WA switches on EV highway

WESTERN Australia's bid to overcome an electric car's tyranny of distance, which limits owners to trips less than 500km, has taken off this week with the nation's first electronic highway being unveiled this week.
WA switches on EV highway WA switches on EV highway WA switches on EV highway WA switches on EV highway WA switches on EV highway

Haydn Black

Reporter

The RAC Electric Highway is a boon for the owners of the state's estimated 130 electric cars, at least those wanting to enjoy a weekend down south, with new 50kW stations charging stations in Perth, Mandurah, Bunbury, Margaret River and Augusta now online and plans to extend the network with further stations at Fremantle, Dunsborough, Nannup, Bridgetown, Donnybrook and Harvey.

The electric highway aims to eliminate the issues currently facing owners of electric vehicles, including range anxiety, under which owners are afraid they won't be able to recharge their vehicles after leaving the city.

The RAC is funding the installation of the stations, and local governments will responsible for maintenance.

The consortium hopes the improvements will make a positive contribution toward the growth of this new form of vehicle technology.

The stations will offer free charging until the end of the year.

In Victoria, most charging stations offer free charging or charge between $3.50 and $5 for the first 30 minutes.

Super chargers can recharge a car's battery within 30 minutes, compared with standard 3kW chargers which typically take up to two hours.

Ultimately RAC wants to expand the network to 35 regional charging points, recognising that some cars have ranges of just 125km.

There are only about 700 electric cards on the road in Australia, compared to about 180,000 in the US and 21,000 in Norway because there are no incentives to drive the transformation of electric cards from a niche market into mainstream items.

The cars still cost about twice the price of its petrol equivalent upfront, although enthusiasts say running costs are minimal.

The predictions are that by 2016, 30% of world manufacturing will be focused on hybrid and electric cars.

Tesla announced its intention to link Brisbane to Melbourne via Sydney and Canberra by 2017 with its own-branded superchargers at the Australian launch of the Model S last year, and has recently kick-started the plan by announcing a new station to be built in Goulburn, New South Wales.

Brisbane-based Tritium plans to cover a 430km corridor in Queensland's southeast with 12 of its Veefil fast-charging stations, but no completion date for the project has been announced.

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