Perth was chosen for the trial due to its area being almost double that of Sydney, putting greater strain on electricity and other infrastructure. CO2Smart, the official trial manager for the project, says that if the vehicles prove to be usable and economical in Perth, they will be usable and economical anywhere in the country.
Launching on Friday, a prototype for the fleet was announced as a converted Ford Focus sedan which will recharge via a network of specially implemented work, home and public recharging stations which are being set up for the trial. The first car has been converted by the W.A. Renewable Energy Vehicle Team at University of Western Australia, after which a local electric vehicle firm will be chosen to complete the remaining nine vehicles to the agreed blueprint.
The West Australian newspaper, RAC, Telstra, Landcorp, Main Roads WA, City of Perth, City of Swan, Water Corporation, Department of Environment and Conservation, and Department of Transport will all participate in the trial.
RAC spokesperson Adrian Firth told CarAdvice that the motoring body was looking to use its EV in a real world work situation.
"The RAC is likely to utilise the EV as a ‘lite’ Patrol vehicle in the CBD", said Mr Firth.
He also explained how the vehicles would be charged.
"The charging station provider is still to be finalised but will be a level 2 charging station for fast charging, approximately the size of a bollard," Mr Firth said. "This is similar to Better Place’s recharging stations not their battery swapping. There will be a recharging station at RAC’s Head office in Wellington Street and at its motoring operations centre in Balcatta."
According to CO2Smart, the following objectives will be covered in the trial:
- Test realistic fleet usability, given distance, behavioural and range factors
- Full comparative economic study electric vehicles versus fuel vehicles
- Testing of the first integrated recharging network (smart grid/V2G elements) – generate alternative infrastructure scenarios based on usability and economic analysis
- Testing to what extent distributed high capacity recharging required and the potential grid impacts thereof
- Provide data points for initial findings on energy policy, transport regulation and vehicle taxation