Connect with us

Cleantech

Dealing With Dealers Down Under — Trying To Test Electric Cars

Published

on

By David Waterworth

Before I bought my Tesla Model 3, I anticipated that I would inevitably be asked the question: why an unknown brand and not a more established brand like BMW, Renault, Hyundai, or Jaguar? I list these brands because that was the extent of available BEVs in Australia at that time. Plus, I was curious as to what was on offer.

The biggest contrast in dealer reactions was Hyundai. At this time, I was driving a Hyundai Sonata V6 and also owned a Hyundai Accent. My daughter was driving a diesel Hyundai Santa Fe. We had a great deal of experience and faith in the brand. My daughter took her car in for a service and I went to pick her up from the dealer so she could visit with us while the servicing was taking place. She was a little delayed, so I had some time to chat to the salespeople.

I walked into the showroom where three tall, well dressed men were chatting. As I approached, two men drifted away and left me with the chief salesman. I introduced myself, told him I wanted to buy a car and that I knew exactly what I wanted — the soon to be launched Ioniq. The dollar signs fell out of his eyes, his facial expression changed, and he assured me that his dealership would never sell electric cars.

Recently, at an Australian Electric Vehicle Association meetup, I got chatting to two Electric Kona owners and they told me they had the same experience at the same dealership. “Won’t be there in 5 years,” quipped one. Revenge of the Kona buyers — they went and bought from the second dealership.

I had the exact opposite at this second Hyundai dealership, where they had made the effort to train one of their staff to be the “expert.” He gave us a great deal of information and was enthusiastic about the car. However, he was honest enough to tell us that the vehicle available at that time would not make it up the highway, over the mountains, and all the way to Warwick (200 km) on one charge. We were also treated well by the Renault dealership, but their Zoe could not do what we needed either.

I was invited to the launch of the Jaguar I-PACE down in the Valley (where all the upmarket cars are sold — including Teslas). The catering was excellent and the conversation interesting (quite an impressive crowd). Most of the information was given by PR people backed by a technician. I booked a test drive.

The next morning, my wife and I met the smiling salesman and went for a very short drive. When I queried the minuscule time we got to spend in the car, I was told I could have a longer drive when I put down a deposit. The I-PACE was retailing for more than twice the price of the Tesla Model 3.

No wonder Kia, about to launch the new EV6 in the UK, has had two models air freighted into the country and is taking them around to all the dealers before it is launched.

They might have to do that in Australia as well.

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He owns 50 shares of Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].


Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.


 



 


Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/07/12/dealing-with-the-dealers-down-under/

Cleantech

Can Tesla Increase Sales In Japan?

Published

on

Although the Tesla Model 3 remains the top-selling imported electric car in Japan, Tesla is not (yet) making the impact it hoped for in the country. Recently, some clues surfaced as to why that might be the case.

Recent advice came via a Tesla owner in Japan by way of the r/Teslamotors subreddit. It explained why the Model 3 and other Teslas have not gained the same kind of sales traction in Japan as in other parts of the world (e.g. Norway).

The good news: there are plenty of famous folks driving Teslas in Japan. Tesla Board Member Hiro Mizuno tweeted about pop group Perfume and one of Japan’s Major League Baseball players, Shohei Ohtani, all proudly displaying their Tesla love. Japanese pro surfer Akira Shindo also feels some good vibes with his Tesla (see below).

 Japanese Pro Surfer Akira Shindo with his Tesla Model X (YouTube: Tesla)


Nevertheless, Japan is a (relatively) small country geographically and open land is scarce, especially in the cities. The houses tend to be small. Therefore, oftentimes, Teslas are too wide to be easily parked in a regular garage. Even a Model 3, which is the smallest car in the current Tesla lineup, is too wide for many spaces available for parking.

To that end, Reddit user u/Screw_Hegemony shared a couple of photos of his Tesla Model 3 parked at his home in Tokyo. The width of the Model 3 (without mirrors) is 1,849 mm and most parking lots in Japan are 1,850 mm wide. This leaves only 1 mm of margin and some extraordinary parking skills to park the car at a shopping mall, public place, restaurant, and most homes in Japan. To see some pictures, click the link above.

Looking ahead, Japan could clearly benefit from a smaller Tesla. The so-called “Model 2” or “Model C” could fit the bill. However, Tesla has not (yet) promised an official launch date for this smaller, cheaper Tesla yet. That said, Elon Musk confessed that a $25,000 compact Tesla hatchback is coming.

Another issue noted on Reddit is the lack of Superchargers in Japan: “consider the cities that dot the ‘countryside’ … the third most populated, Hokkaido (has Sapporo) has ONE (NOT in Sapporo), and the least populated has a whopping ZERO superchargers. Even on the main island, if you lived on the North West side (as opposed to the South East that has the Tokaido Megalopolis), that whole half of the island has a grand total of one supercharger.”

Nevertheless, on a positive note, “[Japan’s] government is going all out with the funds to aggressively cut down on CO2 emissions (I mean, we get approximately 17,000 USD in grants and tax incentives if we buy an EV now).” Whoa. One would hope Tesla takes advantage while Japan’s leading automaker, Toyota, continues to fight against (and delay) the EV revolution.

 An earlier version of this article was originally published by Tesla OracleRevised update edited by EVANNEX.

 

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.

 

 


Advertisement


 


Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/09/27/can-tesla-increase-sales-in-japan/

Continue Reading

Cleantech

Howarth/Jacobson “Blue” Hydrogen Assessment Stronger Than Bauer Et Al’s (Part 1 of 2)

Published

on

As hydrogen hype continues to mount, two papers were published recently on the climate impacts of “blue” hydrogen — that is, hydrogen from natural gas with the addition of carbon capture and sequestration. I assessed the second, by Bauer et al, in a pair of articles, mostly looking at their underlying assumptions and conclusions, both of which I found to be challenging. As I wrote, it appeared to have been in the works for a while and rushed to pre-publication, possibly with additional signatories who felt compelled to climb on, in response to the first paper, one by Mark Z. Jacobson and Robert Howarth. 

Their paper, “How green is blue hydrogen?,” was peer reviewed and published in Wiley’s open access journal Energy Science & Engineering, which has an impact factor of 4.07. As a note, it is a pay-to-publish journal, as many are these days, but is not a predatory journal with low standards. The Bauer et al paper was in ChemRxiv, a pre-publication journal without peer review allowing early access to papers, also a common model in academia at present, and not necessarily indicative of quality. Given the peer review, however, Jacobson and Howarth’s paper should be considered to be slightly more reliable by this metric.

In assessing the Bauer et al paper, I did not question their assumptions on their life-cycle assessment process, something that they tout as being a key part of the expertise and differentiation that they bring. They assert directly that the Jacobson and Howarth paper was inferior in this regard.

“Finally, the more recent analysis does not follow best practices in LCA as it, for example, takes into account neither GHG emissions associated with capital goods nor those originating from transportation and geological storage of CO2; and it relies on data for natural gas supply only in the US context.”

It’s worth noting that the first two points in this would increase the greenhouse gas emissions, and are a fraction of the GHG emissions related to upstream methane emissions in both models, so they are immaterial to the larger point. It’s good that Bauer et al include them, but immaterial as a complaint against Jacobson and Howarth. 

The last complaint, that it is US-specific, may or may not be accurate, as one of the references is to a study of 16 gas-producing regions being published in a book I don’t have access to (and neither do the authors of the Bauer et al paper, as far as I know). Howarth has testified regarding atmospheric methane and extraction globally. Certainly, Howarth’s publication history is US-centric, so this may be a fair comment, but as we’ll see, Bauer et al leverage this to arrive at radically different numbers, and for a great deal of their publication focus on US results as well.

The approach I’ll take in this piece is the same as in my initial assessment of the Bauer et al paper, in that I’ll extract key portions, add context where necessary, and discuss them. Further, where there is significant difference between the papers, I’ll highlight it and examine which arguments I think hold most merit.

“We undertake the first effort in a peer-reviewed paper to examine the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of blue hydrogen accounting for emissions of both carbon dioxide and unburned fugitive methane.”

This strikes me as relatively humble. They acknowledge that this hadn’t been done before, saw the need, and took it upon themselves, as experts in climate change and solutions, to do the first assessment and publish it for discussion. They weren’t doing a hardcore LCA process per Bauer et al and not claiming that, but were looking at the material elements.

“Our analysis assumes that captured carbon dioxide can be stored indefinitely, an optimistic and unproven assumption.”

As always when reviewing Jacobson’s work, I find conservative estimates and choices. In the major study of 143 countries and how they could deliver all energy services with renewables by 2050, there are no unknown or in-development technologies chosen. They note later in the paper that the majority of carbon “sequestration” is for enhanced oil recovery, and that not only can CO2 escape from these more porous facilities, it does, so they are simply not calculating this, but assuming permanent storage.

“In this analysis, we consider emissions of only carbon dioxide and methane, and not of other greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide that are likely to be much smaller.”

This is another conservative choice, as nitrous oxide (N2O) has a global warming potential (GWP) of 265 compared to methane’s 86. And when hydrogen is burned, nitrous oxide is created as well. Burning things in our atmosphere, made up of 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen, causes a chemical reaction in which some of the nitrogen and oxygen combine into nitrous oxide. The last point to make about nitrous oxide is that it’s also bad for the ozone layer. In general, it’s a bad idea to be creating it if we don’t have to, which is another reason to avoid burning things unless we need to. Most of our burning of fuels for energy needs to stop. However, the major anthropogenic sources of nitrous oxides are agriculture, with combustion playing a smaller role.

It’s an obvious place where a follow-on study would reasonably include nitrous oxide emissions due to their high GWP. And full lifecycle consideration of hydrogen as a combustion fuel would necessarily need to consider them as well. 

It’s worth noting that the purportedly superior LCA approach of Bauer et al is entirely silent on nitrous oxide, and so should be considered as differently flawed from an LCA perspective, something that they might want to consider.

Subset of Table 1 from Jacobson and Howarth's paper

Subset of Table 1 from Jacobson and Howarth’s paper

It’s also worth noting that the capture rate of CO2 being considered is at the top end of the majority of implementations that the more recent paper by Bauer et al use. That paper had identified a range of 50% to 85% from the vast majority of existing implementations, and then noted that over 90% was being achieved in a few locations, albeit with significant unstated caveats.

This is, once again, a conservative choice based on what is being done in the real world in the majority of cases, and does not unduly burden the analysis with the bottom end of 50%, although many attempted power station CO2 capture systems often performed very poorly.

This is part of the set of calculations performed to assess the three scenarios. The first was for no CO2 capture at all. The second was CO2 capture only from that created from the SMR process. This is similar to capturing the CO2 that bakes off of limestone as it is converted to quicklime for cement, but not capturing the emissions from burning natural gas or coal to create the necessary heat. The third is for also capturing the CO2 emissions from the natural gas generation unit powering the process.

One of the dirty secrets of carbon capture is that it’s an energy intensive process. Whether it’s Global Thermostat’s sorbents from Corning in a batch process or Carbon Engineering’s continuous process, you need to put a lot of heat energy into the capture medium to get the CO2 back out. And while Global Thermostat intentionally tries to use waste industrial heat, the rest of the CO2 capture world just burns natural gas. That’s certainly what Carbon Engineering does, and while it has one carbon capture technology for its air carbon capture, it has to use two completely different technologies in succession to capture the half ton of CO2 it creates burning natural gas for every ton of CO2 it gets from the atmosphere. As I wrote years ago, carbon capture is expensive because physics.

It’s worth pointing out that the 92% figure that Bauer et al cite for Petra Nova excludes the gas cogen unit built specifically to power the process, and the emissions of that cogen unit were not counted in the 92%, and in fact only represented the periods when the capture facility was actually operating. It’s also worth noting that it was scaled up from its original target of a 60 MW coal facility to a 250 MW coal facility because “the original design of a 60 MWe facility was deemed insufficient to meet the CO2 needs of the oilfield” for enhanced oil recovery.

As a reminder, virtually all carbon ‘sequestration’ done today is for enhanced oil recovery, and for every ton of CO2 injected into tapped out oil wells, 0.25 to one ton of crude is recovered. When used as intended, that crude produces more CO2 than was injected, up to three times as much. Petra Nova and Boundary Dam in Saskatchewan, both cited by Bauer et al, were both enhanced oil recovery CO2 providers and both failed economically.

All of this is to say that I find Jacobson and Howarth’s 85% figure to be more compelling than Bauer et al’s, conservative and still actually in favor of “blue” hydrogen.

Bauer et al are not ignorant of this, by the way. They state that current “blue” hydrogen test sites are only capturing 50–60% of plant-wide emissions, yet use 93% CO2 capture at hydrogen steam reformation plants in their modeling, and assert that approaching 100% is likely.


And so ends part one of my assessment of Howarth and Jacobsons “blue” hydrogen LCA, comparing and contrasting it with Bauer et al’s. So far, Jacobson and Howarth have an edge. But in the next piece, some truly remarkable variances between the two studies emerge which make it clear, at least to me, which paper to place credence in.

 

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.

 

 


Advertisement


 


Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/09/27/howarth-jacobson-blue-hydrogen-assessment-stronger-than-bauer-et-al-part-1-of-2/

Continue Reading

Cleantech

Wineries & Breweries in Australia Offering Electrons from Sunshine

Published

on

Made by sunshine, drunk in sunshine — some wineries are going greener in Australia.

At Hidden Creek Winery Cafe Vineyard near Stanthorpe, Queensland, they throw in a free charge for your Tesla (or any other electric vehicle) when you stop in, offering fresh electrons from their solar roof.

Now, a larger winery is also going 100% solar. Treasury Wine Estates, which produces the premium brands Penfolds, Wolf Blass, Pepperjack, and Wynns, has pledged to source its electricity needs from 100% solar by 2024. Barossa Valley wineries have already achieved 100% renewable energy by installing a 3MW solar system. A 1.4MW system powers the Barossa Valley operations of the Yalumba Family. Even more reason to relax as you tipple your favorite drop. 

Solar breweries are also in the news. Carlton & United Breweries subsidiary the Asahi Beverage Yatala on Queensland’s Gold Coast has installed a 3MW rooftop solar system. This qualifies as Australia’s biggest rooftop solar installation on a brewery. Queensland’s sunshine is powering the brewing of Great Northern, Victoria Bitter, and Carlton Draught.

“We’re committed to making the Yatala Brewery more sustainable and estimate the solar we generate will be enough to brew around 150 million stubbies or cans each year,” Yatala Brewery plant manager Tom Robinson said.

Carlton & United Breweries also has solar on its Abbotsford brewery in Melbourne. 

Now we need some electric trucks, vans, and utes to decarbonize the supply chain. 

Prime Minister Morrison might be tempted to have a go at the inner city sophisticates sipping their wine and touting their green credentials. But he better watch how much he criticizes solar power when down at the pub with the truckies, tradies, and sometimes “quiet Australians” sipping a beer after a hard day’s work. Solar powered beer: does it pass the “pub test?”

It’s a bewdy!

 

 

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.

 

 


Advertisement


 


Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/09/26/wineries-breweries-in-australia-offering-electrons-from-sunshine/

Continue Reading

Cleantech

Fastned Is Starting To Grow Again After 5 Quarters Of Corona Stagnation

Published

on

The second quarter of 2021 is the first quarter showing real growth after the last quarter of 2019. The five quarters in between were a matter of survival during the corona crises. People started working from home, were furloughed, and made far fewer visits to business events or relatives. And when people do not drive, they do not charge.

As I explained in an earlier article, charging stations are shops and single chargers are vending machines. That means we can use the logic and rules used for retail companies to examine Fastned. Revenue per shop is the most important metric, and that is what is used for Fastned in this article.

The road to profitability for Fastned is not delayed by the same amount of time. The conditions needed to become profitable kept growing. The most important condition is the number of BEVs on the road, the percentage of the fleet that is fully electric. The second condition is the share of BEV owners that can not charge in their own driveway. The number of longer distances travelled is also a factor for Fastned. When driving longer distances, it will more often be convenient to stop at a charging station.

Commercial charging companies can never compete with charging in one’s own driveway, especially not when the electricity is from the driver’s own solar panels. Fastned can sometimes compete on price with AC curbside chargers that are installed in urban areas. It is a matter of convenience which charging type is chosen. But where Fastned really shines is on faster routes — Fastned is the most attractive charging provider along highways.

For financial valuation, Fastned can best be viewed as two separate companies — “Fastned Retail” selling electricity through its stations and “Fastned Projects” building new stations. In Fastned’s financial reporting, there is enough detail in the costs to make a simple profit and loss for each sub-company. This enables a valuation of Fastned Retail on a going concern basis.

Fastned Retail grows by buying new stations from Fastned Projects, getting more customers visiting the stations, and selling more electricity to each visiting customer. For long-term profitability, the repeat customers are essential.

Fastned Projects employs about two-thirds of the Fastned staff. Most money goes as CAPEX out to building new stations. It returns when a new station is transferred to Fastned Retail. For simplicity, the operational costs are considered losses.

Fastned Retail has four types of costs:

  • Electricity or the Cost Of Goods Sold (10%)
  • Operational Costs (30%)
  • Depreciation and Amortization (27%)
  • Interest and Repayments (33%)

In retail, the revenue and profit per outlet or shop is an important metric for the financial health. Doubling sales by doubling the number of shops is not smart when all shops are making losses. And for shops, revenue per square meter is another measure. Looking this way at Fastned, we become interested in sales per shop and sales per charger. For this analyses, sales per shop, or per station in this case, is enough detail.

When we look at the cost per station, only the first is a variable with growing sales. The operation is completely automated. Maintenance and support will see a slight increase with more customers, but not with higher sales per customer. That makes the operational costs per station nearly constant, and the other two are constants.

Photo courtesy of Fastned

The fully electric part of the fleet in the main market, the Netherlands, is now 2.23%. It will likely grow a half percent through the rest of the year. At the end of 2022, it will likely reach 4%, or 350,000 vehicles. In its second largest market, Germany, the penetration is a bit less, but growing rapidly. Due to the longer distances in Germany, EV drivers tend to use fast chargers more than in the Netherlands, and when using them, they charge more.

In what will soon be the third largest market, and the second in another year — Flanders — the growth of the fully electric fleet is even higher. The “Benefit in Kind” for fossil fuel vehicles will be unobtainable in 2026, pushing the fully electric share of the market way over 70%. What the share of fast charging stations will be is not known. There are fewer curbside chargers in Flanders and there is less opportunity to charge in one’s own driveway.

The second quarter of this year is the first in which the revenue per station grew in accordance with the growth of the fleet. If my experience while charging in the third quarter is any indication, the growth per station could even be better than in the second quarter. We will know in a few weeks when the Q3 results are announced. Overall, though, these are reasons for Fastned to be optimistic.

At the moment, the EBITDA of Fastned Retail is positive. The next step is for some stations to have a positive EBIT. That is within reach for the best stations. When Fastned Retail reaches a positive cashflow, I think the business case is proven to be sound.

This article is about looking at Fastned in a different way. A first look at the financial reports is terrible. The losses are bigger than the revenue. In some views, a nearly 10 year old company is not supposed to be a startup. Fastned is still pioneering in an emerging market, however. It was instrumental in creating this new market.

Fastned and all other charging companies are still very much startups in an emerging market. What the size of that market will be is for different articles, separate for the USA and Europe.

Full disclosure: I have shares Fastned. I am not a financial analyst. This is not investment advice.

 

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.

 

 


Advertisement


 


Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/09/26/fastned-is-starting-to-grow-again-after-5-quarters-of-corona-stagnation/

Continue Reading
Esports2 days ago

Twitch celebrity meetup Sh*tCamp 2021 begins today

Esports5 days ago

Microsoft’s The Initiative brings on Crystal Dynamics to help develop its Perfect Dark reboot

Esports4 days ago

NBA 2K22 ‘Meet the Designers’ Quest Guide: How to Complete

Esports2 days ago

FIFA 22 Early Access Pack: How to Get

Esports5 days ago

Valorant Patch 3.07 Release Date: When is it?

Esports2 days ago

How to play Worlds 2021 Pick’em

Esports1 day ago

New World Interactive Map Tools Help Players Explore Aeternum While Offline

Esports3 days ago

Tools of the Trade Diablo II: Resurrected Quest Guide

Esports7 hours ago

Mikaela Reid Added as Newest Survivor in DBD PTB

Esports4 days ago

Best MTG Arena Standard Metagame Innistrad 2021-2022 decks

Crowdfunding3 days ago

[D-ID in Tech Crunch] D-ID launches ‘Speaking Portrait,’ a way to turn photos into custom, photo-realistic videos

Esports3 days ago

Horadric Cube Diablo II: Resurrected Guide

Esports2 days ago

The best weapon combinations in New World

Esports4 days ago

NBA 2K22 Current Gen Elevator Bug: How to Fix

Esports4 days ago

Overwatch League reveals 2021 Role Stars

Esports3 days ago

How to charge an iPhone 13?

Esports5 days ago

Is Death Stranding Director’s Cut Coming to PC?

Blockchain3 days ago

Cardano Smart Contracts Could Be Under Serious Threat, Bitcoin Is Here!

Open TLDR
Artificial Intelligence3 days ago

‘Iron Men’ to Rise in AI-Augmented Business Landscape

Cyber Security4 days ago

The FBI’s Decision to Withhold the Decryption Keys for the Kaseya Ransomware has Sparked Discussion

Trending