WEEKLY shopping trips to Dalby will be made easier for Bunya Mountains resident Peter Taylor after the town’s first electric car charging station was installed.

Located in Bell Park, the new charging station is a step towards the future for the region and a convenient top up spot for locals while they’re working or browsing the shops.

“It’s just convenience, we always come to Dalby once a week to do our shopping and have a bit of lunch meanwhile the car is charging and we can drive home,” Mr Taylor said.

Dalby is leading the way for regional areas with the first electric vehicle charging station on the Western Downs, the closest being located in Charlton and Toowoomba.

The project was fully funded by the Queensland Government through their Works for Queensland program and is currently free to use until end of August. In 2017, 17 electric vehicle charging stations were installed across Queensland at a cost of $166,000 each.

Mr Taylor was the first to plug into the Dalby EV charging station this week after seeing it pop up in his PlugShare app indicating the nearest charging stations.

Since getting his hands on his electric Hyundai Kona about a month ago, Mr Taylor has noticed vast differences in the performance and cost when compared to petrol vehicles.

“They’re the way of the future, there’s a lot going for them … they’re better for the environment … once you’ve got over the initial cost of buying the car itself they’re very cheap to run and they’re very quiet and smooth,” he said.

His calculations show the electric vehicle runs at approximately half the cost of his diesel ute, as well as reduced servicing costs due to redundant parts like fuel and oil filters and spark plugs.

Mr Taylor said the major hurdles ahead facing public adoption of the electric vehicle include the initial cost and time to charge.

“It’s difficult to get the conventional mindset off going to the petrol station on the way home to fill up in five minutes.

“It’s a different way of thinking about it, you have to plan your trip … It’s good in places like Dalby because you can walk around and get jobs done while the car is charging.”

Having a charging point in Dalby means not only convenience for locals like Mr Taylor, but it could mean more tourists with electric cars will be able to visit the area and travel further out of the cities.

“If you go back 100 years where everyone was riding around in horses and carts and some guy has bought himself a petrol vehicle and he wants to come for a drive to Dalby he can’t because there’s no petrol station so he just takes his horse instead,” he said.

“If you don’t have the charge station here, no one is going to come.”

The Western Downs Regional Council agreed and said the charging station will assist travellers on their journey.

“With an increasing focus on green energy and rapid evolution of technology, Council appreciates it is important ensure both residents and visitors can charge their vehicles on the popular highways that go through the Western Downs region,” a spokeswoman said.

Extracted from Dalby Herald