Driv­ing a new type of power

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today - by Su­sanna Beyer

PAS­SION­ATE: Dean Con­don and Er­gon CEO Ian McLeod ER­GON En­ergy chief ex­ec­u­tive Ian McLeod is imagining a world with­out fos­sil fu­els.

The elec­tric­ity boss has un­veiled the elec­tric car made by Mit­subishi that will be put to the test in day-to-day sit­u­a­tions around the city over the next three years in a bid to un­der­stand en­ergy use and the ef­fects of recharg­ing the cars on Townsville power grid net­work. Mr Mc L e o d s a i d h e w a s pas­sion­ate about the pro­ject.

‘‘ I have a pas­sion for a fu­ture which doesn’t rely on fos­sil fu­els and re­duces car­bon,’’ he said.

The peak time for elec­tric­ity use was 6pm when res­i­dents re­turned home from work and s w i t c h e d o n t h e i r air­con­di­tion­ers, plasma TVs and com­put­ers. If an elec­tric car owner was to plug their car in at that time for a charge, it would cause the sys­tem to overload.

The chal­lenge for Er­gon will be to find a pric­ing reg­u­la­tion in­cen­tive dur­ing those off-peak times, he said.

If suc­cess­ful, the fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits for the driver would be huge.

The ve­hi­cle costs just $ 2 in elec­tric­ity for 100km ver­sus $ 8/ 9 per 100km in petrol, takes six hours to charge, and has a 120km driv­ing range.

On ‘‘ rapid charge’’, it could be re­turned to full power in 15 min­utes.

Mr Mcleod said he had al­ready taken the ve­hi­cle for a spin.

‘‘ I drove the ve­hi­cle around Bris­bane last year and I see it as a city run-about that will help re­duce car­bon,’’ he said. So­lar Cities in­stal­la­tion man­ager Dean Con­don said he was try­ing to take the car to the cen­tre of the So­lar Cities pro­ject, on Mag­netic Is­land.

‘‘ It is nice to read the pretty brochure and for the man­u­fac­tur­ers to say this is what the prod­uct is,’’ he said.

‘‘ But un­til you get it and trial the prod­uct for your­self . . . you can then get a full ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the prod­uct and its ben­e­fits.

‘‘ The so­lar city projects have a num­ber of con­sor­tium mem­bers and Er­gon is the lead mem­ber of it.

‘‘ It is just an­other part of Townsville be­ing a so­lar city and it is great that we a choos­ing to look at the vi­a­bil­ity of such in­no­va­tive ideas right here in Townsville.’’

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