By Paul Hemsley
An electric Mitsubishi i-MiEV is being trialed at Cardinia Shire Council as part of the Victorian Government’s Electric Vehicle Trial.
Aiming to reduce urban air pollution, oil dependency and greenhouse gas emissions, the council is trialing the vehicle to reduce its fleet’s environmental impacts.
The state government’s Electric Vehicle Trial consists of various councils which are members of the South Eastern Council’s Climate Change Alliance.
Cardinia Shire Council environment officer, Brett Munckton said the Victorian Government has organised all the procurement of the vehicles, while all the trial participants are under a lease agreement in that with the Department of Transport.
“We’ve got a lot of information from Mitsubishi through the Department of Transport,” Mr Munckton said.
He said the use of the vehicle has not created any issues for the council because the maximum range is known, most staff do not exceed that travel distance and if a longer trip is needed, another vehicle is booked.
“It’s about knowing what the vehicles are suitable for,” Mr Munckton said.
Cardinia Shire Council fleet manager, Peter Butcher said the trial’s feedback would be used to assess future opportunities for EV use in the council.
“As it’s only a trial, one of the biggest things it gives us is an insight to get us started,” Mr Butcher said.
According to Mr Butcher, the data is very important, which is “realistic data” during the trial, which helps forecast where it might go in the future or how viable it’s going to be.
In terms of upgrading infrastructure, to solely do the infrastructure on one’s own would be a “fairly costly exercise” so “some sort of assistance” would be needed, Mr Butcher said..
He said the i-MiEV has a range in excess of 100 kilometres when fully charged.
“At this point, you wouldn’t tow with an electric vehicle, but I think that will change,” Mr Butcher said.
He said the range isn’t wide, but “as soon as we get over some of the hurdles of battery capacity and battery range and we start increasing the kilometer standard that the cars can do, they will be a lot more accepted”.
Mr Munckton said a chargepoint can be installed quite easily by finding the closest place to 16 amp power, running a trench, running a cable and it can actually install a specialised electricity bowser that plugs into the vehicle for charging
“Or you can just install a standard 15 amp power point and connect that up to the vehicle to charge as well, so it’s not that difficult to put the infrastructure in place for charging,” Mr Munckton said.
According to Mr Munckton, the council is building a new office which will be one of the places where the vehicles would be located to charge.
“We’re exploring ways that we can make it that much easier later on, so we’re looking at running some more 15 amp circuits so that it’s easier in to install charging infrastructure as the cars become used more readily,” Mr Munckton said.
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