Electric vehicle tech 'underestimated'

Public perception underestimates the capability of electric vehicle technology, according to a business director helping to convert part of London's bus fleet.

Public perception of electric vehicle capability is five years behind reality, says the man converting London buses to the technology.

It's a myth that electric vehicles can't do commercial work, Optare's commercial director Robert Drewery says.

"Everybody outside the industry underestimates what they can do and I say everybody's perception is actually five years behind the reality."

While the technology is yet to make long-haul electric semi-trailers a reality, Mr Drewery said it was already perfect for lighter commercial vehicles like vans and utes that might travel only 100km in a day.

"If you expect to do 1000 miles in your truck, then forget it," he said.

"But for 7.5-tonne deliveries, which is by far the biggest part of the market, absolutely."

Optare has plans to bring the company's buses to Australia with a trial of a single decker in Sydney.

Electric vehicle technology is still in its infancy in Australia.

An electric bus is being trialled on the NSW south coast, Brisbane is in talks to start an electric route and Australian bus builder Volgren has started production on its first all-electric bus.

Optare has 150 electric buses running in the UK, and will build another 100 this year.

All new buses in London will be fully electric by 2025.

Mr Drewery said the current technology can run a bus in the English winter with full heating for about 250km on a single charge.

He said Australian heat and humidity presents a significant challenge as the air conditioning is so draining on the battery, but the Sydney trial will help refine the technology.

"Electric aircon is still relatively in its infancy," he said.

"(Sydney) is effectively a working test bed for the technology ... I think once Australia embraces it they wont go back."

The reporter travelled courtesy of The Climate Council.

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