Drivers can recharge their electric vehicles for free in regional Victoria after the first of a national network of no-fee charging stations were switched on.
The first in a planned national network of free electric vehicle charging stations have been switched on with the support of major car makers and local councils.
Motorists can now plug in at the townships of Nhill and Rainbow in Victoria’s west, with hundreds more no-fee chargers set to be rolled out across the country by the end of 2021.
The stations will be spaced about 100km apart so the growing number of electric vehicles on Australian roads can more easily recharge.
Major car manufacturers Jaguar, Landrover, BMW, Skoda, and Volkswagen have given the project the thumbs up.
They’re helping pay for the network’s infrastructure costs, while participating regional councils are providing public parking locations for the stations and covering installation costs.
“Until now, charging locations for EVs have been confined to cities and a small number of major travel routes like Sydney to Melbourne,” Linga Network founder Adrian Kinderis said.
“We’re overcoming the major infrastructure roadblock to EV ownership—’charge anxiety’—while supporting regional communities through tourism, economic activity and a boost to their sustainability credentials.”
The stations will take approximately one hour to reach a 20 per cent charge per vehicle, which is the current average charging time for Australia’s 20,000 EV owners.
Kinderis said Nhill and Rainbow were selected for stations because of their remote locations, which previously would have been difficult for EV drivers to visit.
He plans to have another 98 chargers installed across regional Victoria by mid-2021, opening the state up to EV vehicles.
“Why not use the time it takes to top up the charge on your vehicle by exploring one of Victoria’s many beautiful country towns?” he said.
Hindmarsh Shire Council—which takes in Nhill and Rainbow—mayor Ron Ismay said the initiative had the potential to change the face of tourism in the regions.
“The program will play an important role in bridging the divide between metropolitan and regional Victoria,” he said.
Linga Network is coordinating the roll-out of charging stations.
By Aaron Bunch