Some random future ideas on government doing solar (following on, as promised in my earlier blog about South Australia’s solar plans).

Electric vehicle fleet

A tonne of Government vehicles could be run on batteries and electricity for a number of reasons (this on conservative/out dated notions of what electric vehicles can do):

  • short trips within urban areas (let’s assume electric means short range.. a myth but hey.. Let’s be conservative)
  • idle time spent in other government spots or depots (which could easily have, or already have, electric outlets handy)
  • large fleet purchasing power to kick the arses of the car manufacturers to stop stalling with proper electric cars (see “Who killed the electric car” if you want to get mad about it)

If nothing else the government could throw some money and give a big boost to the efforts of groups like Better Place who are rolling out electric vehicle infrastructure in Australia and other parts of the world (go to their site and get a bumper sticker if nothing else).

Electric vehicle street park-and-charge

Imagine never having to go to another petrol station again. Smelly, dirty places based around pumping stinky, dirty fuel into your vehicle. I’ve spent plenty of time at service stations while touring (I managed to make one video of that journey before I got distracted by work/life/play etc)

Sure, perhaps a way to win over the fuel supply guys would be to have removable battery packs (I’ve been talking about this for years..) and make removable batteries the equivalent of “fuel”:

That could work too.. But whether that’s done or not: Government car spots could have re-charging stations built in just as easily as they build in parking meters (and there are a growing number of those around aren’t there??). Hell, you could make it via induction plates on the ground hooked to some sort of RFID on the bottom of the car I’m sure wouldn’t be too much of a technological stretch.

At a minimum to support the move to an electric fleet any reserved parking spots for government vehicles should have recharge points. Then you could make certain public spots “electric only” (not to suggest it’s like a disabled parking spot.. far from it!). I have heard some rumblings that this is starting to happen for hybrid vehicles in some parts of the world. It’s an ok start, but we really need proper electric cars and infrastructure. Hybrids are always going to be a half arsed attempt to get away from oil. Plug-in hybrids are better, but really: we should just cut our losses (we’ll be paying off that environmental debt for some time now) and revel in the clean air in our cities as we push on with solar.

I only hope the car companies don’t pull the same shit that resulted in some perfectly good (and loved by owners) cars getting crushed rather than serve as a reminder that we could have ditched coal a long time ago. The idea of not selling but leasing electric vehicles smacks of that sort of thing all over again.

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