The Queensland Government has announced it will create an electric highway connecting the state's north and south coasts, in an effort to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs).
The strategy is similar to that which led to the 'Electric Highway' established by RAC WA in Western Australia.
Officially dubbed the Queensland Electric Super Highway, the EV fast-charging network will stretch from the Gold Coast all the way to Cairns - meaning it will span at least 1700 kilometres, making it the longest of its kind in the world.
While the exact route is still to be confirmed, the Queensland Government detailed the first 18 towns and cities that will make up phase one of the highway, including Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Brisbane, Coolangatta and Toowoomba.
Steven Miles, environment minister and acting main roads minister, said the electric highway will be a series of fast-charging EV stations to encourage the uptake of electric cars in Queensland.
"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.
"Today I’m announcing the first 18 towns and cities that make up phase one of the Electric Super Highway and will, once operational in the next six months, make it possible to drive an electric vehicle from the state’s southern border to the Far North."
"They will be available for use at no cost for the initial phase of the super highway so we can encourage as many people as possible to start using them," he added.
Additionally, the energy supplied to the fast-chargers will be green power purchased through green energy credits or offsets.
"EVs can provide not only a reduced fuel cost for Queenslanders, but an environmentally-friendly transport option, particularly when charged from renewable energy," Miles said.
"The Queensland Electric Super Highway has the potential to revolutionise the way we travel around Queensland in the future."
According to the most recent Queensland Household Energy Survey, some 50 per cent of people will consider an EV or hybrid when purchasing a new car in the next two years. The study added that the majority of participants said improvements to public fast-charging infrastructure would further tempt them into buying an EV.
"I encourage all governments across Australia to follow suit, particularly as this support will help to provide motorists with increased choice of cars that are cheaper and healthier to operate," said Miles.
"The future truly is electric."
Above: BMW i3
Automotive manufacturers and representatives have welcomed the Queensland Government's announcement, particularly after several firms have criticised Australia's slow implementation of EV infrastructure in recent months.
"The BMW Group is a global leader in innovative personal mobility and we currently offer seven pure electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles in the Australian market. We have the product and the customers – now all we need is the infrastructure," said Marc Werner, CEO for BMW Group Australia - who said in June our government has "stuck their collective heads in the sand" with regards to legislation and strategies for low-emissions vehicles.
“And that’s why it is so heartening to see the Queensland Government showing such strong leadership with strategic policy direction and action on infrastructure. This progressive initiative sets the benchmark for other Australian governments to follow.”
Meanwhile, Behyad Jafari, CEO of the Electric Vehicle Council, said: "The Queensland Government is to be commended for its national leadership in providing electric vehicle infrastructure. Today’s announcement is an important step to supporting the use of electric vehicles.”
“This initial support from government serves as a signal that Queensland is serious about electric vehicles; providing the opportunity for investment to grow our economy and create new, high skilled jobs.”
“I encourage all governments across Australia to follow suit and provide motorists with the support needed to promote electric vehicle uptake,” he added.
List of phase one fast-charging destinations
- Miriam Vale
- Cooroy, Brisbane