Saturday, October 4, 2014

Canberra powers ahead with Better Place electric car network

The Australian has a report on the progress of Better Place in Canberra - Canberra powers ahead with electric car network.
Within a few weeks, charge spots where drivers can plug in their vehicles will be installed. Twelve foundation members have signed up to work with Better Place Australia in Canberra, including the ACT government, ActewAGL, Lend Lease, Crowne Plaza and the ACT Electric Vehicle Council.

"We chose Canberra because there are a large portion of two-car households with garages," Better Place Australia chief executive Evan Thornley said. About 54 per cent of Canberra households have two cars or more and 89 per cent have off-street parking, which makes it ideal for Better Place to launch, because garages are preferred charge spots.

"Canberra is the first stage in the process of delivering electric cars around Australia and having the facilities in place to service them," Mr Thornley said. Better Place recently signed a deal with ActewAGL, worth $60 million over 10 years, to purchase 100 per cent renewable energy for the electric car-charge network in Canberra. "We will be paying for everything besides the car," he said. The battery, the charging, plug-in and so forth. Consumers will just have to pay us a single membership fee and that will be determined by the distance people drive."

The Renault Fluence ZE, a five-seat family sedan automatic with a top speed of 135km/h, is expected to arrive on the local market in the middle of next year, priced between $30,000 and $35,000. Batteries will be $12,000 but the monthly membership fee is still being calculated.

"I can say that if you are paying $80 a week for petrol now, it will be cheaper to have an electric car," Mr Thornley said. "The reality is that petrol costs are increasing and battery costs will decrease as more people purchase electric cars. Therefore, it will only become cheaper to buy an electric car and run one."

Property giant Lend Lease invested $10m in Better Place Australia in 2009 and has helped to construct some of the infrastructure for the rollout.

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