A network of electrical charging stations dotted throughout Western Australia’s South-West now forms the country’s first extended road route for electric vehicles (EVs).

Most EV owners plug their cars into a socket at home and they can take anywhere from three to eight hours to fully charge.

Once charged, the car will only go as far as the size of the battery allows, which is about 150 kilometres for most common models.

This has made electric vehicles ideal for zipping around the CBD but difficult to take on longer trips.

But that is now a thing of the past for those who have their sights set on cruising through the South-West.

From Perth to the beachside tourist town of Augusta, 310 kilometres from the capital, 12 publicly accessible charging stations will take just 30 minutes to fully charge a vehicle.

There are fewer than 150 EV owners in Western Australia but it was hoped access to the chargers would encourage more people to buy the cars, which start at $49,000.

The RAC funded the Electric Highway and president Esme Bowen said she hoped the bright yellow charging stations would get people talking.

“I think it’s just about getting people exposed to them and I think this highway will give people the opportunity to think, ‘What’s that car doing? What does it do? What does it mean?’,” Ms Bowen said.

Charging stations expected to be built across the country

Dr Chris Jones from the Australian Electric Vehicle Association said there was a reason there were so few EV owners in Australia.

“We do have longer distances than most to travel and so the limited range of the current fleet of EVs plays a part in that,” he said.

“We also don’t have any government incentives whatsoever whereas most other nations have got something.”

The start-up costs are on the more expensive side, but the cost of running an EV is just a fraction of fuel-powered cars.

Owners can use the new charging stations for free until the end of the year when it will start costing between $3 and $5 for a full charge.

Dr Jones said while electricity was not a completely green option, it was preferable to using petrol or diesel.

“EVs aren’t saints, the batteries need to come from resources that are dug out of the ground, but they will run on virtually zero carbon emissions if you charge it from solar or wind for the rest of its life, as the majority of EV owners do,” he said.

Dr Jones said it was just a matter of time before similar charging stations were built across the country.

“All it took was a bit of motivation; it’s an elegantly simple system. All of the infrastructure to deliver the energy is already there, it’s just a case of putting the right charger there,” he said.

“Anywhere where you’ve got power lines running past you can put a charging station.”

Extracted in full from ABC.