Electric vehicle trial

THE difference between 1917 and present day technology was on display at Gippsland Vehicle Collection on Friday, with Wellington Shire Council launching its first electric vehicle thanks to a State Government trial.

Council’s new Nissan Leaf was launched alongside a rare 1917 Detroit Electric, an example of early electric car technology which is locally owned and driven and occasionally displayed at the Gippsland Vehicle Collection in Maffra.

While the 1917 Detroit has the Leaf covered in terms of range (about 160km compared to 100km), Wellington Shire mayor Scott Rossetti said the Leaf was more powerful, comparable to a similar sized small car.

“The Victorian Electric Vehicle Trial enables us to make use of an electric vehicle for eight months and find out what the environmental and financial benefits may be to council,” Cr Rossetti said.

“We know that electronic vehicle technology eliminates traffic noise and exhaust emissions, running cost are half of a comparable petrol car, and offers significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions when using renewable energy.

“But what we don’t know and hope to discover is just how well suited electronic vehicle technology is to our regional lifestyles.”

Cr Rossetti said the vehicle could be useful for staff undertaking short trips.

“It could be useful for staff to go to and from our Maffra depot for example,” he said.

Council’s Sustainability officer will drive the vehicle to schools, kindergartens and community events as part of its Sustainable Living Education Program.

Cr Rossetti said the vehicle had an estimated charge time of about six hours.

The state government’s $5 million Electric Vehicle Trial will run until mid-2014, and will help to gain a better understanding of the timelines, processes and barriers for introducing electric vehicle technology to Victoria.

Visit the website www.transport.vic.gov.au/evtrials for more information.