Prototype EVgo 350-kw fast-charging station Fremont, CA
The country of Australia is poised to build one of the world’s longest “electric highways,” which will span 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers).
Specifically, the Northwest region of the country will see the electric highway open through the state of Queensland.
In total, 18 stations will be installed along the route, which spans the east coast from Cairns to Coolangatta and then west to Toowoomba.
Not only will the project greatly expand Australia’s electric-car charging infrastructure, but the government will also make the stations free of charge to all drivers.
The Guardian reports environment minister Steven Miles is determined to boost electric-vehicle ownership in the state.
Right now, it’s estimated only 700 electric cars are registered in Queensland, which has a population of slightly fewer than 5 million people.
Tesla destination charging station in Bodie, California [photo: George Parrott]
“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,” Miles said.
Details were not given, but the charging stations will reportedly be able to charge an electric car in about 30 minutes.
Although Australia’s project is expansive, it’s relatively small compared to the Trans-Canadian electric-car highway. That route spans 8,000 km (5,000 miles) of road.
However, the Australian route does rival the Northwest Electric Highway in the United States, which started in the states of Oregon and Washington and is now being linked to charging sites in California as well.
Charging stations are present every 25 to 50 miles along that route, which leaves no electric car stranded and owners searching for a plug.
Like most consumer surveys, many drivers and potential buyers say the largest roadblock to electric-car ownership is a lack of charging infrastructure.
However, many drivers aren’t aware of the existing charging stations around them—the U.S. boasts 43,800 charging outlets, with more being added each week.
In Australia, government officials hope the $2.4 million project will create new job creation in highly-skilled fields.
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Queensland also happens to be the country’s largest carbon emitter; vehicles represent half the emissions from transport overall in the province.
According to an Australian study in 2014, Queensland’s carbon emissions have doubled since 1990 and officials are keen to stem that growth and move the country into the future.
The electric highway will be powered by renewable energy sources, and should go online in six months if all goes according to schedule.