Howard Hughes, of the Hughes Group in Ballina, is applying some of the skills he has developed as an aeroplane builder to develop a new electric car.
Howard Hughes, of the Hughes Group in Ballina, is applying some of the skills he has developed as an aeroplane builder to develop a new electric car. CATHY ADAMS

Ballina designer plugs-in plans for electric car

HOWARD Hughes has a vision of a world where there is no road noise and it only costs $1 to power your car.

And he is well on the way to making his dream a reality, with the prototype of a fully electric car he has invented expected to hit the streets in June next year.

Mr Hughes, 60, of Ballina, is an aircraft-maker by trade, but has turned his hand to creating the electric car of the future as his part in helping Australia meet its target of a minimum 5 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2020, announced by the Federal Government this week.

“A growing economy means growing carbon emissions,” Mr Hughes warned. “Personally, I can't see how carbon trading will work.

“Everyone has to reduce their own emissions, or come up with their own projects.”

Mr Hughes said he and his team at the Hughes Group in Ballina came up with the idea to build a light-weight car powered by a 96-volt motor; run from lead acid batteries giving a range of 60km, nickel cadmium batteries with a range of 150km, or lithium iron batteries giving a range of 220km.

The car's top speed is expected to be around 100km/h, with seating for two adults and two children.

Mr Hughes expects the car, to be called the Roade, to retail for between $25,000 and $40,000, depending on the type of batteries fitted.

Charging the car from mains electricity would cost about $1 to $2 each day, with carbon emissions being one-tenth of a petrol-powered vehicle.



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