Sparking Conversations October 2023
Questions from our Energy Circle on October 22nd
Each month, we share some of the questions we covered at our last Energy Circle, to make sure everyone is part of the conversation.
Questions this month:
What are the benefits of electric vehicles?
Petrol vehicles are powered by non-renewable fossil fuels, and their emissions contribute to climate change. Electric vehicles (EVs) generate far less emissions, and can even be powered by 100% renewable energy, sourced from rooftop solar, solar farms and wind farms. EVs are much cheaper to run compared to petrol cars given they have fewer moving parts to service, and the cost to charge an EV battery is a fraction of the costs to refuel petrol cars.
Where can I charge my EV, and won’t I miss petrol stations?
EVs require a shift in thinking: refuel at your destination – this could be your home, your work, the shopping centre, the library or the park. Rather than planning extra time in your daily commute to stop and refuel at the petrol station, plan to charge your vehicle when it’s not in use, at your destination. Lots of EV owners enjoy not having to make a special stop to refuel, knowing that they’ll charge at home or at work while they’re not using their cars.
What if I’m travelling long distances?
The Australian EV fast charging network is growing, making it easier than ever to find convenient locations to fast charge on long journeys. EV owners are taking their cars all over Australia, even to places like the Nullarbor Plain! EV owners often carry mobile car charging equipment with them, much like a spare tyre, meaning their EV can be charged using a regular household socket, or even a higher-powered outlet commonly found at powered camp sites.
What’s the cheapest way to charge my EV?
The lowest cost energy available for use in your home and your car is rooftop solar. Charging your EV during the day while your solar power system is generating electricity from the roof is an extremely cost-effective way to ‘refuel’ your EV, along with charging your EV at home or at work during ‘off-peak’ times.
Can I make my solar power system EV ready?
Even if you don’t have an EV yet, you can make provision for fast charging to set you up for the future. If you are planning to switch to an EV one day, and are getting rooftop solar installed, make sure to let your solar installer and electrician know that you intend to install a fast charger, so they can make it easy to add to your system later.
Can I use my car to power my house?
Some, but not all, EVs have the capacity to deliver energy to an external load (eg an electric barbeque) or even deliver energy to the home. Both vehicle-to-load and vehicle-to-home have potential for enormous benefits, utilising EV batteries which are much bigger than built-in home batteries to power appliances during electrical outages and ‘peak’ times. The benefits of vehicle-to-load technology are already being experienced by many EV owners, however current regulations do not permit vehicle-to-home charging in Victoria.
What if I’m subject to ongoing or prolonged power outages?
Because the batteries in EVs are much larger than built-in home batteries (eg 3-4 times the size) they have the potential to become the power back-up for your home, offering resilience during outages and even stabilising the grid. In the case of extended power outages, imagine being able to travel to a location where power is available, charging your large EV battery and bringing that energy home with you to power your appliances. As noted above, current Victorian regulations do not yet permit vehicle-to-home charging, but change is expected.
Are petrol cars really being phased out?
Yes, many countries around the world have announced plans to ban the sale of petrol cars by 2035. Here in Australia the Australian Capital Territory has made this same commitment, and other states and territories are considering what their future commitments to the transition will look like. Petrol car bans will impact petrol cars and hybrid cars that aren’t the plug-in hybrid type. Car manufacturers are making the switch to all-electric fleets as well, meaning the EV transition is underway and here to stay!
Mycelia Energy Collective