FIRST, there was the information super highway.
Now plans have been unveiled for Australia’s first electric super highway.
A string of charging stations for electric cars will be set up between the Gold Coast and Cairns, the Queensland government has announced in a move it is hoped will encourage the use of the green vehicles.
Acting Main Roads Minister Steven Miles said the charging stations would be rolled out at 18 locations from Coolangatta to Cairns in the next six months, costing about $3 million.
“They will be available for use at no cost for the initial phase of the super highway so we can encourage as many people as possible to start using them,” Dr Miles said.
“This project is ambitious but we want as many people as possible on board the electric vehicle revolution, as part of our transition to a low emissions future.”
Dr Miles said the project had the potential to revolutionise travel in Queensland, with owners of electric cars able to travel almost the entire length of the vast state for free.
“The most recent Queensland Household Energy Survey showed that 50 per cent of Queenslanders will consider an electric vehicle, plug-in hybrid or regenerative braking hybrid, when purchasing a new car in the next two years and that majority said improvements to public fast-charging infrastructure would further tempt them into purchasing an EV,” he said.
“The Queensland Electric Super Highway has the potential to revolutionise the way we travel around Queensland in the future.”
However, during budget estimates hearings in state parliament, opposition main roads spokesman Andrew Powell raised concerns that not all electric cars would Abel to be recharged at the stations.
He had received a letter from the owner of a luxury electric car concerned their car was not compatible.
“An owner of a BMW i3 contacted the LNP saying ‘the charging stations which the Queensland government is planning to install again do not have the plug that fits my vehicle,’” Mr Powell said.
Director-General of the Department of Transport and Main Roads Neil Scales said the charging stations should fit “most” types of electric cars.
Dr Miles later clarified the BMW i3 could use the stations in a “slow-charging” capacity.
In response to questioning, Mr Scales said there were around 700 electric cars currently in use on Queensland roads, not counting hybrid vehicles.
The government hopes that establishing the charging stations along Queensland’s longest highway will lead to a significant boost in that number.