Originally published on RenewEconomy.
By Sophie Vorrath
The mayor of the NSW city of Dubbo has laid claim to being the first in Australia to drive a fully electric mayoral car after his council invested in a Nissan Leaf just before Christmas.
The $27,999 LEAF is the third electric vehicle for Dubbo Mayor Mathew Dickerson – following on from a Mitsubishi Outlander, and before that a Holden Volt – but the first to be 100 per cent electric, with no back-up petrol engine.
This time last year, when Dickerson switched to the HEV Mitsubishi Outlander, he told the local paper that the nature of his job was “perfectly suited” to EVs, with the majority of car trips being made within the local government area, most of them 5km trips.
This year, however, Dickerson told OneStep he felt it was time to make “the next logical step” to an electric-only vehicle.
“The 170km range may seem limiting but it is a rare day when I would do more than (a total of) 40km travel in the city of Dubbo to undertake my duties as Mayor,” he told OneStep in an email.
“I also believe that it is important that leaders show leadership in a community and reducing pollution should be important in every community.”
Cr Dickerson said he planned to charge the car on a daily basis, using his home solar system – although considering the car’s range he also had the option of going for three or four days without plugging it in.
“I have a 10kW solar array at my home and I only ever charge the car at home so, in effect, the sun is powering the Mayoral vehicle.
“The technical reality is that my solar panels send electricity into the grid but a 10kW solar array produces dramatically more power than my household needs – including the power required by the LEAF – so in effect there is no additional carbon being burned to create the electricity for my LEAF.”
“Having an electric car in the fleet also helps promote their use as practical, efficient and good for the environment,” Dickerson told the local paper.
“As the use of electric cars increases companies will be encouraged to invest further to continually improve the technology.”
According to Dickerson, Dubbo is Australia’s first council to use a Nissan LEAF as a mayoral vehicle. And although it is certainly not the first to incorporate FEVs into its fleet, Dubbo also claims to be the first in the nation to have adopted a hybrid EV, with the Holden Volt in 2013.
“Sydney council has ten Nissan LEAF vehicles. There was a photo of lord mayor Clover Moore in one of the cars but it wasn’t her official mayoral vehicle,” he said.
Dickerson also notes that people in his electorate continue to be amazed at how quiet the LEAF is and how smooth it drives.
“People with V8s would also be amazed by the acceleration,” he said.
Council’s fleet management policy is for the mayoral vehicle to be replaced every year but Cr Dickerson said in 2016 when it was time for the LEAF to be replaced it would likely be used as a staff car.
Managing director and CEO of Nissan Australia Richard Emery said it was tremendous Dubbo City Council had chosen the Nissan LEAF as its official mayoral car.
“There are many reasons why the Nissan LEAF is the world’s best-selling electric vehicle and it’s great to see Dubbo City Council setting an example for other government bodies to follow,” he said.
Reprinted with permission.
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