Australia may be a global laggard in the uptake of electric vehicles, but one Australian company is ensuring its place on the global stage, opening on Tuesday the largest facility for the research and development of electric vehicle chargers in the world.
Tritium, which develops ultra-fast DC electric car chargers, and has expanded operations in both Europe and America, has officially opened a new facility at its global headquarters in the east Brisbane suburb of Murarrie.
A large proportion of EV charging is done at home, but DC ultra-fast chargers such as the Veefil-PK 350kW DC charger developed and supplied by Tritium can help to significantly reduce one of the main barriers for EV uptake in Australia – access to charging infrastructure.
In addition to adding up to 350km of range in as little as 10 minutes for those on a long trip, they can also provide recharging options for those who do not have access to home chargers such as inner city terrace and older apartment dwellers.
The new facility, which is now home to 300 sales, support and marketing, as well as R&D and engineering staff, will help the Australian-based company further establish itself as an innovative leader in the global EV charging market at the same time as creating more jobs for locals.
With an engineering and R&D team that is as large as the rest of its entire staff, Tritium’s new facility will allow it to rapidly increase the rate at which it can develop and produce its ultra-fast DC chargers, improving time to market as it helps accelerate the transition to electric cars.
James Kennedy, Tritium CTO and co-founder, said the new construction of the Innovation Centre was made necessary due to its rapidly expanding R&D and engineering team.
“By the end of 2018, we were adding an engineer to the team every week, on average,” said Kennedy in a note by email.
“In engineering circles, this growth rate is unheard of. But as Tritium continues to expand, this rate of growth is absolutely necessary to cater to demand for DC fast charging and high-power charging.”
The facility will allow development of innovative new products such as an extremely fast charging system that can power to a medium-voltage grid without the need for a transformer, significantly reducing installation costs.
Tritium received a portion of a grant amounting to $US400,000 ($A567,000) last year via the US-based Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) mwhich received a $US3.2 million ($A4.5 million) package from the US Department of Energy, that it will use towards the development of this technology.
“This is one of several research projects we have on the agenda,” says Kennedy.
“We’re also working on technology which will enable our concept of Energy Freedom™ to become a reality in the very near future. By pushing the boundaries of innovation in infrastructure, we’ll continue to re-define the possibilities for E-Mobility and pave the road ahead for the EV sector.”
In addition to the expansion at the Murrarie complex, Tritium has also opened a testing centre in Amsterdam that will allow automakers to assist in the development of new models and batteries.
Tritium has a global presence; not only are there many Tritium chargers being installed across Australia, there are also Tritium DC fast-chargers that have been installed in the US-based ChargePoint network, as well as up to 600 475kW Veefil-PK ultra fast chargers that are being rolled out across Europe as part of the IONITY network.
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.