Accelerating towards the fuels of the future

Applications are open for public fast EV charging projects around Australia’s capital cities and large regional centres.

By: ARENA

ARENA has announced that new funding will be available to support electric vehicle charging projects as part of efforts to overcome barriers to new vehicle technologies.

The first tranche of funding in ARENA’s $71.9 million Future Fuels Fund will be focused on public fast charging projects that expand the network and reduce black spots.

The funding will be targeted to capital cities, as well as large regional centres including Newcastle, Wollongong, the NSW Central Coast, Geelong, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

Applicants are being encouraged to maximise the coverage of their charging stations across the geographic areas.

Additional funding rounds will be launched in future to support business fleets to transition to BEVs and explore opportunities with hydrogen and biofuels.

The initial $16.5 million of funding is focused on the rollout of fast charging infrastructure after industry consultations identified the lack of access to public points in major population centres as a key barrier to uptake for the public and fleets.

Applications for EV fast charging grants are open now and will close on Tuesday 6 April 2021.

Charging ahead

The funding was allocated as part of the 20/21 Federal Budget, with Minister for Energy and Emission Reduction Angus Taylor announcing the Future Fuels Package in September as part of the Australian Government’s First Low Emissions Technology Statement.

In early February, Minster Taylor released the Future Fuel Strategy: Discussion Paper outlining the Government’s vision to “empower consumer choice, stimulate industry development and reduce emissions in the road transport sector”.

Nissan LEAF electric vehicle
Nissan LEAF electric vehicles.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the new fund will help to take advantage of opportunities offered by battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell and biofuel vehicle technologies.

“Through this initial round, we are addressing one of the barriers to roll out of new vehicle technologies by significantly increasing the number of fast charging stations available to consumers across Australia, and reducing charging blackspots in both metropolitan and larger regional centres,” Mr Miller said.

“This funding by the Australian Government will stimulate the fast charging market and drive private sector investment, and will build on our considerable body of work in this sector,” he said.

ARENA has already provided $29.7 million in support for BEV charging projects, including the Chargefox and Evie ultra fast intercity charging networks. ARENA funding is also supporting managed and smart charging trials run by ActewAGL, AGL, Jemena, and Origin, as well as JOLT Charge’s roll out of free public charging stations in Adelaide.

“As electric vehicles continue to become more competitive, it is important we have the recharging infrastructure in place to give motorists confidence they can choose an EV and recharge it conveniently and cost effectively,” Mr Miller said.

Wheels turning for the fuels of the future

Recent industry research found that Australian EV sales grew by 200 per cent in 2020, but still accounted for just 0.6 per cent of all new car sales.

The research also found that 56 per cent of those surveyed would consider buying an EV for their next car and 82 per cent identified publicly accessible fast charging as important.

Get involved

Details about the Future Fuels Fund application information.

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