To preface this, we never expected to be doing this in the middle of a pandemic when so many people around us are out of work, unwell, or generally struggling. I'll post about that separately because we are also affected.

However the opportunity to get a second electric car that could travel further than our trusty Nissan LEAF presented itself, which we expected might actually happen around May or June. Imagine my surprise when the call came from Tesla delivery earlier this week saying they had matched my order to a car, and would I like to collect it this weekend?! With so much uncertainty it wasn't a straightforward decision to say yes, but after much soul-searching we decided to do so.

I remember saying to Liz when news of the first Roadster came out back in 2008 that I had just found my mid-life crisis car. Well here I am 12 years later, somewhat closer to mid-life and while it isn't a Roadster it's a far more practical Model 3. Pretty much the safest car on the planet, the absolute most efficient, one of the fastest (even this base model is faster than the WRX I once lusted after), and basically a computer on wheels that we can fill up for free from our home solar system then drive for around 380kms. For longer trips we can top up at the Superchargers appearing around the place while we have a break from the driving.

Unlike every other car manufacturer, there are no dealers (I ordered it online), it was handed over without anyone from Tesla present to maintain social distancing (they linked my phone to it and rang me to talk through opening it and setting it up), and new software is released constantly so the car gets better all the time - like adding auto-steering functionality, extra power and torque from the motor, improved safety features and even the ability to "summon" the car to me in the carpark if I get parked in. The cameras all around it have a "sentry" mode that records any carpark incidents when unattended for later handover to police - like this one.

Of course I woke up this morning and local wildlife had walked on it for an explore, so the real-world is still around us, but there's no denying the vision of Elon Musk and his desire to move the world to sustainable transportation. (and yes, his at times insanity).

(As is now customary, I must share my Tesla referral link. If you are considering buying one, do so via this link and we both get some free Supercharging!).

The kids went hunting for the engine, but there isn't one! Extra storage under the bonnet instead.

Other Teslas were waiting in the service center at Alexandria.

Back at home we are now a two-EV family.

This is homework my daughter brought home from school.

It needs a little correcting:

"So why don't we switch everything over to solar power? The simple answer is that fossil fuels are more efficient and cheaper than solar energy"

Is it really more efficient to fight wars and run pipelines for oil, ship it across the planet in super-tankers, refine it with electricity, transport it in trucks to service stations where more electricity is used to pump it into your car which burns it and wastes 80% of the energy in it as heat, noise and vibration; or perhaps just charge your electric car from solar panels at home?

Or mine coal with diesel and human lives, load it on trains to transport it to a power station, then set it on fire wasting about 2/3 of the energy in it as light, heat and pollution; or perhaps just make use of probably the world's most plentiful solar resource and drop a load of panels somewhere in the outback, coupled with batteries and pumped hydro storage for overnight supply, and run your house from that?

As for cheaper, it would take $3b and 8 years to build a new coal plant. The industry isn't doing that, it's investing in renewables instead. Coal and oil is only cheaper if you are ignoring government subsidies, and the sunk and externalised costs (eg. health).

"Solar power is a weak source of energy"

It's strong enough, and cheap enough, for this to be nothing more than a weak argument from a dying industry.

"Although some experimental solar-powered cars have been made, they cannot go very far or very fast and are very expensive"

We literally drop our kids at school in a car we fill up with solar power. It can go anywhere there is electricity (look around - is there a power point near you? We can fill up from that), is faster than our new diesel SUV (that we reluctantly bought for towing and 7 seats), and cost us just over $20k.

"People are hopeful that one day we will be able to use solar power to take hydrogen gas out of water"

The only people hopeful of that are large oil companies, who hate the idea that you can charge your car at home and make them irrelevant. No more drilling, pipelines, refineries or service stations. All of those are still needed with hydrogen, because you can't make it yourself. This is not true for solar panels on your roof.

Almost all actual hydrogen production today is done with fossil fuels, not solar.

Even huge ships are already replacing their diesel motors with electric plus battery, charged at their ports. Given time, they won't need hydrogen either.

The only thing that might still absolutely NEED fossil fuels in our lifetimes will be long-haul flights (massively damaging for our planet, please reduce!), and rockets to leave our atmosphere.

It's things like this that make me really upset, when our school gets a lovely new playground it desperately needs funded not by the government, but the happy smiling people at South32 Illawarra Coal and AGL.

References:

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/coal-or-renewables-which-is-cheaper-20190311-p513cs.html

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil_fuel_power_station

https://electrek.co/2017/10/26/toyota-elon-musk-fuel-cell-hydrogen/

https://youtu.be/rE_M1n-ClOA

https://youtu.be/1SafVI7vKs4 - we rode on this!

More absolute bs from the Hume incumbent.

https://thedriven.io/…/energy-minister-angus-taylor-caught…/

As most people don't have one yet, for the record, here's what our home electric car charging setup looks like. Notice anything complicated? Oh yes, it's a standard power point, like everyone already has in their garage.
Sure, this one is a slightly more capable 15A outlet which can charge around 30% faster than the more common 10A ones, but that's OPTIONAL. We use bog standard 10A outlets when visiting friends and family (and even shopping centres!), and it works fine. We carry the black part in the boot and can charge anywhere there is a power point (ever stopped to consider how many more places that is than you can buy petrol?). The white bit at the bottom plugs into the car and that's as complicated as it gets.

Newer cars support higher charge rates which do need bigger outlets, but again that's OPTIONAL. You'll easily refill any car after the average daily drive overnight on a standard 10A outlet.

Don't fall for LNP lies.

Rough facts and figures post.

In 2018:
- We spent $1700 to travel about 15,000 kms in our diesel Santa Fe. This included one long caravan trip and a couple of short ones. Plus about $500 for servicing.
Overall that's 15c/km, and this car is pretty efficient at about 6.5 l/100km when not towing and 11 or so when pulling the caravan.

- We would have spent $1200 to travel about 20,500 kms in our electric Nissan Leaf, but due to our solar panels and various free chargers we use, we only spent $495 importing electricity. Plus about $200 for servicing.
Overall that's 3c/km we paid, or it would have been 7c/km without the solar.

This is all expensive peak 100% GreenPower, so these numbers would be about 15% less if we were powering with equivalently-dirty coal, or 50% less if we were on a time-of-use tariff and charged only overnight.

Both exclude tyres and any extra repairs. Also rego costs the same for both because it's based only on weight. Insurance is similar.

Of course the Santa Fe is bigger, has all-wheel-drive, 7 seats, and can tow a caravan. But in terms of day to day use, we all much prefer the Leaf, even as a family car. And interestingly we've spent less on tyres and country-road repairs on the Leaf than the Santa Fe.