Owning an electrical contracting business, Dean felt it necessary to lead by example and embark on the electric vehicle (EV) journey. With children growing older, and cars changing hands in the family, the opportunity was recently realised. Seeking advice from others and doing his own research, Dean, in consultation with his wife Kathleen, purchased a BYD (Build Your Dreams) EV. Dean’s decision was guided by the safety associated with the Blade Battery, which BYD claims is less susceptible to catching fire, as well as the price point of the vehicle.
The battery range in Dean’s BYD is approximately 480km, although this varies depending on if it is city or country driving due to the regenerative breaking charging of the vehicle. On average, Dean’s car uses 16.8 kilowatts per 100 kilometres. This compares favourably to his Hilux, which uses on average 9.8 litres per 100 kilometres. Dean has calculated that it is approximately 60% cheaper to run the EV than the combustion engine vehicle.
Dean has installed a charger at home and charges during the day. With solar at home, the charger has been set up to use excess energy generated by the solar array. The charger monitors solar energy production, together with household usage, and ramps up the charge rate as required so that excess energy goes into the car rather than to the grid. Dean is proud of the independence he has found with using solar and not burdening the grid.
Charging anxiety is one of the major concerns that most non-EV users express. Dean believes that once you take the leap, this anxiety dissipates quickly. PlugShare, the online charger locater, has been useful, and Dean has also installed a charger at his office in Nunawading that now appears on PlugShare. Despite the increasing availability of chargers, the only issue that Dean and Kathleen have experienced with charging on the road is the location of the chargers. Sometimes they are tucked behind shops etc, which if you were travelling on your own could be less than ideal. They suggest that it is important to have your options organised before travelling.
On a recent trip to Mount Buller, Dean needed to use a fast charger in a regional town. This only took 20 minutes to top up with approximately 20 kilowatts, enough charge to get to the top of Mount Buller with 40% charge left. They then charged the vehicle overnight, allowing for sufficient energy to get home. Due to the nature of the return journey (descending and using more braking), it was noted that they used less energy on the trip home.
The low running cost, and the fact that he and his wife love the car, are why Dean wouldn’t hesitate to purchase another EV. He is even thinking of putting his project managers in EVs due to the lower running costs and is looking forward to EVs that will allow him to tow his caravan or boat in the future.
Dean encourages all within the industry to get on board. Electrification is great for the environment and the electrical industry, and we should all get behind it as it is the way of the future.