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Review: Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum 8 June 2019

There are more aspects to driving electric vehicles than just reducing your emissions, rapid acceleration and low maintenance costs. The advent of EV technology has opened the way to developing a range of electric transport options: electric cargo vehicles, utes, buses, trucks, scooters, mopeds and motorbikes – even e-planes and e-boats. These will radically impact our lives in the coming months and years.

“There are so many advantages to transitioning to electric vehicles. For example, saving dollars on lower EV maintenance costs, or not being woken rudely thanks to the silent operation of an electric garbage truck,” says Bridie Schmidt, a local specialist writer “tracking the EV revolution” on EV website TheDriven.io and one of the event’s organising team.

For anyone considering what’s involved in buying, renting or sharing an EV, or what’s currently on offer, ZEB’s first Northern Rivers EV Forum held at Byron Bay’s Cavanbah Centre on 8 June 2019, was the place to be.

Outside the centre, there was a display of new and locally owned EVs. Hyundai had both its latest Ioniq and Kona EV’s on show, while Byron Electric Vehicles displayed a second-hand Nissan Leaf. EVEE had a Tesla Model X on show, attracting prospective renters keen to check out the possibility of driving a car with ‘wings’. Also on display were 15 e-bike options from three different companies, including an e-rickshaw – and even an e-outboard motor and an e-surfboard, from Betts Boats. (While it was not possible on the day for visitors to have onsite test drives, Hyundai’s Graham Robinson, who manned their display, can arrange one for you. Email him at grahamr@frizellesunshine.com.au or mob 0455 030 015.)

Visitors to the event had the opportunity to speak directly with local owners of a variety of electric cars ranging from a repurposed red VW beetle, to a Hyundai Ioniq, a BMW i3, a Hyundai Kona Highlander, a Nissan Leaf and a collection of 10 Teslas from around the country belonging to the Tesla Owners Club of Australia.

Inside stalls, films, Kids’ Art Show The basketball courts were transformed for the day, creating an area for speakers and stalls, including ITP Renewables, Enova Energy, Morgan’s Financial, Juno Energy, Light Touch Solar and Bank Australia. In Meeting Room 2, a series of films was screened related to electric transport and environmental topics, popular with families, while in the foyer was a display of creative kids’ artwork on the theme of future transport.

From 10.45 until 3.30pm, presentations were made by 17 experienced and leading-edge industry experts, covering six areas. Click on the link to view the presentations.

Session 1: Australian Innovation – with Michelle Nazzari from Fonzarelli, and Greg McGarvie, from ACE-EV.
Session 2: EV Conversions with Dave Budge from Jaunt Motors, and Andy Naughton, from EV Machina.
Session 3: Buses and Car Hire – with Slava Kozlovskii, from Evee and Cliff Hall from Goonellabah company, HRDS Tech.
Session 4: Scooters, Bikes & Trikes – with local Sapoty Brook, from Beyond Oil and Christopher Hilton, from Beam.
Session 5: Electric Vehicle Strategies – with Tamara Smith MP for Ballina, Debbie Firestone from Tweed Shire Council, and Nicola Saltman, from the Waverly Tri-Council in Sydney.
Session 6: Charging Infrastructure and Tariffs – with Alexei Watson from Essential Energy, and Carola Jonas, from Everty.
Session 7: The Future of Transport – with Daniel Strzina, from Byron Shire Council and Susannah Wilkinson, from Herbert Smith Freehills.
Session 8: 2019 EV Offerings – with Mark Tipping, President, Tesla Owners Club of Australia, and a number of local EV owners.


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