Saturday, 27 February 2021

more on electric cars

 Over the years I've written occasionally about EV's. Indeed I own 3 (one's on loan, one I'm selling) Personal Electric Vehicle (PEV) which has allowed me to make 100% of my around town commuting and shopping electric (either here in my country town or when I work down in the State Capital City).

Over the 10 years since I wrote my first blog post on EV's (I was pretty critical of them) I still feel that there is no clear case for them from an economic perspective. Worse I am now clear that with any existing technology there is utterly no way these can be rolled out to the masses like the Shills (I encourage you to look that word up in the link) who try to convince the market to get into one.

  • Materials for batteries being the most compelling problem for mass roll out and
  • electric generation and grid issues being the next.
There is basically no sound economic argument or even environmental one for this whole circus.

Someone will ignore the first paragraph and say "why don't you like EV's" ... well here's a link for you explaining the issue.

let me be clear

I believe that ultimately we will develop a closed Carbon Cycle system, we bloody well need to but its not here yet. Until then I go with small scale but big benefit. PEV.

My use of my PEV has reduced my petrol usage by an enormous amount, not to mention done my part to reduce the many issues which are caused by cars (EV or ICE).

I have a petrol motorcycle (which I use for local intercity work) and a petrol wagon (which I use when I have to carry loads, if its pissing down rain, or longer intercity transport such as when I drive down to the Capital for work with my weeks clothes and stuff).

Working from home (thanks COVID) I now put petrol in my motorbike perhaps every 2 weeks (12L) and petrol in my wagon about every 6 weeks (50L). Based on my logs (yes I keep a log) this has about halved my petrol use.


I am not the sort of guy to buy a hot performance car but rather have a more "middle tier" practical car. I've personally never spent the money on a new car (because depreciation) and have always bought a good condition car (myself never spending more than $6000 on any car so far).

Its hard to get an eggs to eggs comparison (one can't easily compare a Toyota to a Tesla) however Hyundai makes a great car that happens to be the same car with the same interior and just Petrol VS Electric.

Here  it is:

So the first thing that jumps out at me for what is otherwise the same level of equipment and specification (both 2WD, not AWD) is the price (for the A MerryKan readers AU$ = Australian Dollars)

ICE = AU$24,000 (data)
EV = AU$64,000 (data)

this is because there are no "freebie" hand outs to customers of EV's unlike some countries.

so what do you get for that additional $40,000 ... (myself I'd be able get 3 more new cars or some dozen or so good used cars)? Well in the main your get virtue signalling (and if like many in the population you live in an apartment building probably difficulty in charging) but also get a fair level of occasional inconvenience.

At current prices petrol is about AU$1.4 per liter ... that's 28,571 litres of fuel, which at a conservative 7km per 100L is enough to drive you 400,000 km or on average (25,000 per year) good for 16 years of driving.

What's the chances you'll keep the car for 16 years? Heck, what's the chances that a modern car packed with electronics will last 16 years?

Most commonly these things break down and become uneconomic to repair (often a cheap electronic component buried dozens of hours of labour deep in the car) well before then. 

Did you notice I didn't even factor in electricity costs? Yes, its so far ahead to get an ICE car that even if you get free power you'll never break even, probably even the second and third owner won't.

So what do Hyundai say themselves about the running costs?

Lets run two scenarios, one at $1.40/L for fuel and current household power costs (oh, you know what you pay for power of course don't you, regularly check your bill, understand it ...) and the other with a possible future with EV's being charged higher rates for evening charging at home and perhaps on a differently TAXED electricity tariff (oh, you think the government is going to forge tax such as in fuel excise for ever?).

so with a fuel saving of $587 / year it should only take you 68 years to break even on the additional $40,000 you paid up front (or 126 years if the price of your EV's fuel (electricity) goes up. It only gets worse if the price of fuel drops because demand is dropping ... which it already is.

dam ... that's going to hurt.

Sadly it gets worse, because the savings are based (according to Hyundai) on this:

This tool is for illustrative purposes only. A consumption rate of combined 7.4L/100km has been assumed. Actual consumption rate and fuel savings for your vehicle may differ. 

Ok then, since its a run-around town car, what if you bought a smaller 4cylinder car that used less fuel, say something in the order of 5L/100km ... like say the Kia Picanto (a perfect little round town run-about) then you'd pay AU$14,190 new (so thats now $AU50,000 less up front) and it is suggested to use 4.2L in urban usage ... factoring in that reduction the Hyundai calculator suggests the savings cost on the electric is $96 per year

... oops

Whats next

Then there is (not so small) matter of weight. One of the important issues with anything that stops and starts is weight, the heavier something is the more it takes energy to change its speed (physics is a harsh mistress).

Lets look at that
  • nasty foul mouthed ICE engine Hyyndai = 1353kg
  • pretty dainty EV Hyundai = 1743kg
oh dear ... dainty little EV is quite the heavy bitch isn't she? That's 500kg and the equivalent of having 4 people in the car right there.

I hear you ask "Why the fuck is that?" - Well I'll give you a guess its a word beginning with B

envelope please .... and the winner is ... Battery!

You see to have any sort of useful range (claimed a bit over 400km without head winds and no hills and certainly not carrying 5 people as its supposed to be able carry) this baby needs more batterys ... which weigh ... 

This is on contrast to my PEV which weighs 30kg (yep) and that I can easily load into my wagon and when in use in real world mixed conditions (including climbing mountain roads) gets me the very excellent 1.9kWh per 100km ... the Hyundai however inconveniently doesn't mention this on their web site (anyway, its all numbers, confusing meaningless stuff to the innumerate. And if you could do numbers you'd already be laughing) however if we look around on the internet we can find:

 15.3kWh per 100km

So in a commuting role my PEV consumes 0.19kWh on a 10km commute while the EV 1.5kWh ... and interestingly gets me there in not much less time (particularly in morning commuting traffic).


All this looks a lot worse if you're the type to sell the vehicle after 3 or 5 years. You'll take a bigger hit on depreciation (because you have a bigger capital investment) and that will still not make up the costs of fuel. Redbook suggests in the first 2 years you'll loose nearly the entire price of a new ICE car in depreciation of the EV version alone.

Basically it comes down to this:

and why all the Shills out there get you to make emotional decisions

but what about saving the planet?

If our fundamental goal for an EV is reducing C02 then its pretty well established that driving mile for mile that a EV produces less C02, however exactly how much depends on how the electricity is generated (oh, you thought it just came from the wall didn't you). According to this study (on a pro EV site) we see its about 22% less.

This means that to equal the "eco friendly" aspect of an EV you just need to drive your ICE car 22% less.

and I haven't even started on the bottlenecks emerging on the production of batteries, or the ethical issues in the production of core elements of batteries. But that would only be more of those troublesome numbers.

I'm sorry but sadly we are not able to "consume our way into sustainable development" so (as the Norwegian study on electric cars found) if you want to make a difference:
  • use a PEV (which uses a tiny fraction of the power that an electric car does)
  • a PEV typically contains 1% of the batterys of a basic EV, meaning that 100 PEV's can be made for the amount of battery that 1 EV contains. 
  • use an actual bicycle (eBikes count as PEV)
  • use public transport
  • walk more
  • combine 2 or more of the above
If you still want to get an EV then I strongly suggest something small with just sufficient battery (say, 20kWh) to make around town shopping and commuting well within its capacity. You are hogging less batteries (meaning there can be MORE EV's) and you'll spend less. Either buy or rent an ICE vehicle when you need to travel over 100km.

If you're thinking of a Tesla, then you really are a Religious Electric MORE ON or just after the power and performance, thus not concerned with environmental anything in any other way than seeking prestige in social signalling (also known as wanking).

So if you really want to save the planet then get a PEV and drive less ... if its something else then please, stop with the virtue signalling wankery ... right?

mistakes I make

 I have a Gin that I prefer called Tanqueray, I had long since stopped touching Gin (because I didn't like the taste) but was given a try of some modern "high end" aromatic Gin that costs more than I'm willing to commonly spend. However I liked that (Taylor & Smith) so much I started looking for a "middle ground" and found Tanqueray. Its a pleasant palate and nice aromatic too, and not much more expensive than the "lower middle" stuff.

However recently I found it was sold out pretty much everywhere in my area, so still wanting a Gin & Tonic on the back lawn after doing the mowing I thought I'd give Gordons another shot (its been literally decades), perhaps based in a small on the fact that "Bond seems to prefer it" ... and I recently watched Casino Royale.

A friend had remarked to me that "one of his friends would drink his own piss before drinking Gordons again". I thought that this was perhaps an inappropriate comparison, but it seems there are people who drink their own piss and do so for health.


Wednesday, 17 February 2021

First thing to break on my MX60

In this post I explore a small issue which if not noticed by the rider (meaning being so bloody stupid to ignore it) will lead to greater problems. 

So I have the MX60 for a little while and I'd say my usage of it has been "patchy". This is quite simply because as a "grab and go" scooter I prefer the WideWheel and the MX60 tends to be what I reach for if its wet (mudguards are fantastic) or I want to go for a longer ride across bumpy or dirt roads (such as here),

Part 1 - the hinge screws

The stem hinge on the MX60 is an excellent piece of work which is held strongly by a central bolt and two small screws at its pivot hinge. One of these screws failed. The one on the left:

You can see in the picture that the screw on the right shows the remains of a goodly amount of red thread locker. Naturally I took care in removal of the good screw (with my proper fitting socket driven hex keys) to not round out the end (and give myself more grief).

I had to pull the remaining parts of the screw (still down in the threads) using tool called an Easy Out

which involves drilling down the core of the stuck thread. In doing this you need to make sure that you drill in the center of the remaining part of the screw and not to go off at an angle and destroy the thread that the screw screws into.

I strongly advise using a smaller diameter drill to start it, and a center punch to accurately place a small "starting mark" for the drill to begin the hole. The tool I bought didn't come with the drill (but I already had one.

You can see here that I got a pretty tidy hole in there and plenty of space for the easy out to bite into. You can also soo some rough burrs of metal around the mouth of (and inside) the hole, which is caused by the easy out biting in and gripping and turning the remains of the screw to work it out.

I did a brief video to show the results and provide a quick discussion on this

I replaced the screws with a higher tensile strength material, but as its not snapping from "tension" but being cut by essentially shear I'm not sure that's a good idea ... perhaps softer would be better.

I may take to replacing these every 6 months from now on because I bought 10 of  these for $2.50

Part 2 - the washer on the securing bolt

rather than create another blog post for this I thought I'd add in a part 2 and a video explaining what I did.

It seems that the bolt and nut on the front of the stem securing system also has something subtle which I did not notice before that may be what led to the the shearing of the hinge screw.

Happy Scooting

Saturday, 6 February 2021

150 million lenses

 I read on DPReview this morning that Canon has now produced 150,000,000 lenses; which does not go back to the FD series, but starts with the EOS.

I must say that the FD series also deserves some credit as some of those designs were fabulous. The FD300f4 for instance is a budget priced lens which (once upon a time before mirrorless made it famous again) was a well priced long reach telephoto. I bought mine back in 2009 for under US$200 and its been a stout performer across 3 cameras

  • Panasonic G1 (pictured)
  • Panasonic GH1
  • Sony A7

This is just one of the many images I've taken with this lens (in this instance taken with the A7)

It of course has an even greater telephoto reach on a camera like my Panasonic (micro43) such as this shot from 2009

Congratulations Canon ...