. However, it is also useful to know that any power point will charge an Electric Vehicle, it just takes a lot longer than a fast charger. Plugshare is one app that shows EV charging points around the Nation and the World.

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) have been in service for several years. These have a dual energy system, petrol and electric. The power for the electric is sourced from the momentum of the car when the brake is depressed or the throttle is not depressed. The petrol motor can also charge the battery. The two energy systems are synchronized to give the best emissions result. However, these vehicles cannot by charged by external sources. These vehicles make use of the kinetic energy to recover energy already burnt in the petrol motor to charge their battery. This energy is also used to propel the car, making HEV more fuel efficient than normal ICV, reducing emissions.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) are similar to the HEV but they can be plugged into the electricity grid to have the battery charged. These have an electric only range of 20 to 45 k. However, with the petrol engine as well, the range of these are extended to over 650 k. When these vehicles are charged using RE, they are even more fuel efficient, reducing emissions further.

PHEV pluged in at a home charging 15 amp Plug.
PHEV being charged at home off the solar system

Electric vehicles (EV) rely entirely on battery power to propel the vehicle. Batteries are charged using the grid or from specialized solar powered charging stations. Their emissions are zero when using solar power. Their range will depend on their battery size and other factors including driving behaviour. Many lower cost EV have range of around 200km. There are other models with larger batteries with ranges up to 750 km.

EVs in Australia have had a relative high price and often, short travel range (60 k) making them relatively unattractive given the distances often traveled here. However, Tesla cars had a range of 250k (expensive models u to 600+km) and a comparably higher price that is reducing as the build and battery costs decline. Over time, fast charging stations have spread along the main highways and Governments are encouraging this. Also, a number of manufacturers are planning on the release of EVs with longer ranges of 250 k and greater. Some of these models are reported to be more competitively priced and should start to impact on car sales in Australia.

Tesla being charged at Nelson Reserve.
Tesla being charged at Nelson Reserve 2019.
A Nissan Leaf displayed at an Expo
Nissan Leaf displayed at an Expo 2021

Personal Transport

Personal transport is also being electrified: Bicycles, Scooters, Skateboards, Motorcycles, all now come with electric options. As personal transports they are effective and low cost options enabling a lot of people to travel over significant distances easily.

An electric Motorcycle
Electric motorcycle
A Lime for hire E-bike
Lime hire E-bike

Conversion Of ICE to BEV

Many folks have older vehicles they love to drive and wish to maintain. However, these vehicles can be converted to BEV with kits available from various outlets. This ensures the favourite vehicle looks are kept but make it a zero emissions model. AEVA has a good page on this topic.

Great Links

These websites have a lot of information and news about EV developments world wide. The Driven, The Electric Vehicle Council, AEVA has a lot of info on the Australian EV situation.