Electric and Alternative Vehicle Fuels

Yes, there are bigger problems to solve.
I have read that the hydrogen fuel cells produce ‘heated’ water. How wonderful. Sitting in a driverless car sipping your own home made tea as the miles whisk by.

A better battery with cheap readily obtained materials is possibly all the step change needed. I’d still settle for a club car (multi use) and battery assisted bike.
For those long trips - just hook up the hydrogen fuel cell trailer? Or order a Holiday-Uber. Wonder if they have trade marked that option?



I can easily substantiate the comments I have made, and so can others if one does thorough research rather than looking for articles/websites which supports one own views.

If one does a simple search, articles like these can be found.


Universities which have mine engineering and environmental science degrees also have libraries which contain mining industry journals which also makes interesting reading. Librarians will be able to assist one in finding relevant articles in these journals.

Also, when say a ‘reference’ makes comments such as…

'The primary sources of lithium are from the Atacama Desert in Chile, and the Uyuni salt flat in Bolivia. These are two of the deadest places on Earth. It’s not exactly that nothing lives there, but’

where both statements are factually incorrect, the validity of all other information can be questioned.

Having spent 10 days in the Atacama desert last year, it is far from being a place where nothing much lives (deadest place on earth)…even in those areas where there has bern virtually no rainfall for 80 years. Here is an example of the place where nothing lives:



When one provides references, one heeds to ensure they are factually coreect and can be relied in. If not, they have as much value as the sands in the desert.


If the journalist did not misrepresent the situation clarification wouldn’t be required. But rather than enter the bog lets leave it.

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Your evasiveness does you no credit. Substantiation is your responsibility, not mine. You do the search. You nominate the source.

Be careful though, anti-EV “studies” typically have denialist links. They’re easy to debunk.

For a real-world audience, the journalist’s language is accurate enough. Clarification isn’t required. If it really bothers you, when he says electricity, just think energy.

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A relevant series:


I live in a region of coal mines and power stations. That’s probably why any suggestion that coal power does less harm that renewables disgusts me.

Limiting discussion to batteries and fuel cells, the question comes down to cost versus benefit. Environmental harm is a substantial component of cost.

Any production process has some extractive industry component. So what are they made from and what are the impacts of mining/refining/transporting materials?

Nothing lasts forever, so what is the comparative service life? Tesla’s projected battery life is 5 years or 100,000 miles. The fuel cell in Toyota’s Mirai is warrantied at 100,000 miles. Both degrade over time, whether in service or not.

Clearly, we can’t just dig stuff up, use it once, then throw it in a hole, so what is the impact of recycling? Of course, before that becomes a real question, we’ll need to get our recycling act into gear.

Next is full-cycle efficiency. As mentioned above, batteries are typically 80% efficient. The figure for fuel cells is around 30%. Power from renewable sources might be close to free, but needing to build more than twice as much capacity is going to have impacts.

This is just off the top of my head. I haven’t answered every question. I haven’t asked every question.


Have you ever read the cost/benefit analysis of the proposal for a coal mine or gas field? You have never seen so much self-serving claptrap, cherry picking and obfuscation.

If anybody has wondered where the phrase “privatise your profits and socialise your losses” came from look no further. It is a sad reflection on our State governments of all political colours (who hold nearly all decision making power on extractive industry proposals) that such nonsense has been waved through for years.


Totalitarian capitalism tends to value the environment solely for its potential to externalise costs. As a free sewer or dump, for example. Both major parties are captives of business interests.

That’s why I specifically mentioned environmental harm. If we don’t care for our environment, it will bite us - hard.

My favourite is a planned additional coal loader for Newcastle port. The plans showed the new loader several metres higher than existing ones. When questioned, the answer came back: “sea-level rise”. Where’s the face-palm emoji?


New breakthroughs in energy storage. Of course we’ll have to wait to see if it is economically viable.


Just so the antis have something to chew on:

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Really? :slight_smile: maybe he’s just trying to close the rear hatch … they can be troublesome at times I guess …



Interesting point. Everything breaks down occasionally. The more moving parts, the shorter the time between occasions. :grinning:

Then again, maybe that was just the easiest way to move a vehicle that had yet to be charged up. :smirk:

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… or maybe they don’t stockpile them with batteries in or batteries connected … or maybe the equivalent of push starting a battery car is charging it via the regen !! hard work …


Continuing the theme:

They’re such easy cars to drive and nothing seems to fall to bits.


Electric vehicles have fewer than ICE, hopefully this is reflected in their reliability. I suppose the industry could always add more bells and whistles to compensate.

“Oh no, the robot drink lifter poured coffee into my nose again! Why are these electric cars so unreliable?”

Or they sell some “batteries not included”. :grinning:

Maybe this is the issue, one expects electric vehicles to have a very high reliability, and when one doesn’t, it becomes a good news story.

But like anything electronic/electronic, all it takes is for a 10c diode, capacitor, wiring harness etc to fail, and it could be all systems down.


“Sylvia , 70, completes round-Australia trip in an EV for …. $150.90”

Great story!
For balance what might have been more useful to know is the actual power drawn from the grid etc used for recharging the vehicle. At 5 km/kWh and more than 20,000 km you would expect around 4,000 kWh or at our local rate of $0.28 per kWh and $1.00 per day service cost the true cost would be over $1,000. Still great compared to petrol.

What perhaps needs to be better explained is that in this instance most of the recharge came from sources that were not charged directly to Silvia for the power. The free EV street charges were paid for by us the tax payer. Good for Silvia that most of us in someway sponsored the trip. That it was done at all is remarkable.

The other item that needs explanation if it is not obvious, is that all of us who pay for fuel for a vehicle, including my lawn mower and tractor, also pay for our highways through fuel taxes. Silvia and all other EV owners benefit from this. Of course this is not sustainable into the future. EV’s impact the roads the same as every other vehicle.

So the headline which makes a point of the low cost misrepresents the facts. It ignores the true cost to the community of the journey. It neglects to headline the extreme value of the sponsorship provided by the community to the journey. Politely this should have been acknowledged second or in third place. Silvia’s intrepid spirit is first in my mind. The endurance of the EV recognising the total distance travelled is a distant second. The unqualified sponsorship of the rest of us in subsidising the cost of the energy and free road use should be third.

The cash cost quoted for the electricity used is not significant. To focus on it may suggest that the saving is more a fraud than a reality and would detract from the remarkable achievement of Silvia and the Tesla. Noted this has prominence in the headline.


The Tesla vehicle is made from aluminium, which requires large amounts of power to refine from alumina, which is derived from bauxite. It will be recycled with a lot less energy, just like a drink can. The main advantage is its zero emissions at the tail pipe , compared to ICE and the existing power network.


Aluminium is a great engineering material if you need to save weight as per aircraft.
For the Tesla this also helps to save weight, which is necessary given the added weight from the battery pack. Unfortunately aluminium has a higher carbon footprint than steel so the Tesla needs to offset both this extra carbon and that of the battery manufacture. Perhaps Elon Musk could have used carbon fibre composite to reduce weight further and claim some carbon credits.

We can recycle both steel and aluminium. Not sure re carbon fibre panels?

The zero tailpipe emissions from the Tesla or any EV are indeed great.
Logically you need to recharge from a renewable such as solar PV.

Charging any EV from the grid, at least in most states in Australia may not be that green. Up to 90% of the electricity in the eastern states come from carbon fuels. Using electricity from the grid may be cheaper than purchasing petrol. It is not necessarily any better environmentally than driving a lighter weight high efficiency petrol ICE powered vehicle.

(Petrol 2.3kg CO2 per litre vs Grid mainly coal generation 0.8kg - 1.1kg CO2 per kWh at source, excluding transmission loss and charging losses)
Note: the grid generation carbon figure is actually a blend of coal, gas, hydro and renewables/storage.