As the electric vehicle transition begins to pick up pace in Australia, we are launching a new weekly feature to give you a round up of what’s happened each week in the local EV industry and community.
And there’s a lot happening, regardless of the thin support from government to accelerate Australia towards clean, zero emissions transport.
Week ending October 16, 2020
Tesla expands footprint in Australia as Gold Coast and Perth showrooms take shape
Photos have emerged of a new showroom and service centre at a location at the old Mini site on the corner of High and Nerang streets at the Gold Coast’s Southport. Word is that Tesla is already running test drives from the site, and that it will be a larger site than Brisbane with four hoists, and will be open in around six weeks.
Meanwhile, a 19-month old promise from Tesla boss Elon Musk may soon be fulfilled, with a Tesla forum member saying the old Renault site in Perth’s Osborne Park has been leased by the EV maker. While Tesla already has a service centre in Redlands, the new site would include a showroom as well as the relocated service centre.
Finally, as shared by Tesla vlogger “Tesla in the Gong”, Tesla may also be opening two new showrooms in Sydney’s Chatswood and Parramatta, as well as another showroom for Melbourne’s Elsternwick Park.
Mercedes-Benz ramps up EQ presence with 15 new electric vehicle sales agents
The German car maker is increasing the number of EQ sales agents in Australia from 9 to 24, meaning more opportunity for Australian drivers wanting to experience the Mercedes-Benz EQC first introduced in late 2019, as well as future EQ models.
New agents will be located in Brighton, Cairns, Geelong, Gosford, Chatswood, Sunshine Coast, Toorak, Epping, Mona Vale, Warwick Farm, Wollongong, Doncaster, Hobart, and Osborne Park.
Mercedes-Benz says it is also following in Tesla’s footsteps, adding an “online showroom” that will allow customers to browse, configure and even purchase an EQC from the comfort of their home or office.
eMentum, an electric car rental service for rideshare drivers, quietly went public this week, inviting all-female Shebah drivers to sign up to rent Hyundai Ioniqs to provide zero emissions rideshares in SE Queensland.
Canberra couple Karen and Shane Maher took their grey import Leaf e+ called Yuki for a 1,000km test drive around the NSW regional surrounds, and said, “it doesn’t matter if you have a Leaf or a Tesla, you can still have a weekend getaway in an EV.”
Energy provider Ausgrid revealed a plan with Sydney start-up Jolt to convert streetside power boxes into EV chargers to make charging an electric vehicle accessible to all.
A ten-point tactical plan released by Energy Queensland to support and optimise the increased uptake of electric vehicles on its networks, includes key strategies to develop bi-directional, or vehicle-to-grid, charging capabilities and services.
Tactics range from industry and stakeholder engagement, to overcoming barriers to uptake, gathering key data and research, and identification of optimal lay out of charging infrastructure, with the most important being to focus on the potential energy management opportunities that mass uptake of EVs could bring to the state.
Victoria’s Deakin University got the week off to a great start by winning a global prize for developing low-cost sodium batteries that could revolutionise transport in Indonesia such as scooters and rick-shaws.
By replacing lithium with cheap and abundant sodium, the research team made batteries that cost much less than if using lithium, and while the trade-off is that the sodium batteries also store less energy, they could be used in electric vehicles with less demanding energy needs.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.