Taking the MPs for a Spin in the EV

My local Federal (Mark Butler, member for Port Adelaide) and State (Michael Atkinson, member for Croydon, and South Australian Attorney-General) MPs were in the park across the road today, so I had a chat to them about EVs and took them for a spin around the block in my EV. They asked some good questions like costs, scalability, battery technology, and top speed.

It was fun and they were happy to listen. My wife Rosemary and I just told them what it was like to own and drive an EV from experience. I think that’s different to what they would get from industry and lobbyist groups. The rest of the neighborhood people there to meet the MPs were also fascinated.

Mark said he would speak to Peter Garrett, the Australian Environment Minister. Who knows where this will go but it’s a small step to putting EVs “on the map” for the Australian government. I am sure these guys won’t forget their first drive in an EV…….

I also handed them the Electric Car Submission below. Here is a link to the Electric Car Submission in MS Word format. This is a simple 1 pager they could take away and get some key points. Tried to frame it from a point of view of what matters to them, i.e. the addressing the problems the government is facing.

Only mistake:I forgot to bring the camera!

Electric Car Submission

The next time there is a concern over:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Petrol Prices and dependence on foreign oil
  • The Australian Car industry

Consider Electric Cars:

  • Inexpensive to build in volume (2/3 of cost of petrol cars due to reduced complexity)
  • Nearly free to operate (a few cents/km in electricity)
  • Have nearly zero maintenance (only wearing parts are brakes and tyres)
  • Have adequate range and performance for 90% of Adelaide driving (ABS stats)
  • Have zero Greenhouse emissions if charged from a home PV solar system

There are opportunities for Australian business:

  • Large car manufacturers (new Electric Cars)
  • Small business (conversions of existing petrol cars, just like LPG conversions)
  • Suppliers (batteries, motors, electronics)
  • Export (we could lead the rest of the world, rather than importing electric cars)
  • Leap-frog hybrid technology to pure electric
  • Would complement a huge expansion of renewable energy (solar and wind)
  • Dramatically reduce Australian dependence on foreign oil

One immediate action that would help build an electric car industry:

  • Extend $2,000 LPG conversion subsidy to electric vehicle conversions

Personal experience:

My wife Rosemary and I drive an electric car every day. We do 90% of our driving in the electric car and rarely use our 2nd petrol car. Our car is a recycled petrol car that we converted to electric drive. We recharge from a PV solar array and emit no greenhouse gases. We only visit the petrol station to get air for the tyres and the car needs no regular servicing. We effectively drive for free. To convert a small petrol car to electric and install a PV solar array to charge it costs less than a medium size new car. Why isn’t everybody doing this?


Electric Car Submission in MS Word format
David’s EV page

7 thoughts on “Taking the MPs for a Spin in the EV”

  1. Your direct action is a good example of whar’s needed to convince our MP’s of the real benefits of moving to a solar electric economy. I’m sure they will try there best to get industry interested but often the biggest impediment to change is our own bureacracy ie govt depts. Over regulation often slows down good things, as well as of course, vested interests.

    My own spin on EV’s is one related to disability. I am always keen to point out to those in high places the leadership we have taken in using electric vehicles. Many disabled and elderly people have been using electric transport for years, so we are miles ahead of the rest of the community. So I just wish the rest of the community could keep up.

    As our population ages, slower, simpler , inexpensive and more practical transport options are going to be in greater demand. One in four people are going to be over 60 in the next decade. Why not allow elctric golf cart style vehicles on suburban streets for example. Less noise pollution into the bargain. Smaller car parking spaces required, the list is endless.

    I’ll post this on the ATA site as well.

    Good work.


  2. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for your comments on bureaucracy and regulation. I also have some other grass roots type activities I am taking, for example talking to interested groups, blogging, and helping and encouraging people so we get more EVs on the road.

    In general people are fascinated with the idea, and once we talk about our EV they can see the applications in their own lives. When my wife visits a friend or goes to church in our EV it shows off the potential of Electric driving. I figure it’s better to show people (drive an EV) rather than tell them (i.e. just talk about EVs as some future possibility).

    Your points about suitability to an aging population are excellent – the disabled and elderly are pioneers in EVs. Yes in general cars or overpowers, overweight and oversize. Even an EV such as mine is still pushing around 1100kg just to move a 60kg person from A to B, and it clogs up peak hour traffic just as well as a petrol car I suspect the future of personal transport (especially in an oil constrained world) may be smaller vehicles as you suggest.

    I am particularly fond of electric bikes and pedelecs (electric assisted bikes) – popular for the elderly in Japan as they take the edge of hills and high winds. Incredibly efficient compared to a car, useful for commuting using todays battery technology, and cheap to roll out.



  3. Hurrah David!

    Good job showing the politicians your car and it’s obvious advantages. (not to mention the fact that you converted it yourself…) Perhaps they will modify the LPG subsidy to include electric cars… I wish they would do that here in the USA…

  4. Yes it’s a good start. However I see a lot of if and buts (e.g. it’s not clear if the car will be available for sale in Australia) – I will feel much better when they are actually in my local Mitsubishi showroom!

  5. Great stuff David,
    The idea of the LPG conversion rebate being extended to cover EV conversions sounds a like very moderate ask. I’ll also send a note to my local member too.
    See you in Canberra at the National Electric Vehicle Festival on 4 Oct – if you can make it.

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