Broadband innovator takes the green challenge on the road

Thursday, 22 October, 2009


Internode is taking its sponsorship of this week’s Global Green Challenge for alternative energy vehicles seriously by putting founder and managing director Simon Hackett on the road for the 3000 km odyssey from Darwin to Adelaide.

Hackett is already in Darwin, with a support team from Internode, preparing to take part in the Global Green Challenge with his $160,000 Tesla Roadster, the world’s only fully electric production sports car.

With supercar performance of 0-100 km per hour in 3.9 seconds, the Tesla has a driving range of nearly 400 km on a full charge of its 6831 lithium ion cells, that can be recharged in as little as three hours.

When Hackett steers his Tesla out of Darwin at noon this Saturday, he’s on a mission to prove that electric cars are the future of motoring. “I’m a fan of electric vehicles from way back in the mid 80s and so I want to get people to see the Tesla, to know that electric vehicles are for real,” he said.

“The Tesla Roadster is built as a paradigm-buster. It’s Silicon Valley’s answer to the golf cart image of the electric vehicle - which is to bust it completely. Its cost of $160,000 sounds expensive until you realise that it outperforms a $500,000 Ferrari, so, in its league, it’s actually dramatically cheap. Tesla has made this car to change people’s perceptions.”

Last year, Internode achieved CO2-free status after undertaking a major greenhouse gas emission audit and purchasing the required offset carbon credits. Since September last year, Internode has used 100% GreenPower, generated from sources such as wind and solar, throughout its operations nationally.

Internode’s Tesla Roadster will lead a field of 54 alternative energy vehicles - 37 solar cars and 17 production vehicles - travelling 3000 km on the Stuart Highway from Darwin to Adelaide in the Global Green Challenge. This evolution of the World Solar Challenge is the world's leading, cross-continental showcase of the latest advances in hybrid, electric, solar, low emission and alternative energy vehicles.

Hackett said he would put the Tesla through its paces in the six-stage journey, covering distances from 300 to 700 km per day. “We’re simulating the recharging infrastructure by putting a generator on the back of a truck and sending that out ahead of the car to be at the recharge point we want,” he said.

“The idea is to demonstrate that ,if you have the appropriate recharging infrastructure on the highway system, you can drive at normal highway speeds and treat it just like any other car. We’re asking that if the recharging infrastructure is available, can the car cut it? Can you drive one from Darwin to Adelaide and make it? My aim is to prove that point - and this is the perfect event for it. This event is about proving whether you can do that with alternative energy cars.”

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