Here comes your housing future
From smart devices that turn themselves on and off, automated maintenance – not only for your property but also for those living within it, through to becoming your very own transport hub and power station . . .your housing future is already here.
Industry experts will tell you we are on the precipice of a fundamental change to our way of life. The elements are already available, and it won’t be long before we reach a tipping point. With parallels to the way the mobile phone / iphone changed communication and the way we work, the electric vehicle has the potential to change not only transport but the way our homes work.
Geoff Mewing, Director of eCarInsight – an information portal which focusses on developments in the electric vehicle market – says the change has already begun. “The technology developed to improve electric vehicles is now flowing through to connect up developments in housing. Just like the Ford Model T, affordable electric vehicles will create a megatrend that will influence further advancements in our homes and communities”.
Geoff highlights the rapid developments in battery technology as one of the pivot points, with the prime example of the Tesla Powerwall. Tesla captured attention with the release of the first high performance electric vehicle, and recently caused a sensation with the pre-release of a mass market electric car.
Developments derived from the car battery were transferred into the PowerWall which opens opportunity for our homes. Already in Australia, the Tesla PowerWall is used in conjunction with solar technology to store excess power and maximize efficiency.
Excess energy stored in the PowerWall can be used at a later time or during peak demand periods, such as in the morning or evening. This means your house will be less reliant on grid power, and will be more cost effective through lowered use of power at the highest tariff rates. There is also potential to share excess power with your local community during times of peak demand.
To accommodate the changes, existing houses will need to be re-wired along with the installation of solar and battery technology. Switchboards and service from grid power may need to be upgraded. Any new buildings should be constructed with the new power methods in mind.
Don’t just stop at thinking it will be solar panels though. Developments are coming thick and fast, with changing building materials contributing to sustainability and energy efficiency – for example, windows can be tinted to do the job of solar panels.
Next, there’s the increase in data which will help you manage not only your power use but everything else including the kitchen sink. This will include electrical devices which you will be able to control remotely – for example, warm the oven before you get home so the beef wellington can be placed straight into it.
Smart fridges will monitor your contents and produce a shopping list. Get this automated the right way and the list can go straight to Coles / Woollies / Aldi or Aussie Farmers who might either deliver or have your shopping ready for you to collect through the drive in collection area. Your fridge or some area of your home (the bathroom?) may also monitor your temperature or eyesight to monitor your health or blood sugar levels.
Got the keys?
From the home we’re then back out to the car and other forms of transport, once again using battery technology to lead the charge : – ). Major car manufacturers are spending billions on developing electric vehicles and battery production, which will lower the cost of electric vehicles and make them accessible to a broader customer base.
Already, cars in production are equipped with smart home technology. The new Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid, scheduled for release in October 2016, is ‘home power share’ capable. Using your mobile phone interfaced with the car, the Outlander becomes a mobile storage battery for the home. Worried about the car running out of power? Forget it. Australian researchers have developed advances in lithium (a key battery component). Changing from a lithium chemical composition to a gel means longer battery life, faster charging, higher efficiency and longer range for your electric car.
The range will be sufficient to address any concerns about longer distance trips. This is already a moot point in Western Australia where their EV highway is equipped with DC (direct current) fast charging stations. You will soon see these charging stations popping up in fast food outlets, council car parks and shopping centres. Move over smelly petrol stations, your days are numbered.
Take the changes one step further and we’re into the area of autonomous vehicles. Yes . . your children may never need to learn to drive, but it will also mean you will be mobile for a lot longer than your great-grandparents. Once again, the technology is already available. The Tesla Model S, currently on the road in most countries including Australia, has ‘auto pilot’. Legislation and infrastructure means a driver is still required, but this car will ‘drive’ without hands on the wheel.
In Perth, tests are underway on the autonomous electric bus; in NSW the NRMA has launched a project to test autonomous vehicles at Homebush; in South Australia a consortium including Volvo, AGL and the SA government is working on a project to lower emissions which includes testing vehicles, developing legislation and designing infrastructure.
Trucks, the biggest polluters on our roads, will also be in line for changes. Nikola Motors – the Tesla of trucks – is building a hybrid electric truck comprising a large battery with six electric motors. The battery is recharged on the go by a low emission gas turbine charger fueled by compressed natural gas. The running costs will be halved with twice the range of current diesel models. Combined, these electric engines can produce 2,000 horse power. Interestingly in the US, power is still measured in ‘horses’ – in Australia this would compare to 1,470 kilowatts. For perspective, a typical mid-sized car would have 120 horsepower (US) or 88 kw (AUS). These new huge trucks also have autonomous capability where one driver can control up to five trucks without drivers.
Just like the explosion of mobile phone apps, you can expect previously un-thought of impacts from the switch to electric vehicles. As mentioned earlier, the other catalyst we can draw parallels to is the change from the horse and cart to the ‘automobile’. Inventors had played around with cars for a few years before the first Model T rolled off Henry Ford’s production line on 1 October 1908.
As a mass market vehicle, the Model T changed everything from house styles through to suburbs, consumables, work styles, infrastructure, and the list continues. Electric vehicles are already starting to have a similar impact. Jetsons, here we come!
Buy smarter = limitless ways to build lifetime income
Crave Property Advisory is a unique property strategy and buyers agent service. As the only independent and unbiased advisory that can help you use any property strategy Australia-wide, Crave’s services extend to home, investment and commercial property. A highly client focused organization, Crave developed the Modular Investing System (MI System) to provide clients with the ability to use a tailored mix of strategies and efficiently build profitable portfolios that create lifetime income.
Debra Beck-Mewing is the CEO of Crave Property Advisory, and has more than 20 years’ experience in property investing, Australia-wide. She has used a range of strategies to build her property portfolio including renovating, granny flats, sub-division and development. Debra is skilled in identifying development opportunities, and sourcing properties that have multiple uses and multiple exit strategies. She is a Qualified Property Investment Advisor, licensed real estate agent and also holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Business.
Disclaimer – This information is of a general nature only and does not constitute professional advice. We strongly recommend you seek your own professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances.