Government funding delivers more EV chargers for Queensland

A new Federal Government initiative will fund a significant expansion of EV charging locations around Australia.

Electric vehicle (EV) drivers in Queensland will soon find it easier to charge their vehicles, thanks to an initiative that will see more than 400 public fast-charging stations for EVs rolled out nationwide. 

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) announced $24.55 million in funding to five applicants across 19 projects to expand Australia’s fast-charging network for battery electric vehicles. 

The initiative is co-funded by the Federal Government's Future Fuel Fund, a $71.9 million initiative announced in the 2020-21 federal budget to remove barriers to the uptake of new vehicle technologies. 

ARENA said the first round of funding aimed to support the growing number of Australian motorists with EVs with a charging network across regional and capital cities.

Subsequent rounds will focus on increasing EV charging capacity in regional areas.

The successful round one applicants include Evie Networks, Ampol, Engie, Chargefox and Electric Highways Tasmania. 

The five applicants will deliver 403 fast-charging stations, each capable of charging at least two vehicles concurrently at 50kW or above. 

With new charging stations to be built across eight geographic regions covering 14 of Australia’s most populous cities, ARENA expected the funding would see a seven-fold increase in the number of fast-charging stations in Australia’s most populated cities and regions. 

In addition to expanded networks in the capital cities in every state and territory, regional centres including Sunshine Coast, Geelong, Newcastle, and Wollongong will each receive a minimum of eight new fast-charging stations to drive the uptake of EVs in regional locations, according to ARENA.

More Evie Networks EV chargers will be installed around Queensland.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the increased funding pool would significantly expand Australia’s fast-charging network and remove barriers to the uptake of EVs.

“As the costs of electric vehicles come down, more consumers and fleet users are looking to go electric,” Mr Miller said.

“Expanding the fast-charging network will make it easier than ever to drive an EV in Australia.”

Queensland is among the list of states and territories set to benefit from the Evie Networks initiative, which will see $8.85 million of funding used to deliver 158 fast-charging stations across eight regions nationally. 

A spokesperson for Evie Networks said the company would be deploying chargers across a further 34 sites in south-east Queensland, in addition to the company’s existing ultra-fast and fast chargers in the area. 

This includes 28 new charging sites cross Brisbane, three on the Sunshine Coast and three on the Gold Coast. 

Each site will feature two 50kW fast chargers manufactured by Brisbane-based fast charging specialist Tritium with the capability for the chargers to be upgraded to 75kW.

Specific locations were still being finalised but Evie Networks said it would be “deploying in sites that feature our key criteria to provide a quality charging experience”.  

This includes on-site convenience and amenities so customers have things to do while charging, good lighting and safety and, ideally, 24/7 accessibility, a spokesperson said.

“Unlike re-fuelling a petrol vehicle, drivers will incorporate charging into their everyday activities,” the spokesperson said.

“Our locations will include restaurants, shopping centres and local council sites that meet our experience criteria.”
 
Queensland will also be one five states to benefit from Ampol’s roll out of over 100 fast-charging stations across its branded retail network. 

The company’s Addressing Blackspots Fast Charging Project is set to use $7.05 million of ARENA funding to increase the availability of public fast-charging infrastructure in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. 

Queensland is also set to be a partial beneficiary of $6.85 million of funding to ENGIE, which has committed to delivering 103 public fast-charging stations across four states, including Queensland. 

In what the Electric Vehicle Council described as “great news for Australia's electric vehicle sector”, the program will add to the existing network of EV charging infrastructure in Queensland. 

The latter includes the Queensland Electric Super Highway (QESH), which is hailed as one of the world's longest electric super highways in a single state.

The QESH is in the process of adding 18 new fast-charging stations in western Queensland to the established 31 charging sites which connect EV drivers travelling from Coolangatta to Port Douglas and from Brisbane to Toowoomba.