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Queensland launches “world’s largest” EV fast-charging network

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Signs of life in Australia’s electric vehicle market this week with the official launch of Queensland’s electric vehicle Super Highway: a network of fast-charging EV stations that will allow electric car drivers to travel from the state’s southern border to the Far North, recharging on green – and free, at first – electricity along the way.

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Image: Supplied

The project, in the works for more than two years now, was launched on Thursday by Queensland’s acting roads minister*, Steven Miles, who announced the first 18 towns and cities that would make up phase one of the Electric Super Highway, which he said would be the largest in any one state in the world.

Back in July 2015, the Palaszczuk government called for expressions of interest to build a solar powered, fast charging electric vehicle service station in Townsville suburb of Oonoonba, as the first installment of a potential 1,600km network dotted along the Bruce Highway.

The towns named on Thursday include Cairns, Tully, Townsville, Bowen, Mackay, Carmila, Marlborough, Rockhampton, Miriam Vale, Childers, Maryborough, Cooroy, Brisbane, Helensvale, Coolangatta, Springfield, Gatton and Toowoomba.

Miles said the fast chargers – many, but not quite all, of which have been supplied by local Brisbane-Based success-story, Tritium – would be free to use at first, to encourage as many people as possible to start using them. (A spokesperson from the Department of Environment said the charger in Cairns was an EVlink, supplied by Schnieder Electric.)

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Image: Supplied

Tritium’s Veefil fast chargers – in particular its Veefil-RT 50kW DC model, first released in 2o13 – are recognised as being among the world’s most technologically-advanced, able to recharge an EV battery in as little as 10 minutes, and have been installed in 18 countries around the globe, including a number of international EV super highways.

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Image: Supplied

Just this week, the company attracted the attention – and cash – of Australian coal baron, Brian Flannery, who invested all $10 million of Tritium’s latest fund-raising. As we reported, the money will be used to finance the launch of three new products, including an ultra-fast, high powered charger up to 475kW; a DC charger for work places, fleets and high-density living; and a 12kW Bi-directional DC home charger.

In Queensland, the network of fast-chargers will supply green energy, the government said, purchased through green energy credits or offsets.

“EVs can provide not only a reduced fuel cost for Queenslanders, but an environmentally-friendly transport option, particularly when charged from renewable energy,” Miles said.

“This project is ambitious, but we want as many people as possible on board the electric vehicle revolution, as part of our transition to a low emissions future.”

As we have reported on RenewEconomy, EV uptake in Australia remains frustratingly slow for many in the industry, a situation that has been exacerbated by a lack of consumer choice, absence of government policy incentives, and a lack of consumer education.

Miles said on Thursday that a recent survey showed around half of Queensland drivers would consider getting an EV as their next new car, but that improvements to public fast-charging infrastructure would make it more likely.

Behyad Jafari, who is CEO of the newly formed Electric Vehicle Council, commended the Queensland government for its national leadership in supporting the use of electric vehicles.

“This initial support from government serves as a signal that Queensland is serious about electric vehicles; providing the opportunity for investment to grow our economy and create new, high skilled jobs,” he said.

“I encourage all governments across Australia to follow suit and provide motorists with the support needed to promote electric vehicle uptake.”

*This article has been corrected to show that Steven Miles is not new to the role of Queensland environment minister.  

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  • aggri1

    Distance from Townsville to Tully is 208km according to Google maps, Townsville to Bowen 202km.
    So, Tesla owners can get to Cairns from Brisbane using this ‘network’.

    Any other EV available in Aus? Let’s see…
    i3 (new 94Ah version) EPA range: 183km, so nope.
    Nissan Leaf: oh, not actually on sale in Australia at the moment, but anyway, existing vehicle’s 24kWh range is less than 150km EPA, and even the 30kWh one which wasn’t sold here couldn’t make it at 172km EPA range.
    Eh, is that it? Is that really all the EVs available here? iMiev, sold a while ago: no, 100km range only EPA.
    Well, enjoy your fancy charging highway Tesla owners.
    Slightly less cynically, how about some sales requirements or other incentives for manufacturers to ‘encourage’ them to actually sell the damn things here?! Perhaps like China is doing, where x% of new sales must be EVs? Might be more useful than chargers almost no-one will be able to use for years to come.
    To end on a positive note, good on Qld for making this token gesture while carrying on with development of the Bowen Basin’s coal fields. No contradictions there at all.

    • George Darroch

      According to Google Maps, it’s 202km from Bowen to Townsville, and 191km from Mackay to Bowen.

      Our man or woman with an electric vehicle will get to the edge of Northern Queensland, but no further.

      However, this is a huge step forward in making Australia accessible to electric vehicles, and is the start of a transformation. Tesla will soon sell their 3 here, and they’ll force others to respond.

      • MaxG

        Rome wasn’t built in a day… any new tech needs time to be established…

      • Miles Harding

        Except that AEVA members have already been all the way around the continent, including one intrepid leaf driver.

        There are power outlets all over the place and many EVs (esp. the Zoe) can fast charge from 3-phase outlets.

        While the Veefil network is welcome, it is in no way necessary.

    • Charles

      it’s quite clear this network is for EVs sold from now onwards – so the Tesla (S, X and 3), the 2018 Nissan Leaf, the Renault Zoe, the Hyundai Ioniq. And of course BMW and Volvo are going to have new pure EVs in the next couple of years as well. I don’t think we are ever going to see a new EV sold in Australia with less than 200km of actual (real life, not theoretical) range.

    • Dennis Kavanagh

      Well said aggri1, you’re summed up the situation here very well. The first partly affordable 345km+ range EV (Tesla Model 3) is still a full year away from arriving in Australia. This give governments some time to come up with some real monetary incentives to promote EV sales. But I won’t hold my breath.

    • Roger Brown

      They all (almost ) have regen to extend their range . You can buy a S/hand Nissan Leaf in Australia (Google ev cars for sale) Holden volt ?

      • dogphlap dogphlap

        EV range is always quoted with some typical amount of regenerative braking. Unfortunately Australia has large distances between population centres which makes short range EVs somewhat of a pain for road trips. On the plus side we don’t have very low temperatures like Norway or Canada which can halve range and our hills are modest. There are solutions but they are not cheap i.e. any Tesla in particular the new Model 3 which should be on sale here for about $50,000 AUD sometime in 2018, the new GM Bolt which we may of may not see if they ever decide to make a right hand drive version (same applies to the second generation hybrid Volt) and whatever the legacy car companies decide to put together to answer the challenge of the Model 3.

      • Nim Ja

        Holden Volt (2012) {my car} can do up to 400km using onboard backup petrol engine and 55km pure electric so would need to use some fuel but would still benefit from this network. The newer Volts (not sold in Australia have over 150km all electric range I believe. This trip would use perhaps 1/4 of the fuel or less a petrol car would use in my Volt using this network.

    • Roger Brown

      Nissan leaf 30 kwh do 250 kms. https://youtu.be/2-XnHL2JmDU Its in English .

  • Rob

    Work out how people without off street parking can conveniently re-charge an EV, and make sure their are a range of EVs to chose from ( like the Renault Zoe and Twizy ) and the EV industry will take off in Australia.

    • OnionMan77

      Ubitricity

  • MaxG

    Bring it on! My next car will be electric…

  • dogphlap dogphlap

    Is this just an agreement in principal or is there a time line with dates and street addresses for these chargers ? Are any of the 18 chargers already up and running ? It all sounds like good news but the sceptic in me would like to see actual sites with real up and running hardware before I get too excited. Anyway I’ll be sure to remember which party provided the chargers (if there are any) and which parties (Federal and State) went with a giant coal mine at a time when the stuff is unsaleable and the last thing this planet needs is more coal.

    • Mal Goon Chew

      The 1st one is up and running in Cairns.

      • dogphlap dogphlap

        Well that is a good start.

    • Charles

      I saw a map a couple of months ago with locations, but the same link has stopped working now (gone private). At the time at least 8 locations were decided. The Cairns charger is up and running already, it’s at the Esplanade Car Park (Pier Point Rd).
      It was first announced 12 months ago, so presumably they’ve chosen all the sites (at least towns) and it’s now at the hardware installation end.

  • Roger Brown

    Sunny England have chargers installed in Lamp posts ? Europe have buses that quick charge when stopping at bus stops . Google “Fully charged” videos !

  • JohnM

    Western Australia already has a fast-charge network connecting major South-West towns. It’s well used and well maintained. Thanks to the RAC for that!
    The electric vehicle association, in concert with Western Power are now working on a network to cover WA-wide. As previously stated, once power utilities realise they can cut in on the lucrative fossil fuel market, and sell power into cars, (at a premium of course), there’ll be no stopping them.
    You can get 1,000kms out of a Tesla -if you go slow enough.
    So other brands could probably make it through most of the Qld distances.
    -Just not in a hurry!

    • Miles Harding

      At present, there are vertually no EVs on the roads, so the networks are being built by forward thinking motoring associations, state and local government and the AEVA in anticipation of greater use of EVs in the coming years.

      A few years hence, I can image the delight of a country filling station operator when the realise that most EVs will have to stop at their largely bypassed roadhouse and that they can improve profits by ‘making’ most of the fuel on site though installing a big solar array, battery and a wind generator.

      By the way, we may have one of these (sort-of) at Cunderdin in WA shortly. The Sun Brilliance 100MW PV station will feature some EV chargers in the car park, only 150 km from Perth.

  • Roger Brown

    Carsales.com au have 49 electric cars for sale

  • Roger Franklin

    Great to see the Queensland Govt getting behind another Queensland company “Trituim” who make world class EV Fast Chargers and laying the foundation for future EV drivers. Maybe they need to approach organisations like the “Coffee Club” or MacD’s etc, to install them in their car parks to attract business. After all – customers are going to be there for 20-30 minutes….. Personally if the Govt is going to start funding things, I would rather they fund these than a coal mine! Combine them with Solar + batteries and you just create quite a few jobs – firstly to install them and then to keep them going.

  • Greg Hudson

    No details on the adapter type required.
    Chademo, Menekes, CCS, ???

  • Trevor Richards

    Someone asked ‘where?’ Have a look at the map on the top of this article. It shows the suggested charge station places.
    http://reneweconomy.com.au/queensland-launches-worlds-largest-ev-fast-charging-network-77770/

    Around Australia has been done. Check out these links.
    http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2011/12/13/3390239.htm
    http://www.aevasa.kestar.com.au/GreatC02Race2011.htm

    You don’t have to wait for the commercial car manufacturers. I converted a Toyota Hilux back in 2007. I believe it was the first vehicle to be registered as electric drive in Queensland. We are heading up to 200,000km on electric drive now. It’s a brilliant vehicle. You can find all the details through my web page links to the back shed forums.
    http://thebackshed.com/basiclynatural/

    I have just recently driven from Kuttabul to Townsville to see the Transport Engineer with my latest development……..T-Trev trike. Picture below taken at the new charge point in Bowen, but we didn’t charge there, the plugs are different. I will work on changing the plugs. More details on the trike, you can contact me through my web page above.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c5491eacb7724e9979d0a4987207d34104891a7845ac8e36f9c29545bac7acef.jpg

    We also drove the EV Hilux to Brisbane for the AEVA electric vehicle conference and show
    http://www.thebackshed.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=4272&PN=2

    Start thinking for yourself. Anything can be driven by electricity.
    http://www.thebackshed.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=6186&PN=2
    http://www.thebackshed.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=9701&PN=1
    We have also built an electric zero turn mower, not on the web.

    Cheers and happy electrons to ya!

    Trev