Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wordsmith, electric cars and Better Place

I have a new friend. In the blogosphere. His blog’s Wordsmith. He’s Canadian. And he’s an interesting chap. Two of his latest four blog posts are about cars. Excluding F1, my latest one was on 5 February. So today I’m fixing that situation: This item in yesterday’s Age said Better Place’s third (after Israel and Denmark) large-scale charging network for electric cars will be in Australia, with a national roll-out by late 2012. Better Place predicts by 2020 10-20% of our national fleet will be electric, and by 2035 almost 100%. I don’t know, and can’t find out, if Better Place will generate its own electricity, or if it’ll use grid power. The latter raises the question as to whether a plug-in electric car using coal-fired electricity pollutes more or less than a fossil fuel powered car. Or even a fossil fuel (non plug-in) electric hybrid. Speaking of which I was disappointed to see here, also in yesterday’s Age, that only 1.1% of new cars in Australia in 2010 will be hybrids – little altered from 1% in 2009. And this 1.1% won’t rise much until petrol reaches A$2 a litre. Of course it’d rise sharply if our federal government showed some real concern about climate change and global warming, and introduced incentives to buy hybrid or electric cars. I doubt it’ll occur; but you never know. Meantime Better Place shouldn’t hurry to meet the late 2012 national roll-out target date. Charging stations sitting idle due to few customers could be its worst nightmare. Ho hum.

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