Evie Networks has opened the first of its planned 42 ultra-fast electric vehicle charging stations in Australia, with a ceremony at the Coochin Creek location between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast that will be powered by renewable energy.

The 350kW charging station has been built by Evie Network’s corporate stablemate Tritium – both are partly owned and backed by Australian coal baron Trevor St Baker – and this installation sits under a solar canopy.

The site between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast has been designed to complement the network of 18 EV fast chargers installed in cities up the coast by the Queensland Government.

“This station is the first of what will be the largest rollout of ultra-fast highway charging stations being built in Australia,” said Evie Networks CEO Chris Mills.

“There are currently only around 70 fast charging sites in Australia, most of which are proprietary or require a subscription.

“Providing ultra-fast charging stations at accessible highway locations around the country, all open-access and ‘pay-as-you-go’, like the Coochin Creek, is about serving EV drivers and opening up new journeys.”

The charging stations – which offers two  charging heads with space to add four more – offer both Japanese and European plugs and are the first of their kind globally, catering for all available EV models.

“The solar canopy, another first, shelters motorists from the sun and rain while they charge, with the solar panels contributing additional power to the chargers,” the company said in a statement.

Trevor St Baker charges up at the new ultra fast charger.

For the first month of opening, charging at Coochin Creek will be free.  After this, Evie customers will be able to use a pay-as-you-go system via the Evie app, available on both iOS and Android devices, or an RFID card which can be ordered via the app.

However, the company is not revealing the charge rates at this stage, although Mills hinted it could be structured around a mix of draw and time.

Currently no EVs in Australia can charge at a rate of 350kW – the fastest is probably the Tesla Model 3 at 150kW – but Mills told The Driven the company was planning ahead for when EVs do charge at that rate.

“We are preparing ourselves for the next generation of EVs and the next generation after that. We are future proofing the sites,” Mills said.

The charging stations are partly charged by the solar canopy and the rest by green certificates. Once more charging stations are up and running, and demand patterns noted, the company could seek a power purchase agreement with a wind or solar farm.

The St Baker Energy Innovation Fund has contributed $35 million to the company, and there is also a $15 million recoupable grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

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