Elec­tric car hub now charged up

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

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.’’

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