The Hyundai Kona uses regenerative braking to slow down. Picture: Supplied.
The Hyundai Kona uses regenerative braking to slow down. Picture: Supplied.

Aussie drivers still can't grasp electric vehicles

Electric vehicles have become an election issue, with Bill Shorten unveiling a bold plan to have EVs make up 50 per cent of new car sales by 2030.

While there's no doubt consumers will have a wide choice of electric cars to choose from in a decade's time, the practical issues of EV ownership are less clear.

Readers of Sydney's Daily Telegraph and Melbourne's Herald-Sun have provided a couple of unique perspectives on the practicality of a widespread rollout of electric vehicles.

 

NO SIMPLE SOLUTION

Politicians don't understand the reality of charging electric cars. I've done body corporate work in Docklands, Melbourne, to see if we could install electric vehicle charge points. The building had no non-allocated parking spaces - typical of apartment buildings - so which apartment parking spaces should have value added with a charge point? There was very little spare power supply capacity, and the sub-boards and main switchboard would need upgraded. Throw in CBD substations not able to cope … and those advocating only electric vehicles by 2040 are completely bonkers.

Owning an EV isn’t as simple as plug and play. Picture: AAP.
Owning an EV isn’t as simple as plug and play. Picture: AAP.

Dr Victor Powell, email

I'm confident the pollies are across all such issues Victor. Have they ever let us down before?

On a serious note, we've heard of similar issues with office buildings that aren't equipped to take the extra load of vehicle recharging. And there have been body corporate rows in the US after residents complained about EV owners using common area power points to charge their cars.

ATTACK OF THE CABLES

I laughed when reading your electric cars article. I can see Bunnings making large profits on extension leads given how many cars park in the street nowadays. Trip hazards and councils passing on fines. Fun times ahead!

John Huggard, email

Public charging stations could create headaches for some motorists. Source: Supplied
Public charging stations could create headaches for some motorists. Source: Supplied

Fear not, John, electric cars are still restrictively expensive so only those with climate-controlled triple garages on sprawling estates can afford them. On a sensible note, this very real problem can be solved with workplace charging, destination charging, rapid en-route charging and such innovations as on-street charge points. London, for example, has begun installing charge points in lampposts.

LITTLE FAITH

I believe electric car batteries can be recycled - but I don't believe they are.

Mark Seychell, email

Re recycling lithium batteries from electric vehicles, who does it? Isn't the process too expensive to do commercially?

Michael Sloan, email

Expensive yes, but Toyota, for example, is conscious of its responsibility. The car giant claims more than 98 per cent of its hybrid batteries have been "diverted from landfill." In Australia, the maker's Hybrid HV Battery Recycling Program gives a $100 rebate on returned batteries or $500 discount on a replacement.

Hyundai’s  Pic : supplied
Hyundai’s Pic : supplied

ON A BRAKE

Re the review of the Hyundai Kona Electric in a recent issue of your motoring section. Claire Haiek commented how little she used the brake pedal thanks to regeneration slowing down vehicle. Do we need some form of brake signal when these cars are slowing in such a way?

Geoff Plover, email

Good question. I thought the same on my Kona Electric test and tested it out with a car following. Rest assured if there's any significant slowing down of the car due to regenerative braking, the brake lights come on.


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