ZBee EV coming to Sunshine Coast

ZBee as taxi

I’m organising another electric vehicle display for the 2017 World Environment Day Festival on June 4th at Maroochydore.  An amazing three-wheeled electric vehicle is going to be on display, the ZBee from Sweden.  They will be launched in Brisbane onto the Australian market over the next few months.  They are already being used in India as electric tuk-tuks, and can fit a driver and two passengers.  Other than taxis, they could be used as delivery vehicles, campus service vehicles, and local runabouts.  Clean Motion, based in Brisbane, is looking at selling them as fleet vehicles.  ZBees look like heaps of fun, and I’d love to have a test drive.

A ZBee has a top speed of 45 km/p/hr, has a range of 70 km, and re-charges in two hours.  It only uses 7% of the energy used by a fossil-fuel driven city car to travel the same distance.  Find out more about them in a recent video: ZBee at Myriad event, Brisbane


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Prius V vs Outlander PHEV: test drive of a hybrid vs a plug-in hybrid

No, not the car we took for a test drive! A 1963 Toyota on display at the showroom - super-cute, but cars certainly have come a long way in features, safety and comfort.

No, not the car we took for a test drive! A 1963 Toyota on display at the showroom – super-cute, but cars certainly have come a long way in features, safety and comfort.

With my new job starting soon, I’ll have a 108 km round trip to work, rather than the 45 km I’ve done previously.  I’ve come to the sad realisation that my Nissan Leaf doesn’t have the range to make it to work and back without recharging.  So, it looks like my husband will have the pleasure of the Leaf, and I will have to take the nine-year-old Mitsubishi Grandis people mover – lots of petrol and pollution compared to Leaf driving.  We decided to start looking for a more fuel-efficient vehicle to replace the Grandis,with one specific requirement – the vehicle needs to be able to fit a 180cm long telescope.

We came up with two options:

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, a plug-in petrol hybrid AWD SUV with about 40km all-electric range.  These are selling very well overseas, but much more slowly in Australia, but still have the numbers to be Australia’s best-selling electric car.

Toyota Prius V, a hybrid electric/petrol people mover.  Popular for use as taxis along with the Toyota Prius and  Camry Hybrid.  No plug – all battery charging is done by the petrol motor.  Seems a little old-fashioned in the era of pure electric and plug-in hybrid cars…

My calculations on fuel/electricity use for the two cars shows that they both would cost about half as much to run each week as the Grandis, with the Prius coming in a few dollars cheaper.

So, with measuring tape in hand, we went on a test drive of both cars over the last two days, and these were my impressions….

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First, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.  It is one of the lower, smaller SUVs, but still more chunky than a five-seater car.  With a good dash display, it offers various driving modes so that you can make adjustments and choose whether to use the petrol engine by itself, the electric engine by itself, or a combination of the two.  Mitsubishi claims a 50 km electric-only range, but I’ve been hearing it is more 40km + in real life.

Some pluses:

  • + really quiet, particularly in electric-only mode.
  • + good acceleration, but not quite as zippy as the Leaf
  • + reversing camera & sensors
  • + AWD & can be used to tow
  • + 5 year warranty with 8 years on battery
  • + currently going out cheap as the last stock is cleared, possibly priced as low as $34k.
  • + 12 kWh lithium-ion battery.

Some negatives:

  • only five very firm seats, and back middle seat quite narrow
  • limited electric-only range, and uses about 7L/100km (real-life) when in petrol-only mode
  • don’t we already have more SUVs than we need in this country, that guzzle petrol or diesel and hardly ever get off-road?!  Adam calls them “over-engineered” for what is needed in a car.
  • No fast charging capacity in the Australian model.

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Secondly, the Toyota Prius V.  More like a car than a van, and with seven seats, a handy family car.  There is a choice of four driving modes, Power/Eco/EV/Standard, with EV mode turning off once you reach 45 km/p/hr or put your foot down.

Some pluses:

  • + 245kg lighter than the Outlander PHEV, so more fuel efficient
  • + heads-up display of speedo projected onto windscreen
  • +versatile seating for seven and storage
  • + real-life fuel use, from my research, about 5L/100 km (official rating is 4.4L/100km).  Excellent for a seven-seat vehicle cf to 10L/100 km for my seven-seat Mitsubishi Grandis.

Some negatives:

  • noisier than I expected, other than in the electric mode
  • can’t tow
  • acceleration not as instant as an EV or even the Outlander PHEV.

Price comparison:

  • $34-40K for Outlander PHEV, but may not be available for long in Australia
  • $40K for Prius V 2016 refresh, and should be around for a while yet.

So, off to ponder.  While we were at Toyota today, a white Telsa Model S drove past.  Adam pointed out that his telescope would inside a Model S, with its huge boot, and it is just the six-figure price tag that is holding him back.



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Electric Vehicle Report Launch


Climate change/renewable energy think tank Beyond Zero Emissions chose the University of Queensland to launch their Electric Vehicle Report, which lays out how Australia can change most cars and all buses to being electric over the next 10 years.  Although this sounds ambitious, the report is based on solid research and looks at what would be required to make this happen, such as changes in government policy and roll-outs of fast charging.  The plan can be found here: report

Adam and I drove the Nissan Leaf down from the Sunshine Coast.  With no more than 100 km in range, we needed to use the solar-powered fast charger at the University of Queensland so that we could get home again.  Of course, fast chargers can be a great place to meet other EV drivers.  First, we met new BMW i3 Rex driver Lena who was giving her car a top-up.  Then we met Rob with his matching blue Leaf, which he has been driving for four years.  Next, along came Sally, who had driven her red Tesla Model S from Sydney, the first woman I’ve met with a Model S.  So we had a lovely chat, and Sally took Rob for a quick spin around the Uni in the Model S.

After 35 minutes of charging, and getting a bit lost on the enormous campus, we reached the UQ building and saw about ten electric cars on display, and bumped into a few people we knew.  With 300 people at the launch, and some interesting speakers, the atmosphere was electric 🙂

Qld Energy Minister Mark Bailey spoke about the Queensland Government’s plans, such as the use of reverse auctions to encourage the building of large-scale solar and wind farms, an idea successfully pioneered by the ACT government.  Greens Senator Larissa Waters also spoke, mentioning how the cost of moving towards 100% renewable energy would be much more affordable if the current $6 billion pa subsidy to fossil fuels in Australia was redirected.  There was also a panel discussion, and BZE CEO Stephen Bygraves spoke about the report, mentioning that Norway and The Netherlands plan to shift to having 100% electric cars by 2025.

We then socialised a bit, and got to quickly meet Senator Waters, who always speaks with great optimism and wisdom.  Then it was off home, arriving just as we got down to one bar on the battery.  Phew!





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Three Teslas and a Leaf

ev 17

“How far does it go on a charge?  How do you charge it?  How much does it cost to buy?”  These are the most common questions we get asked about electric cars when we put them on display.  Last Sunday, June 5th, we took part in our fourth EV display, at the World Environment Day festival at Cotton Tree Park, Maroochydore.  There were four cars on show:  three Tesla Model S cars and our Nissan Leaf.  James, the Tesla “Asset Lite” (sales guy) from Tesla Brisbane, came along.  This was the first time that Tesla had brought one of their cars to the Sunshine Coast, a Model S P90D.  Doug and Lynne, and Joe also brought along their Teslas.

As well as the cars, I had an information display.  The weather was incredibly gusty, so my display boards fell over at least 20 times.  I brought along my model solar-powered wind turbine, to get across the message that electric cars can be run with renewable energy.  The day went by in a blur, with all of us kept busy talking to the public and answering questions.  I love to talk EVs, and also to hang out with other EV drivers, who we can share our EV love with.  I met Doug and Lynne and Joe at Joe’s Sustainable House Day EV display last year, and James took us on an amazing Model S test drive in March.

I look forward to electric cars arriving in Australia over the next few years with better range, more variety, and hopefully sometimes less expensive.  Then your average Joe or Joelene will consider the electric option when they come to replace their gas guzzler.

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  • Thank you Doug for providing some of these photos.
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Testing the Tesla Model S P90D Electric Car


As a birthday surprise, my family arranged a Model S test drive. Saturday was the day.  I’ve seen Tesla cars several time now, talked to their owners, and even sat in one, but having the experience of driving one was something I was hankering to do.

The Tesla Model S is amazing to drive – I’m feeling a little unfaithful to our Leaf EV….

We travelled down to the truly enormous Carindale shopping centre, and they had a Model S on display to the public (the red one) and another parked outside for booked test drives.  This was great, as we had a good look around the inside car before the test drive.  It was also great to see an EV out where lots of members of the public could check it out, as awareness of electric cars in Australia still has a long way to go.

James took us on the test drive in a top-of-the-range model, a Tesla P90D, which has the longest range and what is known as the “ludicrous” mode (going from 0 – 100 km/ph in 3 seconds).  He has software to adjust the engine to perform like the 70D base model – although there is nothing base about this impressive car.

Both Adam and I had a turn driving, and brought along two of our three kids.  They were poo-pooing the idea, but ended up very impressed.  When we tried the stomach-lurching “ludicrous” mode after being stopped at traffic lights, Zoey asked, “Is this what it feels like to go into space?”  It was bizarre, such a fast start from being stopped, we were way down the road a second or two later, while the other cars were just starting to move.

Another surprising experience was a demonstration of one of the Model S’ latest software updates, automatic perpendicular parking between two cars, reversing into position.  Given that I’m dismal at parking, I could really go for a car that parks itself.

We also tried out the autopilot on the motorway – just touching the indicator tells the car you want to change lanes, and the car checks for traffic and then moves across.  If a car in front slows down, the Tesla slows down in response.  Legally, you still need to keep your hands on the steering wheel, even though the car is doing the driving –  a little mind-boggling.

A few other features:

  • smart phone can be used to unlock the car and tells you the interior temperature of the car and control the ac
  • a firm touch on the brakes when stopped sets the brakes so that you can take your foot off
  • the dash display shows vehicles around the car and in your blind spot – combined with the rear view camera, the visibility is amazing
  • the car turns itself off as your exit the car
  • it’s spacious, with lots of leg room and a huge back boot and medium frunk
  • extremely quiet – such a disconnect between the powerful engine and not being able to hear it at all

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Tesla Model S at Maleny

20160306_130552On Sunday March 6th, the Qld Tesla club met at Maleny.  We drove our Nissan Leaf up the range to take some photos and say hello to some Model S owners we have met over the last year. There were 17 Teslas all up, most of them white.  They first met at the Maleny Showgrounds, where a few cars were using the 3-phase power supply to recharge.  One of their members gave a talk about the ins and outs of re-charging from 3-phase power, which isn’t as fast as a Supercharger, but still reasonably speedy.  The cars then travelled in convoy to the nearby Maleny Botanic Gardens for a picnic and to enjoy the stunning views. A local Channel 7 photographer was there to ask some questions and take some footage.

A nice variety of personalised EV number plates below:



The cars assembled at the Maleny Showgrounds. Caravan parks can be a place to access 3-phase or 15 amp power points, useful while the public charging infrastructure is still so minimal in Australia.

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Solar Supercharge: Part 1, electric car display

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As part of the Solar Supercharge conference in Brisbane on Feb 13th-15th, there was an electric car display.  I met some more electric car drivers, including Les (Lesmando from the OzLeaf list), and Mark Talloen, who has written about driving his … Continue reading

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A thoughtfully designed eco-house at Noosaville

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What features make a house an eco-house?  Joe and Karen opened their three-year-old home at Noosaville as part of Sustainable House Day, and it was visited by 550 people, alongside the electric car display that we took part in.  As well as … Continue reading

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A very special electric car: Tesla Roadster visits Noosaville

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALate in the afternoon, another electric car showed up at the Noosaville EV display.  It was a Tesla Roadster sports car, bright blue.  It belongs to a local solar business owner and his wife.  They refer to it as a “Sunday car”, not the height of practicality, but a fun car.

There are only about 30 of these in Australia, and the Roadster was the first car made by Tesla.  They arrived in Australia priced in the c. $200K range.  The Roadster was the first EV on sale to the public here – the Mitsubishi iMiev arrived slightly sooner, but was only available on lease or as a fleet vehicle initially.  Unlike more recent EVs, with the battery located out-of-sight under the floor, this car has its battery in front of the miniscule boot and behind the passenger cabin.  It is a stunning looking car, but quite tiny.

Manufactured from 2008-12, the Roadster was ground-breaking in many ways.  It was the first EV with a range of more than 200 miles (320km).  It was the first production EV that used a lithium-ion battery – earlier EVs such as the ill-fated GM EV1 used lead acid.

In October 2009 Australian tech entrepreneur Simon Hackett and Emilis Prelgauska took part in the Global Green Challenge.  They drove Simon’s Roadster 501 km from Alice Springs to South Australia, setting a world record for the distance driven by an EV on a single charge.

There is some great footage of it here: http://blog.internode.on.net/category/events/global-green-challenge/

More details on the car’s specs here: here

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Cars, glorious cars… all of them electric ♩ ♫ ♩ ♩

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What a great day, getting to talk to members of the public about one of my favourite subjects, electric cars!  It is always a treat to meet other EV drivers, as they are still a rare breed.  There was a … Continue reading

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Electric Cars at Sustainable House Day, Noosaville, Sept 13th

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Each year, this event lets people open up their houses to show how they have built or modified their homes to make them more environmentally friendly.  It is a great way to share good ideas.  People take a wide range of approaches, such as grey water systems, LED lights, solar panels, compost systems, sustainable building materials, and many more.  Joe of Noosaville is opening his home, but has also decided to run an EV display alongside it.  Joe has a Tesla Model S, and we’re bringing along our Nissan Leaf to take part in the display.  There will be several Model S cars, as well as a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Holden Volt and a BMW i3.  The cars will be there for at least some of the day, with 12 noon being the planned time for all to be on site.  We plan to arrive for opening time at 10am, and will be recharging the car during the day, as the distance to Noosaville and back to Landsborough is a bit too far to do on a single charge.  No such problems for a Tesla Model S, which can go 300-500 km on a single charge – feeling a little green with envy, but also looking forward to checking out the other cars and the house.

house details here

more about the car display

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Climate Shock: the economic consequences of a hotter planet – book review

climate shock cover

Written by Gernot Wagner and Martin L Weitzman

“If you had a 10 percent chance of having a fatal car accident, you’d take necessary precautions.  If your finances had a 10 percent chance of suffering a severe loss, you’d re-evaluate your assets.  So if we know the world is warming and there’s a 10 percent chance this might eventually lead to a catastrophe beyond anything we could imagine, why aren’t we doing more about climate change right now?  We insure our lives against an uncertain future – why not our planet?”

This isn’t a long book, at 152 pp, but has another 98 pages of notes and bibliography, indicating a thoroughly researched piece by these two economists.  Gernot Wagner also wrote, “But Will the Planet Notice? – How smart economics can save the world“, reviewed in an earlier blog post.

At times I found the reading heavy going, wrapping my head around complex concepts, but this book offers good explanations of ideas such as the 2 degrees carbon budget and levels of risk of disaster relating to delayed action on carbon reductions.  The authors see climate change as a difficult but not insurmountable problem, and emphasise that the worst possible outcomes will become increasingly likely the longer that action is delayed.

Climate change is  a problem because too few of us consider it one.  And those of us who do consider it a problem, or worse, can do little about it unless we get everyone else to act.  Either we solve this problem for everyone, or we solve it for none of us…we need to harness market forces to deal with global warming, the problem is so large that individual action won’t be enough.

Although there is a lot of sobering reading in this book, the authors end with a chapter entitled “What can you do?” – this focuses on what citizens can do in their own lives and as members of the community to push the necessary changes in government policy and actions by businesses and organisations.

book trailer

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Electric car display at WED Festival, Sunshine Coast

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On Sunday 7th June, the electric car display which I’d organised all came together.  With seven cars on display, the most varied display of factory-made* electric cars to take place in Queensland, there was great interest.  We had hundreds of people come … Continue reading

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EnergyCut – John Dee

Blank vertical softcover book template standing on white surface  Perspective view. Vector illustration.John Dee

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to see John Dee speak at the CleanTech Connect event on the Sunshine Coast.  He has achieved several very practical environmental improvements in Australia.  For example, he initiated the three-year phasing out of energy-hogging incandescent light bulbs in Australia.  This would have saved Australian consumers and businesses massive amounts in avoided electricity costs, not to mention the carbon.  John also initiated the phasing out of phosphates in laundry detergents, which was causing algae problems in our waterways.  John Dee is a great example of how the action of the individual, working with like-minded people, can lead to significant change.

John has a free ebook and online program, EnergyCut: Cutting Energy Bills in Your Business.  It is quick and easy to use, suitable for homes as well as businesses, and can be found at http://energycut.com.au/

Although John’s talk focused on the EnergyCut program, he touched on other things.  He talked about how smart technology is opening up different ways of controlling power use, even when you are not at home.  To much laughter from the parents amongst the audience, he gave the example of how he can annoy his kids while away from home overseas by using an app to turn off the tv or air-conditioner.

He is also driving a Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid SUV.  This car can be driven 50 km on electric-only range, after which it switches to a petrol engine.  Like the Leaf, you can control the a/c and recharging with an app on your smart phone.

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Taking the Electric Car Plunge – 6 Weeks Driving Nissan Leaf EV

ozleaf blue pic smallest 1

We took the plunge six weeks ago, and bought a Nissan Leaf electric car.  In brief:
  • super quiet
  • races up hills much more easily than a petrol car
  • zippy acceleration
  • many fancy tech features – still learning how to use them
  • keyless entry and ignition, nifty but confusing at first
  • quirky looking
  • leading to lots of interesting conversations with colleagues and members of the public who see it
  • recharging and a/c can be controlled remotely from a smart phone
  • working well as a local car in our two-car family
  • really enjoying this car :P
  • getting accused, justifiably, of hogging the car – my husband loves it too
  • the range indicator, of battery range left, is more like a guess-ometer
  • still have to go to the petrol station to check the tires
  • getting the charge cable in and out of the boot each day proved to be a drag, so have now mounted a second cable on the carport wall, much quicker to use
  • when they hear that we have an electric car, the occasional person looks at us like we have lost the plot
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Electric car dreams: test driving the BMW i3

BMW i3 electric car

BMW i3 electric car


The interior uses a range of recycled materials, and seats four.

We went for a test drive in Brisbane on Saturday, and came away totally dazzled – by the BMW dealership (great coffee, valet parking), the sales service (knowledgeable, enthusiastic, but not pushy), and mostly the car, just wow. :P  It looks so cool inside and out. I got a surprise seeing the tincy-wincy boot, but can now understand why it is so tiny – the engine is totally concealed underneath the boot. The use of the carbon fibre for the passenger compartment was so interesting to see – it is stronger and lighter than aluminium.  Eucalyptus wood was used for the graceful curved dash panel, and the instrument panels/screens have a floating appearance.  The amount of connectivity/fancy screen options was overwhelming, and like the Nissan Leaf, various aspects such as car charging can be controlled by a smart phone when not in the car.
Driving it was so neat, with a turning circle that felt like spinning on a dime, and the oomph and powerful regenerative braking impressed. The exterior quiet hit me when I stopped for some pedestrians crossing the road as I turned into a street, as I could see they hadn’t heard the vehicle at all and were walking along oblivious – a bit of a potential hazard of electric cars, really. Another feature is the thermoplastic body panels which are resistant to car park dings and scratches. At the launch of the car during the G20 meeting in Brisbane last November, a police horse kicked the demo car, but no damage was done!
So, heaps of fun, but not a practical car for our five-person family, and at $70 000 +, just too dear, but seriously impressed. My husband and I decided that there may be a second-hand i3 in our future post-kids.
The salesman said that the Brisbane dealership had sold eighteen of them since the launch in December, with some buyers choosing the model with a petrol range booster, and others pure electric.  Perhaps this will be the car to really help EVs take off in Australia.
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Electric Cars: Checking out the Nissan Leaf

Yesterday our family went for a test drive, going to Brisbane to visit one of the select Nissan dealers who offer the car.  Their Leaf test drive car had only arrived the afternoon before, and the seats and accessories were still wrapped in plastic.  Due to our salesman being off sick, we only had a very quick, around-the-block test drive, so will need to go back, but it was interesting to see the car after many months of only seeing photos and videos.  My 13-year-old daughter told me that the car was “cool”, high praise indeed.

The main parts of the engine are the electric motor and battery for the accessories, powered by the solar panel on the rear spoiler.  The flap at the front shows the charging port, with two "nozzles", the one on the right being for home charging, and the one on the right for public charging stations.   The car doesn't have many of the parts found in a conventional car engine, such as fuel injector, radiator, air intake, carburettor, gearbox etc. This means that there are less parts to wear out.The main parts of the engine are the electric motor and battery for the accessories, powered by the solar panel on the rear spoiler. The flap at the front lifts to access the charging port, with two “nozzles”, the one on the right being for home charging, and the one on the left for public charging stations. The lithium battery used to power the car’s driving is a large flat structure underneath the car, so can’t be seen here.  The Leaf doesn’t have many of the parts found in a conventional car engine, such as fuel injector, radiator, air intake, carburettor, gearbox etc. This means that there are less parts to wear out.  Some functions of the car can be controlled from the touchscreen on the dash, or by your smart phone, e.g. controlling re-charging and turning on the air conditioning.  Quite an impressive array of tech, and much quieter than a regular petrol or diesel car.


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Electric Cars: a practical choice in Australia?

This poor car copped hail damage during the Brisbane storms, along with thousands of other cars.

This poor Nissan Leaf electric car copped hail damage during the Brisbane storms, along with thousands of other cars.

 I’ve become quite intrigued by the new generation of electric cars that have appeared over the last few years, and although only a small number have been sold in Australia, internationally they are becoming more popular.  During late 2014, two exciting, but pricy, new models arrived in Australia – the BMW i3 and the Tesla Model S.

At my place, we’ve decided that 2015 may be the year to buy an electric car.  We want to test drive a Nissan Leaf, but the only test vehicle in Brisbane suffered hail damage in the Brisbane storms, and is awaiting repairs.  So in the meantime, I’ve been doing my research, and found some great real-life owners’ experiences at the OzLeaf forum.  Last year the Nissan Leaf sold 60 000+ models around the world, with half of those being in the US, making it the world’s best selling electric car.

Many people will scoff at a car that can only do 120km or so without needing a recharge, but for many Australians, they could be quite practical.  In my house, it will be a second vehicle, so will only be used for local travel, at least until a fast charger network is available.  I’ll be expecting to re-charge at night in my carport, and that should be enough for my daily driving.  I expect to save quite a bit on petrol, particularly through accessing off-peak electricity.  I’ll keep that electricity green by buying C3 certified GreenPower.  Driving 15 000 km a year, the Australian average, the “fuel” running costs should come in at least $1300 cheaper.

Electric cars won’t suit every household and business, but it might be worth considering.  It may seem a strange idea to need to recharge a vehicle, but thirty years ago we would have thought it odd to recharge a phone, and everyone has got used to that just fine.

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The Energy of Nations: Risk blindness & the road to renaissance

Jeremy Leggett gives an insider’s perspective into the worlds of big energy, international finance, and climate change negotiations.  With a background that started with working for the oil and gas industry, he went on to Greenpeace and then became a founder of solar company SolarCentury and its associated  charity SolarAid, and is also chair of CarbonTracker.

Drawing on his diaries from 2004 to 2013, and recording meetings with politicians, energy executives, and climate change negotiators, Leggett reveals how he sees a blindness to risk.  The blindness isn’t just towards climate change, but also about the risks to our economic system from unbridled and dishonest financial sector capitalism (which led us to the recent global financial crisis), the denial of peak oil and limited fossil fuels as a reality, and the carbon bubble (if we are to prevent irreversible climate change, the world’s largest energy companies can only use a small proportion of their reserves, at a grave risk to their share prices).  Leggett argues that we have the technologies to slow climate change through existing renewable technologies, energy efficiency and better buildings, and need to redirect the massive global fossil-fuel subsidies towards investing in a sustainable future.  He is palpably frustrated by the lack of political will to make the necessary changes, despite the signs of the need for transformation.

Although not a light read, this book gave me much more insight into the causes and devastating consequences of the global financial crisis in 2008-2010.  In Australia we were somewhat sheltered from the shockwaves that brought many countries to the financial brink.  Leggett also looks at how the different risks in the system might intersect with disastrous results.  I found the book at Sunshine Coast Libraries.

There is a talk here by Jeremy Leggett about his book and the thinking behind it.

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Can strata-title apartment buildings go green?

While lots of homes and commercial premises around the Sunshine Coast and Australia are going solar and becoming more energy and water efficient, strata title apartment buildings can be forgotten. Yet apartment buildings are notorious energy guzzlers. On average, residents of high and medium density blocks use 25 per cent more energy than those in detached dwellings. Up to half of this energy use comes from common areas like hallways, car parks and swimming pools.  Owners and building managers can find some great planning tools and case studies on how to reduce their building’s energy and water use and running costs.  See these two Australian sites for more:

Smart Blocks: Tune up your building

Green Strata

Last week I took this photo of solar panels mounted on the balcony railing of an apartment building at Dicky Beach – they’ve been rather creative on the placement, and I wondered whether the panels are wired to the whole building or to one apartment.

Last week I took this photo of solar panels mounted on the balcony railing of an apartment building at Dicky Beach.  They’ve been rather creative on the placement, and I’m wondering whether the panels are providing power to the whole building, or to one apartment.
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