Pragmatic 52: Your Mileage May Vary

8 January, 2015


Are electric cars going to save you money? We look at all electric and plugin hybrids, charging habits and being energy independent.

Transcript available
Welcome to Pragmatic. Pragmatic is a weekly discussion show contemplating the practical application of technology. Exploring the real-world trade-offs, we look at how great ideas are transformed into products and services that can change our lives. Nothing is as simple as it seems. This episode is sponsored by Sapient Pair and their iOS app, Shopee. Shopee is a collaborative shopping list app that's simple and easy to use with great features like pocket lock, smart ordering, and real-time collaborative updating. Shopping lists aren't to-do lists, and Shopee doesn't just help you organize your shopping items, it helps you shopping from start to finish. It's free on the iOS App Store, so check it out at for more information. This episode is also sponsored by Igloo, an intranet you'll actually like. Built with easy to use apps like file sharing, blogs, calendars, task management and lots more. Visit to get started. It's free to use for up to 10 people. and we'll be talking more about them during the show. I'm your host John Chidjie and I'm joined once again by my co-host Vic Hudson. How's it going Vic? Good John, how are you today? Very good sir, very good. Happy new year and happy 2015. Yes. Fantastic. It is an arbitrary date but it is I believe... I saw your post on that, happy arbitrary date. Happy arbitrary date I should say, indeed quite right but It's always a balance between what I think and what's expected of me to say. So, it's expected me to say, "Happy New Year. So, Happy New Year." There you go. Arbitrary date. Good. So, I would love for us to talk about something that I've done a lot of research into. And I don't just mean for this episode, I mean over the last five years or longer, because one of the things that I've always loved the idea of is being less dependent, as in from an energy point of view. So, and it's one of those things that as an electrical engineer, I think about it quite a lot. And I want to be able to be independent from things like the price of coal, which drives the price of electricity, well, at least in Australia anyway. And the price of oil, which drives the price of petrol, which, you know, drives the price of getting around. So I love the idea of energy independence, and I love the idea of solar and wind power. And I've already talked about this on the battery problem, which is episode two and the four follow-up episodes to that But specifically today, I wanted to talk about vehicles and specifically electric hybrid plugins and their cost effectiveness versus petrol vehicles. So what do you think? Sound like an interesting topic to explore? It does. Let's plug it in. Nice. Okay, I have to start out of the blocks with a very very important caveat. Okay, I am not going to talk about environmental impact. And for all of you listening right now screaming at me, there's a good reason, actually there's a bunch of good reasons why not. The problem I've got is that beyond the argument of are the components of the vehicles petrol versus electric are they in and of themselves environmentally friendly or not really the only difference between them is one doesn't have oil oil is bad and I mean oil in the engine I don't mean the petrol or the diesel or the gas gasoline whatever you want to call it I'm talking about the oil and I'm talking about you know all the waste byproducts from the carbon dioxide. That is bad. Lithium is not necessarily such a good thing either or it is highly reactive but it's not as bad as heavy metals but it's still not something you want to be sucking on. But then again, the electricity, how is it generated? And unless you are personally guaranteeing that that electricity has been generated through environmentally friendly means, well, you know. There's still some sort of carbon footprint. Yeah, exactly. And even if you have done it with solar panels and you've got batteries and everything, how are they manufactured? Were they manufactured entirely in their entirety with renewable energy? I'm going to guarantee you that they weren't. Why? Because they got the lithium out of a mine. How did they get the lithium out of the mine in the back of a big truck? Was that big truck driven by electricity that was generated by electricity, but by energy renewable means, no, I'm pretty damn sure it wasn't. You know, so look, there's maybe it was done on Overland conveyor belt and maybe that was done from electricity, but was that electricity that they were using? I mean, how far do you want to go? How pure do you want to be? It's what it's kind of like the argument of what is the color of money? What is the color of electrons? I don't you know, I don't I don't want to go down that road because the answer is so complex to the point at which it becomes almost ridiculous. I think because of the title of this show that it should be a far more pragmatic position insofar as, is this decision going to be better for me? What are the trade-offs? That to me is interesting. If you want to take an environmental standpoint, then this is the wrong show. Because I don't think that there's a convincing argument either way for the environmental contribution. People will tell you, "Oh, it's so much better with electric because it's environmentally friendly." Well, it's like, "Well, okay, reality check. The rubber in the tyres, yeah, that ain't biodegradable, right? And you're going to have that no matter what. So, unless you shift to a hover car and, okay, then distorting gravity, we can't do that yet. Well, as far as we know, we can't do that yet. Maybe there's some secret government thing, I don't know. Whatever, the point is that, you know, that alone is a difference. Like you still do it, you still need tires, you know, you still need all the plastics, you still need all the vinyls and where does it end? At what point does it end? And there's a whole range of it that's just out of the scope of this program. Yeah, so honestly, maybe Inso, it just the thought occurs to me that in Inso writing that off just then, that I've actually have in essence covered it, but oh well. Anyway, That's all I'm going to say about the environmental impacts. To me, it can't hurt, but I think people overstate just how big an environmental improvement it is. I think it's definitely a sustainable improvement, a more sustainable improvement. Perhaps it's a more sustainable improvement going to an electric based system. But, you know, quantifying that is nearly impossible. Yeah, well, and it's going to take for it to really effectively pay off and to have true accumulated net gains from it. There's a lot of advancements that still need to be made in technology and specifically in price. Yes. So that adoption can be more widespread, because that's when we're going to really see the benefits from it, I think. I absolutely agree with you completely, and we're going to talk about costs. That's a big part of this, because it's all about the money. And when I make a decision like this, like, do I buy an electric car? I've been toying with this idea for years. It seems like such a great idea. But then you dig into the figures. Now, I've said on the show before previously about, you know, I actually have a five kilowatt photovoltaic system on my house. It offsets my electricity. I still have an electricity bill every month because it's a grid connect system. And unfortunately, my after hours consumption exceeds the amount of power that I put back on the grid because the feed-in tariff is so terrible, I'll talk about that later But the bottom line is that I'm not independent of the grid So for me, a decision like this has to stack up financially If it doesn't, I'm not doing it And that's why I wanted to do this topic So, that's enough of the pseudo meta BS, it's time to get into it So two vehicles that I want to sort of, I want to consider a petrol versus an all electric, and that'll be the main focus of the episode. But I also need to talk about a few of the other combinations, but I'm going to focus on two cars specifically. And the reason is, well, it's for this purposes of comparison, similar curb weights, similar performance, different manufacturers, though, and we're going to look at the pros and cons of each of them. So before we go, before we get stuck into that too much, we have to do a baseline for energy. So we have to talk about the price of energy. And this is, of course, fuzzy. And of course, it's fuzzy. Why? Because nothing's as simple as you'd like it to be, right? Yeah. So I'm going to talk about two places that I know. Well, two places that I've lived, USA and Australia. Fair enough. I realize that there's Europe. I realize that Europe is a massive area of like they've got a lot of hydro over there in certain countries, which affects the price of electricity in a good way. They also have a lot of other infrastructure because of the population density and interconnect systems between countries and the petrol and the gasoline, diesel over there is very expensive kind of analogous to here. But you know what? I have to draw a line somewhere. I realize it's a global podcast and I'm not dismissing Europe. So please my European listeners, I'm not dissing you. I love you. It's okay. But you know what I would love to hear from you guys about any cost trade-offs once we go through the math after the show and we may do some more follow-up on that because I think it is definitely worth exploring I just had to draw the line somewhere So in America, average electricity price in 2011 was 12 cents per kilowatt hour That's the average Now the maximum was 33 cents per kilowatt hour Do you have a guess which state that was in? I'm going to guess something kind of isolated and remote like Hawaii or Alaska. See, you are a genius. I keep telling you. Hawaii, spot on. Yes. Now in Queensland, we are also equally in the middle of nowhere, where this wee little island down in the Pacific somewhere. And we pay in Queensland, I pay 28 cents per kilowatt hour. So slightly less than Hawaii. Now that's what we call tariff 11, which is standard tariff during peak periods. Now you can get lower rate tariffs depending upon who you sign up with. So some providers will give you different tariffs. A tariff, of course, meaning a different rate of payment per kilowatt hour. And tariffs are usually for specific utilizations. So let's say that you've got a hot water system. And that hot water system has an electric booster on it. And that booster, so some people have an all electric system, ours is not. Ours is a solar system with an electric booster. So, the idea is that during the daytime, you know, the water gets up to temperature through sunlight and the thermostat will then kick in only if required. If the water temperature is below a certain level, it'll kick in during what they call night rate off peak, which is a much cheaper rate. And that will boost up the water temperature. So, in the morning you have nice warm showers. Summertime, it barely happens. Winter time happens pretty much every day because it's just not enough sunlight during the day to warm up the water to a temperature that's acceptable and that's fine. So anyway, we're going to use an average of those three prices. An average of an average, an average of a peak and the average of the Australian, the Queensland price. Why? Because I have to have some kind of averaging going on here because there's such a wide variation. Yeah, it may not sound like a wide variation, 12 cents to 33 cents being the range that's actually huge. That's almost triple. Yeah, it's huge. When you multiply it by hundreds of kilowatt hours, like the average consumption in the States is something like an average household is like 900 kilowatt hours a month. So that amplifies it significantly. OK, so average price we're going to run with is 22 cents, that's US per kilowatt hour. OK, now let's talk about gasoline. So, gasoline prices in the USA. And I just realized I said that like the guy out of Mad Max, because in Mad Max, he says, "looks like I got myself some gasoline, eh?" And it's always stuck in my mind, like, who the hell pronounces it like that? All right, anyway. Never mind. Okay, so Hawaii, again, horribly, horribly expensive to live in Hawaii, but it seemed pretty when I passed through. Anyway, $3, so 3.463 US per gallon. Now, in Australian and litres in metric, that's $1.131. Or the thing is in Australia, yeah, we would not say $1.131, we would say $1.113.1. So, it's like a $0.113 with a 0.1 on the end, whereas in North America, you guys tend to do the fraction thing. So, I'd go up to the gas station in North America to fill up and it's like, oh, it's, you know, one, one, seven, nine tenths. And I'm like, you do realise that 0.9 takes up less physical space than nine tenths. But then, of course, all the mile boards are all the same kind of thing. It's like it's the next quarter mile. Whereas in Australia, you'd never see fractions on signs. You just don't. It's like, you know, 0.25 or 0.5 kilometres. Yeah, we seem to have a penchant for wanting to interject unnecessary math into things. No, but Americans obviously can handle fractions and Australians can't and that's what I draw from that, so whatever. I don't get it. Anyway, whatever, who cares. The point is that it's just one of those little subtle differences that makes it all very, very interesting. I don't know. As a programmer, I have an appreciation for a nice base 10 metric system. Yeah, well, I am not going to go into the whole metric versus bloody Imperial thing and I don't think I'll ever do that as a topic that's just going to make so many people angry. Anyway, okay, so the range of gasoline prices, I also have the lowest price in Missouri, Go Missouri, okay, it's $1.846 US per gallon. Now, that works out to 60.3 cents in Australian dollars per liter, Which is insanely cheap to me. So, current petrol prices in Australia, current petrol prices as of today when I checked is 121.9 per litre, which works out at $3.73 US per gallon. So, our average petrol price in Australia is higher than the most expensive state in America. So hey and before I say in trumpet that that's such a horribly expensive Oh how difficult our life isn't blah blah blah no Europe have it worse so yes Yeah, much worse. So as I said before got a draw line somewhere, so Okay, so we're going to use an average of those because well why not plus I'm gonna average it to a round number but it's only gonna be a round number in one set of currencies and measurements so the other number will not be round because well I didn't come up with liters or gallons All the current exchange rates so three dollars US per gallon is what we're going to run with 98.2 Australian dollars per liter and That is also ridiculously cheap Although in the last week with the price drop in the price of crude oil because oh heaven forbid They're making too much and therefore they're not getting rich enough which is one of the reasons I hate oil and I hate the oil companies up to a point. It's like, yeah, it's just if you try to manipulate the stock market in the way they manipulate oil prices, you'd go to jail. Yeah, definitely. It maketh me angriest. OK, so that's our baseline. All dollar value comparisons will vary. And that leads to the first caveat in everything that comes from this point forward in this conversation is obviously the prices will vary depending upon where you live specifically, depending upon what's going to happen with inflation, the value of the Australian dollar versus the US dollar versus the euro, versus whatever currency you're working in. It's a supply demand thing with the oil, electricity is no different. And the more it gets deregulated, the more complicated its pricing gets. So obviously, Your mileage will vary. I'm wondering if that was the worst dad joke I've ever told, but anyway. Oh, that was golden. That's terrible. Okay. So without further ado, and I would give a fake drum roll, but that's just sad and tedious. So I'm not going to do that. All electric versus petrol, which is where we have to start. The two primary models I want to compare. Now, obviously, there are lots of models of cars, I could have chosen lots of different ones, but I decided to go with a small car. And the reason is that I realized that in North America, there is a a segment of the populace that goes for the big pickup trucks and the big SUVs and the big vehicles with big engines. I mean, I remember when I went to the Hamfest in 90, Glacier Warden Hamfest way back in Oh, 97 and I was driving around this guys, I think it was a Chevy Colorado and if this thing had like a V8, God knows how many, you know, liter engine, enormous engine had the twin exhaust tailpipe on each side. You know what I mean? Yeah. And the whole thing had this massive kind of thumping noise to its engine. And it's like every single stroke, I could hear the petrol screaming, you know, it's like... Yeah, we have a phrase around here. I think it's probably relatively prevalent throughout the US, but definitely where I live, we say you can feel the suction in your back pocket as you push the gas pedal. That's good. I haven't heard that. I like that. And yeah, it's like- And I realise that to some extent that's a stereotype, but then to some extent it isn't. So when I lived in Calgary and Calgary of course being, you know, kind of very much like Montana in a lot of ways is that that part of the world, the percentage of pickup trucks and large vehicles and so on is much higher than if you were to go to somewhere like Los Angeles, you know, or New York as well, because bigger vehicles, much harder to maneuver and petrol costs more in the bigger cities generally. God, that's a generalization, got to watch that. Anyhow, truth is that I was driving around a Subaru Impreza 'cause that was back when I was young and I had money to buy a nice car. Anyhow, nevermind that. Married mortgage kids, what can I tell you? So now I drive a Jazz. I love my Jazz though, still. Anyway, so I'm driving this car, right? And the Impreza is a pseudo sports car and it's very good in the World Rally Championships and all that sort of rubbish. Mine was a non-turbocharged version just before you thought I had a fully spec'd out version, I didn't. But mine was tiny and I was always surrounded by these enormous cars. So part of my experience and my view of North America was tainted by where I spent most of my time. And I realized it's a stereotype and I also realized that in recent years, a lot's happened since then. So there's been a Gulf War and so on and so forth and price of oil has gone and done crazy stuff but you know Americans now and this has not been a that's happened in the last year but it's happened gradually over the last few decades is that you know the value of smaller vehicles and more fuel economical vehicles is being recognized and you don't need to have the big pickup truck you don't need to have a v6 or a v8 you know to get around you need to have some degree of fuel economy so i'm choosing a smaller car because i think that statistically it's the easiest comparison for the electric cars versus the smaller cars that the normal person would buy. Whatever a normal person is. OK, so first car electric is going to be the Nissan Leaf. That's probably not a surprise, is it? Well, the way you pronounce Nissan was a surprise. Nissan Leaf, is that better? That's what I'm familiar with. Right. Back to Nissan. So yeah, Nissan Leaf, Nissan, Nissan, Nissan, Nissan. Right, the other one I want to compare it up against is a Mazda 3, the four-door version, simply because I had to specify 'cause there's like three Mazda 3 models, which is kind of funny actually when I think about it, but still. The Mazda 2 was a little bit too small, whereas the Mazda 3 is more comparable in size and curb weight to a Nissan Leaf. So if you take the weight of the battery pack out, then the Nissan Leaf and the Mazda essentially have about the same curb weight. And you'd be surprised how light engines are these days. So it's close enough for this comparison, if that makes sense. Okay. Before I actually start going through the specifics, I'd like to just pause for a moment and talk about our first sponsor for this episode. And that's Sapient Pair. Now, Sapient Pair have decided after years of being annoyed with the existing to do apps out there that when they were shopping, they create an iOS app for the iPhone called Shopee because there are so many to-do list apps out there and I've used a lot of them over the years for shopping lists. But shopping is a very specific use case for a list and if you're shopping for more than just yourself, Shopee can really, really begin to shine. The best way to describe Shopee is a fully collaborative shopping list app. It's simple and easy to use. I picked it up and figured out how to use it immediately. It's not cluttered with options, it doesn't presume you live in a specific country or present you with hundreds of options for butter or milk, different brands and so on. It doesn't do that. You just type in what you want to remember to buy in the list, enter the amount if you want, that's optional, and there's your list. It remembers what you've entered for future, it remembers the order that you enter it as well as the order you buy it, such that when you repopulate the list, it's already set up the way that you would like. So that's cool enough, but when you share your shopping list by email, iMessage, you know, and so on to your spouse, your partner, your kids, hopefully they don't add different unsavory foods in there, it shouldn't be in the list. They can then add, mark off and reorder items in the list as they see fit. You know, so I've tried this in real time between two iPhones and the sync happened in less than three seconds over 3G. It was fast. But there's a whole bunch of other little features that are really awesome. One of them is called Pocket Lock and I love it. It's great. If you're security conscious and you've got a passcode set on your phone, there's nothing more annoying than having to lock your phone, slip it in your pocket, get it back out again at the end of the aisle just to unlock it again to look at the list again. Now you can argue that SureTouch ID makes it a little bit easier, but honestly, why do that when you can use Pocket Lock which is even quicker again? What Pocket Lock does is that it detects when it's in your pocket and it disables the screen and it re-enables the screen when it's removed. No passcodes, no touch ID, no fuss. It's fast and it works really, really well. Now, my wife and I, we've used it several times now. We pretty much use it every time we go shopping at this point. Where we used to note things in reminders and to-do apps or even on paper, can't believe that. Anyway, now when we go, when either of us go shopping, we use Shopee. So we open up shopping to indicate you're about to start shopping. Then the geolocation detects the store that you're shopping at and on our shared list, the other person will then get a notification about that you're about to start shopping. When you say, I'm about to start shopping, well, it'll let them know. And if they then remember, oh, you know, need to grab milk or something like that, we're almost out of eggs. They can tap that notification, jump into the shared list straight away and quickly add it. Then it'll appear on my list and I can grab it while I'm there. It's brilliant, so simple, simple idea, but it works really well. So that last minute phone calls, is there anything else you need when I'm at the shops? All that just disappears, you don't need anymore because Shopee does that. So it's free to try for the first month, no ads, after which it becomes ad supported. There's no risk, no loss of functionality, that's it, it works fine. But if you wanna help out the developers, you can in-app purchase a three or 12 month ad removal for $1.99 or $4.99 US respectively. Now, the update for iOS 8 and the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is now live on the store. And it also features a handy reachability features like pull down to add new items. And this is a fresh coat of paint, high res graphics, all that stuff. And now you can also move checked items to the bottom of the list to declutter those longer lists. Please visit this URL, sapient, that's S-A-P-I-E-N-T dash pair as in two dot com slash pragmatic and follow the links to the App Store from there, and that will help out the show. You can search for the app in the store if you like, but if you follow that URL in your browser of choice, it will help out the show. It really is a great app, and I'm very grateful for Sapient Pairs continuing to support Pragmatic. Okay. Facts and figures, mate. It's time. Is it time? I think it's time. - Let's crunch some numbers. Nissan LEAF has a 24 kilowatt battery pack. That's its capacity. A bit more of the details if you're interested, 48 modules, there's four lithium ion cells in each module, and that gives you a total of 192 lithium ion cells. Now, it comes with a 3.3 kilowatt charger as standard. You can get an optional 6.6 kilowatt charger, twice the size. And what that works out to is you've got 24 kilowatts in the battery pack of capacity. You've got a 3.3 kilowatt charger that works out to about eight hours of time to fully charge it. Now, yeah, it is slightly longer than the math would work out to because of course, the charger is not 100% efficient. And of course, the battery is not also 100% efficient either. It's close, but it'll reduce the final charging time, you know, anywhere between 10 to 20%, depending upon conditions. It's not exact. So let's call it about eight hours. also depends on the life and health of the battery. Now, the 6.6 charger takes it down to about five hours. So, you know, that's, that's what you're looking at. Now, standard 3.3 kilowatt over the eight hour period using our standard, which is 22 US cents per kilowatt hour works out to $5.80 to charge this. That's how much it costs. So, the car itself, US dollars, $21,510. Now, let's keep in mind, there are rebates in that. Let's keep in mind also that that varies based on individual state taxes. So, again, the price will vary slightly. But, you know, let's run with that figure. The other figure that's interesting is that you can get a brand new battery pack for five and a half thousand US. Doesn't take much to figure out that that's about one quarter of the cost of the vehicle is the battery pack. Yeah. So, hold that thought, keep that in mind. Let's talk about value for money in terms of your energy. You'll get a real world range. Okay, and here's where it gets fuzzy. Lithium ion batteries, like any batteries will last longer if you don't fully discharge them. They'll also last longer if you don't overcharge them and you don't charge them constantly. So that's why I have protective circuits built into them so that you can't overcharge them because overcharging was a big problem way back when. But now electronics has reached the point where they'll put the control chip to provide feedback in the battery itself. And a lot of these lithium ion batteries now actually have a data connection as well as a power connection so that the battery communicates with the charger such that it doesn't overcharge the batteries. And there's temperature sensors and other things to make sure they don't get too hot. All that other good stuff. So there's a lot of protection built in because you overheat a lithium ion battery, you overcharge a lithium ion battery, it might bulge, it might explode, it might, you know, catch on fire, more than likely catch on fire. And that's a bad outcome, generally speaking, Unless you're trying to burn the car, which I don't, yeah, anyway Okay, so 106 kilometers, which works out to about 66 miles of range But that's if you go for the long life of the battery pack, which is a discharge not beyond 80% So there's settings, you can say I'm going to go for long battery life So I'm going to go with that because if you don't do that, you're going to kill your battery And then it no longer becomes comparable to a petrol car So we're going to stick with those figures for that reason. It's also interesting to point out that the volume, sorry, the cost of that battery pack replacement is contingent on the fact that the old battery is traded in because the old battery, when it's traded in, they will subsidize that by recovering and recycling the lithium that's in the old battery. So the truth is the raw cost of that battery pack is actually higher than that five and a half grand. So just keep that in mind. So if you, you know what I mean? So yeah, people should be used to that anyway, like here in the US, at least, even with a traditional gasoline engine car, when you buy a new battery for it, there's what we call a core charge. And if you don't trade in your old battery, then you pay more for your new one. Sure, exactly. It's exactly the same thing. So good point. And the reason that I mentioned that is that that does not track for an engine. So, if you replace the engine of a vehicle and melt it down, you're not going to get much, you know? So, the value in the engine is in the casting of the block and all that stuff and any machining and, you know, that's the cost. Whereas with the battery, it's the cost of the material, the lithium itself is the cost. Yeah. Okay. So, warranty on a Nissan Leaf, eight years or 100,000 miles. That's the warranty on the battery. The weight of the vehicle is 3,243 pounds, which is approximately 1.5, so one and a half tons. Mazda 3 now, four-door. So it weighs 2,866 pounds, which is about 350, 400 pounds less, 1.3 tons, which is if you look at the weight of the battery, I didn't pull that out, that's roughly the weight of the battery, as I mentioned earlier. That's for the 1.5 litre, four cylinder, four door model petrol engine. Now, because I did the cost of the battery, I thought it might be interesting to try and figure out the cost of a replacement engine, because that's kind of the literal, the essential equivalent. And I say... It's the parallel. Yeah, it is. And I say essential, not because... The problem is that the power plant is kind of a weird construct because the engine goes through a gearbox and a clutch and all that stuff and it drives the wheels. Whereas the battery provides all the energy and it just goes through a variable speed drive, then drives electric motors. A lot of people don't realize, but electric motors, especially AC induction motors, which is typically what they'll use, they don't break, you know, unless something really severely goes wrong, like they're damaged, like insulation gets damaged or something like that, or there's a massive current flow through them for some reason, they just don't die. Yeah. I mean, the only thing really mechanical to them is a few bearings, isn't it, really? Yeah, that's it. So, they would wear out, the bearings would wear out at the same rate as bearings would wear out on your normal car, you know, if you had like CV joints or something like that. But because these cars are the way they are, they don't like these wheels, electric ones, other way they are, they don't have CV joints in them, because the other electric motors and it's the way they're coupled, at least I'm pretty sure they don't. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong about that. So the point is that the the best analog equivalent of the two is the battery pack versus the engine, which is why I'm making that comparison. However, finding accurate data, and I was in a hurry I realized that if I dug and I called up a few dealerships and did it made a few inquiries I could probably find out exact price but for the purposes of this comparison all I did is I found a two and a half liter petrol Mazda engine it was from a mid 90s model so it's not current production model it is an old engine they've probably gone and done a run of them they've you know and so on on a site locally here it's a thousand dollars for the engine but when you consider the age of it and the sort of engine it is and so on, I fully suspect that it'll be at least double that for a modern engine. And then you've got to fit the damn thing. And replacing the battery is a hell of a lot quicker and easier than replacing an engine. So I'm going to conservatively estimate, and I do think this is conservative, and I'd like to have a better number, but I don't. But it's about three thousand dollars to replace the engine. You know, and I think that that's probably on the light side It's likely to be more than that So the Mazda 3 itself, not including state taxes, you're looking at $16,945 That's US and that works out to 23,500 Australian So what does it get? It gets 41 miles per gallon and that's handy, that's highway and that's handy to know for calculations later. I didn't have that value for the electric because the electric doesn't work quite like that. So, the warranty is 150,000 miles. Oh, hang on, let me retract that, it's not the warranty, sorry. There is an expectation with petrol engines and I've got to be careful with this because it is so variable, but it's an expectation that 150,000 miles on an engine is about where things start to go wrong on a petrol engine. That works out to about 240,000 plus kilometres, sort of an average life expectancy of a petrol engine. And I say that a lot of people are going to be screaming at me for that because I realize that there's a massive mixture of contributing factors. It's a mixture of city driving versus highway driving, how well it's maintained, if you rev it high all the time. So if you start out and if you go hitting the red line all the damn time, because you just well, like the sound of an engine screaming, you know, it's all going to impact on the longevity. And then of course, I'm just talking about petrol engines, let's not even go down the discussion of diesel and high compression diesel. Because, you know, then there's people who say, Oh, well, you know, high compression diesel is going to be, you know, got to be worse, have worse lifespan than a traditional diesel, you know, it's like God, so I don't want to go down that road. From my personal experience, I've had a few cars that have hit the 300,000 kilometre mark, which is about 180,000 miles, and their engines were shot. You know, they needed the engine needed to be rebored, they would need larger cylinders, you know, it's gone beyond I can just put a couple of O-rings in there and I'm good. It's like this thing has had it. You got to recondition the engine and that's cheaper than replacing the engine. But once you recondition an engine, you're not going to get another 300,000 K's out of this, I don't know, 8,000 miles. You're not going to get that. You're going to get, you know, less than that. Maybe 60 to 70% of that value and it's not that much cheaper than getting a new engine. Mostly you recondition engines because you just can't get a replacement engine. So, you know what I mean? Not a new one. So, you get a replacement engine, it's just going to be a reconditioned engine. Yeah. So, therein lies a rather interesting comparison, right? So, it's actually cheaper to get like upfront cost to get a petrol car vehicle. And it's cheaper to replace the engine when its lifetime is up than it is to do the same with replacing a battery on an electric car, which also has a higher purchase price in the beginning. So what it needs to be able to do in order to be a good value proposition is cost you significantly less in gasoline in order for it to be, yeah, your operational costs have to be lower. And if they're not, then it's not a good value proposition. So one of the things I didn't mention I realized is that the cost of the Nissan Leaf in Australia is astronomically high. There's no government rebates for it. It doesn't qualify as a luxury vehicle. Only luxury vehicles get a discount on the luxury car tax if they're electric. There's no, the rebates vary in America from state to state, generally there is a rebate in most states for electric vehicles. Not so here, which it boggles my mind. It can't be far away, surely. Anyway, $40,000 Australian for the Nissan Leaf. I meant to mention that before. It's only $21,500 US. It's practically double that. So, the exchange rate should set that at around about 24, 25 grand, something like that not 40. So there's a lot of import tax, there's a lot of you know government tax on top of that vehicles in Australia are taxed very heavily which sucks anyway okay So with the life expectancies, I have kind of drawn that as an equivalent. So I've said, you know what, a battery pack is going to last roughly the same amount of time as an engine. But the truth is the failure mechanisms are completely different. You will start to lose compression in an engine generally is how they'll start to go. Your fuel economy will be terrible. And because essentially it's no longer sealing properly because all the cylinders rattling around inside the block, that's all gonna erode away and you're gonna get, it's gonna slip past, you're not gonna get as high compression. - Once your rings and valves go. - Yeah, exactly. So all of that's gonna contribute to poor fuel economy and eventually it's going to start having issues where it just won't actually sustain enough compression to continue to run and it just won't kick over eventually if you let it go that long. Most people will do something about it before then, like most people just sell it. Anyhow, so, or they'll park it and let it die. I don't know. I see these episodes of hoarders, like people that hoard their vehicles and there's a car park in their yard of just dead rusting cars. I'm like, that's just, it's terrible. It makes me cry on the inside. Anyway, so yeah, let's assume they're about equivalent, but the reality is of course, batteries will die differently. they'll just simply give you less and less range. And that's how that's how they will die. So it'll be, oh, I used to be able to get to the corner store and back now I can't, oh dear, time to get a new battery pack, you know? So it's not going to have the same wear out mechanism, but it's going to have a similar kind of lifespan. So we'll go with 150,000 miles. So we'll consider them about equal. Yes, I know it depends on the battery. Yes, I know. All the caveats I just gave about the petrol engine, exactly the same. But the battery pack depends on how much you overcharge it, how many times you fast charge it, which we'll talk about specifically later. You know, all of that varies. You know, there could be manufacturing defects, there could be damage to the battery pack. There's all sorts of things like prolonged exposure to high temperatures, just if you live in a hot climate. You know, I don't expect a battery pack in Dubai to last as long as one in Alaska. You're right. You know, it's like there's all sorts of different things, different variables and it's very complex but on balance, the comparison is relatively good. Okay. So again, as I said, the replacement power plants for a electric car is about twice the cost of that of a petrol vehicle and I say about because it's obviously going to vary by model and it's going to vary by and so on. But let's just run with that. Purchase costs about 25% more for an electric vehicle over an equivalent size, weight, performance petrol vehicle. So now we're down to brass tacks. Is it cheaper to run? And then we can decide whether or not this is a one big waste of time. OK. Some more assumptions. Is this the moment of truth? I'm afraid it is. So we have to have some more assumptions because the problem is it is complex. So we have to write a few things out here. Let's assume that we're not looking at money and how we pay for the vehicle. All right. So I don't want to get into a comparative of, well, because it costs 25% more to buy an electric vehicle than that's usually if I'm going to borrow money to buy my car, then that's compound interest. so it's going to cost me more in interest. Depreciation rates, this vehicle has a higher resale value than this one. Look, I understand those things, yes. But let's be honest, when we're looking at vehicles at this end of the spectrum, the resale values and how much you borrow, let's just say, assume money is the car was purchased outright, so there's none of that on the table. So there's no interest, there's no lien, there's no anything on the vehicle. And when we sell the car, then we sell the car for an equivalent relative cost for what it was originally worth for the same number of kilometers and so on. So let's assume on balance that there is no advantage or disadvantage either way to that. So I want to take that off the table and just focus on what's left, which is operational costs. Okay, so let's start by miles, dollars per mile. Okay, which is the simplest way to compare. So it costs, as we said, $5.80 to get 66 miles of range for our Nissan Leaf. That's essentially 0.087 per mile, which is 8.7 cents US per mile. Now, if we look at our miles per gallon at $3 per gallon US for our 41 miles per gallon, that's an easy formula to figure out. That is 7.3 cents US per mile. So straight away, on average, gasoline is cheaper. But there's one thing that electric's got going for it, that gasoline doesn't. I can't make gasoline in my backyard. Well, OK, I'm assuming I don't have an oil well in my backyard and I also don't have a fractional distillation tower in my backyard. But let's just run for an assumption that most people don't have those things. Is a home refinery care the thing? It should be. Absolutely. Actually, no, don't do that. I mean, I've having in engineering, we've got they have lots and lots of where it went wrong videos. And I've watched too many of those seconds from disaster like things from the chemical safety board and different organizations that analyze how these refineries end up exploding, things like Piper Alpha and there's the Texas refinery for BP refinery in Texas a few decades ago. And looking at the things that went wrong and it's like a home refinery kit is the worst possible idea in a long string of bad ideas with oil. So, let's not do that. please no one's... If a startup starts up in a few months time and credits me as inspiration to start a home oil kit, I have failed and I will give this, I will give up this podcast because I am inspiring the wrong people to do the wrong things and that's bad. Anyway, right. Okay, that's enough BS. Let's focus. So, I can generate electricity through wind power and through solar power, which is something I can't do with oil. and that's where I can get my cost savings So let's flip the problem over Rather than figure out, oh, I want to go all the way and save all and do everything by solar or through, you know, regenerating my own energy What I'm going to do is I'm going to say, what do I need to do? How cheap does my electricity need to be in order for me to break even or to be better than current petrol prices. So in order to recover our purchase costs, because we spent an additional four and a half thousand US dollars to go electric. OK, so again, going on the three dollar per gallon electricity, electricity then needs to be about half of our assumed twenty two cents. Which is obviously therefore 11 US cents per kilowatt hour. Now, the first thing you're going to say is, well, John, the average electricity price in the States is actually 12 cents per kilowatt hour, which means that the cheapest price, therefore, logically has to be less than that. Therefore, it means that there are already states in America where it's possible for you to actually have your electric vehicle, the one that I'm looking at anyway, and it will be cheaper to run or at least break even versus a petrol. But the key point is not every state because the price of electricity varies. And that's, of course, one of the assumptions that we have to make. So I guess the guiding factor just on that would be, well, if I have cheap electricity, then go electric, it's going to work out cheaper. Of course, it's not as simple as that because, well, nothing is. And I refer you to the preamble in the show. But the point is that in Australia, nowhere has electricity that cheap We just don't You'd think with all the coal we're pulling out of the ground and shoving up a chimney You'd think that it would be cheaper, but it isn't And the reason it isn't is because of transmission losses and the consumer base We do not have the economy of scales We have zero nuclear in there, which dilutes things a lot We don't- We are a very- They call us the sunburnt country for a reason. We get lots of sunlight, great for solar, bad for hydro, right? We simply don't have enough water. So, you know, there's a few hydro schemes, there's a snowy hydro scheme, which is one of the biggest in Australia in the snowy mountains. But- And we also have hydro in Tasmania, which has a reasonable proportion of its electricity generated that way. But majority of it is generated from coal. Which is bad, you know, bad Australia. Okay. And of course, yes, we've talked at length before about this. I refer you to the battery problem episodes of this show and there'll be links in the show notes to those episodes if you want to go and learn more about those. However, all is not lost. And before I go any further, actually, I think I should probably talk about our second sponsor for this episode. And that's Igloo software. Now, in engineering, I've worked in a lot of companies that use a mishmash collection of different tools to provide basic functionality you need to get your job done. Things like file sharing, wikis, announcement pages and department landing pages. They're disconnected, disorganized and they only ever seem to work within an Explorer 7 and on the company provided desktop, which makes me grind my teeth regularly. Yeah, IE7. Anyway, but Igloo is an intranet you'll actually like. Now they bring the ease of use from consumer software into your corporate environment by using familiar apps like shared calendars, Twitter-like micro blogs, file sharing, and lots more. Everything that you do can be social, if you want it to be, with comments, like buttons, anyone can add content based on their permissions, of course, and with drag and drop widgets and a WYSIWYG editor, it's easy to customize everything inside your Igloo, either globally, across a space specifically for your team, or even just a single page. And if you want more, they have an in-house team of web developers and graphic designers that can help you customize the platform completely to fit your brand and your business needs. Now, the free trial experience comes preloaded with three templates, an app-based intranet, a corporate intranet, and a customer community. So it gives you those three examples of what it can do for you to have a play with and explore. But it's not the limit of what it can do, it can go well beyond that. So once you are in there, it's surprisingly easy to reorganize it to fit what you need to do. And thanks to the built-in responsive design, it works on any device you would choose to use, laptop, tablet, phone, all the major browsers, including Internet Explorer 8 and up, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and iOS and Android's native browsers as well. They also have dedicated apps on iOS, Android, and BlackBerry. So common use case for me, add a file to Igloo, and it can be easily shared and seen by others in your Igloo. If someone wants to edit the file, reserve and download it, make edits, and then upload it again, you know, pretty straightforward. If you change your mind, you can release the lock, all done through the web browser. There's version control done automatically, and you can add version change informations each time. you make a change if you want to. Beyond that, you can associate tasks with the document to remind other people they need to review it, to make comments and lots more. It's so much nicer than SharePoint. If you're not ready to abandon SharePoint yet, that's cool, that's fine. But with Igloo, you can use SharePoint to archive your documents. But you can do the collaboration phase within Igloo and that leverages the power of both systems. So that's for users. But what if you're you're in charge of IT. Well, Igloo handles the security, hosting, and management all for you. Their data center partner is SSAE 16 certified. They offer SSL encryption, disaster recovery, single tenant shared environments, and integration with many authentication sync systems, including SAML services and LDAP. Mid to late last year, that's 2013. Whoa, I just realized it's 2015, goodness. So mid to late 2013, I was working for a startup company called Project Facilitation. And based on my own experiences trialing it myself privately, we used it for building our own intranet. It was really handy, it saved us from having to develop and try to integrate different pieces we needed from all over the place. Adding and moving around the features we needed was as easy as drag and drop. And what you see is what you get just made it so easy to tailor it to the way we wanted with no real developer skills needed. And it was a minimal learning curve. Now you may have heard people talk about Igloo in the past, but take it from me, I have used it, it is worth your time to investigate, to look into it. How can you look into it? Well, it's easy. You just visit igloo software, all one word, dot com slash pragmatic and sign up for a trial. It's free for groups of up to 10 people. There's no credit card required, no obligation. Just sign up and have a play today. And I say play because honestly, it doesn't feel like work when you're using it. So. If you'd like to go and check it out, that'd be great. I'd like to thank Igloo for sponsoring Pragmatic once again. OK, so. Before I go on any further, I have to talk about the Tesla Model S. No discussion about electric cars in the current environment would be complete without talking about Tesla. So a few facts and figures about the Tesla Model S, And then we're going to start talking about usage patterns and solar and so on. OK, so the Tesla Model S has a 60 kilowatt hour battery pack model. And the reason I chose that, that's the entry level model. I'm not going to go the 80 kilowatt model, kilowatt hour model, which is frankly the one I would buy because it has better range and better performance and it has it's ready for superchargers and so on. The entry level model is designed to be the cheapest model you can get. And this is all about cost. Right. So obviously, I'm going to pick that one for this discussion. Now, again, it's expensive in Australia. It's 98,000 Australian dollars. But in the US, including tax credits, it's 63,500. That's not a cheap car. That's three times the cost of the Nissan Leaf. But then it's not competing with the Nissan Leaf. It's not competing with the Mazda 3. It is a full-size luxury sedan. That's what it is. But I have to mention it, you know, because it's what it is. Anyway. All right. Range, 208 miles. That's again, that's based on EPA. Most of those numbers are, which works out at 335 kilometers. A full charge is take 7.2 hours. But that charge is at 40 amps because it's a huge battery pack. It's more than double the size of the Nissan Leaf. That's using the 10 kilowatt charger. And that's what comes with the 60 kilowatt model that and you can pay extra to get dual charging, which charges at 80 amps, but that requires a different wall connector that's 20 kilowatt charger. And obviously, it'll charge in slightly more than half that time. And that gives you a total of 72 kilowatt hours roughly to charge a 60 kilowatt hour battery pack. Numbers don't quite work out quite right. Because as I said before, efficiencies and everything, I think the real figure might actually be more like 70 kilowatt hours. But finding definitive figures is difficult. And besides which a full charge, quote unquote, is also a little bit difficult to determine, because you don't run the battery flat and then charge it. You know, you run it down to like 20%, 15%. And even then, is it 10%? Is it 15%? It's really not, is it because at 0%, it's still got charge in it, because you don't want to run it flat, because you'll kill the battery. So let's just say it's roughly that 70 kilowatt hours in total to charge it. So absolutely it is not cheaper than a petrol car. But it's not a fair fight. The Model S isn't designed to be competing with those two other vehicles. I'm only mentioning it because it gets all the airtime. It's a beautiful vehicle. It's the elephant in the room. It is the elephant in the room. But let's be honest, okay, come on. It's got five seats. Yes, they are big luxurious seats. and it is a damn sexy vehicle. It is one of the safest cars in the world. It is one of the most it is the most highly decorated, if you want to call it that, car in the world at the moment. It is it is hot. But it sure as hell, from a functional point of view, does not get you from point A to point B any better. Not really. Than a Nissan LEAF. The only thing it's got that is a real leap forward compared to the Nissan LEAF is the range. And that's an access, I guess, the supercharger network, which we'll get to in a minute. But honestly, you know, it's not a fair fight. And I'm not considering luxury models. And yeah, there's other considerations why you would get a Tesla. I mean, you would get a Tesla probably because it is cutting edge, it is very, very safe. It does have a great reputation. It's beautiful to drive by all accounts. You know, it is a lovely vehicle. And if you are into the, even though they may be marginal environmental credentials, and if you're really big into that, then that's totally a reason to get one. If you want, that's fine. But Tesla are not making inroads by marketing the most economical vehicle to electric vehicle in the world. That's not how they are succeeding there. They're succeeding by targeting that luxury segment. Okay. Which is why it's not part of the comparison, but I have to mention it because it is so popular and such an amazing vehicle. Just don't buy one expecting to save money compared to a petrol. Unless you're comparing it to a similarly priced Bentley. But if you're going to pay that sort of money for a car, are you really concerned with how much it uses in petrol? You're probably not. Yes, I mean, and I realize that's a bit of a generalization. Maybe you're someone who just loves electric vehicles Their car is powered off the grid, you've poured all of your savings into going off-grid And you've got a Tesla now, so that you're not dependent on oil, you're not dependent on electricity And you're going to be completely independent And you've spent every last cent of your money that you've worked hard for to get to that point You know what? My hat's off to you if you are that person, that's fantastic I don't think that's the majority of people that buy a Tesla Okay, so electric car charging and usage patterns. This is the other real world consideration we absolutely have to mention. The usage pattern for most people, for most vehicles is drive during the day, charge overnight. Would you agree with that sentiment? Yeah. I mean, unless you're a shift worker or maybe you're one of these developers that never leaves the house. That must be nice. I don't know. I reckon that I get kind of confining after a while. I'd be like, "Oh, I'm at work again". I don't know. There's a difference when you're leaving by choice versus necessity. That is a very valid point, you are quite right. OK, now, let's be honest, part of this is about gasoline infrastructure has been around for 100 plus years. So, there are more gas stations than there are charging stations. That will change. But it's... Also consider this, there are not gas stations every five feet along the roadside. There's consolidation reasons and so on, sure. And there's an infrastructure issue, sure. Storage, all that sort of stuff comes into play. But the truth is you will never have a charging outlet wherever you choose to park. You just won't. And most destinations are not going to have charging outlets for quite some time. More are cropping up every day, but A, they won't necessarily be cheap to use and B, they're just never going to be ubiquitous. They're just not. So taking the example in my experience from where I spent a bit of time in North America is block heaters. Do you know what a block heater is? OK, cool. Do you have block heaters in your neck of the woods? Yeah. Some people use them. OK, yeah. So you'll go to some supermarkets, you will have the PowerPoints, power outlets in the supermarket or the office building that you work at. Yes? No? It's not extremely common, but you do see them on occasion. Yeah. The further north you go towards the Arctic Circle, the more prevalent it becomes. And away from the coastlines, obviously, where the temperature swings are much higher because you don't have the moderating effect of the oceans. So in Calgary, which was, you know, behind the Rockies and a fair way closer to the Arctic Circle than where you live, I would say probably a quarter of the businesses and shopping malls had block heater power outlets in the parking lots. And some people would only shop at certain places in the middle of winter because they had block heaters. They had a point to plug in for their block heater. So, for people that are listening to this episode that don't know what a block heater does, all a block heater is, is it's a heating coil that keeps your engine warm specifically the engine the oil sump at the bottom of the engine the idea is that by heating that up because the viscosity of the oil it thickens in low temperatures which means that when you kick over that engine the initial kick that's what kills it when the engine is cold what will happen is that that oil will not actually coat the pistons such that you have metal against metal and there's no lubrication or very minimal lubrication before the engine comes up to temperature. Now, it may only take a few minutes to come up to temperature, but a lot of damage can be done in that time. So a block heater avoids that. They don't draw massive amounts of power, but they still draw power. And I think that charging a Tesla through a block heater outlet is probably not going to go so well. You're probably going to start tripping circuit breakers. But, you know, the truth is that that's where we are now with block heaters, they're not ubiquitous now. Even in Calgary right now today, you go up to, you know, Grand Prairie, you go up to the Yukon, they're not going to be ubiquitous, you know? So if they're not ubiquitous, then how can you expect charging points for electric vehicles to be ubiquitous in any reasonable time frame. So I don't think that they ever going to be ubiquitous. And by ubiquitous, I mean, I pull up to the side of the road and I can just plug in. Yeah. And when I plug in the GPS in my car knows where I am, the outlet has maybe an NFC chip in it such that when I plug in the charging lead to it, it identifies my vehicle, charges it to my bank account. And there's none of this BS with I've got to have an account with this mob or I've got to put, heaven forbid, put coins into the damn thing in order to get a charge out of it. You know, none of that it's going to be plug it in, top it up, it knows who you are, it charges your accounts all automatic, you don't have to think about it. And everywhere you park has a charging station for your vehicle. Now that's ideal. But that's never going to happen. I just don't think it's going to happen. Because there's too many places you can park a car, side of the road in someone's driveway, you know, car parkades as well as, you know, parking lots like long term parking at an airport. I mean, the list is endless. Yeah. So. OK. The problem is the usage pattern, right? If I'm going to be completely independent and get away from the grid to maximize my independence and my cost savings, I need to really reduce my electricity costs or eliminate them if I can. So the most cost effective method of doing that if you're a home is still solar. And again, talked about this before. But the problem with solar is it's only available during the day. Even if it was wind, though, wind isn't reliable, even if it's available at nighttime, and it usually is, it's variable. And not everyone lives in an area that gets reliable wind, but most people live in areas where they get sunlight during the day. Even if it's not a lot, they get some. and you can compensate for the lack of sunlight by adding more solar panels yes it costs more and yes you'll have overcast days but my solar panels on a moderately overcast day will still generate between a fifth to a quarter even on a relatively heavily overcast day, they'll still generate a kilowatt or one and a half kilowatts even when there's no direct sunlight on them okay, so where does that leave us overnight you're stuck because overnight you have to draw energy off the grid because you can't rely on the wind to power you to charge your vehicle and you can't get solar energy during the day time during the night time sorry so what you end up doing is okay well I've got a battery pack so I can now say I'm going off the grid forget the grid I'm not going to draw power off the grid I can't get a cheaper a tariff because a lot of companies will not do a cheap tariff for charging a vehicle Some do, right? But a lot of them don't So you've got to find one that does actually support that tariff and you know, and that's that's going to happen more and more, but it hasn't happened yet, not enough So I haven't found one in Australia yet that'll do that, for example Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, I'm sure. They always do And that's cool. So anyway, bottom line is you want to go off the grid Then what you're stuck with is a battery pack. That's fine. OK, except when you think it through. So think it through. I'm charging a bunch of batteries at home. That charging of those batteries for my solar power during the day, that is inefficient already. It's going through several stages of conversion, the charging through the battery, the heat dissipation. Yeah, I'm already losing energy. That's fine. I accept that. I draw energy out through the inverter to power the house at night. That's fine. That has a loss associated with it. Now we flip that over and say, OK, I am no longer going to power my house with that that charge. I'm going to charge my car. How am I? What am I? What's my car doing? Well, my car's using batteries. How am I charging the batteries? I'm charging through the AC again. You remember that argument that we had way back when about AC and DC? Well, here's the thing. I'm losing power. I'm transferring the charge from my house batteries to my car batteries. I'm losing energy through that conversion. You know what I mean? It's like, it's wasteful. I'm almost better off staying on the grid and then letting the grid be my battery after hours, like by stored hydropower from a massive hydro plant somewhere, you know, but that's going to be more expensive, right? So Tesla knew this, right? Tesla figured this out. Tesla, I said Tesla figured it out, Elon Musk thought about it. And that's why he came up with SolarCity as a way of providing that option where he didn't see that there were enough options out there in the market. So you sign up for that SolarCity thing and your solar panels allow you to, you know, with a more equitable arrangement as an incentive for you to plug it in overnight with a clean conscience, knowing that you've generated a bunch of power, electricity from your PV system and that power is being stored elsewhere and that's provided to you after hours. I mean, it's all funny money. God, I just said funny money. It's all funny electrons. Oh, God. Anyway, so, you know, it's like it's not the very electron that you generate does not get stored and say, oh, this little electron was generated at 12.17 p.m. from the sunlight and that was stored somewhere. And then that one electron was returned back again. OK, we all hopefully we all understand that's not what happens, right? It's a general pool. Yeah, it's exactly. It's a charge pool. Anyway, it sounds so strange. Anyway. OK, so it becomes a bit of a ridiculous proposition if you want to have it where I'm completely independent from the grid. I charge my batteries in my house in the daytime, then I transfer that charge from my house batteries to my car batteries during the night. It's a very lossy process. So one possible solution to that, one possible solution is, are you aware of Tesla's intention to overcome the charging rate problem, which we haven't got to yet, but the charging rate problem by having a swappable battery pack in the Model S? Have you heard about that? I have not. OK, here's the concept, and I'm surprised you haven't heard of it, heard about it, but it's there was a pseudo moderate level of fanfare. I don't even know how I quantify pseudo moderate levels of fanfare, but nevermind. So the idea is you drive your vehicle up onto a special pad. And by special pad, I mean, just you know, it'll be a designated area in a, you know, charging station or a battery swap out station, it'll probably be co located with their supercharger stations. You drive your Tesla onto it, it precisely aligns the Tesla on that spot. A set of, I imagine hydraulically operated arms come out from underneath the vehicle and release some quick release, quick-ish release latches, the bottom of the car drops away, a section of it drops away, and they extract the battery pack that's in there and replace it and then replace the protective paneling, the shield, the armor from underneath the vehicle, the armor that protects the battery from being punctured by debris on the road. And then they reattach the quick, they re-lock it up again with their quick lock and quick release mechanism. And you drive off in roughly the same amount of time it would take you to fill a tank of gas. This sounds like the forklift battery changers we have at work, sort of. Can you tell me a little bit about those? Yeah, it's almost an identical process to what you're describing, except it comes in from the side versus the bottom. Basically, you just pull up the forklift and you park it there and there's a little safety side plate kick plate that you take out. And then there's a... It's all... It's a long line operation. And there's like a little electric trolley cart thing that you use to change the batteries. And it's got an electronic magnet on it. And it's got-- in the space in front of where you stand to operate this machine, there's a storage space for two batteries. And you extract the discharged battery from the forklift. And then you drive the trolley down the line. and then there's a long line of chargers on either side of you and fresh batteries staged. And so you take it, and then you disconnect the magnet from the discharged battery, and you flip it around, and you grab a recharged battery, and then you put the discharged battery back in that slot, and you plug it in so it can charge. And then you drive back up to where the forklift is, and then you use the magnet thing, and it shoves the new battery into the side of the forklift. Very, very cool. See, I haven't actually seen one of those, but that sounds like a really cool idea So the whole process, it just takes like five or 10 minutes And if you get somebody in there that does it all the time, they can do it pretty quick Cool. So I think that's a great idea because what that allows them to do is they can charge it using solar power directly So you've only got the one set of losses Rather than charging one set of batteries and then sucking that power out and then trying to transfer it into another Now, if everything was done through a charged electrolyte system, then you could charge an electrolyte and then you could pump that physically into another battery. And away you go with that stored energy. But that is not something that's possible with lithium ion at this stage of our battery technology. Maybe someday, but just not now. I'm just picturing a futuristic glowing liquid going through some transparent pipes, looking very futuristic. And then I'm considering, oh, what happens if it spills? It's under high pressure. and then it turns out that it's highly acidic and then it eats a hole in the floor and it eats a hole in your foot and it's like, - That's probably not good. - I've watched too many sci-fi movies, Vic. I think that's the problem, but anyhow, that is a problem. Okay, right. So, in my personal, okay, hang on, before I get to that. I think that that is one possible solution, but the interchangeable battery pack idea in implementing your home. Right now, Tesla don't even have that yet as a publicly released thing. They're operating a limited trial, they've only just started doing it, I think, or they're about to start doing it. They've been talking, they demoed it on stage a year and a half ago, I think it was, am I right? Yeah. Now, it's only just now coming to the point where they're ready to start offering it, like as a trial basis only to a select group of customers only at like one place in California, I think. Maybe two. Well, it's definitely going to have some increased cost to it. Yeah. Because now you've got not one, but two batteries, and then you'll need the changing apparatus hardware. Yeah, exactly. But see, I can see that in the future becoming the way it's done. Yeah. Because I mean, think about it. If you think it through, it's the perfect solution because... And you could change it so that you only charge it when it's the most efficient to charge it. Exactly. And that's the point, but here's another thing to take away from it. What if all the battery storage in your house conformed to a standard that was pluggable? And think about this from the point of view of, you know, those battery powered power tools. Okay. When I was a kid, everything had a bloody wire on it, right? Everything was plugged into the mains. But then the idea of battery stuck in our battery powered drills started with battery powered drills. And now it's every you can get a battery powered circular saw. First time I saw a battery powered DeWalt circular circular saw, I was drooling. I'm like, I got to get me one of those. I have no idea what I'm going to cut with it, but I need one. I'm going to cut something. I'm going to, if I got something, I would find something to cut if I had one of them. I'd walk around the yard and be like, "Yeah, what's going to get it?" Anyway, the point is that has a common battery system, like it's a 24 volt nickel metal hydride. It was the initial ones. I think a lot of them switched to lithium ion now as well. That's what mine are. Yeah. And I just saw recently, they've now got a bunch of garden tools that have a 40 volt lithium ion system. So you charge the battery up and you've got 40 volt lithium ions, got a massive amount of energy because the higher voltage, it's got more torque, it can drive them. Mowers, like push mowers. Yeah, I'm really interested in the electric mower. Yeah, that stuff is coming, you know. It's so much quieter. Oh, yeah. But I mean, it's like that is cool. Just think no more maintenance on the engine, no more mixing two-stroke fuel, no more, none of that BS, you know, it's just plug it in and away you go, you know, quieter. Yeah, of course, my question, I've got an acre to mow. Right. That's a lot. Yeah, that's that's my thing too. Right now. Most of the ones commercially available in my area. They cost me quite a premium over a traditional gas mower, which I'd be willing to accept, but I'm not sure I'd get the whole yard mowed out of a single charge. Yeah, exactly, which means you need multiple battery packs, but so that's that's a pretty significant trade off there that I'm not willing to make at this point, but I really look forward to when I can. Yeah, but absolutely, but that's exactly the same argument as the vehicles, right? Because the size of the battery pack, the longevity of the battery pack, the consumption of the vehicle is a contributing factor as to whether or not it becomes a useful proposition. It's easy when you've got a motor, a mower in the house and you've got a charging point right there and you've got four batteries charged lined up. You just pull one out, plug it in, away you go. It goes flat, you go swap out another one. You know, you can't, you don't don't have that with a vehicle. So here, now picture this picture that you have a common design, a standardized design for batteries that are pluggable and you have multiple slots in your vehicle and then your home you have your solar power and your wind generator outside and then you have multiple battery packs all installed that can then be installed in one or more of the slots in your electric vehicle. So let's just say you want to take the car out, well you can put one in if you want, you could put two in if you want or they could be used to power your house overnight. You could choose. Yeah, that's actually a pretty nice idea. That is where I think the future is going to end up. It's going to be a way off but that's where I think it's going to go and the only reason I say that is because look at what's happened with power tools. Okay, so interesting, interesting ideas but you know, I have no idea how far off that is but it would be cool. So, Elon Musk, get on that. Okay, it could be awesome if you listen to this show but I think he's got better things to do. Okay, so where are we up to? Right, so from my personal point of view, I struggle with the whole electric thing because I'm still grid connect. So, if my current rates 28 cents Australian per kilowatt hour is terrible, right? So, if our feed-in tariff, which is the... So, if I have a 5 kilowatt system and I'm only consuming 2 kilowatts, then that 3 kilowatt surplus goes back down to the grid, what they call feed-in. So, that feed-in tariff is different to how much I consume and it's terrible. It was much higher It got slashed from $0.12/kWh feed-in to $0.04 So we changed providers, it's now back up to about $0.08/kWh, that's feed-in Even at $0.08, that's a quarter or thereabouts, worse than of how much it cost me to draw power off the damn grid So in order for me to cover that shortfall, I need to produce 4 times what it would take what it would take. So if I had my car dead flat in the garage plugged in during the optimal time of the day to charge it during the day, then I would have to produce four times that amount of energy in order to do the same charging sequence at night time. You know, by using the grid connect system and the feed-in tariffs and then drawing them power back off the grid. And It's the fact that it's the upload download problem, right? So for me, it doesn't make sense. And you could say, well, you know, that's a product of the local market. And yes, it is. And we need more solar friendly and more pumped storage hydro and more of this sort of, you know, that's what we need. And there are more options in North America and in Europe. Absolutely. But it's an important part of the equation because the usage pattern of these vehicles isn't that you're plugging it in to be charged during the daylight hours when you're there. That's when you're not at home, generally. Yeah. OK. Tesla's other answer to this is, of course, the supercharger stations, and they're free to use if you have a Tesla. They're not free if you don't. You got to pay for it. Gotcha. So if you got a Tesla, the lifetime of that vehicle, sorry, you're still not going to save more than about 10, 20 grand's worth of gasoline. by having free electricity and that's of course assuming that your usage pattern would allow you to do all of your charging in a supercharger station it's like, charge is getting low, time to go home which probably isn't located right next door to your home alas no, unless of course that suddenly raises the price of, raises the value of your house it happens to be conveniently located next to a supercharger station and that becomes a selling point of your house but, yeah, I can't see that happening I can't see that happening. But my point is that who has time for that? If you're retired, sure, maybe if you're in a position where you can just jump in the Tesla and go and chill. Where are you at? I'm chilling. Where are you chilling? I'm chilling at the supercharger. I mean, are you really? I wish I had time to do that. You know, so I don't think that's a viable option for a lot of people. The superchargers, I think, are more intended for as a bonus. You know, it's like you buy a Tesla, get free use of the supercharger network. It's a perk. It's a perk. Yeah. And if I'm traveling long distances, then sure, it's a must because I don't have a home base to return to to charge it. So anyway, all right. It's also worthy of note that the Tesla Model S isn't going on sale in Australia anyway, until March, end of March, I think, it's first deliveries of the Model S. So there still aren't any in Australia. But well, there are but you know what I mean? Like They're not for general public, sold to general public yet. - Yeah. - But finally March, yeah. Anyway, all right. One more little lull before we start talking about fast charging, and then we'll talk about plug-in hybrids and then we're done. Here's my laugh out loud moment. The most advanced, I think you can call the Tesla Model S the most advanced electric car in the world. I think that's, I don't think anyone would argue with that. - That's probably pretty fair. Okay, the most cutting edge and advanced electric car in the world now will have an interchangeable battery, but Apple laptops don't. Suck on it, anyhow, moving on. Okay. Right. - Wow. - Hey, did I just blow your mind? Anyway, fast charging. Now, one of the things about fast charging, I wanted to cover this because I think that people don't really understand the ins and outs of it. Not much to say, but let's just be clear. Not all batteries are designed to handle fast charging. And it's all got to do with, well, current. So the amount of current that a wire can carry vehicles IR is based on the actual cross-sectional area. And the cross-sectional area then also relates to the resistance. And there's also this effect called skin effect, whereby the repulsive forces of the electrons force them to the outside skin of the conductor such that you get an uneven distribution of current within any conductor, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But the truth is that if you're designing a battery to handle a certain discharge rate, because the fastest you're gonna draw in an electric vehicle is however many amps, let's say it's, I don't know, 30 amps, 40 amps, I don't know what the number is, depends on the vehicle, and how fast you're driving it, blah, blah, blah. But the point is that you will design the amount of copper, cross-sectional area, or aluminum, whatever, what, aluminum, whatever you wanna call it, the actual conductors within the battery and the cross-sectional area, the battery, the size, all of that sizing will be based on the discharge rate as well as the charging rate. So if you wanna do a fast charge on that, you have to make the conductors bigger because you're charging at a faster rate, you're passing more current in when you're charging, then you're drawing out when you're operating. So you have to design the battery from the beginning to handle that. And there are some batteries in some vehicles that will not accept fast charging without damaging the battery. So some batteries accept it, some batteries don't. Most of the vehicles that I've been talking about so far, the Tesla definitely does, the Nissan sort of does. Okay. So the higher the fast charging rate, the shorter that lifespan of the battery. Let's be clear about that. Okay. If you fast charge your battery every time, it'll have a lower lifespan. Now, there's a great website that I've got linked in the show notes called Battery University. There's an excellent article. It's linked in the show notes. Check it out. If you're interested in this, it shows you. Yeah, it's a great site. I've linked to it previously. It shows the deterioration of a lithium-ion battery over charging cycles based on their recharging rates in coulomb rates, of course, but, you know, it doesn't matter the rates. It's all about the proportional rate. So illustrates the problem very, very well. So check it out if you're interested. Now, fast charging of nickel metal hydride lithium-ion batteries is only possible in the first 70 to 80% of charge. If the charging rate continues beyond those percentage charges then you will cause permanent damage to the battery. OK, the physics are such that it just doesn't work. Now, that's why if I have a battery and I charge it at rate X, it takes, let's say, eight hours like the Missinleaf did. And if I double the size of my charger, it doesn't take four hours, it takes five hours. That's because that last 20% or so of charge has to be trickled. I say trickled, but at a lower rate, you know, trickle charging makes me think of there's a stream of water and a couple of drops are going past and it's a trickle. Yeah, obviously, no, not in that sense, like it's a trickle trickle. It's, you know, just not fast charging at a fast, slower rate, like your charging rate is similar to the consumption, right? The actual usage rate. Okay, whereas fast charging far exceeds that. Okay. Now, the other problem is in real in the real world, real world use, I said that in the Nissan LEAF, there's like 192 cells, I didn't do the math on the Tesla, someone else can do that. But the point is that has 192 individual cells, do you think they're all going to age at the same rate? Probably not. No, statistically, you're going to have a distribution. And that's going to be based on manufacturing process and manufacturing variability, it's going to be based on, you know, beyond defects, it's gonna be based on the location of the battery cell relative to where it is in the chain. So for example, if you have four batteries in series, to to increase their voltage, let's say like they do, then obviously you're going to get a different current distribution from one than you are from the others, depending on where they sit in the stack, you know, or, or in in parallel, in fact, is perhaps more of an issue as well, because then you've got a different, you'll have a different internal resistance because they're all subtly different. Even if it's only, you know, a milliohm, a subtly different internal resistance means that you're going to get a predominant current from different cells, which means that they're predominantly going to get more of the charging current and more of the discharge current. So you're going to have differential aging rates of individual cells in a battery pack, it is unavoidable. So what does that mean? Over a long period of time, the deterioration of an individual cell at a certain point will start to affect the overall maximum charging rate because of charging imbalance, which means that older batteries that were once suitable for fast charging will reach a point where they can't be fast charged properly anymore. Okay. Yeah. So that's, I guess what I wanted to mention. Okay. And that's why Tesla state 80% charge in 30 minutes, right? It's not 80% charge because it's like, well, we're only going to give you 80% because we're just like, you know, that's it. The other 20% that's on your time. No, they're doing that because that's the limitation of the actual technology. Yeah. Okay. So they're gonna, they're gonna, they're gonna slam it hard for that the first 80% pump in as much current as they can. And then once they hit that 80% then they have to slow down their charge rate. They say right time to disconnect. You can go now. Next car please. Okay. So plug-in hybrids. You know you've come across hybrids and plug-in hybrids I assume? Uh-huh. I think the biggest example here is probably the Prius is what we see most of. Yeah now I I actually drive a Prius, I drive a Prius V, it's not a plug-in electric vehicle it is a standalone hybrid. So you'll often see the expression EV which is electric vehicle or PHEV which is plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. I wonder if anyone calls it a P-HEV? Hmm well anyway I've never heard anyone say that but maybe we can start that as a thing. So I took my P-HEV out. No scratch that, that's terrible. Okay. Yeah, no, that does not work. Okay. Not sure what to say there. Yeah, maybe I can come up with an anagram for it. No, never mind. Okay. So generally, I like the idea of a plug-in hybrid. Actually, you know, before I do that, I really need to just quickly describe how hybrid works. So a hybrid vehicle, for those that don't know, is a compromise between a petrol engine and electric vehicle. So the idea is that petrol engines have an ideal efficiency point where they will rev at a certain between a certain rev range. The gearbox will generally you'll find that hybrids will have a continuously variable transmission to find the optimal rev point for the engine to maximize its efficiency. And in addition, petrol engines, when they idle, are wasting energy. So there'll be an idle cutout. So the idea is that the battery keeps the car going during initial acceleration. And it also keeps the basics running when the engine is turned off, when you're waiting at traffic, stopped at a traffic light or a stop sign or whatever. And when you're braking, rather than that energy being completely dissipated through a set of brake pads and heat, it can be through reverse regeneration, can then go and charge a small battery pack on board, such that the next time that you hit the accelerator, it'll draw that energy you've just stored through regenerative braking, and it'll push that out through the electric motors rather than through the engine. - Yeah. - So the hybrid battery pack system is a brilliant idea, and it was really pioneered by Toyota, and it is essentially a great compromise solution. It's a bridging solution between the two technologies, and it's great because you can take your efficiency and pretty much double your efficiency by doing it. It really is good. However, the plugin idea, there are only small battery packs in a Prius, but the plugin idea takes it to the next level. It says, well, let's look at something like the sort of range of a Nissan LEAF, not quite as far. And what we're gonna do is we're gonna have a larger battery pack than a hybrid would normally get, which is only very small, like maybe 5 kilowatt hours, 8, 10 kilowatt hours, not a heck of a lot. And we're going to make that we're going to juice that up by maybe 25, 50% of that bigger. And that will give you an electric vehicle, electric range. And then once you exceed that range, we'll have a petrol engine that kicks in that then allows you to go a lot further. And the reason that makes sense is because it overcomes the range anxiety issue. So I'm anxious that I can't find a charging point where I'm going. That's okay. I now have a petrol engine that can charge the vehicle no matter where I may choose to be. Fantastic, right? Works well. The downside is, well, you're lugging around a petrol engine in your pseudo electric vehicle. So the argument against all electric cars, lack of fast charging stations, not all models of cars will support fast chargers, for example, you know, A lot of them have those an extra add on that puts the price up further. Fast charging, even that takes two to five times longer than filling up with gasoline. And I'm not including the Tesla battery swap in that. Yeah, when you're out of charge, you can't just grab a can of gasoline from the nearest gas station to fill up and get going again. I mean, portable fast charges for electric vehicles that are stranded aren't a thing yet. That could be a business opportunity actually. Come to think of it. - That really could. - But nevermind that. Okay. So you avoid all of those problems by simply kicking the motor in once the battery is depleted. And that's big, that's huge. So if you have short commutes to do, you could run the whole thing theoretically on electric, but you're not hemmed into that range. You could go and drive to the next state wherever you wanted, as long as there was a road. So the other thing that's interesting that I found out only last week, I was reading a newspaper article about this. In Japan, they have a system of I really should have written this down, but I didn't, unfortunately, that allows you to use your plug-in electric hybrid vehicle as an electrical generator that you can plug into. That's pretty cool. That is insanely cool, because what it means is that you can drive your car home and if you lose your mains power, you could plug your car's vehicle into the, you know, into the local your household grid and it can power your house. Obviously, with the caveats depending upon how much load you've got and so on and so forth and subject to you running out of petrol. But hey, you know, there you go. Very cool, huh? And it also works when you're out camping, too. So you're out camping and you want an outlet so you can run your electric toothbrush or whatever. That's... Well, I don't know why you take an electric toothbrush camping. I don't know, I'd probably be plugging in a laptop and a handful of other devices. And yes, that's yeah, I don't know what I'm thinking. Why do you even why I said electric toothbrush? But OK, good. All right. Going to wrap up very shortly. So let's talk about a couple of plug in hybrids then. So the Chevy Volt Chevrolet in Australia, it's sold under the Holden brand. So Holden Volt in Australia. And speaking of Australia, it's an insane rip off here. $64,000 Australian for a Chevy, for a Holden Volt. Absolutely ridiculous. In America, it's $35,000. And that includes a $7,500 tax credit. And of course, there'll be other sales taxes on top of that. So it's not exactly the exact price, but you know. That name change, is that is it still the same company or is that more of like a franchise deal and they have to pay a lot of licensing rights to Chevy? Holden owned by General Motors, who owns... I lose track of who owns who because everyone changes hands all the damn time. And frankly, I don't really care. Well, General Motors, then it's really all still the same company. Well, yes. So I was thinking maybe they had to pay a lot of franchising license rates or something to be able to get it. Maybe that's why it was so much higher. But no, that throws that out. Yeah, I wish I understood the reason why they would... Because you can still buy Chevrolet vehicles here in Australia. It's they're not very common, but there's a few dealers that will just give you a direct import Chevrolet Like as in the US spec, essentially So, you know, but why don't ask me They just did it because they could Does that put the steering wheel on the wrong side of the car for you guys? I'm going to let that slide 6 hours, full recharge. That's with a 10 amp socket, 230 volt AC. OK, so that takes 14 kilowatt hours. So $3.08 to fully recharge. OK, and that range is 50 miles, which is less than the 66, of course. So that's 80 kilometers for those speaking in kilometerage, which is less than a Nissan LEAF, but really not that much less. That's 16 miles. you know, maybe that's useful, maybe it's not, but either way, you know, so that could still help that you could still run a Chevy Volt in that range if you're only doing relatively short commutes around town. But for someone like me, I've got like a 54 kilometer commute every bloody day each way. Well, that ain't gonna cut it for me. I'll be the petrol be kicking in. It would for me too. Yeah, I think that's the that is the problem. So I refer you back to the Tesla Model S really being the only super serious in terms of range. But anyway, next one I want to quickly talk about is the Mitsubishi Outlander which I think is currently the only SUV plug-in electric hybrid that's widely available. It's available here in Australia, I think it's available in Japan, but it's only available in the US later this year. So estimated price, because the official price hasn't been released in America, is US$40,000. In Australia it sells for US$50,000. Far more reasonable conversion there. I have no idea why the hell the Chevy Volt is so expensive. Maybe it's because I had to change the badge from Chevy to Holden. So you're paying an extra $20,000 for the badge. I don't know. Anyway, Mitsubishi Outlander, 15 amp outlet for charging the thing, which is a pain in the neck because a lot of chargers here that see the 10 amp charger on the Chevy Volt is great 'cause that's just a standard three prong outlet here. But a 15 amp outlet has a larger earth connector on it for all sorts of really good reasons. I'm not gonna get into. Anyway, IS3000, blah, blah, blah. Point is it gives you a 52 kilometer range, 32 miles electric range. And it takes four and a half hours at full charge at 15 amps to charge it, which is 3.5 kilowatt charger gives you a total of 15.5 kilowatt hours in total or $3.41 US to fully charge it. Now those numbers, they sound, they're a lot more than Chevy Volt and those are all again are more than the Leaf. And it should be obvious why, because they're bigger vehicles. You know, the same laws of physics apply, bigger electric car, heavier electric car, it's going to take more energy to move it around. Okay, it should be obvious, but just in case it's not obvious, there you go, I'm spelling it out. Man, I didn't think this was going to go as long as it did, but hey, there you have it. All right. To wrap up, in conclusion, having an electric car is only going to save you money if you have access to cheap electricity. And by that, I mean, less than 10 cents a kilowatt hour US. Now, if you're by saying have access to cheap electricity, you could have, you know, solar power, wind power, or you could simply be in a lucky state, you know, who knows? Or maybe you've got a hydro plant in your backyard, maybe you're extra lucky. I don't know. But in Australia, no, that is just no. There is nowhere that I know of that has electricity that cheap. Now, if you can sign up, if somewhere in Australia starts doing a tariff, where you can plug in a vehicle overnight and it charges at a lower tariff, that is less than 10 cents a kilowatt hour, then fantastic. But until that happens, no, not an option, not really. Range anxiety is a big problem. It's always been a problem. But the ubiquitous nature of gas, gas stations, petrol stations, whatever you want to call them service stations, is such now that after 100 years plus, it's not a problem anymore. The same will be true of electric and supercharger fast charger stations eventually, but we aren't far from that point. So range anxiety on smaller electrics or plug in electric vehicles are such that a lot of people in larger cities that commute are just out of luck. It's like, thanks for playing can't help you, you need a Tesla Model S because it's the only one that's got decent range. Oh, by the way, you know, get out your checkbook and feel some pain. Yeah. So people with the longer commutes being stuck with a Model S and that defeats the whole purpose of this discussion, which is I want to save money over an equivalent petrol vehicle to get me around. Is it viable? So what's the conclusion for the vast majority of people in the US and Australia and I suspect also in Europe, but you know, I didn't crunch the numbers. So in a reasonable proportion of the world, the answer is no. Now I feel sad. Do you feel depleted? I feel depleted. Yes, I have been depleted. So that is, of course, you know, if you want to couple it in with the environmental benefits, whether they're negligible, whether they're significant, whether you believe that they are or not, that's another variable in the equation. Sure, independence from oil, independence from the electricity grid, going fully standalone, going down that road. Those are other variables. If those things matter to you, then it's worth the extra expense. But I could not in good conscience recommend to anybody that across the board, it's the right advice to get an electric car to save money. No, don't. Which is sad and depressing because I still want a Model S. I want me a Tesla. I want their key core fob thing that looks like a little Tesla. I will have to keep my Toyota Corolla. And I'll be keeping my Honda Jazz and my wife will be keeping the Prius V because they are all cheaper to run and don't have range anxiety issues. Yeah. If you want to talk more about this, you can reach me on Twitter @JohnChichy and you can my writing and this podcast and others I've made are hosted at my site If you'd like to get in touch with Vic, what's the best way of doing that Vic? They could do that at @vichudson1 on Twitter. Do you have a podcast? I heard you might. I do. It doesn't release quite as regularly as I'd like, but you can find it at It is a great podcast. I've listened to every episode. It's where Vic interviews app developers and gets the story behind their apps, their development of their apps, and it is really interesting. So there's a lot of untold stories told on there, which if you're a developer and you're interested in that sort of thing, then I highly recommend it. Now, if you would like to send any feedback, please use the feedback form on the website. That's where you'll also find the the show notes for this episode of the podcast's pragmatic. If there are topics you'd like me to cover you can suggest and vote on them on the site under topics watch a sign up for a free account. I've also started to release excerpts from the show that are one off of that off topics and they're cut from the main episode I'm pulling it addenda look for it under the site under podcasts addenda. You can follow pragmatic show on Twitter to see show announcements and other related stuff. A final thank you to our two sponsors for this episode. Firstly thanks to Sapient Pair and their iOS app, Shopee, for sponsoring Pragmatic. If you're going shopping and want a great collaborative shopping list app, then Shopee can help you out. It's ad-free for the first month, so why not check it out at sapient, that's S-A-P-I-E-N-T dash pair as a two dot com slash Pragmatic. Also, special thank you to Igloo, an intranet you'll actually like. 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Show Notes

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Vic Hudson

Vic Hudson

Vic is the host of the App Story Podcast and is the developer behind Money Pilot for iOS.

John Chidgey

John Chidgey

John is an Electrical, Instrumentation and Control Systems Engineer, software developer, podcaster, vocal actor and runs TechDistortion and the Engineered Network. John is a Chartered Professional Engineer in both Electrical Engineering and Information, Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering (ITEE) and a semi-regular conference speaker.

John has produced and appeared on many podcasts including Pragmatic and Causality and is available for hire for Vocal Acting or advertising. He has experience and interest in HMI Design, Alarm Management, Cyber-security and Root Cause Analysis.

Described as the David Attenborough of disasters, and a Dreamy Narrator with Great Pipes by the Podfather Adam Curry.

You can find him on the Fediverse and on Twitter.