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?
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jazza jazza 5:06 pm 24 Jul 09

i wonder what kind of cars they’ll be using. most true electric vehicles have massive, integrated batteries. certainly not a quick swap style of thing.
the cost of charging your car would need to be lower than the cost of a tank of petrol to get you the same distance for it to really be financially viable.
i’d also like to second someone’s point from above. power station are more efficient at making power then your car engine, so even if you use more grid power for you car you’ll overall be reducing emissions.

youami youami 5:05 pm 24 Jul 09

All, I don’t have very high hopes in seeing this initiative through to reality. Watch this documentary: http://www.whokilledtheelectriccar.com/. Been tried before and failed. Oh and yes, taking electricity from the grid is more efficient than running your own generator (eg. car motor v electric motor but also true for bus v electric tram).

Doctor Evil Doctor Evil 4:56 pm 24 Jul 09

Agassi gave up a massive salary at SAP to start this venture, so i’m thinking it’s a fairly serious venture.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 4:34 pm 24 Jul 09

I agree. Hybrid is a crap solution, because your carrying weight for batteries, petrol, and two engines.

For low energy use, weight is your enemy.

johnboy johnboy 4:21 pm 24 Jul 09

taco said :

I hope they offer a model of this car as either a petrol/diesel hybrid so that you can take them on a longer trip without worrying about finding a charge station, but with enough EV only capacity to get around town (100km or so)

And even if they are charged by coal powered power stations, they still emit less pollution than an ICE because they are more efficient and can have better emissions control

Hybrid ick! Don’t go adding more weight and complexity.

as for emissions, are we talking about carbon or general pollution, once you take into account transmission losses and inefficiencies in both battery charge/discharge and the electric engine the last study I saw had the ICE miles ahead on carbon emissions.

But if we’re going to look at everything else that comes out of the back of a car it’s a whole other story.

And electric cars can have their “fuel” turned green very easily by a change in power supply in the future.

johnboy johnboy 4:17 pm 24 Jul 09

Peterh could you maybe read the posted material or, heaven forfend, the links?

For quick charge they’re offering battery swapping stations.

And with a fully charged battery good for 200km the vast majority of people will be able to get to work and back, and do all their errands on a single charge anyway.

But topping up at work from the morning commute is obviously intended to see people heading out in the evening with a full charge.

One thing they will need to do is sell the cars cheap.

taco taco 4:17 pm 24 Jul 09

GardeningGirl said :

Beginnings of a good idea but I too wonder about where the electricity is coming from . . .

I don’t think we have to worry too much about a power shortage unless the electricity companies are being shifty – if we have more demand then it will be feasible to create more power generation capacity (hopefully the wind/solar/hydro/nuclear variety and not a coal/gas one)

I hope they offer a model of this car as either a petrol/diesel hybrid so that you can take them on a longer trip without worrying about finding a charge station, but with enough EV only capacity to get around town (100km or so)

And even if they are charged by coal powered power stations, they still emit less pollution than an ICE because they are more efficient and can have better emissions control

peterh peterh 3:48 pm 24 Jul 09

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

Get the public to buy their own electric cars, but provide free, electric-car-only parking spots with free battery recharging.

If the price is right, people will be keen.

what is the average charge time for the cars? if it is an over night job, the parking in town might not be the best idea. how will the connection impact the household accounts for re-charge?

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 3:42 pm 24 Jul 09

Get the public to buy their own electric cars, but provide free, electric-car-only parking spots with free battery recharging.

If the price is right, people will be keen.

GardeningGirl GardeningGirl 3:39 pm 24 Jul 09

Beginnings of a good idea but I too wonder about where the electricity is coming from . . .

LG LG 3:37 pm 24 Jul 09

Thumper said :

Might as well take the bus as there will be no parking after the sustainable transport plan.

They’ll have to put some ‘electric car only’ signs in front of each charging station.

I wonder, will they charge for both parking AND charging your car?

astrojax astrojax 3:28 pm 24 Jul 09

andym said :

Now where in Canberra can I get the fusion generator on my DeLorean serviced.

back in the future, no doubt…

arescarti42 arescarti42 3:28 pm 24 Jul 09

andym said :

until we have non coal generated electricity we save nothing in emissions (potentially its worse?).

Now that is probably not true. A few studies (e.g. http://www.pluginamerica.com/images/EmissionsSummary.pdf for those who are interested) suggest that there are significant reductions in green house gas emissions to be made through grid charged electric cars (between 11-100%).

This is primarily because the internal combustion engine idling in your car is substantially less efficient at turning fossil fuels into energy than a giant coal power plant running 24/7 designed to do nothing but turn coal into electricity as efficiently as possible.

Certainly not zero emissions, but I would say a significant improvement on our current predicament.

Tempestas Tempestas 2:57 pm 24 Jul 09

BFT a radical new idea was trialled somewhere, as other posters suggest it could be an great environment for getting the “real world” solutions nutted out. If this is combined with the car-sharing programs that have been kicking off in other cities there might be real benefits.

Then again getting people to change their motoring behaviour in this town is tricky at best. Still thumbs up from me for having a go

Jivrashia Jivrashia 2:50 pm 24 Jul 09

astrojax said :

couldn’t do this in sydney, as the battery woud go flat before you found a spot to park.

Hah! It’ll go flat at one of the 101 traffic lights a Sydney driver has to stop at before even getting to the parking spot.

How good is the heater in these? If it doesn’t have proper heating then you can forget Canberra.

Thumper Thumper 2:29 pm 24 Jul 09

Might as well take the bus as there will be no parking after the sustainable transport plan.

andym andym 2:12 pm 24 Jul 09

VYBerlina is right of course, until we have non coal generated electricity we save nothing in emissions (potentially its worse?).
But if the gas powered and solar generation plants eventuate then its all steps in the right direction. You have to start somewhere and you need the infrastructure in place.

Now where in Canberra can I get the fusion generator on my DeLorean serviced.

Trunking symbols Trunking symbols 2:01 pm 24 Jul 09

How much does the extension cord cost?

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 1:37 pm 24 Jul 09

Zero emissions my bum – where do people think the electricity comes from.

That said, piloting something like this ia a great way to develop solutions to real world problems, and it will be interesting to see how it goes. I read in wheels mag a few month ago that the small Mitsubishi electric car costs about 1/6th to run on retail electricity as the same vehicle with a small 4 cyl motor on petrol.

And Canberra, with it’s relatively smooth traffic flow is ideal for this type of vehicle.

Now, if we could just sort out parking issues…

astrojax astrojax 1:31 pm 24 Jul 09

couldn’t do this in sydney, as the battery woud go flat before you found a spot to park.

canberra should be a good trial city, with hopefully a good federal agency take-up and with the ‘village’ mentality here re suburban shopping centres, should be a lot of spots to put recharging stations.

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