Charging station will draw tourists who drive electric vehicles

A charging station has been built on Mary Terrace, Murray Bridge, and Wellington will soon get one too.

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Murray Bridge is becoming a preferred destination for electric vehicle owners.

A second dedicated charging station, pictured, will soon open on Mary Terrace as part of a new national network.

Chargefox hopes to build Australia’s largest electric vehicle network using the fastest chargers currently available, capable of giving most vehicles 400 kilometres of extra range in 15 minutes.

The company has also developed an app which shows the location of all publicly available chargers around the nation, with support from the RAA and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

Senior charging engineer Kat Lucas-Healey said Murray Bridge was an important stop on the Adelaide to Melbourne route.

“We’ve got chargers roughly every 200 kilometres, so people know when they buy an electric vehicle they’ll be able to go those longer distances if they need to,” she said.

“A charge in Murray Bridge is enough to get to the city or tourist areas like Kangaroo Island, the Coorong or the Clare Valley.”

Electric vehicles’ range is limited by the charge they can hold – their owners more often drive shorter distances and plug them in overnight.

But Ms Lucas-Healey hoped Chargefox’s network would open up regional Australia to tourists willing to embrace a less rushed mode of travel, with short stops for coffee, lunch or a look around every couple of hours.

“It’s slightly different to what we’re used to, comparing the range on a tank of petrol to the range on a battery,” she said.

“But the electric vehicles you buy nowadays might be able to skip every second (charging) station.

“The cars are improving quite rapidly ... Teslas are still very popular, but some that are a lot more affordable are coming out.”

The existing chargers in the Murray Bridge council car park, pictured, will be relocated to two new spots after Chargefox’s station opens.

One will move to the car park behind the town hall, off Railway Terrace, and the other to a site on Old Punt Road at Wellington.

Electric vehicles are likely to make up at least 70 per cent of new car sales in Australia by 2040, according to Infrastructure Australia projections.

More than 6700 were sold in Australia in 2019, according to the Electric Vehicle Council: three times more than the previous year, but still just 0.6 per cent of total vehicle sales.

Ms Lucas-Healey echoed that organisation’s call for a government subsidy for electric cars, like those available in Europe and China; or a managed transition away from combustion engines, like the 2035 deadline announced in the United Kingdom.

Photos: Peri Strathearn.