Print 45 comment(s) - last by grath.. on Oct 30 at 9:00 PM

Cities would get up to 250,000 charging stations each

Electric cars have lots of potential, but currently they have many drawbacks as well. A couple of the biggest drawbacks for electric cars are limited driving range and the fact that most cities aren't set up with easy access to charging stations.

An American firm is looking to make charging electric vehicles easier in Australia. The firm is called Better Place and has unveiled plans that would place an electrical charging network costing $667 million in major cities in Australia. Working with Better Place to make the charging network a reality is Australian power company AGL and finance group Macquarie Capital.

The agreement with have the finance group raising the money to build the charge network and placing the network in the country's largest cities like Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. AGL says that the electricity for the system would be generated by renewable means.

Each of the three cities would have a network of between 200,000 and 250,000 charging stations by 2012. Drivers of electric vehicles would pay similarly to a cellular calling plan where the cost is based on the amount of power used.

Better Place CEO Shai Agassi said in a statement, "We call it a ubiquitous charging network across the cities. We are investing in Australia's economy and adding jobs while helping the country take a generational leap forward toward oil independence."

Once the charge system is in place commuters would have less reason not to buy electric cars and the Australian government might offer tax incentives or free power for early adopters of the charge network.

Several carmakers that sell vehicles in Australia are bringing electric vehicles to market including GM and Renault-Nissan. Agassi is encouraging Australian carmakers to develop their own electric vehicles. The network will also have 150 switch stations in each city where drivers of electric cars can pull through a car wash like building and exchange depleted battery packs for fresh ones.

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By Brandon Hill on 10/24/2008 11:13:54 AM , Rating: 4
An American firm is looking to make charging electric vehicles easier in Australia.

WTH? What about us?

By Sandok on 10/24/2008 11:22:14 AM , Rating: 4
Apparently American companies don't think American people want such an infrastructure...

Sucks to be America, rules to be Australia!

By othercents on 10/24/08, Rating: -1
By Ordr on 10/24/08, Rating: -1
By StevoLincolnite on 10/24/2008 8:18:50 PM , Rating: 5
Could also be because Australia is smaller in both population size and city density compared to most of American Capital City's - So it makes good sense to set-up here in Aus and test it out.

Also to the other posters... I don't think the Australian Government is funding any of this, yet... I think AGL (Australian Gas and Lighting) will be funding a large portion of the infrastructure.

Personally I'm around 8 hours drive from Adelaide, where no public transport exists, I am yet to even "see" a Hybrid Car of any type in person. xD

By Hoser McMoose on 10/26/2008 8:45:13 PM , Rating: 2
The Aussie government is involved in a least one way, albeit not a direct one.

Fuel taxes in Australia are currently $0.38/litre (AUS $) plus 10% on the final price. Current prices are running around $1.50/litre, so that is about $0.51/litre tax on gasoline.

Converted to U.S. dollars that works out to a tax of $0.31/litre.

For comparison the tax rate in the U.S. are mostly about $0.40 to $0.50 per gallon (varies from State to State), or between $0.10/litre to $0.13/litre. Even California ($0.64/gallon, or $0.165/litre, combined Fed. and State tax) has only half the gas tax that Australia does.

Higher tax on gasoline means the incentive to switch to electric is higher... assuming there isn't a corresponding high tax on electricity. To the best of my knowledge though the only tax on electricity in Australia is the 10% GST.

By JasonMick on 10/24/2008 11:23:56 AM , Rating: 3
Aussie: No! It's a Rocky Mountain rattle snake. This is the most poisonous snake in this entire region. [quietly] Now, what I'm gonna do, is carefully sneak up on him, and jam my thumb...Awww, yeah, that pissed it off all right!

Mephesto Does he always do this?

By Smartless on 10/24/2008 4:09:11 PM , Rating: 2
"These clothes are from Eddie Bauer. I haven't seen anyone wearing clothes like this since 1996."

He wait a second... I'm wearing Eddie Bauer. DOH!

By croc on 10/25/2008 2:14:42 AM , Rating: 2
Australia has about 17 of the most poisonous snakes in the world... And several of the top venomous, mean and nasty spiders. If an Aussie weas bitten by a rattlesnake, he'd kill the snake and cook it for lunch, washed down with a VB. (I hope you are trying to take the mickey here...)

To the topic, though, this whole project seems to me something of a 'field of dreams' thing. But as long as AGL doesn't raise my rates, I look forward to watching this idea progress.

By xsilver on 10/27/2008 6:41:27 AM , Rating: 2
The funny thing I found about the OP's post is that americans like to grandiose their poisonous snakes with deathly names while the most poisonous snake in australia is the brown snake.

By rcc on 10/27/2008 3:00:58 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm, you mean like rattlesnake, because it has a rattle?

Or Cotton mouth.

They are mostly just descriptive.

By on 10/27/2008 6:05:13 PM , Rating: 2
didnt you know that us Aussies ride around the streets in the pouch of a kangaroo?

By tjr508 on 10/24/2008 12:05:25 PM , Rating: 2
Americans have $1.50 gas to look forward to for a couple years now by the way the market is looking. Who needs a battery when a you got a V8?

By AntiM on 10/24/2008 12:17:10 PM , Rating: 3
Americans have $1.50 gas to look forward to for a couple years now by the way the market is looking. Who needs a battery when a you got a V8?

I wouldn't bet on that. OPEC is already cutting production. Once the US economy picks back up, gas will be back to $4.00 or more. Plus, the Middle East is so volatile, there's no telling what might happen from one day to the next.
As for electric cars, I think investing in a hydrogen infrastructure would be a much better idea.

By tjr508 on 10/24/2008 12:31:43 PM , Rating: 1
If you would have bet on that on Oct 3rd with $1000, your bet would now be worth $150,000 on the options market. Just saying...

By themengsk176 on 10/24/2008 12:50:40 PM , Rating: 2
The Middle East wouldn't be so volatile if we (the US) didn't keep stirring crap up over there.

Our aggravating Iran alone plays a role in keeping the price of oil up.

We all grew up in the 90's, we all knew the era of cheap gas was going to end, and all those idiots with huge SUV's would have egg on their faces. Maybe we needed this to happen so we would take alternative energies seriously.

By Spuke on 10/24/2008 1:32:52 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe we needed this to happen so we would take alternative energies seriously.
Yes, because not having a job or having your retirement dry up right before retirement is SOOOOO much less important.

By themengsk176 on 10/24/2008 1:39:03 PM , Rating: 2
At least the baby boomer (and older) generation might get to retire.

I'll have to work till I'm 75

By Ringold on 10/24/2008 9:17:33 PM , Rating: 2
We all grew up in the 90's,

There's why your first statement about the Middle East is wrong. If the US left, there'd still be Israel. If they eradicated Israel, history going back to the very start of our species suggests they'd then turn on each other using whatever pretense is most convenient for them. The area is volatile now with our influence in the region, it was volatile when the European powers the major influence, it was volatile before that, and it'll be volatile now.

I heard someone say the Middle East is where Europe was roughly before Martin Luther tacked his 95 theses on the door of a church. That has not yet happened in Islam. Even after it does, they may have decades of violent internal strife. European tranquility, you'll note, is extremely recent in terms of history.

Seriously, there is history before 1990. I know it's trendy to think everything is our fault and it'd all be better if we shrank in to our shell like a cowardly turtle, but it just aint so.

By barclay on 10/26/2008 1:37:31 PM , Rating: 2
> "Seriously, there is history before 1990. I know it's trendy to think everything is our fault"

In the immortal words of Billy Joel, "we didn't start the fire."

By chmilz on 10/24/2008 12:52:28 PM , Rating: 1
Probably because their power grid isn't older than the country itself, and their government isn't plagued by bureaucratic red tape that would stifle the endeavor.

By StevoLincolnite on 10/24/2008 8:25:17 PM , Rating: 2
That's both a good thing and a bad thing, At the moment they are attempting to "censor" the Internet for all Australians which is going to bring in slower speeds and legit web pages unable to be accessed by everyone, good thing is we are getting the National Broadband Network sometime this century, sometimes the Aussie Government can do a good thing (like this) and sometimes pull completely crappy stunts (like a Simplified China' Censored Internet)

By croc on 10/25/2008 1:46:15 AM , Rating: 2
Get clue... Or a passport, or both. The Gov't's been trying to float this idea for at least 7 years now, and to this point it has come to nought. The gov't provided a free kiddie filter, and the take-up was miniscule.

By gumbi18 on 10/26/2008 6:49:16 PM , Rating: 2
Mate they're actually testing the filters right now. It's already been tested in Tasmania. This is not just some pipe dream that the government has. It's soon set to be reality. The government has spent god knows how much money on ISP level filtering and unfortunately won't give up on it.

By foolsgambit11 on 10/24/2008 7:47:55 PM , Rating: 2
WTH? What about us?
I'm not clear what you mean. Are you American, asking why the American company isn't doing this in America? Or are you Australian, asking why an Australian company isn't doing this?

By Reclaimer77 on 10/27/2008 4:21:27 PM , Rating: 2
WTH? What about us?

Do US a favor and move to Australia.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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