22 September 2023

Braidwood a key link in campaign to help electric vehicles charge ahead in regional Australia

| Claire Sams
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electric cars on charge

Mark Hemmingsen is leading a campaign to install two electric vehicle chargers in the historic town of Braidwood. Photo: Supplied.

A key part of any road trip is taking breaks in towns along the way, and Braidwood has long been a popular option for many travelling by car around the Capital region.

That’s why Electric Vehicles Canberra managing director Mark Hemmingsen has put the call-out to Canberrans and other out-of-towners in his campaign to install two electric vehicle (EV) chargers at the back of the Royal Mail Hotel in Braidwood.

“I think it’s a little bit unfair for Braidwood to be expected to pay for infrastructure that a lot of Canberrans are going to use, so I thought we could crowdfund the cost instead,” Mr Hemmingsen said.

“The hotel itself is putting up five grand, so the remaining component is what we’re asking people to crowdfund.”

Mr Hemmingsen said the chargers were intended as reassurance for those leaving cities to travel to the South Coast region, including up and down the Clyde Mountain.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people and we’re well aware that it’s lovely to take our EVs down the coast and get out and about,” he said.

“The reality is that getting back up Clyde Mountain has always been a little bit prohibitive up until the more recent vehicles have come onto the market.

“When the chargers are in Braidwood, you will have the confidence to come up the mountain and know that there is something in Braidwood that you can use if other charging stations nearby are being used.”

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Mr Hemmingsen is hopeful that the chargers, once installed, would encourage more people from Canberra to visit regional NSW.

“A lot of non-EV owners are a bit apprehensive about their first EV because they don’t see the infrastructure everywhere, unlike the petrol stations that are available all over the place,” he said.

“People in the Braidwood area would see the charging station and see that infrastructure.

“It’s that increased visibility to having the infrastructure that would convince more people, I think, to make the transition to EVs.”

Mr Hemmingsen was also hopeful that it would encourage more people, whether they live in the country or the city, to buy an EV as their next car.

“I used to live rurally, and I know that travel is very concerning because you want to know that you can get back home,” he said.

“By having [charging] infrastructure at your destination, that gives you the confidence that you can easily get back home again, regardless of whether you actually need a charge.”

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Mr Hemmingsen said the plan was to have the campaign funded – and the chargers ready to go – by Christmas.

“We would like to get the chargers in before the school holidays at the end of the year,” he said.

“Their presence will give people heading down the coast with their EVs just that little bit more confidence that the trip is achievable, that they can get back home again without having to worry about stopping midway to charge.”

Mr Hemmingsen said that while it was initially expensive to install the chargers, there were benefits.

“EV charging is not a very profitable business in the short term,” he said.

“It’s more about providing the infrastructure for that long-term use.”

The fundraising campaign came at a time when more people were looking to EVs, Mr Hemmingsen said.

“The demand passing through Braidwood is fair at the moment,” he said.

“Four or five cars charging a day is enough to justify putting in the infrastructure, but the reality is that number will just increase as time goes by because we’ve got this trend towards EV adoption.”

The campaign is seeking to raise $15,000 to cover the cost of installation, with donations able to be made online.

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cannedbeeria9:05 pm 23 Sep 23

I wish them well, genuinely.
It would be interesting to see what the cost of electricity for charging will be.
NRMA has announced they will be charging 54 cents per kilowatt hour to 59 cents per kilowatt hour. This is around twice the price for household electricity.
And, to use the NRMA chargers you will need a late model phone and the latest NRMA app.

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