electric highway

the low down on electric cars



Chinese carmaker BYD planning to come to Australia

Large Chinese carmaker BYD auto (Build Your Dreams) is planning a likely launch in Australia in the near future, initially offering its e6 electric people mover.

The e6 is touted as having an urban range of 300 kilometres, and with its 90kW 450Nm motor should have quite adequate performance.

BYD is aiming mainly at the taxi market, as the vehicle will be fairly expensive (likely to be around $80,000) but offers the unique EV prospect of high range and seven seats.

The cars will probably be distributed by Ateco, who already handle distribution of several Chinese brands.


First public charger in northern Tasmania goes live today!

Wed 25th Nov 2015.

Today at 1pm northern Tasmania’s first public EV charger will be launched at House of Anvers chocolate factory on the Bass Highway in Latrobe.

We here at Electric Highway believe that this is a shining role model for other tourist attractions throughout Tasmania. If most of the major tourist stops had charging points then it would be entirely possible to tour the whole state in an EV without any range worries, charging at each stop as you enjoy the activities.

Way to go Anvers!

My Mitsubishi i MiEV is up for sale!

After two years of trouble free motoring, we have decided to put my beloved Mitusbishi i MiEV up for sale…

I would dearly love to keep this car, it’s fun to drive and cheap to run and all the rest…but a combination of reasons means that I am letting it go.

Firstly, it is a small car and I have a growing family and frequently find ourselves carting extended family or friends, so often we find ourselves using the Hilux for a family trip because of its extra seat…then there is the fact that most of my driving these days is for my work, which requires towing a trailer so the poor i MiEV can’t do the job, hence the Hilux…

We will get much more value out of an electric work ute than an electric runabout that is mainly used for shopping locally, so the plan is to convert a ute to electric which is not going to be cheap because I need a decent range and tow a trailer, so plenty of batteries will be required! I can’t afford to do that AND keep the i MiEV…

I have listed it for sale on Gumtree and it is on display this weekend at the Hobart Sustainable Living Festival if you are in the area and want a look!

Offering for sale at $25,000 negotiable.

Call 0406 905 116 to discuss or arrange a test drive!

Electric bus to try for long distance record

Chinese-Australian company Brighsun is attempting a long distance record tomorrow morning, aiming to enter the Guinness record with the longest trip on one charge by an electric vehicle.

Currently the record is held by a Tesla Model S, at over 700 kilometres. Brighsun are attempting to better this by travelling from Melbourne to Sydney, a distance of almost 900 kilometres…in a bus!

The Brighsun buses are similar in most respects to conventional diesel buses, but have big battery packs to allow long range. The city bus has a 500 kWh pack while the tour coach has a 518 kWh pack.

Brighsun have expressed interest in opening a manufacturing facility here in Australia, based in Victoria and using the skill base that will be left behind when local car manufacture ceases in the next year and a half.

Click here for a YouTube video of the bus.

Tasmanian Government to trial electric vehicles

Tasmania’s Minister for Growth, Matthew Groom, has said at the Greenhouse 2015 conference in Hobart that the State Government will shortly begin a trial of electric vehicles in the Government fleet.

At least 19 EVs will be added to the government fleet before the end of 2015.

This marks a sharp shift in the attitude of Tasmania’s government towards electric vehicles, and is a positive move towards a more widespread take up of EVs in the Island State.

Volvo to add plug in hybrids across its entire model range by 2019

Swedish carmaker Volvo has announced that they will be adding plug in hybrid versions of every car in their model range as well as selling a purely electric car by 2019.

Volvo already have plug in hybrid versions of the XC90 SUV and V60 on the market, with the next model planned for hybrid being the luxury sedan S90.

Volvo’s CEO said that the company expects 10% of its sales to be electric vehicles by 2020, and that the time had come for electric vehicles to become mainstream instead of niche.

Volvo has experience with EVs already. For several years they build a pure EV version of the C30 for selected markets only, and have been making a limited range of plug in hybrids for a couple of years also in certain markets only. This announcement that they will extend PHEVs across their entire range is a bold commitment to the technology.

Two factors influencing Volvo’s enthusiasm are their home market of Scandinavia, where EVs have gained rapid market acceptance and take up (Norway has the highest EV ownership rates in the world per capita) and the growing push for low pollution vehicles in China. Volvo is owned by Geely Group, a Chinese company that bought the Swedish carmaker from Ford several years ago, and although they leave Volvo to make its own decisions the needs of the Chinese market do play a role.

EVs at the Sustainable Living Festival

The Tasmanian Sustainable Living Festival is almost here again!

Held at Hobart’s Princes Wharf 1 over the weekend of 31st October-1st November 2015, the festival is open from 10am to 4pm.

There will be many interesting things at the festival, but for the first time the Australian Electric Vehicle Association Tasmania will be there, with EV experts and owners available to answer your questions, as well as a display of electric vehicles that you can look at up close, maybe even jump in and see how it fits!

Come along, have a look, have a chat, and see why EV owners are so passionate about their ride!

Two years on, living with an EV everyday

I have been trying to think of what to put here, to show what living with an EV is like…

Really, it is just so easy to live with.

It just works…

So, it is now two years to the day that I have owned an electric car.

The first few weeks were interesting, getting used to the silence at traffic lights, getting used to people’s reactions when they realised it was actually an electric car, getting used to the conversations and friendships that spring from random passers by…

After a few weeks though, you stop noticing that it’s silent when you stop. You get used to being asked questions about it and how it works. You get used to plugging it in when you get home and never going to petrol stations. You get used to smooth, effortless, instant torque with no gear changes.

It becomes normal, routine, unremarkable…

Then you get into a normal petrol car again…all of a sudden you are hyper aware of the noise, the smells, the vibration, the inconvenience of having a narrow power and and having to change gears all the time (or the annoying slip of a torque converter and auto shifting itself…) and you think just how much nicer the EV is to drive!

So, what have been the highlights of two years of ownership?

Going to car shows along with my wife and her i MiEV and setting up a little display was pretty cool…

Driving together in convoy was pretty cool in itself!

I have made several new friends through having an EV, people who have approached me with curiosity and who I have remained in contact with since.

The first time I calculated my running costs and realised just how much I was saving was pretty sweet…

For the first few months after I finished work I would just drive…pick a direction, explore little back roads, drive until the battery gauge was on half, then turn and head for home. It was liberating to be able to do that knowing the total cost was half of what I would have spent in petrol just going to work and back in my old car!

The thrill of driving past petrol stations and knowing I don’t need to stop there…except once in a while to check the tyre pressures! It has become so routine that we don’t even think about it now…

Trips out to visit family and friends, made on the spur of the moment because the cost of fuel just isn’t an issue…

The downsides……once in a blue moon I will push the envelope and get a little nervous about making it home…but I’ve always made it to home or a friend’s for a 15 minute top up to get home. All except the very first time I pushed too far when I just got the car…I made it within 500 metres of home that time!

Being a small car designed for the city, the i MiEV isn’t quite as at home in the bush as a big rough tough beast of a car would be. The local roads are rough, corrugated gravel or narrow bumpy potholed tarmac. Between my wife and I we have had three tyres destroyed by large potholes, as well as two bumpers and a headlight which fell victim to the local wallabies (a small kangaroo…resident here in plague proportions!). Having said that, I have lost two bumpers and a grille to wallabies over the years on Volvos and damaged tyres are not rare around here in general…so the little Mitsubishi is holding its own pretty well despite being way out of its comfort zone!

Being in my wife’s i MiEV when it was rear ended at a red light was a low point too…it was such a beautiful little car! I was quite impressed with how it held up to the impact.

The biggest downside, is that it is too small to tow my big trailer which means that I have to keep a petrol work vehicle for my work as a landscape gardener…nobody is making electric work utes just yet, so I’m stuck burning dinosaurs for a while yet. I think I may need to convert a ute to electric…when I have time!

Almost 39,000 kilometres travelled, almost $6,000 saved in running costs, here’s to the next two years!

His and hers EVs

A few months after I bought my Mitsubishi i MiEV, my lovely liked it so much that she tracked down a 2012 model demonstrator and bought it, making us as far as we could tell the only his and hers couple with i MiEVs each.

It was wonderful having two EVs in the family, and the poor old Hilux hardly ever got fired up any more. I sold the Volvo 244 I had been using (actually I swapped it for a couple of cameras…) as it wasn’t getting used either. I was a little sad to see it go, as it was a very early model in very nice condition, but it went to a good home!

Both of us were not scared to push the limits of range, and we have each run out of charge once in the early days when pushing it to the limit!

Greg with his new i MiEV
Greg with his new i MiEV
2010 and 2012 model side by side.
2010 and 2012 model side by side.
Rachel with her i MiEV
Rachel with her i MiEV

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