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Resource – Comments on Electric Cars

Posted in Research by Ferne Edwards on June 18th, 2008

The section below is republished with permission from the Going Solar Transport Newsletter #62, 3 June 2008, compiled by Stephen Ingrouille. Going Solar, This newsletter provides an excellent commentary on local sustainable transport issues in Melbourne.

“How would you like to fill the tank of your car for $1? That’s what it costs to charge Melbourne City Council’s latest addition to its vehicle fleet — a fully electric car. The council paraded its new purchase yesterday and has a second electric car on order for its 85-vehicle fleet, which also includes one hybrid.

The Hyundai Electric Getz can run for about 100 kilometres fully charged at a cost of about $1 in electricity. The car costs about $49,000 and requires a new $7000 battery after about eight years. Most importantly, it emits no greenhouse gases (outside of any emissions from electricity production). Acting Lord Mayor Gary Singer said the car was part of the council’s commitment to zero net emissions by 2020.

“… Ross Blade, the director of Blade Electric Vehicles, which supplied the council with its new car, said there were about 50 such vehicles in Australia, and demand was growing. … Mr Blade said the culture of petrol dependence was outdated. ‘There is no longterm alternative other than electric, he said. While electric vehicles would not account for all car travel, they were ideally suited to urban transport, he said.”

Ref: Jason Dowling, The Age 4/06/08, URL

“Maribyrnong Council will soon be running three new Blade Electric Vehicles as part of our Traffic and Local Laws fleet vehicles. These vehicles will be powered with 100% green power and consequently provide zero carbon emissions. …

Blade Electric Vehicles from Castlemaine, Victoria are providing the high quality electric vehicles. The electric vehicles are a modified Hyundai Getz (manual with additional air safety bag features & ABS) with the petrol motor and tank removed. The Blade is powered by a 40kw 3-phase AC electric motor and energy is stored in 60 lightweight lithium-ion phosphate batteries. The vehicle has a range of 100 km without recharge and is capable of a maximum speed of 120 k/hr. The Blade can reach 60 k/hr in a little over 7 seconds which is comparable with the original petrol vehicle performance.

The Blade Electric Vehicle drives like an automatic (does not have a clutch) but has two gears one for town and one for a highway setting. Whilst driving in the city there would be no need to change gears.

The vehicles will have air-conditioning and power steering. One of the most exciting features of the Blade Electric Vehicle is the very low running costs. The vehicle has regenerative braking capabilities (similar to the Toyota Prius hybrid) which allow the vehicle to capture the energy from braking and store it back in the batteries. The cost of 100% green power to run the vehicle is around $1.50 – $2.30 per 100 kms (compared the Getz petrol at $11.50 per 100 kms). Councils three Blade vehicles will normally be recharged overnight at the Work Centre (this will take between three to five hours). A fast charge unit will be installed at the Town Hall to give Local Laws officers the capacity to do a quick top-up charge over lunch (a complete fast recharge would take one hour). When Council recharges the vehicles we will purchase the equivalent amount of electricity from solar or wind generated
source – which has zero carbon emissions. A meter will be provided in each vehicle which verifies the amount of electricity used.”

Thanks to Gavin Mountjoy for this item (and the pictures).

“Never mind hybrid cars – and forget hydrogen power – because the future of the automobile is electric, Nissan says. The company’s best engineering brains told Drive last week the quest for environmentally sustainable private transportation in the coming decade will be plug-in, rechargeable electric cars. Nissan is backing this thinking with a firm pledge: it will have an electric car in showrooms in the US and Japan in 2010, with a view to selling the cars globally in 2012.”
Ref: Andrew Heasley, The Age, 31/5/08, URL

Comment: A must see film is ‘Who Killed the Electric Car? particularly in the light of the item on General Motors on the next page. And Also …

“Every 1% move in the US dollar equals a $US4 move the other way in the oil price. … Oh, and if the US dollar doesnt snap back the global economy will shut down.”
Ref: David Potts, The Sunday Age, 1/6/08, URL

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