The largest ultra-rapid electric car charging site in the southern hemisphere, capable of adding driving range to electric cars at a rate of up to 400km every 15 minutes, has opened in Melbourne.
With four 350kW ultra-rapid chargers and two 50kW fast-chargers, the site was launched by Australia’s leading charging network provider Chargefox on Thursday at Westfield Airport West, just 20km from Melbourne’s CBD.
The site is the fourth ultra-rapid charging site now operational in the Chargefox network, joining two other sites in Victoria at Euroa and Barnawatha and another that opened recently in Toombul, Brisbane.
It’s another indicator of Australia’s increasing readiness for a switch to electric vehicles (EVs) – and its role in the development of cutting edge EV infrastructure, thanks to companies like Brisbane-based fast-charger maker Tritium.
Australia has been branded a “global laggard” compared to other developed countries in the uptake of EVs, and although recharging an electric car will require a paradigm shift (it is likely that most people will recharge overnight, at home, much like a mobile phone), access to fast-charging infrastructure is often noted as one key barrier to uptake.
However, in terms of fast-charging site penetration, a recent article on The Driven shows that Australia is in fact making good ground, with the number of Australian sites almost doubling in the past 12 months.
Indeed, the Melbourne site is a major milestone that will help Australia transform from a global laggard, says Chargefox CEO Marty Andrews.
“Our aim is to make EV charging as fast and easy as possible for all Australians, and we’re excited to be leading the way in delivering state-of-the-art infrastructure backed by renewable energy, like at this site,” said Andrews in a note by email.
“We’re transforming Australia from a global laggard to a leader in transport innovation, and part of this is future proofing our technology and infrastructure for many years to come.”
Victoria’s minister for energy, Lily D’Ambrosio, welcomed the opening of the site as a sign of support for the electric vehicle market in the state.
“We’re very pleased to be supporting the installation of electric vehicle charging points near our highways, such as Airport West,” she said.
“These points are vital to help people and businesses make longer, cleaner and more environmentally sustainable journeys in their electric vehicles.”
GM of public policy for RACV Bryce Prosser said in a statement that he believed the new site would foster greater trust in the emerging form of zero emissions transport.
“The new charging station in Westfield Airport West is a significant milestone for Chargefox and our members, as it allows more and more Victorians to travel with greater confidence in their electric vehicles.
“A reliable and rapid electric vehicle charging network is critical to enable owners and drivers to travel long distances between cities without worrying about either running out of charge or spending hours waiting for a recharge,” Prosser said.
With the ability to charge up to six electric vehicles at a time, the site further extends the Chargefox network stretching almost the entire eastern seaboard of Australia.
On Tuesday, Chargefox also announced its management takeover of the Queensland Electric Super Highway (QESH) which provides charging sites approximately every 200 kilometres from Coolangatta to Cairns.
Another 17 sites, all of which will be backed by renewable energy to further reduce the impact of electric vehicles upon the environment, will be rolled out by the end of 2019, Chargefox’s Andrews says.
“The next six months for us are going to be very exciting with the remaining ultra-rapid stations on the Chargefox network opening, making it possible for Australian’s to travel around the country safe in the knowledge that they can charge quickly and reliably along the way,” he said.
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.