17 May 2012 ­ – Nissan launched its electric vehicle, the Leaf, the first all-electric car commercially available in Australia, in front of Customs Square at Sydney’s Circular Quay on Thursday, with an amusing conceptual art display (pictured), A World without Petrol, reusing 38 old petrol browsers.-

The two-day exhibition, with petrol browsers re-imagined as fountains, popcorn machines, balloon blowers and the like, gets to travel to Federation Square in Melbourne for 22 and 23 May.

The Leaf’s release in June will coincide with that of the documentary,

“The Revenge of the Electric Car”, which documents the fortunes of

four would-be electric car makers, including Nissan’ s Carlos Ghosin.

Characterised in the documentary as a warrior, Ghosin, while noting it would be difficult to create change, sets out to make an 100 per cent electric car for the mass market at the “lowest price possible”. In Australia that will mean $51,000 plus the cost of a plug-in charger of around $2500. Nissan has about 100 customers waiting.

The Leaf will travel approximately 170 km before needing to be

recharged. Plugging-in overnight will recharge the battery 100 per cent, or an accelerated charge of 80 per cent can be had in 30 minutes.

For the estimated 80 per cent of Australians who drive less than eight kilometres a day, the lesser costs of running electric vehicles may well appeal. Of course there are no charging stations out of metropolitan areas, and no sure-fire guarantees that the electricity powering this car is any greener unless you are generating it yourself.

As Thomas Friedman of the New York Times says, talking about electric cars in general, “as you clean up the grid, the car gets cleaner”.

With the introduction of the carbon tax, perhaps this will be soon

true for those who buy such cars in Australia. In the meantime,

perhaps Nissan should talk to the people of the Eco House in the Ceres Community Park in suburban Melbourne, whose solar-panelled carport generates electricity during the day to charge a hybrid electric car at night. There could be a commercially successful synergistic strategy.