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dwl

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  # 1326227 17-Jun-2015 06:46
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Sidestep: There's no conspiracy. Using saturated hydrocarbons – extracted from fossilised sunlight- as an energy carrier and transportation fuel is just cost competitive with current EV tech.

There's a comprehensive, well used distribution infrastructure already in place, and 150 years of intensive, competitive development already behind the conversion of this fuel to mechanical energy.

Energy density's right up there. It can be transferred, contained and transported as a liquid at ambient temperatures and atmospheric pressure, has native shear stability for mechanical lubrication purposes.

Yet mixed with air becomes an explosive gas at a relatively low boiling point..

Lots of useful heat energy's released with oxidisation, and the harmless water & carbon dioxide byproducts can be released directly to the atmosphere.

Byproducts of the initial purification process can be turned into plastics, lubricating oils, asphalt.. an endless number of uses..

Of course the product needs to be competitively priced, but hey- easily portable, simply extracted chemically stored energy... what's not to love?

Your points are totally valid (although there might be some debate on the "harmless" aspect) but are missing the most important part - rate of consumption of this resource is maybe 60 million years / 150 years times what is sustainable. !  We have a handful of generations who have consumed the easily obtained resource and the extraction methods now are getting more marginal.

You later post:
Sidestep: Just got in from using my fossil fueled tractor to slash a field. Try doing that with an EV..

Computer & lights running off my fossil fueled generator since mains power's off - yet again.

Do kind of like the smell of diesel in the morning..

Is why we need to slow down the use of fossil fuels so that where it makes current sense (like your tractor) we can make it last longer and stop burning it where there are viable alternatives now.

When bio fuels were all the rage in the US, a few people were starting to run their cars off their own crops and were starting to talk about "miles per acre" and that has to be on an annual basis.  It wasn't that great and the amount of food production displaced certainly highlighted how a limited number of people could use up an excessive amount of resource.

With renewables like wind here we now have generation that can run 24/7 (maybe not 365) so a single turbine at say 2MW over the off peak period of 11pm to 7am could produce 16MWh and charge say 1000 cars each day.  Of course there are arguments about average production (may need second turbine for yearly average) but providing fuel for that same 1000 cars as say biofuel (to get the energy density, storage and distribution benefits you are talking about) each year would consume a huge amount of land compared to the footprint of a turbine.

There is the opportunity to reduce our energy inputs with smaller cars (how often do we need the SUV size) with electric highlighting that energy storage has a cost which wasn't so obvious with fossil fuel.

This is a huge topic and great to see the comments.  Anyone out there in the process of building an EV who can share their experience? 





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  # 1326278 17-Jun-2015 09:20
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dwl:
This is a huge topic and great to see the comments.  Anyone out there in the process of building an EV who can share their experience?


EVs
There are quite a few people in NZ who have already built EVs.
The closest to me is the repair garage owner in Auckland CBD - they have Prius and they converted old gas Toyota into pure EV.
They installed Batteries from China (not bad but not great), motor and electronics from USA.

Components for EVs and Boats
I've done research on EVs suppliers last year again - a lot of options with motors and control boards are made in US. Those same components are used in EVs and Electrical Boats.
For New Zealand Electrical Boats for recreation could be even more appealing than EVs.
Local search brings couple of companies in Auckland who seems to be onto it already - offering re-selling of components from overseas.

Batteries
Supply for the growing demand of quality batteries in the future is of concern, here is why:
As I mentioned earlier - one of my Analysers (www.hybrids.co.nz) is used by the garage in USA who specialises in EV conversions.
They have already hips of second hand good quality Li batteries from wrecks like Nissan Leafs and other EVs and they are not using dodgy batteries from China. We do not have here that many options for second hand batteries and I personally would not consider batteries from China to be an option.  Would only consider those made in S.Korea or Japan. Used from Japan could be better than "new" from China. That is main point.

Second hand NiMH & Li batteries and Customs:
NZ Customs rules disallow import of any second hand batteries (rules are not specific about chemistry) - which need to be changed. (FYI: that makes any import of Prius battery modules from eBay or elsewhere abroad illegal by the way).

Those rules are outdated and were set up in the last century when Lead-Acid (hazard to environment) were prevalent. Exclusions should be made for tested (suggest >50% remaining design capacity) NiMH or Li batteries from EVs and Hybrids. Those are not hasardous substances to environment.

If those rules were clarified - In theory I can take my tools to Japan, sit at a big wreck yard there for couple of weeks, test hundreds of packs, label them for remaining capacity - to export to New Zealand on provision that NZ Customs would allow that to happen. Otherwise future of EV maintenance in particular battery supply is questionable.

Legislatioin
Any one working for Customs here - would like to hear your position on that matter.
Hope that will come to attention of MP Simon Bridges who is a big supporter of EV for New Zealand. We should look at a bigger picture - bringing EVs here or even building one locally is one thing, that is easy. Maintenance, supply of spares (batteries) - is equally important.
Without having an option for cheaper second hand batteries - I can't see EVs becoming wide spread.

 
 
 
 


dwl

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  # 1326801 17-Jun-2015 20:40
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Sorry if the long posts have been too much but some key points coming out. Batteries would always come to the top of the issues and it looks like we aren't quite there yet. Several points:

- battery cost currently high but dropping - still a dominant item - I understand the first i-MiEV pack cost about NZ$35k

- battery life still not certain - Nissan offer 5 year warranty here from new (I think if less than 80% capacity will replace) but no help being offered for imports

- second hand batteries seem quite a risk - there were some cases of Tesla packs failing after letting discharge too much - I understand LiFe can be quite vulnerable to severe discharge and could become expensive bricks - is this true?

- second hand question also applies to used vehicles if history not known - the i-MiEVs on trademe are a huge discount from new but what guarantee is there that won't be significiant costs not too far away

- quality of different battery sources important but perhaps more critical is a good BMS that watches and manages each cell

- the Leaf pricing is currently quite good but that is special deal without many left - the unsubsidised market here may have to get used to higher pricing like for the BMW i3 for the short term

It would be great to build an EV but the Low Volume certification process is harder if the original vehicle weight is exceeded which is an issue when going for range. With the battery issues and cost still being big factors sadly it seems may need to wait a bit longer. Am I being too pessimistic?

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  # 1326892 17-Jun-2015 23:29
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I think the cost of battery replacement as part of the long-term TCO of EV needs to be balanced against probable long-term TCO for a modern ICE vehicle, not a simple 1990s Corolla.
To meet emission/fuel economy targets, we're throwing a lot of technology into ICEs - much of which would need to be replaced/maintained over what would have in the past been considered to be a reasonable expectation for the economic service life for the vehicle. When it sinks in that potential >$10,000 service bills for ICE engine/transmissions are going to be norm for quite ordinary cars being sold now - once they're out of warranty and on their way to being "well used" (like most of the NZ fleet), then the cost of battery replacement (which should be more predictable - hence can be budgeted for) might seem less daunting.

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  # 1326897 18-Jun-2015 00:02
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We now have 660 EV's/PHEV's in New Zealand

(EV = Pure Electric Vehicle, such as Nissan leaf, i-miev, Tesla etc...)
(PHEV = Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle, such as Outlander PHEV, Holden Volt, BMW i8, Audi A3 e-tron, and the "range extended" variant of the BMW i3 (the only variant sold in NZ)

http://www.transport.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Research/Documents/Monthly-light-vehicle-registrations-to-May-2015.pdf


Roughly 330 Pure electrics and 300 PHEV's

Last year has seen dramatic more PHEV's than pure EV's. I assume the outlander is carrying the bulk of the volume here, but we know 30+ BMW i3's have been sold, plus I have seen at least one i8 in use.

Of the pure electrics, we have roughly 160 each NZ new, and used imports. Current registrations have roughly twice as many used imports being registered as new EV's. This is probability to be expected given most of the developed world has attractive EV purchase subsidies, depressing the new price, and hence the used price of Nissan leafs in Japan. This is good for NZ, we can free-load on Japanese subsidies. Would be great if we could also reflash the cars into English (or Nissan build a language change function in, given its a global car.

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Master Geek
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  # 1326903 18-Jun-2015 00:34
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There are some interesting points added, but to me it either comes down to:  

 

     

  1. a) What is the most affordable motoring
  2. b) What you really want to drive

 

I am sure we could easily work out the most cost effective motoring. Unless you have free power and a commute with the EV range I doubt it would be an EV. Of course we would all like to have a Tesla, but unless their depreciation was non-existent, there is no way most of us can justify.  

Guess that leaves c)  What we want to drive that what we can afford; i.e our current status. Most of us would be early EV adopters, but I cannot see it happening for 3 years.  

PS: How about this for a quick cost of motoring calculation (3 years 60,000 km):  

2010 Toyota Prius Hybrid 90,000km, Buy $ 14,000 (Trademe)
Fuel Costs 60,000km $ 4,500 (energywise.govt.nz)
Insurance $ 750 (State Online Quote)
Maintenance $ 1,000 (Guesstimate)
Resale after 3 years $ 9,000 (Guesstimate)
Total costs for 3 years $ 10,950
Running Costs Per Year 20,000km = $ 3,650
 

Can you name a cheaper vehicle to run over 3 years?  

(Yes I have made some wild assumptions on cost, capital, missed something etc, which I am hoping you will correct me on)

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  # 1326904 18-Jun-2015 00:41
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kemosabe: There are some interesting points added, but to me it either comes down to:  

 

     

  1. a) What is the most affordable motoring
  2. b) What you really want to drive

 

I am sure we could easily work out the most cost effective motoring. Unless you have free power and a commute with the EV range I doubt it would be an EV. Of course we would all like to have a Tesla, but unless their depreciation was non-existent, there is no way most of us can justify.  

Guess that leaves c)  What we want to drive that what we can afford; i.e our current status. Most of us would be early EV adopters, but I cannot see it happening for 3 years.  

PS: How about this for a quick cost of motoring calculation (3 years 60,000 km):  

2010 Toyota Prius Hybrid 90,000km, Buy $ 14,000 (Trademe)
Fuel Costs 60,000km $ 4,500 (energywise.govt.nz)
Insurance $ 750 (State Online Quote)
Maintenance $ 1,000 (Guesstimate)
Resale after 3 years $ 9,000 (Guesstimate)
Total costs for 3 years $ 10,950
Running Costs Per Year 20,000km = $ 3,650
 

Can you name a cheaper vehicle to run over 3 years?  

(Yes I have made some wild assumptions on cost, capital, missed something etc, which I am hoping you will correct me on)


Did a few more for interest sake:


 
 
 
 


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  # 1326933 18-Jun-2015 06:38
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Does your cost of ownership include an allowance for battery replacement? What is the life of a battery in terms of number of recharges or in years?

dwl

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  # 1326992 18-Jun-2015 08:25
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frankv: Does your cost of ownership include an allowance for battery replacement? What is the life of a battery in terms of number of recharges or in years?

That is the big unknown. When used in a hybrid like a Prius (NiMh) where the charge and discharge % is quite limited I understand can be very good life.

When using the full battery capacity range on an EV the number of cycles drops. I think on some if you want full range you can select 100% charge but otherwise 80% max can be enough for daily use and better life. Deeper discharge also drops cycle life. I guess better quality batteries or chemistries could do a lot better than cheap.

An article Nissan Leaf batteries still in operation suggests Nissan have done a good job and even if replacement needed that cost as a one off over the TCO is probably not a killer, especially as it should come down over the years.

PHEVs may get better battery life if the software keeps the charge within a more beneficial range but possibly still a risk if left to go flat. A Mitsubishi dealer said to me that you could come back to the Outlander after an extended period of non use, and unplugged, with the petrol still have it work - might be true but not sure what this would do to the battery although self discharge should be small giving months (depends on where it sets low limit before turning on engine).

To compare with petrol where we now expect 200,000+ km as normal might need to add in one pack replacement for long term cost or as higher depreciation if over earlier years. Offset with maintenance cost (first Leaf service costs $40).

[Edit] Changed link to hyperlink 


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  # 1327012 18-Jun-2015 08:49
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kemosabe:  Of course we would all like to have a Tesla, but unless their depreciation was non-existent, there is no way most of us can justify.  


Plenty of folks buy new ICE luxury sedans, yet the depreciation is massive.
The big depreciation risk with Tesla or other EV/PHEV is that one of the "new battery technology invented" claims being made will come true.

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  # 1327013 18-Jun-2015 08:50
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Scott3: We now have 660 EV's/PHEV's in New Zealand

(EV = Pure Electric Vehicle, such as Nissan leaf, i-miev, Tesla etc...)
(PHEV = Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle, such as Outlander PHEV, Holden Volt, BMW i8, Audi A3 e-tron, and the "range extended" variant of the BMW i3 (the only variant sold in NZ)


There are much more hybrids.

Official NZ stats - when I analysed them last time in 2013 - those had two important metrics for me - applicable to this topic - i.e.
- the average age of the car fleet in NZ. It is quite high - a lot of cars > 15 years old (good frugal approach IMHO). That reflects car affordability from one hand but also it is ~5 years longer than EV/Hybrid manufacturers claim to be the longevity of their batteries.
- a big chunk of cars are Japanese second hand import.

When you look at the sales pitch from car makers they usually say "the battery is designed to last the life of the vehicle". Awesome, isn't it?
Define the lifespan of the vehicle, Mr Manufacturer please for me.

Do not assume that in New Zealand the battery would last those 15 or more years and still provide the range and efficiency.

I found white paper in the Japanese sources, where Denso (Toyota partner) was talking about first Prius batteries and suggested longevity = lifespan of the car but in the same whitepaper referred to 10 years as an estimated lifespan. That is a good reference. Warranty normally is limited by age and ODO.

Any battery degrades with age and number of charge/discharge cycles (more mileage - more cycles). Benefit in NZ is our mild climate which is good for batteries vs too hot or too cold climates.

Hundreds of tests I conducted on the second hand NiMH packs (www.hybrids.co.nz) revealed significant loss of the Usable Remaining Capacity in old batteries and in those with big mileage.
I do not have stats for Li batteries used in cars at this stage (donations of Leaf’s and similar batteries are welcome), but I have conducted hundreds of tests on Li batteries used in laptops (similar batteries in Tesla) with my tools for Li and results are even worse - significant degradation after 5 years.

Two considerations: 7 year old Japanese import and you may expect 3 (?) years of life left in the battery.

 

I do not expect the price for the new battery packs from any dealership to come down in the next 3 years and I do not expect the EVs being so cheap we would just throw them to the scrap yard when the battery dies as we do now with laptops, tablets or smart phones.



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  # 1327058 18-Jun-2015 09:33
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Fred99: 
The big depreciation risk with Tesla or other EV/PHEV is that one of the "new battery technology invented" claims being made will come true.


Yes - to me Tesla's staking such a big claim in the battery market, and ramping up production's a little sad.
It must mean they're assuming there's no revolutionary change in storage technology looming – or perhaps just if there is, that they'll be the company that licenses/maufactures/services/installs it.

And it's better batteries – or energy storage in general – that's going to be the key to any major hydrocarbon alternative. I hope one of the predicted breakthroughs comes true.

Like many others trying to reduce our reliance on mined hydrocarbons, we've had several false starts.
I started by converting a ute to run on vegetable oil - but it's now using normal diesel & waste engine oil due to the supply issues and cost of veg oil.
My petrol trucks are both flex fuel rated for E85 – but it's not at the pumps here, and ethanol has it's own environmental costs. Our home still production wasn't a viable option.

We have a couple of 48V electric utility vehicles. They're E-gators (Gator TE's).  

Each stores 14kWh in it's lead acid battery pack – a bit more than the large Tesla battery. We thought to use them as farm transportation, and – fitted with inverters- as mobile power supplies. Ecomically they're a failed experiment.
Apart from the large intial outlay, long charging time's an issue, and both are out of order -again- due to battery failures. They've never covered their costs. Changes to Farm (B) rego rules mean we now can't use them on the road. They're for sale.

Our main UPS's a 48V 30kWh lead acid battery bank with an inverter & generators. Bulky, heavy, lead-acid batteries with a web of heavy wiring and copper busbars, cover 3m of floor.
They require regular cleaning, testing, maintenance, replacement – and an engine hoist to lift them..
And with a 22.5kVA Stamford alternator, and Onan 7.5kVA backup, half a garage's full of - in my wife's view- ugly equipment, smelling of acid, oil & diesel. Viable only because of the sad state of our mains power supply.

I'm about to drive a tractor over to the farm tanks & take a couple minutes to transfer 1 ½ million btu's -or 380kWh- of energy into it (that's 10 gal of diesel).
The 1000 litre diesel in of my farm tank stores slightly more kWh of energy than the average yearly NZ home would use. We refill it – quickly, and relatively cheaply - a couple of times a year. 
And I use the energy in it in short bursts, over a few days at a time. Producing - very inefficiently - brute horsepower for emergency power generation, digging ditches, towing trailers.

Currently we use lead-acid batteries chemically store most of our electrical energy. We'd pay more for compact, clean, modern & low maintenance.
My wife likes Tesla batteries. They – several of them - would be worth paying for in the boss's view.  And she wants an electric car. 

For me cost/efficiency matters most. And it's not there yet. It's still the 300kWh of stored chemical energy in the generators' diesel tank that saves our butts when the power goes off.



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  # 1327262 18-Jun-2015 13:19
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frankv: Does your cost of ownership include an allowance for battery replacement? What is the life of a battery in terms of number of recharges or in years?


Depends on many factors

number of slow vs fast recharges, type of charger used, discharge rate, quality of the battery, temperature operated in.

Most Li running on overnight (not fast charges) are rated to 1000 charges.


So based on a range of say 180 km you are looking at battery replacement every 180,000 kms (or 18 years at 10,000 kms per year), but taking into 80% rule its going to be more like 144,000 kms \ 14 years.

So factoring in a cost of around $6000 for a battery replacement (equivalent to an engine rebuild in a petrol car) add 4.1 cents per Km ($4.10 per 100km) to allow for the battery replacement. Which is around 2L of 91.

Savings dont sound so great now do they :(

Even if you got the maximum (180,000 kms) then you are still around $3 per 100 kms before you even add the electricity cost for a charge.

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  # 1327267 18-Jun-2015 13:26
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Just from the news line - love it:

"BMW's MINI Plant in Oxford UK is showcasing a high-efficiency street lighting system that doubles as a charging station for electric vehicles (EVs).

The EV charging cable connects to a standard connector on the Light & Charge street light and the integrated control panel allows drivers to start charging with the swipe of a card regardless of vehicle model."




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  # 1327271 18-Jun-2015 13:36
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frankv: Does your cost of ownership include an allowance for battery replacement? What is the life of a battery in terms of number of recharges or in years?


Nope, but in that scenario I think unlikely your going to need a new battery. Most Prius battery seem to last more than 7 years (based on the first two generations, would expect newer ones to be better?). Even then, its typical now that you get a few cells replaced and have it professionally balanced and your good for another few years. The cost of that is probably not much different to a large expense on a typical car, i.e something like a clutch replacement.

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