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Issue #55 - Oz town 100% solar powered, EV owners should pay for infrastructure, Ford's electric future isn't clear, and coal miner activist gets a Tesla.

The EV Musings Newsletter
Issue #55 - Oz town 100% solar powered, EV owners should pay for infrastructure, Ford's electric future isn't clear, and coal miner activist gets a Tesla.
By Gary Comerford • Issue #55 • View online
As of this week, the newsletter is going to change from weekly to bi-weekly. You’ll still get the same 5 top stories, something to think about and a link to the podcast episodes. but instead of this happening every seven days it’ll now come out every fourteen days.
The main reason for this is time. As we move out of lockdown and my calendar starts to become better utilised my ability to devote time to this in a meaningful way - and still produce the quality I think you deserve - will be more and more limited.
Moving to a twice-monthly schedule will still give you the news you need at the quality level you want without adding undue stress and pressure to my schedule.

This Week's Podcast.
The EV Musings Podcast: 94 - The Non Car EV Episode
Top Five EV/ Renewable Stories.
Coal Miner Turned Activist & Tesla Owner Is Sharing the Tesla Experience With Other Miners to Advance Tesla’s Mission
When someone is working in an industry that actively works to encourage climate change it is always heartwarming to see someone penetrate the carapace and show insiders what the opposite side of that coin looks like.
Daniel Bleakley, a native of Queensland, worked in the mining industry in Western Australia. He lost his job during the global financial crisis and started a printing company — only to later step away from that to focus on climate activism.
Upon buying a Tesla, he was impressed with the car and wound up lending it to his brother, who was working in the coal mines. His brother showed it to some of his work colleagues and Daniel encouraged his brother to record their reactions.
Some of the videos in the linked article are great - especially the one with the guy who is a muscle car fan but was blown away with the Model 3 Dual motor acceleration. If he can be converted, anyone can.
Town in Australia Is 100% Solar Powered
The holy grail of renewable energy is to have somewhere run 100% renewables all of the time. Obviously, this is difficult because of factors such as variable sun and wind and the lack of large-scale battery storage in many places. But there are areas of the globe where this has been achieved. Places such as Orkney - which runs on 100% renewables, and Scotland - which produces twice as much renewable energy as it can use.
In Australia - which would seem to be a no-brainer for renewable energy given a large amount of sun it has - this hasn’t happened on a large scale.
The latest jurisdiction to log a 100% renewable energy milestone is the town of Onslow in Australia. Onslow was actually 100% powered by solar (+ battery energy storage) for 80 minutes recently. More of that is on the way, as well.
While it may not be the largest or most complicated grid to power, proving that it’s possible in yet another jurisdiction has broader importance and implications. Note that this microgrid isn’t purely powered by renewables (at all times). It has gas power available at the moment. But that will be used less and less. The Onslow Distributed Energy Resource Project is still just in the testing phase. Full commissioning is planned for later in 2021.
Warburtons First 16 Tonne 100% Electric Truck Goes on the Road
We’ve said many times on the podcast (and in this newsletter) that electrifying last-mile transportation is going to bring the quickest- and biggest benefits to the planet.
There were discussions over the years about whether hydrogen or batteries will be the solution through which this happens. The conclusions are pretty much in favour of batteries for the vast majority of last-mile deliveries although for longer range transportation such as the road trains that cross the Australian outback battery tech is not there, yet.
So this new announcement from UK baker Warburtons is something of a welcome piece of news. While the specs of the vehicle (150km range and 22kW onboard charging are not that impressive) the fact that a company like Warburtons has put its money where its mouth is with this is very encouraging.
Ford aims for an electric future but doesn’t have a deadline
The article implies that Ford doesn’t really have a long-term strategy for electrification of its fleet outside of ‘Everything will eventually be electric’, but is being pushed forward due to external factors such as the European requirement to lower overall carbon emissions for automotive manufacturers.
This push by Europe is contrasting heavily with the US approach of being market-driven and letting the customers dictate what they want. However, ironically, Henry Ford was the man who coined the phrase ‘If I’d asked customers what they wanted they would have told me a faster horse’, so maybe letting the market regulate things is not the right approach here? Time will tell.
Republicans Want EV Owners To Pay For America’s Infrastructure Upgrades
The current state of infrastructure in the US is pretty dire. it is estimated that 220,000 bridges in America are in need of repair or replacement. One-third of the bridges on interstate highways fall into that category.
Whilst the taxes on fuel go towards paying for that infrastructure upkeep there is a huge shortfall.
So the latest idea from the right-wing US political sector is to bridge that shortfall by… taxing EVs and EV owners. (!)
There are several inherent flaws in this. The main one is the idea that EV don’t pay gas taxes so they’re not contributing their ‘fair share’ to the upkeep. Well, if the tax covered the upkeep that would be one thing but taxes in this area have not been increased since 1993 so even fossil fuel drivers are not ‘paying their fair share’.
As the article points out the best approach is a use fee based on a combination of weight, fuel economy, and miles driven. Higher mileage drivers pay more, higher polluting drivers pay more, bigger vehicles pay more.
It makes sense, after all, that a housewife using a Renault Zoe to travel 4000 miles per year to take her children to school should pay substantially less than someone travelling 50,000 miles per year in a large pick-up truck averaging 21 miles per gallon, right?
A cool EV or renewable thing
If you’ve ever been to some of the cities in the US you’ll know that they are designed for cars. But have you ever wondered why that is? One reason is that in order to accommodate so many cars city councils and governments have mandated minimum parking spot sizes and numbers for different types of buildings. The zoning laws are so onerous in some cities that a 100 sq ft restaurant will need 3000 sq ft of parking to be legal. This puts huge parking areas between buildings, spreads out the buildings and means that walking between them becomes almost impossible meaning.. you need to drive. It’s a bit of a vicious circle.
It is estimated at the moment that there are 8 parking spaces for every vehicle in the US.
But it doesn’t have to be like that.
This article shows how we got to this situation, how it can be resolved and what we can do with the land that is freed up.
In a newsletter about renewables and electric vehicles, it would seem to make sense that we should be reducing the number of cars. If we cut down on the parking spaces and charge for the remaining spaces this will increase available land for building houses and help cut down the total number of cars on the road.
Something To Think About.
Finally...
See you in two weeks for more EV and renewable news.
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Go on, click it. You know you want to.
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Gary Comerford

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