In one year, Wollongong has seen a 50 per cent increase in electric and hydrogen-powered vehicle ownership.

The figures put Wollongong as the local government area with the most electric vehicles outside of the Sydney metro region, with more than 1700 vehicles registered in the LGA.

For Jaime Gallinar, managing director of Wollongong security firm OzTech and proud Nissan Leaf owner, buying an electric vehicle was a no brainer.

Mr Gallinar purchased the second generation of the model and so far, having done 22,000 kilometres, the car hasn’t cost him a cent in running costs.

“We’ve got a fully sustainable building [at OzTech] that runs on solar panels with batteries. So when the sun’s pumping during the day, we fill our batteries up, and the rest goes into my car and it’s free,” he said.

For Gallinar, a big advantage of having an electric vehicle, besides not having to pay for petrol, is that it is a portable battery, with the Nissan Leaf model one of the first electric vehicles in Australia to be compatible with vehicle to home charging technology.

“I have friends that have put a Tesla battery in their house and I said to them, look, I’ve got a battery here, bigger than yours, it costs only about $8000 more and I can actually drive it as well.”

Wollongong City Council has sought to promote the uptake of electric vehicles in the LGA, as part of its climate mitigation efforts.

The council fleet includes 16 hybrid vehicles and a Council spokesperson said they expect its first electric vehicle is expected to be delivered in the second half of 2022.

“We are also working in partnership with the NRMA to install a publicly-accessible, super-fast charger in the Stewart Street East Council carpark,” the spokesperson said. “The new charger is expected to be available in the 2022/23 financial year.”

Other areas in Australia that have seen a dramatic uptake of electric vehicles include those where new apartment buildings are required to have electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

The Sydney LGA of Canterbury-Bankstown mandates five per cent of parking space in new developments have electric vehicle charging facilities. As well, rapid charging spaces are required in new commercial developments.

Canterbury-Bankstown has the highest number of electric vehicles of any LGA in the state.

The Wollongong Council spokesperson said the local planning framework could be updated with similar initiatives.

“The paper will provide the opportunity for input and feedback on topics like mandating electric vehicle charging facilities in new multi-unit developments,” the spokesperson said.

Mr Gallinar, who also owns a high-performance BMW, said he still drives his petrol-powered vehicle on occasion, but that the savings from his electric vehicle meant it was the preferred vehicle more and more often.

“My BMW used to cost me about $250 in fuel alone every 1000km. Now, every time I do 1000km in [my electric vehicle] I put $250 in an account. Now I have $5500 in that account.”

Extracted in full from: Wollongong’s now among the top places in NSW for electric cars (illawarramercury.com.au)

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