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A Varley Good Idea

A lot of people switch off when they read about electric cars. They’re all over in the USA, aren’t they? Or they’re just concept cars that turn up to make a manufacturer look good at a big motor show. We just can’t get straight electric cars over here in Australia at the moment, and those who are interested in sustainable motoring and alternative fuels have to make do with hybrid cars (and probably feel very grateful for their Toyota Prius and Honda Civic hybrids.
Well, that’s about to change. Varley is getting in on the act. Varley may be quite an old Australian company that was originally founded in 1886 and has been involved in all sorts of engineering projects (including marine, defence force, rail and more) for quite some time. However, now Varley is producing Australia’s first-ever all-electric supercar, the evR450.

The Varley evR450 first made a rather tentative appearance at the Electric Vehicle Conference held in Brisbane in mid-October 2011 and the makers have been surprised at how much interest has been shown in this vehicle. Maybe they shouldn’t have been so surprised – electric cars and hybrid cars are very sexy in automotive design (and this isn’t the only place that electric-powered transport is a hot topic: aviation is another area where the engineers are breaking new ground to get a battery-powered plane off the ground).
The Varley evR450 does quite well in the supercar stakes, as it can do the nought-to-100 sprint in a very, very respectable 3.8 seconds, which can beat the figures of some other Aussie-built supercars such as the HSV and FPV. Its top speed is a nippy 200 km/h, and it can do anything between 150 and 300 km to the battery pack, depending on the type of battery pack under the bonnet.
However, while the Varley evR450 is the first real passenger-style car to be launched on the Australian market, this isn’t the first electric vehicle that Varley have manufactured. Varley already make a number of small electric runabouts that you may well have seen in action. If you’ve seen some of those dinky tugs on wheels at airports pulling the baggage carts and the like, the chances are that it’s a Varley and it’s probably electric. Varley also make those little buses that take people on tours around parks and botanical gardens. Have a look on the back of one of those vehicles next time you see one to see if the Varley logo’s on the back. And have a listen and a sniff, too: can you smell fuel burning? And is the motor quiet?
The Varley evR450 will officially hit the roads in Queensland in January 2012, which isn’t far off. At the moment, they’re not sure how many units are going to produce for sale, and they’re going to wait and see what the demand’s like (which means that it won’t be listed in Private Fleet’s car reviews for the moment, and this post is the best you’re going to get for now). The Varley evR450 is aimed at the luxury car end of the market, and will cost about $200,000.

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