Australia Opens First Electric Highway

Australia Opens First Electric Highway
Wildlife Park, Perth Bev Sykes / Flickr CC BY 2.0

A highway teemed with a slew of electrical charging stations has been launched in Australia.


Described as the nation’s first “electric highway,” the road stretching from Perth to Margaret River will have a series of fast-charging power stations. The stations are specifically located in Perth, Mandurah, Bunbury, Margaret River and Augusta.

The size of the battery of most common models of electric vehicles (EVs) today can go to as far as only 150 kilometers, which, according to ABC News, is just about equivalent to going around the CBD. The short duration of the battery limits EV owners to take their units on longer trips.

The EVs take about three to eight hours to fully charge, and thus owners usually charge them at home.

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But the electric highway, funded by RAC, made sure to place charging stations that will just take 30 minutes to fully charge a vehicle. RAC bought and installed the stations of the $700,000 project. Its maintenance will be the responsibility of the local governments.

“We do have longer distances than most to travel and so the limited range of the current fleet of EVs plays a part in that,” Dr Chris Jones from the Australian Electric Vehicle Association told ABC News.

EV owners will get to use the charging stations for free at least until the end of 2015. The local government will then be given the discretion to decide if they will solicit payments and by how much in using the charging station. According to Perth Now, most charging stations in Victoria offer free charging. Those that ask payments usually charge between $3.50 and $5 for the first 30 minutes.

Apart from the initial areas, there are also plans to install electric charging stations for Dunsborough, Nannup, Bridgetown, Donnybrook and Harvey in the next few months.

A charging station in Fremantle will likewise be installed before the year ends.

“It will provide the infrastructure required to help eliminate the issues currently facing owners of electric vehicles, including ‘range anxiety’, and for the first time, it will also provide the opportunity for electric vehicles to now visit the state’s South-West,” RAC executive general manager Pat Walker said.