By Florian Popp
Western Australia showed up in droves to join the global transition to electric transport on November 4 at the second annual “iDriveWA: Towards Zero Emissions Conference and Exhibition” at the Driver Risk Management Center near the Perth airport in Western Australia.
Western Australia (WA) may have a reputation for being a bit slow when it comes to embarking on the transition to electric vehicles, but that perception is far from reality.
Yes, WA’s isolation, huge road and power grids, large-scale agricultural resources and sectors, and off-road cultivation present real challenges. But WA has the country’s first fast-charging electric highway, built in 2015 by the RAC. It has one of the highest rooftop solar penetrations in the world. And is set to build the longest electric vehicle fast-charging network in the country, stretching from Esperance in the south of the state to Kununurra in the north, a staggering distance of around 4,000 km (2,485 miles) . To put that in comparison, it would take you from London to Iraq or east to west across the continental United States.
The Western Australian government sponsored the event, building on numerous initiatives such as Horizon Power’s cutting-edge microgrid trials, Western Power’s deployment of stand-alone power systems and the large Synergy battery, to ensure WA’s smooth transition to renewables, to power accelerated electrification of transport sustainability.
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Business Events Perth, West Australian Local Government Association and industry associations AFMA, MTAWA and NECA joined industry exhibitors and vehicle suppliers to help educate hundreds of visitors on critical topics such as industry training and education, finance, fleet management, net zero planning and, of course, supporting cars and energy systems.
More than 1200 participants registered for this year’s event, and more than 500 individual test drives were carried out by visitors, in a wide range of electric cars, bikes, scooters and even some 4×4s and minibuses Mine Spec. Some had the chance to take rides in the Tesla Model 3 Performance, TOCEVA Racing’s world premiere in the Targa class.
The conference itself was a melting pot of thought leadership, including presentations from the Electric Vehicle Council of Australia, Caterpillar, Volvo, ABB, and state and federal government presenters. It featured a live cross to the Australian COP26 pavilion in Scotland by local energy company Hydrogen West.
Councilor Dan Bull of Bayswater, the first council in WA to strike a 100% renewable power purchase agreement with electricity retailer Synergy, took part in ‘A Conversation with Dundee’, which aims to be First European city of the transition to the electric vehicle.
Capped with a personal presentation by Robert Llewellyn of Fully Charged (the world’s most-watched online electric vehicle exhibition), to inspire WA to continue its momentum, the iDriveWA: Towards Zero Emissions exhibition is set to grow alongside the demand for electric vehicles over the coming years. Interest in electric vehicles may one day be as strong as the popular 4WD & Adventure show, especially as we see more brands and vehicles coming to Australia on the back of net commitments zero and despite extremely slow federal politics, recently derided internationally for his comments. like “electric vehicles are going to ruin the weekend”.
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