Thursday, October 22nd, 2009 by Simon Hackett
I hold out high hopes for Mitsubishi getting the iMiev on sale in Australia in the forseeable future (its fully approved for Australia – the challenge appears to be getting enough of the current limited production run allocated to this country).
And obviously I hope, one day, to legally drive a Tesla Roadster in Australia (if not the one I have now, then a future Right Hand Drive model).
Meantime, though, is there any way to buy an electric vehicle and drive it legally on Australian roads, here and now?
There is. Its the conversion path – take a ‘donor’ car and install a battery bank and an electric motor.
There has been a small enthusiast community in Australia doing this for a long, long time.
More recently, a company in Victoria was established to commercially convert petrol cars to electric cars. Its called Blade Electric Vehicles, and their ‘donor’ car of choice is the Hyundai Getz. They turn the Getz into a Blade Electron.
And, yes, I have one. Fully compliance tested and legal.
I’m told there are a total of only 5 legally registered EV’s in South Australia (not including the Roadster).
Blade delivered it to me some months ago, and its been my ‘daily driver’, almost every day since then. Its not a patch on the Roadster for performance (it has about the same performance as the car had with a petrol engine in it, which is to say ‘just fine for city driving’).
But its given me back “The EV Grin” (which first experienced in the mid 80’s in the USA by driving the famous GM EV-I along the freeways of California). Its a great car. A car I plug in to a standard wall socket each night when I get home, and in the morning I drive out again, full of energy (literally) for the day ahead.
Of course, I still dream of the Tesla Roadster being road legal in Australia, and being my daily driver instead (I have no shortage of other EV fans in Internode who would happily take the Electron off of my hands!).
I’ll explain the story of why its so hard to ‘just drive’ the Tesla Roadster legally in this country on a regular basis, on another day. Meantime, its going to be driven in the Global Green Challenge under a special, single-event permit.
I think, after driving it a long way each day for a week… its going to be pretty tough to put it back into its storage area again when the event is over.
The Electron really feels just fine to drive.
Until you drive the Roadster.
Then you never want to go back to anything else.
It really is that great.