Electricity highway a $3m fail

THE State Government has wasted $3million building electric car charging stations from the Gold Coast to Cairns, according to Nationals MP George Christensen.

Queensland boasts "the world's longest electric vehicle super highway” after the last two charging stations were completed in January to service the state's 1300 electric and hybrid cars.

Fast-charging stations were installed at Mackay, Bowen, Cairns, Marlborough, Maryborough, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast, Townsville and Tully.

Electric recharging is free but that will be phased out in January with a recharge cost expected to be about $45.

The recharge station for electric cars on Gregory St in the centre of Mackay.
The recharge station for electric cars on Gregory St in the centre of Mackay. Campbell Gellie

At the Bowen station for most of yesterday morning, Mr Christensen said not a single person had used it.

"$3million spent across Queensland and I am sure every single station is going to be like this all day. No one there... what a waste of money,” he said.

Mr Christensen said the money had been spent on people who were able to spend more than $120,000 on an electric car.

However, BMW released its i3 electric hatch in February. It can be bought in Queensland for $69,000.

State Minister for Transport Mark Bailey hit back at Mr Christensen saying he was living in the past and was probably a fan of ships, stage coaches and reads by candlelight at night.

General Motors, Volvo and other car manufacturers have said they will stop manufacturing 100 per cent combustion engine vehicles within a few years and Mr Bailey said the State Government was getting ahead of the game and investing in technology for electric cars.

"There is no doubt we will see more and more electrical vehicles on our roads,” he said. "It is going to happen if George likes it or not.”

The Department of Transport and Main Roads was asked how many times the stations between Gladstone and Cairns had been used and did not give a response.

Mr Bailey said he didn't have "those particular (statistics) at the moment... (however) whatever the usage rates are it is going to increase”.

Opinion: Grant Edwards Motoring Editor

GEORGE Christensen wouldn't know his arse from a power point. Claims the Queensland electric super highway is a $3million white elephant lack research and knowledge.

The Sunshine State is being hailed as the nation's leader by the automotive industry that is rapidly speeding toward electronic technology.

Having attended some of the world's biggest motor shows over the past three years, all the alternative energy talk is focused on battery power.

I must have missed George sitting at the endless press conferences where manufacturers from Hyundai through to Mercedes-Benz detailed their electric plans.

Last month, BMW boss Marc Werner launched a broadside at Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his government for sitting idle on electric vehicle infrastructure.

He had a vested interested. BMW just launched the new i3 (starting from less than $69,000, not $120,000, George).

By the end of the year Hyundai will have two pure electric vehicles.

Expect them to start from less than $50,000, with the Kona Electric to have a range of about 350km. Nissan will follow quickly with the Leaf, as will Holden with its Bolt.

Mr Werner rightfully asks "Things like strong electric vehicle targets, CO2 emission targets, extended charging infrastructure and tax incentives ... that all works in other countries, why not Australia?”.

Electric cars accounted for less than 0.1 per cent of sales in Australia last year. Combined with hybrids, the figure hovers about 1 per cent of the total market.

But not so long ago we also didn't have mobile phones.

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