Charging stations will be built across eight geographic regions covering 14 of Australia’s most populous cities.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency was so enthused by the quality of applications for the first round of the government’s Future Fuels Fund that it boosted it’s initial allocation of $16.5 million to $24.55 million in funding to five applicants across 19 electric vehicle fast-charging projects.
Evie Networks will receive $8.85 million for the delivery of 158 fast-charging stations across eight regions; Ampol will receive $7.05 million towards 121 fast-charging stations in four regions; Engie gets $6.85 million for the delivery of 103 fast-charge stations across four regions; Chargefox will receive $1.4 million for the delivery of 16 fast-charging stations in two regions, and; Electric Highways Tasmania gets $400,000 towards five fast-charge stations.
The five applicants will deliver 403 new fast-charging stations, each capable of charging at least two EVs concurrently at 50kW or above. Round on of the project, worth $79.9 million, will see a seven-fold increase in the number of fast charging stations in Australia’s most populated cities and regions.
In addition to networks in the capital cities in every state and territory, regional centres including Geelong, Newcastle, Wollongong and the Sunshine Coast will each receive a minimum of eight new fast charging stations to drive the uptake of EVs in regional locations.
The Future Fuels Fund is a $71.9 million initiative announced in the 2020-21 federal budget to remove barriers to the uptake of new vehicle technologies. Round one aims to support the growing number of Australian motorists with EVs with a charging network across regional and capital cities, while subsequent rounds will focus on increasing EV charging capacity in regional areas, reducing barriers to transitioning business fleets and increasing the use of hydrogen and biofuels in the transport sector.
The fast lane
Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari said the charging infrastructure announcement was important on a number of levels.
“These new fast-charging stations will provide a practical benefit to EV drivers, but beyond that they will also have a powerful effect on consumer sentiment,” Jafari said.
“We know Australians are very interested in buying electric cars, but there is hesitancy about whether or not the government will back them with infrastructure and supportive regulation.
“The highly visible construction of hundreds of new fast-charging stations across the country should send a powerful message to consumers about the viability and practicality of making the switch to a zero-emission vehicle,” he said.
Jafari suggested the federal government should encourage the adoption of EVs through consumer incentives and by introducing fuel emission standards, similar to those enforced in the US and Europe.
ARENA chief executive Darren Miller said he was encouraged by the standards in the local EV infrastructure industry.
“The proposals we received were of such high quality, we were compelled to increase the funding,” Miller said. “We’re delighted to be able to support more than 400 charging stations across the country.”