Electric car plugs a punch

This month Newcastle Airport welcomed a new resident—an electric car. The car is one of a fleet of 20 being tested across the Hunter and Sydney as part of the Australian Government’s Smart Grid, Smart City project.

As one of the first airports in Australia to have a fully electric car, Newcastle Airport has prominently positioned the Mitsubishi iMEV in the Gold Car Park alongside a specially installed standard charge station.

The vehicle has a driving range of approximately 90km under normal driving conditions and is being used by Airport staff to help Ausgrid gather data to prepare the electricity grid for more electric cars in the future. The trial will help prepare for more electric cars, which can cost about 1 cent a kilometre to charge overnight compared to 10c/km to run a petrol car.

Newcastle Airport’s CEO Paul Hughes has been eagerly anticipating the arrival of the car since the idea was first flagged with him.
“I was intrigued when the idea of the Airport trialling an electric car was first raised with me. I originally thought it would be something my team would be able to use to get around the Airport precinct. However, since having the opportunity to drive the car, I can truly say it’s a pleasurable experience and easily gets from the Airport to Port Stephens or Newcastle and back.”

The addition of the car and the standard charge point at the Airport complements the concerted sustainability efforts undertaken by Newcastle Airport in the past three years.

“We’re conscious that aviation does impact the environment. In the past few years we’ve been active behind-the-scenes with a variety of projects in a concerted effort to reduce our carbon footprint. These projects have included joining the Government’s Sustainability Advantage Program, upgrading and reviewing the use of our air conditioning and lighting systems, and undertaking a complete overhaul our rubbish collection and disposal processes.
“When we were approached by Ausgrid to be part of the Smart Grid, Smart City trial project, we jumped at the opportunity. The trial not only complements our existing sustainable initiatives, it also provides valuable data about the charging patterns and performance of the car – and its impact on the grid.”

The vehicle is stationed at, and will used by Newcastle Airport staff until December 2012. The Australian Government’s Smart Grid, Smart City project is based in the Hunter and creates a testing ground for new energy technologies, such as in home energy monitoring displays, battery storage facilities, small scale community wind turbines, micro-generation and electric cars. It aims to help us find better ways of managing power use.

For more information, visit www.smartgridsmartcity.com.au

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