“We need them by our businesses to keep our main street alive,” councillor Jasmin Jones said at Yass Valley Council’s ordinary meeting on November 28.
This was in support of the council approving the installation of the first universal, NRMA electric car fast-charger in Yass.
The charger’s location at the Park and Ride facility off Lead Street is intended to benefit the town’s economy, with drivers spending time in businesses as they recharge.
The fast-charger can recharge two cars simultaneously in about 30 minutes and will be free to use by all for “the foreseeable future,” an NRMA spokesperson said.
Yass is now on the map for electric vehicle drivers and with that comes money being spent in our town.Yass Valley mayor Rowena Abbey
If the company was to charge users, the spokesperson estimated that it could cost $10 per 30 minutes.
There are already 11 publicly available electric car chargers in the Yass Valley, according to myelectriccar.com.au. These are either Tesla-specific or slightly slower than NRMA’s.
Those who were ahead of the curve say installing a charger near their business has been beneficial.
Users spend around 45 minutes and purchase a meal or drink while using Yass Soldiers Club’s Tesla charger, according to general manager Rob Packwood.
The club was one of the first places to have a charger installed for virtually no cost, Mr Packwood said.
Tesla saw the benefits of having a charger in Yass for those travelling from Sydney to Melbourne, according to Mr Packwood.
“We pay the electricity bill, but at a minimal expense. It’s the cost of doing business,” he said.
The Vintner’s Daughter in Murrumbateman has one of the slower 15 amp chargers. While the cellar door doesn’t have a large number of people using it on a regular basis now, owner Stephanie Helm believes it will in the future.
“I feel this will change as electric cars become more popular and as more businesses install them in the region, so it becomes worthwhile for people to drive out from Canberra,” Mrs Helm said.
“We had members from a Canberra electric car club come through a little while ago and they were enthusiastic customers, excited about the wineries, but just hadn’t realised the region was an option for them to explore until now,” she said.
NRMA estimates that nearly all major car manufacturers will be releasing new electric vehicle models in the next three to five years and that by 2030, between 15-40 per cent of all car sales will be electric.
The company is in the process of installing 40 sites across regional NSW to ensure electric vehicle motorists are no further than 150km from a fast-charger. Yass is the fifth site to receive one.
“From our experience of installing chargers in regional areas, if you give people a reason to stop there they will,” the NRMA spokesperson said. “It can be good for local businesses and the people that stop off.”
Yass Valley mayor Rowena Abbey backed-up the benefits to businesses.
“Yass is now on the map for electric vehicle drivers and with that comes money being spent in our town, in our local shops and businesses. This can only be a positive for the valley,” mayor Rowena said.
However, not everyone is happy about the decision. Councillors Geoff Frost and Mike Reid voted against the installation.
“I know that we all feel good about electricity, but we are giving that money to NRMA,” Cr Frost said.
The site for the charger will be leased by the council under a peppercorn licence (a very small amount of money).
The NRMA is hoping to install the new charger early in the New Year.
Locations of existing electric car chargers in the Yass Valley:
- Yass Showground
- Yass Soldiers Club
- Colonial Lodge Motor Inn, Yass
- Shaw Vineyard Estate, Murrumbateman
- Wins Creek Meadery, Murrumbateman
- The Vintner’s Daughter, Murrumbateman
- Four Winds Vineyard, Murrumbateman
- Helms Winery, Murrumbateman
- Mobil, Jugiong
- Some Cafe, Collector