Townsville to host electric vehicle research project


Ian McLeod,
Chief Executive,
Ergon Energy
Townsville, Australia — (METERING.COM) — March 14, 2011 – Queensland government owned utility Ergon Energy has chosen Townsville to host a research project to better understand how the widespread introduction of electric vehicles could affect the state’s regional power network.

The project will feature a fleet of seven electric vehicles, including five Mitsubishi i-MiEVs as well as a converted Mazda 2 and Volkswagen Caddy mini-van.

One of the major focuses of the study will be to look at ways to manage vehicle charging to reduce peak demand for the mutual benefit of the user and network.

“This is the first research project of its kind in Queensland and will enable us to prepare for the potential widespread introduction of electric vehicles in the future,” said Ian McLeod, Ergon Energy chief executive. “Considering an electric vehicle’s energy load is roughly equal to an average house, Ergon Energy wants to test the vehicles in day-to-day situations to understand energy usage, how motorists will recharge them and how they affect our network.”

The three-year study will undertake the research progressively with initial work focused on building awareness and understanding for the new technology.

As the project matures it will look at ways to use excess energy stored in the vehicle’s battery at the end of the day to supplement a household’s energy consumption and reduce network peak demand in the evening before recharging begins for the next day.

Other aspects of the project will include looking at ways to harness renewable energy to power electric vehicles, and it will look at their benefits and challenges.

Ergon Energy has acquired five of the first 70 Mitsubishi i-MiEVs brought to Australia from Japan to use as part of the research project.