economics of electric cars l.
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ECONOMICS OF ELECTRIC CARS Keith Hungerford, BSc, BE Bathurst, 2009 Declaration All care has been taken in the preparation of this presentation No responsibility will be accepted for any conclusions you draw Electric car facts and issues

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economics of electric cars


Keith Hungerford, BSc, BE

Bathurst, 2009

  • All care has been taken in the preparation of this presentation
  • No responsibility will be accepted for any conclusions you draw
electric car facts and issues
Electric car facts and issues
  • Electric cars are one solution to “Zero Emission Vehicles” – vehicles that produce no emissions as they drive
  • Electric cars can have a zero Carbon Footprint if charged from Green Electricity
  • Most major manufacturers have R&D projects under way, some have product in the pipeline
  • In Australia only after-market conversions are currently available – both New and Used
  • In the UK and USA new electric vehicles are on the market. Not in Australia due to non-compliance with Australian Design Rules.
  • Major issues are Range and Cost (inter-related)
range requirements
Range requirements
  • Majority of suburban journeys are reported to be about 5 km – very compatible with electric car capabilities
  • Many cars are also used for occasional extended journeys – a major issue for electric cars
  • Analysis of economics based on a mix of “Commute” and “Maximum” journeys
analysis method
Analysis method
  • Calculation of Electric vehicle costs including conversion and operation
  • 40 assumptions of varying reliability
  • Data obtained from Internet – AEVA, ZEVA, etc.
  • Discounted cash flow analysis of comparable Petrol and Electric vehicles
  • Specific travel model – mostly commuting with some longer weekend journeys
things to consider
Things to consider
  • Expect fuel prices to rise over time (model inflates them at eg 7% pa)
  • Expect battery prices to fall over time (model has them constant)
  • New off-the-shelf electric cars will become available in the next year or two, and get better as the industry matures
  • In Australia new and second hand conversions are available now
more things to consider
More things to consider
  • Electric cars are now cost effective for specific journey patterns
  • If recharge at both ends of the daily journey (eg at Home and at Work) halves the commute range and improves economics
  • Max journey (non-commute journey) dominates design requirement and costs
  • Zero carbon emissions if charged from renewable energy
  • Long life, low maintenance motor may reduce significance of energy embedded in the vehicle structure
  • Battery elements should all be recyclable (needs recycling program)
ancillaries on retrofit vehicles
Ancillaries on retrofit vehicles
  • Power steering – choose base vehicle with electric power steering
  • Brake booster - ? Petrol vehicles use inlet manifold vacuum, not available in electric
  • Air conditioning – power hungry, continuous rotation needed
  • On board battery charging
primary features
Primary features
  • LiFePO4 (LFP) batteries now give best performance/economy mix
  • Lead Acid batteries OK for short range use (heavy, low energy per kg and limited life)
  • AC motor superior to DC and provides regenerative braking for more range in hilly country or city driving, but more expensive
  • High battery voltage requires proper safety installation
  • Plug-in Hybrids – use electric grid energy for short journeys, petrol for longer ones
  • Compressed air cars – need to be purpose built structure, range TBD
  • Hydrogen/fuel cell – doubtful at present, most H2 production now fossil based
  • Cycling with or without electric assist a good alternative for short journeys and more healthy
where to buy
Where to buy?
  • Australian Electric Vehicle Association – see their web site
  • Zero Emission Vehicles Australia – see their web site
  • Blade Electric Vehicles (converted new Hyundai Getz
  • Mitsubishi iMiEV
  • This technology is available now and is cost effective for some journey patterns
  • Two (or more) car families are more likely to obtain good economics
  • Expect continuing improvements and expansion of the cost effective journey patterns
For more photos and information on this conversion visit