The first electric charging station was opened in Brisbane last week, in a joint venture between Brisbane City Council, energy retailer ERM Power, and GE Australia. The station sits in a CBD car park underneath King George Square, and has two bowsers, each 100 per cent powered by renewable energy.
According to News Media, whilst the council says that it will wait to see how the uptake of the service performs before setting up more stations, GE Australia claims to have plans to install stations underneath apartment blocks, office buildings and at car rental bases around Queensland.
The 12 month trial project’s aim, as reported by CitySmart, is to capture information on electric vehicle driving and charging behaviours including how often and when the charging stations are used and the influence of availability of chargers on driver behaviour.
Brisbane Council says that the charging is free and half-price parking is available for drivers of electric cars. According to The Brisbane Times, they number only 48 of the almost 2.5 million cars registered with the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
A GE Australia representative said that the introduction of the pilot scheme was more about taking the first step in “an inevitable industry transition”, and would help facilitate a “mass adoption of EVs [electric vehicles]”. Other major Australian capital cities have already installed charging stations, in part motivated by predictions from the Australian Energy Market that one in five vehicles would be electric by 2020, and up to 54 per cent by 2030.