Son of a sun

Why are we so bad at harnessing the very thing we have more of than anyone else? That’s right, I’m talking about we Australians and our collective inability to harness sunshine. And yes its a rhetorical question.

With all of this sun and so many people living in cities, surely we should have been a moral to be world leaders in Electric powered motorbikes, scooters and other small-scale transport. With most people living within a relatively short commute to their workplace, it always amazes me that we haven’t worked this out.

Picture this, a few solar panels charging a battery that you swap into your vehicle each morning. One charging, one in use. Sure there are some setup costs, but electric engines themselves are much cheaper to maintain with fewer moving parts, and therefore last much longer.

Many people are green conscious now, certainly many more than ten years ago. There would be a market just in those people not that focussed on the efficiency. That group sits on top of the market that like the efficiency and only need it to be vaguely cost comparable. There are countries in the world that have twigged to the opportunities and are making high quality small electric engines suitable for motorbikes and scooters, the battery technology has been around for a while too. So what is holding us up?

If we had any sort of foresight as a nation, we would have been investing in this stuff for the last decade or more and by now we would have been shipping it around the world. Think about all the small farm machinery, the motorbikes, the RVs, the side by sides, the three and four wheelers that every farm has. The same technology would be directly transferable to every farm in the land. Most farms in our country have an abundance of sun. I know right? Crazy thinking.

Every argument I have heard against this thinking can be overcome except for one. Lack of mileage can be overcome by doubling the battery space, or tripling it if that is what is required. “I don’t understand the electric engine” can be overcome with a pamphlet for goodness sakes. “I just love the smell of a fuel burning engine” is one I can’t overcome easily but soon enough someone will invent an aftershave like that I’m sure.

This is the sort of stuff that our Federal Government should be investing in. The research, the modelling, the tooling, the training all takes time and needs support, but we should be in a position to rule the world with this stuff. But in spite of lots of talk for the last five years about the inevitability of the electric engine taking over, this year, 2019 there is only one viable all-electric commuter scooter on the market, Imported of course. Can’t we do better than that?

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