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November 2017


RI Australia 2017 – Shape our Future

Benn Lim

Arowana brings keynote Tony Seba, author of ‘Clean Disruption of Energy and Transport’ to RIAA 2017.

Arowana sponsored the 2017 Responsible Investment Australasian Association (RIAA) conference and organised this year’s keynote speaker, Tony Seba, the author of ‘Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation’. Tony shared his research with over 350 delegates at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.

His keynote left the delegates excited to hear how rapid technology has made energy from the sun cheaper and how fast the cost of battery storage is falling. All this confluence of technology changes and cheaper alternative energy sources, will see the extinction of the internal combustion engine. Many will fail to anticipate the extent of the disruption that battery storage will bring into the transport industry. Electric vehicles (EV) with 100x less parts will be 10x cheaper to maintain, and with the ability to charge an EV from solar power, transport will be much cleaner for the environment.

But wait, there’s more! Tony then when on to talk about the advancements made in autonomous EVs. Firstly, pointing out how cars are a waste of space and money! Autonomous EVs combined with an on-demand service such as, Uber, will ultimately see private or individual car ownership redundant. Car fleets will be up to 80% smaller, drastically reducing the need for parking spots. This will be an opportunity for urban planners to redesign our cities and create a more liveable city through more green parks and more social spaces, as well as making these walkable cities more affordable for residents.

Tony was later joined by a panel that included Arowana Investment Director, Rahim Chunara, VivoPower CEO, Carl Weatherley-White, EV Council CEO, Behyad Jafari, Credit Suisse ESG Analyst, Zoe Whitton and Car Next Door CMO, Merryn Clancy.

The panel discussion was certainly robust, eating into the morning break. The discussion made it obvious that policies and infrastructure need to be put in place to help drive conditions for acceptance and adoption of these impending changes. In response to the questions as to when we would be turning up to a RI Conference in an autonomous EV, most thought it would be around 2027, but Tony thought it could be sooner – by 2023. When it comes to solar, Australia already has the highest penetration rate in the world for residential solar and who knows? Perhaps we could lead the world in the adoption of EVs as well as autonomous EVs (that will save me a lot of anxiety, not having to teach my children how to drive).

From Arowana’s global observations, Autonomous EVs make commercial sense as they are far more economic, with less energy and labour cost. Autonomous vehicles are already a reality in business as Arowana’s advisory board member, Prof Hugh Durrant-Whyte (an expert in robotics and automation) proved by helping implement automation at Patricks Stevedores as well as the autonomous mining trucks for Rio Tinto. All we need to do now is to convert them into electric vehicles.

Arowana Observations (Global)

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