Three Sydney councils join forces to charge up infrastructure for electric vehicles | The Driven
eelctric vehicle dash
Credit: Bridie Schmidt

The three main councils covering Sydney’s eastern suburbs – Waverley, Woollahra and Randwick – have inked a deal that will see kerbside electric car charging stations installed in each of the three councils.

The joint agreements, which has been two years in the making, were signed last week with with electric vehicle charging infrastructure provider JetCharge.

Under the agreement, EV charging stations will be installed at six locations across the three councils, from Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach, Bondi Junction, Double Bay, Coogee, and two locations in Randwick.

The installation of the charging spots is in answer to the tri-counil’s 2016 survey that showed that 65 per cent of residents said they’d consider purchasing an EV in their next purchase, with 78 per cent citing lack of charging infrastructure as a major barrier to purchase.

All three councils have already banded together to form a regional environmental program that is aimed reducing the carbon footprint of Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

The program originally identified 11 sites in the three councils, which has been tipped to become a “cluster” for electric vehicles, 6 of which have been chosen as the first phase of the program.

As part of the goal to promote the uptake of electric vehicles, the councils decided to located the 22kW AC chargers – which will allow a Tesla for example to charge to 80% in two hours, giving an extra 150km range – in prime locations.

“We’ve chosen prominent prime destination hotspots, they’re really good parking spots close to shopping and attractions and beaches so people can and will want to spend a bit of time there,” tri-council spokesperson Anthony Weinberg tells The Driven.

The complete list of locations are:

  • Queen Elizabeth Drive, Bondi Beach
  • Spring Street, Bondi Junction
  • Kiaora Place shopping centre, Double Bay
  • Coogee Beach (Brooke Street next to Coogee Oval)
  • Randwick Community Centre
  • Silver Street car park, Randwick.

To begin with, there will be one plug available at each spot, but there are plans to rapidly increase this number one demand requires it.

“Once utilisation is over 30-40 per cent, we will take the second spot next to each location,” says Weinberg, doubling the number of plugs.

To ensure the parking spots are not taken by ICE vehicles, the councils are using new NSW road regulations signs that read, “EV parking only while charging.”

EV parking only while charging

In addition to being located in prime spots, the councils are offering three payment rates – peak (2pm – 8pm), shoulder (8pm-10pm and 7am-2pm) and offpeak (10pm – 7am).

“We’re charging cheaper than what you’d pay at home,” says Weinberg, “25c peak, 15c shoulder  and 10c off peak  – Monday to Friday.”

The parks have the same time restrictions on them as ICE parking spots, and Weinberg notes that at Bondi Beach this means for EV drivers with a beach access pass, there is no time limit, allowing drivers to charge to 100 per cent.

Weinberg says that next step for the project include further supporting EV uptake through encouraging installation of chargers at workplaces and clubs.

The tri-council is also looking at partnerships such as with car-sharing network GoGet, and eventually want to establish EV charging infrastructure in medium-high density areas.

“55 per cent of our residents live in apartment blocks – so there’s a big barrier there,” says Weinberg.

For JetCharge, it is yet another feather in the hat on the road to the future of electric mobility in Australia, complimenting a 21 station “electric highway” announced earlier this year from Brisbane to Adelaide and a network around Perth.

“By installing charging infrastructure in high profile locations, the 3 Councils are sharing a vision for the future where fuelling your vehicle fits into your lifestyle, not the other way around,” JetCharge director Tim Washington said in a statement.

While the agreement may attract the attention of critics who are often keen to point out that EVs are only as green as their energy source, Weinberg emphasises that under the tri-council deal, that will not be a concern.

“As part of our commitment to sustainability, the charge stations will be powered by 100% renewable energy,” he said in a statement.

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