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Phase one of “world’s largest” EV fast-charging network completed in Queensland

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The Queensland government has laid claim to the “world’s longest electric vehicle super highway in a single state” after the first phase of fast charger station installations was completed last week.

State transport minister Mark Bailey says EV drivers can now travel from Coolangatta to Cairns, and west from Brisbane to Toowoomba, thanks to the installation of charger stations at Townsville and Carmila. (Although, some more intrepid EV drivers would argue this was already possible!)

The completion of phase one of the Queensland Electric Super Highway – or QESH – means that there are now fast-charging stations installed in Bowen, Cairns, Carmila, Childers, Gatton, Hamilton, Gold Coast Airport (Coolangatta), Mackay, Marlborough, Maryborough, Miriam Vale, Rockhampton, Springfield, Sunshine Coast (Cooroy), Townsville, Toowoomba and Tully.

The next charger expected to come online will be at Helensvale, and will be operational after the Commonwealth Games.

At this stage, EV drivers can use the fast-charging stations at no cost, Bailey said, to encourage “uptake and interest in” electric vehicles. And to ensure the EVs are topped up with low carbon power, the energy supplied at the stations will be bought through green energy credits or offsets.

“We now have the world’s longest electric vehicle super highway in a single state stretching all the way up our beautiful eastern coastline,” Minister Bailey said in comments on Wednesday.

“This is literally electrifying news for Queenslanders and just one example of the innovative and strategic direction this state continues to take.”

As we reported here in July last year, many, but not quite all, of the fast chargers for the project have been supplied by local Brisbane-Based success-story, Tritium.

Tritium’s Veefil fast chargers – in particular its Veefil-RT 50kW DC model, first released in 2013 – 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.

More recently, the company raised funds 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.

Bailey said the Labor Palaszczuk government had a vision to encourage the uptake of EVs in Queensland, getting as many people as possible on board the EV revolution, as part of the state’s transition to a low-emissions future.

Lack of supporting infrastructure – and in particular, a lack of easy to access fast-charging stations – has been considered one of the key reasons why Australia has fallen well behind many other developed countries in its uptake of electric vehicles; although the distinct lack of supporting government policy, particularly at the federal level, has also been blamed.

“We knew our vision was ambitious, but this shift is happening around the world and unfortunately Australia is lagging behind,” Bailey said.

“The global market continues to head full-speed towards a future where electric vehicles dominate the transport space, with major manufacturers unveiling their newest models in recent expos in the United States and making major commitments to increasing the range available to consumers,” he said.

“We want Queensland to be at the forefront of these changes.

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

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  • Ken Dyer

    Still only 61 electric cars for sale in Australia according to Carsales.com.au.

    But now you can travel all the way around Australia in your EV, if you could afford one.

    https://myelectriccar.com.au/charge-stations-in-australia/

    • Joe

      From little things, big things grow, yes.

    • There are new pure electric cars for sale in Australia from Tesla, BMW, Renault and BYD, not always listed on Carsales. There are very few second hand EVs for sale. More models are certainly needed.

      • handbaskets’r’us

        Nobody wants to sell their EV’s.
        Charging infrastructure makes for a complete picture.
        Now the more affordable, perhaps Chinese, -hopefully Aussie models will follow.

      • Kevfromspace

        Where can you buy a BYD EV in Australia?

    • Peter Campbell

      Yes, but the cheapest are some mini vans (with the same innards as a Mitsubishi iMIEV) for $14990 that you might bargain down further. No iMiEV, but when there are some they are under $20K. I just bought a Holden Volt for $25K.

      • Greg Hudson

        Someone seems to have bought a bunch of those mini vans from Japan, second hand I assume. Probably cost them next to nothing.

  • Joe

    The pictorial of QLD with this story reminds me of China’s revival of ‘The Silk Road’ under their new initiative of ‘One Belt One Road’. QLD have a sort of mini version but still, an important initiative.

  • Dennis Kavanagh

    To guage the effectiveness of this “EV superhighway” we need a volunteer to take their battery-only EV (from any manufacturer) from Coolangatta to Cairns in the shortest time they can and then report the findings. Note that a “cannonball run” from California to New York (4,601km) was recently completed in an EV in 50.25 hours. As the distance from Coolangatta to Cairns is 1,786km, the equivalent duration would be 19.5 hours. Any takers?

    • Only a Tesla (or just released longer range EVs) could do the “Qld run”. The greatest percentage of BEVs in Australia do not have long enough legs for the larger gaps in the run. I will give it a go in my LEAF when the “highway” caters for the majority of EVs currenty in Oz.

  • MaxG

    Well, QLD Labour could make a stance and from here on only buy EVs for the government fleet… but they don’t.

    • Hettie

      Max, the political party in Australia is spelled with no U.
      Labor.
      In NZ & UK it is Labour.
      Here, Labor.

      • MaxG

        Thank you. There is always something new to learn for an ESL speaker 🙂

        • Hettie

          Thank you for being so gracious about it. For an ESL speaker you do remarkably well. And my correction was, in fact, kindly meant, but could easily have been read as bitchy.
          And you are quite right about government car fleets. Strange, when for most price is the barrier, but that does not apply to governments, and running costs are so much lower.

          • The Renault Zoe is newly available as a fleet car in Australia, and has a longer range than most EVs here other than the very expensive Teslas. Cost is about $50K.

  • Robert Comerford

    So they are saying the Tritium 50kw chargers are installed at all those locations now?

    If that is the case that is a good start and congratulations to them.

  • Robert Comerford

    Some of the distances between chargers would need very long range electric cars to be usable.
    e.g. a new Hyundai Ioniq would not make all the gaps between chargers.

    • Hettie

      Does anyone have a list of the distances between charging points? Having the facts on that point would be very useful.
      I was under the impression that most, if not all battery EVs can do 300km, and many now 500 km.
      Corrections welcome.

      • Dennis Kavanagh

        Hettie. Using Google Maps the following seem to be the distances involved:

        Coolangatta to Hamilton – 109.1km
        Hamilton to Cooroy – 130.5km
        Cooroy to Maryborough – 132.3km
        Maryborough to Childers – 60.1km
        Childers to Miriam Vale – 154.5km
        Miriam Vale to Rockhampton – 170.1km
        Rockhampton to Marlborough – 106.7km
        Marlborough to Carmila – 140.0km
        Carmila to Mackay – 108.0km
        Mackay to Bowen – 191.0km
        Bowen to Townsville – 202.0km
        Townsville to Tully – 208.0km
        Tully to Cairnas – 140.8km

        I hope this helps.

        • Robert Comerford

          Is that straight line distance?
          e.g.

          The NRMA and RACQ travel finders show the road distance circa 240 km from Miriam Vale to Rocky.

          • Dennis Kavanagh

            On Google Maps it shows the distance along the Bruce Highway as 170.1km. I presume this would be the distance between the post offices.

      • Robert Comerford

        The new Ioniq I just quoted has a range of 200km and that might be on a good day. The largest seller is the Nissan Leaf and most of the examples sold here only do less than 140km.

        Only the 2018 version of the Leaf can probably make it between all those stops.

        • Hettie

          Robert, Dennis, thank you both. Seems the charging points are indeed too far apart for the less pricey EVS. What a shame.

        • George Darroch

          Most EVs would be able to get from Cooloongata to McKay. That’s pretty incredible and not something any of us would have imagined just a couple of years ago.

          • Robert Comerford

            Given MOST EV’s sold in Australia do not have the range to go between all the installed fast charging points I fail to see how it would be done.
            Let up not get into the fantasy that Joe/Jill average will want to find a suitable 3 pin socket on a power pole in a park somewhere, that sort of thing is for us electric car enthusiasts only. :>)

      • Many newer models do those distances, but my first generation Nissan Leaf does less than 100 km on the highway, so some of these fast chargers are too far apart for me. I’d love to see a fast charger on the northern end of Brisbane, about Caboolture.

      • john

        Yes this site gives you the information world wide.
        Just use the search to find your area of interest
        https://www.plugshare.com/

      • Only Tesla BEVs can use this “electric highway”. And they have, or are building, their own. The Nissan LEAF (I have one) is by far the most popular (common) and it cannot use this “highway” at all.

        • Hettie

          What is stopping other BEVs using it?

          • It is the gap between charging stations. Only Tesla S and X and hybrids have the range to go 90km between charging at highway speeds. I drove my LEAF around Australia in 2016 http://ozleaf.proboards.com/thread/774/le-oz-af and there is no way to rely on 100km when traveling above 80km/hr. I love my LEAF and know its limitation but “they” should have looked at EVs (available in Australia) other than Teslas.

          • Hettie

            So even putting charging points midway between the existing ones would not suffice. Two intermediates might do it.
            Yet another failure of bureaucratic decision making. Unless, of course, filling in the gaps was always planned.
            And yet we know that private enterprise is at least as fallible.
            Witness the Vic fuse failures last Sunday.

  • Electric Boogaloo

    I think that Tesla would have something to say about the claim of “world’s largest” considering its network of chargers spans the globe and deliver almost 3x the power.

    But wait, it’s actually “world’s longest electric vehicle super highway in a single state”, which is really clutching at straws for an accolade.

  • mick

    are the roads good enough for 270km/h

    • Greg Hudson

      waddayameen? Aren’t ALL Aussie roads good for 275kph?
      As long as you are in a plane, flying over them 😉

      • mick

        happy to fly on them

    • Ian

      Yes there are hospital repair points all along our highway systems, failing adequate recovery, there are suitable crematoriums in most towns.

      • mick

        no camels or donkeys so not worried if im wrong im valuable as fertilser to waste on cremation but cheers for the thought

  • Ian

    This is a nice gesture towards EV, but I would suspect most EVs would be used, just like ICE vehicles, for shortish daily commutes and mostly in urban settings. But, hey, any positive publicity counts, and a decent public response would encourage more initiatives like this. I would have thought, though, that electrifying busses and government vehicles or providing fast chargers at taxi ranks would be more useful.

    Other electric modes of transport could be encouraged. The one that is ready to explode in popularity is the electric bicycle. These could be suitable for commutes of up to 20 or 30km. The amazing thing about such a vehicle is the enjoyment of cycling but without the sweat and fatigue – uphill, sand, and headwinds feel like downhill , bitumen and tailwinds, apparently. -, you can travel further, and faster and you can put in as much effort cycling as you want. The current legal limitation is 250w of power (3 to 5 times your own effort mind you). This restricts the usefulness of these bikes to leisurely speeds and flat ground. It also limits the design of bicycles to thin wheeled cruisers and not the more versatile fat wheeled mountain bikes. Reviewing the maximum street legal power of electric bicycles from 250W to perhaps a speed limitation of 30kmh on shared paths and higher on roads would be an encouragement for this type of transport . More covered cycleways in suburbs and city centres would also facilitate this .

    • Rollin

      Great idea. I rode a 500w mtn bike off road and it is like discovering an entirely new form of transport. A speed limit is a good idea on shared paths. I would actually much prefer this transport for 15 to 30km than a car. Most children could take this form of transport to and from school instead of stupid SUVs (parked at the front gates with noisy engines running)

  • Craig Thompson

    For attracting more customers(chargers), why not offer a bit of free wifi while you wait. You could give some of the old roadhouses a new lease of life.