Electric Car Launched - With Help from a Trusted Old Hand

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MELBOURNE – Dec 3, 2013: An innovative partnership between two iconic Victorian organisations – RDNS and RACV – will see nurses making their home visits in electric cars as part of a green motoring initiative.

The project, which sees eight electric Nissan Leafs join the RDNS fleet, was launched by Mrs Maureen Lockie, 91, who was an RDNS District Nurse in 1952. The organisation was then called the Melbourne District Nursing Society.

Outside RDNS head office in St Kilda, Mrs Lockie snipped a special ribbon to see the first car on its way. It was accompanied by a 1952 Ford Prefect – the same model that Mrs Lockie drove on her rounds 61 years ago.

Mrs Lockie was taken for a ride around the block in the new car. Reflecting on an era past, she said: “I absolutely love it. It is so quiet. I would love to take it for a spin myself but I have given away my licence now. So different to the Ford I used to drive on my rounds – the clutch was very tricky and the car used to kangaroo-hop all along Smith Street, Collingwood.

“When I went for my test the matron said to me: ‘I hope your nursing skills are better than your driving skills’.”

Keeping Mrs Lockie company in the back seat was one of RDNS’s youngest nurses, Zoe Sabri, who is doing her graduate year with RDNS.

RDNS chief executive Adjunct Professor Stephen Muggleton said he was delighted to be working in partnership with RACV.

“This two-year trial is an ideal fit with RDNS’s corporate philosophy which embraces sustainability and innovation,” Professor Muggleton said.

“Our nurses travel 10 million kilometres every years providing high quality health care to people in their home. This trial is timely and appropriate for all the right reasons,” he said.

Professor Muggleton said the trial would seek to understand the benefits, cost effectiveness and overall viability of electric vehicles within a fleet environment.

"There is no doubt the new generation of electric vehicles provide a smaller environmental footprint. Beyond this, we're hoping the trial will indicate the magnitude of long term savings in fleet costs that can be directly translated into more home care visits."

Under the partnership, the eight Nissan Leafs will be leased to RDNS. The cars will operate from the RDNS Box Hill and Altona sites where green energy stations have been located to charge the vehicles.

RACV Deputy Chairman Kevin White said the major partnership drives green motoring and mobile medical care well into the 21st century and builds upon RACV’s commitment to its 2.13 million members to make a valuable contribution to the Victorian community.

“It is a great fit for RACV and RDNS. Today, our organisations are modern and progressive ones, with a combined history of more than 200 years in proudly supporting the Victorian community,” Mr White said.

“As part of this partnership, RACV has provided these vehicles and 100 per cent green-powered charging infrastructure.

“This innovative trial, one of the largest fleet trials of its kind in the country, will allow RDNS to test whether electric vehicles could one day become a key part of their fleet.

“The results will also help RACV, our members and the broader community to better understand the role electric vehicles can play in meeting their mobility needs.

“Since our foundation nearly 110 years ago, RACV has supported projects that aim to improve quality of life, relieve suffering and disadvantage, enhance safety and security, encourage innovation and community development and protect and preserve our environment.

“Our partnership with RDNS continues this legacy of supporting our members and their communities, working with like-minded organisations to benefit all Victorians.”

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