The City of Sydney has installed seven charging stations for electric cars in city car parks to encourage more Sydneysiders to use zero-emissions vehicles.
Kings Cross parking station is now home to three of the charging stations, and the other four have been installed at Goulburn Street parking station.
Drivers of electric cars who use the parking stations can simply pull up and plug into a socket for up to three hours to recharge their batteries with 100 per cent renewable electricity from solar-generated power. The electric vehicle charging is free. Normal parking fees still apply.
"Electric cars produce no emissions, helping to reduce air pollution and the production of greenhouse gases," City Manager of Strategy and Assets, Chris Binns, said.
"Motor vehicle manufacturers estimate up to one third of global sales by 2020 will be electric and hybrids as demand grows and prices fall, and consumers move away from using fossil fuels.
"But for electric vehicles to be a viable choice here in Australia, all levels of government and industry must work together to install the critical infrastructure so drivers can easily recharge their vehicles," Mr Binns said.
The City already has four electric vehicles and will purchase another 10 this financial year. They will be powered by solar energy, with solar panels being installed as part of a $6 million green makeover of City-owned buildings.
"The City of Sydney's current vehicles used for site inspections will be replaced with up to 50 zero-emission electric cars over the next few years," Mr Binns said. "By installing these new charging points, we're leading by example and encouraging businesses and residents to do likewise."
Australia's first public electric-vehicle charging station was installed at Derby Place, Glebe, in 2010. It charges a plug-in Prius operated by GoGet car share, and is used by more than 500 residents and businesses.
The City also has 49 hybrid cars, 20 diesel-electric hybrid trucks and 84 maintenance and waste-collection trucks fitted with environmentally friendly exhaust systems and filters.
Electric vehicles create no polluting petrol fumes, less noise, and when powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, no greenhouse gas emissions. Electric vehicles already in Australia are capable of travelling for at least 100 kilometres per charge and can reach speeds of more than 100km/h.
There are currently three models of electric car on sale in Australia and a range of importers are looking at bringing both passenger and light commercial electric vehicles to the Australian market over the next few years.
The NSW Government recently committed to establish a working party to consider urgently issuing a technical direction to allow the reservation of on-street parking bays for recharging stations, as requested by the Office of Environment and Heritage, Google, the City, NRMA and major property developers.
The working party will also establish technical guidelines for councils.