With electric vehicle ownership on the rise, Tropical North Queensland is set to host an Australian-first pilot project that will see a network of free electric vehicle charging stations spread across six popular tourist destinations.

Queensland Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, Cameron Dick, has given the green light for the Queensland Government and RACQ pilot project which will see AC charging stations installed across the north.

Member for Cairns, Michael Healy, said the free trial will run for a minimum of 12 months.

“The six chosen sites are Paronella Park, Herberton Historic Village, Coffee Works Mareeba, Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, Hartleys Crocodile Adventures and the Mossman Gorge centre,” Mr Healy said.

“It is expected that most, if not all, sites will continue to offer free EV charging once the trial has ended.

“Electric vehicle ownership is gaining momentum, and residential and commercial buildings in Queensland, as well as public infrastructure, will need to keep up with the technological advancement.”

Member for Cook, Cynthia Lui, said Queensland has been leading the transition with fast charging stations from Coolangatta to Cairns.

“Tropical North Queensland is home to many of our iconic tourism locations and that is why the Queensland Government is supporting this project with RACQ as a major sponsor,” Ms Lui said.

“We want to make it easy for the increasing number of EV drivers from all over Australia to spend time in beautiful Tropical North Queensland.”

Member for Barron River, Craig Crawford, said destination chargers meant EV drivers could top-up during road trips.

“The EV chargers at these sites will deliver between 3.6kW and 7kW (AC) to recharge vehicles to give around 100km to 200km of charging at each site,” Mr Crawford said.

“It means long-distance travel to the Cairns region by EV is much easier due to access to fast and ultra-fast charging using the 50kW (DC) fast chargers along the Queensland Electric Super Highway or the 350kW DC ultra-fast RACQ charger at Toombul Shopping Centre.”

RACQ Head of Public Policy, Dr Rebecca Michael, said holiday time is precious, and these charge stations will allow motorists driving electric vehicles to put theirs to good use by parking and charging up as they visit some of the best tourist locations Tropical North Queensland has to offer.

“They’ll allow users to get about the region and back home again along the Queensland Electric Super Highway through to Brisbane, or beyond to Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide via the Chargefox network,” Dr Michael said.

“We’ve seen many advancements in the electric vehicle market with a wider range of more affordable cars becoming available. It’s certainly an exciting time, but it hasn’t come without some challenges too.

“We know ‘range anxiety’ is a big fear for those considering making the switch to a low emissions vehicle, and a comprehensive and connected electric vehicle charging network is essential to calming these concerns.

“Those travelling along Queensland’s Electric Super Highway can now explore the beautiful far north region, with the confidence that they can charge up as they do so.” Work will commence to install the EV chargers in August at the six chosen sites, with projected completion expected to be in September 2019.

Before joining the Utility team, Eliza worked as a freelance journalist for a number of years. Eliza has the rare talent of being able to find the nuggets of gold in otherwise average source material, and like any self-respecting member of gen-Y is a whiz when it comes to social media marketing and management.

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