A few nights ago we went over to Premier Automotive in Brookvale on Sydney’s Northern Beaches to meet with members of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association (AEVA) and to see what Premier Automotive were up to.
Starting with Premier Automotive, the reason the meeting was held there, was for the AEVA to livestream the introduction of a new project by the technical team at the workshop in Brookvale. Premier Automotive have decided to convert an old Toyota Starlet into an electric vehicle and then use it to showcase their skills.
The car in question is a 5th generation Starlet 3-door and is in fairly good condition body-wise, the paint has seen better days however the panels are straight and the main mechanical components are sound – today it has a road-worthy certificate and can be driven quite happily. As it is a 20 year old car, it is now about to get a new life and the serviceable components removed to be used on other cars – a great way to reuse and recycle an old vehicle.
I spoke with Romeo and Mitch, the two main technicians who are going to work on the conversion about how they were going to deal with a different weight balance and they said that they would remove all the main running gear and then weigh the car to see how balanced it is and from there they can define roughly where the new equipment will be fitted. Once the motor and drivetrain are in the car, they will weigh it again to see where the batteries need to be installed such that the car is balanced again.
Removing a heavy internal combustion engine and replacing it with more compact and lighter equipment will change the way the vehicle handles and Motoring Weekly will keep an eye on the progress of this work because it could provide a new life for perfectly good condition vehicles whose mechanical equipment is getting outdated.
Now to the AEVA. This organisation was founded back in the 1970s after the 1973 Oil Crisis to lobby the Government to change its focus from oil to renewable energy sources and to help people convert cars to electric power – even up to the early 2000’s that was the only way to get an electric vehicle unless you bought an oddity from Europe! Now however, the Association is able to advise car buyers on what to purchase and is keeping up its pressure on the Federal and State Governments to change their policies.
On October 26th and 27th, the Association will hold its annual expo in Sydney that will showcase new cars, converted cars and will be packed full of speakers, demonstrations and information about the growing market for electric vehicles. Attendees will be able to take test drives and to mingle with owners who have made the change to electric power.
With more and more of the mainstream manufacturers now offering electric options or hybrids that use smaller petrol engines with one or more electric motors, now is the time to learn about how this technology will impact our buying decisions over the next few years.
By 2022, nearly every manufacturer will have a fully electric or plugin-in hybrid system available – the majority of the high end brands are there – or nearly there – and this will help to reduce the component pricing such that more mid range cars will come on stream at an affordable price.
Our advice is to get to the expo and start learning about this technology, it will help you consider what vehicle to buy next – and when!