May 8, 2012
The Northbridge Piazza recently hosted an Electric Car Fair, where a handful of passionate electric vehicle owners, engineers and distributors gathered to share their expertise and stories.
From electric bicycles to a 1960s Renault, the fair was an opportunity for the public to experience the type of vehicles they may need to use in the future.
Stuart Speidel is a student who is part of the University of Western Australia’s Renewable Energy Vehicle Project.
“People have a really positive reaction to our work, and want to see more electric vehicles on the road,” Mr Speidel said.
“Events like the electric fair create great exposure for our work and get people talking about electric cars.
“Building and running electric cars creates several positive outcomes.”
The 2002 Lotus Elise S2 on display at the piazza can reach speeds of 200 kilometres an hour and take approximately 8.5 hours to charge.
UWA Professor and director of the Renewable Energy Vehicle Project Thomas Braul was more than happy to show off the exterior, interior and mechanics of the car.
Also on display was a Renault 4CV owned by David Waplinton.
“This car belonged to my wife,” Mr Waplinton said.
“After her studies, she travelled overseas for a year.
“Many years later we ‘discovered’ the car in her parent’s shed.
“I was not allowed to throw it away and it sat in my garage for many years until I retired.”
After watching a movie about electronic cars, and a suggestion by his wife, Mr Waplinton decided to convert the car to electric.
“I put solar photovoltaics on my roof when I retired,” he said.
“I didn’t want to have to pay ever-increasing energy bills while on a fixed income.
“Now … I not only don’t pay for electricity, but I don’t buy petrol either.”
Also on hand to show off his electronic scooter was Theo Marshall from the Sustainable Transport Company.
His Zap 500oW Thunder may look like an ordinary scooter but Mr Marshall assured passers-by that it was not.
” I am now able to offer the public of Western Australia, for the very first time, a freeway-speed electric scooter which costs about $100 per 10,ooo kilometres,” he said.
Photos: Violeta Tzvetkov