Jun 21, 2024
Electric Avenue: June 21

This week on our electrification compendium, the country's coolest coffee delivery van, potentially the country's coolest truck, a new report with lots of amazing graphs on the transition to clean energy, how EVs should be seen as batteries on wheels and Climate Town's explanation of the dirty tricks the gas industry has used to keep us hooked up.

The country’s coolest delivery van? 

When it comes to electric technology vs. single use fossil fuels, we like to say it’s like a backpack vs. a plastic bag: it might take more energy to make the backpack, but you get to keep using it. And many of the materials are re-usable and recyclable.

Following on from last week’s mention of the VW Greenprint (and Mike Casey’s soon-to-be electric Hilux) we were sent another great tale of innovation and restoration: Ra Cleave and Boyd Benton’s electric 1975 Mazda Bongo. 

As Ra wrote: “My partner Miriam is a coffee roaster who delivers coffee around Rotorua by e-bike. Some delivery days were getting a bit big for the cargo bike, and so Miriam started looking for an electric car or van. New options were few, expensive, and not 'iconic' at all. I’d done an EV conversion with my friend Boyd and so we started thinking about converting something “old school.”

Using a wrecked 2012 Nissan Leaf, the pair turned the Bongo into what is undoubtedly the country’s coolest coffee delivery van. The two-person van has also been used for surf and mountain biking trips and can even tow a boat. 

“People love the van. Miriam often comes back to where it is parked to find people taking photos of it and asking 'what is this?' The electric aspect is still a buzz, as it is uncommon for older vehicles to be electric. When people drive it they become WAY more excited about the electric side of it — the one-pedal driving and really fast acceleration make it great fun."

Read the full story on CleanTechnica.

The country’s coolest delivery truck? 

If you’re looking to carry a bit more than a Bongo, how about the new Windrose electric heavy haulage truck? It has a range of 670km per charge and could definitely beat hydrogen in a fight. 

According to Gavin Shoebridge, 20 have been ordered by ETrucks NZ and the first one arrives here in three months. 

“The future looks freaking clean, fast and electric (and coming sooner than many are expecting).” 

‘New energy is fundamentally different to old energy’

A new report by The Rocky Mountain Institute provides a dash of optimism for climate worriers and a treat for energy nerds and graph lovers. There is a whole heap of information detailing how quickly the energy transition is happening - and why - and a lot of it comes down to economics.

As climate investor Lance Wiggs said in response to the report: “Climate tech transition trends are embedded - make sure your business, investments and the economy are invested appropriately.” 

We would add that it also applies to households. Electrification is not a sacrifice. It’s your cost-saving, emissions-reduction plan. 

Driving change

Electricity is the cheapest fuel for your car, and electricity generated by solar from your own roof is the cheapest kind of electricity (it’s likely to get even cheaper after a new world record for efficiency was recently set). 

Some new EVs allow the energy stored in the battery to be fed back into the grid, or to power your house, something often known as bidirectional charging. As Drive Electric chair Kirsten Colson says in Newsroom, that could change everything. 

“So, next time you consider the potential of an EV in your garage, reframe it as a battery on wheels that can power your house and your business. This perspective reveals a whole new set of benefits beyond that of a car.”

And don’t worry: with smart charging and limits that can be placed on how much the battery can be depleted, the car can still be used for its intended function: driving. You will just be able to benefit from it when it’s sitting at home and there is high demand for electricity - and further reduce your energy bills or speed up the payback period. 

Get off the gas

Climate Town does a great job of bringing some humour to a serious topic and this one about breaking up with our gas stoves is a favourite. It outlines the strategy the gas industry has employed to keep people hooked, and how good modern electric induction cooking is.

“If it feels like the natural gas industry paying kids to post pro-gas messages has big 'let's get out in front of this' energy, you nailed it, because natural gas, like coal and oil, is a fossil fuel. And as countless studies and climate scientists and all the fossil fuel companies themselves have noted, burning fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases, which heat up the planet and cause things like increased fires and floods and droughts." 

And don't forget all those noxious chemicals you're pumping into the air in your house. We may need some gas in factories. But it has no future in the house.

Read moreDownload the full proposal here

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