This car runs for just 1 cent per kilometre

WITH seven orders in the bag, the manufacturer of Australia's first zero-emissions production electric car to be recognised by CSIRO believes he is on a winner.From Ross Blade's humble workshop at Harcourt has come a car - the Bladerunner - that operates for a staggeringly low one cent a kilometre.One car being used around Melbourne was achieving an even lower figure, he said yesterday. But what is it that drives someone to give up a life in information technology based in Sydney to move to Harcourt?Mr Blade said he had been asked to examine the figures for establishing a biofuels plant.However, on crunching the numbers he came to the conclusion that electric vehicles represented the way ahead. His partner did not agree, so Mr Blade headed to Castlemaine, which had a reputation as the centre of the car retro-fit industry."That is why I am here following my dream," he said. And that dream is being helped by rocketing fuel prices and an environmentally challenged world."The knowledge on automobiles in this area is astounding, and I have been offered all the help and advice I need," he said.Mr Blade and his team begin their conversion work with a standard small car, preferably the Hyundai Getz.At the end of the process, the customer has a Bladerunner car that requires servicing every six months and costs $40,000."The forward orders have assisted us in lowering the price from $49,000," Mr Blade said.With the electric car, it's a case of out with the engine, cooling and exhaust systems, making the vehicle very much lighter.In goes the electric motor, acquired from the United States, and packs of batteries front and rear to provide the power.This is where Mr Blade believes he has a market-leading advantage."The battery set-up is our intellectual property, and the compartments are sealed to prevent any breach of patent," he said.The car can be charged at any three-pin plug, and costs can be cut further by using solar panels.The Bladerunner has a range of 100km, making it an ideal city runabout.Mr Blade said he hoped to have 1000 cars on the road by next year, and the cost down to $35,000.He said a standard small car cost about $5000 a year for fuel, plus the cost of servicing.Motorists would achieve considerable savings compared with running a conventional vehicle, and the environment would also be a big winner.

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