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Shots fired in EV race

Russian gun manufacturer Kalashnikov have thrown their hat into the electric vehicle race, taking aim at American sector-leader Tesla.

The new CV-1 concept’s retro lines are inspired by the Soviet IZh 2125 Kombi – a rugged hatchback launched in the 1970s that became popular for its durability and versatility.

 

On paper, Tesla have little to fear from the Russian’s self-described ‘electric supercar’. With a range of 350kms and 0-100kmh time in excess of six seconds, Kalashnikov’s CV-1 won’t threaten Tesla’s current offerings for performance or range.

Russian media have reported Kalashnikov’s press office saying, “This technology will let us stand in the ranks of global electric car producers such as Tesla and be their competitor.”

“We were inspired by the experience of global market leaders in developing our concept.”

Kalashnikov aren’t alone in chasing the electric vehicle market with models heavy on retro sentiment.

In recent days Jaguar have released their E-type Zero – a modern take on their 1960s icon which set speed records and brought technological innovations into the mainstream.

 

These days under the ownership of Indian-owned multinational Tata, Jaguar have described the plug-in E-type as “The most beautiful electric car in the world.”

With a top speed of 153mph, the original straight-six powered E-type became the fastest production car on the road when released in 1961. The new electric models will have a comparable top speed but accelerate even faster, racing from 0-100kmh in 5.5 seconds with a range of 275km.

A converted silver blue model hit headlines at the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, after ferrying the newly married couple from their reception at Windsor Castle to Frogmore House.

Photo: Getty

Jaguar will build the new all-electric E-types at their Classic Works factory in Coventry in England’s West Midlands, not far from the site of their Browns Lane production line which operated from 1951 until 2005.

The first electric E-types will hit the road in 2020 with a price tag of £350,000, up from the £2,097 the first petrol powered models set buyers back in 1961.

While hand-built vehicles like the E-type command boutique prices, a recent Energeia report found that there are affordable plug-in options on the horizon. The ARENA-funded research predicts that electric vehicles will not only be able to compete with internal combustion cars on range within a decade, but also price.

This levelling of the playing field is expected to accelerate Australia’s uptake of EVs, which have been slow to take off compared to other developed countries. Energeia predict that within two decades electric cars will take over our new car market.

ARENA and CEFC release electric vehicle outlook report for Australian market

Electric and plug in hybrid vehicles in Australia are set to boom over the next two decades, according to a new report released today by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

The report, prepared by Energeia, forecast three potential scenarios.

Under all scenarios, including under a scenario of no intervention, the report predicts that between 2020 and 2027, EVs will reach price parity with traditional combustion engines and then rapidly increase as a percentage of new vehicle sales.

Model availability, registration fee reductions, procurement targets and fuel efficiency standards have been found to be key drivers for the uptake. The availability of charging infrastructure, while not found to be a driver, is a barrier to EV uptake.

The report forecasts growth of the consumer market and uptake for EVs in Australia and also includes modelling on the need for future charging infrastructure.

Energeia’s market study has identified that the vast majority of trips made in Australia are well within the range of current and future EVs, with investment in public charging infrastructure being a necessary prerequisite to EV uptake globally.

EV sales are set to expand over the next five years as more popular vehicle models are released.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said EVs represent a great opportunity and looked forward to the increasing share of electric vehicles in the Australian market.

“Electric vehicles represent a great opportunity for Australia. They can offer a better and more efficient driving experience, with lower emissions while reducing Australia’s dependence on fuel imports. As far as ARENA is concerned, they also offer a great opportunity for renewable energy technologies that can be used to charge them. Also, being a battery with wheels, EVs offer tremendous opportunities to support the grid through smart charging.

“This report illustrates methods that have been used elsewhere around the globe to encourage people to buy electric vehicles. It examines charging infrastructure in some detail and also models what future EV uptake trends in Australia might be.” Mr Frischknecht said.

“The report helps us to deliver on ARENA’s investment priority of improving Australia’s energy productivity. It also builds on the other EV related projects ARENA has already supported. I hope this report will be a useful addition to the EV conversation currently taking place in Australia.”

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said: “Australians have traditionally been early adopters of new technology, but we’re lagging when it comes to EVs. This research shows that we can increase the uptake of EVs in a way that benefits drivers as well as the environment. It’s about lowering prices, supporting more models and creating a charging network.

“The reality is that the transition to EVs is inevitable. We’re already seeing vehicle makers confirm they will stop producing pure internal combustion engines over the coming years. At the same time, we’re seeing dramatic improvements in vehicle charging networks, creating the essential infrastructure to support electric vehicles. These measures can deliver a material improvement on our greenhouse gas emissions, as well as take our vehicle fleet into the 21st century.”

ARENA media contact:

0410 724 227 | media@arena.gov.au

Download this media release (PDF 123KB)

Download the Australian Electric Vehicle Market Study (PDF 4MB)

Zero emission garbage trucks cleaning up bin day

Garbage trucks are becoming unlikely heroes in the clean transport revolution as councils look to add economical, quiet and clean heavy vehicles to their fleets.

Electric power is a perfect match for the rigors of bin day. EVs’ instant torque, regenerative braking, silent running and absence of emissions are cleaning up the dirty job of rubbish collections.

Swedish giant Volvo is the newest player, with their twin engined 820NW ‘FE Electric’ garbage truck set to hit the streets later this year with a range of up to 200kms.

Volvo FE Electric. Photo: Volvo

 

Melbourne’s Moreland Council is taking a different path with support from the Victorian Government, converting its fleet to run on hydrogen produced at a state of the art renewable-powered refuelling station.

Moreland was driven to act when they found their 18 garbage trucks were using half the fuel of their 320 car fleet.

Twelve of the Council’s existing trucks will be converted to run on hydrogen, which releases only water vapour from the tailpipe.

At the project launch, Hydrogen Utility’s Attilio Pigneri predicted the trucks would be about 70 per cent less noisy than in the current diesel configuration.

“Residents will look forward to the day when they won’t be woken up by noisy trucks collecting their rubbish,” he said.

Australian manufacturer SEA Electric has a cost-effective solution for businesses and governments looking to convert their fleet to electric power.

Receiving $5 million from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s innovation fund last year, SEA Electric offer replacement drivelines for popular truck models.

SEA executive chairman Tony Fairweather explained, “with ongoing decreases in the cost of lithium batteries, our electric drive systems are becoming increasingly cost-competitive with equivalent petrol and diesel engines, which means businesses using these vans and trucks can consider 100 per cent electric vehicles on a commercial basis as well as for their environmental benefits.”

The CEFC’s innovation fund is a $200 million program supporting the growth of innovative clean energy technologies.

SAE Electric’s electric conversion driveline

The fund is a partnership between the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), who have identified transport-related emissions as a critical focus area.

The CEFC’s Melanie Madders said,“Emissions from light vehicles already make up as much as 10 per cent of Australia’s total emissions… The development of cost-effective ways to transition commercial vehicles to lower emissions is paramount for cutting national carbon emissions.”

The growth in competition is great news for light sleepers, with garbage collections sure to become quieter as innovation drives down the cost of these technologies.

An Australian startup takes on the challenge of increasing the number of electric vehicles on our roads

ARENA is funding a new initiative that aims to turn Australia into a global leader in the electric vehicle (EV) market.

Around the world, the transition to EVs is gaining pace. Global sales of electric cars exceeded one million in 2017, a 51 per cent increase from the year before. One forecast estimates that EVs will make up five per cent of global car sales by 2022. In Norway, for example, it is cheaper to run a car on electricity than petrol or diesel because of the country’s reliance on hydropower.

In Australia, the situation is much different. Despite the our reputation as early adopters of disruptive technology, we are lagging behind when it comes to uptake of electric cars— which account for just 0.1 per cent of the Australian market.

To better understand this trend, Australian startup Evenergi has partnered with ARENA to launch Charge Together. This initiative seeks to examine why EV uptake has been so slow in Australia and what it would take to boost adoption. Through the Australian Government, ARENA has provided half the funding for the $350,000 project.

Charge Together will target potential EV customers in South Australia through marketing and social media campaigns, and conduct behavioural research to identify infrastructure needs and issues around education. This will include examining “range anxiety”—when people are concerned about access to charging stations.

Some participants will be provided with technology to monitor their energy usage at home and in their car to highlight the cost implications of life with and without an EV.

Another pillar of the campaign is to increase public awareness of EVs and renewable energy. Members of the public will have the opportunity to test drive the vehicles and learn more about the practical consequences of living with an EV at a Green Drive day in Adelaide in April. Evenergi will use the data from its consumer research to produce a report of policy recommendations and to develop a publicly available online tool allowing people to calculate the costs associated with EV ownership.

The initiative will also provide car manufacturers with much-needed information about EV demand and usage, and a valuable mechanism to access a community of potential customers in the future.

Evenergi founder and CEO Daniel Hilson says that the successful implementation of incentives and infrastructure required to increase EV adoption rely on regional programs, rather than national ones.

“In order to get rapid acceleration of EV adoption, you need to focus heavily in one area and solve all the problems of infrastructure, education, and getting vehicles to market at one time,” he says.

“The idea of the program is to bring all the right stakeholders to the table—the government, the distribution network provider, the manufacturers, the people who provide infrastructure…such as charging stations…to try to work in a coordinated way in one place to drive adoption.”

The locality-based model has met with success in the UK, where EVs made up 4.2 per cent of new car registrations in 2016.

“The government in the UK has given large grants to different councils to run large-scale adoption campaigns [in their area],” says Hilson. “So, rather than trying to do the whole UK, they’ve said, ‘there are high concentrations of the right demographics in these areas—let’s incentivise it to get those areas to work.’”

South Australia, where around 50 per cent of energy comes from renewable sources and rooftop PV penetration has hit 37 per cent, was the logical starting point for the campaign, says Hilson.

“Understanding the potential impacts of EVs on both home energy use and the electricity network will provide valuable knowledge on how EVs can maximise the use of local generation, while integrating a more flexible renewable distribution grid of the future,” says ARENA CEO Mr Ivor Frischknecht.

Evenergi is  also working with SA Power Networks, the  Adelaide Council,  South Australian Government, and the Australian Electric Vehicle Association.

If you’re in South Australia and want to be part of the program, head to the Charge Together website.

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South Australian Strategic Regional Electric Vehicle Adoption Program