Travelling the long distances along Australia’s eastern seaboard in an electric car is now expected to be easier with a deal inked between Chargefox and Yurika that will allow drivers to use a single network from Adelaide to Cairns.
The deal, which will see public EV charging network provider Chargefox take over management of the Queensland Electric Super Highway (QESH), means drivers can use one app to find, use and pay for electric car charging locations on the east coast.
Currently, the QESH that has been developed by the Queensland government in collaboration with electricity solution provider Yurika, has 17 sites from Coolangatta to Cairns.
Its addition to the Chargefox network will mean that by the end of 2019 there will be 100 fast 50kW DC chargers in the network that can extend an electric car’s driving range by up to 60 kilometres for every 15 minutes of charge.
In total, Chargefox currently have 170 public charging sites in operation, 5 of which offer ultra-rapid 350kW fast charging to deliver up to 400 kilometres of extra range per hour of charging.
17 more ultra-fast chargers will be installed along the southern end of the network from Brisbane to Adelaide, thanks to funding from Australian Mobility Clubs (NRMA, RACV, RACQ, RAC, RAA and RACT), Wilson Transformers and the founder of Carsales, Greg Roebuck.
Chargefox chief executive Marty Andrews said in a statement that extending the Chargefox network to Cairns was “a step forward for EV drivers in Queensland and across Australia.
“It provides further reassurance that EV ownership is a real option for new car buyers, and the connection simplifies charging dramatically for existing EV drivers,” he said.
The network will further contribute to the normalisation of charging electric vehicles among the Australian public, with the availability of public vehicle charging sites known to be a barrier to electric car uptake.
While electric cars on a day-to-day basis are more likely to be charged at home, much like a mobile phone, the need for fast-charging for long distance driving requirements is recognised.
And it is already being used; according to Chargefox, whose network includes residential, workplace and publicly accessible fast-chargers, the charging sessions have now surpassed 4,000 a month and are rising at a rate of 20 per cent every month.
To further assure Australian drivers of the accessibility of fast-charging, Chargefox has partnered with a number of carmakers including Audi, Hyundai, Jaguar and Merces-Benz, with its latest deal with Jaguar offering five years free charging.
To understand more about the difference between types of electric car charging, check out our article How fast can you charge your electric vehicle?.
Update: With the takeover of management of the QESH by Chargefox, it has now been confirmed that a new phase for the world’s longest electric vehicle chargin network has begun with users now able to access EV charging at a rate of 45c/kWh.
Until June 30 2018, EV drivers using the QESH were able to enjoy free charging from the QESH.
The new rate, which is set by Yurika, can be paid via the Chargefox smartphone app.
“This equates to about $20 for 300km of driving range,” Yurika GM Charles Rattray said in a note by email.
“This rate compares favourably to other EV fast charging rates throughout the country and is very competitive compared to driving an internal combustion engine vehicle.”
The savings are impressive when compared against the average fuel usage of an Australian car according to the 2017 ABS Survey of Motor Vehicle Use (11.9 litres per kilometre) and current Brisbane fuel prices as monitored by Petrol Spy (around 133 cents per litres).
For 300km of driving when filling up in Brisbane, a driver in an internal combustion vehicle will spend up to $48, nearly 2.5 times that of using the QESH.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that a 50kW chargers adds 60km range per hour. It does in fact add up to 60km range per 15 minutes.
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.