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Electrics cars set to flood in

Better Place says Australia will have the world's biggest EV network by the end of 2013 with the company using battery-swap stations.

….for Australian by 2015, with plug-in power from Better Place.

As carmakers race to get buyer backing for everything from the Mitsubishi iMiEV to the Nissan Leaf and Renault Fluence ZE, GE has committed to putting its first 1000 battery cars on the road over the next four years. It's the single biggest electric car commitment yet from a global company that intends to buy 25,000 EVs worldwide by 2015.

GE's CustomFleet is Australia's largest fleet management company, with more than 120,000 vehicles on the road, and it sees EVs as a smart way to reduce running costs and contribute to their customers' corporate sustainability.

At the same time as the GE commitment, Better Place says Australia will have the world's biggest EV network by the end of 2013 with the company using battery-swap stations and home recharging during off-peak power cost periods to drive the electric vehicle fleet.

"We will be able to change a battery in the time it takes to fill up the tank of a petrol car," says the CEO of Better Place in Australia, Evan Thornley said. "That means electric vehicles will have the same "unlimited range" as petrol cars."

Renault-Nissan and Mitsubishi have already allied with Better Place as they begin electric vehicle sales in Australia. A battery leasing plan is also being developed by GE and Better Place.

The principle has the customer buying an electric car outright but leasing the battery pack from Better Place for a set monthly charge. GE last week also invested in local electric vehicle production company EV Engineering, which is building seven proof-of concept electric Commodores. Those cars will then be placed in fleets to assess their performance and drivers' reactions.

The Commodores will join a growing fleet of local electric vehicles. Victorian manufacturer Blade Electrics has converted 40 Hyundai Getz cars to run on electricity and is now testing Hyundai i20s and Holden Cruzes for the same process. The electrified Getz costs about $48,000.