Electric Vehicle Chargers Every 150 Kilometers In Oz

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The Queensland government has announced that it will provide electric vehicle chargers every 150 km across the state. The New South Wales government announced 10 million Aussie big bucks for chargers to be installed in apartment buildings. The local Woollies fast chargers at Carseldine are finally open to the public! EV charging is progressing down under.

The Sunshine State has committed to spending AU$42 million over 3 years to install 2,500 new electric vehicle charging stations. The sting is that 2000 of these will be for the use of the government’s own fleet. That still leaves 500 chargers for public use — I would expect that many of these will be added to the Queensland Electric Super Highway. The 10,000-strong Q-fleet is rapidly electrifying. The Queensland government fleet is made up of a wide variety of vehicles. Those that can be replaced with BEVs and PHEVs will be replaced by 2026.

For those who commute to work, drive to the train station, park the car, and catch public transport into town, the government will be trialling “charging banks.” One will be situated at the north end of the Gold Coast (Coomera) and the other at Eight Mile Plains. I am looking forward to more detail as to how these will be managed. (Will they be free? Will cars be moved when charged? How will they be protected from getting ICEd?) It would be great to see banks of low-speed chargers sitting under solar canopies at all the car parks for railway commuters. One can dream, I guess.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey said: “We want to see people taking public transport, we want to see zero-emission vehicles. This is just another innovative way that Queensland’s leading in terms of encouraging people to use electric vehicles and for them to be charged in all kinds of different places.”

Energy Minister Mick de Brenni added that the new chargers would be at hospitals, TAFEs, theatres, and convention centres to “make sure that Queenslanders who’ve made the switch to EVs can find a place to charge their vehicle conveniently. Careful consideration is key to how we roll out EV charging infrastructure.”

“We need to ensure it’s in the right place, where people can charge at the right time that’s convenient for them, and the network associated with it can cope with those demands,” he added. “That sends a very clear message to motorists. If they want to make the switch, there will be an EV charger in their neighbourhood that they can use that is convenient.”

As the grid becomes greener and power prices drop, I expect to see type 2 chargers being installed anywhere people stop for more than 30 minutes. Please note — at the present time, retail prices for power in Australia are historically high, but wholesale prices are dropping due to renewable output. Hopefully this price reduction will eventually be passed on to consumers.

Range anxiety has led some to be hesitant about purchasing an EV, but the more chargers they see in convenient locations and on the highway, the less reluctance there will be to go electric. Dr Andrea La Nauze, an environmental and energy economist with the University of Queensland, studies the charging behaviour of people who own EVs. “I think a lot of people are a bit put off by the idea that you might run out of battery in the middle of nowhere and this announcement certainly should assuage those concerns,” she said.

Majella and I have had experience of this when we did a road trip to Winton. Thankfully, the QESH has now filled these gaps.

“It certainly sounds like it’s going to make electric vehicle charging a lot easier for existing owners and it sounds like that’s going to be particularly the case for long trips, so Queenslanders and any other visitors to the state will have much more confidence in taking those longer trips in an electric vehicle,” Dr La Nauze said. “It’s going to be particularly important for those who don’t actually have access to home charging at the moment.” Like those who are living in strata title dwellings.

Dr Jake Whitehead of the Electric Vehicle Council adds that ease of charging influences the decision to go electric. “That barrier can sometimes be real, or sometimes it can be more of a mental barrier in just wanting the comfort of knowing that that charging infrastructure is available,” Dr Whitehead said.

Further south, in New South Wales, the state government is working to allay the charging anxiety of apartment dwellers by providing co-funding grants of up to AU$80,000 to retrofit existing apartment buildings to make them EV ready. The government recognises that 90% of EV owners prefer to charge at home. This can be an issue for the 15% of the NSW population that live in apartments — over 1 million people. NSW has nearly 84,000 strata schemes.

$10 million Aussie dollars are available at the moment through the EV-ready buildings grant to support: Identification of the building’s current and future EV charging needs; retrofitting of EV charging infrastructure including switchboards, distribution boards; and cabling and enabling residents to easily install their own EV charger. The scheme will close once funds are exhausted. Grants are available to subsidise a feasibility assessment and will cover 50% of software subscription costs for 2 years (up to $1200 per building).

New South Wales has previously supported apartment dwellers by issuing comprehensive guidelines to aid the installation process. Now it is backing that up with cash grants. Great to see the government taking this seriously. The scheme should answer some of the issues covered frequently in CleanTechnica.

We charge our Tesla Model 3 from our solar array on our roof at home. It is convenient and inexpensive. However, we sympathise with apartment dwellers fighting with their body corporates to have solar and chargers installed. We hear these stories frequently at our coffee morning meetups. And we do go on road trips. So, the two announcements above of government action are very encouraging. Even more so are the actions of multiple players to provide convenient charging.

Doing our local, weekly grocery shopping, we have seen three high-speed chargers wrapped in black plastic sitting in the underground car park. Yesterday, after 6 months of waiting, we finally saw them in operation — charging a white Tesla Model 3. Even the local wildlife was curious and had to come and have a look. Thank you, RACQ.


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