The lack of engine noise was defining and made it difficult to notice the convoy of fully electric powered cars driving down the Main Street of Lithgow last Saturday morning.
The EV's were here for the Lithgow Community Power Project's first Electric Vehicle Drive Day, which provided Councillors and business owners with an opportunity to experience the new technology first-hand.
"It was a great day," Greg Mortimer, convenor of the LCPP said.
"We had the Mayor and Council's General Manager, several Councillors and staff, Main Street business owners and locals come along for the ride."
The Drive Day was part of a program to develop a strategy for EV charging infrastructure in collaboration with Lithgow City Council.
The plan is to start with the parking precincts around Lithgow's Main Street to coincide with the next stages of the Main Street Revitalisation program, before embarking on a long-term strategy for the entire Lithgow LGA.
"Main Street is a priority because it will potentially enable energy feeds for future charging to be incorporated into any new footpath reconstruction," Dr Michelle Zeibots said.
She is a local transport planner and Senior Lecturer from the University of Technology Sydney who will undertake the study with Council and a team of UTS researchers.
"Public works like this only come around every 40 to 50 years, so it's important to be strategic and make the most of the opportunity when it occurs," she said.
Analysis for the strategy will take on board the need to strike a balance between parking for EV charging and vehicles with internal combustion engines, off-street and on-street parking, growth in charging needs over time and access for residents living without at-home charging options.
Dr Zeibots facilitated a group discussion after the drive with input from EV experts at the Lithgow Workies.
"We surveyed everyone attending the Drive Day, and experiencing EV's first hand clearly makes a difference to how people think about them," Dr Zeibots said.
"Perceptions around vehicle performance change once people have gone for a drive with many feeling EV's are better than vehicles powered by internal combustion engines."
Research shows that around 90 per cent of all EV charging takes place overnight at home, making it a bit like charging your mobile phone according to one EV owner attending the Drive Day.
With several car manufacturers announcing that they will cease mass production of petrol driven passenger cars by 2030, an EV future isn't far away.
Activity on social media following the Drive Day has been strong, with some of it positive and some negative.
"There's been a call for e-Bike charging to be included in the strategy," Dr Zeibots said.
"That's something we will now do."
Community reaction to the event included concerns about Council funding priorities. However, funding for EV charging will most likely come from dedicated EV charging programs initiated by state and federal governments - funding that won't be available to Lithgow if they don't have strategy.
"We want our region to be ready to take advantage of these special funding opportunities when they come online," Mr Mortimer said.
"That way Lithgow won't get left behind."