Mechanic lives out his electric dreams
THE move to electric cars is coming and a Townsville business is at the forefront of the latest developments allowing low- cost conversions of combustion engine vehicles.
EV North has begun operating at West End and is one of only a handful of companies providing conversion services in Australia as well as the only one in the country operating from a stand- alone fully solar- powered workshop.
It is the business of mechanic Michael Lunn who described it as his “dream job”.
“As far as I’m concerned I don’t work a day in my life,” he said.
Mr Lunn is a mechanic who developed an interest in electric vehicles when he was team leader in a World Solar Challenge race entry by the Burdekin Catholic High School at Ayr in 2001.
The low- budget entry did not shatter any records but did finish the 3000km race.
“Once I did this race, I thought, there’s a future in this. It definitely works,” Mr Lunn said.
The United States’ Tesla and China’s BYD are leading the emerging passenger and transport electric vehicle markets but small companies like Ev North could also be significant players.
Mr Lunn said advances in techno- logy and the availability of components meant smaller players were likely to emerge as people became more aware of what was available.
EV North does custom conversions. So far it has converted a PT Chrysler, a Mini Moke hire car, while the owner of an Audi TT coupe has expressed interest.
Mr Lunn said the base conversion cost $ 14,500 where the car’s insides were stripped out and replaced with parts including a 96- volt Nissan Leaf cell DC battery pack, an Australianmade Batrium battery management system and a Chinese- made Hepu three- phase AC direct drive motor.
The converted vehicles provide an easy- to- drive, cheap- to- run and maintain, no- emission car.
They have a range of 100km which can be extended with larger battery packs.
“I reckon once people drive an electric vehicle they will never go back,” Mr Lunn said.
He has employed his son Heath who is undertaking school- based light vehicle mechanical apprenticeship with the business.
“I reckon there’s a future in it. Tesla has taken off,” Heath said.
Who knows, in years to come EV North could grow into multi- milliondollar business using factory- made chassis and allowing people to choose not just the colour but the shape of the car they want.
FUTURE DRIVEN: EV North business owner Michael Lunn with his son Heath specialise in custom electric vehicles.