Free public solar powered chargers for electric vehicles have been installed at two University of Queensland campuses in a bid to kick-start Queensland’s lagging electric vehicle uptake, Energy Minister Mark Bailey says.
Four solar powered electric vehicle chargers were installed at University of Queensland’s St Lucia and Gatton campuses, the first of its kind in Queensland to rely on solar energy.
An electric vehicle charging station at Fortitude Valley was set up in 2015, however it does not rely on solar power.
UQ Global Change Institute Director Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg said today’s climate was a “major driver” for new technologies like the electric vehicle.
“We have realised we need to rapidly reduce the emissions of CO₂ which is a major output from cars,” he said.”As we know right now we are seeing a major climate event on the Great Barrier Reef where up to 50 per cent of it is in real trouble, February was the hottest February in history at 1.35 degrees above the pre-industrial period.”Those sort of hallmarks have compelled us to say that we really need to deal with this problem.”
Minister Bailey said Queensland was a “bit behind the curve” in terms of electric car uptake compared to other countries where electric car sales were being taken up more readily.
“Australia has only got 3000 electric cars, we are a bit behind the curve on this,” he said.
“I suspect that exponential growth is upon us as technology charges forward and the economics of it get better every year.
“While the popularity of electric vehicles will continue to grow, faster charging stations will encourage the further take up of this technology.”
Minister Bailey said a 1600 kilometre electric vehicle “superhighway” that would see charging stations dotted along the Bruce Highway was being looked at, but could not provide a time frame or a costing for the project.
“We are working on an electric vehicle superhighway at the moment through our Economic Development division,” he said.
“An electric vehicle superhighway that would have fast charging stations at various parts of the road network so that if you go away to the coast for the weekend you can stop and do a fast charge just like you would fill up your car as you go and grab a coffee and away you go.
“That is the future and that is what we are working on in the Palaszczuk government right now.”
Minister Bailey said the future of electric vehicles, which he said had become more affordable, in Queensland also relied on federal support.
“The federal government needs to do more to get electric vehicle sales up in Queensland,” he said.
“It is a bit of the chicken and the egg story but we have to work on both sides of that to advance in the same way that other countries have been doing.”
Tritium, the Brisbane based company behind the latest charging stations, have rolled out hundreds of electric charging stations across the world and Tritium managing director Dr David Finn said these stations would encourage people to choose electric.
“It is critical infrastructure to the uptake, it is very hard to make that buying decision when you know that you have to stay within a certain driving range of your home,” he said.
“When I go to the dealership and I am making the choice between petrol cars and electric cars and even if they are the same price, if you tell me an electric car can’t move me from Brisbane to Sydney, I will just buy the petrol car then.
“Without infrastructure, that decision will continue to get made and we won’t have a mass uptake.”
Dr Finn said heading towards an “electrified future” was inevitable, with the Veefil chargers providing a range of up to 70 kilometres for every 15 minutes of charging, faster than traditional charging options.
“Electrifying Australia’s passenger vehicle fleet, which is 14 million passenger vehicles, will provide cleaner and healthier cities for us to work and play,” he said.
“We’ve installed hundreds of our chargers in North America and in other parts of the world, but it is great to see more going in where it all began.”
Electric car owner Gary Crighton from Cleveland has owned a BMW i3 for a more than eleven months and said he and his partner chose to go electric to become more independent.
“If something happened to Australia’s line of oil supply, we have three weeks supply. With renewable energy or power off the grid at least we are independent,” he said.
“At times we may avail of these facilities in the suburbs, but you will find 95 per cent of the time people with an electric car will charge them overnight at home.”
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