Driving the future with electric vehicles
EV upsurge is for grey nomads too!
Grey Nomad? You might not know it but there’s a trend spreading through our population like wildfire—electric vehicles (EVs) are popping up all over Australia!
It makes sense too; with fuel prices skyrocketing, many grey nomads can’t afford the high cost of running a camper or motorhome anymore without sacrificing their lifestyle or job possibilities elsewhere, and travelling.
But fear not. This upsurge in electric vehicles doesn’t just apply to those who lead lives solely in cities and other built-up areas.
If you’re a grey nomad tripping around Australia, electric cars, camper vans, and even motorhomes, are great options.
And yes, they do exist and are coming onto the Australian market soon.
In an Australian-first, ACE EV Group is about to launch its commercial fleet in Brisbane.
Electric vehicles are affordable to run and eco-friendly, so if you’re looking for a new way to travel, why not consider an EV?
It might surprise you how much you enjoy the experience.
Read on to find out why an electric vehicle might be perfect for your next Australian trip.
ACE: Creating history with Australian electric vehicles
With a mission to make the world cleaner and more sustainable, ACE EV Group has been working for over six years. Soon, their dream takes a major step forward.
On July 2 and 3, 2022, Managing Director Greg McGarvie and his team will launch its first range of Australian-made commercial electric vehicles at the Electric Dreams Exhibition in Brisbane.
“That’s when we’ll also be joining other EV companies to launch EMMA Inc. Electric Mobility Manufacturers Australia, which formed in February,” Greg said.
“We have six vehicles in our first production this June and July, including the V1 Transformer that would be ideal as a campervan or small motorhome, being about the size of a Ford Transit.
“All are to be manufactured here in Australia, but I can’t announce a production start date yet.
“We’ve had some challenges with government red tape, still to be resolved. Provided that happens soon, we’ll be assembling from about August.
“The V2 Transformer, which will be about the size of a Mercedes Sprinter, will be available about the end of next year. This one we want to be a real transformer.
“We call it the future transformer because the back will drop off in minutes and you can substitute it with a camper back, an ambulance back, a ute back, or refrigerated van back; whatever you like.
“I’ll be using one as my mobile office. I can be out in the middle of Australia and it’ll be like the NASA moon Landers.
“My solar panels will be out and I’ll sit there collecting free energy from the sun, charging up for the next trip.”
Greg said the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources Commonwealth of Australia (Commonwealth) and Loddon Clean Energy Pty Ltd (Grantee) had provided $5 million to establish EV manufacturing and develop a mobile energy management device for grid services.
Sleek and futuristic EVs, perfect for grey nomads
The all-electric V1 Transformer is sleek and futuristic and can easily be fitted with bed and kitchen facilities, making it perfect for camping trips.
“There is plenty of standing room and I’m six-foot (1.8 metres) tall; I could sleep in it if I wanted to.
“In fact, I drove the slave version up from Victoria during the 2022 New South Wales floods,” Greg said.
“At traffic lights in Sydney, I put the motor to an acceleration test,” he said. “I had sports cars beside me. I put my foot down on the V1 and was looking in the rear vision mirror at them. Electric motors have instant torque—there was no going through gears or time lapse in getting the motor up to speed.”
Greg said that when going downhill, the electric motor provided the most accurate speed control, as it acted as a brake.
“The motor slows the vehicle down to keep the right speed while also recharging the battery.
“Basically, it changes from being a motor to a generator, a large enough hill and you refill the tank giving more range.”
ACE all-electric motors are pure electric, not hybrid, which use a combination of internal combustion and electric motors.
Greg said that exactly when the V1 Transformer would be available and at what cost largely depended on what government benefits came into play.
“We’re selling the vehicle at about $55k; you can then lease or rent the battery. If you really want to buy the battery as well, the combined cost will be about $88k. Any fit-outs are additional.”
EV batteries: How far, how much, and for how long?
The life expectancy of an ACE EV battery was more than 10 years, Greg said.
“Sadly, there’s a lot of fiction out there about how far one battery charge will take you, how long the battery will last, how costly they are.
“The Janus Electric a Class 8 prime mover has a range of 600 kilometres.
“Drivers must rest by law after five hours of driving; it takes five minutes to swap batteries, many times faster than filling it with diesel.”
Greg said grey nomads travelling long distances could invest in larger batteries. Or, for people with smaller vehicles, there’s also the battery rental option.
“Around town, most people now probably fill up their vehicle once a fortnight. With an EV, they can come home and recharge every night; the next morning it’s ready.
“Cost comparisons, for an EV to drive the same distance as a fossil fuel car with a tank full of fuel, unlucky if it costs more than $10, with home solar much less.”
Greg said ACE EVs could be regularly charged throughout Australia at designated stations, with solar panels, or by using the ACE Mobile Energy Management System devices with domestic power points.
“The additional benefit for ACE Electric Vehicles with the MEMS Device is if your house has a power outage, your EV can power the house, even your coffee machine, or charge other electric vehicles.
“And, tradesmen and women can go to a new worksite site and start working with their tools plugged into their V1 transformer. It’s a real asset for unpowered sites to use the vehicle as a power source.”
5 reasons to go electric
Greg said driving an EV was just like driving petrol or diesel vehicles, except:
- They don’t steal your oxygen
- They don’t pollute city air with toxic exhaust gases
- They don’t need a lot of service work with 30,000 km service intervals
- They’re inexpensive to run with solar less than $1 per 100 km
- There are more power points around than petrol stations
Greg said mechanical failures were more complex with petrol and diesel engines because there were so many parts; in the outback, you might have to wait for ages for spare parts.
“With electric vehicles, as long as you’ve got internet connectivity, like with mobile phones, a lot of the problems can be sorted out then and there.
“Where you have satellite connectivity, it’s generally more reliable than the mobile phone network.
“If you forget to do the service, it won’t matter much because your vehicle is connected like your mobile phone. So, it’s updating and monitoring batteries and other vehicle systems.
“To forget a service is less damaging than for fossil fuel vehicles, but it’s not recommended.”
Greg said there were no real issues driving an EV in Outback Australia.
“There are power points wherever there is civilization, and if worst comes to the worst, rest a day or so and recharge from the sun, relaxing in the shade of your awning of solar panels.
“There is more nervousness when driving a fuel or diesel vehicle anywhere in the outback, with sometimes limited, or expensive, opportunities to refuel.
“With an EV camper, you might have to wait for a little while recharging, but you could use a solar awning to recharge your batteries while you relax in the shade and enjoy the environment.
“The biggest issue I’ve got with my EV is remembering to fill the water bottle for the windscreen wipers.”
EV Rumour Mill: Fact or fiction?
Rumour 1: Electric vehicle batteries are prone to spontaneous combustion.
Greg: The rate of fires in battery-powered vehicles is much lower than in fossil fuel vehicles. ACE EV has chosen the safest battery technology. To get a fire, something has to be dramatically wrong. It is not a natural thing for the battery. Rumours about this may have been magnified by some companies making electric vehicles cheaply. There’s really got to be some clear guidelines and quality control with battery use.
Rumour 2: In all-electric vehicles, even the door handles are electric. If the electronics fail while you’re inside, you can’t get out.
Greg: Rubbish. There’s always a manual way to get out of the vehicle.
Is it time to jump on the EV bandwagon?
The electric vehicle revolution is well and truly underway, and for grey nomads keen to visit Outback Australia, the best time to jump on the bandwagon is nigh.
Electric vehicles are not only better for the environment but they’re also a lot of fun to drive, making your journey that much more enjoyable.
- To find out more about ACE EV Group, visit https://www.ace-ev.com.au/
RACQ’s take on electric vehicles
As more electric vehicle models enter the market, interest in EVs continues to grow.
Follow this link to find some answers from RACQ about these new cars:
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