IF Bathurst doesn’t start thinking about electric car racing now, it risks being left behind, according to a local environmental group.
Bathurst Community Climate Action Network (BCCAN) was at Skillset on Havannah Street on Friday, in the shadow of Mount Panorama, to launch a report that makes the case for electric vehicle racing on the city’s iconic track.
While Supercars fans queued out on the road to get into the Mount complex, BCCAN president Tracy Sorensen acknowledged the launch was deliberately timed to coincide with Bathurst’s biggest annual event.
“Bathurst is a car racing town,” she said.
“If don't get on to this, we will be left behind by other cities and towns that run the big electric car races.”
The report provides the results of a survey run by BCCAN from April to June this year among members of the Bathurst community and racegoers attending the Bathurst Six Hour event.
Of the 80 survey respondents, 70 per cent described themselves as very positive about electric vehicle racing, 75pc said they would attend an electric vehicle race at Mount Panorama and 61pc were aware of electric vehicle racing in other parts of the world.
The report says the number of electric cars sold around the globe from 2015 to 2016 increased by 40 per cent and there are now more than two million on the road.
It says countries including Norway, Germany, India, France and the UK have announced phase-out dates for internal combustion engines.
“This paper is not arguing for the cessation of motor vehicle racing on Mount Panorama,” the report says. “Instead, its purpose is to present the case to incorporate EV racing into future plans for the development of this world class racing track.”
Ms Sorensen said electric car racing on the Mount would be a way to symbolise and draw attention to the shift to cleaner cars.
“But it’s not just environmental, it’s also how we future-proof the Mountain,” she said.
Councillors Jacqui Rudge, John Fry and Monica Morse were at Friday’s launch.
Ms Sorensen said BCCAN was not suggesting the group itself would be able to run an electric car race on the Mount.
“We want to promote the idea in the hope that council and councillors and other groups pick it up and run with it,” she said.
She said the survey had shown people were interested in electric car racing.
Ms Sorensen said the survey and research report were made possible by a $5000 grant received from the Office of Environment and Heritage via Skillset’s Sparktank program.