The NRMA's latest electric vehicle (EV) fast charger at Club Mudgee was officially opened on Monday, with the occasion heralded as an important link in their network and a means of making the local region more attractive to EV drivers.
The 50 kilowatt (kW) DC fast-charger is part of an NRMA initiative to 'create Australia's largest electric vehicle charging network', complementing those already in place at Lithgow, Dubbo, Orange and Bathurst and across NSW and the country.
Manufactured by Australian company Tritium, it will be the first of its kind in Mudgee, locally there are five 'destination chargers' which are rated at 22kW and are more suited to charging overnight or while you're eating or exploring town, giving about 60-120km of range every hour depending on conditions.
However, the new fast charger can add approximately 50km of range in 10 minutes, depending on your level of charge when you arrive. And it at present it's completely free to use.
NRMA General Manager Ops and Motoring, Dan Maranhao, was on hand to open the charger which he said adds a charging option on the Castlereagh Highway enabling connections to Lithgow to the south and the central north of NSW linking with the Golden Highway to the north. While taking away some of the worry about range anxiety.
"For us this really is about connecting the different communities and really opening up the regional areas to the EV drivers, which are continuing to grow. And this is a very popular destination, so with this connection will hopefully bring a lot of visitors and benefits," he said.
"As we begin to expand the network, for us it's about giving more access for our drivers to regional areas and this is our 36th site in regional NSW, so there are more areas these drivers can explore and visit."
"This one is important, because it connects the Great Western Highway and places like Lithgow, all the way to the central and northern areas as well. Some of the new models really do open up new areas and allow EV drivers to explore further regions."
Also checking out the new charger were members of the Dubbo Electric Vehicle Interest Owners Users Supporters group (DEVIOUS), who'd made the trip. Including Chris Dalitz who said the addition of a fast charger in Mudgee makes the region more inviting for EV drivers, opening up a bigger visitor market.
"One of the reasons we came along is because this is a bit of a missing link for us. And it gives us another alternative for going to Sydney from the Central West, rather than having to go down the Mitchell Highway through Orange, Bathurst, Lithgow, or you can do a loop," he said.
"And it will be a great facility for people coming from the Hunter area, if they're heading to Orange, Parkes or further west. It'll be great for Mudgee as well, in terms of people stopping for an hour and going into the Club or going to one of the coffee shops."
Club Mudgee CEO, Maureen Hutchison, said "it's just another asset in our beautiful town for people to come and use".
"The partnership between NRMA and the Club has opened up opportunities for motorists to come into the beautiful town of Mudgee and spend time within the region," she said.
"The Club has wonderful facilities for visitors which will suit any motorist including great food, an extensive range of beverages including coffee, local wines and craft beers. Visitors can relax in air-conditioned comfort whilst waiting for their cars to be charged."
The NRMA chargers feature two outlets, one CCS2 type plug and one CHAdeMO type plug to fit most electric vehicles, which will enable owners to fully charge in about 40 minutes.
What other options are there?
If you're the owner of an EV, you already have a number of options when it comes to filling up your car, though the introduction of the NRMA charger can make life a lot easier if you're passing through.
They are located at The Zin House, Petersons Wines, Blue Wren Wines, The Stables/Mudgee Information Centre and The Winning Post. These chargers are typically free to use at the discretion of the business owner.
EV owners can also charge at home with included chargers from a 240v outlet at 2-7kW depending on the wiring at the home.
If you're travelling, then tools like Plugshare allow drivers to find one of hundreds of thousands of chargers in Australia to fill up when driving long distances.