Australian Governments have been widely criticised for not funding the electric recharging infrastructure. Thankfully that’s slowly changing with ARENA announcing a new $15M contribution to Evie Networks.
ARENA was established by the Australian Government back in July 2012 to improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia.
Investments made by ARENA never fully fund projects, rather help make projects larger than they otherwise would have been, basically funding good ideas. In relation to EV charging, they often expand the geographic coverage to the rollout.
This latest $15M from ARENA is part of a $50M project to rollout 350kW ultra-fast charging across Australia. This network of 42 sites (23 in the next 12 months) will be expansive, running from as south as Tasmania, up to the North Queensland, while also including Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane.
Charging at these locations will be available from the Aussie-based Tritium chargers. The Veefil-PK high power charging system operating at 350kW can add as much as 350km of range in just 15 minutes to an electric vehicle. Right now there are no vehicles sold in Australia that are capable of charging at this rate, but even at 250kW, you’ll likely take longer getting a coffee than charging.
These use a CCS Type 2 connector, which is quickly becoming the EV charging standard, followed by the competing Chademo, which fewer automakers are selecting. To use the chargers, you’ll simply grab the mobile app, or use tap and pay, any time of the day to charge.
This announcement is massive for Evie, as their website currently states just 85km and 4 fuel litres have been saved. Clearly there’s a long way to go for the company who also received $28M of funding back in February from major shareholder St Baker Energy Innovation Fund.
The funding provides working capital to support building a $100M infrastructure project covering the national highway network.
Just like the growth of mobile networks 20 years ago, or the solar industry ten years ago, the electric vehicle (EV) charging industry is ripe for professionalisation and rapid growth. We’re building a team with deep domain experience in both electric vehicles and infrastructure deployment.Fast Cities’ Co-founder Paul Fox
ARENA also funded the Chargefox Electric Vehicle charging network to the tune of $6 Million in October of 2018 which made up just over a third of the overall project cost which was around $15 Million. This included 21 ultra-rapid EV charging sites.
While EV car sales and recharging availability is definitely a chicken and egg game, it seems finally the Government has realised they need to invest and god first, to kickstart EV sales in this country. Comparative to many other established economies across the globe, Australia is severely behind in EV adoption, often double digit percentages of new vehicle sales.