The RAC WA has invested in what it sees as the future of transport with an electric highway to stretch from Augusta to Perth.

RAC executive general manager Pat Walker says that one of the issues stifling the take up of electric cars is “range anxiety”.

An average electric vehicle has a range of between 130 to 170km, he told Tom Coull on ABC South West.

Eight regional councils have shown enthusiasm for the initiative and 11 fast chargers are planned for the Perth to Augusta route.

There are fewer than 100 solely electric powered cars in Perth but many more hybrid petrol/electric, says Mr Walker.

“One of the limits is the ability to get around.

“At the moment, the technology is holding back electric vehicles. Batteries are very expensive. Cars are expensive, but the technology improves.

“We see the price point coming down. We see these vehicles as part of Australia’s and the international future.”

Dearer petrol

The so-called ‘Electric Highway” has arrived just as the federal government announced its intention to reintroduce indexation of the fuel excise.

Petrol prices will jump twice a year, in August and February, RAC general manager corporate affairs Will Golsby told WA Drive. It will mean a “massive hit for WA motorists”.

The measure “continues a chaotic approach to fuel”, continued Mr Golsby. WA has a backlog of $800m in maintenance needed on the roads, he says, yet there is no guarantee that the state will receive a “fair share” of the extra money raised.

Alannah McTiernan is the Opposition spokesperson for Regional Development. Local government has lost $147m in funding, she says.

Federal Labor agreed to support the reintroduction of indexation in order to secure $1.1bn over the next couple of years in order to restore the capacity of local government to fix roads, she says.

Build it and they will come

A century ago when the RAC was formed by 32 enthusiastic motorists, many critics believed that cars would not catch on. One hundred and ten years later, people say the same about electric cars, says Pat Walker.

Refuelling takes 20 minutes for an 80 per cent recharge, and 30 minutes for a complete top up. “It’s pretty quick.”

The Club will pick up the tab for recharging until the end of the yea, then, depending on what individual councils charge, the RAC anticipates a cost in the region of $10.

Mr Walker acknowledges that solar powered electricity pumps would reduce emissions further. However, he points out that solar at the moment doesn’t have the capacity to pump through the amount of energy needed.

“We would have loved to have had solar power charging these stations.

“In the future, I’m sure that even the stations we’ve put in will be redundant. People will pull into the shopping centre car park and will refuel.

“Technology is changing very, very rapidly. We thought it was important that we provide this opportunity for the infrastructure.”

Six stations are located in Augusta, Margaret River, Busselton, Bunbury, Mandurah and Perth. The remaining five in Dunsborough, Nannup, Bridgetown, Donnybrook and Harvey are expected in the next few months.

Extracted in full from ABC.

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