An electric car, part of a trial by Energy Australia to help understand the future needs of its customers, made its way to Echuca on the weekend.By Kathleen Tonini
An electric car was cruising around Echuca over the weekend, though it would have been hard to spot from the outside.
Energy Australia smart grid, smart city product and marketing manager Danny Moore is using the car as part of a company trial and was in town for the long weekend.
He stopped by the Riverine Herald to show off the Holden Volt and explain how it worked.
Mr Moore said the car had an electric motor and would run for about 60-80km just on the fully charged battery.
It also has a petrol generator, which charges the battery as you drive.
He said apart from having a quiet engine and a host of of high-tech gadgets, it felt similar to a normal car.
‘‘The first hour I spent playing with all the gadgets,’’ Mr Moore said.
It has a button for the ignition, a button for the handbrake and has a touch screen display that shows the usage of the electricity and petrol.
It charges with an extension cord that plugs into a normal power outlet and takes about four hours to charge.
Or it can be refuelled, and the petrol generator can recharge the battery.
It can run for more than 600km on a single tank.
Perhaps the car’s most interesting gadget is the display which shows how efficient the driver is — an icon drops or increases dramatically if you brake or accelerate too forcefully and sits happily in the middle when you drive smoothly.
‘‘It’s almost teaching you again, to drive better,’’ Mr Moore said.
‘‘It’s speed is really good too, it’s got power behind it.’’
Mr Moore said though electric cars were new and were not affordable enough to be widely used (the Volt costs about $60,000), they were talked about a lot in the energy industry.
The car is part of a trial by Energy Australia to help understand the future needs of its customers.
Mr Moore said having used the car for a short period, logistical issues such as charging points soon arose.
He could imagine, in 20 years’ time, having charging points where parking meters stand, and homes that generate more electricity than they use.
He said the company was looking to the future in terms of energy use, as customers seek greater control over their energy use in an effort to reduce costs.
Mr Moore is also trialling an app that lets people remotely switch on or off their appliances at home, and the company is investing in renewable energy generation.
‘‘This is probably the way the future is going,’’ he said.
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