The Victorian Electric Vehicle Trial
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Charge spots open at Federation Square

Two new charging bays opened at Federation Square in Melbourne in June. The dedicated park-and-charge bays can be found on the top level and level 3S of the Federation Square car park.

Charging is free for people taking part in the Victorian Electric Vehicle Trial, and the charge spots can also be used by electric car drivers with a Better Place subscription.

Minister for Roads Terry Mulder said the two new charge spots bring the total number of public available charging spots in the trial to 16. He said it made it “more convenient for drivers to park and plug in at locations across Melbourne”.

Part of the Victorian Government’s Electric Vehicle Trial, the two new charging bays will provide insight on electric vehicle charging habits.

The trial will run until mid-2014 and will help Victoria to better understand the process, time lines and barriers for making the transition to electric vehicle technologies.

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Will electric vehicles blow up the grid?

A new report by CSIRO has used a world-first approach to assess the likely impacts on Victoria's electricity grid from electric vehicle uptake.

Results suggest that in a worst-case scenario, charging of a fully electric passenger vehicle fleet could increase peak electricity demand by more than 30 per cent. However under the most likely electric vehicle uptake scenario, peak load impacts are mostly under two per cent if charging activities are managed.

These insights will help inform potential responses to electric vehicle uptake in Victoria. The uptake could have multi-billion dollar implications for investments in our electricity network. By better understanding the impacts under a range of scenarios, we hope to avoid potentially significant increases in the cost of electricity.

The scenarios range from conservative estimates of electric vehicle adoption up to 100 per cent uptake. The modelling also looks at different charging scenarios, including 'demand charging' where vehicles are plugged in as soon as they arrive home, 'smart charging' where vehicles charge during 'off-peak' periods when other demand for electricity is reduced, and 'vehicle-to-grid' where energy is drawn back from vehicles to help address periods of peak demand. The world-leading approach includes consideration of EV travel patterns in the geographical context of Victoria's road and electricity networks.

The report is an output from CSIRO's Electric Driveway project, which has been co-sponsored by SP-Ausnet and the Victorian Government as part of the Electric Vehicle Trial.

For more information or to get a copy of Spatial modelling of electric vehicle charging demand and impacts on peak household electrical load in Victoria, Australia, please contact Wendy Bloom after 17 July, 2012.

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Would you unplug someone else’s vehicle?

Imagine this: your electric vehicle is running low on charge. You pull into a public charging station but the parking bay is already being used. You don’t know how long the other vehicle has been charging, but you are not going to make it home without a substantial charge.

Would you unplug someone else’s vehicle? How would you feel about finding your vehicle unplugged?

In other parts of the world, some electric vehicle drivers have had their charge cut short at public charging stations when another driver cuts in. The following electric vehicle charging etiquette tips should help drivers avoid this problem:
  • Use a charging protocol card on the dash to show other drivers when it is safe to unplug. For example: courtesy charging protocol card (PDF).
  • Give preference to drivers who need to recharge and if you don’t need to recharge, leave the spot for someone who does. Move your car when it is fully charged (like you would when filling up at a petrol station).
  • Hybrids should give preference to electric vehicles as hybrids can rely on petrol if their electric supply runs low.
Fortunately, this has not been an issue with the Victorian Electric Vehicle Trial. There are just over 100 electric vehicles on Victorian roads. Consequently, demand for public charging is still low.

Tell us your views on charging etiquette on the Electric Vehicle Trial Discussion Board.

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Students ‘sell’ electric vehicles

Students from Kingswood College, in Box Hill, celebrated World Environment Day (5 June) by staging a car sales demonstration using only electric vehicles.

The year 7 and 11 students turned the Middle School courtyard into a mini car dealership to demonstrate this year’s theme: A Green Economy.

Kingswood College Sustainability Coordinator Howard Elston said: "Educating the next generation of drivers about sustainable transport options was a wonderful way of embracing World Environment Day.”

He said the students enjoyed acting as salespeople and demonstrated the features of each vehicle. Other students acted as potential buyers.

The vehicles on display included the Nissan LEAF, Mitusbishi iMiEV and Toyota Prius. The college’s own in-house human-powered vehicle, built by students for RACV’s Energy Breakthrough was also on show.

Students were surveyed during the demonstration and vehicle cost was identified as their main concern when considering the purchase of an electric vehicle. This result is in line with surveys undertaken by the trial, indicating purchase price as a significant barrier to the growth of electric vehicles on our roads.

World Environment Day, held on June 5, celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. This year’s theme, a green economy, is about an economic environment that achieves low carbon emissions, resource efficiency and is socially inclusive.

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City of Melbourne prove to be early adopters

The City of Melbourne has added two Nissan LEAF electric vehicles to its fleet. The purchase came after staff embraced a fully electric vehicle while the council took part in the Victorian Electric Vehicle Trial.

Hugh Kilgower, from the City of Melbourne, was one of the first staff to drive the vehicle and was very impressed with the vehicle’s automatic gearbox, fuel gauge and overall driver comfort with reverse camera. He said the electric car is easy to drive and drives like any normal car.

The City of Melbourne was the first local government in Victoria to introduce electric vehicles into fleet operations with the support of the Department of Transport and Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development in April 2008. At the time, the City of Melbourne supported the locally developed Electric Blade technology and since then has trialled other electric vehicles.

The City of Melbourne's Corporate Fleet Services keeps an eye on technology being developed here and across the world.

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> Charge spots open at Federation Square
> Will electric vehicles blow up the grid?
> Would you unplug someone else’s vehicle?
> Students ‘sell’ electric vehicles
> City of Melbourne prove to be early adopters
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