Electric vehicles will soon have access to an ultra-rapid EV charging network along the major driving routes from Brisbane to Adelaide including around Sydney and Melbourne, and separately in Western Australia.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $6 million in funding for the Chargefox network, which will be Australia’s first rapid-charging network for EVs, and will be powered by renewables.
The $15 million national roll out will include 21 EV charging sites on interstate highways across the east coast connecting major capital cities including Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane and separately north and south of Perth.
The first two EV charging sites will be in Euroa in Victoria and in Barnawartha North just outside of Albury-Wodonga on the Victorian-NSW border. These two sites are also receiving $1 million in funding from the Victorian Government.
All the EV charging stations will be powered through the purchase of renewable energy. The Euroa site will include a solar and battery installation and the Barnawartha North site will also feature a new solar installation.
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The charging sites are expected to be no more than 200 kilometres apart – well within the range of modern EVs – and will be public, open-access to all EV models currently sold in Australia. Motorists will be able to use the stations via an app.
The ultra-rapid charging technology allows an EV to add 200 to 400 kilometres of range in just 15 minutes, 15 times faster than typical domestic charging points which can take hours.
There will be two stations at each site, each capable of a power output of 150 kW.
ARENA CEO Darren Miller says this is a game-changing Australian-first pilot project that would encourage the uptake of EVs by reducing range anxiety.
“EVs are set to have a huge impact on our energy system. Electrification of Australia’s transport sector could reduce emissions and dramatically change how we use electricity,” he says.
“EV charging networks are being rolled out in other countries, and Australia needs to catch up to ensure that we can experience the same benefits of improved driving experience, lower operating costs, and better environmental outcomes that electric vehicles offer.
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“This will not only encourage more people to purchase EVs, but will also ensure that all charging is coming from renewable energy and provide a useful test case for charging EVs from remotely located, distributed renewable generation.”
Chargefox CEO Marty Andrews said this charging network would be accessible to all, and would help transition road transport to renewable energy.
The Australian Mobility Clubs (NRMA, RACV, RACQ, RAC, RAA and RACT), through Australian Motoring Services (AMS), has also invested in Chargefox, and is now the largest shareholder. Chargefox has also received funding from Wilson Transformer Company and the founder of Carsales, Greg Roebuck.