Two companies and the local government councils in South West Australia are collaborating to turn some of the area’s roads into efficient electric highways. They entered into an energy deal which calls for the installation of electric car charging stations into the highway connecting Perth and Augusta. The Royal Automotive Club (RAC), the organization that came up with the idea, is going to fund the acquisition as well as installation of the charging stations.
The Balcatta-based firm E-Station will manufacture the stations as well as the accessories needed to keep them working. For their part, the local government councils will operate and maintain the stations. The initial plan constitutes installing at least 11 charging stations. This deal is considered to be the first of its kind in Australia.
E-Station said that their charging stations are compatible with most electric vehicles such as the Holden Volt, the Nissan LEAF, and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. The company utilizes chargers that can fully charge a standard-sized electric car in just thirty minutes. This is very efficient when you compare it to the fact that if you charge an electric car using a conventional power outlet, it can take seven to eight hours. Also, the charging stations are strategically placed along the highway with the same intervals to make sure that drivers reach their destinations without running out of power.
Since the South West councils are given the task of operating and maintaining the charging stations, they are also given the option of collecting fees from drivers who use the stations. If they opt not to collect fees, then they will have to shoulder the costs. Among the places expected to have charging stations are Fremantle, Bunbury, Busselton, Nannup, Bridgetown, Augusta, Mandurah, Harvey, Donnybrook, Dunsburough, and Margaret River. Contracts with the Royal Automotive Club have already been signed by Bunbury, Augusta, Margaret River, and Busselton. The other places are expected to do the same very soon.
According to data released by the Department of Transport, there are at least 18 electric motorcycles and at least 137 electric vehicles roaming the roads of Western Australia. These numbers didn’t include hybrid vehicles. With the installation of the charging stations into the electric highway, these numbers will likely go up which will be a good thing because it will decrease Western Australia’s carbon emissions. The deal is also expected to lure more tourists into the region. Tania Jackson, the leader of the Harvey council, stated that the deal will pour a lot of benefits into the region. It will attract tourists interested in learning about the electric vehicle industry.
The electric charging stations are also very safe and they don’t occupy too much space. E-Station has designed the charging systems in a way that they’re easy to use. All the driver has to do is plug the charging system then wait for at least thirty minutes. The stations have been subjected to dozens of tests to make sure that they work properly. In fact E-Station has collaborated with a company called Circontrol SA to install more than 4000 charging stations in different parts of the world.
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.