Firstly, sorry about the short notice, but we'll be holding a fairly casual meeting at the Curtin University Physical Sciences building (building 301) tomorrow night (Tuesday the 14th of September) from 6 pm. Several of us on the committee have been busy, elsewhere, or otherwise unable to plan our monthly meeting, so we're very sorry about that! Also, there is a national branch chair's meeting using Zoom at the same time as our meeting, so the Zoom simulcast won't be operational as per usual. That said, Curtin University doesn't have the same audiovisual package that UWA's Billings room does, so it wouldn't be as nice anyway.
So, we'd like to get the formalities normally covered at a meeting in this newsletter, and save the best part for the meetup; hanging around, drinking tea and shooting the breeze about EVs!
Perhaps the most dissapointing news first - the AEVA National Conference and Expo, due to be held in Adelaide this year, has been cancelled due to Covid-19. Ongoing outbreas in NSW and Victoria, as well as highly restrictive borders elsewhere, means attendence would be near impossible. SA Branch Chair Sally Knight told us that despite their best efforts, no sponsors were willing to risk financially supporting an event which could be pulled at the first sneeze (literally). In its place we are hoping to run a series of well publicised National Webinars with a keen focus on policy. EV policy is a hot topic right now, with each state and territory doing something different. We believe there should be a nationally consistent approach, and one which is both fair and effective. We hope to run our first National Policy Webinar in October.
Robert Llewellyn's "Fully Charged" series will be coming to Australia early next year (Covid permitting) and the ACT branch will be hosting events to coincide. It seems too good an opportunity to pass up, given the enormous popularity ofthe show and the common goals with the AEVA. We have been liaising with the team's producers and hope to have some collaborative events with the visitors in April 2022.
The AEVA's transition from an Incorporated Association (Inc) in Victoria to a truly national Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG) is well underway, with a revised governance plan and draft constitution in the works. For background, the AEVA has been operating as an incorporated association since the early 1980s, and in the recent changes to the Act, it has become unlawful to operate as a national organisation under this structure. Most non-profit organisations with a national presence are run as CLGs. It won't make any diffrence to our name, our goals, our community-centric operations or our events, but it will mean there is a higher level of scrutiny of the operation by ASIC. We hope to be able to appoint paid roles for some of the more onerous tasks in running the AEVA, and the new structure makes complying with the rules much easier. Expect to see a draft of the constitution up for comment in the next month or so.
New South Wales might be in the grips of a worsening outbreak and subsequent lockdown, but the state government has been remarkably progressive with EVs and the environment. Environment Minister Matt Kean recently announced a major EV support package with big investments in charging infrastructure. Also in the package was cash support for EV purchases and stamp duty relief. Perhaps most promising of all was his desire to enact changes recommended by the EPA around climate action. Mr Kean himself even dared to suggest coal fired electricity could be phased out by 2030!
Finally, on the EV policy front there is always something to submit, somewhere. The Australian Building Codes Board are revising their documents to reflect the growth in EVs needing home charging facilities. Details can be found here: https://consultation.abcb.gov.au/engagement/ncc-2022-public-comment-draft-stage-2/ The AEVA will be making a submission, as we beleive it is important to get these settings right to save enormous costs in the future. A team of building and electrical trades specialists, as well as safety experts are working on the submission. Ultimately the balancing act will be ensuring EV charging services are mandated for all new home and business builds where appropriate, and minimising unnessary costs and complexity.
WA Branch Updates
Energy Policy WA held a webinar and Q&A session around the conflating issues of Distributed Energy Resources (DER) and the EV Action Plan - the DEREVAP? Energy Minister Bill Johnston introduced the event, while a host of speakers from state authorities went over the dual challenges and opportunities of high renewable energy on the grid, and growing interest in EVs. If nothing else, it was confirmed in this meeting that financial suport for West Australians to purchase an EV was not going to happen, however it was not clear if stamp duty relief was included in this. I (Chris Jones) was able to get a question in about workplace EV charging, and while it seems there is a plan for several government workplaces to install chargers, a broader scheme was not discussed.
The WA branch has been busy with events already this spring, with the World EV Day event on September 9th. Organised by AEVA business members Gemtek, it was a well attended event despite the weather. Over 140 EVs and their proud owners descended on Optus Stadium, before heading to the Camfield for Lunch.
Last week, several AEVA members helped power retailer Synergy host an EV Education Day in an effort to get the team up to speed on charging, parking, driving and living with EVs. The team at Synergy are working on ensuring the EV Action Plan is delivered as smoothly as possible, so the opportunity to help them understand EVs was well recieved. All up, 68 staff were able to participate with a drive to the UWA fast charger and learn about how EVs charge on the road. Special thanks to Rob and Robin Dean, David Lloyd, Ken Taylor, Thomas Braunl, Jeff Wilson, Paul Castle and many others who made it possible. The AEVA will continue working closely with EPWA, Synergy and Horizon Power on the nuts and bolts of EV charging infrastructure.
Coming up next week (Monday and Tuesday) the WA Local Government Association will be holding their annual conference at the Crown Convention Centre, Burswood. The AEVA will have a stall at the event, so we're always looking for more people to help out. Many thanks to Florian, Patti, KT Lim and Brian for offering to help out. Please let Florian know if you can help out too: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also coming up next month is ReNew's Sustainable House Day. Several AEVA members have offered up their homes for a (virtual) inspection, including some regular West Australian devotees. ReNew will be hosting an event at Subiaco Home Base on Sunday the 17th of October. AEVA will have a presence as usual, so please come along and support!
Our very own Team Green Theme electric racing crew have been hard at work preparing for Targa West, with the race-prepped Tesla Model 3 getting some final touches. Most pressing is the ability to keep the car fully charged at all stages of the race, and team leader Jon Edwards has developed some pretty clever strategies, including a mobile battery-buffered fast charger. Details about the Targa West campaign can be found here: https://www.targawest.com.au/spectators/info/ - Team Green Theme tell us their vehicle is the last out - saving the best till last!
WA Charging infrastructure
As always there's quite a lot going on here in WA with regards to charging infrastructure, and sadly, not a lot of it resulting in more chargers... However Tesla Owners will be pleased to know that two new superchargers have popped up recently - one in Karrinyup Shopping Centre and another in Williams next to the Williams Woolshed. Unfortunately these are inaccessible for non-Teslas for now, but at least the 50 kW charger at Kojonup makes the drive to Albany a breeze.
Our Esperance-Perth charging network has taken another turn, hopefully for the better. While the Shire of Ravensthorpe is under investigation by auditors (!) our request to Western Power to waive the substantial network upgrade costs have been unsuccessful. So it looks like the best place for our second 50 kW charger will indeed be Brookton. Inquiries into suitable host sites are underway, and with a bit of good fortune we'll make the trip to Lake Grace a little easier.
The WA Electric Highway project has been formally re-announced, but this time with 45 potential locations listed on the EV Action Plan document. Expressions of interest are sought from hosts in these towns and localities ahead of a formal tender process. Given the state budget was recently found to be over $5 billion in surplus, a $20 million investment in the future of road transport seems like chump change. We expect to see the first sods turned early next year.
In the workshop
Conversions are still going on in WA, and none more exciting than James Cooper's GT 40 E project. A kit car with a Tesla Model S drivetrain, this thing should be a wild ride! Read all about it here: http://jamescooper.com.au/GT40E/build_history.html
Brian Mollan's 2012 Nissan Leaf battery upgrade should take place this October - he has bought a 40 kWh battery from a wrecked late model Leaf and we'll be installing it into his 2021 vehicle. The trick is to convince the vehicle's onboard control systems that the battery is now twice as big, and while a few groups around the world have made progress, it's not as plug-and-play as we'd like. I'll be hosting the swap at my workshop in Kalamunda, and we'll be recording the process.
Also, I'm keen to host another EV conversion workshop at my workshop later this year. Might as well make it early December so there's some warmer air and plenty of sunshine for charging vehicles. Come and learn, and bring your conversion if you have one! Details to follow.
Finally, I have been experimenting with some DIY lithium battery recycling, and had some reasonably good success so far. Most of the cells I am recycling are lithium cobalt cells from the race bike, but also a few failed modules from other projects where things didn't quite work out. I'll give a presentation on this at the next meeting. Any excuse to do some chemistry!
No, that last image is not what you think! It's a precipitate of Cobalt hydroxide... more on this later!