Moruya doctors buzzing with enthusiasm for electric vehicles

Kat McCarthy19 December 2020
Dr Jorg Ziergiebel standing outside Moruya Medical Centre with electric vehicle and hybrid vehicle.

Dr Jorg Ziergiebel with his family electric vehicle and hybrid outside Moruya Medical Centre. Photo: Supplied.

For Moruya Medical Centre doctors, husband and wife team Dr Anke Dutschke and Dr Jorg Ziergiebel, health and wellbeing is top-of-mind. So powering two vehicles with solar energy leaves them with a sunny feeling.

Anke’s Hyundai IONIQ electric vehicle (EV) and Jorg’s Hyundai IONIQ hybrid vehicle charge via solar panels installed both at the doctors’ home and their Moruya surgery.

“With our set-up, we run the cars basically off the sun,” says Jorg. “We hardly ever charge while away – it’s only Anke’s fully electric car that needs a charge when going to Sydney.”

Electric vehicles hit the headlines recently when South Australia and Victoria moved forward with plans to introduce a new tax on EVs. NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announced the state may soon follow, flagging his plan to put an electric car tax to cabinet.

The moves come despite Australia receiving criticism for its policy failure in reducing transport emissions, its lagging fuel standards and its inadequate progress in clean transport.

READ ALSO: Fast charger puts Yass on the map for electric vehicle drivers

Many countries are forging ahead with their electric transport transition. In November 2020, the UK announced a ban on sales of new diesel and petrol cars by 2030. Japan is considering a similar timeframe for its transition.

For Anke and Jorg, the transition away from petrol cars makes sense on every level.

We want to do our part for our children’s future, and installing solar and driving electric vehicles is something we could do,” says Anke.

“With less pollution from cars, there will be less airways disease, especially asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is very cost-intensive for patients. Long term, it means an immense reduction in health costs.”

Broad uptake of EVs will mean a reduction in many forms of pollution, the doctors say.

“It’s great to not wake up the neighbours when being called into the hospital in the middle of the night,” says Jorg. “And being a keen cyclist, I’m very much looking forward to not having to cycle through thick clouds of diesel fumes for much longer.”

READ ALSO: Take a spin on Bega’s newest bike path

The doctors have run their home and surgery on solar energy for several years. However, following the Black Summer bushfires and extended power disruptions, they added a battery to the surgery for increased resilience.

They say farewelling petrol cars means no compromise on comfort or convenience. And the cost savings are significant – they save around $1000 in fuel costs every quarter. Vehicle maintenance is infrequent and costs are minimal – around $200 per service for the EV. This means the extra cost of an electric vehicle – 25 per cent extra against a similar combustion engine vehicle – can be quickly recouped.

Jorg’s hybrid has a battery range of approximately 40km so he’s able to use it to commute to the surgery and charge from the surgery’s solar panels.

Anke charges her EV at home or at the surgery, and can reach Sydney by stopping at the fast-charging station at Berry Bowling Club.

Such a detour has residual benefits for regional towns, she says.

Dr Anke Dutschke sitting in electric vehicle.

Dr Anke Dutschke is doing her bit for the environment by driving around Moruya in her electric vehicle.

“A charging station is a great way to draw tourists into the shops in a town, especially because many towns now have bypasses.”

The comfort, near-silence, skylight and luxury features are some of many EV drawcards, says Anke.

I love my EV more than I’ve loved any other car,” she says. “I’d love to see more electric cars, but the [charging] infrastructure needs to be there.”

The Southcoast Health & Sustainability Alliance (SHASA) has recently formed an Electric Transport Committee and is working to increase awareness and uptake of electric and active transport in the Eurobodalla Shire. SHASA is currently working with businesses to install additional EV chargers in Moruya and Narooma.

READ ALSO: Electric car charging stations set for Queanbeyan, Bungendore and Braidwood

SHASA president Kathryn Maxwell says increased use of EVs will have far-reaching health and economic benefits on an individual and community level.

“Wider use of EVs means reduced greenhouse gas emissions, less pollution, significant savings on fuel and maintenance costs, and reducing Australia’s dependence on foreign oil,” she says.

The NSW Treasurer is saying we need to raise revenues from EVs, but the government is failing to do a robust cost/benefit analysis. They need to look at the bigger picture, including the health benefits of clean transport for Australian communities.

“EVs in Australia are currently cost prohibitive for many people and our state and federal governments should be making them more accessible, not less. Several European governments have recently boosted subsidies for EVs, stimulating demand and supporting a swift transition to electrified transport. Australia should be doing the same.”

What's Your Opinion?

41 Responses to Moruya doctors buzzing with enthusiasm for electric vehicles

Peter Campbell Peter Campbell 4:40 pm 24 Dec 20

If people drove EVs we wouldn't need this: https://www.idleoff.com.au

Peter Campbell Peter Campbell 4:28 pm 24 Dec 20

Trips from Canberra to the NSW south coast are no problem in our electric car. We can even do it towing our camper trailer. We book powered sites at caravan parks and trickle charge the car from the same 15A supply that runs the fridge, lights etc in the camper. The NRMA 50kW fast DC chargers at Bateman’s Bay and Bega are useful and there is another at the Bateman’s Bay Dan Murphy shop.

David Allen David Allen 5:29 pm 20 Dec 20

I took these photos in Oslo, Norway. If you drive an electric car in Norway, you can drive to the city everyday for TOLL FREE. You can park all day in the city for FREE. And the city will charge your car all day for FREE using 100% renewable energy. Every parking meter is a charging station.

For obvious reasons, we have to stop using fossil fuels. Governments can influence behaviour by policy decisions. Norway understands the urgent need and is sending a market signal to switch to electric cars. This is what political leadership looks like. This is a template for Australia. And because the result, lower carbon emissions, is a good thing for all of Aust and the world, any costs are shared across the entire population.

All of these are electric cars. See the cable bottom right.

Michael O'Brien Michael O'Brien 4:30 pm 19 Dec 20

Now we need to really expand the charging points nationwide to make these a truly viable option.

    Michelle Hamrosi Michelle Hamrosi 10:50 pm 19 Dec 20

    Michael O'Brien yes absolutely time for businesses, councils and state governments to lead the way!

Doug Reckord Doug Reckord 2:51 pm 19 Dec 20

Just one more comment, our last trip from Kalaru to Sydney and back cost $5.82. Yep there and back and a total of about 1200 km (a number of side trips) for $5.82

Yes the charging network needs expanding but we are saving TONNES of emissions.

Doug Reckord Doug Reckord 1:55 pm 19 Dec 20

Here’s 2 EVs on display at the Ready2Ride event at Kalaru in early December. Ours is on the left a little out of view. The panel was a demo only but both owners also charge from PV at home.

Hat Kat Hat Kat 1:16 pm 19 Dec 20

We often drive to and from the south coast in our electric vehicle. Once you know where the chargers are located, it’s effortless. And we inject money into bushfire affected communities while we wait for the charge to finish.

Mona Loofs-Samorzewski Mona Loofs-Samorzewski 1:12 pm 19 Dec 20

Good on you doctors for taking the plunge into electric vehicles! You are forging the way and I hope heaps of people and lots more charging stations will follow. Electric cars are great because they are quiet and powerful, as well as reducing our carbon emissions. If only our government provided more support for EVs and quit propping up fossil fuels - Australia is miles behind other countries when it comes to converting to electric.

    Arthur Rodrigues Arthur Rodrigues 2:17 pm 19 Dec 20

    As usual, the smart people are getting ahead of the curve.

Michelle Hamrosi Michelle Hamrosi 12:57 pm 19 Dec 20

I’m looking forward to the day when we can have cleaner air around school drop off points, car parks and busy highways. Air pollution is a major cause of premature death and disease globally. https://www.dea.org.au/our-work/air-pollution/

    Jay Asper Jay Asper 1:00 pm 19 Dec 20

    Michelle Hamrosi indeed. Friends of mine that live in Norway say the streets are noticeably quieter and the air actually smells sweet

    Bill King Bill King 1:03 pm 19 Dec 20

    Michelle Hamrosi Air pollution causes an estimated 3000 deaths a year in Australia but the problem doesn't receive the attention it deserves. Before the latest round of innovation in EVs and clean energy that might have been understandable. Now, we have a whole lot of good solutions to the problem.

Jay Asper Jay Asper 12:50 pm 19 Dec 20

Cleaner, healthier, quieter and cheaper to run. It’s the future of car transport

    Arthur Rodrigues Arthur Rodrigues 2:16 pm 19 Dec 20

    More efficient, great acceleration, sustainable. The government needs to get out of the way and allow these cars in volume in Australia. It's criminal how Australian emissions rules mean we have dirtier cars than the EU and others.

    Niklas Lindeskog Niklas Lindeskog 1:35 pm 20 Dec 20

    Jay Asper helps Australia's non existent fuel security too.

    Peter Campbell Peter Campbell 4:38 pm 24 Dec 20

    Niklas Lindeskog "helps Australia's fuel security" This should be a reason that even the most head-in-the-sand, climate science denier could get behind.

Jay Asper Jay Asper 12:49 pm 19 Dec 20

Keith Dance An electric vehicle is as clean as it's energy - sure. But studies have been done showing even on full coal powered grids that electric cars are STILL cleaner by 50%, and will continue to do so as the energy grid becomes more renewable.

If you’re an EV owner like me you charge at home with solar: mine is 88% self charged at home so my emissions profile for transport is tiny.



    Blair Rideout Blair Rideout 1:09 pm 19 Dec 20

    Jay Asper not to mention that several times in the article it's pointed out they've also invested in their own solar power setup to charge their cars. When the "cOaL poWEr 4Eva" crowd post comments without even bothering to read the article they just look silly.

    Arthur Rodrigues Arthur Rodrigues 2:13 pm 19 Dec 20

    EV demand and clean energy supply can drive the modernisation of each other. Nothing should stop us getting an EV. Fossil fuel company advertising is rattled by the fact that there's all that extra free energy on people's rooftops.

    Jay Asper Jay Asper 3:51 pm 19 Dec 20

    Blair Rideout yep. My EV is 88% powered by the energy created on my solar panels. Net cost: less than 12.5% the bowser cost

Eleonora Eleonora 12:21 pm 19 Dec 20

This is brilliant!

Tanya Kelly Tanya Kelly 9:42 am 19 Dec 20

Sue this is what I tried to send you

Gary Roberts Gary Roberts 9:36 am 19 Dec 20

How will we reverse the growth in popularity of a huge 4WD ute for Dad to tow the two jet-skis today and the family's trail-bikes tomorrow + a large SUV for Mum ?

    Arthur Rodrigues Arthur Rodrigues 2:10 pm 19 Dec 20

    That popularity is driven by false advertising - the oil companies live these big vehicles that force excess fuel consumption as status symbol. Most people don't need them.

    More choice needed.

    Murray Cox Murray Cox 2:20 pm 19 Dec 20

    Gary Roberts Tesla Cybertruck and Tesla Model Y or X

    Gary Roberts Gary Roberts 3:49 pm 19 Dec 20

    Bloke down the road can get a HiLux for his teenagers for under $8K...

    Michael Gormly Michael Gormly 5:01 pm 19 Dec 20

    Gary Roberts Yes the HiLux has been around for decades. Not very valid to compare it with new vehicles. Yes the EV's are expensive so-far but gee they are cheap to run. 2nd-hand units will be much cheaper and cheaper to run, and more reliable than ICE dinosaurs. Way less moving parts.

    Terry McGee Terry McGee 5:10 pm 20 Dec 20

    Just wait till Dad's huge 4WD ute gets towed out of a bog by someone in a Tesla....

    David Allen David Allen 5:32 pm 20 Dec 20

    Gary Roberts Here you go. You can get a massive and power General Motors electric HUMVEE. Tesla have one too. Problem Solvered.


Warwick Schneider Warwick Schneider 9:11 am 19 Dec 20

Might work when living nearby in an urban environment and work and home is a short commute..

    Jay Asper Jay Asper 12:49 pm 19 Dec 20

    Warwick Schneider define a short commute

    Doug Reckord Doug Reckord 1:11 pm 19 Dec 20

    Warwick Schneider We live in Kalaru near Bega and our Kona EV has done 16000 kms in less than 6 months. Range 440km. We’ve done Kalaru to Boorowa in one hit so what distance commute do you need?? 🤔

    Arthur Rodrigues Arthur Rodrigues 2:06 pm 19 Dec 20

    In Australia 7.4 million people, (73% of employed people over 25) commute less than 20km to work each day. Look into it, and these highly efficient EVs should be dominating the market.

    https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/Lookup/by%20Subject/2071.0.55.001~2016~Main%20Features~Commuting%20Distance%20for%20Australia~1

    Murray Cox Murray Cox 2:27 pm 19 Dec 20

    Warwick Schneider my Tesla Model 3 is the standard range at 460 kms but the long range does 620kms...the latest Model S does more than 830 kms...you were saying? I charge my car from rooftop solar once a week for 4-5 hours

    Peter Campbell Peter Campbell 4:36 pm 24 Dec 20

    Warwick Schneider My longest trip in our electric car was over 800km in a day taking no longer than I would have taken in a petrol car. We started with a full charge from overnight charging at a hotel. We stopped every 200km or so for toilet and/or coffee and/or meal breaks that we would have needed anyway. While stopped, we plugged into NRMA 50kW DC fast chargers. We never waited to be charged to full. We just got partial top-ups that over the course of a few necessary stops added up to a full charge. We arrived at our destination with plenty of charge still and added another 200km overnight from just an ordinary 10A power point.

Vivian Harris Vivian Harris 9:10 am 19 Dec 20

The more we see people we know with electric vehicles the more likely we are to want one for our next car

    Jay Asper Jay Asper 12:49 pm 19 Dec 20

    Vivian Harris I drive one. It’s fantastic!

    Mona Loofs-Samorzewski Mona Loofs-Samorzewski 1:08 pm 19 Dec 20

    I drive one too and it's awesome!

    Arthur Rodrigues Arthur Rodrigues 2:00 pm 19 Dec 20

    I want one. My next car will be EV for sure.