A Big EV Month.

I think it must be called the “Blog-inversely-proportional-rule”, that is, the more you have to say the less time you have to say it because there’s so damn much going on! I’ll try to summarise…

A couple of months ago I was contacted by Jeff Poole from the Queensland Conservation Council (you should see his really cool sustainable home) about being one of the 30 participants nation-wide to go and see their local member about climate change policy for the Bigswitch campaign. Anyhow, enough about politics :-) the upshot was I got my ugly mug on page 1259 of the local rag buried amongst some car yard ads, I think. It did get better though because the Courier Mail were contacted and they did a much better job and apparently Jack and I got some reasonable real-estate in today’s hard-copy edition. The online version is here.

Courier Mail

Also a couple of months ago I was contacted by a very nice chap from WA (well, he writes nice emails) by the name of Ian Hooper from ZEVA (Zero Emission Vehicles Australia), how cool is that name. Ian is an Mechatronic Engineer (more coolness!) and is in the middle of his own electric vehicle conversion and in an effort to help promote EV’s he is venturing into the world of being an Australian EV parts supplier.

Ian kindly sent me a couple of battery pack dashboard gauges to try out. Now KISS has always been a philosophy of mine so I’ve never had any such gizmatronics fitted in the past but I have to say now that I’ve got them, I love them! It’s well worth a visit to Ian’s ZEVA website, a very professional effort.

Ok, so then I started getting excited about lithium batteries again, I can’t remember what triggered this, but I think that’s a side-effect of most addictions. :-) I’ve decided that if I’m to even think about those A123 Nano Phosphate super-cells then I have to get a little more serious about testing out just how good they are and how would I put together and manage 1600 of those little cells. So I finally signed up to THE EV live knowledge base – The Electric Vehicle Discussion List and got some of the answers I wanted but many I didn’t. It appears that not too may folks have built battery packs from these cells so I’m going to try and document my cautious journey in the hope that it may help others.

Then amongst all this, Toyota decide to start testing the electrified water with a trial Plug-in Prius (great video). This may turn out to be the biggest automotive news ever, then again, it might not…

PHEV Prius

10 Responses to “A Big EV Month.”

  1. john pietila Says:

    For the momet I have dropped the idea of buyind a hybrid vehicle as I am not able to save enoogh petrol per year to justify the extra expense. At the same time, I am aware of a UK website who do ‘plug in ‘ conversion kits for the Prius and get towards 90 km range!

  2. john pietila Says:

    I forgot to mention they are called ‘ambertech’.
    John P

  3. shaun Says:

    Hi John,

    I think that might be Amberjac?

    Do you get a price and availability from them?

    Remember, environmental costs are NOW economic costs.

  4. john pietila Says:

    Yes, I think it is Amberjac and they suggest some UK 9000 pounds, a bit excy
    John P

  5. PaulM Says:

    Hi Shaun,

    A great EV! Just wondering why you didn’t use an AC motor (regen

    braking etc..)?


  6. shaun Says:

    Hi Paul,

    That’s easy, cost!

    For us backyarders AC is nearly double the price of DC…

  7. Stan Beer Says:

    Hi Shaun,

    As a long time passive supporter of moving our world toward sustainable energy systems, including EVs, I was so happy to finally find your fantastic blog and to read about your EV conversion here in Australia.

    That said, I wonder if you can clear up a few things for me.

    1) I can’t seem to find any up to date performance and efficiency specs on your site. Are you able to tell me what range you’re currently getting from the new batteries? Also what cost per kilometre since you’ve upgraded? What on-road performance (acceleration, top speed etc.) are you achieving?

    2) Like yourself and presumably most of the visitors to this site, I avidly grasp onto every bit of news I can find about commercially produced EVs. The problem is that they always seem to be two, three or 10 years away. I’m sick of reading about “concept cars”.
    None of the major manufacturers seem to have the will to bring what we want to market. And as for the new players….the Tesla Roadster looks great but seems to be a rich person’s toy of which a few hundred will be produced for Californian consumers; Phoenix looks promising but I fear it will be a long time before we see it in Australia; ditto for Ebox (and it’s way too expensive).
    As for hybrids, unless they’re plug-ins that allow a full day of commuting on electric power, they’re still just wasteful petrol guzzlers with slightly better mileage in my opinion.
    Given all of the above, wouldn’t it make both economic and environmentally responsible sense to encourage consumers to buy the sort of vehicle that you’ve produced? Most people don’t have the skills or time to do their own conversion, but why aren’t we hearing news about companies who’ll do it for them or who will sell pre-converted used cars?

    3)Finally, is there any reason why you have set up your site as a dot com rather than a dot org?

    Forgive the longish post – I have lot to get off my chest on this subject.

  8. shaun Says:

    Hi Stan,

    If it’s coming off your chest then I’m honoured you’ve done it here!

    1) Yes I have have to admit the base site does need a lot of updating, but I find site-maintenance a chore worse than doing the blinkin’ ironing…

    Range = 25km in the real world (stop lights, hills, grannies, pedestrian crossings, hills, intersections, hills etc…)

    Cost per km = unknown until these batteries die and need replacing.

    Acceleration = very peppy but not quite as good as the ICE but it is carrying 300kg of extra battery weight!

    Top speed = 120km/h + i.e. a non-issue, even if you live in the NT.

    2) Yes, I’m not sure if there is a name for it but it’s something like the just-out-of-reach syndrome. I once read somewhere that if big auto talk 5 years plus then it ain’t gunna happen, 3 years – unlikely, 2 years or less possibly.

    That’s why GM are confusing me with the Volt, I’m sure it’ll turn out to be “the-green-vehicle-that-runs-on-press-releases” and there is no doubting the project was a counter-spin reaction to the bad press of WKTEC and the engineering is unimpressive BUT they have a timeline that gives them credibility.

    To keep sane in this mad unsustainable world I keep reminding myself that it’s not about conspiracy theories but it IS about vested interests, market forces ain’t gunna make it happen very quickly, because big changes mean big risks to profits. We either need the policy makers to step in (as in CARB last decade, back-flipping gooses) or for some very aggressive and disruptive business manoeuvres from the (independent) battery companies.

    I honestly believe that when push comes to shove the small business converter would have a very difficult time pleasing the modern consumer because they simply can’t get there hands on the appropriate battery technology cheaply enough.

    IMHO it will be the battery companies that change the automotive industry, not the incumbents.

    3) To make it easier to remember, but then I went and blew it with the dash. Actually I wanted .com.au but I don’t have a registered business.

    Ditto with the chest thing. :-)

  9. Aidan Webb Says:

    AC motors are more efficient than DC motors and requires less maintennance :

  10. Noah Martin Says:

    the best thing about AC motors is that they require less maintanennance,;’