CHOICE membership

Electric and Alternative Vehicle Fuels


Usage patterns is only one criterion, there are more such as…

One needs look at distances in conjunction with battery charging cycle times (both total trip lengths between recharges and frequency of recharges). The opportunity for (as some destinations may not have charging points) and speed of recharging is possibly the last criterion.

There has been also talk of a car/vehicle sharing future, which if eventuates, is another complication as vehicle use/distance per day could increase substantially for each vehicle on the road.


In times of change, I find history often offers useful guidance. When petroleum-fueled vehicles were being advocated, one of the objections was that fuel was not universally available. The market solved that. I doubt electric vehicles will present insurmountable problems.


The video of the Tesla semis is disappointing. Maybe they should add sound effects.

As to Morrison’s assertions about tradies’ utes:


Now you will be able to have both your EV and SUV in one.


It’s easy to appreciate the sentiment, and it is worth challenging all preconceptions.

There is a reminder of how many Australians live in city urban environments?

The recent Sydney Melbourne population stats had both boasting 5M each. Total of 10millions might be about 40% of all of Australia. We all know how urban most of us are.

While exceptions challenge the suitability of a current technology battery EV in particular circumstances, should the exceptions be the basis of an argument for not changing or failing to plan for the change?

It pays to be open minded to the alternatives.

Electric drives may already be locked in as part of the solution. Electric drives have massive torque at low speeds, which would put any 4WD diesel in the shadows. And all without the need for complex multi range gear boxes or drivelines.

The types of vehicles used by tradies and off road are typically large with plenty of spare space and capacity for extra large battery packs. Or hydrogen storage and a fuel cell. If only hydrogen storage bottles looked like a jerry can? Perhaps the rack of tubular H2 bottles on the back of your 4WD will be the new tough off roader look?:roll_eyes:

P.s. and no need for the rattling Honda generator. Just plug your outdoor swag and aircon to the vehicle for all night comfort under the stars.:wink:


New Hyundai Kona EV SUV has 449 km range.


I’d suggest it’s not a reason for society not to change, simply for those who would not change due to personal unsuitability to still be allowed the personal choice of other options (eg ICE motors) without being penalised (financially or otherwise).

I’d personally love an electric car, once second hand cost long range ones come available. For me a good range is 500-600kms, to allow for a return Sydney day trip.


I share the sentiment about the upfront purchase price of a new EV when you consider current options. The conundrum with a current design second hand EV may be it’s value is likely determined from the expired life of the battery.

The point I was hoping to make was that there might be a great many of us who could comfortably make do with a lower range EV. Which implies a significantly cheaper vehicle, and better affordability.

The current crop including the Kona and Leaf etc have more than twice the range we would need on the occasional longer day trip.

Not that many years past we used to do the Saturday morning shop. 560km round trip in a Falcon Wagon. There will be many still with a regular weekly need to do these longer journeys. The current crop of EV’s are not quite there yet. Although arguably there was an hour or two with the vehicle sitting in the car park where it would have been able to charge.

The final challenge of charging stations might not be so complex either. Providing the current service station monopoly does not prevail in having friendly legislation hand them control of the charging stations nationally. What odds Maccas will be the first fast food chain to offer free charging alongside free wifi and a Big Mac?

I don’t believe it is possible to make an argument based on current options, that an EV is an economically viable alternative to an ICE vehicle for most of us. That is unless you are in the market for a luxury vehicle and feel the need to lead rather than follow? The upfront cost needs to come down as you noted. And preferably not the cost of the ICE alternative increase.

A simple observation is many households have two vehicles. It would appear a simple step where one of these could be the everyday EV. There might still be an ICE alternate second vehicle for those special occasions. Although as this topic has canvassed there are a number of alternate fuel sources to choose from that can replace the traditional ICE crude oil tango. :cry:v

Noted, although we once had a choice to use lead based paints on our houses or to move on. It took an outright ban to complete the change.
Biofuel and onboard carbon capture is also an option?


More scope for greater range with hydrogen is still in the mix. And there may be some deep pockets prepared to support wider use of the fuel?

The high note:
BP, Caltex, Woodside and Hyundai are just a few of the blue chips who can see there’s money to be made out of hydrogen.

Why might they have an interest?
Alternatively, hydrogen could be extracted from fossil fuels such as methane or brown coal using carbon capture and storage, a process that is currently on trial in Victoria.

Interestingly current technology used for breaking down fossil fuels (hydrocarbons) to produce hydrogen also produces CO2 as the main byproduct. Carbon capture and storage sounds very similar to the suggestion of carbon sequestration to enable continued use of fossil fuels for power generation.

What is the economic reality of a battery electric future or efficient electrolysis of hydrogen for fuel cells or direct combustion? For companies such as BP, Woodside etc that depend on fossil fuels for their existence and the value added distribution chain, possible extinction?

If there is a continued significant shift to battery technology there will be no role of consequence for any business currently part of the fossil fuel cycle. The majority of fuel needs may likely be met between residential solar PV, charging stations at every parking space (council and private parking provided) and the electricity distributors.

The one hope for the fossil fuel companies is that the hydrogen fuel cycle for EV’s and or direct combustion can catch up and compete with battery EV’s on purchase cost, while offering greater range and flexibility. This would leave an opening for the petroleum industry to transition to being a hydrogen production, distribution and refueling service.

How would you promote hydrogen being sourced from a fossil fuel? Anything is possible. California which has made the most significant move to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles sources the majority of the hydrogen fuel required from fossil fuels.


“Queensland has celebrated the state’s first ever delivery of green hydrogen to Japan, marking a significant step forward for the state’s hydrogen industry.
Exported by JXTG, Japan’s largest petroleum conglomerate, the hydrogen was produced at QUT’s solar cell facility, located at the Queensland Government’s Redlands Research Facility.”


Right now out on the highways and byways of Australia a 50kW DC charger can “pump” enough charge into an EV in fifteen minutes to add 70 kilometres to its range; and a 120kW DC charger can add 167 km range in the fifteen minutes; and a 350kW DC charger can add 486 km range in the fifteen minutes (using consumption figure of 180wH/km).
Right now stops at service stations on journeys with an ICE in the real world take longer than fifteen minutes - have something to eat & drink, go to the toilet, look at the tourist information, stretch your legs, etc. Ditto stops at Driver Reviver stations - have a coffee, go to the toilet, stretch your legs.
At home you can choose to have an AC charger capable of adding 120km range in sixty minutes - so charging when you get home at night is good. Many motels, restaurants, shopping centre carparks, etc already have these types of AC charger. Garages typically have three phase power which means an EV carrying a portable EVSE can plug in and add 120km range in sixty minutes.
So frankly the talk of “getting stuck on the road kilometres from nowhere” is a load of horse hockey to quote Sherman T Potter.
Electricity exists west of Bourke, in the Northern Territory, etc. There are already many people who have driven “off the beaten track beatween Sydney and Melbourne” in an EV, and indeed have driven around Australia in an EV.
At the moment a Cairns to Darwin trip requires some planning; but I remember when driving from Rockhampton to Brisbane at night or weekend required similar sort of planning because most petrol service stations were not open in those hours (that was in second half of the 20th century).
There are many places that have electricity but don’t have petrol bowsers or diesel bowsers. And electricity is all that is needed when you have a portable EVSE to plug into an AC power point (role of EVSE is to comunicate with the car’s inverter/s and manage the charging safely).


An article regarding :“48 volt mild hybrid technology” vehicles.


Um! More like a formula one car KERS system? Which makes it more attractive than a Prius hybrid! :sunglasses:

Except F1 use super capacitors and only get 6-7 seconds of boost.
Might catch on, if they can only sort the styling of the cars and increase downforce. Highly useful also for changing lanes in traffic on the M1 at Logan!
Sorry, I meant parking spots. :wink:


Another article regarding producing alternative fuels.


Are we getting closer to a winner on which alternate vehicle fuel will be first to the post?

The choice of battery technology might still be a little open. However the suggestions from both Bloomberg and from McKinsey and Company are that the turning point for EV’s is a $100US per kWh battery cost. Notably they are believed to have fallen to the $160US/kWh mark in 2018?

The following article provides some more background. It also has a short straight forward summary of the competing alternate battery types that promise even more power for less weight, or cost.

This second article has a nice summary of the state of play in the US market. Vehicle options.

How to address the charging requirements of BEV’s? Range anxiety might be less of an issue when the infrastructure requirements are considered.

There is no such thing as a free lunch, and there will be no such thing as a free to run Electric Powered Vehicle. The following report includes financial considerations and background analysis of what might be associated with a future BEV Australia. Included is commentary on the factors likely to influence the rate of adoption and the costs to consumers or the community.

P.S. it might be most useful to read just the Executive Summary, unless you are short of a long read for the holidays?

Note also that the market per usage in the report may desire to redefine the product as a PEV (Plug-in Electric Vehicle). That might be one very long extension lead? :rofl:


An article regarding Australia’s deepest gold mine.

What a fantastic opportunity for battery powered trucks to solve the problem of diesel emissions.

As long as each truck could complete the 4 hour round trip on a single charge, either the vehicle could be swapped for a fully charged one for the next trip. or the battery pack could be swapped for a fully charged one.

Considering that each load contains over $22,000 of gold at today’s price, the cost of extra vehicles or battery packs should not be a problem, and would also reduce the costs of additional ventilation and cooling.


Another article regarding electric aircraft developments.

Obviously a big advance from the ones that they had in sideshow alley with the electric fan on the front.



Practical commercial electric planes (even smaller short-haul models) will depend on great advancements in battery technology. There are some signs that different technologies, not development of existing ones, may be the answer, but as always we must wait and see.

I think most of us have been under the impression that aviation would probably be one of the last bastions for oil. Some predictions are that as oil runs out flying would decay back to post-war levels where it was so expensive that it was very limited. If the author’s predictions come about then this becomes untrue and flying may even get cheaper. This would have huge implications if it went as far as international flights.

In other threads we have talked about food miles and the effect of climate change on food availability. This development could turn the transport side of that upside down. In ten years? Maybe.


Yes, it’s easy to appreciate the optimism and sentiment of the author of the ABC article.

I was also left wondering. It fired up some grey cells long dormant.

It looks a very unlikely outcome without some massive advance in battery technology. It will take time to arrive, develop and become commercialised economically. That’s even before new aircraft are developed, tested and approved to fly using the new technology. Ten years to even see the first large sized commercial test flight would seem quick for Boeing or Airbus.

The step change needed is massive. My dumb number crunching suggests:
Battery tech needs to deliver batteries that are 20-30 times more energy dense than those used in home storage or a Tesla!

In simple terms how good a battery would that be?

  • A rechargeable battery to power the average home would only need to be the size and approx weight of a 2l bottle of milk.
  • Or a fridge door with two or more that size could take an average home off grid permanently?
  • A 20l jerry can sized battery might power an electric vehicle for 500km and weigh no more?

It’s certainly alluring?

It just seems too good to be true given the current level and rate of improvement. We might look forward to such good batteries in the next five years, starting at less than half the cost of today’s best!

The suggestion in the referenced ABC article:
Before 2030, small-to-medium 150-seat planes could be flying up to 500 kilometres.

A QantasLink Dash 8 Q400 would need a battery pack based on current Lithium chemistry that weighs between 75-150 tonnes (15MWh). Note a Q400 only weighs 30.5 tonnes maximum take off weight. It holds just over 5t of fuel.

True you could use a smaller battery and loose range while saving weight. There is then the need to maximise the rate of recharge, while having a battery capacity with enough reserve to abort due to fog and fly all the way back from Newcastle to Brisbane where you took off from?


We already have the technology, it seems - and some of it is Australian.

Nine passengers and 1000 kilometre range - while costing 60-80% less to run. Next, the electric intercontinental jumbo. OK, we might have to work up to that. :wink:

For our next trick: the million-mile battery:

The economics just keep getting better.


True, in real terms today it is also cheaper to put 1kg of satellite into earth orbit than the 1960’s? However I still can’t afford to go on a space flight!

Still room for improvement?

When the Tesla model S retails new in Australia for under $50,000 AUD it will indeed compete with a petrol powered car for our needs. Hope there is a Tesla Ute coming too?

The current crop of smaller EV’s are all around $60,000 and up but with much lower range than Tesla’s promise! That appears to be at least a $30,000 premium on a petrol vehicle of similar specification.