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Electric Vehicles in Oz

 

In 2006 Sony Pictures Classics released a documentary film called Who Killed the Electric Car? The film suggested that since the average driving distance of Americans in a day is 30 miles or less and so for 90% of Americans, electric cars would work as a daily commute car or second car.

This was deduced by the fact that General Motors first electric vehicle [EV] release, the EV1, was equipped with a lead acid battery that had a range of 60 miles/96.57Km.

Twenty years later, not only is the electric car not dead – it’s been resurrected with a vengeance. Tesla’s Model S boasts a battery range of 315 miles/506.9Km and the 2017 Chevrolet release, the Bolt EV, is promoting a range of 238 miles/383Km per charge.

Referred to as the “iPhone of the car world” and released in 2014, the BMW i3 can travel up to 276 miles/444Km. That distance is improved on the premium EV’s base of 195 miles/313.8Km with the addition of an optional range extender. It’s mated to a petrol engine, which is used to create additional power for the battery and not to drive the car.

If you’re ready to trade-in your current gas guzzler for something more eco-friendly, you’ll need to have a decent amount of cash on hand.

The Chevrolet Bolt is set to launch at just under AU$39,357.47* This car is actually an Australian designed vehicle and is being solicited as the “most advanced model in the General Motors stable. Unfortunately for us, it is unlikely to become available in Australia.

That’s just about AU$6,559.89 less than what the BMWi3 retails for. If you’re still in the spending mood, bust out your black American Express card to purchase Telsa’s Model S for a meager AU$100,00.

The dozen or so EVs available in Australia average around $AU$44,707, with the Chevrolet Spark being the most affordable at $AU27,000.

That’s a fairly average price to pay, especially when you consider the annual savings from not purchasing petrol every week or two.

From our calculations, based on the Nissan Leaf, there is an annual saving on fuel costs of close to $400. You can cost up your own personal situation using the calculator in the myelectriccar.com.au site.

Another way to improve your saving is by using one of the free charging stations located all over Australia, including Tasmania.

Electric Vehicle charging stations across Australia

With the advent of battery storage unit, your home or business’ solar system could power up your EV for no cost to your electricity provider [along with powering most of your other appliances, lights and electrical needs].

Yes, it’s a lot of information to process and it’s more than just buying a “new car”.

It’s a change and a shift in the way that you live, how you think and how you’ll view the world around you.

 

*Conversation to Australian dollar based on 1 USD = 1.320 AUS

 

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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.
 

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