Margaret River charges into first electric highway

The first charging station for the electric highway was launched on Symmons Street, Bunbury. Photo: City of Bunbury.
The first charging station for the electric highway was launched on Symmons Street, Bunbury. Photo: City of Bunbury.

A super-charged idea is bringing Margaret River into a new era of sustainable energy.

The introduction of the first electric highway in Western Australia to the Margaret River region next week will remove the hassle of travel for electric car owners and grow sustainable-energy transport in the South West.

Funded by the RAC, the highway will provide access to otherwise remote areas of WA for electric vehicles, with 50 kilowatt stations being spread from Perth to Augusta.

The South West’s first electric vehicle charging station opened in Bunbury this week, one of nine locations to host the publicly accessible outlets.

Margaret River electric car owner James Pardoe said the new charging stations will enable him to power his car efficiently and make the journey to Perth in the one drive.

“It gives me confidence for the drive,” he said.

“Previously I’ve had to camp overnight to charge my car and then continue on to Perth.

“I can do it now without the hassle of stopping.”

Councillor Felicity Haynes said the electric highway was the first of its kind in WA and hoped it was a sign of the electric future of the region.

“I think it’s fantastic,” she said.

“I believe electric cars are the way to go.”

Cr Haynes said placing the charging station in the car park near the corner of Station and Walcliffe Road was optimal due to its central locality and could even accommodate electric bike stands in the area.

She said in an ideal world the charging stations will eventually be solar paneled, following the lead of America.

RAC executive general manager Pat Walker said they had been working towards getting the highway off the drawing board since August last year.

One car at a time is able to be charged, taking 20-30 minutes using their highway ‘superchargers’.

They are all located near facilities that allow the driver to go away, have a coffee and return to their vehicle to pass the time.

Electric car owners will be able to charge their cars for free until the end of 2015.

“The RAC Electric Highway will benefit the South West region by attracting electric vehicle drivers to destinations along the route, helping to support the region’s tourism industry,” Mr Walker said.

“The RAC Electric Highway is another step on the road to a sustainable future.”