Using MightyBoyEV - MightyBoyEV helps achieve first casual plug-in parking in the Adelaide CBD


For about 8 months, MightyBoyEV has been actively lobbying for casual electric vehicle plug-in parking within the beautiful CBD of Adelaide, South Australia. On the 31st of March 2010 the combined efforts of the Lord Mayor Michael Harbison, Adelaide City Council and a number of his staff resulted in the opening of the first electric vehicle charging bays within the Adelaide CBD.

While the use of electric vehicles in Australia is still in its infancy, these two casual electric vehicle plug-in parking bays demonstrate how clean green energy can be used as an alternative form of energy for transport in our cities. During the discussions the Lord Mayor suggested that an area within the recently opened Adelaide City Council uPark on Grote Street would be suitable for a number of reasons. Most importantly it was a new clean complex that has an enormous photovoltaic array (solar panels) on its top level with some spare capacity. If you are interested in further information about the power output of these panels click here. In addition, the car park is centrally located and opposite the wonderful Adelaide Central Market area and the many restaurants and coffee shops along Gouger Street. MightlyBoyEV would like to acknowledge and thank the Lord Mayor Michael Harbison, Jack Mazek, Paul Wilkinson and his uPark team, Angela Orchard and her media team, Stephen Yarwood and Ralph Clarke for making this a reality.  In one sense it is a very small step but in the bigger picture it is such a strategic and important step.

Why do this?

For regular visitors to this website you would understand the concept of the pure plug-in electric vehicle powered by batteries alone and no other energy source (eg internal combustion engine which is an option for hybrid cars). 

In 2010, in South Australia, there are very few non-hybrid electric cars.  It is important to explore the reasons why a convenient centrally located recharging point is so crucial to electric vehicle that have no other energy option.

Most electric vehicle users will charge at home during the night at off-peak periods. There is a slight misconception amongst the general public why this should be the case given many owners of electric vehicle also have access to green power from solar panels.  Many want to know why we cannot use this power directly?

There are three reasons why this is not possible (at the moment):

    1  - We generally want to drive our electric cars during the day and the cost of storing home grown electricity from your own solar panels for later use is very expensive. To store this energy you need a large battery bank and charging these from your solar panels during the day can be inefficient especially when using lead acid cell technology. As a result a better solution is to feed any extra day time home grown electricity back into the main power grid.

    2 - Feeding home grown electricity back into the main power grid during the day, especially during the working week, helps to offset the emissions from conventional less green power generators, especially during peak demand periods . This is a good thing. This will change over time as our large generators become greener in their own right.

    3 - Charging during the night is currently cheaper as there is far less demand for electricity during this period. The main reason being our current large generators cannot simply be switched off and on instantly.

As mentioned, electric vehicle users will charge at home but there is still a need for convenient locations where drivers can "top-up" during the day. Some of the reasons why a top up might be needed are:

The provision of these charging points only represents a basic start of the infrastructure of the future. When commercially available plug-in electric vehicles are finally sold in Australia, they will most likely feature “Fast Charge” technology with special charger requirements. There are many views on how this will play out in the longer term with companies like Better Place and more recent players like Microsoft Hohm (to be used by Ford) aiming at this market. In addition to fast charge capability commercially available plug-in electric vehicles also have the ability to plug into a conventional mains powered 15 amp outlet if required. The two 15 amp recharge points installed in this Adelaide CBD car park will still have use far in the future. These charging arrangements implemented on 31st of March 2010 (and the MightyBoy itself) are really only place holders in time until commercially available plug-in electric vehicles and their associated dealer/support infrastructure networks actually occur.

Supporting media clips of the event:

ABC News website - 31/3/2010 issue

Adelaide Advertiser newspaper - 1/4/2010 issue

City Messenger (Adelaide S.A.) - 1/4/2010 issue

In Business (South Australia) - 6/4/2010 issue

More soon...

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