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Positively shocking – Bond’s next Aston to be electric

Set to co-star alongside Daniel Craig, who will reprise his role as Bond for the fifth time, the new Aston Martin Rapide E will also be made available to the public as part of a 155 unit run due towards the end of 2019.

The new Rapide E driveline. Image: Aston Martin

An electric driveline featuring an 800 volt battery and more than 5600 lithium ion cells will fill the space normally occupied by a 6.0 litre V12 engine and its gearbox and fuel tank. Two electric motors will drive the rear wheels and produce around 450KW with a massive 950NM of torque.

This will allow the Rapide E to sprint from 0-100km in under four seconds and go onto a top speed of 250kph. Aston Martin say their first all-electric production car will have a range of approximately 320 kilometres.

Danny Boyle was set to direct the 25th installment of the Bond series, but has been replaced by Cary Joji Fukunaga after quitting weeks before filming was due to start citing “creative differences”.

According to UK tabloid The Sun, the shift to an electric Aston has been driven by the new director, who is reportedly working directly with Aston Martin on to get the car ready for its screen debut.

The source told the newspaper that, “this is something Cary pushed for and Daniel and the producers are going along with.”

“Everybody is afraid of Bond getting labelled ‘too PC’ but they all felt the time was right to put him in a zero-emission vehicle.”

Aston Martin have been a go-to choice for Bond since he brought the DB5 to the silver screen in Goldfinger in 1964. As well as his signature silver DB5, Bond has driven a Vantage Volante, Vanquish, DBS and DB10.

Renewables take to the skies, rails and roads

From the electric garbage trucks quietly transforming bin day, to a solar powered plane and hydrogen commuter trains, an emissions free future is coming into focus.

Whether travelling by plane, train or automobile, here are five innovations that look set to change the way we get around.

MagniX electric plane engines

An aviation tech company founded on the Gold Coast has set out to transform commercial passenger planes by developing an electric propulsion system.

Led by a former Boeing executive, MagniX believes they are on the way to replacing the turbo propellor engines found on the small, workhorse planes that service remote areas around the world.

The startup announced in September that it has tested a 350 horsepower electric motor in a Cessna ‘iron bird’ test rig, which it now aims to scale up to offer a 751-horsepower alternative to the Pratt & Whitney PT6. The turboprop engine is commonly found in small aircraft that carry about 15 passengers, like the short-haul Cessna 208 Caravan and Havilland Twin Otter.

Last year MagniX CEO Roei Ganzarski told the ABC that he predicts electric long-haul flights are at least 20 to 30 years away, but the company aims to have an all electric motor ready to install in a commercial plane by 2022.

Given range is expected to grow as battery technology improves, the electric propulsion system could be a good fit for the many regional routes flown by small aircraft. There is still a way to go – a Cessna Caravan could today only fly about 275 kilometres when carrying a load of batteries comparable in weight to a Cessna Caravan fully loaded with fuel – well short of the nearly 2000 kilometre range of the jetfuel powered plane.

With potential to reduce operating costs by up to 60 per cent, electrifying aircraft could not only reduce the cost of travel, but accelerate the transition to renewables in the aviation industry.

Hydrogen trains

In September, two hydrogen fuel cell powered trains took their first passengers on a 100km route in northern Germany normally serviced by diesel powered engines.

Releasing only steam and water condensation, the award-winning hydrogen powered trains perform similarly to their diesel rivals, comfortably cruising at 140km/h with 1000km range and accommodation for 300 passengers.

The German Government has invested in the technologically advanced trains to reduce emissions on non-electrified railways, as part of their efforts to combat air pollution.

Hydrogen has a lot upsides for transport applications, particularly regional trains that cover vast distances. The fuel can be loaded up and transported to where demand is, and when created from renewable energy it is entirely emissions-free.

At a launch event, Alstom’s project manager Stefan Schrank said, “Sure, buying a hydrogen train is somewhat more expensive than a diesel train, but it is cheaper to run.”

As well as building 60 new hydrogen trains for the German market, Alstom has also been engaged to convert existing UK rolling stock to meet the Government plan to remove diesel trains from the network by 2040.

The 30 year old UK fleet will be retrofitted with hydrogen fuel cells and tanks, providing an alternative to electrification to cut noise and emissions on the majority of the network which is currently served by diesel trains.

Alstom’s German MD Dr Jörg Nikutta predicts that the lower running costs of hydrogen trains will mean they will already break even with diesels within ten years. “It’s obvious that diesel will die… and with batteries you could go, say, 50 km. Those looking to travel any further, as most rail passengers do, will find that hydrogen is the only option,” Nikutta said.

Electric truck conversions

Closer to home, Melbourne-based SEA Electric is going from strength to strength, converting trucks and vans to run on its proprietary electric driveline.

With a range spanning everything from a delivery van all the way up to a a IVECO ECCO cab chassis which can be fitted out for garbage collection or transporting goods, the vehicles can be tailored for a wide range of applications.

SEA Electric install their system onto engineless ‘gliders’ at their Dandenong factory. The platforms are supplied by some of the world’s largest truck and van manufacturers and are fitted with the company’s drop-in engine and battery system, which sits between the vehicle’s chassis legs.

In late 2018 the City of Casey took delivery of Australia’s first all electric garbage truck, which promises to clean up bin day. With near-silent running, immediate torque, regenerative braking and a range of around 180kms on each charge, the system has attracted interest – both from Australian councils and abroad. An order for ten more garbage trucks has already come from New Zealand.

Logistics giants DHL and Linfox are trialling SEA Electric’s vehicles in their fleets, along with Woolworths who have set a goal to transition their fleet to 100% electric.

While costing more upfront than the non-electric alternatives, SEA Electric managing director Tony Fairweather told the All Energy Conference in October that the price premium is repaid within four years thanks to lower fuel and maintenance costs.

In mid-2017 the company received $5 million in funding from the Clean Energy Innovation Fund to ramp up production. SEA Electric have also received support from the Victorian Government to open a factory in the Latrobe Valley, which they say will employ 500 people within three to five years.

China’s electric bus revolution

As cities across China embrace renewable energy, Shenzhen has become the first to transition its bus fleet to entirely electric power.

The city of 12.5 million people embraced zero emissions vehicles in 2009 to tackle unhealthy levels of air pollution. Within two years, the first all-electric buses began rolling off the production line at Chinese manufacturer BYD, and today the city boasts a fleet of more than 16,359 electric buses.

According to BYD estimates, its fleet has travelled in excess of 17 billion kilometres and saved 6.8 billion litres of fuel. That has avoided 18 million tons of carbon dioxide being emitted – the equivalent to the amount released by about 3.8 millions cars in one year.

In April last year, Bloomberg estimated that China was home to 99 per cent of the 385,000 electric buses on roads around the world. They predicted that the electrification of these buses was on track to reduce demand for fuel by 279,000 barrels over the course of 2018.

“Suddenly, buses with battery-powered motors are a serious matter with the potential to revolutionize city transport—and add to the forces reshaping the energy industry,” Bloomberg New Energy Finance said at when the report was released.

“With China leading the way, making the traditional smog-belching diesel behemoth run on electricity is starting to eat away at fossil fuel demand.

“Every five weeks, Chinese cities add 9,500 of the zero-emissions transporters—the equivalent of London’s entire working fleet,” Bloomberg said.

Solar Impulse 2 – global circumnavigation 

Aiming to prove the potential of renewable energy, in 2015 Solar Impulse 2 set off on the first round-the-world flight by a solar powered aircraft.

The trip broke 19 official aviation records, including the longest uninterrupted solo flight with the 5,545 mile (8924km) leg from Japan to Hawaii taking an epic 118 hours.

Solar Impulse 2. Image: Solar Impulse Foundation

Setting off from Abu Dhabi, the 40,000 kilometre fuel-free journey included crossings of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. It wasn’t smooth sailing – challenging conditions in China caused weeks of delays, and the trip across the Pacific had to be put on hold for 10 months while overheated batteries were replaced in Hawaii.

Completing the final leg back to Abu Dhabi in July 2016, pilot Bertrand Piccard said their mission launched electric propulsion from a pipedream to reality.

“Today NASA is developing an electric aircraft. Airbus is developing an electric aircraft. So it is starting to be on the roadmap of the aviation world. I think that for us it is something, which is…very, very good news,” Piccard said.

More than 17.000 solar panels fitted to Solar Impulse 2’s wings charged four 21 KWh batteries during daylight hours, allowing Solar Impulse 2 to fly through the night. While the system allowed the plane to stay airborne indefinitely, gruelling on-board conditions for the solo pilot forced the circumnavigation to be broken into 16 seperate legs.

The unheated, unpressurised cabin meant the pilots had to wear full flight suits and oxygen masks, with the single seat able to recline into a bed for short naps, and also take care of toilet duties.

The four electric motors fitted to wings spanning wider than a Boeing 747 each produce 7.5 KW, allowing for a cruising speed of 43mph (70kph) – provided the sun is bright. Actual cruising speeds throughout the trip were closer to 30mph (48kph).

To make the most of the available sunlight, pilots and Solar Impulse founders Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg climbed to 29,000 feet each morning, before descending to around 5,000 feet at night to conserve energy.

Building on the success of the first circumnavigation of the globe by a solar plane, the Solar Impulse Foundation is now searching for 1000 profitable solutions to environmental issues.

We might not be boarding solar powered planes any time soon, but Solar Impulse 2 proved that the sky is far from the limit for renewables.

Councils ready to lead on electric vehicles

The Cities Power Partnership was keen to find out, so recently undertook a survey of its member councils. Now the results are in it’s clear that there is a healthy appetite for quiet and clean electric vehicles at the grassroots level of government.

Electric vehicle car
Could local governments launch EVs into the mainstream?

Describing themselves as a coalition of willing mayors, councillors and communities committed to a non-polluting energy future, the CPP is helping towns and cities to to make the switch to renewables. Established in 2017, the CPP already represents about 100 of Australia’s 537 local councils, with a collective catchment of almost 11 million Australians.

“The Cities Power Partnership has been around for about a year and a half now, so in that time we have become the largest local government climate program,” CPP Program Development Manager Tracie Armstrong told ARENA Wire in an interview ahead of the release of the survey results.

“Increasingly around the country councils are stepping away from just roads, rates and rubbish – the only things they are told they should worry about, and realise that if they are taking care of their communities properly, climate is going to be a big issue,” she said.

To understand how local governments can be supported to make the shift to EVs, the CPP asked a series of questions scoping whether councils are considering transitioning their vehicle fleets, or supporting the rollout of charging infrastructure for their residents.

Hyundai’s newly launched Ioniq is Australia’s most affordable EV. Image: Hyundai

For the councils that responded to the survey, reducing emissions was the main driver to make the switch to electric vehicles. Eighty-two percent of respondents said EVs could help them reduce their council emissions and the same number want to lead their communities to make the shift to electric motoring.

“I was impressed that a big driver was influencing the community to take up EVs. I thought the drivers would be their emissions and operating costs, but a large one was influencing the community to take up EVs,” Armstrong said.

“I think they are waiting for more choice in the market. It will be small steps, but I feel that there will be a snowballing effect once this starts happening. Councils seem to be thinking that they get the EVs first, and then they work out the charging infrastructure after that,” she said.

When asked whether their council has begun trialling or investing in electric vehicles, or installing charging points, more than half of the respondents to the survey said they have. Three quarters of the councils believe that electric vehicles could compliment their renewable energy projects.

Tracie Armstrong explained, “EVs are increasingly well understood in terms of range anxiety. People were really worried about that even twelve months ago, but they are starting to understand now that’s not a problem. But I think the charging infrastructure is still confusing for a lot of councils.”

In a promising sign, more than a third of councils said they have already started planning to invest in electric vehicles, while 56% say they have started making a plan for EV charging.

“Results that came back in the survey were quite disparate with charging. Some people think they need to upgrade their whole electrical system at their council offices to offer a couple of charging stations, but other people said they just whacked the charger in and there were no problems.”

When asked why they are yet to start investigating electric vehicles or charging, time was identified as a primary barrier. Costs, a lack of support within their council, other priorities and a lack of access to information were cited as other reasons that they were yet to start scoping their options.

“So apart from the actual buying of the car, there could be some changes in education around some of the things that sit around that – whether its charging infrastructure, or procurement practices, or other factors” Armstrong said.

Of the councils that are already acting, more than half say they are planning charging infrastructure and 44 per cent have begun installing public charge points. Thirty-eight per cent say they are planning to include EVs within their council fleets.

“Currently when councils buy new fleet vehicles there’s a three to five year turnover. With EVs there’s less of a need to do that because the maintenance costs of EVs are so much lower once you have them. So, if they were able to change their procurement policies to have longer turnover times, then it would start to look a lot more attractive,” she said.

The project has helped the CPP to better understand the the common barriers to EV uptake, which they will now work to overcome.

2019 Nissan Leaf. Image: Nissan

“The survey tells us what councils need to know. We will be able to develop some more resources for them in this space, to answer the questions that they have.

“It’s no surprise, but the price for EVs is a big blocker for councils, just because the comparable ICE [internal combustion engine] models are much cheaper for the same thing. Although, if they are able to understand the whole life cost of the cars they start to understand that EVs are going to be more economical, even at the price they are now,” she said.

Looking forward, the Cities Power Partnership has identified new opportunities to help smooth the transition for councils looking to embrace electric motoring.

“One of the interesting things that we are helping to contribute to is bulk buying for council fleets,” Armstrong said.

“A council might only be able to afford to buy one or two cars, and wouldn’t by themselves, but because they are going in with a group there might be 30-40 EVs being bought for different local governments around the country, and they are sharing that cost. They might not have done it if they were going alone.

The Cities Power Partnership believe simple initiatives like this could help to kick-start Australia’s electric vehicle sector.

“There’s that comfort level when people see them around, understand how they work, and there’s more drivers for more charging infrastructure to be put in place.

“Local governments have realised that they are uniquely placed to begin emission reduction processes. Because it is in many cases more economic, that brings along councils. If you can make the pollution reduction argument, and you can make the economic argument, there isn’t any reason not to do it,” she said.

The CPP’s findings build on a recent survey undertaken by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which found that fleet vehicle buyers are looking to make the switch to electric vehicles.

ARENA has provided funding for the Climate Council to scale up its work with councils and expand the membership of the Cities Power Partnership.

Chargefox Electric Vehicle Charging Network Project

Australia’s cheapest EV to be available within weeks

Priced from $44,990 for the base ‘elite’ model, the new Hyundai will replace Renault’s $47,490 Zoe as the cheapest electric car on sale in Australia. While still carrying a significant price burden over petrol models, the Ioniq aims to put electric motoring within reach of more Australian motorists.

The 2019 Hyundai Ioniq’s interior. Image: Hyundai

Launched this week in Brisbane, the five door hatchback is comparable in size to the Korean manufacturer’s popular petrol powered i30 model. With a cited ‘real world’ battery range of 230kms, the Ioniq can charge from flat to 80 per cent within 23 minutes when connected to a 100kW DC fast charging station.

On the performance front, the new Hyundai won’t keep Tesla owners awake at night. The 88kW/295Nm plug in electric Ioniq can sprint from a standstill to 100kph in approximately eight seconds, comparable with the company’s non-performance petrol hatchbacks.

Hyundai’s Australian division are offering an upspec premium model for an extra $4000, which adds heated and ventilated leather seats, LED headlights, wireless phone charging, parking sensors and a glass sunroof.

The small number of moving parts in the electric vehicle drivetrain will offer some hip pocket relief, with annual services expected to cost just $165.

Hyundai have also launched hybrid Ioniq models, which look likely to challenge the dominance of Toyota’s popular Camry, Corolla and Prius offerings.

Ioniq Hybrid. Image: Hyundai

The $33,990 Ioniq Hybrid will pair a 77kW/147Nm petrol engine and small 32kW/170Nm electric motor. Relying on just the electric motor at low speeds, the Ioniq Hybrid has quoted efficiency of 3.9L/100kms and is priced $2500 cheaper than Toyota’s Prius.

A plug-in hybrid option will be offered from $40,990, powered by the same petrol engine but adding a larger 44.5kW electric motor and 8.9kWh lithium-ion battery to deliver up to 63kms of dedicated electric motoring.

At the Brisbane launch, Hyundai Australia’s chief executive Jung Wook Lee said the new range will break down barriers to electric vehicles.

“The 2019 Ioniq makes responsive and eco-friendly electrified driving accessible to a wide range of customers, and is an exciting new chapter for our company,” Jung Wook Lee said.

Momentum building in EV sector

Hyundai’s Ioniq is the first of many new electric cars from major manufacturers due to hit the Australian market within months.

Building on the recent launch of the Jaguar I-pace, Nissan’s latest Leaf is due in the new year, along with Hyundai’s Kona crossover, the Audi e-tron and Kia’s Niro.

While Australia’s electric vehicle uptake has been slow compared to other parts of the developed world, experts predict that we will catch up as EV prices drop, battery range grows and more charging infrastructure is built.

Last month ARENA announced support for Chargefox to build Australia’s first intercity EV charging network powered by renewables. The new network will link Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide, with new charge points also built around Perth.

Electric vehicles next in line for rooftop solar

Hyundai and Kia think it is possible, promising to release electric car models with a solar ‘sunroof’ as soon as next year.

The new solar technology will be first be made available in hybrid models, but later be rolled out across the plug in and internal combustion ranges.

Clean, quiet and with increasingly impressive performance, the electric vehicle revolution is accelerating. Research released earlier this year by ARENA predicts that EVs will reach price parity with petrol powered cars in the early 2020s, and make up all new vehicle sales by the mid 2040s.

Charging the growing numbers of electric vehicles will be a challenge, but one Kia and Hyundai think could partially be offset with inbuilt rooftop solar panels.

The Hyundai Motor Group is developing three types of solar roof charging systems. The first-generation silicon solar roof will be fitted to the Sonata and Ioniq hybrid models, followed by a semi-transparent solar roof system for internal combustion engined vehicles, and a third-generation lightweight ‘solar-lid’ for plug in electrics.

They expect the first generation of the new solar sunroofs will have capacity to charge batteries by between 30 and 60 per cent. That sounds impressive, but the size of the batteries needs to be factored in – Hyundai’s hybrids are powered by a small 1.5 kWh battery. In comparison, the Tesla Model S battery is nearly 55 times the size, storying 85 kWh of energy.

Hyundai plans to integrate the semi-transparent solar panels with a panoramic sunroof to let light into the cabin while also potentially powering the car’s electronics and climate controls.

Testing is already underway, with the option fully electric cars utilising solar panels applied to the roof and bonnet of the vehicle to maximise the charging capacity.

In a statement, the Hyundai Motor Group say the systems will help motorists to take some control of their energy generation.

“In the future, various types of electricity generating technologies, including the solar charging system, will be connected to vehicles,” said Jeong-Gil Park, Executive Vice President of Engineering Design Division of Hyundai Motor Group.

“This will enable them to develop from a passive device that consumes energy to a solution that actively generates energy,” he said.

Hyundai say the first generation of the new technology will be integrated into its vehicles after 2019 as one measure to improve vehicle fuel efficiency and meet global regulations targets.

Small roof space a limiting factor

Can solar panels on the roof of an EV generate enough electricity to power the car? The short answer is no. Electric vehicles consume a lot of energy, solar panels are large and there is little available space on a car roof.

Toyota currently offer a solar roof on their Prius prime hybrid model, which is available in Japan. The $2500 option adds less than 6 km of range, assuming the car is parked in direct sunlight.

Toyota’s Prius prime. Image: Toyota

Based on current technology, it is more efficient and cost effective to put solar panels on rooftops than electric vehicle. This is because cars are often not parked in direct sunlight, they are more vulnerable to damage that buildings, and their lifespan is generally less than rooftop solar installations which can last 20 years.

But while there may not be enough roof space to generate the energy required to power a car today, technology is advancing quickly and on-board solar power could play a greater role in the future.

Chargefox network opens door to electric road trips

Range anxiety is a one of the biggest barriers to the uptake of electric vehicles. We live in a big country and today’s electric vehicles can’t compete with petrol cars for range between refills.

Chargefox’s Tim Washington and Evan Beaver. Image: Chargefox

When the time comes to recharge, the process takes hours and plug in points are thin on the ground.

But that is set to change with ARENA announcing $6 million in funding for Chargefox to build an ultra rapid charging network.

Chargefox will deploy 21 new charging sites with at least 42 charging stations along major driving routes across Australia. The “ultra rapid” network will connect Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide, and will also include sites north and south of Perth.

The network will be powered by purchased renewable energy, and at least one site at Euroa in northern Victoria will trial an on-site solar and battery powered system.

Charging sites will be public and compatible with all models of electric vehicles currently sold in Australia, with distances between plugs planned to be no greater than 200 kms – well within the range of today’s EVs.

New technology breaks down barriers

Chargefox’s super-high powered charging points will allow an EV to fill its batteries in as little as 15 minutes. For owners of electric cars used to overnight recharges this is a game-changer, providing unprecedented opportunities to break free from urban areas.

Chargefox’s EV charging network will link Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane. Image: Chargefox

The Chargefox rollout comes at an important time. Because EVs are yet to hit the mainstream, the cars are expensive and recharging infrastructure sparse.

The electric vehicle sector faces a chicken and egg challenge – manufacturers won’t bring their models to our market until a charging network is in place to support them. And there is little incentive for councils or private companies to invest in charging stations until there is demand from electric vehicle owners.

21 charging sites “just the beginning”

Today Chargefox manages a network of over 350 charging plugs owned by local councils, shopping centres and retailers. These stations are almost all 25kW or lower in power, with only a few DC 50kW stations on the network.

Chargefox CEO Marty Andrews says the 21 new charging sites announced today will unlock Australia’s most trafficked inter-city routes along major highways to electric vehicles.

“These are super-high powered stations, so the car will charge itself up in 15 minutes while you are inside grabbing a snack,” he said.

Andrews identifies Electrify America – the program stemming from Volkswagen’s dieselgate scandal – and the fledgling European IONITY network as inspirations.

Describing range anxiety as a difficult thing to explain until you actually experience it, Andrews says it is a front of mind concern when prospective buyers look at EVs in the showroom.

“What if I want to drive from Melbourne to Sydney – at the minute the dealers will say you can’t, and they just want that question to go away.”

“We start by following the most-travelled routes in Australia. Melbourne to Sydney is the first one, but it also means Adelaide to Melbourne, and then from Sydney up to Brisbane, and a bit over in Perth.

“It’s largely driven by the car manufacturers themselves. Those areas are where they sell the most cars, and where people do the most driving,” he said.

“Once that initial backbone network is built and the car manufacturers are selling cars, the network expansion begins to self-fund. We won’t stop at the initial 21 sites,” he declared.

Hyundai’s Kona EV could be launched locally within weeks

ARENA supporting the journey to an EV future

Earlier this year, two ARENA-funded studies were published – Climateworks examined the State of Electric Vehicles in Australia, and Energeia’s Electric Vehicle Market Study modelled future possibilities.

Viewed together, the reports present an EV industry with a boot load of potential, but plenty of work ahead.

The good news is that the playing field is levelling. Advances in technology and economies of scale means EVs are well on the way to travelling as far between recharges as petrol cars, and carry an equivalent price tag – the primary considerations in the mind of new buyers.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller says the agency is supporting Chargefox to help increase the uptake of electric vehicles in Australia.

“This is game-changing. Electric vehicles are the future, but gaps in charging infrastructure need to be closed for them to become a mainstream option,” Mr Miller said.

While range anxiety is a headline issue for many weighing up switching to an electric vehicle, Energeia’s report cited a little-known fact – 99 per cent of Australian daily trips are less than 50km. With a 100km round trip well within the capability of any new electric car on the market today, there is little standing in the way of a dramatic acceleration in the uptake of EVs.

Miller points out that Australia lags behind other countries in EV uptake, but there are predictions they could reach price parity with petrol cars within the next few years.

“The other major barrier – a lack of access to convenient public charging points for long distance travel – is something we need to start solving now,” he said.

Linking existing urban charging infrastructure, Chargefox’s inter-city network will mean for the first time there are charging points across and between Australia’s biggest cities.

“This ultra rapid charging network will be the fastest charging technology in Australia, but will also be entirely powered using renewable energy.

“This technology is becoming common around the world, so Australia has work to do in order to keep up,” he said.

Renewables to drive ultra-rapid electric vehicle network

Electric vehicle (EV) owners will soon be able to drive between a number of Australia’s major cities, as Australia’s first ultra-fast charging network powered by renewable energy is built.

On behalf of the Australian Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $6 million in funding to Chargefox Pty Ltd to roll out Australia’s first ultra-rapid charging network for EVs.

The $15 million national roll out will include 21 charging sites on interstate highways across the east coast connecting major capital cities including Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane and separately north and south of Perth.

The first two charging sites will be in Euroa in Victoria and in Barnawartha North just outside of Albury-Wodonga on the Victorian-NSW border. These two sites are also receiving $1 million in funding from the Victorian Government.

All the charging stations will be powered through the purchase of renewable energy. The Euroa site will include a solar and battery installation and the Barnawartha North site will also feature a new solar installation.

The charging sites are expected to be no more than 200 kilometres apart – well within the range of modern EVs – and will be public, open-access to all EV models currently sold in Australia. Motorists will be able to use the stations via an app.

The ultra-rapid charging technology allows an EV to add 200 to 400 kilometres of range in just 15 minutes, 15 times faster than typical domestic charging points which take hours.

There will be two stations at each site, each capable of a power output of 150 kW.

In June, ARENA and CEFC published a report which predicted the uptake of EVs would significantly increase in the next decade. The report said EVs would reach price parity with petrol cars by the early to mid 2020s. A lack of fast charging infrastructure was identified as a barrier to the uptake of EVs.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said this was a game-changing Australian-first pilot project that would encourage the uptake of EVs by reducing range anxiety.

“EVs are set to have a huge impact on our energy system. Electrification of Australia’s transport sector could reduce emissions and dramatically change how we use electricity.

“EV charging networks are being rolled out in other countries, and Australia needs to catch up to ensure that we can experience the same benefits of improved driving experience, lower operating costs, and better environmental outcomes that electric vehicles offer,” he said.

“This will not only encourage more people to purchase EVs, but will also ensure that all charging is coming from renewable energy and provide a useful test case for charging EVs from remotely located, distributed renewable generation.

“Range anxiety is a key barrier to uptake of EVs in Australia, but this network will help alleviate that concern by giving motorists comfort they can travel long distances,” he said.

Chargefox CEO Marty Andrews said this charging network would be accessible to all, and would help transition road transport to renewable energy.

“Chargefox is committed to sustainable mobility. Our network of ultra-rapid charging stations will play a significant part in improving the infrastructure of this country and remove one of the major barriers that limits the adoption of EVs.

“The charging stations will enable all modern EV drivers to confidently drive between Australia’s major cities,” Mr Andrews said.

The Australian Mobility Clubs (NRMA, RACV, RACQ, RAC, RAA and RACT), through Australian Motoring Services (AMS), has also invested in Chargefox, and is now the largest shareholder. Chargefox has also received funding from Wilson Transformer Company and the founder of Carsales, Greg Roebuck.

AMS CEO Michael Reed said: “The Australian Mobility Clubs want to encourage greater take-up of electric vehicles by providing our members with access to this new technology.”

“The benefits of EVs include much lower running costs, they are cheaper to maintain, and they reduce harmful air pollution. By investing in Chargefox, the Australian Mobility Clubs are building on their current investment to improve the infrastructure of this country and remove one of the major barriers that limits the adoption of EVs.

“Having a national network of ultra-rapid charging stations will enable our members and all drivers of EVs to travel confidently between cities and states,” Michael said.

ARENA media contact:

0410 724 227 |

Download this media release (PDF 125KB)

Shots fired in EV race

The new CV-1 concept’s retro lines are inspired by the Soviet IZh 2125 Kombi – a rugged hatchback launched in the 1970s that became popular for its durability and versatility.


On paper, Tesla have little to fear from the Russian’s self-described ‘electric supercar’. With a range of 350kms and 0-100kmh time in excess of six seconds, Kalashnikov’s CV-1 won’t threaten Tesla’s current offerings for performance or range.

Russian media have reported Kalashnikov’s press office saying, “This technology will let us stand in the ranks of global electric car producers such as Tesla and be their competitor.”

“We were inspired by the experience of global market leaders in developing our concept.”

Kalashnikov aren’t alone in chasing the electric vehicle market with models heavy on retro sentiment.

In recent days Jaguar have released their E-type Zero – a modern take on their 1960s icon which set speed records and brought technological innovations into the mainstream.


These days under the ownership of Indian-owned multinational Tata, Jaguar have described the plug-in E-type as “The most beautiful electric car in the world.”

With a top speed of 153mph, the original straight-six powered E-type became the fastest production car on the road when released in 1961. The new electric models will have a comparable top speed but accelerate even faster, racing from 0-100kmh in 5.5 seconds with a range of 275km.

A converted silver blue model hit headlines at the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, after ferrying the newly married couple from their reception at Windsor Castle to Frogmore House.

Photo: Getty

Jaguar will build the new all-electric E-types at their Classic Works factory in Coventry in England’s West Midlands, not far from the site of their Browns Lane production line which operated from 1951 until 2005.

The first electric E-types will hit the road in 2020 with a price tag of £350,000, up from the £2,097 the first petrol powered models set buyers back in 1961.

While hand-built vehicles like the E-type command boutique prices, a recent Energeia report found that there are affordable plug-in options on the horizon. The ARENA-funded research predicts that electric vehicles will not only be able to compete with internal combustion cars on range within a decade, but also price.

This levelling of the playing field is expected to accelerate Australia’s uptake of EVs, which have been slow to take off compared to other developed countries. Energeia predict that within two decades electric cars will take over our new car market.

Electric vehicles to take charge as prices drop and ranges grow

Sydney-based energy industry research firm Energeia have modelled future trends in the Australian electric vehicle market, predicting a bright future as technological advances bring down costs and allow EVs to travel comparable distances to petrol engined cars between recharges.

According to the report, commissioned by ARENA and the CEFC, the price and range of electric vehicles will match petrol powered cars within a decade.

Levelling the playing field will accelerate Australia’s uptake of EVs, which have been slow to take off compared to other developed countries.

Under all scenarios modelled EVs make up all new vehicles sales by the mid-2040s, and reach price parity with petrol cars in the early to mid-2020s.

Energeia’s findings have been echoed in Bloomberg’s 2018 Electric Vehicle Outlook, which predicts a sharp uptake in plug-in EVs worldwide. Bloomberg predict that the 1.1 million electric vehicles around the globe today will rise to 11 million by 2025, then surge to 30 million by 2030 as they become cheaper to make than cars with internal combustion engines.

In Victoria, the state’s infrastructure advisory agency Infrastructure Victoria are also preparing advice for the state government on what the future might hold for zero emission and automated cars. The agency last month published a report which considered seven possible future scenarios including one in which electric cars have taken over by 2046.

Climateworks Australia together with the Electric Vehicle industry also released new research last week, showing that Australia’s electric vehicle industry grew slightly in the past 12 months. They found numbers of electric vehicle models available grew from 16 to 23 alongside a rise in the number of charging stations available.

Electric vehicles slow to take charge in Australia

Australia’s electric vehicle revolution has been slow to take off, with plug-in EVs making up just 0.2 per cent of all new cars sold. In contrast, 29 per cent of all new cars hitting the road in Norway are electric, making the oil-rich country world-leaders for EV uptake.

Even America – the home of the muscle car – is leaving us in their dust, with electric cars making up 3 per cent of all new cars sold in California.

According to Energeia’s research, getting the right combination of policy incentives, model availability and charging infrastructure is key to launching Australia’s EV industry off the starting grid.

Their analysis of international examples found financial incentives play the greatest role in driving new EV purchases, particularly reductions in up-front purchase prices.

With EVs predicted to reach price parity at some point in the early 2020s, this bodes well for Australia’s EV industry.

Non-financial incentives like free parking and access to bus lanes were proven to be helpful, but secondary to price as a motivation for new buyers considering going electric.

With EVs yet to hit the mainstream in Australia, manufacturers have been slow to bring their electric models to the Australian market. The researchers found that growing the range of plug-ins on the market to suit diverse needs and budgets will be vital.

Growth in demand as prices drop is also expected to encourage car makers to sell a wider range of electric models. Based on the UK experience, this could translate to 20 per cent more models becoming available if up-front prices drop by around $4000.

Technological advances to eliminate range anxiety

This research goes some way to breaking down ‘range anxiety’ and perceptions that Australia’s vast distances are a barrier to electric vehicles. Citing Australian research, the study reports that 99 per cent of trips made in Australia total less than 50 kms, or 100km return; well within the range of EVs on the market today.

Technological advances could soon eliminate these concerns entirely, as experts predict charging time and range will match internal combustion engines by 2024.

Charging infrastructure will remain important to growing the number of EVs on the road, as even owners with home charging points will need to recharge when driving long distances away from home, and others will rely on public charging entirely.

The research finds that 28,500 service station-style ‘fast’ charging points will be needed around the country by 2040, costing around $1.7 billion.

Energeia anticipate the projected growth in EVs will add 2.8GW extra demand for electricity by 2040, which can be managed through charge management (price or control signals) to avoid any significant increase to maximum demand and may even increase the utilisation rate of the grid.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said there is an opportunity to grow the share of plug-in electric vehicles in the Australian market.

“The opportunities for electric vehicles are enormous. They are great to drive and this report shows they will soon be able to compete with petrol alternatives on cost and range,” he said.

“The prospect of charging EVs with renewables is particularly exciting for us at ARENA. Being a battery with wheels, they have potential to support the grid as more of our energy comes from renewables.

“Not only will a future with more electric vehicles reduce transport emissions, but it will also make Australia less reliance on imported petrol.

“This report looks to other countries around the globe to guide the most efficient and affordable transition to electric vehicles possible,” Ivor Frischknecht said.