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The Electric Car drives by Canberra

By caf - 28 October 2008 58

As reported in News Limited and The Register, a consortium of Mac Bank, AGL and the naff-named Israeli group “Better Place” is planning on raising $1 billion to create a network of supporting infrastructure (charging stations and the like) for electric vehicles, like the Chevy Volt. The Federal Government is also kicking in a cool half-billion as well.

Unfortunately for those Canberrans who’d like to jump on board, it looks set to completely pass us by. The network is to be rolled out to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane by 2012, with the backers saying they would “look at introducing the infrastructure in Adelaide and Perth after 2012” – no mention of any of the rest of the country at all.

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58 Responses to
The Electric Car drives by Canberra
Piratemonkey 5:51 pm 28 Oct 08

The economic benefits are huge… Think if this starts with a small budget elcetric car and a small funky fun electric sports car huge segments of the market would be covered. Then with the infastructure in place in 5 years, plus petrol assisted larger cars becoming viable enabling people to drive in the city on power and drive long distances on petrol the most of the market would be covered. As one of the first countries doing this the cars could be produced locally. This is a win win win. We just need to make sure canberra gets in on the act.

Piratemonkey 5:37 pm 28 Oct 08

Canberra is almost an outer suburb of sydney these days i don’t think it would be hard for our new rather green government to convince backers to extend the deal out this way. Especially if they put some capital behind it. We are also a good fit for such a plan as has been said.

IMHO this is perfect for that building australia fund Rudd is talking up. It would do alot to remove our economies dependence on forigen oil. Make us much greener. Hell if holden and ford got behind this with each locally building a small electric budget car plus something like a telsa this could have so many benefits. More jobs etc etc. The government could buy electric cars as they never need them for long trips.

For all those who never drive outta town such cars would be perfect.

GregW 5:00 pm 28 Oct 08

I didn’t mean to imply that recharging would be be quick from a home outlet (indeed at the rate of about 3 kW it would take several hours), rather that recharging frequently/quickly is not necessary as the cars that will be available in the near term will be equipped with a backup fossil fuel generator for the longer trips and for day-to-day driving the overnight recharge should suffice. Thus there may not be a large market for the recharging network proposed, and certainly it does not mean that it is unreasonable to purchase an electric vehicle without one of these stations present.

trevar 5:00 pm 28 Oct 08

Do you think they even know we’re here? The suits in Sydney and Melbourne probably think that extending it to Adelaide and Perth means they’re covering ‘regional Australia’!

fnaah 4:46 pm 28 Oct 08

any owner of a battery powered device knows that their capacity dies off over time

You haven’t been keeping up with battery tech, have you?

p1 4:41 pm 28 Oct 08

The swap option would ensure that the battery that your car had was regularly renewed.

I like the direction this is going.

Loose Brown 4:32 pm 28 Oct 08

That would be sweet as! The swap option would ensure that the battery that your car had was regularly renewed – unlike the Prius batteries that (I understand) your car has for life. That’s a big negative for hybrid vehicles – any owner of a battery powered device knows that their capacity dies off over time.

RandomGit 4:28 pm 28 Oct 08

*phft* ‘electric’ cars.

Where’s my FLYING car eh?

Woody Mann-Caruso 4:25 pm 28 Oct 08

‘refueling’ an electric car takes a a few hours…the electric recharging station is connected to coal fired power stations

There’ll be 150 ‘swap’ stations where they just open your car and change the batteries in the same way you ‘swap and go’ for gas for the barbie. AGL will power the whole system with renewable energy, so no dirty coal either. Did you even read the article?

caf 4:19 pm 28 Oct 08

GregW: The Macbankers may be many things, but easily-fleeced isn’t one of them.

Mathman: That’s probably why they’re talking about battery-swap stations on the freeways as part of the plan, then?

fnaah 3:58 pm 28 Oct 08

Chevy Volt? Bah.

Tesla Roadster or Wrightspeed X1. Gimme!

Mathman 3:41 pm 28 Oct 08

GregW said :

however this ‘recharging network’ is redundant as there are already recharging stations for electric cars all over the territory, one in every garage in fact.

Unfortunately this is the biggest limiting factor for electric cars. The typical petrol pump can refuel your car in about five minutes because it is able to pump energy at the rate of 5 megawatts – the power point in your garage will only provide 2.4 kilowatts. Even considering the difference in efficiency between petrol engines and electric motors (20% vs 80%) ‘refueling’ an electric car takes a a few hours – much longer than a quick toilet stop on the way to Sydney. In any case, the electric recharging station is connected to coal fired power stations so it doesn’t really solve any problems.

Guess we’ll have to make do with our Smart cars then.

johnboy 3:40 pm 28 Oct 08

Hydrogen’s just a cypher for dirty coal.

hax 3:28 pm 28 Oct 08

Well that sucks. Looks like we’ll be stuck with “new” 18th century tech here, instead.

I want an electric car, but its almost useless if nobody else does too. Meanwhile I get punished for my “want” to burn fossil fuel, it’s totally bogus. Where’s the local electric/hydrogen car dealership.. give me some options already!!

GregW 3:27 pm 28 Oct 08

Canberra does seem ideal given our high new car ownership and support for environmental issues, however this ‘recharging network’ is redundant as there are already recharging stations for electric cars all over the territory, one in every garage in fact. In addition it seems unlikely that pure electric vehicles will be rolled out in the near term as battery technology is still too expensive, instead we will see these ~100km range battery packs with onboard ‘range extender’ fossil fueled turbines.

Better Place are just making a quick buck out of investors looking to invest in the next big green technology.

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