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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Energy and Water Utilities
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Townsville plugs in to electric vehicle trial

    Energy and Water Utilities
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Townsville plugs in to electric vehicle trial

    Several Mount Low residents in Townsville have been selected to take part in Queensland’s first-ever residential electric vehicle (EV) trial, Energy Minister Stephen Robertson said today.

    Mr Robertson and Member for Townsville Mandy Johnstone officially handed over the EV keys to the five households taking part in the one-of-a-kind trial today.

    “An electrical revolution has started on Queensland’s roads and highways and this ground-breaking trial is an important part of that,” Mr Robertson said.

    “The participants involved will get behind the wheel of five Mitsubishi i-MiEVs for up to eight months and be given state-of-the-art car charging equipment for the trial period.”

    Mr Robertson said the unique trial is being driven by Ergon Energy and will monitor the use of the EVs.

    “Ergon Energy will record EV electricity consumption to see how it impacts on the neighbourhood’s electricity network to determine ways to prepare for and enable potential mass take up of electric vehicles,” he said.

    “The Bligh Government is committed to a cleaner, greener Queensland by encouraging consumers to become early adopters of EVs but at the same time we also need to ensure the network is capable of managing high concentration levels of EVs in the future.

    “An electric vehicle could use roughly the same amount of electricity as an average house, so it’s really important we’re prepared if they become common place.

    “The trial will also determine appropriate ways Ergon Energy can work specifically with its customers to facilitate electric transport.”

    Ms Johnstone said there will be many eyes on Townsville over the next year, in anticipation of the trial results.

    "This is an important initiative for regional Queensland and I want to congratulate the Mount Low residents for being part of such an innovative project," she said.

    "Townsville was specifically chosen as the best location for the trial to determine whether future infrastructure upgrades are needed to cope with an influx of EVs in regional Queensland.

    "And Mount Low is a good example of a suburb serviced by a mix of old and new electricity network infrastructure."

    Ergon Energy’s Chief Executive Ian McLeod said during the eight months of the trial different charging regimes will be simulated.

    “If there are a substantial portion of EVs charging at the same time this may cause stress on the network, so giving customers the choice of charging during off peak tariffs may reduce the running cost of their EV substantially,” Mr McLeod said.

    “These residents together with an additional five households will also host residential battery storage units for eighteen months to test their ability to support the network during times of peak demand and supply customers during outages.

    “Battery storage units may be a good alternate solution to upgrading the network, but we won’t know until we get the results back.”

    In addition Ergon Energy has installed a charging station at Townsville Airport and is scoping the possibility of locating charge stations at publicly available locations in the region including shopping centres.


    The typical driving distance of a Mitsubishi i-MiEV is 80km to 120km off a full charge - depending on driving conditions and styles.

    A Mitsubishi i-MiEV takes up to eight hours to charge and costs approximately $3.70 in electricity to charge from empty to full.

    Media contact: Minister’s office - Zoe Russell on 0437 436 914