Item 7.1 - Attachment 1

Detailed Report - Electric Vehicles & Electric Vehicle Infrastructure


Detail Report

28 March 2011


Electric Vehicles and Electric Vehicle Infrastructure


1                Introduction

1.1      The purpose of this discussion paper is provide information on electric vehicles (predominantly passenger cars) and their required recharge infrastructure to allow Council to develop a position on the provision of publically accessible electric vehicle recharge infrastructure.


1.2      There is a new trend in the car industry with the production of electric vehicles.  The term electric vehicle or EV includes Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) that solely use stored electricity and hybrids those that generate their own electricity supply onboard.


1.3      EVs are being developed as an alternative to internal combustion engine (ICE) cars as they offer the opportunity of zero air emissions from the tailpipe and therefore zero impact on the environment and our health.  This new direction is happening because of the recently rapid change in battery technology with much smaller sized higher performance lithium-ion batteries being available.  Car manufacturers are also taking more interest in the increasing need to import oil as domestic supplies, particularly in USA reduce and along the price and supply uncertainly.


1.4      The EV industry in Australia is in it’s infancy with Europe, North America and Japan more advanced but still in very much in the early stages of development.  Many car manufactures are trialling vehicles prior to producing production models.  BEVs need to be regularly recharged for which there is currently very little infrastructure.  The issue for local Councils is the provision of publically accessible recharge infrastructure or units.  This discussion paper aims to provide information to determine where, when and what type of recharge point should be installed.


2.1      They are many terms used when referring to electric vehicles and the following are common key terms and their meanings, as used in this discussion paper. 


EV - Electric Vehicle

A vehicle that is powered wholly or partially by electricity requires the batteries to be regularly recharged.  This term is often used to mean BEV but in fact also includes PHEV.


BEV - Battery Electric Vehicle

An electric vehicle (EV) which solely uses batteries, this excludes hybrids.


PHEV - Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle

These hybrids have the ability to be connected (plugged-in) to the electricity supply network to recharge the batteries which reduces the need to use the internal combustion engine.



A fossil fuel electric hybrid.  Hybrids range from those primarily mechanically powered (by an internal combustion engine) with an electric motor providing supplementary power to those electrically powered with an internal combustion engine providing supplementary.


Hydrogen powered vehicles

Appendix A covers hydrogen powered vehicles.  There are significant developments in technology before these can approach production, an estimated 15 to 20 years.



3                Electrically powered vehicles

3.1      EVs include battery electric vehicles (BEVs) that are electrically propelled by an electric motor powered by batteries.  BEVs need to be regularly recharged from the electricity distribution grid.  At the other end of the EV spectrum are hybrids that are mechanically driven with the batteries providing additional power.


3.2      There are many different types of hybrids with the key difference being that some are Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) and require regular changing.  The other variations between hybrids are technological differences which impact on the rate of consumption of petrol.  For more information of the various types of hybrid see Appendix B – Electric and Hybrid Cars.


3.3      The significant advantage of EVs is that they use zero or in the case of hybrids less fossil fuel than conventional cars and thus can significantly reduced impact on the environment and our health from the air emissions.



4                The impact of cars on the environment and our health

4.1      Virtually all vehicles in Australia are powered by oil derived fuels (petrol, diesel LPG and CNG etc).  The number of electric vehicles and hybrids in comparison is extremely small.


4.2      Comparing the impact on the environment and our health of the different fuel is very complex.  The Federal Government’s Green Vehicle Guide considers the emissions generated by the car and emitted at the tailpipe.  The following table is an extract from this guide (December 2010) and shows the top 10 cars according to their green star rating.


Table 1 - Federal Government’s Green Vehicle guide (December 2010




Urban fuel use


Greenhouse Pollution Rating


Pollution Rating

Mitsubishi MiEV




Tesla Roadster




Toyota Prius Hybrid 1.8L

Elec/Petrol 95RON



Smart fortwo Cabrio/Coupe 52kW

Petrol 95RON



Honda Insight VTi/VTiL

Elec/Petrol 91RON



Suzuki Alto GL/GLX manual

Petrol 95RON



Smart fortwo Cabrio/Coupe 62kW

Petrol 95RON



Fiat 500 1.2L

Petrol 95RON - #


Suzuki Alto GL/GLX auto

Petrol 95RON



Holden MJ Barina Spark CD/CDX

Petrol 91RON





4.3      The above table shows that EVs are the “Greenest” cars and that hybrids and not necessary better than conventional petrol cars as it depends on the rate of fuel consumption which is complicated.  The key reason why small-engine cars are better for the environment than hybrids is for the simple reason that they use consume less petrol and hence less emissions.  The list below gives an indication of some the factors that need to be considered when comparing rate of fuel consumption:


·   Engine size and efficiency

·   Transmission type

·   Car weight and body style

·   Driving style

·   Road conditions

·   Vehicle maintenance


4.4      There is criticism of comparison of emissions created at the tailpipe with many arguing that most electricity is generated by coal and that this is no better than petrol.  Most electricity in Australia is generated by coal but this is not the full picture.


4.5      Oil extraction is by drilling and coal by mining, both methods of extraction create environmental impacts.  Coal is produced domestically while 40% of Australia’s oil is imported and it is estimated that environmental impacts from transportation is greater for oil.  Next in the process is refining: Oil needs to be refined which creates environment impacts while coal is not refined and so has no impacts. Coal is burnt at the power station and the electricity is distributed via the grid while oil products are distributed by rail or road, which again have higher impacts.  Oil products are dispensed at service stations which create emissions during refilling while recharging an EVs creates zero emissions.  It can be concluded that in general the impact of EVs, even if using 100% coal power is less than the use of petrol in combustion engines.   The use of bio-fuels such as E10 is only marginally better than normal unleaded which will be phased out in July 2011.


4.6      Electricity is generated 24 hours a day from a mixture of different sources in addition to coal (and gas).  The sustainable forms include wind, hydro, solar, biomass (using waste natural fibres) and cogeneration (using waste heat).  The production of these sources varies across the day, along with their associated emissions.  For example wind generated electricity is often greatest at night with coal and gas power stations make use of waste heat from the daytime generation.


4.7      The electricity generation market is becoming greener through public demand and legislation.  Many EV recharge companies use 100% Green Power and recharging an EV overnight is likely to use a significantly greater proportion of less pollution power than during the daytime as described above.  In addition, EVs themselves also generate electric and recharge their batteries during braking and make use of heat generated which is lost in conventional cars.


4.8      There is also debate whether the electricity generators have the necessary infrastructure to produce and distribute more electricity. The electricity market will grow and upgrade as a response to increased demand in the same way it responds to increased residential and commercial demand.   In addition, the supply/take up of EVs will occur relatively slowly overtime in parallel with the decline of oil production (and petrol use).  The key benefit of EVs over petrol cars is that can reduce the negatives impact on the environment and our health and this impact will reduce overtime as the amount of Green power electricity increases.



5                The supply and demand of EVs

5.1      EVs have been around in Australia for decades but the technology has taken a leap with significant advancements in battery technology which until now created heavy, slow short range vehicles.  EV enthusiasts have been active in Australia since the early 1970s and converted conventional petrol cars to electrically power.  In Sydney these were supported with public access to power points in Western Sydney car parks (Westpoint Shopping Centre Blacktown, Hornsby Westfield and Woolworths Dural).


5.2      The EV industry in Australia is in its infancy with Europe, North America and Japan more advanced but still in very much in the early stages of development.  Many car manufactures are still trialling EVs prior to producing production models for example for Mitsubishi i-MiEV.  Worldwide, hybrid cars (including PHEVs) are in greater production, demand and use than EVs.


5.3      They are very few production EVs models for sale within Australia and very little battery recharge infrastructure to support them.  This is due in part to very low worldwide production rates and because most car manufacturers are concentrating on larger, more mature markets in Europe, Japan and North America where there are significantly more public recharge facilities.  The reason for this is because these countries have forced the car industry to change through legislation.  For example in Europe the EU regulations require car manufacturers to have minimum fleet average air emissions which are driving traditional high polluting car manufacturers to produce greener cars like the Porsche E2 Cayenne Hybrid.


5.4      In 2010, 1,400 of the much hyped Mitsubishi i-MiEV were produced of which only 70 were available in Australia (on a 3 year lease/trial).  Mitsubishi has plans to increase worldwide production to 30,000 by 2012/13.  In comparison, Holden sold over 44,000 Commodores in Australia in 2009 demonstrating just how small the EV market will be for several years.   According to the NRMA the hybrid car market in Australia is approximately of 0.5% of all new cars.


5.5      In Australia, there are at least two new EV conversion companies including Blade Electric which uses the Hyundai Getz and Energetique which uses the Mazda2.  Another Australia company EDay plan to launch their Australian designed Chinese built electric vehicle in 2011.


5.6      The demand for EVs and hybrids are extremely low due to the low supply, as shown above, and the general lack of awareness around EVs.  In comparison, the conventional car market is very well developed offering cheaper cars.  It should be noted the despite the fact that the technology is still being developed, the running costs of an EV are significantly less than a petrol equivalent.  EVs are cheaper to run that hybrids as they use less fossil fuel.


5.7      The lack of demand can also be attributed to the differences in performance between conventional cars, EVs and hybrids.  In general hybrids have marginally lower performance (speed and acceleration) c than conventional cars but with significantly longer range.  This varies depending on the type of hybrid – see Appendix B for more details.  Generally EVs have a lower performance than hybrids and conventional cars and a significantly reduced range.  But again this is not true for all EVs.  The Tesla Roadster can accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in 4 seconds with a speed limited to 201 km/h.


5.8      Hybrids are the stepping stone between conventional cars and EVs, and it is suggested that the demand for them will continue until EVs can better match the performance and range of conventional cars coupled with other external factors such as the price of petrol and the ability to publically recharge EVs.  The PHEV (Plug-In Electric Hybrid Vehicle) is predicted to be stage in development of EVs as they have the characteristics of a hybrid with the ability to be recharged and thus have less petrol consumption than a normal hybrid.



Electric Vehicle Recharge Infrastructure

6.1      The key issue for EV drivers is the distance that the car can be used before it needs to be recharged, this is often referred to as range anxiety.  PHEVs overcome this issue by using an internal combustion engine to recharge the battery.   Battery technology has advanced rapidly over the last decade or so with smaller batteries, reduced production costs, reduced recharge time, increased power and thus reduced time between recharges, and longer battery life.  Despite this the typical range for an EV is 150km or less.  There are two solutions to this issue; More opportunities to recharge, for example publically accessible recharge power units or exchange the battery.


Battery Exchange

6.2      Better Place is the only company that is developing a battery exchange service as a faster alternative to recharging.   Better Place has an ongoing trial in Japan using 3 taxis and a demonstration site is Israel with plans for one in Canberra.  The battery exchange trial demonstrates that it is possible to exchange a battery, located on the underside of the car in a minute using a robot.  There are benefits of exchange over recharge for some vehicle uses, like taxis, delivery vehicles and other commercial fleets which are continuously used for long periods of times compared to private vehicles.


6.3      It is unclear how much support car manufactures have for battery exchange over battery recharging and there are issues with the wide variety of batteries expected in terms of performance and size.  It is predicted that the battery exchange model will be a marginal premium service.



Battery Recharging

6.4      There are a large range of possible recharge locations.  Most recharging will be “opportunity recharging” – the situation whereby the car is parked and driver undergoes their normal activities rather than waiting for the car to charge such as work, shopping or at home.  The majority of recharge units will be provided at home, work and publically accessible car parks, the number of on–street recharge units will be very small in comparison.


6.5      The speed of the recharge point is usual linked to the parking duration for example 8 hour recharge overnight.  If recharging occurs in car parks or on-street then the normal parking charge still applies along with the parking restrictions.  Often the car parks spaces are reserved or restricted in some way.  Some UK Councils have issued EV parking permits to restrict on-street parking bays with EV recharge units to those with EV permits.


6.6      It is predicted that the battery exchange rather than recharge will have a small market share as the majority of EV drivers will recharge their batteries as part of their normal daily routines.  Battery exchange will require a specific site to exchange, store and recharge batteries (for exchange) this could be the service station of the future combined with recharge facilities.  Battery exchange would be useful for long trips which are a very small proportion of all trips, and high intensive use for example local goods delivers and taxis.  Future battery and car technology is predicted to extend the battery range from the current typical range of 150km.


Recharge units

6.7      There are three broad types of recharger unit which are classified by their relative power used to recharge the battery (this also determines the time to recharge). Recharge units around the world differ according to the local national electric distribution network power specification. 


6.8      EVs recharge at different rates according to the power of the recharge point, EV battery and the car’s onboard electrically management systems which regulates the rate of recharge.  Some rechargers/EVs recharge quickly in the first period and then recharge more slowly after that as safety feature to prevent the electrical equipment overheating.


6.9      Australia appears to be following the American classification of recharge units of Level 1, 2 or 3.  The equivalent UK or European terms are Standard, Fast and Rapid.


Level 1

6.10    This includes the uses of standard domestic electric power points (220V 10A) to 15A power points (250V 15A).  Many commercial properties may already have 15A circuits already installed while residential properties require a separate 15A circuit installed for increased safety.


6.11    Specifically manufactured recharge units rather a simple power point provide additional safety features and a data link which can provide information on the battery condition and recharge progress to both the driver or network operator.  Level 1 recharge units are generally shoe-box sized wall mounted units with a small LCD display.





















Figure 1 - Level 1 Recharge units (ChargePoint)

at Rouse Hills (left) and recharging an EV in Sydney (right)


6.12    Level 1 recharger power points use standard plugs while 15A power points and recharge units use 15A plugs all typically take 8 hours to recharge.  Level 1 recharge power points and unit can be configured to supply as well as draw down electricity which can assist power supply companies with the peaks and troughs of demand; this process is commonly known as Smart Grid.  It may be possible to take advantage of cheaper off-peak electricity rates to recharge EVs overnight.  The Victorian trial is investigating smart electricity metering which can regulate electricity supply according to price and time of day.


6.13    Typical locations of Level 1 recharge power points and unit are off-street an include residential garages, private workplace car parks and publically accessible car parks including those at railway stations, shopping centres and stand alone large shops such as supermarkets and bulky goods.  Level 1 recharge units are currently provided on-street in America and Europe however these are likely to be replaced with Level 2 to reduce parking pressures.



















Figure 2 - On-street recharge units in London.


Level 2

6.14    These recharge units typically use 230V 32A (3 phase) with a recharge time of 4 hours.  There is no predominant electrical plug connection for Level 2 or Level 3 chargers and it appears that there is preference for the Northern America plug (SAE J1772) over the European one (Mennekes or Blue Commando).  Typical locations of Level 2 recharge unit are off-street as per Level 1 rechargers and on-street locations. 


Level 3

6.15    These units typically use 500V 200A and use DC rather than AC to overcome the issue of overheating during recharging.  Only the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV currently have the capability of Level 3 recharge via a second power socket.  The typically locations are dedicated off-street sites which could become the service station of the future.  Australia’s first Level 3 recharge unit is due to be installed at Mitsubishi in Adelaide and will have the capability of recharging to 50% in fewer 12 minutes and 80% in less than 30 minutes.


















Figure 3 - Artist’s impress of a Level 3 recharge unit


6.16    The size and shape recharge units vary greatly and partly depend on the recharge Level.  Generally the slower the recharge the smaller the unit increasing in size to Level 3 recharge units that are similar to a typical petrol pump/browser.  The design of the units are generally designed to best suit the location and include various methods of mounting including wall, pole and bollard.  Some recharge units are combined for example with solar panels or parking metres.  Most recharge units are available with multiple outlets.



Figure 4- Greenlots solar assisted recharge unit


Safety and security of recharge units

6.17    Recharge units and their cables are designed for their environment and this includes weather and damage protection and security.  A typical concern with recharge units is the risk of electrocution.  The severity of electrocution increases with higher rates of volts and amps, but the likelihood does not necessary increase as there are safety standards and management systems to control this.  The potential safety issues need to be considered in perspective and compared to existing situations.  The outdoor supply and use of electric including the public domain is common for example street lighting or the outdoor events such as those in Church Street Mall.  Everyday new car drivers use petrol stations for the first time without any training and this is a very high risk and high severity task however it is a widely accepted risk.  Despite all the relevant safety standards and methods of risk management it is not possible to prevent or deter all acts of human stupidity.


6.18    Outdoor recharge units have weather protection and those located at the kerbside are usually contained within bollards or other robust boxes to limit damage from accidental strikes from vehicles or vandalism.  The outdoor cable is more durable and often brightly coloured and coiled or retractable to prevent trip hazards.  Some recharge units have a cable that is permanently attached to the recharge unit.


6.19    The recharge units have different levels of security depending on their environment.  On-street or public recharge units can often only be accessed with a membership swipe card or credit card to activate the unit.  This then releases the security covers to allow a cable to be interested and connected to the EV.  Normally the electrical charge is not released until these are correctly inserted which are then held in place with security closures or magnetic locks to prevent the cable from coming loose or being pulled out at both the recharge unit and EV.  Normally EVs will need to meet certain conditions before they can accept charge such as in “park” with the hand brake on.


6.20    Site visits to EV recharge locations in Sydney revealed that the electric cables connecting EVs and recharges units tend to be left untidy creating potential trip hazards.  The use of coiled or retractable cables would significant improve this situation.



Access to recharge units

6.21    Access to recharge units fall under three categories private, member and public.  Private recharge units include those at individual residences and places of work where the home owner, employer or site owner pays for the supply of electricity.


6.22    Private Level 1 power points or recharge units are used in the same way as a domestic power point with no restrictions on access noting that there are generally access restrictions to the premises.


6.23    Recharge units in the public domain require a member’s smartcard (sometimes referred to as a RFID, contactless, or proximity card) or credit card to be used to access and pay for their use. The smart card can identify the user which can be linked to a payment plan or generate a bill. 


6.24    Networking the recharge units allows the owner or service provider to monitor usage and assist with fleet management.  The cost of the electricity can be included in the membership or access charge or per rate of usage.  Payment plans are similar to the mobile phone market where some are pre-paid while other are post-paid.  Currently many recharge units supply electricity free of charge but this is either part of a trial or to help stimulate the market at this very early stage.


6.25    Networked recharge units also allows the status of the recharge to be provided to the driver via the internet, email or text to let them know the current charge or when recharging is complete.  There are many future uses of this communication link including the history of use and maintenance of the battery.  An added feature is that the status of networked recharge units can be displayed on the internet so drivers can plan trips or locate their nearest available recharge location.



7                Key players in the EV market

7.1      There are many key players in the emerging EV market all with they own agendas offering both solutions to existing problems and new products or services.


EV car manufacturers

7.2      Firstly there are the car markers and EV component makers without which there is no market.  Several new companies has been created and is similar to the internet boom of the late 1990s when existing companies were slow to make the change to new market conditions or opportunities.


EV Infrastructure providers

7.3      The EV infrastructure providers including new companies manufacturing and providing recharge and battery exchange services, electricity generation and supply companies, and technology companies providing software management services.


Electricity generators and distributors

7.4      This group of companies have an obvious interest in supplying electricity to a new market demand but there are more reasons for interest. These companies are always looking to better manage electricity demand and supply which varies throughout the day, the term used to describe this is Smart Grid.


7.5      During the daytime it can be difficult for electricity supply companies to meet peak demands while at night-time there is often wastage as the demand is very low.  EVs have the ability to help manage the peaks and troughs of electricity demand.  During the times of peak demand, which can often be as little as a few minutes, the electricity supplier can reduce the power to EVs on recharge or even use the EVs as an additional power source to supply more power to the electricity grid.  EVs are equally useful at night during periods of low demand.  EVs offer electricity suppliers a demand during night which is particularly useful for green energy, such as wind which is produced 24 hours a day and can be wasted if not there is no demand.


Car park providers

7.6      Both off- and on-street car parking facilities provide space and opportunity for EVs to be recharged while the driver is occupied with a trip purpose.  These trip purposes have typically durations of stay for example work is an all day activity while shopping, entertainment, dinning and personal business trips range from less than an hour to several hours.  The duration of stay can be matched to type of recharge facility provided to maximise the synergy.  Car park providers can be either public or private and include local Councils, private car park operators, employers, retailers, shopping centres, restaurants/fast-food outlets and supermarkets.  In the UK, the car providers who currently providing recharge facilities including local Councils with on-street facilities at short-stay spaces and supermarkets with large off-street car parks.


Fleet operators

7.7      Car fleet providers include including Governments at all levels, private businesses, taxis, car hire and car share organisations.  There are also significant opportunities for commercial vehicle operators providing delivery services within metropolitan areas.


Governance and motoring groups

7.8      The EV market in California and Europe is significantly more advanced than in Australia due to Governments leading the change through legislation of vehicle standards, planning controls, public parking control and supply as well as supported by incentives including financial.  Lower levels of Government, motoring organisation and other peak or lobby groups have varying levels of ability to influence higher levels of Government to implement and create the required framework for EVs.



7.9      The research of new EV technology is invariable lead by car manufacturers but also by academic institutes.


Environmental Organisations

7.10    There are many organisations that come under the above categories’ but have a very strong environmental or green ethos and are part of the new wave of environmental sustainable organisations.



8                Overseas Experience



8.1      In the UK, there are approximately 8,000 BEVs and 430 recharge units.  In London there is an estimated 1,000 BEVs and 135 recharge units are in London as well as 15,000 PHEVs.  There are currently approximately 340 BEVs on trial in the UK and majority of these are part of the national EV funding program called “Plugged-In Places”.


London Government Deliver Plan

8.2      The Greater London Authority (GLA) has an EV deliver plan for 25,000 recharge units by 2015 of which 500 will be on-street, 2,000 within off-street car parks and 22,500 in private car parks in partnership with local businesses.  The GLA fleet currently has 8,000 vehicles (mainly Police vehicles) of which 20 are BEVs with plans to have 1,000 BEVs by 2015.  In terms of planning it is expected that by 2011 the regional planning controls will require at least 5 parking spaces or at least 20% of parking spaces to have EV recharge units.


8.3      Source London is initiative to establish an organisation to deliver single card access (similar to toll access card) to all public recharge units in London for an annual fee.  This includes the rollout of 1,300 recharge units from 2011.


London local Councils

8.4      Many London local Councils have provided the EV recharge units (slow and medium) through the Plugged-in Place funding.  Most of these recharge units currently have no charge for the electricity however access is restricted or managed.  Generally the Councils charge a one-off fee which includes a parking permit, access card and a recharge cable without which access is prohibited.  The EV recharge units are provided at on-street and off-street parking spaces with no exemptions from parking restrictions or fees.



8.5      It is difficult to investigate EV market in Europe but the Swiss Electric Vehicle Association’s website (LEMnet) gives a good indication of the number of recharge locations as follows: Switzerland 678, Germany 890, Austria 296, France 210, UK 80, Portugal 54, Spain 51, Italy 22, Belgium 13, Netherlands 4 and Liechtenstein 4.  The data is biased towards Switzerland, Germany and Austria and does not capture full number of recharge sites but it does give a clear indication as to how advanced the EV market in Europe is compared to Australia.



8.6      The Swiss Electric Vehicle Association’s Park & Charge program has 300 recharge locations across Switzerland.  The company markets the recharge units which are wall or free standing electrical supply cabinets with 3 to 6 electrical outlets.  It is up the owner whether the electricity is free or chargeable.  The cost of electricity consumption is claimed from Park & Charge.  The benefits of providing free electricity is the corporate social responsibility factor and as well as a method of attracting customers.  Access to the cabinets is with a key which costs 68 Euros (AU$ 90) with electricity costs of 68 Euros (AU$ 90) for slow recharge and 96 Euros (AU$130) for medium charge. There is an optional parking permit 68 Euros (AU$ 90) Euros.



8.7      In Barcelona, there are 65 recharge locations of which 34 are in underground car parks and 31 on street.  Barcelona plans to have 400 recharge locations by 2011 to service an expected fleet of over 2,000 EVs.



8.8      The 4 large regional electricity distributors are the main players in Germany in providing EV recharge infrastructure and closely linked to the large car makers who are trialling their cars.  Over 1500 additional recharge units are to be delivered by 2012.



8.9      Amsterdam Elektrisch has 45 recharge sites which are part of the Chargepoint network.  Many of the recharge units have multiple outlets for use with electric bikes, scooters and boats.  A pre-paid charge card is used to access and pay for the electricity.  The first Level 3 recharge unit in Europe is planned for a Dutch service station in 2011.



8.10    There are still an estimated 400 recharge locations with old technology based on the last wave of EVs car in the late1990s/2000s.  Currently there are numerous EV recharge providers, programs and trials underway in the USA.  Some parts of the USA as significantly ahead in the EV market most notably Los Angles and San Francisco along with Portland.  It is estimated that in California 18% of fleet vehicle are either hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles.


ChargePoint America

8.11    ChargePoint currently has 170 recharge locations.  There are a total of 4,600 planned making use of Federal funding in association with Ford, Chevrolet and smart USA across nine regions by September 2011.  The recharge units are open access and networked-enabled with the capability of texting or emailing notifications to drivers on their recharge status.  The advantage of networked recharge units are that their location and status can be viewed on the internet and mobile devices. The owner of the recharge unit determines the fee for usage which can be modified to time and day to encourage customers or generate revenue.


EV Project

8.12    Currently ECOtality has 130 recharge locations.  There are plans to deliver an comprehensive EV infrastructure program over 3 years with Federal funding across 16 states and metropolitan areas and includes 15,000 recharge locations (14,650 Level 2 recharger units and 310  Level 3 units) with 5,700 Nissan LEAF and 2,600 Chevrolet Volt Cars.



8.13    Portland General Electric, a local electricity company, has 20 recharge locations coupled with another 20 recharge sites provided by others. In addition Shorepower has 30 locations mainly in Oregon. There are also plans for an Electric Freeway from Oregon to Canada with 10 fast recharge locations every 130km which can recharge the battery to 80% in 30 minutes.



9                Australian Experience

9.1      They have been EV recharge facilities in Sydney for some years but these are simply dedicated parking spaces and access to the domestic power supply point.  Locations included Blacktown (Westpoint shopping centre), Dural (Woolworths) and Hornsby (Westfield).  These facilities were used by members the Sydney Branch of the Australia Electric Vehicle Association – EV enthusiasts who mostly converted their cars to electrical power.


9.2      Standards Australia is investigating the extent and need for specific Standards for electric vehicle infrastructure in Australia and to this effect started a scoping study in 2009. There are existing Australian Standards for electrical supply through a power point but very little or no specific standards for EVs and their infrastructure.  It is understood that EVs and recharge units are being approved on a one by one basis based on existing international and overseas standards.  The Victorian trial is also assisting Standards Australia in developing the necessary standards.




Current Trials

Victorian Electric Vehicle Trial

9.3      This is the biggest EV trial in Australia with 60 EVs allocated to 180 households, commercial and Government fleets.  The electric vehicles will be provided by Blade Electric, EDay Life, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota.   The recharge units will use 100% green power supplied by Better Place, ChargePoint and ECOtality.


Smart Cities Smart Grid

9.4      EnergyAustralia is leading this demonstration of Australia’s first commercial-scale smart grid based in Newcastle.  The main part of the trail is to understand how technology can be used to better manage the demand for electricity.  This includes a trial of 20 Mitsubishi i-MiEV with BetterPlace providing recharge units which will be installed in residential garages, office car parks and at strategic locations between Sydney and Newcastle.


Perth EV trial

9.5      This is trial is being managed by CO2Smart and includes West Australian State Government and University of Western Australia.  The trial involves 50 BEVs of which 10 new BEVs will be provided the remainder will be from the Australian Electric Vehicle Association's Perth Branch members.  There will be 12 publically accessible recharge units.


Mitsubishi i-MiEV

9.6      Mitsubishi are trialling of 110 of their BEVs which all have already been allocated and will be used as part of the above trials.  The EVs will be leased for 3 years at a cost of $62,640.  DECCW has been allocated two EVs of which one will be based in the Parramatta office.  There is potential to work with DECCW to establish an on-street recharge point within Parramatta city centre.



Recharge Companies and Suppliers with a presence in Australia

ChargePoint Australia

9.7      This company is part of an American global company which is currently estimated to be the world’s leading providing of recharge units.  The company provides Columbe recharge units accessible with a swipe card or credit card.  The recharge units are networked which allows users the available of the recharge point and progress of recharge, they also provide fleet management services


9.8      ChargePoint have 170 recharge locations in America and a big presence in European with recharge units in Ireland, United Kingdom, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey.


9.9      In Australia ChargePoint currently has 13 recharge locations including Glebe, Roseberry, Pyrmont and Rouse Hill in NSW with units also in ACT, Adelaide and growing number in Melbourne (Cheltenham, Dandenong Frankston and Mill Park).   Glebe is the only location where it is on-street with the space reserved for a car sharing vehicle.  Currently there is no RTA guidance on the provision of EV recharging on-street.



Better Place Australia

9.10    Better Place Australia is part of the American based Better Place company.  It is still developing its model of recharge units and battery exchange in several countries including Denmark, Israel, China, Canada, Japan and America.  Better Place currently has one recharge point in Belconnen ACT with more planned.



9.11    This is the Australian distributor of the Singaporean Greenlots recharge units which can include solar panels.  The company as provides management services for the networked units for which they take a 10% royalty.  The recharge units cost from $3,500 plus installation costs of approximately $500. There is one recharge unit in Perth.


ECOtality Australia

9.12    This American company is trying to establish in Australia.  The company markets Blink recharge units which are predominately for off-street location where the majority of recharging will be undertaken.  ECOtality is installing 180 recharge units in residential homes in Australia as part of the Victorian trial.



9.13    This is an Australian company that has developed a pre-production recharge unit E-Charger which is combined with a parking metre.


























David Gray

Manager, Transport Planning


Hydrogen Powered Cars


Hydrogen powered cars

Hydrogen is an alternative to both fossil fuels and electric vehicles that use batteries (BEVs).  Hydrogen can be used in both an internal combustion engine (ICE) and a fuel cell both of which both are currently limited to very small trials.


A Fuel Cell vehicle is an EV and uses hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity to power an electric motor with only water vapour as the air emission. The Western Australia State Government has been trialling hydrogen buses in Perth since 2004 and due to start trialling hybrid hydrogen-natural gas buses shortly. 


The ICE hydrogen vehicle is slightly less efficient than a Fuel Cell and uses hydrogen and air in an ICE to mechanically power the car in the same way petrol does.  The ICE hydrogen vehicle produces very small amounts of air emissions (nitrous oxides) which impact on the environment and our health, but the level of emissions is significantly less than that from the use of fossil fuels in ICEs.


The advantage of hydrogen powered cars is that it takes minutes to refuel and that they have similar performance and range characteristics as conventional cars but with near zero emissions. 


The main disadvantage is the production of hydrogen and the vehicle technology is currently very costly and still under development.  It is predicted that it will take 15 to 20 years before there are production hydrogen cars.


The most advance hydrogen car market is in California where there are some 200 hydrogen cars and 25 refuelling stations along the “California Hydrogen Highway”.  There are also hydrogen trials in Japan, South Korea, Canada and Europe albeit very even small. 


Issues with hydrogen include:

o It is mainly produced from fossil fuels (as in the Perth trial), which produce emissions that impact on the environment and our health whether they are from renewable resources like methane from waste material or from oil.

o Hydrogen can be produced from wind and water through electrolysis but is still under development with very high costs and low volumes of production.

o Hydrogen production world wide is still in its infancy and there is the need to advance technologies to reduce costs and increase quantities.  It currently takes more energy to produce hydrogen than it creates.

o The distribution and storage costs of hydrogen are high to due bulky size of hydrogen tanks and the lack of existing infrastructure; consider the scale of the existing oil infrastructure already established.

o A large vehicle fuel tank is needed as hydrogen has low energy per unit volume; however the batteries in BEVs also take up considerable space.

o Significant refuelling infrastructure required similar to petrol refuelling infrastructure.




Electric Vehicles including Hybrids


Electric Vehicles (EVs)

There are broadly three types of EV characterised by their speed (and performance)

·   Low speed – small cars with speeds of less than 60km/h

·   City speed – mostly small cars capable of between 60km/h and 90 km/h

·   Highway speed – Small to medium cars capable of at least 90km/h


Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)

BEVs are electric vehicles powered by an electric motor with energy solely supplied by batteries.  The batteries are recharged when the vehicle is parked by a charger (or recharge point).  They are also charged when they are driven but this is a very small amount compared to the amount required to power the vehicle.  The typical range of a BEV is 150km.


Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV)

A HEV is any vehicle powered by electricity and an additional power source, but predominately used to describe a vehicle with an internal combustion engine (ICE).  Most hybrids are petrol hybrids but diesel hybrids are due to be launched in 2012.  There are three main types of hybrid:


Parallel Hybrid (or Mild Hybrid)

A Parallel Hybrid primarily uses the ICE and batteries to power an electric motor to mechanically power the car.  The electric motor is used in combination with the ICE in periods of high power demand (acceleration and on hills).  The batteries are also used to supply other electrical systems normal powered by the ICE in conventional cars.


HEVs are significantly more fuel efficient than conventional ICE by using the ICE less, reusing otherwise wasted energy (regenerative braking, latent engine heat) and typical have a smaller engine. The range of a hybrid depends on the consumption of the combustion engine and fuel tank size but is typically 1000km.  Most production hybrids are parallel hybrids (including a proportion of Plug-in variation – see below).  There are many production Hybrids including Honda’s hybrids, typically larger cars are parallel hybrids and they uses more power.


Series Hybrid

Series Hybrids primarily use the electric batteries to power car with the ICE used to recharge like a generator the batteries (extend the range). The ICE is not used to power the car and its use typically increases the range of the car from 60km to 500km.  There currently no production Series Hybrids available in Australia yet.


Power-Split Hybrid (Or Parallel-Series Hybrid)

This hybrid uses the electric motor to provide power in periods of low power demand (start-up, idle and speeds under 15 to 20km/h) and in combination with the ICE in periods of high power demand (acceleration and on hills).  The ICE is used for speeds above 20 km/h.  These hybrids use the technology from both the parallel and series hybrids which results in them being the most energy efficient hybrid.  Series hybrids tend to be more efficient at lower speeds while parallel hybrids tend to be more efficient at high speeds. There are many production Power-Split Hybrids including the Toyota Prius.


Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

A Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle is simply a hybrid with the ability to recharge its batteries from the electricity supply grid in addition to the ICE.  The advantage of this is that more electricity rather than fossil fuel is used.  PHEV are usually Series and Power-Split Hybrids.