The new charging centre for electric cars in Glen Innes has already had its first customer.
A fan of the Tesla electric vehicle has already turned up and plugged in.
Richard McNeall said he will stop on his way to Alice Springs on Thursday but he’s already tried the machine out. He said that on his next visit he would charge up for about an hour to give him enough juice to get to Toowoomba.
The two charging points are behind the Visitors’ Centre. One is for Tesla vehicles alone and the other is for all types of electric cars.
Either way, the council’s belief is that as the technology takes off, the town will be well placed.
A full charge takes two hours but the council’s Ian Trow said: “We don’t expect people to stop here and fully charge, but, for example, to stop here and go on to Warwick and top up there.”
Electric vehicles are more expensive than petrol cars but the industry expects prices to drop to be on a par in about four years.
Mr McNeall has been in Glen Innes before (in January last year) talking to Mayor Steve Toms and to another electric car enthusiast, Howard Eastwood.
Mr Eastwood is something of a pioneer. Back in 2009, his electric car was the first all-electric new car to be built in Australia and by 2010 he had completed 10,000km.
Mr McNeall drove his electric car around Australia two years ago and claims to be the first to drive an electric vehicle around Australia without carrying a generator.
The charging points in Glen Innes will be free and the council is contemplating putting a solar panel on the roof of the Visitors’ Centre to generate the electricity.
If the demand rises, pricing may be introduced.
More charging points will generate more buyers of electric cars is the strategy of the companies.
And more sales of cars will increase the demand for charging points.
Electric vehicles are coming and they are coming quite quickly. We expect the uptake over the next few years will be a lot more.Ian Trow