EV charging network receives $24 million boost

Hundreds of new EV charging stations will be built around the country.

ARENA has announced that five recipients will share in $24.55 million to construct more than 400 new EV charging network points around Australia.

The funding has been allocated through the first round of the Future Fuels Fund, which is focused on growing access to chargers for EV users in capital and regional cities.

ARENA has expanded its funding pool by $8.05 million to accommodate 19 projects led by five proponents, with each to install hardware capable of fast charging at least two cars simultaneously at a capacity of at least 50kW.

Funding has been awarded to:

  • Evie Networks: $8.85 million for 158 stations across eight regions
  • Ampol: $7.05 million for 121 stations across four regions
  • Engie: $6.85 million for 103 stations across four regions
  • Chargefox: $1.4 million for 16 stations across two regions
  • Electric Highways Tasmania: $400,000 for five stations in one region

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The chargers will be installed across eight regions that cover 14 of Australia’s biggest cities. Regional centres Geelong, Newcastle, Wollongong and the Sunshine Coast will each receive at least eight new charging stations, in addition to new points installed across capital cities in each state and territory.

The projects have a total value of nearly $80 million and will deliver a seven-fold increase in the number of fast charging stations across Australia’s most populated cities and regions.

Removing barriers

The funding builds on ARENA’s past support for Chargefox and Evie’s networks of intercity charging points, which have been positioned to link capital cities on highly trafficked routes.

Chargefox recently announced that construction has been finished on their 22 station network, which set out to make EV charging available to 75 per cent of the Australian population. The network includes dynamic charging capability, allowing electrical output to be throttled back to minimise load on the grid during periods when demand is high.

Announcing the funding recipients, ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the increased funding pool will remove barriers to EVs by expanding Australia’s fast charging network.

“As the costs of electric vehicles come down, more consumers and fleet users are looking to go electric. Expanding the fast charging network will make it easier than ever to drive an EV in Australia,” he said.

“The proposals we received were of such high quality, we were compelled to increase the funding. We’re delighted to be able to support more than 400 charging stations across the country.”

The Future Fuels Fund was first announced in the 2020-21 federal budget to remove barriers to the uptake of lower emissions vehicles. The first round aims to boost access to EV chargers in large cities, with future rounds to focus on increasing EV charging capacity in regional areas, reducing barriers for business fleets and increasing the use of hydrogen and biofuels in the transport sector.

Range anxiety easing

Concerns about access to charging points is commonly cited as a reason for prospective EV to not switch to electric.

Access to chargers is a particular challenge for motorists without access to off-street parking, with the limited range of models available in Australian and high upfront costs also contributing to the slow uptake.

To help manage growth in demand for electricity as more EVs hit the roads, ARENA has supported smart charging trials with ActewAGL, AGL and Origin that aim to minimise changing during periods when demand for electricity is high and even use vehicles to store energy to provide grid stabilising services.