Electric car hub now charged up
THE hub that will regulate electric vehicle recharging was switched on in Melbourne this week.
Better Place leads the race to supply EV charging infrastructure in Australia and its network operations centre will house the smart-charge software, monitoring equipment and call centre that will let the company oversee in-home recharging for its Australian customers.
The company plans to roll out its first EV service network in Canberra late next year with the rest of the country to follow by 2012.
Chief executive officer Evan Thornley forecasts there will be thousands of electric cars on Australian roads by 2013 and fleet operators and commuters in outer suburbs will benefit most.
‘‘There’s a lot of people out there in the outer suburbs who are paying $80-$120 for petrol — those are the people who have most to gain from electric vehicles,’’ he says.
Better Place’s business model will also discount the recharge rate for higher volume users and Mr Thornley says customers will never pay more than they would for petrol and will have far less impact on the environment.
Mr Thornley says one of the major challenges is to ensure EV motorists have the same driving experience as they do with petrol vehicles.
‘‘Here, unless you deliver a solution to the range problem, they’re not going to buy them. The only way to do that is with battery swap centres.’’