The Running Commentary

Battery powered solutions coming to the for….


I picked up the article below about plans to build a huge network of battery recharging centres in Australia. While battery powered cars are nothing new, the point that this makes is that countries are needing to look seriously at alternative energy sources. This solution would appear to make sense, in that it is convenient and seems, based on the read, simple enough to put together.

Granted the costs are quite high and the demand for electricity to power these stations and cars will create a stress on the electrical infrastructure, but the positive impact of lower emissions and relieving the strain on oil reserves must mitigate this. Have a read and let me have your views. 

A US firm plans to build a $1-billion charging network to power battery cars in Australia as that country seeks cleaner and cheaper alternatives to petrol.

Better Place, which has already built plug-in stations for battery vehicles in Israel and Denmark, has joined forces with Australian power company AGL and finance group Macquarie Capital to create an Australian network.

Under the agreement, Macquarie will raise $1-billion to build battery-vehicle networks in the country’s largest cities – Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane – while AGL will power the system with renewable energy

Better Place chief executive and founder Shai Agassi said: “We are investing in Australia’s economy and creating jobs while helping the country reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.”

The plan calls for each city to have more than 200 000 charging stations by 2012 where drivers can plug in and charge their battery cars.

Agassi said the points would probably be at homes and businesses, car parks and shopping centres. There would also be 150 switch stations in cities and on major freeways where batteries could be automatically replaced in drive-in stations similar to a car wash.

The scheme is likely to strike a green chord in Australia where the price of petrol is expensive. Drivers will pay to recharge their cars through various power supply agreements similar to cellphone contracts.

Renault-Nissan and GM are planning to debut battery cars in the next two years but Agassi called on Australian manufacturers to develop their own.

He said Australian federal and state governments needed to decide how they could encourage drivers to move to battery cars by offering sweeteners such as tax incentives or free power for the first buyers.

He said: “It’s more a question for the government of how quickly they want the tipping point towards electric cars to happen. Each government decides what it wants to do. We believe Australia, looking at all the alternatives, will pick the right mix for Australia.”

Victoria state premier John Brumby said his government backed the plan: “We support any initiative that will cut emissions and welcome this innovative approach.”

Battery PoweredcarsenvironmentGreen

Mike • October 28, 2008

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