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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 Chemical Chris on 10/24/2008 5:52:45 PM , Rating: 2
place an electrical charging network costing $667 million in major cities in Australia

Seems like a relative bargain to me. The US financial bailout could probably have put charging networks across most of the developed world, which would seem to be a much better use of the funds.
Im not even going to get into it in any more detail, its just to depressing.
But for this to work, wouldnt the cars need to recharge in a matter of minutes, similiar to putting fuel into a vehicle? I remember reading about batteries that offered 10 to 90% recharge times of ~1-2 mins, but they were still 'in development'.
The whole idea of 'switching' the battery packs seems misguided; what if you buy a brand new vehicle, go and 'refill' a few days later, and are given a 10 year old replacement pack, which then exploded 10 minutes later, leaving you with a damaged vehicle and no battery. Who would 'own' the battery, and be responsible for it?
Still, a good idea I wish Canada would adobt....whats the point of having a wealthy country if you're not going to use some of it to be a world leader?


RE: Cost
By Ringold on 10/24/2008 9:30:08 PM , Rating: 2
The bailout wasn't an expenditure, it was an investment that'll likely turn a profit. That said, not sure why it's depressing; the rest of world has followed on, confirming its necessity. Would you rather have no global financial system with which to finance your infrastructure projects with? The system froze up entirely, it's no coincidence that a global recession has now been kicked off. If it's froze and completely collapsed, it'd of been the Great Depression 2.0. I assume you do know that reluctance to respond to a banking crisis is a root cause of the first one.

This may not necessarily have to be too inflationary either if the Fed and ECB have the melons to hike rates next year. Whether the next president will give them the Fed the political cover necessary is another debate entirely.

RE: Cost
By Chemical Chris on 10/25/2008 1:36:08 PM , Rating: 2
I have heard lots about how the bailout was necessary, and it likely was, however, we should never have been a position where that was the only option. That money, if spent on 'noble' causes to benefit all mankind, would have done a hell of a lot.

RE: Cost
By Ringold on 10/25/2008 5:03:29 PM , Rating: 2
Part of the point is, it wasn't spent, like welfare is "spent." Welfare money is gone from government coffers, never to return. Same with 99% of government spending. But every day these banks continue to use these government lines of credit and let preferred shares remain outstanding is another day Uncle Sam is accruing interest payments. Uncle Sam is funded at, say, 4%, and it's lending money to AIG, for example, at 10%, a net 6% profit for the taxpayer. There's a pretty big difference.

Whether or not the United States Hedge Fund is morally right or wrong is water under the bridge at this point. And whether or not it's money that could be "spent" on other things is a false dilemma. Delayed, possibly, if politicians suddenly grow some concern over total debt, but I've not heard a politician say yet "You know, this new museum, it can't be built because of the bailout." Instead, if you actually listen to all those Keynesians in DC, if anything it has made their resolve to spend huge sums of money even greater than before.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard
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