Lismore council explores electric avenue with new car

PLUGGED IN: Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell and Lismore City Council Commercial Services Co-ordinator Kevin Trustum with counci’s new electric car, the Nissan Leaf.
PLUGGED IN: Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell and Lismore City Council Commercial Services Co-ordinator Kevin Trustum with counci’s new electric car, the Nissan Leaf.

LISMORE City Council's new electric car is a nifty little vehicle. It looks like a hatchback, but has no engine, uses no petrol, and instead plugs into a wall.

In other words it's 100% electric, and it can travel 170km without a recharge.

But because people haven't adjusted to the hushed tones of electric vehicles yet, it also boasts a fake engine - which hums like a "real" car to make drivers feel more at home.

Just to make sure we know it when we see it, it has "powered by the sun" emblazoned in bright orange letters across its side.

The car costs $12,000 more than a petrol equivalent, but runs virtually free - its power source, excess from the Lismore tip's big 100kw solar array, is abundant.

Regular servicing is cheaper because there's no engine to maintain.

Just don't run out of power, because then a smelly old tow truck is your only saviour. You can't just walk to the nearest petrol station for a jerry can.

A full recharge takes seven hours, although a quick charge takes as little as 45 minutes.

The car is the latest step toward Lismore City Council's goal of generating all its electricity from renewable sources by 2023.

"It feels like the future has arrived," Mr Trustum said. "We can't drive really long distances, but for the type of driving we need to do around the city to meetings and various events, it's absolutely perfect.

"Our whole push is to make Lismore a model of sustainability, and if the local council workers are getting around in electric cars, I think that's a great start."

Long-term, the council has 107 cars in its light vehicle fleet which could go electric.

"This is a trial, but imagine a whole fleet of council cars entirely electric and powered by solar," Mr Trustum said.

Topics:  electric cars lismore city council

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