So, today, Amy drove me to Ballarat University because I am letting her drive my Hybrid car during the week to the Uni, instead of having to catch the unreliable public transport system. I have a novated lease, and unfortunately I need to get the kilometres above 25,000 each year or I have to pay extra Fringe Benefits Tax if I don’t reach this target. It is a ridiculous government rule, that forces you to drive further to get a tax discount, and obviously consume more fuel in the process. I hope they abolish it very, very soon.
We left at about 1030 and she did really well on the freeway, then we filled up the car with fuel and the it took 40 litres to fill the tank. With the price at $1.50 a litre it will cost me $60 to be able to drive about 850 km. Then we took off again, and Amy took the back road to the University through the country side, and she drove there with no problems. On the way back from the Uni, we came across some sort of bicycle race, as we had to pass over 50 bicycles as we headed back towards to the freeway entry. As the area we were driving through was really hilly, and there were double white lines everywhere, she could not pass them safely, so we crawled up the hills at the same pace as the bikes, until it was safe to do so. Behind us were your typical impatient drives honking their horns and trying to get Amy to go around when it was obviously dangerous to do so, not only for us, but the struggling bike riders as well. She just kept playing it safe and the arseholes sped around us at the first chance. Those sorts of drivers are the ones you hear about on the news, wrapped around a lamp post because they were speeding or some such stupid thing.
The rest of the trip was uneventful, and she did a great job. She even used cruise control on the freeway to cut down on fuel consumption. When we arrived home, I checked the fuel economy and to my disbelief, the computer in the car indicated that we had only used 4.7 l/100km, which is the best I have ever seen in the 18 months I have had the car! Well done Amy! With fuel economy like that, not only will we emit less GHG, but I will still be able to reach our kilometre target for the year, with a near guiltless conscious. Not to mention that I have already offset the emissions from the car via GreenFleet anyway!
Kim and I have decided to purchase the car when the lease expires in October 2009, as we have fallen in love with the car, and it is very cost efficient to run. I would love to be able to purchase an electric car and offer the Hybrid to Amy for the sale price, but there are none on the market in Australia, and conversions of older cars are very expensive. I hope that in the very near future, and before Peak Oil really starts to bite, that these types of vehicles are available for all at an affordable price. Wouldn’t it be good that with the sale of the car, a Solar PV system was part of the purchase price. This is so the car can be charged with clean, renewable energy, every single day. We can only hope!
I’ve got a year to go on my lease… can’t wait to get rid of my V6 which averages about 12L/100km. Like you it’s on a novated lease but with my conservation efforts this past year I missed the 25,000km target by a long way.
Just a few comments on the idea of matching PV with electric cars:
Most of the time you want to charge your car at night, so PV energy produced during the day would have to be stored somewhere.
Personal motorised transport (ie cars) use a lot of energy. Wikipedia reckons that even the best battery-electric ones use 0.1–0.23 kWh per kilometre of travel. How many kWh does your array produce each day, and how far could you go on that?
My 1kW (peak) array is expected to produce an average of 4kWh per day, which would give me between 17 and 40km range if I put all of that energy into an electric car.
But then bear in mind that first you have to store the energy during the day (while your car’s not there) and then you have to transfer it to the car, and each of those steps typically loses something like 10% of the energy in conversion, dropping your range by nearly a fifth.
Two of them. Present-day PV technology really isn’t powerful enough to meet all our energy requirements, and even with the best cars we could build the future probably involves doing a lot less driving.
Yes, one would need a mighty PV system indeed to charge a EV for daily usage. My system produces 12.6 kWh per day on average since installation. If I purchased an EV, I would have to expand the array or get wind for the baseload. In the long run, it still works out better and cheaper to catch public transport, as long it is an available option.