A charging network planned for the north-west of Victoria will now include up to 24 electric vehicle (EV) chargers across 12 local government areas, creating an extensive regional network that will boost tourism and ensure the state’s regional areas do not languish in the era of combustion vehicles.
As reported by The Driven in August, 15 electric vehicle chargers across six government areas will be funded by the Victorian government to the tune of $664,000, part of a $2.7 billion infrastructure investment package.
The other six local government areas will provide their own funding as the project falls in line with their own sustainability objectives.
All locations were identified by the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance’s “Charging the Regions” report, ranging from Mildura, Swan Hill, Gannawarra, Buloke, Mount Alexander, Bendigo, Campaspe, Shepparton, Loddon, Central Goldfields, Wellington, and Whittlesea shire and city councils.
All charging locations – for which a tender is now open and will include 25kW and 50kW chargers – will be installed on council land in key areas identified by the report.
It is expected that all will be free to use for an introductory period, after which councils may choose to recoup the cost of energy used by EV drivers, in line with similar networks around Australia.
Rob Law, executive officer for Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance (CVGA) said he expects the network will encourage tourism in the state, as well as future proofing the regions for the EV transition, and creating jobs.
“Charging the Regions is an exciting project that will provide a dense network of public EV charging infrastructure across large parts of regional Victoria,” said Law in a note by email.
“It will ensure that the regions do not get left behind as more and more electric cars hit the road. It will help boost jobs, stimulate EV tourism and encourage people who live in regional Victoria to think about ‘going electric’ on their next vehicle purchase.”
Behyad Jafari, CEO of the Electric Vehicle Council said in a note that the he applauds the leadership of the CVGA, the Victorian Government and partnering councils in pushing for and rolling out electric vehicle charging infrastructure for regional Victoria.
“Our recent State of EVs report found that 68% of consumers want governments to provide more public charging infrastructure. This is a great stimulus project that can help us build back better.”
The network will complement a similar network being rolled out in NSW by the NRMA that consists of 38 electric vehicle fast charging stations, most recently boosted by another 20 planned sites in a partnership with the NSW government.
Queensland also has an extensive electric vehicle charging network known as the Queensland Electric Superhighway (QESH) which is thought to be the longest such intrastate network in the world with 31 sites stretching from Coolangatta in the state’s south to Carins in the north.
It does not include inland charging sites, but is also undergoing expansion with new sites identified in February at Proserpine and Ingham.
The Victorian government says it will release a Zero Emissions Vehicle Roadmap by the end of 2020, that will help guide the state reduce emissions, improve air quality and reach its goal of net zero emissions by 2050 to tackle climate change.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.