Home' InDaily : August 6th 2010 Contents www.independentweekly.com.au
August 6 - 12, 2010
The Independent Weekly people & places
There might not be many of
them, but the makers of all-
electric cars are on a collision
Sparked by the arrival of what
Mitsubishi Motors described as
"the first commercially available
plug-in electric car", the folk at
Blade Electric Vehicles have
challenged the Japanese car maker
to a "drive-off".
In March this year we reported
on plans by Victorian-based Blade
Electric to shift its business to
Blade refits brand new Hyundai
Getz vehicles with an all-electric
motor and operating system and
sells them as approved for on-road
The company proudly proclaims
that it "produces Australia s first
commercially available plug-in
But so does Mitsubishi.
In its release this week they said;
"It is the first time a commercially
viable, fully electric powered
vehicle produced by a major
car manufacturer will take to
Australia s roads."
The only difference between the
two seems to be the term "produced
by a major car manufacturer".
Consumers however won t have
access to the Mitsubishi car until
2011 with the first shipment of cars
being distributed to "foundation
members" who will lease the first
batch of cars.
These members include most
state governments, the City of
Marion and ETSA Utilities.
Released in Japan in July 2009,
the i-MiEV, which stands for
Mitsubishi innovative Electric
Vehicle, is one of the world s first
viable zero drive-time emission city
commuter cars in volume produc-
tion and the first to be released in
Australia, Mitsubishi says.
Mitsubishi Motors Australia
Limited (MMAL) CEO and
President Masahiko Takahashi
said Australia was ready for a
fully electric-powered vehicle with
orders for the i-MiEV far outstrip-
"The arrival of the i-MiEV is a
first for motoring in Australia. With
85 per cent of commuters in urban
Australia travelling less than 100km
per day, the i-MiEV is the perfect
solution to reduce our environmen-
tal footprint by using green energy,"
Mr Takahashi said.
With a top speed of 130km per
hour, the i-MiEV has a range of up
to 160kms and recharges in less
than eight hours from a standard 15
amp power point.
But the claims don t impress Ross
Blade, head of Blade Electric who
already has a couple of his cars in
regular use around Adelaide.
Simon Hackett, CEO of Internode,
is one fan of the Blade Electron.
"I challenge Mitsubishi to a drive-
off with two everyday commuters
given the chance to drive each car
for a week and let them compare
them," Mr Blade said.
"I bet ours comes up the better of
Back in March we also reported
Blade had written to the South
Australian Government offering to
set up an assembly plant; providing
the government committed to
purchasing 200-300 cars.
"The plant would employ around
75 people initially plus ongoing
service and sales support teams,"
company founder Ross Blade said at
"We have looked at the old
Mitsubishi site and that would be
an ideal location."
Blade is pleased with the
response so far.
"We had a letter from the Premier
which stated that he had passed it
onto the Minister for Industry," he
"Then we had a visit from a
senior bureaucrat and that seemed
to go very well.
"We are now in the process of
organising our next meeting, prob-
ably in Adelaide with the Minister."
One thing that both car makers
have yet to conquer is the issue of
Blade Electron modified cars sell
for $48,000 -- a significant mark-up
from a normal Getz at $14,000. The
Mitsubishi i-MiEV is being leased to
agencies for $1740 per month (includ-
ing maintenance and servicing) over
three years -- a total of $62,460
So far, there are 23 Blade
Electrons on Australian roads
with the federal Department of
Transport granting low volume
manufacturer status last year
following successful crash testing
of the car, while Mitsubishi s
shipment yesterday brings their
total to 20.
Marion Council is hoping its trial
of the Mitsubishi car will lead to
bigger and better things. Council
chief executive officer Mark Searle
said Marion has a long and proud
history with Mitsubishi Motors and
is excited to be a first user.
"The home of Mitsubishi Motors
Australia is in Marion Council and
we re proud to be a partner with the
Foundation Customer program,"
"Council has a reputation for
being part of ground-breaking
environmental projects, and green
issues consistently rate highly in
any feedback from the community."
Mr Searle said council expects
to assign the car to the Home and
Community Care team.
The National Wine Centre
has paired with a charity
that benefits from its Friday
fortnightly after-work drinks event
"Uncorked" with a 50c donation
from every glass sold and $3 from
Uncorked is a regular feature of
the National Wine Centre -- it offers
patrons free entry, complimentary
cheese platters and a feature wine
In addition, patrons have the
chance to attend one of a limited
number of spots at a "meet the
maker" session which, as its name
suggests, gives attendees the chance
to taste and discuss a number of
wines from the feature winery with
"Uncorked is something we ve
run for a few years," National Wine
Centre general manager Adrian
"At a recent review of all aspects
of the event, the chance to partner
with a charity was a concept tabled
as quite simply a 'feel good thing
to do .
It s not easy times for many
people right now and if corporates
can assist charities in some way
then it s something we should
definitely support," Mr Emeny said.
"I m pleased to announce that
we will be making a donation from
last week s Penny s Hill event to the
Animal Welfare League".
AWL s Brenda Champion said,
"We applaud the National Wine
Centre for this initiative. The
synergy to partner this event with
Penny s Hill is perfect for us as
they are a major supporter of the
Animal Welfare League already -- all
in all it should be a great night and
we encourage as many people as
possible to attend".
Other registered charities who d
like to enquire about this initiative
should contact the National Wine
Centre via Foster Hill PR (fh@
"We d happily partner with a
charity every event" Mr Emeny
"And then put all the charity
names into a draw to benefit from
our massive end of year Moet
champagne Uncorked function"
The forthcoming Uncorked
events with feature wines and dates
for the coming months are: August
13 Henry s Drive; August 27 Coriole;
September 10 RockBare/One Planet
and September 24 Yalumba.
Mitsubishi's all-electric car has arrived in Australia, but can it match the locally produced Blade Electron seen here with owner
and electric car enthusiast Simon Hackett?
Photo: Kate Elmes
National Wine Centre CEO Adrian Emeny amongst the Centre's collection.
Photo: Kate Elmes
National Wine Centre says cheers for charity
Electric car drive-off
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