Trevor Richards (Trev) is very proud of his Toyota Hilux (called EV Hilux). “As far as I know, it was the first EV registration in Queensland,” he told me at the Noosa EV Expo.
Trev said he drove T-Rev and his wife drove EV Hilux. They also had an electric boat showing off electric outboard motors. By the way, Trev built this boat too.
And EV Hilux is often loaded. Here with electric motors.
He can put 1000 kg on the EV Hilux and 1000 kg on the car trailer behind it. Here is a picture of a very heavily loaded Hilux with lithium batteries. Trev tows this 40 km from the freight depot back to his business sheds.
On the Sydney trip, Mackay was the first charge point stop. There were lots of charge stops on this trip. Glen’s MGEV (the blue one) had an old tired battery pack and only had 70 km of range at the time of this trip. So, every 70 km, he had to charge up MGEV again.
The Toyota Hilux was converted to electric in 2007 and has done over 270,000 km as an EV over the past 15 years. He recently changed the battery pack, which had done 167,111 km over the previous 9 years. He says this worked out to 10.7 cents per km for battery cost.
Trevor runs a business selling electric drive products. Electric motors, speed controllers, batteries, etc. — all the components you need to convert or create your own dream. Talking of creating your own dream, Trev dreamed up T-Rev. It was “a wild dream,” he says, “a dream that may not be possible because he has seen others start building from scratch and give up because of cost or ‘the rules’.”
Trevor started building T-Rev in 2014. The first drive was 3 years later, and registration was in February 2020. It was a long and costly dream, but has been well worth it. T-Rev has had some teething problems, but has been good for a while now. Sadly, Trevor did not blog the T-Rev build because he was thinking that it could be a failure. With 17,681 km on the speedo right now (at the Noosa EV Expo), the vehicle is obviously getting a good amount of use! Then you can add another 888 km for the drive home again.
T-Rev has proven to be a very successful project. It has excellent acceleration, is plenty fast enough at 130km/hr, and is very efficient on power consumption, which was the main goal of the project. It was voted “Best Alternative” in the Cars 4 Kids show 2022.
Where did all this start? Trevor spent 2 years (2000 & 2002) in Kiribati volunteer teaching and became keenly aware of our dependence on electricity. So, he got involved in wind and solar. Then he became interested in electric drive. He changed his business name and started focusing on electric drives. In business, he started electrifying everything he could. In Kiribati, he swallowed “Super” fuel (the fuel that predates unleaded fuel). Kiribati still imported “Super” fuel even though it was banned in Australia. This made Trev quite sick with toxic overload. The massive pain reaction added impetus to his Drive by Nature ambitions. It takes a long time to heal, but “I can cope with the smell now,” he tells me, “since being away from it for a number of years. It is rare to stop at a fuel station now. “
But, he says, “I sometimes use the generator for long distance travel. Because the public charge stations don’t always work, so it’s either a generator or a tow truck. There just are not enough charge stations, like out west.”
Trevor has become a fixture at the many EV expos and general car shows along the East Coast. The converted Hilux carries the load and T-Rev draws the crowds.
A real classic picture is the 2018 Noosa event. On the right is a photo of Mark Bailey (Queensland Transport Minister) and Sandy Bolton (Noosa Independent Federal Member) in the T-Rev. Mark Bailey is the instigator of the “Electric Super Highway” charge station infrastructure.
If you are in the region, come and see Trev, the EV Hilux, and the T-Rev at the Gympie EnviroTech on August 6th.
If you would like to convert or build your own, “your budget may be the deciding factor, but anything can be electrified!” He is enthusiastic. Check out the pictures of his electric toys on his website. They are limit to that — the sky is the limit.
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