More good news for Australian electric vehicle enthusiasts this week, as the NRMA kicks off the roll-out of a $10 million EV fast-charging network across New South Wales and the ACT.
NRMA said on Friday it had begun work on a planned DC charging network, first announced last October, after tapping Brisbane-based company Tritium to supply the hardware for the job.
The deal will see Tritium’s award-winning Veefil-RT 50kW fast chargers installed at at least 40 publicly-accessible sites, to ensure that 95 per cent of NSW/ACT EV journeys are within 150km of a fast charge.
All of the fast chargers will be manufactured at Tritium’s base in Brisbane, which was recently expanded to deliver a seven-fold increase in production capacity, from around 60 units a month, to 6,000 a year.
Tritium has had huge success with its fast charging technology – 50kW Fast Chargers, and 150-475kW Ultra-Fast chargers – but mostly in Europe and the US, where the uptake of electric vehicles is well ahead of Australia.
In March, the company set up a new European base in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, to cater to growing demand in the region that it said was being driven by “surging” EV model launches.
Sadly, this has not been the experience in Australia, with a slowing growing roll-out of a range of EV charging networks across the country waiting only on the arrival of the cars, themselves.
By comparison, there are just five pure electric EVs currently available to consumers in Australia, including two ‘light passenger vehicles’ (Renault Zoe & BMW i3), one ‘upper large passenger vehicle’ (Tesla Model S), one ‘large SUV’ (Tesla Model X) plus one light commercial van (Renault Kangoo ZE van).
This has been put down to a number of factors, including Australia’s complete lack of supporting federal government policy, and the lack of supporting infrastructure.
And while we’re still waiting on the first to be rectified, the second point is gradually being addressed, by everyone but big government.
The NRMA network, for example, is being is being delivered in partnership with local communities including local councils, small businesses and land owners.
It joins the EV Super Highway that is currently being built in Queensland by the Labor state government there – and which will also, mostly, be fitted out with Tritium’s Veefil chargers.
US EV maker Tesla has also recently announced it is boosting its Super Charger network in Australia with another 18 stations, while a group of Australian Tesla drivers, in partnership with the Australian EV Association and WA government, has been busy installing its own Australia-wide network of three-phase charge points for all EV drivers.
More recently, UK automaker Jaguar Land Rover has committed to spend up to $4 million rolling out 150 EV charging stations in Australia later this year, ahead of the local release of its all-electric Jaguar I-Pace.
“Our vision is to open up the great destinations NSW and the ACT have to offer electric vehicle drivers, without the worry of running out of a charge on their trip,” said NRMA Group CEO, Rohan Lund, in comments on Friday.
“It’s through forward-thinking leadership from organisations such as the NRMA that Australia will make its mark on the electric vehicle driving space,” said Chris Hewitt, Head of Sales A/NZ, Tritium.
“They are breaking down a major barrier to EV adoption in Australia – the availability of chargers.”
The NRMA electric vehicle fast charging network will be suitable for a range of electric vehicles and free for NRMA Members.