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Electric Vehicles

Paying For The Roads We Drive On

Across the Tasman, there are plenty of people getting annoyed at the increase in large, damaging potholes that have developed over the last few years on NZ’s tarmac road surfaces, even on main State Highways.  Over there, for quite some time, EV owners have been getting a free ride on the coattails of motorists using an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle and who pay their fair share of road user chargers (RUCs) and/or a large portion of tax levied on the fuel at the pumps for the roading upkeep.  This got me thinking about how should we be fairly introducing EVs to the masses while maintaining our roading systems?  I realize it’s likely to be a bit contentious, but it’s not a question just for New Zealand’s new government to answer; it is also worth giving a bit time to thought and discussion here in Australia. 

In Australia, we pay quite a lot of money into the pool of government funds that is received on yearly vehicle registrations.  According to the Australian general insurance provider, GIO, the average cost for a family car is likely to be around $1240 per year.  The excise tax (an indirect tax charged by government on the sale of a particular good or service) on the common fuels used in Australia (as of 1 February 2022) is $0.442 per litre.  Introducing a direct road user charge as a replacement for fuel excise tax is something that has been bandied about at various high levels of government in Australia.  The idea gains extra weight particularly when you consider the seemingly imminent transition from fossil-fuel and the ICE to electric vehicles (EVs).  

A transition from ICE vehicles to EVs changes the maths and raises eyebrows for those harbouring the more philosophical questions involving fairness and equality for all socioeconomic groups.  Without some form of direct user charge for the EV motorist, they would otherwise make no contribution to the roads’ upkeep. 

If, in the future, we do end up going entirely electric, the current $12 billion or so of annual revenue from fuel tax will need to be replaced from some other scheme or source.  It seems quite economically sound to simply charge for owning and using cars on a scale according to the number of kilometres driven.

Adding another aspect to your discussion on this topic down at the pub might earn you a free drink, so how about considering the damage caused to roads according to the weight of the vehicle driving over it?  A UK report carried out by researchers at the University of Leeds suggested that EVs can damage roads at twice the rate of an equivalent-sized ICE vehicle.  According to the data, the average EV adds 2.24 times more wear and tear to roads than an ICE vehicle of similar size.  They also think that battery electric vehicles (BEVs) with a mass of over 2000 kg contribute 2.32 times the rate of road deterioration. 

So could the fuel excise could be scrapped altogether, and all vehicles should be taxed via a user pays system based on the weight/mass of a vehicle?  This sort of deal might actually help lower emissions in the long run because the lighter the car, the more frugal it is, EVs, hybrids, and ICEs all included.  The cost of road repairs is also related to the CO2 emissions as well, so the fewer road repairs are required, the lower the emissions emitted – well, in theory anyway.  What do you reckon?

Hydrogen-Based ICE?

How does a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine boasting 302 kW of power at 6500 rpm and 500 Nm of torque between 3000 and 4000 rpm sound to you?  To my ears, this is pretty impressive stuff on any given day. 

Big entities AVL Racetech and Hungarian HUMDA Lab have used their know-how to work on advancing the hydrogen internal combustion engine (H2 ICE).  These engines have long been known for their low performance and lean-burning capacity, but AVL Racetech and Hungarian HUMDA Lab have succeeded in producing something that changes this impression completely.

According to Toyota, the future of vehicle transport and mobility lies in this new type of engine and its resulting powertrains.  The 2.0-litre H2 ICE was put through its paces on a testbed and confirmed that the following top values calculated previously in simulations were a reality.  Apart from the benefits that the H2 ICE has for the planet in reducing fuel emissions, the level of power that this new technology can produce is staggering. 

To put some context on the level of power that this 2.0-litre H2 ICE motor produces, let’s think of it this way.  The brand new engine can reach highs of around 153 kW (205 horsepower) per litre, which is even more than the Bugatti Chiron’s 185 horses per litre!  

Cleverly designed PFI water injection systems moderate the combustion in the chambers and prevent any potential engine damage from occurring.  The PFI water injection system introduces water into the intake air, which improves pressure levels.  It also reduces the temperature of the combustion chamber as it evaporates.  The air demand, which is lower than during lean combustion, is provided by a waste gate turbocharger that has been especially designed for the sole purpose of improving pressure levels and reducing the combustion chamber’s temperatures.

The H2 ICE process differs from hydrogen combustion in a fuel-cell vehicle, which works more along the lines of a traditional engine but using hydrogen instead of gasoline.  So, the H2 ICE converts hydrogen into electrical energy to power an electric motor. 

The H2 ICE project leader, Paul Kapus, Manager of Development Spark Ignited Engines, stated that. “At the end of 2022, we announced for the first time, that we would be working on a two-litre, hydrogen-powered racing engine with stoichiometric combustion and PFI water injection… Our goals were 500 Nm of torque and an output of up to 300 kW… We are proud to have been able to validate those figures on the testbed.”

Ellen Lohr, the director of Motorsport AVL, mentioned that the results of the testing of the new motor means that it is a competitive racing package with this technology. The goal for the AVL Racetech team is to lead motorsport into a sustainable future.  The next step will be to test the new H2 ICE concept in the heat of battle on a racetrack. 

This technology could surely influence the direction of EVs into the future.  Watch this space!

Is It Better to Buy a Hybrid Vehicle or Electric Vehicle in 2024?

So, you’re looking to purchase an eco-friendly car in 2024? 

That’s awesome! 

There are so many fantastic options available right now that all help you to do your part to protect our environment. 

Of course, one of the most common questions we’re getting right now is: 

Should I buy a hybrid or electric vehicle in 2024? 

That’s why we’ve put together this helpful guide to give you a better understanding of the differences between electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as what else you need to know to make the right decision. 

So, buckle up, and let’s get into it. 

Remind me: How does an Electric Vehicle work? 

Electric Vehicles (EVs) substitute a traditional internal combustion engine for an electric motor that’s powered by a battery mounted in the car. The battery is then charged by being plugged into an EV charging station or wall outlet. 

We now also have Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) in Australia as well that are powered by a Hydrogen Fuel Cell, as opposed to an onboard battery. 

While these are not as popular as traditional Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) just yet, they are starting to gain more momentum – especially as refuelling them can take just a fraction of the time it takes to recharge a BEV. 

How does a Hybrid Vehicle work? 

Hybrid Vehicles combine traditional petrol/diesel engines with an electric propulsion system to provide two distinguishable power sources that can quickly adapt to your driving style. 

As an example, the internal combustion engine will typically kick in on highways, while the electric motor will take over at slower speeds around suburban streets. 

There are three main types of hybrid vehicles: 

Standard hybrids 

These alternate automatically between petrol/diesel and electric power, which is charged while the car runs on fuel. 

Plug-in hybrids 

The electric power source charges from an external port to give the car a greater electric-only range. 

Mild hybrids 

These vehicles come with a small internal battery pack typically to provide a boost in performance or economy. 

What are the main differences between Electric and Hybrid Vehicles? 

Aside from their power source, there are a few key differences between electric and hybrid vehicles that may have an impact on your final decision: 


Hybrid vehicles can be fuelled with petrol or diesel, and the battery is typically recharged by the engine while driving. Electric vehicles must be charged with an external power source. 


Hybrids produce fewer emissions than traditional cars, while fully electric vehicles produce zero emissions. 


A hybrid vehicle has no set range as long as fuel access exists. An electric vehicle’s range is limited by its battery capacity, which is important to consider when taking longer trips. 


Hybrid vehicles are typically cheaper than EVs to purchase, however, ongoing maintenance costs can be much higher over the life of the car. 

As you can see, there are several pros and cons to each type of vehicle, and one of the most important things to consider when making your decision is accessibility to EV charging stations – especially if you like to take longer driving trips. 

How easy is it to recharge your electric vehicle EV in Australia? 

Currently, there are more than 3000 dedicated electric vehicle charging points in Australia – with more than a third of them located in NSW. 

While this is not a huge amount for a country the size of Australia, the infrastructure will continue to be developed over time to make our roads much more EV-friendly. 

Of course, if charging your car is a concern to you, you always have the option of buying a hybrid that can also run on petrol or diesel if EV charging stations are lacking. 

It’s worth noting here that our State and Federal governments have created several EV incentives as well to make purchasing an electric vehicle more attractive to more people. This is something you should consider when making your decision. 

So, should you buy a Hybrid or Electric Vehicle in 2024? 

At the end of the day, the choice of whether to buy an electric or hybrid vehicle in 2024 is really up to you. Make sure to consider why you need the vehicle and how you intend to use it when making your decision. 

That being said, if you do need extra help in finding the right vehicle for you, Private Fleet can help. 

Find the right eco-friendly vehicle at the right price with Private Fleet 

Private Fleet empowers you to gain all the benefits of a fleet purchase but as a private buyer. 

Backed by decades of vehicle industry experience, fleet buying power and a network of car dealers across Australia, we are here to ensure that buying your next hybrid or electric vehicle in 2024 will be as straightforward as possible for you. 

Shopping for a car is an enjoyable process – let us make it hassle-free, too. 

Reach out to us today for a seamless and simple car-buying experience. 

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle: What You Need to Know

As the automotive industry continues to evolve, so does the landscape of fuel alternatives.  

Although the market was traditionally dominated (if not monopolised) by petroleum and diesel engines, the recent rise in alternatively fuelled vehicles is reshaping the way we think about transportation. 

Today, there are many potential ways of fuelling a vehicle, such as: 

One fascinating addition to this list is the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle, or Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV), a fast-growing option in the eco-friendly automotive market. 

In this article, we’ll delve into the world of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles, exploring what makes them unique, how they work, and why they’re quickly increasing in popularity both in Australia and abroad.  

So, if you’re considering making the switch to a hydrogen-powered vehicle, this is your guide to everything you need to know. 

How do Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles Work? 

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. 

When it comes to Fuel Cell Vehicles, hydrogen serves as a clean source of energy to power electric vehicle motors. Unlike traditional petroleum-powered cars that rely on internal combustion engines and emit damaging greenhouse gasses as a result, Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles use a chemical process that involves combining hydrogen with oxygen to create an electric current that powers the vehicle’s electric motor. 

Why Use Hydrogen Power fuel in cars? 

The appeal of hydrogen as a fuel source for vehicles lies in the fact that it is a green and renewable alternative to traditional fuel sources.  

When hydrogen reacts with oxygen in a fuel cell to create electricity, the only by-products of this process are water vapour and heat, making it a zero-emission energy carrier, similar to Electric Vehicles (EVs). 

This stands in stark contrast to traditional fossil fuel vehicles, which release greenhouse gases and contribute to air pollution in the short term as well as significant environmental damage over the long term. As the minds of Australians shift toward a more sustainable mindset, hydrogen is an attractive alternative for reducing the carbon footprint of the transportation sector. 

How Do Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles Compare against Battery-Electric Vehicles? 

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCEVs) are very similar to Battery-Electric Vehicles (EVs), though, there are some notable differences to be aware of. 

While both Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles and Battery-Electric Vehicles aim to reduce reliance on traditional fossil fuels by using electricity as a fuel source, they differ on four key variables: 

  • their energy storage, 
  • their delivery mechanisms, 
  • their refuelling times, and 
  • their energy density. 

On one hand, Battery-Electric Vehicles store electricity in onboard batteries, which are then used to power electric motors. On the other hand, Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles generate electricity on demand through the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen in the fuel cell. 

The other key distinction lies in the refuelling times of each alternative.  

In short, Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles generally offer a faster refuelling experience when compared to Battery-Electric Vehicles as their battery typically requires a longer charging time.  

Additionally, hydrogen has a higher energy density than battery alternatives which allows for more extended driving ranges.  

While on the face of it, it may seem as though Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles are a superior choice, it’s also worth remembering that the infrastructure for hydrogen refuelling in Australia is currently less widespread than it is for electric charging stations. 

What is the Range of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles? 

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are known for their impressive range when compared to other non-petroleum energy alternatives.  

The range of Hydrogen-Powered Vehicles can vary depending on the make, model and type of care, as well as how it is driven, however, many models can travel over 600 kilometres in a single trip. 

For reference, the average range of a Battery-Electric Vehicle is between 300 and 500 kilometres, making Hydrogen-Powered Vehicles the perfect choice for eco-friendly consumers who enjoy their road trips. 

How Do You Refuel Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles? 

Although the infrastructure is currently lacking in Australia, refuelling a hydrogen-powered vehicle is a straightforward process. Much like traditional petroleum stations, hydrogen refuelling stations allow drivers to replenish their hydrogen tanks quickly and efficiently. 

The refuelling process generally takes just a few minutes and so offers a level of convenience that is comparable to refuelling a traditional petroleum vehicle. While compared to electric charging infrastructure, the number of hydrogen refuelling stations is currently limited, efforts are underway to expand the current infrastructure network to make Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles more accessible to all Australians.

Find the right Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle at the right price with Private Fleet 

Private Fleet empowers you to gain all the benefits of a fleet purchase but as a private buyer – and get advice on the latest Hydrogen-Powered Vehicle incentives!  

Backed by decades of vehicle industry experience, fleet buying power and a network of car dealers across Australia, we are here to ensure that buying your next Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCEV) will be as straightforward as possible for you. 

Shopping for a car is an enjoyable process – let us make it hassle-free, too. 

Reach out to us today for a seamless and simple car-buying experience.