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Friday, July 24, 2009

Canberra to build electric car network

Better Place Australia today announced that it has chosen Australia's capital, Canberra, as the site of its first city-wide roll-out of electric vehicle infrastructure in Australia.

The decision was announced by Better Place founder and Chief Executive Officer, Shai Agassi, with Evan Thornley, head of Better Place Australia and ActewAGL Chief Executive Officer, Michael Costello, the ACT’s electricity retailer and distributor.

The initial roll out will involve an investment by Better Place, which will go towards building out the infrastructure, services and systems to support the first several hundred electric vehicles in Canberra. The investment will cover:

• safe and completely recyclable lithium-ion batteries that will power the electric vehicles and be provided as part of the service to drivers, reducing the up-front costs of purchasing an electric vehicle;

• charge spots in homes, offices, shopping centres and other car parks where drivers can plug in to keep their battery fully charged; and

• “Battery Swap Stations” where motorists can simply drive in and have a depleted battery automatically exchanged for a fresh, fully charged one.

“We aim to start construction on our charge spots and battery swap stations in 2011 and start supporting customers in 2012” said Mr Thornley. “From Canberra we will then begin to roll out across the whole country.”

Better Place will work closely with ActewAGL to plan the infrastructure deployment. ActewAGL will be responsible for sourcing and distributing the renewable energy that Better Place will use to power its electric vehicles within the ACT.

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