Byron Shire – in the northern rivers region of New South Wales – is aiming to become the first region in Australia to become “net zero emissions”, with a goal to reduce emissions from energy, transport, buildings, waste and land use to zero within 10 years.
The push by Byron mayor Simon Richardson means that Byron Bay will be the first town or council in Australia to adopt the master-plan created several years ago by the think tank Beyond Zero Emissions.
The Tesla Model S launch earlier this week marks the beginning of electric vehicle technology becoming commonplace in Australia. Add to that the trends we are seeing in electric bicycles and motorbikes, and it is clear that the electric transport revolution is well underway.
Photo: Sam Parkinson
Passenger vehicles currently contribute about 7% per cent of Australia’s total CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions; with a shift to electric vehicles powered by renewables this could be eliminated. Beyond Zero Emissions, an Australian-based, not-for-profit climate change solutions think-tank, is currently developing a zero carbon plan for personal transport.
New research by Beyond Zero Emissions, referenced by Ross Garnaut at the recent Melbourne Economic Forum, details what it calls “the vast gap between Australian government projections and the realities of trade in a carbon-constrained global economy”.
Announcements from the US, China and India prior to the G20 meeting made clear that international markets are moving away from fossil fuels, including countries that are key importers of Australia’s coal and gas.
Test drive the Tesla Model S Electric Vehicle with Heath Walker, Marketing and Communications Manager for Tesla Motors - Australia, based in Melbourne. Heath takes Beyond Zero's Niels and Michael through a mouth-watering ride through engineering evolution and sustainable transport that is the Tesla Model S. Unlike a gasoline internal combustion engine with hundreds of moving parts, Tesla electric motors have only one moving piece: the rotor. As a result, the Model S is the fastest 4-door sedan ever built, achieving 0 to 100kmh in 3.4 seconds! This performance has been achieved with the Dual Motor version of the Model S which has two motors - one in the front and one in the rear, which efficiently, digitally and independently controls torque to the front and rear wheels.
Other technology features include the 17 inch integrated touch screen, autopilot and over-the-air updates, which mean the car and features can only get better! Other advantages are the low cost of ownership, boot storage, front trunk storage, flat floor in the rear and more.
The Model S has a rated 500km range which overcomes the range anxiety generally associated with electric cars. Tesla have recently made 10,000 deliveries for the quarter world wide. They have committed to installing Superchargers - The World’s Fastest Charging Station - from Melbourne to Sydney so Tesla owners can charge their cars for free!
Heath also talks about Tesla's plans worldwide, with the construction of the Gigafactory, the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant. Heath is passionate about sustainable transport and technology, and has an interesting story about how he sought after a job with Tesla. Currently with 30 - 40 employees in Australia, Tesla is expanding now!
Project manager Hayden Smith leads Sunswift, a team of University of New South Wales (UNSW) engineering students, undertaking a most ambitious goals: Making eVe the Southern Hemisphere’s 1st road legal solar passenger car. The team has been working hard in the hopes of officially registering with the Roads & Maritime Services as early as March 2015. Making eVe road legal is a huge task requiring a major redesign and rebuild of almost every aspect of the car. The resources and engineering effort required is considerable and Hayden and the team ran a successful crowd funding campaign to .
Sunswift eVe is the fifth generation solar car designed and built by the UNSW Solar Racing Team, Sunswift. Built for practicality, speed, and endurance, eVe is the embodiment of Australian innovation and design. Originally created for the 2013 World Solar Challenge – Cruiser Class, eVe sets a new standard for sustainable transportation, offering high performance, efficiency, comfort and style – all powered directly from the sun.
Beyond Zero's Vivien and Jane talk to Brad Shultz, organiser of the Brisbane launch for the ZCA High Speed Rail report. Speakers at the launch will discuss the technical, economic and social issues relating to high speed rail in Australia. Speakers included Stephen Bygrave, CEO of Beyond Zero Emissions, and Queensland Senator Larissa Waters
What goes up must come down. At least in the case of airplanes, that's true. But as airplanes keep going up, so do greenhouse gas emissions – these emissions stay in the atmosphere and do not come down.
High speed rail, on the other hand, is on the up and up, and can run without contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Europe has had high speed rail since the 1960s. China, Japan and Korea all have high speed rail. India has this year announced it is investigating the feasibility of building high speed rail.
Australian governments have for over 30 years toyed with the idea of building a high-speed rail line on the east coast, and there are finally moves underway to set aside the corridor in which a system could be built. This follows the previous federal government’s $20 million high speed rail implementation study which found a significant economic benefit to Australia returning $2.30 for every $1 invested.
Think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions has just completed a two-year study into HSR in Australia which shows that rail can not only dramatically reduce transport emissions, but also be built for $30 billion less than the most recent government study.
BZE has launched Energy Freedom, helping Australians to transform their homes into renewable energy powerhouses. Check out our new website for the 9 steps to energy freedom.
Beyond Zero Emissions Inc. is a not-for-profit research and education organisation known for its work designing and implementing a zero emissions economy for Australia. Its goal is to transform Australia from a 19th century fossil fuel based, emissions intensive, economy to a 21st-century renewable-energy-powered clean-tech economy.Read more
Beyond Zero Emissions campaign seeks to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases to a level that will enable humanity and our natural environment to thrive and flourish. Website by Media Insights, Studioalto, Dvize and the BZE team.