Canberra’s electric vehicles lead the charge to celebrate the first World EV Day

James Coleman 8 September 2020 18
Hyundai Ioniq

An electric Hyundai Ioniq outside Parliament House. Photo: Supplied.

Hordes of electric vehicles will descend on Canberra’s CBD tomorrow (9 September) in celebration of the first World EV Day.

All manner of Teslas, a Hyundai Kona with a camper trailer, a converted Porsche 986, bikes, scooters and more will be on display along the middle of Northbourne Avenue from 10:00 am. A few hours later, they’ll form a convoy and circle around Parliament House before pulling up at the flags on Queen Elizabeth Terrace.

The date was set just over a month ago as a global social-media campaign aimed at “engaging consumers around the sustainability benefits of EVs”.

Leading the charge is the ACT Branch of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association (AEVA). This group of passionate EV owners first came together in 1986 to end the century-long reign of fossil-fuel-powered transport.

Events Coordinator for AEVA ACT Adele Craven hopes World EV Day will be hard to miss from the Legislative Assembly, especially as an election brews and caretaker mode kicks in two days later.

“The day itself will be informal but we are inviting local and federal ministers and public servants. I am still working on trying to get the Transport Canberra bus on-site, at least for part of the day,” she says.

She’d like to see additional incentives put in place that may tip more Canberrans over to the EV side.

As of the 1 August this year, there were a total of 687 electric vehicles on ACT roads. The best-sellers are the Tesla Model 3, the Kyburz postie bike and the Nissan Leaf. There are over 4,000 hybrids in the ACT, most of which are Toyotas.

In addition to lower running costs, financial advantages for EV buyers include not having to pay stamp duty on their new purchase and a 20 per cent discount on registration costs. They are also allowed to drive in transit lanes, which Mrs Craven concedes isn’t all that earth-shattering given as there is only one in the ACT, on Adelaide Avenue.

“With ACT achieving 100% renewable electricity, transport is now the highest-emitting sector. Any adoption of electric vehicles in any form will help to reduce emissions. We aim to robustly support the Net Zero Emissions by 2045 goal.”

The ACT Government presented the Transition to Zero Emissions Vehicles Action Plan in 2018 and has also signed up to four different declarations and agreements around the world. It all fits into the broader ACT Climate Strategy and a suite of measures designed to encourage greater use of walking, bicycles and public transport.

The shove is working as Canberra has among the best charging infrastructure in the country.

“Part of our goal in running events is to make EVs more visible to federal politicians,” Mrs Craven says.

However, there is no getting around the fact that EVs remain more expensive off-the-shelf than their ‘EVil’ counterparts.

As with anything else with batteries, they also go flat and wear out. The technology is improving in leaps and bounds such that the modern battery pack should easily last about 10 years, but it does still take an average of eight hours to fully charge an electric car using a home socket*.

Every month, AEVA ACT has also been faithfully running ‘EV Experience Days’ at the Capital Brewing Company in Fyshwick. Members of the public can turn up, be taken for a ride in a Tesla or Hyundai, and then have a beer to boot.

Mrs Craven adds that for the March event next year, dozens of local organisations, businesses and government agencies are supporting their major event – the ‘Zero Emissions EVenture’.

“It will be an ‘amazing race’ style event during which teams use a range of different modes of electrified transport to get their way across Canberra with challenges in between.

“The event will demonstrate the fact that we have depended on various forms of electric mobility for decades, and highlight the current development and potential of technology around EVs.”

*CORRECTION: This article originally stated that “it does still take an average of eight hours to fully charge an electric car”. This has been updated to reflect that an eight-hour charge is from a household socket.

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18 Responses to Canberra’s electric vehicles lead the charge to celebrate the first World EV Day
Adele Craven Adele Craven 9:29 pm 09 Sep 20

It was a great day today. Good range of EVs. Lots of interest.

Bill Hatossy Bill Hatossy 6:07 pm 09 Sep 20

So basically these polluting vehicles would not exist but for taxpayer subsidies.

Mark Collis Mark Collis 11:12 am 09 Sep 20

Great idea. Now ...can we move the date to the first two weeks in January and make the venue EPIC!!!

    Adele Craven Adele Craven 9:28 pm 09 Sep 20

    AEVA plan to have a presence at Summernats.

A Nonny Mouse A Nonny Mouse 9:26 pm 08 Sep 20

The statement that “the modern battery pack should easily last about 10 years” is unduly pessimistic. EV batteries from 8-10 years ago are getting a bit tired in some cases. However there are several factors contributing to that mostly don’t apply so much now.
The big one is thermal management. Vehicles of that vintage that have liquid cooling of the battery are generally still going strong, many with high milage. The ones that lost battery capacity are generally those that had little or no cooling.
Next there is battery size. A current car with bigger battery capacity goes through fewer battery cycles for a given milage and can avoid charging to 100% and deep discharge most of the time, both factors leading to improved battery longevity.
Thirdly, the battery chemistry has improved for greater longevity.
Finally, with larger capacities and longer range at the start, a car with slightly reduced range after a decade or more will still have an ample range for many usage patterns.
I expect a lot more than a decade of use from our 2019 electric car. I am only sceptical about one popular model that still lacks active cooling of the battery.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 5:05 pm 09 Sep 20

    Fossil fuels and ICEs are a lot more practical and reliable and there is usually plenty of extra space in the vehicle they power to carry a few jerry-cans of extra fuel.

    You know I’m right.

Denby Angus Denby Angus 1:36 pm 08 Sep 20

Thanks for updating your article to clarify the 8 hour charging comment.
Confusing information just allows the pessimists to obstruct the transition to electrified transport.

A Nonny Mouse A Nonny Mouse 12:46 pm 08 Sep 20

I disagree with the statement “Canberra has among the best charging infrastructure in the country.” The ACTEW charging network has had no expansion for quite a few years. There are three fast 50kW DC chargers, but two of those were fitted with CCS1 plugs years ago before it became clear that CCS2 was becoming the settled standard. It is not clear whether ACTEW have any plan to swap the plugs to make those chargers useful to the majority of vehicles.
Several shopping centres offer slower AC charging, which encourages an EV driver to linger, but that is not enough for people without access to charging at home.
However, most people, most of the time, will charge from ordinary power outlets at home. That is what I have been doing with various EVs since 2009. Charging at home does not need to be fast, especially as even the lowest range modern EVs have more than ample range to cover local trips. Unless I am planning a trip out of town, I have charging set to stop at 80% because it is good for the battery and that is more than enough range for local driving.
In practice, most drivers of electric cars will only need public charging on trips out of town. However, public fast DC charging is needed for out of town visitors and residents of apartments without in house charging.

A Nonny Mouse A Nonny Mouse 12:29 pm 08 Sep 20

I am pleased to see a correction has been made to this article that previous suggested that a Canberra to Melbourne would take a long time in an EV.
That distance is 665km. I have not driven an EV to Melbourne. However, I easily drove 800km in a day from Coffs Harbour to Canberra in our Hyundai Kona electric. We left Coffs with a full charge from the charger at a motel we stayed at overnight. We had several toilet/coffee/meal breaks during which we plugged into fast NRMA 50kW DC chargers for partial top ups. We did not charge to full at any of them. We only lingered for as long as we would have stopped for those toilet/coffee/meal breaks if we had been in a petrol car. We arrived back in Canberra with plenty of charge still having taken no longer than we would have taken in a petrol car.
The article’s reference to 8 hour charging applies only to AC charging at home. Unlike fast charging during unusually long trips out of town, most charging can be done conveniently at home or overnight at destinations such as motels at slower rates using a car’s on-board AC charger. This home and destination charging does not need to be fast. For trips of less than 400km, I would generally charge at home before leaving and overnight at the destination, and that charging does not need to be fast. Fast DC charging supports >400km trips. I don’t have a 400km bladder so stops are needed anyway.

    MERC600 MERC600 2:51 pm 08 Sep 20

    You mentioned your Coffs Harbour motel had a charging point.
    Do you need to book a spot to be able to recharge your vehicle?
    You don’t need to run a extension cord from your room do you ?

    A Nonny Mouse A Nonny Mouse 6:58 pm 09 Sep 20

    The motel had two Tesla destination (AC) chargers. I mentioned when booking that I would like to use one. Most (12 of 13) Tesla destination chargers I have tried work with my Hyundai. If they work with any non-Tesla, they generally work with any non-Tesla, even cars with a type 1 socket via an adaptor. You can check on PlugShare whether other non-Teslas have reported successful. NB. The Tesla DC chargers are Tesla specific.
    Even if a motel doesn’t have a charger, they often have a 15A socket in a laundry close to the parking area and will let you use that with your portable charge cord and an extension lead.

edwardeom edwardeom 11:57 am 08 Sep 20

Good overall article, a bit of misinformation as usual with inexperienced electric car people, be great to see you at the event so you can gain the real life experiences of actual people…. Boones ruined a weekend and towed trailers where needed. I wonder where you got some of the misinformation? It’s simply disproved in the comments. And from experience touring an electric motorcycle in the UK only using public charging. There’s alot more research needed… Good try

    MERC600 MERC600 5:21 pm 08 Sep 20

    edwardeom .. your ”Good overall article, bit of misinformation as usual with inexperienced electric car people” .
    Now I am as inexperienced as you could hope to get… and its safety I wonder about.

    Below is a part article from the US Fire Administration, a USA Federal Government body.
    From what they write up things get a bit hairy if the vehicle becomes a ‘wreck’ as our US cousins call a crash. Any comments?
    …Electric vehicle fires can exceed 5,000 F. Applying water or foam may cause a violent flare-up as the water molecules separate into explosive hydrogen and oxygen gases.
    There are several common risks for first responders associated with electric vehicle fires:
    • Electrical shock (up to 400 volts).
    • Extremely high temperatures and thermal runaway.
    • Toxic fumes.
    • Lithium burns (respiratory and skin reactions).
    • Toxic runoff.
    • Reignition up to 24 hours after initial extinguishment.
    Reduce the risk
    Many companies are meeting first responders’ need with exotic chemical agents that encapsulate the burning material. But what do those responders who don’t have immediate access to 3,000 gallons of water or expensive chemical agents do in the meantime?
    • Wear full personal protective equipment and self-contained breathing apparatus.
    • Secure a large, continuous and sustainable water supply — one or more fire hydrants or multiple water tenders. Use a large volume of water such as master stream, 2 1/2-inch or multiple 1 3/4-inch fire lines to suppress and cool the fire and the battery.
    • Treat all conductive surfaces as if they are energized until they are proven to be safe.
    • Stabilize the vehicle.
    • Power down, if possible.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 5:08 pm 09 Sep 20

    “…..the water molecules separate into explosive hydrogen and oxygen gases.”

    Mmmm, isn’t hydrogen the other thing the climate alarmists want to power our cars with? I don’t recall them mentioning it can explode.

    A Nonny Mouse A Nonny Mouse 7:02 pm 09 Sep 20

    EVs have far fewer fires relative to the number of such vehicles than fossil fuel vehicles.

Denby Angus Denby Angus 11:36 am 08 Sep 20

The claim that it takes “an average of eight hours to fully charge an electric car” is rather misleading. It’s important to distinguish slow and fast charging. Most home charging is slow because it’s lower current and we don’t really care if it’s charging overnight using a standard 10A or 15A socket.
The fast chargers being rolled out on our highways are much quicker and can return a nearly empty battery to 80% full within 15-30 minutes depending upon the charger current and the size of your battery.
Time for a break and a cuppa but probably not enough time for a game of Monopoly.

Grail Grail 10:55 am 08 Sep 20

” but it does still take an average of eight hours to fully charge an electric car.”

“For a day drive to Melbourne, you’d either need a second petrol car or a game of Monopoly in the boot.”

It will take 8 hours to fully charge an electric car IF YOU ONLY CHARGE USING THE WALL CHARGER YOU INSTALLED AT HOME WHEN YOU BOUGHT THE CAR. The home charger doesn’t need to be high-power because it’s designed to top up your car after a day’s driving, which for most people is around 60km.

You can drive a Hyundai Kona Electric from Canberra to Melbourne in just under 8 hours, comprising 7 hours of driving and 1 hour of charging, at three different locations where there are high voltage DC chargers available (charging at rates of 50kW and higher). Use tools like A Better Route Planner to get the facts:

If you are the type of person that takes a half hour stop every two hours of driving, using an electric vehicle will make no difference to your long distance trips.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 9:43 am 08 Sep 20

The “circle around Parliament House” will be a short circuit, right?

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