30 March 2021

Test drive and buy: EV revolution is coming to Canberra

| Ian Bushnell
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Test drive the Nissan Leaf at the Canberra community electric vehicle bulk buy launch. Photo: Supplied.

Keen to plug-in to the electric car revolution but worried about the cost, range anxiety and servicing?

Australia’s only all-electric car dealers are coming to Canberra to show off a range of EVs and host a month-long community education program from 25 February to 26 March, starting with a launch at the Kambri Cultural Centre at the ANU.

The Good Car Company bulk-buys low-mileage EVs at auction from Japan and the UK, cutting costs and overheads along the way to deliver affordable cars, with the overall aim of boosting the number of EVs on Australian roads and building a viable market.

Purchases are by order, and mostly driven by bulk-buy events.

The unlikely used car dealers behind the Good Car Company are three environmental and sustainability experts from Tasmania – Anthony Broese van Groenou, Anton Vikstrom and Sam Whitehead.

They originally considered converting Australian vehicles but realised how laborious that was and looked across the ditch to New Zealand where there are now 14,000 EVs, mostly imported from Japan where, because of legislation, there is a high turnover of used vehicles.

Mr van Groenou said Canberra would see a range of Nissan Leafs, starting at $17,000, and a Nissan e-NV 200 commercial van, which come as 2, 5, and 7-seaters.

He said Australia could not afford to wait to make the transition to EVs, and he and his partners saw an opportunity to put the foot down and accelerate the uptake.

It was also a way to lobby government and promote the benefits of decarbonisation, cleaner air and quieter neighbourhoods.

The Canberra trip comes after successful community bulk-buy programs in Tasmania and Victoria, and as US car giant GM became the latest automaker to announce the switch to electric.

The clock is ticking for the internal combustion engine with countries such as the UK banning the sale of petrol-driven cars and vans from 2030, and China forging ahead with the manufacture of EVs, including autonomous vehicles.

While other nations are preparing for the inevitable, offering incentives and setting policy for the transition, Mr van Groenou fears Australia will be left behind and face additional costs to modernise.

”We’re going to end up being the dumping ground of all the old stuff, diesel and petrol cars,” he said, although he praised the ACT’s leadership on its car fleet, buyer incentives and charging infrastructure.

Anthony Broese van Groenou

Good Car Company co-founder Anthony Broese van Groenou: EVs are cleaner, faster, cheaper to run and more fun.

But a discussion paper released by the Morrison Government informing the development of Australia’s Future Fuels Strategy rules out any incentives for people to buy electric vehicles.

Which is where community action comes in to play.

”It was community action and bulk buys that really kicked off the solar revolution. And that’s what we’re trying to do here,” Mr van Groenou said.

He said affordability was the key to the transition and a goal of the bulk-buy model, but he said once someone had driven an electric car they don’t look back.

”They drive cleaner, they’re faster, they’re way more fun, more responsive and cheaper to run,” he said.

He said the operating cost was about a sixth of a current vehicle and maintenance, due to having fewer moving parts, was also a fraction of the cost.

”If we’re able to reduce that upfront capital cost then you get a return on your investment,” he said.

Mr van Groenou said the imposition of road user charges at this stage of development was madness and would be a disincentive to uptake, urging governments to wait until there were enough EVs on the road.

He said fears that EVs would break the electricity grid would only be realised if the transition was unplanned but smart charging technology and demand management to ensure power was drawn down at the cheapest and most optimal times would prevent those issues.

The uptake of vehicles with bidirectional technology, where EVs could also feed power into the grid, would also help to balance out the system.

Local energy company Evoenergy is participating in the $1.6 million EV Grid: Enabling Electric Vehicle Friendly Networks and Neighbourhoods trial to understand more about how electric vehicle charging impacts the network.

Funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the trial will be led by Jemena in partnership with AusNet Services, Evoenergy, TasNetworks and United Energy to install smart, efficient wall chargers in the homes of participating electric vehicle owners to observe the effect charging patterns have on network demand, and manage and optimise when charging occurs.

Local sustainability group SEE-change is partnering with the Good Car Company for the event.

The Canberra community electric vehicle bulk buy launch

When: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, Thursday 25 February
Where: Courtyard of Kambri Cultural Centre, Australian National University Building 153, University Ave, Acton. The event will be held outside in the courtyard.
Registrations: Due to COVID-19, limited in-person tickets are available. Register to attend in person at Good Car.
Livestream via The Good Car Company Facebook page.

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Capital Retro2:47 pm 23 Mar 21

I haven’t heard any post-event news about this virtue-fest.

Anyone know what happened?

I hope they don’t include the first models of the Nissan Leaf – they were poorly designed & the batteries were not cooled properly, wore out quickly & did not hold their charge.

Capital Retro7:30 am 10 Feb 21

Why do you hope they don’t include the early models of the Nissan Leaf?

This promotion is more about virtue signalling than caveat emptor.

For 16k more than their most expensive model you can drive away in a brand new car, which offers full Nissan factory support, five year warranty and eight year battery warranty. Some grey components may not be available in country.

Capital Retro9:51 am 08 Feb 21

While the UK may be banning the sale of certain ICE powered vehicles it is also opening new coal mines: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-55923731

Capital Retro9:31 am 08 Feb 21

The UK indeed has declared that sale of petrol powered cars and vans will be banned soon. This is simply virtue signaling and it is dependent on local industries developing through subsidies to make the EVs to replace the banned ICE powered in the UK. This will be financially impossible while China is allowed to pollute with impunity. The UK has also declared that burning woodchips to generate electricity is “renewable”. Rubbish.


Capital Retro3:48 pm 06 Feb 21

“The Good Car Company” sounds a bit like “A Better Place” and we all know what happened there. In fact, the blurb on their website says they want to turn the world into “a better place” as well as being able to tell terrified children that they are saving the planet.

It’s incredible how existing world used car salesmen are despised but new world EV salesmen are seen as heroes.

Check the website folks because the “cheapest” vehicle at $17,000 is going to be 8 years old Nissan Leaf AZEO and it will only travel 100km on a full charge (barely one circuit of Canberra). The battery life will already be reduced at least 20% and it is only supported by a 24,000km (not miles) warranty. A new battery replacement for this vehicle will cost over $10,000.

Also, I didn’t see any steak knives being offered either so proceed with caution.

You really are a broken record Retro. The EV revolution is on its way here. Within a few years hardly any companies will be making petrol vehicles. People like you will still be shouting at the wind, whining and moaning, spruiking the virtues of an obsolete technology.

Capital Retro9:34 am 08 Feb 21

Good luck with your 100km clunker, dolphin.

If you run the world CR, we’d all still be living in caves – one to kybosh any idea that you have any misforgivings over, no matter how utterly ridiculous your position may be. Must be a sad way to exist.

It is private enterprise trying to fill a gap in the market.

Capital Retro1:07 pm 08 Feb 21

That’s a typical response from someone who can’t deal with the facts when they get in the way of the progressive narrative and everything I have said or linked to on this thread is FACT.

And there is nothing wrong with living in caves.

The truth hurts CR – you know I’m spot on. You haven’t a progressive bone in your body. The ‘good old way’ is the only way for you – because as long as the damage is being done to someone else and not you, you couldn’t care less. As long as you don’t pay for the externality, and someone else chokes on the coal dust from the coal power plants, or someone else chokes on the nitrous oxide.

I find it amazing there are human beings out there that are against progress by default. We should be looking for ways to do things better then what we do….. yet your quite happy for the old status quo to be the way forever.

As I said, you’d rather be running around bashing each other with clubs, living in caves, then actually trying to progress and improve the qualities of lives for all. But that comes from an exceptionally self-centered view of the world I suppose, based solely on individualism and ignoring any ability to see the benefits that accrue from a want to improve collectively the lot of the world.

Capital Retro5:16 pm 09 Feb 21

Where are the statistics that say people are choking in cold dust and on nitrous oxide JS9?

I think you are a tad too emotive about it all. Hang onto to your internal combustion car just a little longer and see how it all pans out, eh?

Well I’m not sure what ‘cold’ dust does, but coal does enormous damage to human health.

And nitrous oxides aren’t healthy either. I know google keeps threatening to leave Australia, but until they actually do, there are large amounts of studies out there, peer reviewed by people with far greater intellect than either you or me, showing the significant damage to human health that both of those pollutants do. But no, do stick with your uninformed caveman view of the world, if a little bit of research is beyond you.

But as I said, you couldn’t give one stuff if the externalities hurt someone else – thankfully such narcissistic views aren’t held by everyone, and some actually do want to make a difference and leave the world a better, not worse place for future generations.

Capital Retro9:28 am 10 Feb 21

I think you realise that the word was meant to be coal, so where are the statistics?

Re nitrous oxide, there are huge amounts of this toxic stuff produced “under our noses” here in Canberra: https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6894934/landfill-methane-gas-to-power-thousands-of-act-homes/

Are you complaining to the ACT government about this?

Capital Retro3:15 pm 06 Feb 21

“low-mileage”? They must have been built last century.

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