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Canberra makes WIRED

By johnboy - 22 June 2011 26

better place swap station

It’s a rare day when Canberra makes it into WIRED (the Vogue of nerds), but the Better Place electric car rollout has made the grade:

Swappable batteries arrive in Australia next year in a slick electric sedan built by Renault.

The French automaker will introduce the Renault Fluence Z.E. to Canberra, where Silicon Valley startup Better Place is rolling out the battery swap stations and public charging infrastructure needed to keep the cars going. It’s another big step forward for the two companies and their aggressive plans to electrify transportation.

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26 Responses to
Canberra makes WIRED
triffid 2:02 pm 22 Jun 11

arescarti42 said :

triffid said :

Really?

That will be news to Renault Australia, I assure you.

I’m not sure why you think that, renault.com.au currently has a big banner on its homepage with “Announcing Renault Fluence Z.E. > Find out more”.

That’s a fair call. The only other thing I can find to go by is in the FAQ section on the Renault website which basically says total cost of ownership will be comparable to an equivalent petrol car. So maybe their plan is to offset a high initial purchase price with lower running costs.

Why would I think that? Probably this:

http://www.goauto.com.au/mellor/mellor.nsf/story2/76487E44C50FCC5CCA257872000C6CDF

And, about an hour ago, I got off the ‘phone to someone who I know had asked Mr Renault Australia — and asked him less than two weeks ago — if they had any plans to bring any of their EVs to Australia and the answer recieved was, “Non”

The only way it will be comparable in the first instance will be if the ‘sale’ of the vehicle is along the lines of the ‘deal’ proposed by Renault’s sister company (Nissan) with the Leaf. That is, you ‘buy’ the car and lease the battery (or use of batteries).

As I have said elsewhere . . . I have some reasonably proximal knowledge of issues EV: and not derived as a result of 10 minutes on google either. ‘Sophistry’ is a pretty common theme in the space. As is ‘idealism’. Anyone who thinks these things will flood our roads by 2020 — or even account for as little as 10 per cent of the market by then — needs better medication (or much, much more practical experience of the world and Australian motor industry and the Australian vehicle market).

dungfungus 1:54 pm 22 Jun 11

chris_underscore said :

Actually dungfungus, you’re wrong. The EV technology is rapidly improving, search the Renault Fluence Z.E in google, does that look like a tiny smart car?

And what do you mean the average means of Australian families? Australia is a highly car dependent society, especially chaos. As petrol prices continue to rise this is going to greatly affect the current Australian way of life. Living 30km away from your place of business in the outer suburbs will become alot more costly. So this is one of the most important topics for any political agenda, security of future transportation.

Some of us believe in progressing beyond our primitive thirst for oil (which is a finite resource), seems like you’re living in an ignorant bliss.

I would class an average Australian family as 2 adults and 2 children. Don’t understand your use of “chaos” though.
I tried a new Renault Fluence for size a few weeks ago and it had less leg room than the incredibly fuel efficient Megane sedan it is replacing – anyone above average size will not be comfortable. I enquired about about availability a Renault EV (Renault own Nissan) and they said Renault had nothing in the pipeline. It looks like a well timed publicity stunt. The Fluence is a lot smaller than a Camry and Toyota are currently flogging the Camry hybrid for $35K to get rid of them. Doesn’t matter where you live in Canberra because if you commute to work by any car (petrol/hybrid/electric) you are going to have trouble parking it. I may live in ignorant bliss (does that term apply to anyone who doesn’t agree with you?) but I don’t expect that EVs will not become viable in Australia until the price drops dramatically.
Then again, we have a government that will throw a lot of taxpayer funded subsidies at projects that are “green” so, who knows?

arescarti42 1:30 pm 22 Jun 11

MERC600 said :

How charming. Any figures ANYWHERE what the poor bloody local TAX payer is going to be shelling out for these things.

Close to nothing at this point I believe. From what i understand, Better Place is funding construction of the system.

arescarti42 1:25 pm 22 Jun 11

triffid said :

Really?

That will be news to Renault Australia, I assure you.

I’m not sure why you think that, renault.com.au currently has a big banner on its homepage with “Announcing Renault Fluence Z.E. > Find out more”.

triffid said :

My point being that the European and Israel pricing structures simply can not be used as ‘anything to go by’.

That’s a fair call. The only other thing I can find to go by is in the FAQ section on the Renault website which basically says total cost of ownership will be comparable to an equivalent petrol car. So maybe their plan is to offset a high initial purchase price with lower running costs.

MERC600 1:21 pm 22 Jun 11

How charming. Any figures ANYWHERE what the poor bloody local TAX payer is going to be shelling out for these things.

Classified 1:11 pm 22 Jun 11

Renault? Blech…

triffid 1:07 pm 22 Jun 11

“The French automaker will introduce the Renault Fluence Z.E. to Canberra”

Really? That will be news to Renault Australia, I assure you.


Cancel
luther_bendross 12:16 pm 22 Jun 11

Shai Agassi was on Lateline (I think…) a few weeks back spruiking his network in Israel and this one in Canberra. He freely admitted that EV’s were not about to overtake our reliance on fossil fuels, he just wanted to improve the world a little (hence the company name). Better place is investing left, right and centre in greener technologies.

Whilst the cynical hive mind might stike him down, I guarantee he’s doing more than the rest of us to improve the world. Good on him for doing something bout something he believes in.

Mysteryman 12:15 pm 22 Jun 11

Holden Caulfield said :

Mysteryman said :

So long, petrol!

Maybe, but I doubt battery power alone is a long term solution. I’d say we’ll be using more hybrids in the medium term and, possiby, hydrogen power/fuel cells longer term.

It’s a start. That’s the main thing.

jsm2090 12:05 pm 22 Jun 11

Electric car tech is certainly getting better, and it WILL play some role in private transportation in the future, but it certainly shouldn’t be viewed as the ultimate solution to curb emissions and the cost of transportation. As long as you are charging your car from a coal-fired power station, it ain’t gonna be a zero emissions vehicle.

Let’s not forget the metals in these batteries are also a finite resource; many countries already have recycling and recovery programs in place for these types of automotive batteries. If they ACT government can’t even organise a free e-waste collection for my old TV, how are they going to cope with an onslaught of EV batteries?

chris_underscore 12:00 pm 22 Jun 11

Actually dungfungus, you’re wrong. The EV technology is rapidly improving, search the Renault Fluence Z.E in google, does that look like a tiny smart car?

And what do you mean the average means of Australian families? Australia is a highly car dependent society, especially chaos. As petrol prices continue to rise this is going to greatly affect the current Australian way of life. Living 30km away from your place of business in the outer suburbs will become alot more costly. So this is one of the most important topics for any political agenda, security of future transportation.

Some of us believe in progressing beyond our primitive thirst for oil (which is a finite resource), seems like you’re living in an ignorant bliss.

arescarti42 11:37 am 22 Jun 11

dungfungus said :

The one thing all this new fangled EVs have in common is that they are tiny (like those Smart ones)
This severely limits their market potential to wealthy, vertically challenged greenies who only have to travel short (no pun intended) distances. As usual, the needs of an average Australian family have been left off the agenda, not that they would want to fork out the sort of money being asked. The ACT Labor government can’t seem to help itself get involved in another feel good money losing venture so soon after the Rhodium debacle.
There is plenty of petrol left in the world still.

Wow, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good rant eh?

First, the first car available on the Better Place electric network is the Renault Fluence Z.E., which if you had bothered to spend 10 seconds on Google, you would have realised is a mid sized sedan about the size of a Toyota Camry, not a Smart car.

Second, the whole idea of a swap station is that you can swap out the battery in about the same time it takes to refuel a petrol car, so you can drive it as far as you want.

Third, do you know what sort of money is being asked? Because i don’t. If the prices on the Israeli and European systems are anything to go by then it’ll be about $35,000, about $5k more than a base model Toyota Camry.

Lastly, yes there is plenty of petrol left in the world, however the quantity left is going to be totally irrelevant to most people if the price is $4+ a litre.

Holden Caulfield 11:26 am 22 Jun 11

Mysteryman said :

So long, petrol!

Maybe, but I doubt battery power alone is a long term solution. I’d say we’ll be using more hybrids in the medium term and, possiby, hydrogen power/fuel cells longer term.

dungfungus 11:02 am 22 Jun 11

The one thing all this new fangled EVs have in common is that they are tiny (like those Smart ones)
This severely limits their market potential to wealthy, vertically challenged greenies who only have to travel short (no pun intended) distances. As usual, the needs of an average Australian family have been left off the agenda, not that they would want to fork out the sort of money being asked. The ACT Labor government can’t seem to help itself get involved in another feel good money losing venture so soon after the Rhodium debacle.
There is plenty of petrol left in the world still.

Mysteryman 10:04 am 22 Jun 11

So long, petrol!

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