Jon Dee on the electrifying future of transport

Jon Dee, Host of Smart Money and philanthropist

Fancy cruising down the highway at 110 kilometres per hour, hands off the wheel, no engine noise to impede your favourite tracks?

It could be closer than you think.

Jon Dee, host of Smart Money on Sky News, hosted a lecture as part of Griffith University’s on one of his self confessed ‘passion topics’: sustainable transport.

“Electrificaion of transport is happening much faster than people realise,” Mr Dee said.

Also the co-founder of Planet Ark (with Pat Cash) and Managing Director of Do Something, Mr Dee owns a BYD electric car with a range of 400km and an 80kw battery.

It allows him to get from the Blue Mountains to Sydney and back for filming – and he’s also in the process of hooking it up to his solar-powered home, enabling the car to power the house and vice versa.

“So I’m using solar power [from the house] to drive the car, but using the car to drive the house as well,” he explained.

In fact, he likens the trajectory of solar panels to that of electric cars over the past decade.

“In the last 10 years the cost of solar panels has come down by 80 per cent and the efficiency has got better. The same thing is happening with electric vehicles.

“When Tesla started out, electric cars were worth $200,000 plus. The new model that’s just been released is going to be about 50-60 grand. It’s super fast and super clean.

“What’s exciting is that the price coming down so far shows you the direction everything is going to go.”

Mr Dee points to major car manufacturers like Volvo, who have announced that from 2019 they will no longer produce conventional petrol and diesel cars. VW is bringing back their iconic combi van, in a fully electric and autonomous model. At a policy level, France and Britain have stated that by 2040 conventional diesel and petrol cars will no longer be allowed to be sold.

This is a major positive for Jon Dee, who owns a plug-in hybrid in addition to his fully electric vehicle.

“Electric vehicles are a lot easier to maintain and – if you’re charging them with off-peak power or renewables – they’re cheaper to ‘fill’ than traditional cars too.

“Once you’ve started driving electric cars, you never go back.

“You get used to the really fast acceleration, the fact that there’s no pollution and the fact that they’re really silent.

“If I’m travelling and have to hire a car it feels really odd – almost dirty – to get back into a conventional vehicle.”