Electric cars coming to Canberra first?

johnboy 25 July 2009 59

[First filed: July 24, 2009 @ 13:05]

Simon Corbell is very excited to announce that Canberra, car city that it is, is going to lead Australia in the rollout of a planned electric car network.

    “I am very excited about this announcement today by Better Place Australia to roll out electric cars in Canberra before any other State or Territory in Australia, and to see Canberra again leading the nation when it comes to alternative energy options,” Mr Corbell said.

    “This is evidence the ACT Government is setting a national precedent when it comes to renewable and alternative energy, and local, national and international companies are seeing the ACT as a great place to establish their emerging technologies.”

Better Place Australia have indeed announced that they’re starting in Canberra:

    Better Place Australia, the leading electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure and services provider today announced that it has chosen the nation’s capital, Canberra, as the site of its first city-wide roll-out of electric vehicle infrastructure in Australia.

    The decision was announced by Better Place founder and Chief Executive Officer, Shai Agassi, with Evan Thornley, head of Better Place Australia and ActewAGL Chief Executive Officer, Michael Costello, the ACT’s electricity retailer and distributor.

    “Canberra is a great city to start deploying our vision of zero-emissions mobility. Canberra has a mobile population that demands a viable alternative to allow for both short commutes and longer trips” said Mr Agassi. “There’s proven demand for EVs in Australia and the people of Canberra are ready for a more sustainable future. That future is electric.”

    The initial roll out will involve an investment by Better Place, which will go towards building out the infrastructure, services and systems to support the first several hundred electric vehicles in Canberra.

    The investment will cover:
    • safe and completely recyclable lithium-ion batteries that will power the electric vehicles and be provided as part of the service to drivers, reducing the up-front costs of purchasing an electric vehicle;
    • charge spots in homes, offices, shopping centres and other car parks where drivers can plug in to keep their battery fully charged; and
    • “Battery Swap Stations” where motorists can simply drive in and have a depleted battery automatically exchanged for a fresh, fully charged one.

Of course how could we let this pass without a South Park clip?

Leading of course to The Perfect Storm of Self Satisfaction.

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59 Responses to Electric cars coming to Canberra first?
BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 9:07 am 07 Aug 09

We had a bunch of electric cars at my sons fete last year. The were cool. They were only small 2 seaters but we still had great fun bumping into each other within the confines of the environment provided. I’d love to see these on these street!

nota nota 8:45 am 07 Aug 09

Here’s some information about a new Nissan EV, the likely vehicle relating to the Better Place-Nissan alliance?


acaciaelata acaciaelata 9:01 pm 30 Jul 09

uh huh.

Look, electric cars are great, in terms of reducing emissions. According to the links I’ve followed, they DO reduce greenhouse gas emissions – perhaps by 50%.

But for everything else? Like an earlier poster said – we’ll still get run down by electric cars. (In fact, for people with vision impairment, they pose quite a problem).

And as for those who don’t own a car, either because they are too young (mum will still be required as taxi driver) or too old (daughter will still be required as taxi driver) or too poor or too sick, they won’t do a thing.

Cities will still be designed as a mad crazy sprawl where you have to use a litre of petrol (a kilo of coal?) to buy a litre of milk. Kids will still be driven to school, gaining weight as they go. We’ll still pave approximately a third of our urban area with asphalt, heating up the city as we go. We’ll still sterilise massive quantities of real estate with car parks.

And, the killer argument – WE’LL STILL BE STUCK IN TRAFFIC!!!! even though it won’t be polluting so much.

That is to say, electric cars are ok, but they aren’t the silver bullet to all the problems brought about by using one tonne of (mainly non-recyclable) resources to drag one lazy ass around town.

No way should the ACT government waste a single cent on this technology until they’ve built every cm of cycleway and footpath and all ACTION buses run to a 10 minute frequency. Then we can talk hi-tech, non-standard, expensive, inequitable solutions.

Pandy Pandy 8:55 am 27 Jul 09

I personally await for Mr Fusion to power my car.

dvaey dvaey 1:51 am 27 Jul 09

I have to wonder what sort of life is on these batteries? Once the battery reaches the end of its life, it then becomes environmentally unfriendly.

Also, with these quick-charge battery-swap stations, whats to say you wont get a shoddy replacement, unless all batteries are fully tested and inspected? In which case, will the time and effort involved be worth it to the end consumer? Compare the markup on swap’n’go gas, compared with filling your own cylinder, mostly due to the time/effort involved in inspection.

Once such a system is up and running, will it be generically available, or will this company have a monopoly on vehicles and charging stations? Id be worried they’d play like Telstra has done to other telco’s with using their infrastructure. (Telstra vs TransACT in Gungahlin comes to mind)

Postalgeek Postalgeek 12:40 am 27 Jul 09

The success of electric cars may largely be governed by energy storage. If (when) new ultracapacitor power systems come into play, electrical storage and charging times will be significantly improved.

A company called EEstor has claimed to have made a breakthrough with an ultracapacitor ceramic ‘EESU’ unit: a 3-5 minute charge will store enough energy for 640 kilometers.

To date the company has been keeping a low profile, and work is still being kept under wraps, though the company has established partnerships with Zenn Motors and Lockheed Martin in regards to military applications. There are also several patent applications that indicate movement.

Whether it is true or not, there are other emerging technologies such as Graphene that may revolutionise power systems and charge times. This technologies will also assist in regulating renewable power sources to provide stable continual power.

So while the technology is not yet commercially available, the prospect would be game-changing and certainly makes electrical cars a far cleaner, cheaper, more reliable alternative to petrol, especially in remote locations. Bring on the day I can ride to work and let the solar array on the garage trickle-charge my car.

The sooner the remaining petroleum can be reserved for something more useful than fuelling little Jack to his soccer match the better.

jackal jackal 9:56 pm 26 Jul 09

housebound said :

There’s always a powerpoint, except perhaps in the Tanami Desert, but who wants to sit around waiting for the recharge?

they will also have, supposedly, battery “swap ‘n’ go” points, fully automated, where robots will replace the spent battery with a fully charged one in less than a minute. Supposedly.

ChrisinTurner ChrisinTurner 8:23 pm 26 Jul 09

If you follow the links on Better Place website you will find they are planning to use a car that won’t start being made by Nissan till 2012 in the USA. Would they be here before 2013?

Ryoma Ryoma 8:00 pm 26 Jul 09

Pandy said :

Ryoma, your arguements is flawed. It has been proven time and time again, that public transport is used mostly by commuters and people going to special events. People still use cars to get to and from shopping, taking kids to school, visitng friends. Higher densities (in particular in the CBD areas) and narrow roads only mean clogged raods, not only for private car use, but for public transport trams thatshare road space are BAD), making commute times for all much greater. Therefore people will always use cars. Also narrow roads means, peoples apratments are much closer to noise and pollution and less green belts. I for one welcome the bush feel of Canberra comapred to the apartment city living of Melbourne or Sydney. Your plan would only work if, cars where banned from the CBD and town centres, thereby forcing people to catch PT. Of course for most of us, who have bought in the burbs and have kids, this would mean our daily commute time would double or treble overnight and I would have to share a bus with the great swill. This is not the way I would like to use my time on Earth.


I make the above points aware of what you are saying. But having lived in Japanese cities that are much denser than here, not surprisingly there are not that many cars around relative to the population. What I am suggesting is that over time we try to change the city fabric, instead of blithely continuing along the same path and deepening the current problems.

I love Canberra’s bush too – if we had more density, it would be more accessible for a greater number of people. And I am not suggesting that the roads themselves should be narrow, simply that if we didn’t build on the quarter acre idea we would not need as many roads overall.

If the climate change worse-case scenarios are correct, kiss goodbye to your comfortable lifestyle (when we will both have much bigger things to worry about than this! ;D).

astrojax astrojax 1:11 pm 26 Jul 09

if he stands back to back with kevain eleven and work out how to tap the resource that would be that feedback mirror-loop of awesome intensity, they could perhaps power the planet. there’s a research grant there somewhere.

DrKarl DrKarl 1:16 am 26 Jul 09

If you put a solar array up against Stan Nohopes Ass we could could provide enough energy for this scheme plus some more.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 10:24 pm 25 Jul 09

Don’t assume the additional demand on the electricity grid won’t impact the price of electricity…

arescarti42 arescarti42 9:47 pm 25 Jul 09

Pandy said :

Therefore people will always use cars.

Heh, unless Peak Oil theory proves true and nobody can afford petrol. That’d be the selling point of an electric car for me, the fact that you’re only paying a few dollars per 100km for electricity, and you’re not susceptible to fluctuations in the price of crude.

Aeek Aeek 7:05 pm 25 Jul 09

“charge spots in … offices, shopping centres and other car parks” = even less spots for everyone else.

Pandy Pandy 5:34 pm 25 Jul 09

Yeah Pious is one.

Wraith Wraith 5:18 pm 25 Jul 09

Oh great, vibrators with license plates…..

And they are still yet to put the technology into a decent design, most have been downright boring.

I’ll stick with what I have.

screaming banshee screaming banshee 2:17 pm 25 Jul 09

Ivan76 said :

Reminds me of that episode of South Park – Smug Alert! Where one of the characters buys hybrid vehicle and buys into the whole progressive movement.

I believe they purchased a toyota pious

GardeningGirl GardeningGirl 1:22 pm 25 Jul 09

This is what I’d be saying to the car salesman.
I’m looking for a second car for the family and I see the opportunity to do my bit for the planet.
What’s the safety rating, and how does it compare with the regular cars I’m considering?
What’s the price, and how does it compare with the regular cars I’m considering, and with the price of our main car?
How EXACTLY is this better for the planet, and be careful, I’ve had experience with greenwashing (not that I’m saying THIS is, it’s just a reflection of my current wary attitude towards anything with the word environment attached to it).
What compromises does it involve, eg recharging time, distance between recharges, boot space?

mred mred 1:03 pm 25 Jul 09

To anyone who thinks coal fired electric cars are no better then gas guzzlers, your wrong!

Electric cars run entirely on coal fired power have only 40% of the impact of equivalent Petrol cars.


Weaselburger Weaselburger 10:51 am 25 Jul 09

awesome… we can be the first people in the country to be run over by new cars

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