Last your during our Munich visit in Germany we decided to have a look at the BMW World and Museum. Apart from vintage classics and fancy BMW vehicles the electric section at the BMW World caught our attention.
Ethan’s favourite car at the moment is a BMW i8 roadster – a beautifully designed supercar. It’s made to showcase the capabilities of electric cars. And it’s one stylish car which derived from the BMW Vision ( a concept electric car used in the Mission Impossible movie … see pictures). You can’t buy the Vision – with only a few prototypes made. But don’t worry – you can buy the BMW i8 roadster. Even here in Australia. The driveaway price in Victoria is over AU$372.000 (the car in Germany has a list price of 155.000 EUR (which is only around AU$ 246.000 at an exchange rate of 1.59 AUD/EUR – 16/01/2019) ). Luxury car tax of AU$65.000 brings it closer to the Australian price – but there is still a substantial markup. Not happy!
It’s just dreaming. Who really buys a BMW i8? It is a beautiful car but it is a supercar which is out of range for most. You can just dream of or rent it for a day (when you find a place to rent it out!?). In my opinion the future is in affordable electric cars for everyone. Lots of companies start making entry models in the electric space. We just need one company which really cracks the price barriers. The figures mentioned are 40k or 50k. We need a basic model for 25-30k in Australia! This would be a game changer!
Update 2022: We are still not there! We now have a few more manufactures delivering electric vehicles to Australia. The Tesla Model Y is here – still too expensive. The first models are out for around AUD 45,000. You can get an MG ZS EV or a BYD Atto 3 for this price. But thats about it – medium sized SUVs. There is still no small electric vehicle with a decent range available in Australia.
Let’s hope for 2023 with the release of the ORA Good Cat, BYD Dolphin or the MG 4. We might crack this AUD 35.000 mark. But with the hiking inflation I have not much hope to get to the range of 25-30K. Moreover it seems like all traditional car manufacturers are ignoring the small electric segment in Australia – we only get chinese built cars. Made by brands which the majority of Australians haven’t heard of.
Advantages of electric cars in Australia
We have so much sun here – and lots of solar systems. Potential free electricity! With the end of the premium feed in tariff in 2024 in Victoria a lot of early adopters to solar systems might want to upgrade their system and/or buy an electric car. It will not make sense to feed the electricity back in the net – rather store the power and use it yourself. It’s a good time to upgrade the solar system and switch to an electric car. The grid is still consisting of a lot of dirty coal electricity – this is slowly changing and you have the possibility to charge from your own solar.
Electric cars are emission free – of course electricity production still uses resources and also power plants have emissions. But there are lots of renewable sources of energy production. Electricity produced by solar power and wind power will be an alternative. Just think about an emission free Melbourne CBD. Let us dream. Clean air!
Silent – No more noise pollution
Drive an electric car and you will instantly hear a difference. It’s silent. They are actually so silent that some manufacturers decide to put in speakers to create engine sounds. But imagine a city without loud and stinky cars. No more noise barriers on freeways. No more loud traffic on Hoddle Street.
Ideas how to make electric cars a success:
Solar Systems + your electric car
Lots of home owners have a solar array on their roof. Why not use solar energy to charge your electric car. Free energy! Sure – this is not for everyone. But it should be the ultimate goal for every home owner. No more petrol costs! On super sunny days there will be a lot of electricity in the grid which should be used to charge up the cars. Even just your fast charging solution inside your garage should get us one step closer to help electric cars.
Integrated systems – Home + car
Why not integrate the electric car in your home – use the battery of the car to power the house in the night. This might again not be an option for everybody as you most likely will end up with an empty car on the next morning. But just imagine the car as a backup system to have a higher battery capacity for extreme peak times or low sunshine day. It can complement your home battery in an emergency. A fall back solution. Wish the car manufacturers would think about the whole ecosystem a bit more – Tesla would be the ideal candidate to do this!
Update 2022: This was just an idea but looks like we slowly getting with standards V2L (Vehicle to Load), V2G (Vehicle to Grid) and V2H (Vehicle to Home) being introduced with more and more electric cars.
Australia is set to become one of the main suppliers for lithium. Mines in Western Australia produce already the highest quality lithium which will be used for the high capacity batteries found in electric cars. It’s not the big miners which run lithium mines – it’s smaller niche companies. You wonder why there is not much backup for this industry in Australia – electric cars are not supported in any way. Australia is more about protecting old coal mines and gas resources instead of backing a new technology. Sad! Hope this changes and we think a bit more progressive. A strong policy for the future of electric cars.
Update 2022: There are a few rebates throughout Australia available – in Victoria we can get a $3000 benefit for the purchase of a new elelctric car. But then there is also a new tax on the use of electric vehicles charged per km – now that is stupid. With the low numbers of elelctric cars sold this tax will cost more than it makes. It does not make sense and feels like it was only introduced by the state government to be faster than the federal government to be able to keep the tax in the future (when it will make money) – this is not forwardthinking and shows the state of our politics. Sad.
Running costs of an electric car
Most people compare the purchase cost of a car and ignores registration, insurance, running costs & repair costs. Make the effort and try to calculate the total cost of ownership before you decide on a car. It’s a bit of effort to go through these calculations and will depend on your personal circumstances. You might find out that an electric car compares well.
More charging infrastructure
Rental apartments with electric chargers, unified charging plugs, public superchargers in the city and in rural areas. Driving an electric car requires a bit more preparation than petrol or diesel engine cars. There is no shortage of petrol stations in Australia – but you will need to plan your long distance trip to be able to charge up your electric car. You can use maps such as EV Charge Stations Australia to find the next station.
Also options to share a charge point on small townhouse developments or with your neighbour are options. Or even charge points on the public nature strip in front of your house – why hide the charge point when you could sell the electricity to the public. Imagine tens of thousands of charge points in the streets of Melbourne – instead of putting coins in the parking meter you pay for electricity at any parking spot.
You phone is already charging wireless? Why not your car? Think about a massive wireless charger – electricity from solar panels embedded in the street. Future! But at the moment councils rather install parking meters than electric charge points.
Think outside the box
There are some interesting ideas coming out of Europe. Renault has the little Twizy on offer in European countries. It’s more a motorbike than a car – 2 seats – tiny cargo space but fully and starts at EUR 7,540 (yes you heard right … that is just around AU$12.000). There comes a monthly charge for the battery rental on top of that (around EUR50-62/month depending on km/year). Affordable! Cool! Different! We don’t need to drive around in massive SUVs all the time. It’s a perfect city car and ideal for people who want to enter the electric vehicle market. But unfortunately not available in Australia
Sad that these ideas don’t make it to Australia – I guess it will be hard to get a registration for this type of car … it will not meet Australian standards. Haven’t seen it here.
Cheapest electric cars in Australia
Prices of electric cars are coming down in Australia. Slowly. They are still pretty expensive and a premium is usually charged. It feels like the car industry does not want to make them a success just yet and still sell their old cars.
Here is a little list of electric cars available for sale in Australia:
So not a lot of choice yet … lots of manufacturers such as Mitsubishi and Toyota also have hybrid cars but no full electric versions yet. The Renault Zoe and Huyndai Iconic are the most affordable cars which you can get at the dealership right now. But you still pay around AU$50.000.A step in the right direction. This might be already an alternative for European countries as there are government rebates and tax incentives. Australia is still behind. China has so many different models which you have not even heard of. BYD for example sold 37.000 electric cars alone in December 2018! Other manufacturers still have not announced any electric cars for Australia. The lack of government policy is showing!
UPDATE: You can get an MG ZS EV or a BYD Atto 3 for around AUD45,000 which makes these two the cheapest available elelctric vehicles in Australia (NOV 2022).
Our new electric car! (I see the future)
Sorry! Our family car is still a petrol car. Lots of emissions – not very efficient – but the price is just not right yet. You can buy a perfect petrol car for $20.000 or less – you can’t get an electric car for that. You will get a used one when you pay a fair bit more or you will just need to wait for the prices to come down. Give us an elelctric car for 25-30K!
Our family would make the switch to an electric car – but not at the current premium. So for now we just look at the cool electric cars driving past (pretty rare) or we just have a look at them at the dealership. See pictures from the BMW world in Munich below. Yes … the BMW i8 is a nice car! One day. This is tomorrow. Now!