Meander Valley Gazette

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Charging ahead

CommunityJoanne Eisemann

ELECTRIC VEHICLES still face many barriers in Australia, foremost being our dependence on international car manufacturers for supply.

Mid-range car manufacturers may still be 4 to 5 years away from fully committing to electric models. Luxury brands are ahead, as their potential buyers can afford more expensive vehicles.

Another obstacle is the lack of quick charging infrastructure across the country.

In the run-up to the federal election, both sides of politics have had to address the future uptake of electric vehicles.

Labor’s electric vehicle strategy contains proposed emission standards as well as a target for 50 per cent of new car sales to be electric by 2030.

Labor has also promised about $100 million in grants for about 200 new stations.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor denies that the Liberals are against electric cars and are currently working on an electric vehicle strategy. Speaking to 7.30 he said ‘What we’re not going to do is tell people what cars to drive. That’s just not the role of government.’

Less than six months ago Mr Taylor announced funding for an ultra-rapid charging station network from Brisbane to Adelaide via Sydney and Melbourne, with charge times around 15 minutes.

Fewer than 200 battery electric vehicles were sold in Australia last year, along with about 1,100 plug-in hybrids.

A recent Cities Power Partnership survey shows that almost 81% of local councils are looking at increasing EV uptake in their local areas.

More than half the councils are planning charging infrastructure and just less than half have begun installing public charge points. Thirty- eight per cent say they are planning to include EVs within their council fleets.

In the Meander Valley, as part of the Tasmanian Government’s Chargesmart Program, MVC has installed a 22kw electric vehicle charging station at the Great Western Tiers Visitor Centre and another at the Council offices in Westbury.

‘The charging units are compatible with major vehicle brands and are a first step in providing more energy efficient transport alternatives across the community,’ Mayor Johnston said.

Meander Valley Council is working through recommendations from an Electric Vehicle Implementation Plan completed after an assessment of their current fleet by Sustainable Living Tasmania and The Tasmanian Climate Change Office.

The charging stations support the future transition of Council’s fleet from petrol to electric and are currently available to the general public for use for free.

Installed approximately six months ago, the chargers are equipped with meters to measure electricity use with investigations under way to enable a payment system as usage increases.

‘Initial estimates indicate that over the last six months, 227 kilowatt hours have been used at a total cost of approximately $57.00,’ Mayor Johnston said.