07 March, 2011

I Drive 600 km and forget to put a title on the post.

Odo 1288

Once a month I have to drive 600 km in a day. There's no public transport option, so it's just the price I have to pay to live where I live.

Last weekend was that day. I needed to fill the dinoburner before we went and I needed to fill it again on the way back. The price of fuel went up by 10c/l on the way back (and has stayed up). I took this photo when I filled on the *cheap* price.

The US dollar and the AU dollar are about the same at the moment, so that's about 78 USD for 14.5 gallons. That lasts me for about 500 km. This is the vehicle I would be using if I didn't have the Zero. I think that the battery pack will last about 30 000 km and cost $5000 to replace. (the factory claims some astonishing number of km, but I don't really agree). So what would it cost me to run the car for that distance? $78.45 x 30000 / 500 for fuel. Equals $4707.00 for fuel alone. There would also be 6 services at about 200 each. The car cost me $30 000 new and I think will last 300 000 km after which it will be worthless. (no-one will buy a car in Australia that has over 300 000 km on it. Just seems to be a mental barrier). So driving it 30 000 km uses about 1/10 of it's useful life. That's $3000. That's a total of 8907 dollars (at last week's fuel price and not counting tyres).

So it appears that every 30 000 km of use the Zero will save me 4-5000 dollars compared to the car. I will need to ride 90 000 km just to *break even*. That's ignoring the interest that I'm not getting on that money which could be earning me 6% in a long term deposit. Electric is still not a money saving thing unless you can make it your only vehicle. I think that's still quite a way off as it will depend on better infrastructure.

Ideally I'd like to see fast electric trains that carry vehicles (like the channel tunnel). Have a stop about every 100 km. Ride/drive aboard, plug in for a recharge while you are whisked at great speed to somewhere close to your destination. Then ride/drive the last 50 km under your own power. Hmmm. I can't see that happening in my lifetime. It would cost less than the roads, reduce import of foreign cars and oil. Take the burden off the hospitals and eliminate the welfare for people injured on the roads. Reduce carbon output from trucks and private cars. 

It's never going to happen.

The NRMA estimates 61 billion dollars in raw accident damage costs during the period between the Pacific Highway upgrade expected completion date (1999) and 2009. That would have easily paid for a high speed car/truck carrying train between Sydney and Brisbane. That's ignoring the billions more of foreign exchange sent overseas for cars, trucks and oil just to drive between two major cities. Also ignoring the 18 billion spent on upgrading the road. For goodness sake, the Channel Tunnel only cost about 22 billion dollars (in today's money). All this would need is a track upgrade and some new rolling stock. I can't imagine it would cost more than 10 billion to link Sydney and Brisbane. 61 billion would link Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Wollongong, Sydney, Newcastle and Brisbane. That would link all but 1 of the 10 largest population centres in Australia. 15 million out of the 20 million population would be within 100 km of a station. For three quarters of the population almost all road trips would be under 100 km and long distances would be covered at 300 km/h in almost perfect safety. That's Sydney-Brisbane in 3 hours rather than 12.  Sydney to Thredbo door to door in well under 2 hours.  You couldn't fly that fast.   For less than what one road has cost the community in 10 years.


  1. great - will you run for NSW ? or have we given up on politics. At least we could get a real carbon neutral incentive onto the bikes so the figures stack up more realistic to what the bikes saving the earth....
    but even that is now being debated yet again.

    coz we need desperately new ideas. Even I commute with the advantage of bus lanes -- they are now FULL of buses queuing up ... not much sense ... a rail, hop on off or so much better.... and with the Zero - would be great...

  2. The EU and Japan have figured all this stuff out years ago. It seems logical to follow their examples.

    President Obama is trying to do just that, but is facing significant opposition from the right-wing conservatives. Some, such as the Governor of Florida, even REFUSED to accept the funding to begin work on a high-speed railroad. This funding would have created thousands of jobs - and in the long run - would have saved billions of dollars (since we would need that much less imported oil). The ignorance is astounding.

    But, on a posistive note, President Obama is determined to head in the direction of sustainable energy. We are seeing electric vehicles on the road now. We are seeing charging stations being installed. Slowly, but surely we are making the transition ... well, at least until the conservatives are in power again.