Archives for November 2015

The infrastructure Australia needs to make electric cars viable

By Craig Froome, The University of Queensland. Originally published at The Conversation.

Tesla may have ambitious plans for battery technology for the home but it is also looking to upgrade its electric vehicle batteries, which will allow them to travel twice the distance they currently do. So what will be the implications for Australia?

While Australia has generally been an early adopter of new technology, electric vehicles pose more of a problem. Anybody who has grown up in regional Australia knows that being the family taxi at weekends for children’s sporting events can regularly mean a round trip of more than 200km.

The current battery life of an electric vehicle is around 160km – the Nissan Leaf is quoting an average even lower at 135km – so they are still not an option as the primary vehicle for even the most die-hard regional environmentalist.

There has been some take-up of hybrid vehicles – and they are more suitable to Australian conditions – but what is needed for those who would love to move to a fully electric vehicle?

Electric is more suited to the major cities, where they can be used for the daily commute to work (and may provide an alternative for the second family vehicle).

But the uptake of new electric vehicles is slow according to one recent report, with limited sales in the first few months of the year, although BMW claimed the most with 70 of its i3 model. (It’s a similar story in other countries where sales are far less than predicted.)

One of the reasons for the slow take-up in Australia has been identified as a lack of infrastructure to keep electric vehicles powered, especially on the longer journeys that are typical here.

The need for distance

Three main issues need to addressed if we are to see more electric vehicles on our roads are:

  1. The battery technology
  2. Availability of charging stations
  3. Whether the cost of electricity continues to increase to a point where liquid fuels are the most economic option.

Technology in electric vehicles is changing fast. Vehicle battery charging stations that are being deployed in the United States and Europe are being developed right here in Australia.

New “fast chargers” will enable quicker charging, but will cost more (for both electricity at a higher tariff and use of the charger) compared to the overnight charge in the home garage. The Australian-designed Veefil by Tritium will allow for a charge of approximately 48km for each 10-minute charging cycle.

A battery boost network

The problem is who will pay for establishing a network that will allow for vehicle charging around what is one of the greatest highway networks (by length) anywhere in the world?

We could retro-fit every current petrol service station with electric vehicle chargers – but what incentive would there be for the oil companies to even entertain the idea?

Maybe the electricity distribution companies or retailers may look at vertical integration and diversify into their chain. Co-locating at existing sub-station sites may be a feasible option for them.

There is also an opportunity for electricity generators as it will help use up the excess capacity they currently have due to falling demand.

Image: A parking bay reserved for charging electric cars at a shopping mall in Ohio, US.
Flickr/Nicholas Eckhart, CC BY

With a maximum charging time (utilising a fast charger) being 30 minutes, shopping centres or take-away food chains may also provide a viable option, providing drivers with something to do while their vehicle is being charged. Maybe valet car charging may become an option.

While there has been much focus on the new Tesla battery for domestic use (primarily for photovoltaic (PV) systems), this is really a spin-off from what the company is doing for its vehicle batteries.

The company’s co-founder, Elon Musk, has stated that it should be able to extend the life of its batteries considerably within 18 months. This is a key area for all manufacturers of vehicle batteries and development in storage technology will flow through to the vehicle industry.

The final issue was the rising price of electricity within Australia. There has been much discussion around electric vehicles being a de-facto energy storage system for the home. However, in many cases the vehicle will not be in the garage during the day.

Electric cars will be the future, one day

For the foreseeable future, the price of charging the electric vehicle will be less than a tank of petrol and the whole distributable generation market will change considerably over the next decade.

While electric vehicles are the way of the future, for Australia we still have to wait until they go through the pain of the innovation curve for a little longer and technology makes them more suitable to our driving conditions.

We are at that stage where people will not invest in the vehicles until there is infrastructure to support them and those willing to put in the infrastructure will hold back until there are enough vehicles on the road to support the investment.

It is not a case of will electric vehicles dominate the market, it is just a case of when. This is an area where Australia can play a dominant role in the long-term roll-out of infrastructure requirements for long-distance travel.

The Conversation

Craig Froome, Global Change Institute – Clean Energy Program Manager , The University of Queensland

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Chocolate-Free Chocolate

I’ve been busy working on a cookbook for the last year. It started out as a paleo collection of recipes that I’ve now modified into a vegan collection instead [read: she took out the honey!]. The latest addition are chocolates that don’t contain any cocoa or cacoa. Instead they are created from dried coconut, coconut sugar, vanilla, sea-salt and either carob or freeze-dried raspberry, which makes them chocolate-free chocolates as far as I’m concerned.


The fat content is pretty high in these, however, they’re made with all-natural ingredients, and, juxtaposed against store-bought chocolates, these are classed as a pristine, clean food: they don’t contain any of the crap that mass produced chocolates have, such as high fructose corn syrup, artificial colours and flavours, preservatives, gluten or milk. As a bonus, no animal was harmed in the making of these; in fact, if you share these with your animal friends, you can make them feel happy just like you’re going to be when you sit down to watch TV and you pop one of these in your mouth. (DO skip the xylitol if giving to dogs; their digestion can’t handle it.).

Chocolate-Free Chocolate Recipe

Because the following ‘chocolates’ are made from dried coconut and don’t contain any cocoa, cacao or chocolate, they’re not actually chocolate, ergo though, if you cannot have chocolate, these here will hit the spot for any cravings that you have for the beast. Sugar can be substituted with xylitol or omitted altogether: the coconut is sweet enough by itself. To make these, you will need either chocolate moulds or ice-cube trays for the chocolates to set in.

White Chocolate

3 cups of dried coconut

1 cup of coconut sugar or xylitol

pinch of sea salt

(Sweetener can be replaced with 4 TBSPN of Agave or Maple syrup but the mixture will lose it’s runny consistency and will need to be pushed into moulds with fingers)


3 cups of dried coconut

pinch of sea salt

1 cup of coconut sugar or xylitol

5 TBSPN carob powder

Raspberry Chocolate

3 cups of dried coconut

pinch of sea salt

1 cup of coconut sugar or xylitol

5 TBSPN freeze-dried raspberry powder



Mix coconut on high in your blender for 8-12 minutes. (The more powerful your blender, the shorter blending time.) Once your coconut has taken on the consistency of a thick liquid, add in the rest of your ingredients. Mix for another minute. Pour into moulds and set in the freezer for 30 minutes. Pop out into a sealed container and store in the fridge.




Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

YouTube: Health and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Jennifer Clarich, who suffers with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, has made a video titled ‘Health and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity’, which is now on YouTube. Near the end of the video she talks about cars and the troubles she’s had in relation to a law suit that’s going on with a particular brand of car that has caused people to get sick from the chemicals used in manufacturing of them (this is in the US).
More from her YouTube page:

“Health tips and MCS awareness. I forgot to add that once you follow the advice in “Rich Food, Poor Food” you will no longer crave junk.

Essential oils website

And don’t forget to watch documentaries: Food Inc., Death By China, GMO OMG, Last Call at the Oasis (this one features Erin Brochovich), Ethos (featuring Woody Harelson) and Addicted to plastic.

If you or someone suffers from MCS there is a Environmental Health Engineer advocating and searching for a cure u can get his info through

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Information, products and views presented by guest bloggers @The Labyrinth are not necessarily the same as those held by this blog's author, Michellina van Loder. Reviews are my own personal opinions (unless stated otherwise); and satire is used throughout personal posts. Any health topics discussed are not to be taken as medical advice. Seek out medical attention if needed and do your own research; however, you're welcome to use mine as a start.
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