Monday, March 30, 2009

Charge car in Tassie to help save the world

Barry Park 
The Age, March 31, 2009

WANT to buy an electric vehicle and save the planet one recharge at a time?

In some parts of Australia, particularly Victoria, you would be better off buying a hybrid or even a small-capacity petrol-engined car.

Figures released by the University of South Australia reveal how much carbon dioxide an electric vehicle will produce for each kilometre travelled in each state or territory based on how the electricity is generated.

In Victoria, where 85 per cent of electricity comes from power stations burning more highly polluting brown coal, the figures show an electric vehicle will produce the equivalent of about 130 grams of carbon dioxide a kilometre — about the same as small-engined petrol hatchback.

But recharge the same electric car in Tasmania, where almost all the electricity is generated using more environmentally friendly hydroelectric power plants, and the equivalent carbon dioxide output falls to about 13 grams.

This is far better than any car on our roads today — including petrol-electric hybrids — and lower even than the next wave of ultra-efficient vehicles slated for Australia.

No mainstream car makers offer an all-electric vehicle for sale in Australia, although Mitsubishi last week announced that it would test a small five-seat hatchback — the iMiEV — before making a decision to sell the car here possibly by the end of the year.

Senior research fellow at the university Peter Pudney said high levels of carbon dioxide from Australia's traditional methods of electricity generation highlighted the need for developing more renewable energy sources.

Dr Pudney said motorists should be able to buy green electricity generated using renewable resources such as wind farms or solar stations.

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