For those with non-Tesla long-range EVs – the Melbourne to Adelaide route is now (almost) open to you! With the opening of the ChargeFox ultra-rapid DC fast charger in Keith (SA), and the soon to open ultra-rapid DC charger in Horsham (Victoria), it will soon be no more than 300km per recharge hop.
Combined, they mark the opening of one more inter-city route for EV drivers through reducing the Adelaide to Melbourne EV commute to two DC fast-charge stops, thereby creating an EV travel time equivalent to petrol/diesel vehicles.
As part of the consortium backing the charger network, RAA mobility technology specialist Mark Borlace says, “It’s most definitely a ground breaking event – this will be the first fast charger in country South Australia, and the fastest charger in the state. It’s akin to the opening of the first petrol bowser outside of Adelaide. The Keith ultra-rapid charger will make a trip between Adelaide and Melbourne a reality for owners of most modern EVs.’’
At this stage, it is still best described as a ‘skeletal’ network for use by early EV adopters – but it marks a significant step in the completion of a national DC charging network.
With increasing numbers of EVs there will be a need for an expanding number of chargers at each location, plus infill between these is required as 300km is only good for EVs with 50kWh or above battery sizes.
Also given the EV drivers’ maxim ‘Charge early/charge to 80% only’, a rural network with 100km maximum gaps between chargers is regarded as a good ‘rule of thumb’ for providing full national coverage outside of the large cities.
However, to get that sort of coverage will need better federal policy direction to (among other things) provide a uniform installation process.
As every DC charging network provider will tell you, negotiating the locations, power connections, tariff structures and local permissions from all and sundry authorities involved is a complex and tediously time-consuming process.
This process is not helped by the fact that it is different at every location due to differing electricity distributors, local and state authority laws and requirements.
So kudos to ChargeFox for their hard work in getting this and more DC chargers up and running around Australia – and brickbats to the federal government for making the EV transition that much harder than it should be.
Site technical details:
Site location: 14 Dukes Highway, Keith SA 5267
Chargers: two 350kW ultra-fast DC chargers
Plugs: CHAdeMO and CCS2. (Making them suitable for all current and future DC-capable EVs, including Tesla Models S and X when used with an adapter).