Canberra to become electric vehicle friendly by 2012

Canberra is set to become the first Australian city and the third in the world, after Jerusalem and Copenhagen, to support electric cars with an international company setting up the infrastructure creating recharge points in the capital city's homes, workplaces and shopping centres in three years.

Better Place, the California-based company plans to facilitate electric car travel across the world and has chosen Canberra as the starting point to roll out the initiative in Australia.

The company said Jerusalem and Copenhagen would be the only two cities in the world to have the infrastructure for electric cars in place ahead of Canberra.

Former Victorian state MP and chief executive of Better Place' Australian operations Evan Thornley said the company would complete basic network in 12 months after it starts establishing plug-in points and automated battery 'swap 'n' go' across Canberra in 2011.

He said the company will install enough public plug-in points on the first day so that the first drive would feel that he has access to access to plug-in-points. The company would ensure that from outset there would be adequate infrastructure in place to facilitate the early uptake of electric vehicles.

He said Canberra had been selected for to initiate the roll out in Australia because of its size, high motor vehicle use and its proportion of garage parking and two-car households which is the highest in Australia.