Dubbo mayor drives fully electric Nissan Leaf, powered by the sun

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One Step Off The Grid

The mayor of the NSW city of Dubbo has laid claim to being the first in Australia to drive a fully electric mayoral car after his council invested in a Nissan Leaf just before Christmas.

The $27,999 LEAF is the third electric vehicle for Dubbo Mayor Mathew Dickerson – following on from a Mitsubishi Outlander, and before that a Holden Volt – but the first to be 100 per cent electric, with no back-up petrol engine.

leaf dubbo


This time last year, when Dickerson switched to the HEV Mitsubishi Outlander, he told the local paper that the nature of his job was “perfectly suited” to EVs, with the majority of car trips being made within the local government area, most of them 5km trips.

This year, however, Dickerson told OneStep he felt it was time to make “the next logical step” to an electric-only vehicle.

“The 170km range may seem limiting but it is a rare day when I would do more than (a total of) 40km travel in the city of Dubbo to undertake my duties as Mayor,” he told OneStep in an email.

“I also believe that it is important that leaders show leadership in a community and reducing pollution should be important in every community.”

Cr Dickerson said he planned to charge the car on a daily basis, using his home solar system – although considering the car’s range he also had the option of going for three or four days without plugging it in.

“I have a 10kW solar array at my home and I only ever charge the car at home so, in effect, the sun is powering the Mayoral vehicle.

“The technical reality is that my solar panels send electricity into the grid but a 10kW solar array produces dramatically more power than my household needs – including the power required by the LEAF – so in effect there is no additional carbon being burned to create the electricity for my LEAF.”

“Having an electric car in the fleet also helps promote their use as practical, efficient and good for the environment,” Dickerson told the local paper.

“As the use of electric cars increases companies will be encouraged to invest further to continually improve the technology.”

According to Dickerson, Dubbo is Australia’s first council to use a Nissan LEAF as a mayoral vehicle. And although it is certainly not the first to incorporate FEVs into its fleet, Dubbo also claims to be the first in the nation to have adopted a hybrid EV, with the Holden Volt in 2013.

“Sydney council has ten Nissan LEAF vehicles. There was a photo of lord mayor Clover Moore in one of the cars but it wasn’t her official mayoral vehicle,” he said.

Dickerson also notes that people in his electorate continue to be amazed at how quiet the LEAF is and how smooth it drives.

“People with V8s would also be amazed by the acceleration,” he said.

Council’s fleet management policy is for the mayoral vehicle to be replaced every year but Cr Dickerson said in 2016 when it was time for the LEAF to be replaced it would likely be used as a staff car.

Managing director and CEO of Nissan Australia Richard Emery said it was tremendous Dubbo City Council had chosen the Nissan LEAF as its official mayoral car.

“There are many reasons why the Nissan LEAF is the world’s best-selling electric vehicle and it’s great to see Dubbo City Council setting an example for other government bodies to follow,” he said.

This article was originally published on RenewEconomy sister site, One Step Off The Grid. To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, click here.  

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  • Chris Fraser

    Cllr Dickerson has spotted the future of personal transport. And now we’ve spotted a solution to the portending death spiral … we just need some entrepreneurial folk to get behind EV manufacture in Australia.

  • john

    Well done sir I say.
    As to Nissan Australia I do remember ringing the sales manager of Nissan Australia and asking to buy the first Leaf they sold in Australia.
    His response was “What is a Leaf?”
    Eventually they released it and I went into the first draw to receive one, if I paid $52k against world price at that time of $32k in AU dollars.
    Needless to say I did not purchase one.
    Besides the initial hostility by Nissan in Australia toward EV: I do applaud the Mayor it is a suitable solution to duties, which do not involve much travel outside the area that the car can cover easily.

  • humanitarian solar

    This is genuine leadership, bridging the gaps between ideals, theory and practice. What’s not said, is there is likely to have been opposition from traditional thinkers. It takes guts, tenacity and inner fortitude to commit to new technology. His actions lend encouragement to his peers. It’s a small step in the direction of a change in transportation across his entire electorate. At a time technology is going through a transformation when many don’t know what to think, this is a courageous man who has placed the environment before his own career and will lead with his inner convictions. It is primarily a message of surmounting his own personal fears, in order to serve his community.

  • Ronald Brakels

    He had a Holden Volt and then a Mitsubishi Outlander and now he has a Nissan Leaf? I hope that the first two vehnicles were privately owned otherwise Australia has a corruption problem. The Holden Volt only became available for sale in December 2012. If they were Council vehicles that means Dubbo has gone through three new mayoral cars in at best a little over 4 years. That is corrupt whether or not it is legal. And it makes no difference if the cars were leased. It is still expensive to lease new cars. However, I am certain the mayor of Dubbo would never waste taxpayers’ money so I am certain the first two cars would have been privately owned. Or failing that, he would immediately take steps to make sure such wasteful activity never took place again in Dubbo after it was pointed out to him.