Palmwoods, Sustainability

Powering up

GemLife Palmwoods residents with new EV

EVs charging ahead for eco-conscious drivers


“In the end it was a very easy decision to make, particularly when you consider the savings on fuel and maintenance costs plus the Queensland Government incentives that gave us $3000 back in our pockets for buying an electric vehicle up to $65,000. That has since been doubled, so we actually received $6000,” said Graeme.

He said the set up at GemLife means they pay minimal power bills and, by investing in an EV, they are saving even more, going from about $50 per week for fuel to $10 a month to charge the vehicle.

GemLife Director of Sustainability, Renewables & Innovation Mark Langdon said that in line with the company’s sustainable ideas and practices, all new country clubs including GemLife Palmwoods, would be EV charging capable.

“At GemLife, we are keen to make our future over-50s lifestyle resorts EV-ready with such innovations as EV chargers and a transition to electric resort buses and cars, as the current fleets reach the end of their service life,” he said.

The move into EVs – in this case a China manufactured BYD (Build Your Dreams), model Atto 3 car – was a natural one for Angela and Graeme whose own `fuel-guzzling’ diesel vehicle was ready for replacement.

“We did mainly online research at first and had never seen an EV when we put down our deposit. We were eventually able to have a test drive and loved it immediately. They are definitely a car of the future and China is a leader in the field selling about 150,000 cars a month,” said Graeme.

He said they also loved the vehicle for its spaciousness, modern features and many inclusions.

“It comfortably sits three adults in the back and the big bonus is the car has a flat floor because they don’t have a transmission tunnel. We are also able to update controls in the car over
the internet via a system they call Over the Air updates.”

Graeme believes EVs have a big future in Australia, as demand increases and infrastructure to cater for them improves, and is confident the internal combustion cars will eventually be phased out.

He said most EVs currently have a range of 450km which, for Graeme and Angela, equates to two days of travel between their home at GemLife Palmwoods on the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane, before the battery needs recharging.

He added that battery technology is improving all the time and he expects it won’t be long before the range jumps from 450km to 1000km, and DC charging time takes ten minutes instead of 30 minutes.

He explained that there are two forms of recharging – either AC or DC.

“AC is slower and is usually done in the home. We have an AC charger installed in our garage here at GemLife and it takes about five hours to recharge a battery that has only 20 percent left.

Charging stations operate on DC (Direct Current) and charging would take only about 30 minutes,” he said.

Graeme says he is `the worst in the world’ for wanting to get to places as fast as possible but their new EV and being retired has made him appreciate just how relaxing driving can be.

He believes technology is changing rapidly and while he and Angela are among the early converts to EVs, he predicts the infrastructure to support them will be so much better within the next five to ten years and this mode of transport will be `the way to go’.

“After buying our electric vehicle, we’d never go back to the traditional vehicles. There are so many benefits – we start each day with a full tank of fuel (having powered it up overnight), don’t have to watch fuel prices, and in some places – like our local Kawana shopping centre – we can charge the car up for free while we shop,” said Graeme.

“We drive past petrol stations now and just give them a wave,” he chuckled.