Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

get rid of scummo and his idiots...


In an effort to gain votes, the Coalition has targeted Labor's support for electric vehicles in their election campaign, writes Tarric Brooker.

AS THE YET UNDECLARED [it has now been announced as May 18] election campaign continues to unfold, it feels like we have all been here before, that this same broken record policy platform based on “sound economic management” and “jobs and growth” has been trotted out by the Coalition multiple times previously.

Frankly, that’s because it has. With or without minor additions like Tony Abbott’s “stop the boats” campaign, the Coalition has gone to every election since 2007 with essentially the same policy platform in the hope that the electorate will once again “not risk a Labor Government”.

Despite the substantial ongoing changes in the values and ideals of the Australian electorate on any number of political issues from climate change to healthcare, the Coalition seems unable to adapt to this changing environment, instead opting to continue with its broken record rhetoric.

That is until a few days ago, when the Morrison Government decided that Labor’s support for electric cars (which the Coalition ironically shares) was going to be one of the defining issues the Coalition was going to run on in this election campaign, perhaps in the hope that “stop the EVs” (electric vehicles) was going to resonate with voters in the same way as “stop the boats”.

At first, the Coalition’s push back against electric vehicles seemed like just the latest in a long line of policy thought bubbles trotted out by Scott Morrison to test the political waters. Yet, in just 48 hours, that thought bubble had coalesced into a party-wide campaign talking point that permeated not only the entirety of the Coalition’s ranks but also some Right-wing media sources.

Even the members of the Liberal party who define themselves as “moderates”, or “small L Liberals”, who claim they have a genuine desire to address climate change, have been quick to jump on the anti-electric car bandwagon.

Perhaps the most prominent example of this is Dave Sharma, the Liberals candidate for the seat of Wentworth, who has previously spoken out in favour of addressing climate change, arguably in an attempt to tout his credentials as the spiritual successor to Malcolm Turnbull.

In a recent statement, Sharma derided Labor’s electric vehicle policies as a Soviet-style engineering program that will become “pink batts all over again”. Sharma went on to say “I don't want to see it become like the Soviet Union where we all have to buy a Trabant”, referring to the poorly-built Soviet-era East German car.

Sharma’s support of the Morrison Government’s anti-electric car agenda is a profound departure from the political image he was attempting to craft during the campaign for the Wentworth by-election, during which he was touted as the future of the moderate wing of the Liberal Party and potentially a future Prime Minister.

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Note: Labor's "Pink Batts" episode was far more successful than any other privately driven business in this fair country. More than one million homes got insulated and it's only due to shonky private operators in for a quick buck that four deaths occurred in the installation of roof and ceiling insulation. But the media was highly unfair, slanted and forcefully driven by the CONservatives in regard to the accidents — and this left a wrong impression of failure. It WAS A SUCCESS. Many people saw their heating and cooling electricity bills slashed by 30 per cent due to the "Pink Batt" government initiative.

In regard to private enterprises, as at 21 March, there were 30 Australian workers killed at work in 2019. In 2018, the preliminary data show there were 157 Australian workers killed at work, compared with 190 workers in 2017

advertising gurologist...

scummo ads


a pragmatic turd sees skid marks in his underpants...

'So called' settled climate science isn't settled, says Tony Abbott

Further to that tweet on Tony Abbott, SBS has let us listen to the doorstop (it’s off the main campaign trail and was a small group of journalists grabbing him at his campaign launch at the Manly wharf).

The so-called settled science is not quite as settled as people say. And that’s my position. Nevertheless we have only got one planet; we should do what we reasonably can to rest lightly upon it. 

I have always said climate change happens; mankind makes a contribution. We should do what we reasonably can to reduce emissions.

What we shouldn’t do though, is turn our economy upside down in what turns out to be a futile green gesture.

... What I’ve always said is we shouldn’t have an emissions obsession. I thought a year or so back the best way to break the emissions obsession was to pull out of Paris. 

Quite a bit has changed since then, including the prime minister, and I think it is fair to say this is a government that is much more sensible and pragmatic about all this today.”

Just a reminder that absolutely nothing has changed for this government in regards to the Paris target or its emissions reduction targets, under Scott Morrison.

It’s the same policy.


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towing your stink boat problem...

In response to Labor's plan to accelerate Australia's uptake of electric vehicles by introducing a target of 50 per cent of new car sales being electric by 2030, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that "Bill Shorten wants to end the weekend".

Speaking to reporters in Melbourne, he said: "[An electric vehicle] won't tow your trailer. It's not going to tow your boat. It's not going to get you out to your favourite camping spot with your family."

So, do electric vehicles have insufficient power to tow a trailer or boat, or to travel a reasonable distance for holidaymakers?

RMIT ABC Fact Check investigates.

The verdict

Mr Morrison's claim is in need of a tune up.

Right now, there are a handful of electric vehicles available on the Australian market and only around half specify towing capacity. However, those powerful enough to tow a boat or caravan come with a hefty price tag of $100,000 or more.

Experts told Fact Check that electric vehicles under development by leading manufacturers and due to be released onto the market well before 2030, are likely to have the capacity to tow a trailer or boat with similar efficiency as petrol-based vehicles. 

Electric vehicles produce a high level of torque which determines towing capacity; some models, in fact, have a higher power output than standard petrol vehicles.


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And by the way, an electric car can accelerate faster than a petrol-diesel-gas driven one... and stink less... Now where did I moor my electric driven vessel...?



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meanwhile in the US dumb dumb...

A coalition of free market advocacy groups, led by former Koch Industries lobbyist, urged Congress on Thursday not to extend the electric vehicle (EV) tax credit. In a letter rife with easily discredited and false statements, this coalition sent its plea to the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee.

Most of the 34 groups are funded by the petrochemical billionaire Koch brothers’ donor network or have ties to Koch Industries. And most of the references cited in the letter have clear, demonstrable ties to Koch Industries and Koch funding.

The episode echoes a similar sequence from last September, when many of the same groups sent a comparable letter after Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) and others introduced the Electric Cars Act of 2018.

The letter is further evidence of this network of Koch-affiliated groups ramping up their opposition to the EV tax credit.

“The American Energy Alliance (AEA) has organized a coalition to proclaim in one unified voice that there should be no expansion of the misguided electric vehicle tax credit,” Tom Pyle, president of the AEA and a former lobbyist for Koch Industries, wrote in a statement, first published by The Daily Caller News Foundation, which has received more than $2.6 million from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation since 2013. (That article, it’s worth mentioning, was published at 5:10 am EDT on Thursday, before the letter could have been delivered. Evidently, the Koch-funded think tanks gave the Koch-funded website an advance copy.)


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freedom to drive gas-guzzlers...

In recent years, the majority of Coloradans have been struggling to breathe clean air, and tailpipe emissions carry much of the blame. Lawmakers have started to take on this threat with a number of clean car standards and incentives coming out of the Governor's office and the state legislature. However, a newly formed coalition of car dealers, the oil and gas industry, and free market advocates are working to put the brakes on clean air policies in Colorado, and they're using a disinformation playbook often used by organizations in the Koch network.

Launched in March, the Freedom to Drive Coalition has fought against Colorado’s adoption of low emission vehicle standards (which the state’s Air Quality Control Commission approved in a unanimous 9-0 vote) and is now battling a complementary effort to adopt zero emission vehicle (ZEV, or electric car) standards that would greatly reduce tailpipe emissions.

Air quality in the Front Range — where more than 60 percent of Colorado residents live — has been so bad that it has violated national clean air standards for the last seven years. In 2018 alone, “there were 55 days when Coloradans were warned that exercise outdoors could be damaging to their health due to high ozone levels,” according to Jill Hunsaker Ryan, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). That’s an average of one day per week where the air in this Rocky Mountain state’s most populated counties is so bad, it’s too dangerous to go out for a jog.

A full 30-40 percent of Colorado’s air pollution on high ozone days can be directly attributed to motor vehicles, according to a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment report. (Another 30-40 percent is attributed to oil and gas operations in the Front Range. State authorities are working separately to reel in those pollutants, and fighting another network of oil and gas industry front groups and trade associations.)

While Colorado policymakers work with public health and environmental groups to reduce vehicle emissions, the Freedom to Drive Coalition has ramped up public relations and lobbying campaigns over the past six months to combat the low- and zero emissions vehicle standards.

Who's Behind Colorado’s Freedom to Drive Coalition?

Immediately upon launching earlier this year, the Freedom to Drive Coalition put Colorado's potential adoption of the low emission vehicle mandate in its crosshairs.

The group lists member organizations including oil industry groups like the Colorado Petroleum Association and the American Fuel & Petrochemicals Manufacturers (AFPM) and auto groups like the Colorado Independent Automobile Dealers Association (CIADA) and the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association (CADA).

On the ground and online, the coalition appears to be run by a handful of Colorado-based public affairs professionals, including the former director of the Colorado state chapter of Americans for Prosperity (AFP), whose national group was founded and funded by the petrochemical billionaire Koch brothers.

Sean Paige fields press queries about Freedom to Drive from his personal public affairs firm called Affinity Advocacy. Paige spent three years as Deputy Director and Acting Director of Americans for Prosperity Colorado, the state chapter of Charles Koch’s national advocacy and political organizing group. Paige also spent nearly four years as Communications Director for the state Senate Republican majority and state Senate President Kevin Grantham, during which time he generated some measure of controversy by posting AFP materials from official Colorado Senate social media accounts.



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think again...

Similar to the VHS versus Beta debate in the 80s, the battle between different types of green motoring could see hydrogen-fuelled cars come out on top over conventional battery-powered electric vehicles in the next five years.

Key points
  • Hydrogen fuelled cars could be on the road commercially by 2025
  • Hydrogen cars are quicker to recharge than conventional electric cars
  • Car companies and state governments are investing millions of dollars into the future of hydrogen-powered cars


Hydrogen cars have been proven to refuel quicker and have a longer driving range — which some say makes them the future of green motoring.

"The advantage of hydrogen cars is that it takes the same time to charge them as it takes to fill your car with fossil fuels — no more than about three minutes," Motor Trades Association of Queensland's chief executive Brett Dale said.

"With hydrogen you're more likely to use the same behaviour as you would to go into a fuel station and refuel your car.

"Although we use the language recharge, with hydrogen it's more like refuelling."


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One of the disadvantages of such hydrogen cars is that you CANNOT easily make your own hydrogen. It's much easier to make your own electricity to recharge your vehicle — be it a car or a bicycle.



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smelly white smoke...

Problems with diesel particulate filters in top-selling Toyota cars have exposed Australia's 'lagging' vehicle-emissions standards, public health and environmental advocates say.

Key points
  • Australia has less-strict emissions standards than Europe
  • Hundreds of drivers, including many Toyota owners, are being threatened with fines because their cars are seen to be emitting too much smoke
  • Doctors warn diesel emissions are harmful to human health and are calling for tighter standards


State and territory environment protection authorities have sent more than 1,200 warning notices to drivers in the past year about their polluting cars, including hundreds of Toyotas with excessive smoke issues. 

Last month, the ABC revealed Toyota is being sued as part of a class action over faulty diesel particulate filters (DPFs) in the Hilux, Fortuner and Prado vehicles sold in Australia between October 2015 and July 2019.

Scores of drivers have told the ABC their faulty DPFs cause the cars to spew out smelly white smoke and use more fuel.

Suzanne Harter, a clean energy campaigner for the Australian Conservation Foundation, said Australia needed to tighten standards to stop it from becoming a dumping ground for less-efficient, more-polluting cars. 

"Australia is currently lagging behind the rest of the world on vehicle-emissions standards," Ms Harter said. 

"I think it speaks to a larger problem in Australia that we need to improve our standards, improve our testing regimes … and make sure the vehicles that are coming into our country are both fuel efficient and are able to protect public health better." 

Ms Harter said the lack of standards can put motorists who have recently purchased a vehicle with a failing system in a difficult position.

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the battle of the electric cars...

Porsche North American President and CEO Klaus Zellmer said at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show that they respect Tesla as a sports car manufacturer, adding that they “love competition.”

Zellmer told CNET Roadshow's Tim Stevens that there “aren't that many ways to prove that it is a true sports car,” saying that the Nurburgring is almost like a meter for testing a company’s status as a sports car manufacturer.

“Anyone who's trying to go there to see how you're doing, we have great respect for. We love the competition. It's their business. We respect them. They've prepared many markets for electric cars. They probably lowered the bar [of entry] for other markets opening up and for other brands entering the EV space, which is great. And whatever they want to do, if they want to take us up on the Nurburgring Nordschleife, it's their call,” he said.

"That's obviously going to limit [Tesla’s] relevance of what they've been doing," he added, referring to Tesla’s modified Model S.

The Tesla Model S is already practising and testing at Nurburgring in preparation for their lap competition with Porsche’s Taycan, which set a lap record at Nurburgring for electric sports cars recently. The Model S versions practising on the track are reportedly modified, yet the modifications remain unknown. 

One of the modifications is assumed by Insidevs to be the upcoming "Plaid" powertrain, with three motors and other performance-enhancing upgrades, with which a Model S just set a new record at the Laguna Seca track in California. For Nurburgring, the Model S is officially on the schedule for 21 September.


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the end of an era...


The End of an Era

Will Tesla and Google Kill the German Car?

Threatened by entrepreneurs in California and by Chinese upstarts, German automakers are urgently trying to find their place in a new world of robots and electric cars. BMW, Daimler, Audi and VW set the standards for a century but have now fallen behind. By SPIEGEL Staff

History will be written on Nov. 4 at the VW plant in Zwickau, Germany. Anyone lucky enough to recently visit the factory, which is sealed behind blue rolling doors, entered into a secret world, a hidden industrial laboratory to which only a few Volkswagen employees have access. In its "ghost run," or test operation, orange-colored robots run by highly complex programs and aided by humans and machines assembled eight electric model-ID.3 cars per day for testing purposes. Serial production is now set to begin on Nov. 4. Depending on how you see it, this marks either the beginning or the end of an era

In the future, 1,500 electric Volkswagen cars are to roll off the assembly line at the plant in the eastern state of Saxony every day, a total of 330,000 vehicles every year, in what the company describes as the "largest and most efficient electric car factory in Europe." The designers of the new compact, C-class ID.3 want to make it a 21st century icon, just as the VW Beetle and VW Golf were in their heydays. That's advertising language, of course, but even from a neutral perspective, it is difficult to overestimate the significance of what is happening: In Zwickau, Volkswagen is ringing the death knell for the combustion engine. By 2040, VW plans to cease manufacturing all cars that run on gasoline or diesel fuel. It's the end of an era.



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IMPOTUS's present to the oil indusry...

The oil industry, a staunch opponent of electric vehicles (EVs), received an early Christmas present from the White House as President Trump reportedly intervened to quash an EV tax credit expansion from inclusion in a government spending package. 

The tax credit is meant to help offset the upfront cost of electric vehicles and boost the EV market. Consumers who purchase an EV can currently claim a credit up to $7,500, and the credit phases out once auto manufacturers sell 200,000 qualifying vehicles. Tesla and General Motors have both hit the 200,000-vehicle cap and had lobbied for an extension. A bipartisan proposal called for allowing a $7,000 credit for an additional 400,000 vehicles sold. 

That proposal, introduced earlier this year as the Driving America Forward Act, was rolled into a broader package of incentives for renewable energy that proponents hoped to pass as part of an end-of-year spending deal. But groups tied to the Koch network and backed by oil industry funding worked hard to kill the clean energy incentives. These groups sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last week urging the Senate to oppose any bill that includes an EV tax credit extension. 

Ultimately the EV provision was dropped from the spending package. According to Forbes, “In last-minute negotiations over a massive package of spending bills designed to avert a government shutdown, the EV provision was lost in the shuffle and that was the outcome Republicans and President Trump wanted.” 

Trump specifically pushed for excluding the EV tax credit, as Bloomberg reported.

“There has been extreme resistance from the president. I don’t know why the White House would want to stop jobs and the future of the auto industry,” said Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, one of the original sponsors of the Driving America Forward Act. 

According to Bloomberg, White House pressure was a key factor in eliminating the EV tax credit extension: “White House officials warned lawmakers that if they tried to expand the electric vehicle credit as part of a compromise spending bill, it could tank the measure, according to two people familiar with the matter. The issue is particularly heated in the West Wing and among conservatives who view the credit as mainly benefiting rich Californians and Tesla.”

The American Energy Alliance, the main recipient of grant funds from the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), a major oil refinery trade organization, was one of the chief groups working to defeat the EV policy. In a press release, the AEA responded to the news by thanking the president and applauding him for “holding the line.” 


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killing the electric car once more...

In recent years, false claims have circulated that electric vehicles are "breaking our roads" because they don't use fuel and so their drivers don't pay fuel excise.

Heeding such concerns, both the Victorian and New South Wales governments are reportedly considering a new tax for electric vehicles. 

It follows a report by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia which recommended a per-kilometre tax for electric vehicles.

But this short-sighted approach risks killing the golden goose of our transport system. 

Such a tax would limit the economic, health and environmental benefits promised by electric vehicles which, together, far exceed any loss in fuel excise.

Instead, Australia needs a mature public discussion about holistic road tax reform to find a fair and sensible way forward.

The problem is structural

Fuel excise is built into petrol and diesel prices, charged at around 40 cents per litre

For more than 20 years — well before the introduction of electric vehicles — net fuel tax revenue has been declining, largely due to improvements in vehicle efficiency, meaning engines use less fuel.

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The oil industry, a staunch opponent of electric vehicles (EVs), received an early Christmas present from the White House as President Trump reportedly intervened to quash an EV tax credit expansion from inclusion in a government spending package. 

The tax credit is meant to help offset the upfront cost of electric vehicles and boost the EV market. Consumers who purchase an EV can currently claim a credit up to $7,500, and the credit phases out once auto manufacturers sell 200,000 qualifying vehicles. Tesla and General Motors have both hit the 200,000-vehicle cap and had lobbied for an extension. A bipartisan proposal called for allowing a $7,000 credit for an additional 400,000 vehicles sold. 

That proposal, introduced earlier this year as the Driving America Forward Act, was rolled into a broader package of incentives for renewable energy that proponents hoped to pass as part of an end-of-year spending deal. But groups tied to the Koch network and backed by oil industry funding worked hard to kill the clean energy incentives. These groups sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last week urging the Senate to oppose any bill that includes an EV tax credit extension. 

Ultimately the EV provision was dropped from the spending package. According to Forbes, “In last-minute negotiations over a massive package of spending bills designed to avert a government shutdown, the EV provision was lost in the shuffle and that was the outcome Republicans and President Trump wanted.” 

Trump specifically pushed for excluding the EV tax credit, as Bloomberg reported.


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big oil fights against clean transportation measures...

Earlier this spring, while much of the nation’s attention focused on the coronavirus crisis, the U.S. oil and gas industry quietly launched a new coalition using messaging that invokes “transportation fairness.” Like other petroleum interest front groups that have campaigned against clean transportation measures, this new coalition appears poised to counter policies designed to accelerate the transition away from petroleum-powered transportation.

The Transportation Fairness Alliance (TFA), as the new coalition is called, describes itself as “a diverse partnership of businesses, associations, and organizations that support a competitive and equitable transportation sector. Collectively, we represent our nation’s manufacturers, small business owners, farmers, and folks who pay utility bills.”

Despite claims of “diversity” and “equity,” the coalition is comprised mainly of oil and gas trade associations with a vested interest in maintaining the petroleum-dependent transportation system status quo. Logos for these trade associations appear near the bottom of the website’s “About Us” section, making it no secret who is funding and driving this new alliance.

The American Petroleum Institute, the powerful U.S. oil and gas lobbying group, led the creation of the Transportation Fairness Alliance, DeSmog has learned. The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), Petroleum Marketers Association of America, and the American Public Gas Association are all involved as well. The American Farm Bureau Federation, Agricultural Retailers Association, and a trucking group called the National Tank Truck Carriers are also involved. 

The bottom line is that these organizations represent the business interests of the petroleum and agriculture (i.e., biofuel) industries, which stand to lose profits from the electrification of the transportation system and increases in fuel efficiency. Public relations firm FTI Consulting, which manages other fossil fuel advocacy websites such as IPAA’s Energy in Depth, is also behind the Transportation Fairness Alliance website and the coalition’s communications.



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respect for tesla...

Right before Markus Duesmann began his difficult mission, he fulfilled one of his life's dreams. Duesmann, the designated head of the German automaker Audi, hopped on a motorcycle and spent several months cruising around Europe, from Gibraltar to the Black Sea, from the North Cape to the British Isles. In all, he put more than 28,000 kilometers (17,400 miles) on the odometer.

That journey, Duesmann would later tell his confidants, helped him gain perspective. Indeed, there are many things he sees more clearly now: His respect for Europe, its size and its cultural diversity, he said, had grown. So had his respect for Audi's biggest competitor in the field of electric mobility: Tesla.

In the fall of 2019, Duesmann was sitting on his bike when he received a message from Berlin. The e-car pioneer Tesla was planning on opening a car factory just outside the capital. Duesmann laughed out loud. He was impressed by the Californians' audacity. "At first, none of us took Tesla seriously," the Audi CEO would later say. "Then we were puzzled - and then we were shocked by what they were capable of."

Tesla's Model 3 is one of the best-selling electric cars in Europe, way ahead of its German competition. The only carmaker that has recently outperformed Tesla is Renault with its tiny e-car, Zoe. The Californians are also ahead of the pack with their charging stations. The company has installed almost 5,000 of its "Superchargers" in 24 European countries. By comparison: Ionity, the charging station consortium of BMW, Daimler, VW and Ford, has so far only managed to install 1,160 electric charging columns.

The Germans Can't Keep Up

The German government's subsidy to encourage the purchase of electric cars, which was recently increased to 9,000 euros ($10,276), is putting more pressure on automakers, with demand booming. In June alone, while the car market slumped overall, more than 8,000 e-cars were registered in Germany, a solid 40 percent more than in the previous year. Other European countries like Austria, France, Spain and Britain, are also spurring demand with their own subsidy programs.



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the old and the new...

old electric car


A replica of an early electric car c 1915 in Berlin, Germany.



new electric car Citröen..


New electric car Citröen, Berlin... (pictures by Gus Leonisky)


scomo is an idiot...

Fair dinkum, if one of your kids brought home a report card stuffed with as many Fs as the Electric Vehicle Council (EVC) has handed out to Australian governments they’d be grounded for months.

The EVC has judged the federal and state governments on the progress they’re making when it comes to EV policy and it doesn’t make for good reading.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his federal government, which has plenty of fossil fuel fans, scores a dismal F for its efforts – or rather, its lack of them.



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While Elon Musk is "speeding" with building his factory in Germany to make electric cars, Audi has released its first all electric vehicle: e-tron...



I hope the Germans are aware that "étron" in French has been familiarly used for "dog-shit" and shit in the open air in general, according to my friend Jules Letambour... 


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all electric cars within 15 years...

A new president took office this month determined to fight climate change. Wall Street investors think Tesla is worth more than General Motors, Toyota, Volkswagen and Ford put together. And China, the world’s biggest car market, recently ordered that most new cars be powered by electricity in just 15 years.

Those large forces help explain the decision by G.M.’s chief executive, Mary T. Barra, that the company will aim to sell only zero-emission cars and trucks by 2035.

Her announcement, just a day after President Biden signed an executive order on climate change, blindsided rivals who usually seek to present a united message on emissions and other policy issues. But it was also years in the making. G.M. has had a love-hate relationship with electric cars going back decades, but under Ms. Barra, who took over in 2014, it has inched its way toward a full embrace of the technology.

She has also shown a penchant for making big moves that her predecessors might have considered brash or impulsive given the company’s reputation for deliberate — or plodding to some — decision making. When Donald J. Trump became president, she pushed him to relax Obama-era fuel economy standards that G.M. had endorsed when they were put in place. Then, after Mr. Trump lost his re-election bid in November, Ms. Barra withdrew from a lawsuit seeking to prevent California from maintaining its own high fuel standards.

Now, others are searching for the right response to Ms. Barra’s latest tack. The reaction from automakers and oil and gas companies has so far been muted. But Washington is abuzz with corporate lobbyists complaining in private about what they saw as a calculated move to burnish G.M.’s and Ms. Barra’s reputations even as the industry negotiates a new fuel-economy deal with the Biden administration.

A senior G.M. executive, Dane Parker, said the company was not seeking to curry favor with the new administration. Its decision, he argued, was based on a fundamental, dollars-and-cents analysis of where the auto industry is headed and the cars that it expects to become best sellers in the future.

“We are doing this to build a sustainable business,” Mr. Parker, the company’s chief sustainability officer, said in an interview on Friday. “We want to have a business in 15 years that’s a thriving business.”


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we need more electric cars...

The uptake of electric vehicles in Australia is too slow, a Liberal federal MP has told Parliament, and the industry needs to be supported by tax breaks and free tollways.

Federal MP for North Sydney Trent Zimmerman has called on the federal government to cut its luxury car tax and for states to offer lower registration charges for electric vehicles.

He said he would advocate for a taskforce to help introduce such changes.

‘‘If we are to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, which surely must become our goal, it must be a focus of our work,’’ Mr Zimmerman told Parliament on Monday, noting that 19 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the transport sector.

‘‘The average age of cars on the road today is just over 10 years,’’ he said. ‘‘Working back from 2050 means that, to reach net zero, we need to adopt the goal of reaching close to 100 per cent electric or other low-emission vehicles in the new car market by the mid 2030s.’’

Electric vehicles make up less than 1 per cent of new car sales, compared with a global average of 4 per cent and more than 50 per cent in countries such as Norway.

Mr Zimmerman called on Australian governments not to follow the path of Victoria and South Australia in introducing road user charges for electric vehicle owners. He called for other states to adopt NSW plans to replace its bus fleet with 100 per cent electric or low-emission vehicles by the end of this decade.

During an online forum last week, hosted by the conservative environmental group Coalition for Conservation, its chair Cristina Talacko said she believed there was ‘‘a bit of a lack of policy’’ in the electric vehicle area, and as a result electric car manufacturers were directing their product to other markets, causing a shortage in Australia.

The forum was also addressed by the Victorian Liberal MP Dr Katie Allen, Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari, and Mr Zimmerman.

Mr Zimmerman said yesterday he believed an electric vehicle task force should be constituted via the national cabinet to make sure state and federal governments worked together.

‘‘It is an idea I will be pursuing with the Treasurer and the Prime Minister,’’ Mr Zimmerman said.

He said while he understood why governments were concerned that fuel excise revenues would fall as electric vehicles were adopted, he did not believe purchasers should be hit with a Victorian-style road user charge until the industry had matured.

Mr Zimmerman welcomed his government’s release of its ‘‘Future Fuels Strategy’’ discussion paper, which prioritised government support for charging infrastructure and fleet purchases, but not for subsidies for individual consumers or an end date on the sale of internal combustion engines.

But he said more needs to be done to ensure the transport sector reaches net zero in time to meet Paris Agreement targets.

Major carmakers including General Motors and Ford have declared plans to phase out internal combustion engines by 2035, while many cities, states and countries have said they will ban such vehicles in the coming years.


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SMH 17/03/2021




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the car itself...

Last month, BHP announced a landmark agreement with Tesla to supply nickel from its Nickel West mining, smelting and refining operations in Western Australia.

BHP Nickel West’s outgoing president, Eddy Haegel, said the electric vehicle era was dawning ahead of expectations as world governments unleash “green” post-pandemic stimulus programs targeting transport electrification and set hard deadlines to phase out internal combustion-engine cars.


Automakers were also increasingly expanding their electric vehicle offerings, bringing a range of new battery cars to market in 2020, he said.


“In light of this ... by 2030, we expect that a quarter of all sales will be electric vehicles,” Mr Haegel told Australia’s annual mining industry conference, Diggers and Dealers, on Tuesday.

“Compared to two years ago, we have upgraded our expectations significantly.”

As big miners come under growing pressure from investors and wider society to better align their businesses with global efforts to combat climate change, BHP has been seeking to clean up its assets and its image including selling off its mines that produce thermal coal – the world’s most carbon-intensive energy source – and lifting its exposure to so-called “future-facing” commodities including copper and nickel.


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As we search for solutions to stem in global warning, we might have to consider that the problem is the car itself at this level, electric or fossil fuel driven — though there are many other sources of human induced CO2 emissions everywhere. Most of our cars are "too heavy". Even by adopting light-weight materials, a Tesla S is about 2 metric tonnes. Building a car is CO2 intensive. During a pandemic, when in the West we don't drive much about because of lockdowns, there are still enough human "activities" worldwide to add another 2.5 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere. You think you can save the planet by eating carrots, but the US Navy is burning your equivalent of 100 billion carrots in fossil fuel, by doing futile war exercises in the Black Sea to annoy the Ruskies.


Meanwhile in Russia (not mentioning the wild forest fires in Turkey, Greece, Italy, etc):


Climate Change Creates New Challenges for Russian Firefighters


Russia's president once declared that climate change is caused by "invisible changes in the galaxy." Now, large parts of Yakutia in Siberia are on fire. The permafrost is threatened and the government response has been inadequate.


(Here Gus thinks that Putin is smarter than this "invisible changes in the galaxy" and knows that global warming is a human induced problem).


Yakutsk is shrouded in smoke. It drifts over the larch forests and through the cracks of the prefabricated buildings, turning the sky yellow and making breathing painful. Sometimes, it is so dense that the airport closes and the ferries can no longer cross the wide Lena River.


Yakutsk, the capital of the Russian republic of Yakutia in Siberia, a seven-hour flight east of Moscow, is experiencing a gloomy summer. The end of days seems nigh.

The fact that the Siberian taiga is burning here has, to be sure, become rather normal. No region in Russia is as large and forested as Yakutia and at the same time so deserted. The region accounted for 70 percent of Russia's forest fires last year.

But things are different this time. The forest fires are more numerous than they used to be, they are threatening settlements and creeping closer to people in the region. And they are raising new questions about what is happening to the climate in Yakutia.

Yakutia is the world's coldest inhabited region – where the ground remains frozen deep down even in the summer. Now, though, it is warming faster than expected.


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forest fires in russiaforest fires in russia



putin fires...

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that global warming is behind a spate of freak weather conditions as emergency workers scramble to deal with heavy flooding and vast wildfires consuming over a million hectares of land.

Speaking as part of a cabinet meeting on Thursday, Putin pointed out that the average annual temperature for the past 44 years has been growing 2.8 times faster in Russia than the global average. "I have already spoken about this, and experts are well aware of this," he said.

Turning his attention to plans to combat the emergency situations across large parts of the country, the president told ministers that "if not entirely, then at least to a large extent, this is due to global climate change in our nation."

Vast swaths of forest across the world's largest country are now smoldering, from Siberia to the Far North. Rescue workers announced on Wednesday that more than a million hectares of land was on fire, but that there had been some progress in bringing this figure down. Yakutia, a region a little smaller than the entire Indian subcontinent, has been particularly hard-hit, with firefighters parachuting in to tackle the enormous blazes.

At the same time, in the Far East province of Amur, on the border with China, emergency workers have been mobilized to deal with flooding and hand out emergency supplies and assistance to residents. 

"The main task is to prevent the death of people, so that the passage of the flood through the territory of the region entails the least losses," said Igor Smirnov, the head of the regional rescue service. Water levels in a nearby reservoir, built around a hydroelectric dam, broke records on Thursday and were at the highest point ever recorded.

In July, Putin told former US Secretary of State John Kerry, who serves as President Joe Biden's climate change envoy, that the two nations would have to work together on tackling global warming. "We are pleased that Russia wants now to take steps, additional steps, because your country is impacted [by climate change], obviously. And we believe that there is space for us to cooperate on this," Kerry said in reply.

A number of analysts have, however, predicted that there might be an upshot from climate change, with Russia actually benefiting from the process. Once frozen, soil in thawing regions could, some scientists say, create unprecedented opportunities to grow food and graze livestock in parts of the country historically too cold. Ultimately though, such benefits would be quickly overshadowed by widespread flooding and loss of life due to rising sea levels and volatile weather conditions.


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sweet electricity...

Australian researchers say they've opened the path to a new generation of batteries that could allow an electric vehicle to drive from Melbourne to Sydney on a single charge.

And the crucial ingredient was a spoonful of sugar.

Key points:
  • Lithium-sulfur batteries can store at least twice as much energy by weight than the current generation of lithium-ion batteries
  • They're also several times cheaper to make and require fewer exotic materials
  • The discovery could lead to cheaper EVs with significantly longer range 

Electric vehicles (EVs), mobile phones and other consumer electronics mostly use lithium-ion batteries that were commercialised in the 1990s.

They're made using toxic and exotic materials such as cobalt, nickel and manganese that are in increasingly short supply around the world.

Fortunately, there is an alternative; lithium-sulfur batteries use cheaper, more abundant materials and are able to store two to five times more energy per kilogram than lithium-ion ones.

But there's a hitch — they degrade rapidly through the process of being recharged.

Now a team from Monash University say they've found a way of making lithium-sulfur batteries that are robust enough to be recharged 1,000 times.


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