SCU revs up campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Published 2 November 2004

What’s bright yellow, powered by batteries and tows up to six tonnes?

It’s an electric car – and from this week there will be two of them buzzing around the Southern Cross University (SCU) Lismore campus.

SCU’s Vice Chancellor, Paul Clark, will take the keys to both cars this Thursday, signalling a move by the University to replace four of its standard maintenance vehicles with the environmentally friendly alternatives, as part of its Environmental Management Plan.

Professor Clark said the new vehicles, worth just over $30,000 each, would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 16 tonnes per annum, and save more than $7,000 a year in fuel costs.

“Electric cars offer one of the safest and smartest ways to transport goods or tow extra heavy loads,” Professor Clark said.

“By purchasing these vehicles, we are practising what we teach – sustainable environmental resource management.

“Ultimately, I’d like to see all standard maintenance vehicles at each of the University’s three campuses replaced with electric vehicles.”

The new vehicles, which have a maximum speed limit of 32 kilometres per hour, will be used mainly for mail deliveries and maintenance on campus.

Manufactured in New South Wales, they operate with a 72 volt electric motor powered by a bank of batteries, and are expected to last for more than 20 years. The cars’ batteries will be charged through the University’s electrical mains supply.

Professor Clark said he hoped this purchase would set the trend for other universities and organisations using light industrial vehicles for on-site deliveries and maintenance.

“Just last week, the International Energy Agency predicted that carbon dioxide emissions would be almost 40% higher by the end of the decade than they were in 1990,” he said.

“It’s imperative that we all do our bit to contribute to a more sustainable energy system and environment.”

Media Note: Professor Paul Clark will take over the keys for both electric vehicles on Thursday, November 4 at 9am in front of the SCU Store (W Block) - Rifle Range Road entrance.

Media inquiries: Cathy Tobin, SCU, on 6620 3039 or 0418 431 484.