Australian Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen announced plans to build 117 new fast electric vehicle (EV) charging sites on highways around the country.
The project is aimed at producing a national network of EV charging stations, ensuring a fast charger approximately every 150 kilometres on the national highways. Fast-charging stations can have power outputs of up to 350 kW and can provide 300–400 km of charge in 15 minutes.
EV charging sites will have a minimum charge rate of 75 kW even with four cars charging simultaneously according to the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.
The project is part of the government’s $500-million Driving the Nation fund which attempts to lay the groundwork for a shift to EVs throughout the country.
Dr Asma Aziz – a lecturer in power engineering at Edith Cowan University in Perth, WA – told Cosmos the “strategy is a promising step for reducing transport-based emissions.”
“This announcement opens plenty of opportunities” Aziz says.
Aziz says the development of a “local EV value chain and increased EV uptake for future prosperity” will depend on growing a “strong local market for EV.”
“The availability of charging infrastructure is the most important driver for boosting up the adoption of EVs. There is a general lack of information and awareness around charging infrastructure development and management for commercial and residential consumers specially operating from or living in shared premises.”
Dr Foad Taghizadeh from Macquarie University’s School of Engineering also welcomed the announcement.
“With the availability of fast-charging stations along highways, EV drivers will be more confident in their vehicles’ ability to travel long distances, being less worried about running out of their vehicles’ battery,” Taghizadeh says. “This will make positive impacts on EV acceleration uptake, targeting towards reduced emissions.
“However, it will also come with some challenges, such as long wait times during peak travel periods.“
Aziz explains that “operation of energy systems in the presence of EVs would need a comprehensive model for managing electricity demand of drivers’ behaviour.”
“Deployment of charging infrastructure will also necessitate appropriate approval process, cost equity, energy consumption billing, and charging technology regulation. Operators of EVs are unlikely to switch to electric vehicles if the charging process is more difficult, time-consuming, and involves cost equity issues. If EV uptake strategy is not properly managed, these opportunities could turn into future problems.”
Clarification: The initial article reported that EV charging stations charge up to 400kW. In Australia fast charging stations can only have an output up to 350kW.