TDB Today: Generation Zero’s Clean Energy campaign

by Gareth on May 7, 2014

My post at The Daily Blog this week ignores all the political kerfuffle surrounding milk-stained cabinet ministers taking holidays from twitter, and focusses on a new report from non-partisan young climate activist group Generation Zero: A Challenge To Our Leaders – Why New Zealand needs a Clean Energy Plan. It’s an impressive piece of work, and an admirable summary of where we are today and where New Zealand should be heading. I commend it to all Hot Topic readers – the pdf is here.

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Thomas May 24, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Mitsubishi Outlander Plug In SUV is incredible in its low fuel consumption! A game changer indeed!

For want of a better place on the blog to mention this: An acquaintance of mine in town has received his Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV a couple of weeks back. He has now driven about 640Km and used only about 10% of his original tank full of petrol he left the dealership with! He drives it around the Coromandel Peninsula including the considerable hills. Downhill the regen charging is great!

This surely must be the way of the future. While full EV’s will require costly new infrastructure such as fast charging stations and in a country like NZ are going to be restricted to cities or well known routes most likely, plug in hybrids like this can go anywhere anytime, while on average consume perhaps 10% of the petrol its petrol-only cousins would. And this PHEV is a full size 4WD 7Seat Suv! Not a sub-mini. Incredible.
It seems to deliver what the Prius technology promised but never could due to the inability to plug in.
The performance seems spectacular and I can only assume that the other manufactures will have to pull even rapidly as not to be left in the dust.
The fact that this technology is introduced in the package of a SUV makes sense. The space requirements for batteries and associated systems are much easier to find in a larger vehicle.
However it can be expected that custom designed vehicles (not versions of existing ones) will come on-line that will be affordable and smaller.

This technology can reduce FF use in personal transport by 90% if it was rolled out in a significant manner. Once nations will price FF’s according to the cost they put on the ecosystem, these cars will be the only ones people will want to afford to drive.

Of cause, on long distance journeys of hundreds of Km, these vehicles will perform no different than say a Prius of Hybrid Camry. However on average, with most journeys being well within the 50Km range, the ability to plug in makes all the difference.

andyS May 24, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Thomas, as incredible as this might seem, I am in full agreement with you here and would buy an Outlander if only I had the dosh.

Thomas May 24, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Perhaps in a couple of years reasonable 2nd hand models will be available or lower specification versions. The current one is the top of the line Outlander with all the mod cons that one could do without.

Beaker May 25, 2014 at 7:12 am

Could I just take this opportunity to needle any expat UKIPers loitering round here, the development of cars like this is thanks largely to the EU and the average CO2/km targets imposed on manufacturers. If your average goes over the target you get painful fines. It used to be that the big expensive cars got the investment because that was where the profit margin was. Small cars are a far more cost sensitive market so shaving pennies off the ticket price was the manufacturers aim. Now, if you want to get those high margin luxury sales, you have to shift lots of low CO2 cars to cover them, or trade credits with another manufacturer that has surplus, so the Mercedes chelsea tractor now subsidises the Smart Car, Ferrari subsidises the Fiat hatchback and so on. CO2 emissions have come down radically across the board.
Ten years ago you could pay a fortune for a special edition lightweight Audi A2 with Al exhaust, suspension etc and very thin glass. They axed it because 4×4 chelsea tractors made more money. Now you can choose from many generic large saloons that match the old A2 on emissions.
The motor manufacturers did not like the targets and fought against them, they are still fighting the targets being progressively tightened, but the result is new cars like the Golf Bluemotion are very economical, and a very popular choice with loads on the road.
As the limits continue to tighten, more and more investment will flow into the purely electric to help stay below the target CO2.
Three cheers for the EU. I would also say up yours to the UKIPers but whats the point, they just deny the evidence you use to beat them.

andyS May 25, 2014 at 9:15 am

“Could I just take this opportunity to needle any expat UKIPers loitering round here”

Sounds like trolling to me.

Thomas May 25, 2014 at 10:15 am

Seems you feel addressed by Beaker…. and from the many posts of you over the time I would not be surprised if you were an expat UKIPer indeed…. and Beaker is right on with the observations on the car industry. Regulations are working and they are a powerful tool bring environmental concerns into the bottom line of corporate planing.

andyS May 25, 2014 at 10:37 am

What makes you think I support a political party that has no policies, no manifesto and is run by an over sized ego in the form of Nigel Farage?

There are many eurosceptics that I know who regard UkIp in low esteem, and correctly surmise that they are just a protest party that incidentally picked up 20% of the seats on the local council elections. This is why the establishment have been running an extensive smear campaign against UkIp for the last few months

The thought that the “little people” should challenge their authority puts the fear of god into them.

Gareth May 25, 2014 at 11:07 am

OK all: that’s enough Farage for today.

bill May 25, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Uh, just a bit more, please? ;-)

(Sorry, I really like Cartoonist Rowson’s gaudy stripey serpent! Feel free to delete!…)

Beaker May 26, 2014 at 3:39 am

“What makes you think I support a political party that has no policies, no manifesto and is run by an over sized ego…” I can not imagine!
“This is why the establishment have been running an extensive smear campaign against UkIp for the last few months” what smear campaign would that be? Reporting what their candidates said or committed to paper/social media? How unfair!

andyS May 26, 2014 at 9:02 pm

By the way, Beaker, since you are enjoying taking pot shots at UKIP, you will be no doubt delighted that they have picked up more MEP seats in the Euro elections that any other British party.

In fact, about 100 MEPs in the new parliament come from so-called eurosceptic parties, across Europe

Thomas May 26, 2014 at 10:27 pm

[Snipped: UKIP is off-topic.]

bill May 27, 2014 at 12:30 am

[Snipped: OT]

Beaker May 27, 2014 at 6:53 am

[Snipped: OT]

Thomas May 27, 2014 at 7:35 am

[Snipped: OT]

andyS May 27, 2014 at 1:44 pm

This is the last thing I will say about The Party that Shall not be Mentioned, but I hope this link is taken with good humour
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/02/26/ukip-computer-keyboard-spoof_n_4856495.html

bill May 27, 2014 at 7:19 pm

The perpetually-indignant ALL CAPS is great; really rather good all ’round!

andyS May 25, 2014 at 11:36 am

I followed up on Beaker’s claims that EV usage in Norway is very high.

This article is rather interesting.

Apparently, EVs in Oslo get to use the bus lanes, pay no purchase taxes, have free use of charge points, etc

All this costs the taxpayer $8000 a year in subsidies
It goes on to say

Using that $8,000 figure, Holtsmark goes on to calculate that, in terms of its EV policies, Norway is paying $13,500 per ton of CO2 reduction. A ton of CO2 on the European permit market costs $5.

I lived in Oslo quite a long time ago and they had then and still have a really great electric tram system that can get you most places, including ski areas. I really don’t see the point of these policies

Thomas May 25, 2014 at 9:31 pm

Blazing the trail Andy, blazing the trail!
While dirty alternatives are still cheaper than the technology we will need for the future we must invest.
The first Google search ever was rather expensive too…..

andyS May 26, 2014 at 9:54 am

Just to be clear here Thomas, do you think that subsidising electric cars to the tune of $8000 a year and allowing them to drive in the bus lanes is a good idea?

Take into account the fact that there is a perfectly good electric tram system already in place in Oslo.

Beaker May 26, 2014 at 7:43 pm

andyS, since you are keen on being clear, is the tax relief on the electric cars time limited, yes. Did the excellent tram system alone sufficiently cut transport emissions, no. With one in five new cars in Norway being electric, will the beano of being able to drive in bus lanes persist, no. The media bugbears of range anxiety (particularly in cold weather) will get an airing. And the Norwegians have been promoting EV for years. Ford bought up THINK a long time ago, and now the technology and facilities are here to move from niche to mainstream 1 in 5 sales.
What these policies have done is make the whole electric car and charging market commonplace in a short period of time, stimulating the sector till it has sufficient momentum that it can grow with progressively reducing incentive. And why? because burning fossil fuels is not sensible.

andyS May 26, 2014 at 8:29 pm

So, tell me Beaker, will these EVs in Norway get beyond the Oslo metropolitan area?

This is a rhetorical question, of course. Once you get into the mountainous backcountry, you need a diesel or petrol vehicle, unless you have a death wish

Given that Oslo already has a really great electric urban tram system, that can transport the population to work, the beach, to ski areas (both downhill and cross country), you wonder why we need to promote this wastage on Nissan Leaves (presumably more than one Leaf is a Leaves)

Furthermore, all these generous subsidies are built on an economy very dependant on oil

The Norwegian Sovereign wealth fund owns 1% of the world’s stock.

Norway’s Statoil (about 50% state owned now, I think) has interests in oil prospects all over the world, including the Tar Sands in Canada and NZ Northland

Thomas May 26, 2014 at 10:36 pm

Whatever the specifics of the Norwegian model are should a matter of the Norwegians to decide.
But even you Andy will admit that any new technology or model of doing business when up-scaled will go through a considerable phase of investment, a time when money is invested and the return negative while a customer base or a brand (hopefully both) are built. Many high tech companies have gone through long times of exponential growth without a dollar in dividends. Investments and the associated risks, if undertaken for the potential benefit of private shareholders are something that any neo-liberal capitalist welcomes with enthusiasm.

However when a government makes such investments into say solar PV, electric cars or other technologies in order to being them to the point of profitability for society as such then the neo-liberal cabal throws the toys out of the cot. Why this blatant hypocrisy that every one of you carries like a ‘duh’ tattoo on their foreheads?

Rob Taylor May 24, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Hopefully this will spur other manufacturers to offer PHEV models (I’m looking at you, Subaru)….

bill May 25, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Hear hear! Outback vs. Outlander!…

SimonP May 24, 2014 at 9:54 pm

We’ve had our Outlander PHEV for three weeks and are very happy with it. It’s not a seven seater, something had to give to make way for the batteries. There are two versions, XLS and VRX, the XLS doesn’t have all of the mod-cons. Performance is as advertised, we only use petrol on weekend trips away. A full charge is 50 km, takes 6 hours, and costs around $2.50 as we don’t have off-peak rates. The regenerative braking adds a bit more especially if you live somewhere hilly. The two things we’ve discovered is watch out for pedestrians who walk out in front of you and tap the brake pedal rather than use the regenerative braking paddles if the car behind you tends to tail-gate. I now drive less aggressively to milk the battery for all its worth.

andyS May 25, 2014 at 9:24 am

Interesting to read your comments about the battery size.
This is also a problem with the Volt where a five seater car becomes a four seater to accommodate the 200kg battery.

This would be a show stopper for most families

Beaker May 25, 2014 at 10:16 am

“This would be a show stopper for most families”
Well not really andyS, no. Not if they have any child car seats that would make fitting a third person in the middle very uncomfortable (believe me!). So no car seats and more than two kids, and not investing in a three rows of seats car, they are not really cutting themselves out of a massive market with this ‘show stopper’ are they.
Plenty of cars come with just two back seats, or the third just suitable for occasional use. My car like many others has three individually demountable seats in the back, and if you take out the middle, the two outer can move in a notch to give more elbow room. The only reason I have not done this for my little pampered darlings is I don’t have a garage and if I tried to heave the seat up into the loft I would end up in casualty.
But never mind, if you are that family with three kids, not in car seats (so all over 7 at least) and you are not getting a people carrier, you could get a plugin Toyota, or a fully electric Renault Fluenz, or this socking great big Mitsubishi that SimonP has just invested in. So you see andyS, your concern (as so often) is entirely misplaced.

andyS May 25, 2014 at 10:40 am

Presumably the space that your 200 kg battery takes up on e back seat might also contain the inevitable luggage and the kitchen sink that seems to follow us around everywhere.

The idea that I have to upsize in cars to be “environmentally friendly” seems a little counter intuitive

Thomas May 26, 2014 at 10:43 pm

Nonsense Andy (as so often).

I have personally converted a Toyota Starlet into an EV. I did that in 2008 and have been driving it since. I still use lead acid batteries. I have 6 batteries for a 72V system. My ramp weight is not much different than before the conversion and I lost no seats virtually no luggage space and can still transport 5. All I lost is the spare wheel. Big issue.
With modern batteries of today (LiFePo) I would either have a lighter vehicle than before the conversion or have a much better range and speed.
So if your conscience forbids the Outlander you can do the same.

The Outlander has a full size luggage compartment. Just not the 3rd bench.
So if you want to drive around on 1.5 L/100Km in a comfortable 5 seater with 4WD….

andyS May 27, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Nonsense Andy (as so often).

My “nonsense” comes from the manufacturers specs

Presumably your Starlet is fairly range limited (and may well be quite suited to the local driving you do – I am not knocking it and admire you for building an EV yourself)

However, battery size and also replacement costs are one of the main barriers to adoption of EVs, other than capital outlay

Thomas May 27, 2014 at 7:30 pm

I am just pointing out that loss of loading space is not a barrier to PHEV use. You can but the Toyota Prius as a 7 seat version too. And I am confident that Toyota will follow the lead or Mitsubishi in the development of PHEV vehicles swiftly. Especially custom designed chassis such as the Tesla cars show that range plus high interior comfort and safety are all perfectly doable with no compromises. In fact the Tesla S series car showed that off so well by winning car of the year hands down.

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