Another ultra-fast electric car charging station is now live in Barnawartha between Melbourne and Sydney on the NSW/Victorian border.
The charging site is just the second in a 22-strong network being installed by Melbourne-based Chargefox, which has four chargers, two of which can deliver up 400km of driving range to electric cars within 15 minutes – and 200km in eight minutes.
Two 350kW ABB ultra-fast chargers – the very ones that allow for adding hundreds of kilometres driving range within just minutes – sit alongside two 50kW Veefil-RT fast-chargers made by Australia’s own Tritium.
Each charger has a CCS2 and a CHAdeMO plug and allow for one car to be charged at a time, meaning four EVs can charge at once.
Funded with $17 million raised by ARENA, Australian car clubs NRMA, RACQ, RACV, RAC, RAA and RACT, Car Sales’ Greg Roebuck, Wilson Transformers and the Victorian Government, the Barnawartha charging site will compliment Chargefox’s Euroa site which came online last year.
The continued expansion of the Chargefox ultra-rapid charging network is another feather in the hat for Australia’s fledgling electric car movement, which has a lot of catching up to do compared to other developed countries around the world.
According to research conducted in 2017 by funding partner RACV, half of drivers would consider buying an electric vehicle, but higher upfront costs and adequate charging infrastructure represent key barriers to uptake.
Despite wildly incorrect claims by energy minister Angus Taylor in response to Labour’s proposed 50% electric car targets that electric cars take 8-9 hours to charge (this is only if charged on a home powerpoint), ultra-fast chargers in strategic locations on key highways and in regional areas will erase any range anxiety drivers may feel about travelling long distances in electric cars.
“The new charging station is a significant milestone, enabling electric vehicle drivers to travel from Melbourne to Victoria’s high country, or to the NSW Riverina Murray region without any long charging stops,” said Chargefox CEO Marty Andrews in a statement.
“We’re helping Australia transform from being a global laggard in transport innovation to having only the third ultra-rapid electric vehicle charging network in the world.
“Our new Barnawartha North station is the next stepping stone on our journey to connect Australia’s major cities for the thousands of drivers using efficient, clean electric vehicles,” Andrews says.
RACV Public Policy General Manager Bryce Prosser agrees.
“Chargefox’s network is an innovation we have needed in Australia for some time, so it’s exciting to see it reach this new milestone,” he said in a statement.
“A reliable electric vehicle charging network is critical to ensure our members can travel longer distances between cities without worrying about either running out of charge or spending hours waiting for a recharge.”
According to Behyad Jafari, CEO of the Electric Vehicle Council, better charging infrastructure such as that being installed by ChargeFox is imperative for the uptake of electric vehicles in Australia
“The introduction of Australia’s first public charging network is a significant milestone to the broader goal of mass adoption of electric vehicles. Every Australian would benefit from a pivot to electric vehicles,” he said in a statement.
“Our cities could have cleaner, quieter roads, drivers could be spared the unpredictability of the petrol bowser and the nation wouldn’t be dependent on foreign fuel imports.
Chargefox’s network is a key piece of the puzzle for Australia to accelerate from the back of the global pack.”
Several carmakers including Audi, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover and Merceds-Benz have already entered into an agreement with Chargefox to use the ultra-fast charging network.
Other locations that have been identified include Melbourne, Ballarat, Horsham, Torquay and Traralgon, and when finished the ultra-rapid charging network will stretch all the way from Adelaide in South Australia to Brisbane in Queensland.
Additional stations will be installed in Perth and surrounds.
“Chargefox has a vision that one day 100% of road transport will be powered by renewable energy and from day one our ultra-rapid chargers will be accessible to all Australian drivers,” says Andrews.
Note: This article has been corrected with accurate information about the number and types of chargers at the Barnawartha site.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.