Back in March, I covered the launch of DC fast charging in the regional Victoria town of Wangaratta and today, I had the chance to experience it for myself.
Today I travelled from Wodonga to the small town of Stanley just outside Beechworth, to capture some drone footage. The day out with my daughter extended to a round trip where we stopped for lunch at Wangaratta, providing a great chance to check out one of the recent electric vehicle charging installations in Victoria.
As we arrived in town I considered a number of locations to eat, helped by the in-car navigation options, but ultimately I knew this site and wanted to optimise for time, picking up some charge while we ate.
Before leaving Stanley, I found the location on Plugshare and shared it with the Tesla app, which then populated the destination in the car, which is a really helpful feature.
When we arrived on Docker Street, the charging location was clear, not only from the charging unit but the now standard painted charging bays that let the general public know there’s something different about these parks (and to avoid unless you are charging your EV).
Both spaces were free, so I pulled into the right spot, knowing my charge port was on the rear-left of my car. The cables on the charger were generous and would easily reach any placement on the car, great for a diverse range of EVs that may charge here.
The charger is on the Evie Network, so I fired up the Evie app, which already had my account and payment details configured, plugged in the charger and hit charge. The first time it didn’t start, saying something about no power, but after a quick disconnect and re-connect, the charging session started.
As I was plugging in and getting started (about a minute after arriving), a Mercedes EQB pulled into the left charging bay. The elderly gentleman asked how long I’d be, to which I explained I had just arrived and planned to charge for about 40ish minutes while we had lunch.
He asked about the second plug, which I explained was the CHAdeMO standard and wasn’t compatible with his car. He asked which vehicles it suited, to which I explained the Nissan Leaf and a couple of hybrids.
He seems a little annoyed at the prospect of waiting but ultimately decided he’d double back to Glenrowan, which now also has DC fast charging and is just 12.5km down the road. This does demonstrate how crazy it is that we’re still installing new chargers that are anything other than CCS2, the default standard in Australia that is compatible with 98% of EVs on the road. Sorry Leaf owners but you simply don’t have the numbers necessary to justify critical fast-charging plugs that are in really limited supplies.
Some charging infrastructure supports both connectors being CCS2 and the better ones support charging two cars simultaneously.
The Evie Charger here is manufactured by Tritium and is the RTM DC Charger | 50 kW edition. While it’s tempting to want Ultrafast 350kW chargers everywhere, the cost difference between the chargers and the infrastructure required to supply that much power is hard to justify in all cases.
I actually quite enjoyed having time to get lunch and had the charger been faster, I would have had to leave lunch to move the car, making it less convenient. What I definitely would like to see is more chargers in the regional towns, as Australia’s EV adoption grows rapidly, there are serious challenges in staying ahead of demand.
Having this DC fast charger in Wangaratta is a really great addition to the town and as it did for myself and my daughter today, attracts tourism to the area and encourages them to spend money in the local economy.
Those towns without adequate charging options, risk losing clientele who simply pick a different destination, an audience that is only growing in size – 8.8% of new vehicle sales in Australia during the month of June 2023 were EVs.
Charging options here are important, strategically positioned along the Hume Freeway between Wodonga and Melbourne. This adds to other charging locations along the 350km stretch of road at Barnawartha, Euroa, Avenal and more recently Glenrowan. EV owners now have more options to stop to recharge themselves, and their cars.
With the 50kW DC charging site now open, the cost to charge was A$0.50/kWh, up from the original $0.45c/kWh. Despite some fast-charging locations increasing in price, this still resulted in a small cost, just A$19.01. This correlated to somewhere between 1/3 to 1/2 the price of petrol.