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The Forum > General Discussion > Howard killing the electric car?

Howard killing the electric car?

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John Howard recently stated that he didn't want to see production of an electric car in Australia because, as he put it, it would create major unemployment in the automotive industry, particularly in regards to maintainance and spare parts. Electric cars need little of either, but is that reason enough to prevent production of such vehicles?
Jim Arian was invited to Australia to develop a fully electric vehicle for the Australian market. He successfully drove a prototype from Melbourne to Ballarat, a distance much greater than most commuters would travel on a working day. Since then, he's developed the vehicle to a point whereby the new prototype can travel at speeds of 160kph and can be "quick-charged" in approx 6 minutes. The latest version can travel distances of up to 300 kilometres and yet sadly, he's had no backing from Federal Government (Jim is based in Victoria) which is surprising considering Howard was caught on the back foot re: climate change. This is proof positive that John Howard thinks more of lining corporate pockets than seeking a sustainable future for our children and their decendants.
Jim Arian is now in the process of packing up and heading to England where the Government says it is happy to accomadate production of his vehicles. Another lost opportunity for Australian GDP and employment.
I'm not sure of all the details and I'm offering this post hoping that somebody can fill in the gaps. I believe the Victorian Government who invited Jim Arian to develop the vehicle here in the first instance, is not responsible for the lack of backing. It's the Federal Government who steadfastly refuses to legislate standards for electric vehicles, however, I will write to both State and Federal Labor parties within the next week to seek their version of the need for electric vehicles in Australia.
Wildcat.
Posted by Aime, Wednesday, 21 March 2007 10:25:35 AM
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'I know what happens when the new president gets inaugurated. After the celebrations, they take him into a small room with a chair and a projector. They sit him down, men in sunglasses standing either side. The lights go down. The projector flickers on, it's footage of the Kennedy assassination, but from a *different* angle. Everything is clear from this viewpoint. The new presidents face turns white. The footage ends, the lights go up. One of the men says:

"Any questions?"

"....just what my agenda is!"'

- Bill Hicks
Posted by spendocrat, Wednesday, 21 March 2007 2:17:24 PM
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Never heard of Jim who ever he is, but already major car manufacturers around the world have developed electric cars. ďAustralianĒ car makers (Ford, GM, & etc) are not Australian, so I see little value for taxpayers in funding foreign car makers to develop an electric car here. Nonetheless, Howard would have been better to spend the 3 billion dollars heís wasted in Iraq on Jimís ideas. Anyway, there is intense competition for a viable electric car. One of the best Iíve seen is the Tesla, now a production car developed in the USA ( see http://www.teslamotors.com/ ). A more utilitarian model is in the pipeline.

The problem re: sustainability in Australia is that most of our electricity is generated from coal. So, although many electric cars will cut our oil consumption, it will increase our coal consumption. giving little if any reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Posted by Robg, Wednesday, 21 March 2007 3:48:29 PM
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It would be interesting to know EXACTLY how and why the failure to publish Australian Standards is preventing or obstructing production of electric cars in Australia. This has all of the feel of one of those issues where public engagement is sought, but ALL interested parties are refusing to talk about what could be, truth be known, absolutely key points.

Does the absence of such published standards prevent import of electric cars into Australia?

Is not the determination of registration requirements for road vehicles a State matter? If Jim Arian was invited to develop his cars by the government of Victoria, and that government was sincere, why does that government not proceed unilaterally to set such standards and register such vehicles? Should, subsequently, other Australian States register such vehicles, would not Section 92 of the Constitution insulate the manufacturer from any attempt by the Federal government to stifle locally made electric car sales elsewhere in Australia?

It seems to me that a major business opportunity for electricity suppliers is going begging here. They have existing unused generating capacity. Off-peak recharging would seem highly likely to be practical for users of such vehicles. Why are they not investing in the production of electric vehicles? Indeed, would not the Australian public invest directly in such an enterprise if it were well managed, and especially so if importation of electric vehicles continued to be impossible while local production and registration continued unpreventable?

Successive Federal governments have shown little concern for the retention of jobs in Australia: I don't believe there is now suddenly concern for the prospects of the automotive service industry. Could it be that it fears the loss of excise on petroleum fuel sales? Worse than that, could it fear encouragement of distributed private generation of electricity using natural energy sources (wind, solar, biofuels, waves) once a real market for that product in transportation develops?

Good for the balance of payments. Out from under the oil cartel! With Labor in power in all States for years, what's been stopping you, fellas? What haven't we been told?
Posted by Forrest Gumpp, Wednesday, 21 March 2007 4:17:48 PM
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Back in about 1958 I had a ride in a 1907 Detroit Electric which at the time was used as an everyday commuter vehicle in Sydney (within its limited range).
It was a pleasure to travel in it, barely audible tyre noise was all that could be heard.
Today's electric cars' range is much extended and they would be ideal for the cities and inter city runs.
I see some problems if one strayed to far from the electricity grid. Bringing 'fuel' to a stranded car could be a problem.

There would no longer be 'off-peak' power however as the generation plants would have to keep pouring it into the grid 24hrs a day.
Posted by Is Mise, Wednesday, 21 March 2007 5:10:30 PM
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At the moment it does not seem logical to have a car running on electriciy generated by coal. Then again, remember those old oil heaters? They were great. But they phased them out as oil became so expensibe and most went to natural gass in the southern states.

It is a shame that James is being coaxed to the UK. Electric cars may not be an answer to sustainability now, but with better technology and increased efficiency and other ways to generate electricity comes to pass, they could be a reality.

The trick is to keep the momentum of reasearch going.
Posted by saintfletcher, Wednesday, 21 March 2007 10:29:31 PM
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