Sustainability expert and broadcaster Jon Dee took us through the latest innovations in electric and hydrogen cars, boats, trains, buses and trucks for AGDF’s April Green Speed Learning Forum webinar.  Here are his views on where sustainable transport is headed.

Electric cars are entering the mainstream

The Tesla was a game changer with its sheer speed and environmental benefits, but standard electric vehicles (EV) such as the Hyundai Kona, Citroen Ami and a new VW Kombi are entering the market at more affordable price points.  The $60,000 Hyundai Kona for example, can travel at a range of 400km before it needs charging.

Buses are going electric and China is leading the way

Public transport has gone electric in China with more than 400,000 electric buses on the streets. In Shenzen, China, the city’s fleet of 16,359 buses is saving 345,000 tonnes of fuel per annum and reducing its CO2 emissions by 1.35 million tonnes.  In Australia, New South Wales is looking to electrify its bus fleet and Sydney Airport is already running electric buses. These buses are expected to save $345K in costs per bus over ten years creating both cost savings and environmental benefits.

Trucks are moving to hydrogen gas and automation

Semi-trucks powered by hydrogen gas are being developed and used in Europe.  Anhauser Busch have ordered 800 semi-trucks powered by hydrogen gas as part of a bid to make its entire fleet of long-haul trucks run on clean energy. Hydrogen for the trucks is generated using clean energy with its only output being water. Semi-trucks are also becoming automated so that driver isn’t visible, or required only to drive it onto the motorway or for the last mile.

Electric boats called ‘sea bubbles’ in testing

Electric boats called ‘sea bubbles’ were being tested as eco-taxis on the river Seine in Paris, France prior to the coronavirus pandemic as an alternative to using congested roads for transport.  The sea bubbles are the size of a small car, run on hydrofoils and travel for an hour before being charged. They are 100% electric and charged via a lithium battery when docked for passengers.

Hydrogen trains are up and running

Hydrogen trains are now coming into use and carrying public passengers on lines used by diesel trains. Hydrogen trains can run where there is no electrification on the tracks and are powered by liquid hydrogen and a fuel cell with its only output being water.

Traditional taxis have had their day

Taxis are changing with London’s iconic black cabs no longer produced for diesel with production switched to electric.  BYD electric taxis are also being used in China where there is mass recharging of electric fleets. Fleet charging there is far superior and happens in a ‘stack and charge’ format.

Australia is developing EV charging technology

Tritium is a Brisbane based company that develops and builds electric vehicle  DC fast charging technology. It supplies the Ionity power charger network on motorways in Europe such as the Autobahn in Germany. Its IONITY charger produces 300kms of charge in ten minutes.

Transportation is changing fast

Jon Dee says transportation is changing fast and becoming more sustainable. The global sales for electric vehicles are growing in China and Norway.  Electric cars account for half of car sales in Norway. In Australia, hybrid vehicles are the main sellers at the moment but new electric vehicles with a 400km plus range will see more standard electric vehicles introduced into the market.  Companies are also going electric and IKEA Australia has made the commitment to use only electric vehicles by 2025.  There is also the potential for major shipping to go hydrogen.

The Australian Green Development Forum (AGDF) provides a forum for sustainability professionals to network and share sustainable solutions for our built and natural environments.  AGDF delivers Green Speed Learning Forum webinars and networking sessions presented by leaders in the green industry. Jon Dee presented AGDF’s Green Speed Learning Forum webinar on 29 April 2020.