Electric recharge network for private cars in Australia

 
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria




Theres a a huge differance between people demanding that something be provided, and being prepared to pay for what they are demanding.

Most of the people who are demanding more renewable power want someone else to pay for it , and thats usually the case with most things that people demand.

Just look at the current solar panel rebate programs.

People wont get solar panels unless they get subsidies to do so, and that means that some one else has to foot the bill.

Nothing is free.
"MD"



Don't forget that it takes energy to manufacture solar cells. Solar power and other renewable energy if they substitute existing non-renewable energy production. See this article.

Sponsored advertisement

  Johnmc Moderator

Location: Cloncurry, Queensland
Don't forget that it takes energy to manufacture solar cells. Solar power and other renewable energy if they substitute existing non-renewable energy production. See this article.
"Myrtone"


This is the question that needs to be asked more often.  How much energy goes into creating Solar Panels/Compact Fluro's/Prius's/, and how was that energy created?  It's all well and good to have one of these carbon emission saving thingies, but I'd like to know how much carbon "debt" it's rung up before I buy it.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Don't forget that it takes energy to manufacture solar cells. Solar power and other renewable energy if they substitute existing non-renewable energy production. See this article.
"Myrtone"


This is the question that needs to be asked more often.  How much energy goes into creating Solar Panels/Compact Fluro's/Prius's/, and how was that energy created?  It's all well and good to have one of these carbon emission saving thingies, but I'd like to know how much carbon "debt" it's rung up before I buy it.
"Johnmc"


I was once told that a solar powered street light, 18watt fluro type, would never pay for itself if you take the cost of the carbon credits into account.
{and that came from a man that designs them!}
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
For modern vehicles and many modern appliances, you'll be suprised, digital technology has a moster footprint. A 30 watt computer takes more energy to manufacture than a 300 watt refrigerator.
  Speed Minister for Railways

What struck me as odd in the last Age article posted was the suggestion that you could charge your car up one night and then drain any power left over back onto the grid the following night.

We'll assume that the professor knows that grid power is AC and battery power DC. Traditionally, DC could only be converted to AC using an electric motor and a dynamo (the combination called an invertor).

The nights on which there is a strong demand for electricity will follow the days on which people drove both to and from work with their air-conditioner on full-blast. The traffic might be a bit heavier because the weather is too extreme to walk, thus making the journeys longer and more stop-start. Hence, each vehicle has less power left in its battery than normal.

If you have a day and a night of extreme weather, it's likely that they will be followed by another day of similar extreme weather. You'll want your battery fully-charged.

If you rely on electric private-cars this way, you heighten demand for energy on days of extreme weather. I can't see that you'll fulfill demand.
  Edith Chief Commissioner

Location: Line 1 from Porte de Vincennes bound for Bastille station
What struck me as odd in the last Age article posted was the suggestion that you could charge your car up one night and then drain any power left over back onto the grid the following night.

We'll assume that the professor knows that grid power is AC and battery power DC. Traditionally, DC could only be converted to AC using an electric motor and a dynamo (the combination called an invertor).

The nights on which there is a strong demand for electricity will follow the days on which people drove both to and from work with their air-conditioner on full-blast. The traffic might be a bit heavier because the weather is too extreme to walk, thus making the journeys longer and more stop-start. Hence, each vehicle has less power left in its battery than normal.

If you have a day and a night of extreme weather, it's likely that they will be followed by another day of similar extreme weather. You'll want your battery fully-charged.

If you rely on electric private-cars this way, you heighten demand for energy on days of extreme weather. I can't see that you'll fulfill demand.
"Speed"


I was surprised, too to see how much embodied energy there is in solar panels, but that the new thin-film versions are much better.
Ref http://www.urbanecology.org.au/topics/solarpanels.html

Within three years, a thin film panel will repay its original 'energy debt' (the amount of energy embodied in its production), and the operational lifespan of the new 'UNI-SOLAR' modules is in excess of 20 years.

Crystal cell solar panels, on the other hand, are far less suited to mass production, as they are made by a tedious, energy-intensive batch process that cancels out the positive environmental aspects of the first seven years of the panel's operation!


On the point of inverters, they are solid state these days and quite efficient.  See http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=537


The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Germany has set a new world record of 99.03 % efficiency for inverters used in solar energy systems.  ......
By using new components and improving the circuit technology, the researchers have further reduced losses from their own previous best result by a further third......
Much of the improvement is credited to junction field-effect transistors (JFETs) made of silicon carbide (SiC). In addition,  the researchers optimised the gate units and many other details of the circuit.

The higher efficiency also means lower thermal losses, allowing for smaller cooling devices and a more compact construction, offsetting some of the cost of utilising the more expensive technology.



A lot of this is about buying electricity at off-peak rates and using them at peak times.

You may find this of interest. I found out about a scheme being trialled in Adelaide, whereby people can elect to get electricity at 30% off the standard price all year, but on 12 days (each one nominated by the power company a day in advance - the really hot days) they will have to pay 10X the standard tariff between the hours of 2pm and 6pm.  Over the course of the year, under normal behaviour, they are no worse off than adopting the standard tariff.  However, if they elect to postpone some functions until the evening (eg aircon or clothes washing) they can save a lot of money.  Their choice.  I would do it.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
What struck me as odd in the last Age article posted was the suggestion that you could charge your car up one night and then drain any power left over back onto the grid the following night.

We'll assume that the professor knows that grid power is AC and battery power DC. Traditionally, DC could only be converted to AC using an electric motor and a dynamo (the combination called an invertor).
"Speed"

Speed the 'old' rotational invertor is rather rare these days.
Solid State Invertors (all electronic) have been available for decades.
How do you think people can sell power back to the grid from Solar panels? (Solar panels generate a dc voltage, which is fed through an Invertor to convert it to ac voltage.)

I agree that it seems odd to 'drain' the remaining charge back into the grid, when your then left with a car needing to be totally recharged! (off the same grid!)

One other interesting item is that demand levels on the power grid as highest in the early evening - due cooking and off peak Hot Water Systems. Adding in car charging will boost the demand even higher again
  Edith Chief Commissioner

Location: Line 1 from Porte de Vincennes bound for Bastille station
One other interesting item is that demand levels on the power grid as highest in the early evening - due cooking and off peak Hot Water Systems. Adding in car charging will boost the demand even higher again
"Pressman"


I think that this is not quite correct.  Off-peak hot water is just that - "off peak" and starts a bit later in the evening, as determined by the power company.  Cooking does not use that much power, as a lot ofit is gas and microwaves are more widely used than previously.  It is the airconditioning that uses the big stuff that pushes the peak up.  

In Australia, the demand for peak power is rising about 3x the rate of off-peak power.  This is pushing us to blackouts and building new 'peaking stations' that run for just a few hours each day.  California went through a period of power shortage, when market manipulation took power stations offline to allow a big increase in prices for the power that remained.  The government ran an advertising campaign to delay using aircon and washing machines until after dark.

NZ and Brazil, which depended on hydro power at a time of low rainfall,  tackled the ongoing demand for unnecessary power use on things such as huge freezers and beer fridges.  This was about reducing all day power use and not peaks.
  Speed Minister for Railways

the 'old' rotational invertor is rather rare these days.
Solid State Invertors (all electronic) have been available for decades.
"Pressman"
Very well.
When I've used an invertor in the past 5 years, it was a rotary one that someone else rented. That it was rented suggests that it was reasonably new rather than being an old one that still worked. The DC source was a car battery.
  Johnmc Moderator

Location: Cloncurry, Queensland
the 'old' rotational invertor is rather rare these days.
Solid State Invertors (all electronic) have been available for decades.
"Pressman"
Very well.
When I've used an invertor in the past 5 years, it was a rotary one that someone else rented. That it was rented suggests that it was reasonably new rather than being an old one that still worked. The DC source was a car battery.
"Speed"


My invertor (click for larger image)

[img]http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i317/johnmcoz/th_29082009056.jpg[/img]

300W, about $80-$90 from DSE.  My setup has a 20W solar panel on the roof, with a couple of pensioned-off deep cycle batteries under the house.  A days sunlight will run a 15W compact fluoro for about 3-4hrs.  I also use it for charging phones and rechargeable batteries.  Very "toes in the shallow end" stuff as far as Solar power goes.
  Speed Minister for Railways

With the site having been down for a while, I thought that I'd browse through BetterPlace's press releases to see whether Melbourne had slipped down the list.

April 2010 - Three taxis trialling the system in Tokyo
For the Tokyo electric taxi project, Better Place and Nihon Kotsu, Tokyo’s largest taxi operator, will operate three switchable-battery electric taxis, which are available to the public at the taxi line reserved for environmentally-friendly vehicles on the first floor of the Roppongi Hills Complex.
http://www.betterplace.com/company/press-release-detail/tokyo-electric-taxi-project/

April 2010 - BetterPlace exhibits at motor show with Chinese manufacturer Chery
As part of the collaboration agreement, the Chery exhibit at Auto China 2010 features elements of the Better Place EV solution, including EV charge spots and battery-switch technology displayed with a Riich G5 sedan.

“With only 2% of China’s population owning cars and 80% of sales in 2009 to first-time car buyers, China has the opportunity to create and lead an entirely new category around clean transportation,” said Dan Cohen, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for Better Place. “With the scale of Chery’s design and manufacturing capability and an industrial policy that favors [electric vehicles] over [internal combustion engines], we believe China represents an unprecedented opportunity for Better Place. Our collaboration with Chery is just the beginning for Better Place in China.”
...
China has set an industrial policy with the objective of becoming the largest EV developer and manufacturer in the world, enabling the country to leapfrog internal combustion engine
http://www.betterplace.com/company/press-release-detail/better-place-takes-first-step-in-china/

September 2009 - Agreement between BetterPlace and Renault on retail model
Better Place will start importing and distributing Renault’s first passenger electric vehicle – Fluence ZE, a 5 seat-sedan, in the first half of 2011 in Israel and will offer subscriptions to customers buying this car from the Renault network in Denmark.
...
The battery can be completely re-charged via a standard charge (between four and eight hours) or ... 'Quickdrop' ... which enables vehicles to switch their batteries in less time than it takes [to fill a tank] with petrol. ... A third option – quick charge – is able to recharge the battery to 80% state of charge in 20 minutes.
...
One component of the Better Place EV services platform is the on-board computing platform, codenamed “AutOS,” which will be embedded into the Fluence ZE.

This vehicle will benefit from a four-year - 120,000 km - warranty, for the first time on the Israeli market. First deliveries will start first half-year 2011. Cars will then be available in specific Better Place outlets, as well as in some Renault dealers. Customers will benefit from the extensive Renault aftersales network, under a comprehensive maintenance contract.

In Denmark, Renault and Better Place will work in a close partnership. The cars will be sold through the Renault network and benefit from Better Place subscriptions, which include access to an extensive electric vehicle network of charge spots and battery switch stations, all managed by the Better Place EV services platform.
http://www.betterplace.com/company/press-release-detail/renault-and-better-place-commit-to-volume-of-100000-fluence-ze-in-israel-an/

January 2009 - BetterPlace announces the opening of an Ontario office
Better Place will establish its Canadian head office in Ontario, and build an electric vehicle demonstration and education centre in Toronto to lay the groundwork to help get electric vehicles running on Ontario roads.

The province has committed to conducting a comprehensive study, which will look at ways to speed up the introduction and adoption of electric vehicles. The study is scheduled for release in May 2009. At the same time, Better Place will be developing an electric car charging network plan and timeline.
...
Better Place is partnering with Bullfrog Power, Canada’s only retailer of 100 percent green electricity, and Macquarie Group, a global provider of banking, financial, advisory, investment and funds management services, and is continuing to build other relationships both locally and around the world. In Ontario, Bullfrog Power will provide all of the renewable energy needed to power the Better Place network.
http://www.betterplace.com/company/press-release-detail/better-place-partners-with-ontario-to-bring-car-20-electric-car-infrastruct/

December 2008 - Hawaii announces plans to be ready for electric cars by 2012
Better Place, the world's leading mobility operator, plans to begin permitting for the network within the next year and begin introducing vehicles within 18 months, with mass-market availability of electric cars in 2012. Hawai'i joins Israel, Denmark, Australia and California since Better Place was founded in October 2007, committed to deploying the world's first electric car networks.

Hawai'i spends up to $7 billion a year on oil imports and drivers pay some of the highest gasoline prices in the nation -- accounting for nearly 20 percent of the state's Green House Gases (GHG). Building the infrastructure for widespread adoption of electric vehicles will not only stimulate the local economy and reduce carbon emissions, but also provide a more affordable transportation option to Hawai'i's drivers.

"Hawai'i, with its ready access to renewable energy resources like solar, wind, wave and geothermal, is the ideal location to serve as a blue print for the rest of the U.S. in terms of reducing our dependence on foreign oil, growing our renewable energy portfolio and creating an infrastructure that will stabilize our economy," said Shai Agassi, Founder and CEO of Better Place. "Hawai'i has made the commitment to breaking its dependence on foreign oil, and is leading the way in addressing the most important economic and energy issues facing us today."

Hawaiian Electric Companies and Better Place Hawai'i also signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on the infrastructure and energy needs to power Better Place's unique network of public charging spots and battery swapping stations with renewable energy. The partnership capitalizes on Better Place's innovative business model and Hawai'i's abundant renewable energy resources to deliver the large-scale deployment of electrical vehicles throughout the state.

http://www.betterplace.com/company/press-release-detail/governor-lingle-and-better-place-announce-partnership-to-offer-national-blu/

November 2008 - Ireland announces tax incentives to go electric
Minister Eamon Ryan and Minister Noel Dempsey issued a joint statement announcing Ireland's plan to transition 10 percent of the overall road transport fleet to electric by 2020. Specifically, they plan to create a $1 million pilot project, tax incentives for corporate bodies purchasing electric vehicles, assistance for individuals purchasing electric vehicles, and the establishment of a National Task Force.
...
[BetterPlace's] preliminary data for Ireland conducted by research firm Behaviour & Attitude, for example, suggests that 82% of consumers would be more likely to buy an electric car if the vehicle benefitted from lower levels of tax. "We believe that the move to the Car 2.0 (a sustainable transportation model of electric vehicles powered by renewable energy) era in places like Ireland will serve as an economic and environmental stimulus blueprint for government leaders around the world.
http://www.betterplace.com/company/press-release-detail/better-place-welcomes-government-announcement-on-developing-an-electric-veh/

November 2008 - Arnie announces plans to install network infrastructure in California.
In conjunction with the news, Better Place, the world's leading sustainability mobility operator, announced that it would enter the US market with California as its first state, beginning in the Bay Area. Better Place will work a similar infrastructure investment model as it has in Israel, Denmark and Australia. Network planning and permitting will begin in January 2009 with infrastructure deployment beginning in 2010.

Mass market availability of electric cars is targeted for 2012, and Better Place estimates the network investment in the Bay Area will total $1 billion when the system is fully deployed. The Better Place model is an open network model built on industry standards, allowing for fixed battery and battery exchange electric vehicles to operate on the network.
http://www.betterplace.com/company/press-release-detail/21st-century-initiative-in-california-defines-roadmap-for-sustainable-trans/

From their press releases, it does look like Melbourne has only slipped from third to fourth, behind Canberra. While Tokyo is trialling the swap stations, it's only for a few taxis and not for an entire city. There's no word as to when Australia will start seeing electric Renaults (let alone electric Cheries) but I'd speculate that Canberra, car dependent as it might be, is small enough that they'd want the network running in a larger Australian city before they commence importing cars.

The other nagging question is how much money Ireland and California have to start introducing incentives for an electric network.
  LamontCranston Chief Commissioner

Just degrees of efficiency, and dubiously worth it considering the toxic materials used to make rechargeable batteries which eventually die and hopefully are recycled rather than more likely thrown in a land fill - and the power coming from a coal grid.
More rail!
  Speed Minister for Railways

Sydney announces the opening of a recharge station.
The company spearheading the plan on Monday opened the station in Derby Place, Glebe, in the city's inner west.
...
ChargePoint Australia chief executive said the public station is expected to be the first of many, as the firm prepares to conduct charging station pilot programs in Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide later this year. The Glebe station will provide behavioural and energy usage data vital for the planning of future public stations, he said in a statement on Monday.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, who officially opened the station, said the initiative would help support the council's program to reduce vehicle exhaust emissions and encourage cleaner modes of transport.
http://news.drive.com.au/drive/motor-news/sydney-gets-electric-car-charge-station-20100524-w57g.html

ChargePoint? They're not BetterPlace. Maybe they need a Labor state politician to quit politics to get them some publicity. Is David Campbell free? An ex independent Member of the Legislative Assembly will have to suffice this week.

ChargePoint CEO Luke Grana says they would provide two types of chargers: single phase ... that charges an electric vehicle in about eight hours and three-phase charging that takes about two to four hours... it would cost about $2 per 100km to drive an electric vehicle compared with about $10 for a petrol car.
...
He says ChargePoint differed from their major competitor Better Place. "We are sell charging stations, while Better Place has a system which is more involved with battery swap and leasing. They are also building a public network. I believe it is advantageous for both companies to grow as it will give drivers better coverage for charging services."

ChargePoint is in discussions with government and private sector partners for pilot projects in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne due to start early next year
...
Better Place Australia CEO Evan Thornley says their approach was two-pronged. "We will put plug-in points in carparks at the shopping centre, at home and at work to keep cars charging up while they are parked between 20 and 22 hours a day," Thornley says. "Charge spots will keep you going most times, but when you have a long trip you will need a battery-switching station.  "We will play the role to electric vehicles that petrol stations play for petrol cars."
http://www.carsguide.com.au/site/news-and-reviews/car-news/electric_charger_roll-out

Part of the reason why electricity is cheaper is that electricity is an essential utility and the government caps its price. The cost of petrol more more closely matches the cost of its production.

Still, it looks like we have competing providers of car recharge networks opening in competing cities Laughing !

Also on the topic of charging electric cars,
The head of Toshiba's battery division, Ryuichi Nakata told Reuters news agency the company was looking to team up with a number of car makers to develop batteries for pure electric and hybrid petrol-electric cars of the future.

The move follows similar ones by rivals Sanyo and Panasonic. Sanyo recently announced a tie-up with Suzuki, while Panasonic is working with the world's leading car maker, Toyota, on lithium-ion battery technology.
...
The production of rechargeable batteries is expected to increase five-fold in the next five years.
http://news.drive.com.au/drive/motor-news/laptop-maker-plugs-in-to-cars-20100518-vbh0.html (underline added)

If people are getting their batteries charged at battery-swap stations, the manufacturer of the battery in an electric car seems likely to match what a swap station can swap easily rather than one that matches what the car had when it was new. At least in this article, the battery manufacturers are not alluding to a battery-swapping "middle man".
  Speed Minister for Railways

Thornley gets a magazine-style article in this week's Melbourne Weekly
“I remember sitting around in 1995, the day I saw the web for the first time, and I said, ‘This is going to change the world’,” says Thornley, sitting in the new Richmond offices of Better Place, a group that is building a network for charging electric cars powered by renewable energy. “And when you drive an electric vehicle for the first time you have a similar experience, because they are faster, quieter, cheaper and greener. Is there anything about that you don’t like?”
...
Thornley says, it’s soon to happen with Australia’s 12 million cars. “It will take 20 to 25 years for the entire car fleet to move from petrol to electric,” he says. “We’ll look back 20 to 25 years from now and everyone will forget that was even novel.
...
Thornley says he did nothing wrong in jumping from a senior government position to a senior private-sector job, and that it was his Silicon Valley experience, rather than his role in government, that had prompted the meetings.

It’s been an exciting 15 months as Better Place’s Australian chief executive as the group starts building electric car-charging networks ... in Israel, Denmark and, later next year, in Australia.

“Almost every government in the northern hemisphere, almost every car maker in the world and the vast majority of capital markets around the world have basically concluded that the automotive industry is moving from petrol to electric,” Thornley says. “This is the biggest change to that industry and the electricity industry in 100 years.”
...
“The capital markets see that there’s an enormous opportunity in displacing petrol ... the top-performing company on any Asian stockmarket in the last two years is a company called BYD, originally a lithium-ion battery manufacturer, the type of batteries used in automotive electric vehicles. Now they make whole cars and are about to start exporting them to the US and the world.
...
“If you’re a national government and you see the possibility of a massive reduction in emissions (and a reduction) in your energy security risks, a massive stabilisation and long-term reduction in the cost of transport energy for your people and elimination of all the other air-pollution emissions, which still have enormous health consequences and other environmental consequences, that’s starting to look like a pretty good deal. And if you’re a car-making country, given the state of the industry, then you also have a chance to revitalise your industry and get it on to a sustainable path.

“The governments of China, US, France, Canada, the Koreans, Japanese, the Scandinavians, the Israelis, are all moving aggressively to want to see that transition from petrol to electric vehicles.
http://www.theweeklyreview.com.au/article-display/Looking-Smart/2900
  Speed Minister for Railways

A research engineer from Honda says that battery power will only ever be suitable for small cars going short distances.

Fuel cell vehicles provided a more complete solution because they could achieve the range of a normal petrol vehicle and were true zero-emission vehicles, unlike plug-ins which often relied on a coal-fed electricity grid.

They could also be refuelled in two to three minutes compared with up to eight hours for an EV. Mr Brachmann also questions the wisdom of electric car battery swap stations.

He is sceptical that batteries can be swapped quickly, especially on hot days when the batteries will need time to cool before they are swapped.

He says electric vehicles are not well suited to Australian conditions, where travel distances are big and battery range can be significantly restricted by hot weather. “If you want to cross Australia, you’ll need a different car,” he says.

He claims trials of electric vehicles have uncovered big differences in range depending on the driving habits of owners. “On one specific electric vehicle, the range varied from 37km to 120km depending on the driver attitude and behaviour,” he says.

Electric vehicles would have a place as small commuter vehicles around cities, but bigger vehicles, including four-wheel-drives and sedans, would have to be fuel-cell driven.
http://news.drive.com.au/drive/motor-news/electric-cars-not-the-answer-honda-20100625-z4fr.html

Battery-swaps are associated with BetterPlace, who change batteries at  swap-stations. Being mechanical, it doesn't matter whether a battery is too hot to touch. Being too hot might pose other issues.
  Speed Minister for Railways

That's something that I didn't find in May.
Various electric cars, including the Nissan Leaf and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, are expected to be released in Australia within months.

Meanwhile, Better Place Australia, which in May revealed that the RACV had invested $2 million in the company, is pushing for mass adoption of electric cars in Australia.
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/make-mine-electric-greens-car-plan-for-melbourne-20100703-zv2t.html

I don't know whether RACV invested money because they saw it as a lucrative investment, whether they consider it good for their members or whether it was just for advancing a political cause.
  Speed Minister for Railways

BetterPlace has another state Labor link

Better Place Australia, of which Ben Keneally is a senior executive and has 3.2 million management-class shares, was asked by EnergyAustralia to join a consortium which successfully bid to participate in the federal government's showcase $100 million energy efficiency project, Smart Grid, Smart Cities.

A director of one the company's competitors told the Herald: ''It is an interesting situation having those political connections and, without a doubt, trying to leverage them.''

Better Place Australia said in June that it had been chosen by EnergyAustralia to participate in the initiative, which will include a trial of electric vehicle charging stations in Sydney and Newcastle.

A spokeswoman for EnergyAustralia confirmed two other recognised electric vehicle infra- structure companies, ChargePoint and ECOtality, were not approached.

She said EnergyAustralia had directly approached Better Place, ''outlined the electric vehicle testing we wanted to undertake, and they expressed interest in taking part''.

''If there was another company that also provided this electric vehicle model, we also would have approached them, however Better Place is the only company we know of who currently offers this model.'' But James Brown, the joint managing director of ChargePoint, which installed Sydney's first electric vehicle charging point in Glebe in May, disputes the claim that Better Place is uniquely qualified.
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/keneally-rivals-shut-out-of-car-project-20100801-111ez.html
  Speed Minister for Railways

The Age hypes the "biggest real-world test of electric vehicles".
RACV will soon invite households to apply for 180 places on the $5 million, five-year trial of electric cars, trade vans and motor scooters as part of the state-funded project.

Each household, assigned using a ballot system in anticipation of a rush of applications from interested families, will use a vehicle from the pool for a three-month period.
...
Victorian Premier John Brumby said the state would soon install 180 charging points for the 60 vehicles taking part in the trial. "Most other trials only use one type of vehicle and one type of charging point," Mr Brumby said
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/melbourne-becomes-testing-ground-for-electric-vehicles-20100805-11krz.html
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
Last time I looked, the landed price of a Mitsubishi Miev in Australia was
between $60K and $70K.
They will be very popular as long as the State pays for them.
  Speed Minister for Railways

A press release from Wednesday for Melbourne
Premier John Brumby today launched Victoria’s groundbreaking Electric Vehicle Trial, with more than 50 organisations and 180 households across the state to participate in the five-year trial.

Mr Brumby was joined by Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas to announce details of a world-leading trial and encouraged Victorians to go electric and apply to take part through an RACV online ballot.

“Today Victoria is a step close to an electric vehicle future, with the start of a $5 million trial to make it easier for people to choose electric cars and bikes as more options become available,” Mr Brumby said.  

“Our Government is committed to making this state an electric vehicle friendly place and we understand how important cleaner, greener and innovative travel options are to Victorians.

“The Electric Vehicle Trial will create real-life conditions by testing how drivers, vehicles, plug-in charging infrastructure and the electricity network will work in everyday situations.

“This is a real-world test of how these vehicles will operate in Victoria and that means we need Victorians to use electric vehicles and report back on their experiences.

“This is an exciting opportunity for people to be part of the development of low-emission transport options as we look for new ways to cut carbon emissions and provide greener travel.”

Mr Brumby said all the vehicles in the Electric Vehicle Trial would run on AGL GreenPower, which is 100 per cent renewable energy.

“Most of the vehicles will be small passenger cars. Some electric light commercial vehicles will be used in freight fleets, while electric two-wheelers will also be tested,” he said.

“As part of the trial, charging points will be installed in homes of participants and in workplaces. Public quick charging points will also be set up for when an electric vehicle needs a top-up.”

About 60 vehicles will be used in the trial and they have been provided by Blade Electric Vehicles, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan and EDay Life. Public charging infrastructure will be supplied by Better Place, ECOtality and ChargePoint.

Mr Pallas said the trial was about finding new ways of making electric cars more efficient and practical for Victorian families and roads.

“The vehicles will rotate between households and fleets for three months at a time, with the trial to look at their experiences and what type of charging infrastructure is needed,” he said.
http://www.premier.vic.gov.au/newsroom/12136.html

and one on Thursday for regional Victoria
Regional and Rural Development Minister Jacinta Allan said the world-leading five-year trial would test the vehicles in real-life conditions to see how drivers, vehicles, plug-in charging infrastructure and the electricity network will work in everyday situations.

“This is a real-world test of how these vehicles will operate in Victoria and that means we need Victorians to use electric vehicles and report back on their experiences,” she said.

About 60 vehicles will be used in the trial and they have been provided by Blade Electric Vehicles, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan and EDay Life.

Public charging infrastructure will be supplied by Better Place, ECOtality and ChargePoint.

“Applications are now open and I urge regional Victorian families and residents to go electric and nominate to take part through the special RACV online ballot,” Ms Allan said.

Ms Allan said Blade Electric Vehicles located in Castlemaine was already selling its Blade Electron vehicle across Australia and New Zealand.

“Blade Electric Vehicles received support from our Government to crash-test its Blade Electron vehicle late last year, allowing for it to become a registered vehicle on Australian roads,” Ms Allan said.
http://www.premier.vic.gov.au/newsroom/12147.html
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
Electric vehicles have the same problems as Solar panels.
A fantastic idea, but totally unviable economically unless the State subsidises them in some way.
Im somewhat surprised that so far there doesnt seem to be much enthusiasm for subsidies for people to buy electric cars.
The range limitation essentially means that they are only useful for short distance trips which is OK for some, but it generally means that for a family
they will still need a conventional car if they ever want to go on holidays or even the odd trip of more than 160 kms.
None of the current EVs on the market are designed for battery swapping, and when you consider that the batteries in these cars weigh 300Kgs+,
Id really like to see what engineering is needed to make a car that can battery swap.
I doubt that battery swapping will ever succeed due to the fact that every EV car manufacturer in the world would have to agree on a standard battery design and capacity.
  Speed Minister for Railways

GE Finance announces at the Melbourne motor show that it is pursuing the use of electric fleet cars in Australia.
GE Capital Finance, joined by the car maker Renault and the recharge company Better Place, announced it would buy at least 1000 electric cars to lease to fleet customers over the next four years.
...
The director of GE's ''ecomagination'' division, Ben Waters, said fleet customers, mainly large corporations and governments, were looking for tangible ways to reduce their CO2 emissions.
...
Renault's Fluence ZE sedan, unlike other electric cars now in the pipeline for Australia, has a battery pack that can be swapped
http://theage.drive.com.au/motor-news/electric-current-models-lead-the-charge-at-car-show-20110701-1gv8z.html
  Speed Minister for Railways

Apparently as of June, electric car drivers are now encouraged to park at Federation Square.

Electric car drivers can now swing into the heart of Melbourne, park their car at Federation Square, and charge their battery by plugging into two new public charge spots unveiled today by Better Place.
Better Place has installed the charge spots as part of the Victorian Government’s three-year Electric Vehicle Trial, which runs through to mid-2014. Trial participants can charge for free throughout the length of the Trial, and the charge spots can also be used by electric car drivers with a Better Place subscription.

“The new charge spots at Federation Square are great news for electric cars drivers. They make it simple and convenient to top up your battery while you’re enjoying everything Melbourne has to offer”, said Ben Keneally, Head of Marketing and Strategy for Better Place. Plugging into a public network is one of the many benefits for electric car drivers. It’s simple, convenient, and you can take pride in knowing that Better Place is charging your car with 100% renewable electricity, every time”, Mr Keneally said. 

The newly installed charge spots are located on the open-air rooftop level and Level 3S of the Fed Square car park, and each has a dedicated parking space for electric cars.
http://www.betterplace.com.au/drivers/charge-spot-locations.html

So, where Better Place were supposed to be notable for their battery swap technology, they now have 37 charge points in Melbourne and up to 57 in Canberra (article says 94 nationwide, subtract 37 from Melbourne).

there are just 100 or so electric cars on the road in Victoria now, the Department of Transport says. About half of them are being used in a trial it is doing ... One-hundred-and-eighty households and 60 organisations are being given a three-month loan of an electric car during the trial, which is due to wrap up in 2014.

Telecommunications engineer Dan Edwards and his family are among them. They have been driving a Nissan Leaf for the past two weeks ... Now that he's tried one, would he buy one? Not until they are cheaper.
...
People in the electric car industry accept price is a sticking point. The Nissan Leaf, which went on sale in Australia this week, retails for $51,500. But about $15,000 of the cost is in the rechargeable battery. Electric car network provider Better Place is preparing to leap that hurdle by opening a series of battery swap stations, similar to drive-in car washes, where a depleted battery can be switched in five minutes. ''You will have access to the battery but you won't own it. Let Better Place own it,'' says company spokeswoman Felicity Glennie-Holmes.

The company is also planning to roll out a wide network of public charging spots, beginning in Canberra this year, with Melbourne and Sydney to follow.

...
So why is the state government interested in whether or not the electric car industry succeeds? ...


''The benefits in the long term would ultimately be passed on to householders through reducing their transport costs,'' a spokeswoman for Transport Minister
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/electric-cars-silently-make-a-charge-in-trial-20120622-20tu7.html


  Speed Minister for Railways

A couple of updates on Better Place and Chargepoint....
Evan Thornley, who served for two years in Victoria's Legislative Council before turning his back on a cabinet post in the Brumby Government, has been named the new chief executive of Better Place.
Better Place, an electric vehicle infrastructure company based in Israel, said on Tuesday that it had replaced Shai Agassi, its charismatic chief executive and founder, with Mr Thornley, the company's senior executive in Australia.
...

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the company has posted $477 million in cumulative losses since the beginning of 2010. The paper reported that Better Place has $181 million in cash reserves, which at the current rate of spending would last 4 1/2 quarters. ...  Mr Agassi amassed more than $US800 million in private capital since the company's founding. He used lofty rhetoric about the need to rid the world of its addiction to oil to persuade investors and powerful leaders to back his plan. But the business feasibility of the battery-swapping network has always been uncertain.

"Battery swapping is applicable to certain markets where you have higher fuel cost and smaller geographic profiles, like Israel and Denmark," said John Gartner, research director at Pike Research, a clean-technology research firm. "But it's not a model that's going to work in a lot of places or give the company the ability to scale the technology in the same way that the company's been investing money and receiving capital to this point."
http://www.theage.com.au/environment/thornley-moves-up-in-better-place-20121004-270mh.html


Leighton's Visionstream unit, whose operations extend from work on the National Broadband Network to the new Royal Adelaide Hospital, bought the key assets of ChargePoint, an operator of EV charging stations across Australia and New Zealand. .... “It's a great fit for our business,” said ChargePoint chief executive James Brown. For Visionstream, “it's a moulding of their electrical and telecommunications into one product”, he said.
...
Several major car companies are preparing to introduce new models into the Australian market, a move that will offer more choice to consumers and lower the current steep entry price. The exclusive ChargePoint licence would allow Visionstream to diversify its offerings by building connected charging stations for new and existing clients, the company said.
http://www.businessday.com.au/business/carbon-economy/leighton-charges-into-electric-vehicle-market-20121016-27nv0.html

  Speed Minister for Railways

The past week brought about the end of that idea.
Better Place partnered with Renault in 2008 to create an electric car system combining charging terminals with battery swap stations to increase the range of electric cars and put an end to drivers' worries about running out of power. It raised more than $US850 million ($867 million) from top-tier investors and just two years ago said it was valued at $US2.25 billion. But sales never took off, with only just over a thousand cars on the road in Israel and Denmark, the first two countries where it began operating.
...
Alan Gelman, chief financial officer and head of operations in Israel, told Reuters at the time that the company knew why it was floundering and was trying to turn a corner. "We at times were too focused on turning into a global company and expanded too fast, but we have to focus on local operations and selling cars," he said.

http://www.businessday.com.au/business/carbon-economy/no-better-place-battery-venture-fails-20130526-2n5or.html

Mr Thornley said the head office, although staffed by talented employees adept at attracting risk capital, failed to mesh with the management strengths of the Australian and Danish operations, particularly in the assembly of expertise across a range of fields - from engineering to finance and software. ''I believe the underlying strategy and economics remain sound,'' he said. ''But the failure of this execution will make raising capital for future attempts much more difficult, which is a great shame.''
...
The lack of available electric models in the Australian market is one reason why their take-up has so far been minimal. This year, just 42 of the 358,165 vehicles sold have been purely electric-powered. ... A consortium, including Better Place, General Electric and Bosch, received a “modest” investment from the government of about $3.5 million to build proof-of-concept electric Commodores, Mr Thornley said.
...
Alan Finkel, chancellor of Monash University and a former chief technology officer of Better Place Australia, said the company had been caught in a technological bind. On the one hand, it needed to demonstrate the market’s potential scale in order to draw in the big car makers and drive down costs. On the other, it needed to get its products to market and to succeed before alternative offerings arrived. ... According to Dr Finkel, Shai Agassi, the charismatic chief executive who founded Better Place in 2007 and served in the role until being replaced by Mr Thornley, was overly reliant on software and other experts drawn from Israeli start-ups.
http://www.businessday.com.au/business/carbon-economy/how-better-place-got-lost-20130527-2n7gp.html
http://www.businessday.com.au/business/carbon-economy/better-place-stalls-as-parent-ends-support-20130207-2e17t.html

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