Fast charging on the rise in the Australian EV sector

With a proposed project pipeline of AUS$58 billion, the 2019 Priority List reiterates the resolve of the Australian government to accelerate deployment of charging infrastructure. Australia has already doubled its fast charging sites in 2018. Join inspiratia in November as it brings together EV charging leaders from across the globe for key business insights at EVS Whistler 2019

The 2019 Priority List is only the beginning of the Australian government’s national initiative to develop a country-wide fast charging network by 2024. Multiple partnerships and collaborations on EV infrastructure projects are expected in the next few years.

The partnership announced this month between Australian EV charging start-up Evie and US group EV Connect represents an important milestone in the deployment of fast chargers across the country.

In the first phase of the project, 80 DC 350kW fast charging points will be installed at 42 sites, connecting major state capital cities.

With ultra-fast stations up and running in Victoria, and more specifically in Euroa and Barnawartha North, EV charging infrastructure developer Chargefox aims to expand and bring more rapid chargers online. In May this year [2019], the Brisbane Toombul Shopping Centre station was among the first four to come online.

A new EV charging scheme from the Tasmanian government also commenced in May, with AUS$5,000 (£2.8k €3.1k US$3.5k) being awarded to several educational facilities and businesses, such as the University of Tasmania and the city of Launceston.

Grants of up to AUS$50,000 (£27.7k €30.1k US$34.6k) will also be up for grabs for those planning to implement fast chargers on the island. At the end of 2018, Tritium, an EV charging developer based in Brisbane, revealed the first 50kW charger in Tasmania.

As more EVs are rolled out, the demand for charging infrastructure in Australia is also growing, with the sector pondering suitable business models that could maximize efficiency and facilitate future deployment across the country.

EVSE business models

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, between 2017 and 2018 the number of EV charging stations in the country increased from 476 to 783. According to government findings, following research conducted by consultancy Energeia in collaboration with Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), there is a phasing out of free charging in favour of a “user pays” model – a pricing approach that requires consumers to pay the full cost of what they consume, as implemented by Chargefox, ChargePoint, charging station management system Everty and the South Australian government.

Historically, the majority of public charging revenues come from government and business subsidies. Public charging in Australia has been more reliant on businesses paying for the cost of chargers, while in Europe and the US government subsidies and “user pays” models have been more prevalent.

As already witnessed in Europe and the US, petrol station operators, energy retailers and automotive associations could be the best positioned to deploy future charging networks in Australia.

The table below offers details on existing public charging stations in the country.

Public charging infrastructure in Australia, 2018

State

ACT

NSW

NT

QLD

SA

TAS

VIC

WA

Total no. of charging stations

20

161

5

162

76

21

216

122

Charging stations/100,000 residents

3.17

2.04

2.03

3.27

4.40

4.02

3.40

4.72

Total AC stations

17

148

5

138

70

21

208

107

Total DC stations

3

13

0

24

6

0

8

15

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, PlugShare, inspiratia

The Electric Vehicle Superhighway initiative of the government of Queensland rolled out 17 fast chargers between Coolangatta and Cairns, which largely led to a substantial growth in direct current fast chargers between 2017 and 2018, the total number of DC stations in the state reaching 24. 

Adelaide

Known as the hub for South Australia’s electric vehicle network since 2017, when eight EV fast charging stations opened and 11 others came to the market by the end of Q4 that year, Adelaide’s newly introduced rebates are expected to better prepare the state for the arrival of a future influx of EVs.

The new sustainability incentives announced on 26 June 2017 include a AUS$250 rebate for an electric bicycle charging station, up to AUS$1,000 (£555 €616 US$692) for an EV one-way charging facility and approximately AUS$5,000 (£2.8k €3.1k US$3.5k) for a two-way charging station.

Adelaide is one of the cities included in Chargefox’s plans to deploy 22 fast-charging sites by the end of 2019, alongside Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane. The company plans to install 350kW chargers capable of delivering a driving range of 350km in 15 minutes.

Melbourne

Melbourne is a frontrunner in the Australian EV infrastructure race, with the largest southern hemisphere ultra-rapid car charging site opening in the city on 4 July 2019. The chargers are able to add driving range of up to 400km every 15 minutes.

The site is the fourth in the Chargefox network, alongside the two sites in Victoria, at Euroa and Barnawatha and the Brisbane one, in Toombul shopping centre. The company partnered with clean energy infrastructure organisation Yurika on this project, as well as on the planned Queensland Electric Super-Highway.

Another 17 stations, all relying on electricity from renewable energy sources, will be rolled out by the end of 2019 as part of Chargefox’s network in Australia.

In a rush to reach a zero emissions vehicle fleet, multiple companies and utilities are looking at shifting their operating cars to EVs. One relevant example is Melbourne Water’s ten-year plan to becoming carbon neutral.

Melbourne Water predicts its future EV fleet will lead to considerable cost savings of approximately AUS$2,000-AUS$3,000 per vehicle per year. As EV fleets are deployed, an increase in infrastructure projects is also expected, with more sites required for charging