“If the people will lead, their leaders will follow.” The truth of that adage can be found in the efforts of the Tesla Owners Club of Australia and the Australian Electric Vehicle Association. Together, they have built a network of 32 amp three-phase EV chargers that spans the entire continent from Sydney to Perth and from Melbourne to Cairns. It’s called the Round Australia Electric Highway and all the chargers can be found on PlugShare.com.
The network spans 17,000 kilometers. The charging locations are about 200 km apart on average, with the furthest distance between charge points being 400 km. Most are capable of adding 110 km of range in 30 minutes, according to Renew Economy. “We’re endeavoring to show that there is ‘people power’ behind the drive to EV’s, and hopefully governments can follow,” says Richard McNeall, a TOCA member and coordinator of the Round Australia Project. “The Queensland government, so far, is the only state that has really thrown its weight behind EV charging,” he adds.
The members of TOCA take their cue from Tesla’s mission statement — to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible. The Electric Highway project is all about getting a usable EV charging route in place “right now.” And its not just for Tesla drivers. “We are all keen to do something for the environment, and the more EVs the better,” says McNeall, who is the proud owner of “Tessie,” a blue 2016 Tesla Model S 90D 2016 which he says was the first EV to drive around Australia without a support vehicle or mobile generator. It was also the first to drive across Australia via the “Red Center” unsupported.
“Tesla has, up until now been the only company selling 300 km+ range EVs, so it pretty well has had to be an all-Tesla effort,” McNeall tells Renew Economy. “Also most people doing this field work are members of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association, and AEVA is most definitely dedicated to an Electric Highway.” If he could get everything on his wish list, McNeall would like the government to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies; take steps to decrease the use of fossil fuels in the transportation sector, and offer incentives to encourage EV uptake as a direct climate action initiative.
Queensland is leading the way toward a zero emissions future, but Australia’s other states and the federal government have done little to nothing at a policy level to encourage the mass market uptake of EVs — a state of affairs that has put Australia well behind most of the rest of the developed world, says Renew Economy.
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