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Cities would get up to 250,000 charging stations each

Electric cars have lots of potential, but currently they have many drawbacks as well. A couple of the biggest drawbacks for electric cars are limited driving range and the fact that most cities aren't set up with easy access to charging stations.

An American firm is looking to make charging electric vehicles easier in Australia. The firm is called Better Place and has unveiled plans that would place an electrical charging network costing $667 million in major cities in Australia. Working with Better Place to make the charging network a reality is Australian power company AGL and finance group Macquarie Capital.

The agreement with have the finance group raising the money to build the charge network and placing the network in the country's largest cities like Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. AGL says that the electricity for the system would be generated by renewable means.

Each of the three cities would have a network of between 200,000 and 250,000 charging stations by 2012. Drivers of electric vehicles would pay similarly to a cellular calling plan where the cost is based on the amount of power used.

Better Place CEO Shai Agassi said in a statement, "We call it a ubiquitous charging network across the cities. We are investing in Australia's economy and adding jobs while helping the country take a generational leap forward toward oil independence."

Once the charge system is in place commuters would have less reason not to buy electric cars and the Australian government might offer tax incentives or free power for early adopters of the charge network.

Several carmakers that sell vehicles in Australia are bringing electric vehicles to market including GM and Renault-Nissan. Agassi is encouraging Australian carmakers to develop their own electric vehicles. The network will also have 150 switch stations in each city where drivers of electric cars can pull through a car wash like building and exchange depleted battery packs for fresh ones.

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By StevoLincolnite on 10/24/2008 8:18:50 PM , Rating: 5
Could also be because Australia is smaller in both population size and city density compared to most of American Capital City's - So it makes good sense to set-up here in Aus and test it out.

Also to the other posters... I don't think the Australian Government is funding any of this, yet... I think AGL (Australian Gas and Lighting) will be funding a large portion of the infrastructure.

Personally I'm around 8 hours drive from Adelaide, where no public transport exists, I am yet to even "see" a Hybrid Car of any type in person. xD

By Hoser McMoose on 10/26/2008 8:45:13 PM , Rating: 2
The Aussie government is involved in a least one way, albeit not a direct one.

Fuel taxes in Australia are currently $0.38/litre (AUS $) plus 10% on the final price. Current prices are running around $1.50/litre, so that is about $0.51/litre tax on gasoline.

Converted to U.S. dollars that works out to a tax of $0.31/litre.

For comparison the tax rate in the U.S. are mostly about $0.40 to $0.50 per gallon (varies from State to State), or between $0.10/litre to $0.13/litre. Even California ($0.64/gallon, or $0.165/litre, combined Fed. and State tax) has only half the gas tax that Australia does.

Higher tax on gasoline means the incentive to switch to electric is higher... assuming there isn't a corresponding high tax on electricity. To the best of my knowledge though the only tax on electricity in Australia is the 10% GST.

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