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Byron Shire
April 18, 2021

Ballina considers buying an electric car fleet

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Lismore's mayor Jenny Dowell often gets around in the council's new electric car. Now Ballina is looking to follow suit. (Darren Coyne)
Lismore’s mayor Jenny Dowell often gets around in the council’s new electric car. Now Ballina is looking to follow suit. (Darren Coyne)

By Darren Coyne

Lismore’s got one and now Ballina wants one too.

The Ballina shire council is considering buying electric cars as part of its fleet replacement strategy.

The council is also investigating installing a public charging station at the Ballina airport.

The decision follows Lismore’s purchase of a Nissan Leaf, which runs on lithium-ion batteries and can travel up to 170 kilometres on a full charge.

Lismore’s car is recharged at the Lismore Recycling and Recovery Centre, using power from the roof-top solar panels.

Ballina Shire Greens Councillor Jeff Johnson. Photo supplied
Ballina Shire Greens Councillor Jeff Johnson. Photo supplied

At the last meeting of the Ballina council, Greens councilor Jeff Johnson was successful in convincing his fellow councillors that they should follow suit.

Cr Johnson said electric cars would eventually be commonplace.

‘I was recently at the Macadamia Castle for the unveiling of Tony Gilding’s 40kw Solar PV Carpark Shelter and the electric vehicle charging station attached to it,’ Cr Johnson said.

‘Mr Gilding has shown what can be achieved and set the standard for council’s and other businesses to follow.

‘The thought of electric cars being charged by solar panels is a very exciting concept that will become common place.

‘If the numbers are even close to stacking up, which I believe they will, Ballina council should be investing in this technology.

Cr Johnson said the airport would provide a wonderful location to do this. ‘Commuters could park their car in a secure carpark and have it charged up ready for them on their return,’ he said.

‘Electric vehicle technology has come along way over the last few years. The price of electric vehicles has dropped and the range increased.’

Cr Johnon’s motion was supported unanimously.

Meanwhile, Lismore’s new car has been getting plenty of work.

It is used by staff at the waste facility, along with mayor Jenny Dowell who often drives it to community events.

Lismore’s Waste Operations Coordinator Kevin Trustum said the car was attracting a lot of attention.

‘It’s really got everyone talking,’ Mr Trustum said.

‘Certainly from an environmental perspective, it’s the way we want to be heading. Our whole push is to make Lismore a model of sustainability, and if the local council workers are getting around in electric cars, I think that’s a great start.’

Cr Johnson agrees.

‘Ballina Council unanimously resolved in 2009 to aim to become carbon neutral and phasing electric vehicles into our fleet would be another positive step towards achieving this goal,’ he said.


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  1. And how much are they going to cost the good old ratepayer? No mention of that, just the usual greeny spiel about benefits to the environment blah blah…..
    We’re already going to be hit with a rate rise for a swimming pool that most residents don’t use. This is the latest extravaganza.

    • Hmmmmmm…. Jon, there is always one…. and your it!

      I bet the council’s due diligence did not include a comparison with a coal powered car, do you think it should? Tut tut very remiss of both councils. However I expect council did a due diligence on the financials. Probably taking into account………….
      Lease cost of FFV (fossil fool vehicle) versus chosen EV (electric vehicle)
      maintenance cost of FFV vs EV
      Cost of fossil fuel per annum vs PV Charge station (probably depreciated over 3 years) (sunlight is nil)

      Indeed (like you) I would like to see the comparison spreadsheets. Unlike you I suspect that there will be a net saving to us hard hit rate payers. I congratulate council(s) on their efforts to show us a better (and cheaper) way forward.

      Suggestion: try using the pool more often! That should keep the rates down!

    • The price of a Nissan LEAF is in between the Toyota Prius and Toyota iTech Prius. So wont cost any more compared to what they have now.

    • Jon,

      I will be bring them into being part of all low impact sustainable developments I am involved in and that is also going to include what will happen in LIsmore over the next few years. It is time to start the creation of vibrant, resilient, healthy and sustainable urban communities right across Australia.

  2. Hi Jon,

    This green Councillor didn’t support the special rate rise. I’d like to see an ocean pool at Shelly Beach instead. Much cheaper than redeveloping Ballina’s chlorine pools and an ocean pool would be free to use, last a lot longer and have minimal ongoing costs.


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