HINDMARSH shire council is embracing the future, having partnered with technology start-up Linga Network to bring electric vehicle charging stations to the region.
The stations will be located in Nhill and Rainbow, which Hindmarsh Mayor Rob Ismay said were chosen due to their proximity to tourist attractions.
Nhill in particular was chosen as it is halfway between Melbourne and Adelaide, making it a road stop for many motorists.
"They chose one at Rainbow because it is a bit off the beaten track, and there are a few things happening in Rainbow like the Albacutya silo being painted and the new brewery," Cr Ismay said.
"There is going to be one at the top end of the main street. People can hook up and then go and do some shopping in the town."
It is hoped that the electric vehicle charging stations will open up the shire to more tourism and spending, as people explore the towns while their vehicles are charging.
"At a minimum they have 20 minutes to kill while their car charges," Cr Ismay said.
"So what are they going to do? They will go and have a coffee, go to the chemist shop, takeaway place, bakery.
"Both of these units are in a position where they can be left and the people are in walking distance of these facilities."
Linga Network Chief Executive Officer, Adrian Kinderis, grew up in regional Victoria and has always had a connection with regional centres. He said that the idea for providing electric charging stations came as his interest in electric vehicles grew.
"I noticed that there was a bit of a delta between the electric cars that were coming, and the infrastructure to support them," Mr Kinderis said.
"Being from regional Victoria I had to live through the lack of high-speed internet infrastructure and mobile phone structure, and sort of felt that this was going the same way.
"I saw that there was a bit of a tech divide there."
After the 2019 - 20 bushfires and the COVID-19, Mr Kinderis wanted to provide tourism dollars for the country.
"I saw that there might be a coming together of a couple of things, which is the need to put infrastructure out there, the manufacturers want to see that put in place. And then you've got these regional towns screaming out for tourism," Mr Kinderis said.
"I thought that there was a way that I could tie this all together."
Hindmarsh shire is the first local council in Victoria to get on-board with the project. Linga Network hopes to roll out 100 new electric vehicle charging stations across Victoria by the middle of 2021.
Charging station manufacturers will contribute directly to the charging network's cost, while Linga Network will coordinate the rollout with local councils on a needs basis, as opposed to financial return.
The project aims to eliminate the electric vehicle 'anxiety' that motorists face when travelling in the regions, while providing a basis to embrace the coming shift to electric vehicles worldwide.
"Hindmarsh shire should be commended for taking this opportunity and really taking on this very quickly. Hindmarsh shire has been fantastic in mobilizing," Mr Kinderis said.
"If you've ever been in an electric car before, you are looking at how many more kilometres you have to travel. Because frankly, once you get out of an urban centre, the ability to charge that vehicle and know that you are going to make it becomes paramount.
"We anticipate that with 53 boxes we should be able to create a network where there is no more than 100 kilometres between each box."
For more information, visit https://linga.network/
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