Powering up south-east electric highway

Eurobodalla Council is seeking support to establish an electric highway from Sydney to Melbourne via Canberra and the south coast.

The highway would comprise a series of universal electric vehicle fast charging stations to make regional areas more accessible to electric vehicles by significantly increasing their range.

Above: Plug wars: the battle for EV charging supremacy, Japanese and Germans use different protocols and are fighting for advantage

The concept already has the support of all councils along the route: Wollongong, Kiama, Shoalhaven, Bega Valley, East Gippsland, Wellington, LaTrobe, and Baw Baw councils, as well as federal Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis, Eden Monaro MP Mike Kelly, ACT Government Chief Minister Andrew Barr and the NRMA, which is establishing a state-wide network of universal charging stations. Eurobodalla Council last month again wrote to NSW, ACT, Victorian and Australian Government representatives along the route seeking their support.

Council’s Sustainability Coordinator Mark Shorter said that given the broad support, the project could soon proceed to the funding and planning stages.

“It is entirely feasible to connect Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney with as few as 12 charging fast charging stations,” Mr Shorter said.

“These could be spaced at an average of 97km apart and make it possible for all major electric vehicle types in Australia to travel this route.”

He said the benefits of electric vehicles were many.

“They’re cheaper to run, they’re better for our health in terms of emissions and they’re a sustainable alternative to our reliance on fossil fuels,” he said.

“Having an electric highway could also provide a big boost to regional tourism,” Mr Shorter said.

“It enables drivers to stop and refuel for 20-30 minutes in our regional towns. It also removes ‘range anxiety’ by significantly extending their range to reach a favourite beach-side destination or simply travel along the coast from Melbourne to Sydney.”

An initial concept proposes three charging stations in Eurobodalla at Batemans Bay, Bodalla and Tilba.

“The whole highway proposal is estimated to cost between $500,000 and $1 million,” said Mr Shorter, “we’re really hoping the state and federal government get on board.”

Above: Four Tesla electric vehicle superchargers were recently installed in Narooma Plaza’s eastern carpark.

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