Understanding more about electric cars

The approaching Australian Parking Convention will address, amongst other topics, issues relating to the advent of the electric motor vehicle and its repercussions for car park owners, operators and drivers in general.

Dr. Andrew Simpson of Curtin University’s Sustainability Policy Institute will make a presentation titled “Planning for Renewable Electric Transport”. The title of the presentation by Talal Yassine, Chief Commercial Officer of Better Place Australia is “The Electric Vehicle Revolution”. We expect therefore that this will be an important component of the Convention’s message.

In anticipation of these interesting presentations, we came across two articles which aim to improve our understanding of the electric vehicle.

Dr. Simpson released a paper in 2009 titled ‘Environmental Attributes of Electric Vehicles in Australia’ and studying electric vehicles in the Australian context to outline some of the relevant environmental attributes as well as the associated impacts on the electricity grid.

His paper draws some significant conclusions based on projections of the impact of a fleet of one million electric vehicles, finding significant reductions in toxic air pollutants (150,000 – 300,000 tonnes annually), a reduction in greenhouse gases (ranging from 0.9 to 3.8Mt CO2-e, depending on the source of the power charge), and a range of other impacts on the Australian energy grid and subsequent emissions. You can read the paper online here.

For the individual user considering the purchase of an electric vehicle, TreeHuger has published a ‘virtual test drive’ – giving potential users a means to understand whether the “range” issue regarding electric cars is a real issue given their normal driving habits. Based on the potentially limiting range of electric vehicles, it suggests a variety of methods to understand your own car usage, and whether the electric vehicle, or a hybrid solution is the best option.

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