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Leading the way in renewables

The Corryong Neighbourhood Centre (CNC) celebrated the installation of the first public electric vehicle charger in the Upper Murray this week at the Upper Murray Community Garage, the CNC’s social enterprise in Walwa.

The opening was attended by CNC staff and Committee, community members and Towong Shire Mayor, Andrew Whitehead. 2 electric vehicles (EV) were brought to Walwa - Tony Mimmo from Wodonga Car World came up with a MG ZST and Ken Dale from the Tumbarumba Chamber of Commerce brought his Kia Niro. Tony & Ken both provided a wealth of information on the vehicles, the charging process and what it is like to own an electric vehicle in a remote regional area. Ken is obviously a confirmed EV supporter. The Kia is his 2nd electric vehicle which he says saves him $1,500 every 10,000km in fuel & service costs.

The charger installed at Walwa is a level 2, 3 phase 22kw EVSE dual Ocular tower, which, depending on the charging capacity of the vehicle, will charge at a rate of approx. 1hr per 100km of range. As expected with this first real-life test, there were a few technical hiccups with the first charge of 2 vehicles at once but it all got sorted out and both vehicles left with plenty of charge to get home.

CNC Co-ordinator Sara Jenkins said “while it is a long journey in the Upper Murray from diesel utes to electric vehicles, for the CNC this is the first step in raising the profile and possibility of EVs in the area. As well as opportunities to demonstrate the benefits of EVs to the Upper Murray community, having the charger installed in Walwa allows electric vehicles to travel for the first time directly between Albury/Wodonga and Thredbo. In particular it allows them to travel along the Great River Rd, bringing more visitors to the Upper Murray to access and appreciate the natural beauty of the river and our region. More EV chargers are planned for installation as part of the bushfire recovery process of rebuilding and improving facilities in several UM townships, which will make the Upper Murray experience accessible for the growing number of EV owners across the country.”

The charger is also a peripheral part of the Upper Murray Power Plan. The Garage is placed to play a role in providing sustainable power in Walwa in the future as this very large, important project develops. UMI’s Ian Cesa, who is leading the Power Project and Heath Shakespeare from Indigo Power were on hand at the opening to discuss local power resilience and reliability.

The EV charger project was funded by FRRR Strengthening Regional Communities grant. Sara thanked FRRR for being true advocates for regional & rural innovation and growth and great supporters of the CNC for a number of years.

Sara also thanked Matt Charles Jones from Total Renewable Yackandandah. "Matt provided so much of the information for the project planning and application and the connections to the people needed to complete the project and to the garage staff for doing the work to get it done, both physically and the research, follow up and chasing the details.”

The charger is available for use 24 hrs a day 7 days a week at a cost of 32c/kw through the Exploren app.

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