First EV Conference held in Perth


// The all-electric vehicles stole the show at Perth’s first EV conference, iDrive, last week. These cars have some cool tech and sure can move…

Startup News was out at the Perth Airport last week to take part in the first Electric Vehicle conference – iDrive – held in the State.

Put together by Malaga-based electric charging company Gemtek, the event drew in attendees from councils, government, utilities, private business as well as EV car enthusiasts.

The incredible Tesla X… doing its thing.

The stars of the show were undoubtedly the EV vehicles themselves, including the soon to be released all plugin EV Mini, 4 types of Tesla (including the incredible X-model and the Roadster) as well as Hyundais, the Nissan Leaf, electric scooters, an all electric bus and an EV converted yute.

Perth’s first all electric bus

In a fast-moving ‘blended’ conference, there were over thirty speakers and panellists at the event, together with others piped in from as far afield as Dundee Scotland, London, Monaco, Hong Kong, Sydney, Melbourne and Collie.

Event organiser Florian Popp (centre) with Freo Mayor Brad Pettit (left) and City of Perth Mayoral candidate Brodie McCulloch.

Organiser of the event, Florian Popp of Gemtek, said it had been a great success, and will only look to grow from here. The highlights were attendees taking to the race track to experience the speed, acceleration and cornering of the EV cars, something Startup News did (for pure journalistic reasons, you understand).

“Overall we are very happy.” Florian told Startup News. “I have to thank everyone who made this possible, the sponsors, speakers and attendees, plus the sterling effort from the Targa West race team, whose professional experience managing race car drivers came to the fore during this part of the event.”

The converted EV Yute

“The most popular drive around the track was the Mini Electric.

“We hope to repeat this around regional WA (starting in Collie and Cue in November) and in Perth next year with more vehicles!” said Florian.

Startup News editor Charlie Gunningham MC’g, with Matt Taylor from Shell, from London, on screen.

Common concerns about EVs are ‘range anxiety’ (most EVs can do 280-400 or more kms on one charge), or there not being enough charging stations.

Considering the average Perth motorist only travels 32kms a day in their vehicle, a once a week charge at home would seem to be ample. Solar panel on rooves means much of this charging comes at a very low cost. Plus, as the conference was told, many more fast-charging sites are coming.

For now though, only 1 in 1000 cars in Australia are electric. In Norway, it’s almost 60%, and in China one in 5 new cars are EVs. With most car manufacturers phasing out the production of internal combustion engine cars by 2030, the transition to EVs is upon us.

Australia has some catching up to do.


All photos supplied. Main image: the popular Mini Electric finishing a lap, with a Tesla behind.