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Maleny’s electric car charging stations attract tourists in Queensland as electric vehicle popularity explodes

Two men standing in a car park holding two electric vehicle charging leads

Few would consider an electric vehicle charging station a tourist attraction. But in an age of dazzling gasoline prices, the popularity of EVs is rising.

When it comes to taking advantage of environmentally conscious day-trippers, one Queensland city pulls out all the stops.

Maleny, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, now has seven privately owned electric car charging stations, including four on the main street that were installed earlier this year.

The IGA supermarket, Maple Street Co-op and landlords Marek and Libby Malter are part of the group in charge.

IGA owner Rob Outridge said his supermarket’s station was always busy – a little too busy at first.

A wall mounted car charging point with a green and white car sign
The electric vehicle charging station at Maple Street Co-op.ABC Sunshine Coast: Jessica Ross

Despite the bumpy start, it proved that electric car owners talk — and they’ve talked about the city.

“They’re looking for places to upgrade,” said Mr Outridge.

“And Maleny is really a long way from Brisbane, so they know they can drive their EVs here, recharge their batteries and move on to the next place.”

‘Plug in, go have a coffee’

Graham Dempster has had an electric car for a year and a half.

A man smiling in the front seat of his electric vehicleA man smiling in the front seat of his electric vehicle
Maleny octogenarian Graham Dempster in his electric car.ABC Sunshine Coast: Jessica Ross

“I’m over 80 and have always wondered what I can do to help the environment and the nation,” Dempster said.

‘What can you do when you’re that old?

“And I just thought you could buy an electric car, so I did.

Although Mr. Dempster has a charger at home, he said the stations were well used by visitors.

“One of the big issues has been the range… people are concerned about the range of their cars… that the stations in the city are helping to allay that concern,” he said.

Maple Street Co-op manager Peter Pamment said he enjoys working with the other companies.

“We had come a long way and almost had one installed ourselves, but then this group decided whether we should go, let’s all go together,” said Mr Pamment.

Mr Pamment said that electric car drivers are now spoiled for choice.

Store manager in store with car charging cable with customers waiting at the counter and fruits behind himStore manager in store with car charging cable with customers waiting at the counter and fruits behind him
Maple Street Co-op manager Peter Pamment in his store.ABC Sunshine Coast: Jessica Ross

“They just stop, hopefully there’s a space – if there isn’t there’s one around the corner and two down the IGA,” he said.

“Whether they’re here for half an hour or an hour, that’s enough to upgrade them and make them feel a little more confident.”

The journey from Gold Coast to Maleny costs $6

The charging stations have been installed by E’langa, which has approximately 100 locations across Queensland.

E’langa CEO Billy Wepener said most of it was located in city centers, making Maleny’s situation unique.

“Maleny is a place that has set the targets to reach net zero,” said Mr. Wepener.

“If I have to travel to Gold Coast to Maleny, which I sometimes do, when I get to Maleny I’m at 40% of the car’s full capacity.

“It takes me about two and a half to three hours at one of the stations to charge it to 100%.

Billy Wepener CEO stands with another man next to a car charging station in a parking garageBilly Wepener CEO stands with another man next to a car charging station in a parking garage
E’langa CEO Billy Wepener (left, pictured with Greg Flanagan) at one of the company’s 100 charging stations.Delivered: E’langa

“So on a 40-kilowatt battery charge, it costs… six dollars.”

This is in stark contrast to the record petrol prices of more than two dollars a litre, which were recorded across Queensland this year.

While electric cars cost more than petrol cars, Wepener says this is offset in the long run by low maintenance and charging costs.

“In five years you would probably get the same price, if not less, than normal vehicles,” he said.

According to the Electric Vehicle Council, Australia recorded 20,665 EV sales in 2021, compared to 6,900 in 2020.

Posted 1 hour ago1 hour agoTue 24 May 2022 at 21:58† updated 1 hour ago1 hour agoTue 24 May 2022 at 22:07