Ultrarapid EV charging stations to link Australian cities

Monday, 22 October, 2018

Ultrarapid EV charging stations to link Australian cities

Start-up company Chargefox will soon commence building Australia’s largest open, ultrarapid network of charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs), powered by renewable energy and enabling EV owners to drive between a number of major cities.

The national rollout will include 21 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 charging sites will be in Euroa in Victoria and Barnawartha North, just outside of Albury–Wodonga on the Victorian–NSW border, both of which were funded by the Victorian Government.

The charging sites are expected to be no more than 200 km 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 find, use and pay for the stations via the Chargefox app.

The ultrarapid charging technology allows an EV to add 200 to 400 km of range in just 15 minutes — 15 times faster than typical domestic charging points, which take hours. There will be two stations at each site, each capable of a power output of at least 150 kW and up to 350 kW, which will be the fastest of any charger currently available in Australia.

All the 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.

Funding for the $15 million network has come from a combination of sources, including the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) ($6 million), the Victorian Government ($1 million), Wilson Transformers and the founder of Carsales, Greg Roebuck. 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.

“The Australian Mobility Clubs want to encourage greater take-up of electric vehicles by providing our members with access to this new technology,” said AMS CEO Michael Reed.

“The benefits of EVs include much lower running costs, they are cheaper to maintain and they reduce harmful air pollution. By investing in Chargefox, the Australian Mobility Clubs are building on their current investment to improve the infrastructure of this country and remove one of the major barriers that limits the adoption of EVs.

“Having a national network of ultrarapid charging stations will enable our members and all drivers of EVs to travel confidently between cities and states.”

In June, ARENA and CEFC published a report which predicted the uptake of EVs would significantly increase in the next decade but identified a lack of fast charging infrastructure as a key barrier. The new pilot project will thus encourage the uptake of EVs by reducing range anxiety, according to ARENA CEO Darren Miller.

“Range anxiety is a key barrier to uptake of EVs in Australia, but this network will help alleviate that concern by giving motorists comfort they can travel long distances,” Miller said.

“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.

“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.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/zapp2photo

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