Monday, August 24, 2009

Electric vehicle recharge network starting in Canberra

Company Better Place, have announced they will roll-out an electric vehicle recharging infrastructure in Canberra. The system will use leased lithium-ion battery modules which can be quickly swapped into a car at “Battery Switch Stations” as well as charge spots in homes, offices, shopping centres and other public car parks.

This assumes that electric cars will be available at an affordable price and be adaptable to use Better Place's battery module. It also assumes that there are government incentives for the use of zero pollution vehicles and there is an infrastructure to provide them with zero pollution power.

It should be noted that Australia has large reserves of low pollution LPG and natural gas and an existing infrastructure to deliver it. A combination of LPG and natural gas would deliver many of the benefits of electric cars, at a lower cost. Existing Australian made petrol and diesel vehicles can be easily converted to gas in Austrlaia using Australian technology. The need to build renewable power stations will considerably add to the cost of electric cars
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 Switch Stations” where motorists can simply drive in and have a depleted battery automatically exchanged for a fresh, fully charged one.

“We aim to start construction on our charge spots and battery swap stations in 2011 and start supporting customers in 2012” said Mr Thornley. “From Canberra we will then begin to roll out across the whole country.”

Better Place will work closely with ActewAGL to plan the infrastructure deployment. “A significant influence on our decision to choose Canberra was the enthusiasm and support we have received from Michael Costello and his team at ActewAGL” said Evan Thornley, Chief Executive Officer of Better Place Australia.

ActewAGL will be responsible for sourcing and distributing the renewable energy that Better Place will use to power its electric vehicles within the ACT. “It’s important that we work together closely so that we can be sure we have the right levels of power available in the car parks and similar locations where the electric vehicles will be charging” said ActewAGL Chief Executive Officer, Michael Costello. “But this is a great opportunity for Canberra to make a huge dent on its greenhouse gas emissions, so we’re very keen
to co-operate to help make it a reality.”

For further information on Better Place’s plans for Australia please visit www.betterplace.com. ...

From: Better Place Australia announces Canberra as starting point of national roll-out of electric vehicle recharge network, News Release, Better Place, 24 July 2009

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