A Puma Energy truck stop outside Townsville is now the site of the first Evie Networks ultra-rapid electric vehicle charger to be installed under a new deal between the two companies.
Sitting on the Bruce Highway, the the Puma Energy Cluden service station now features a 350kW DC charger made by Australia’s world-leading high-powered EV charger company Tritium that can add up to 400km of driving range in 15 minutes.
The ultra-rapid charger is the first in a series planned by Evie Networks which, like Tritium, is backed by coal baron Trevor St Baker’s innovation fund, and Puma Energy, which was recently acquired by oil major Chevron in a $A425 million deal.
The charger roll-out will further ready Australia’s east coast for a small but gradually increasing number of electric vehicle owners.
Coastal Queensland is already ahead of the electric mobility transition curve, currently serviced by the world’s longest intrastate 50kW DC fast charging network (known as the Queensland Electric Super Highway or QESH). But the new deal will transform 1,800km of the electric superhighway to an ultra-rapid expressway.
It will take electric vehicle technology a little while to be able to take full advantage of the 350kW charge rate of the new chargers. Most EVs available in Australia have a maximum charge rate of 50kW – 150kW depending on the model.
But Evie says that by installing 350kW ultra-rapid chargers it will future-proof Australia for years to come. The charge units also offer both CCS2 and CHAdeMO plugs to fit all current and new EV models in Australia.
Puma’s network of well-placed truck stops was chosen by Evie Networks for its amenities, 24 hour operations, proximity to key corridors, and consideration of safety.
For Puma Energy, the deal means it will be able to “diversify its traditional service station forecourt” to offer charging services to the growing number of electric vehicle owners.
“Puma Energy’s partnership with Evie Networks provides EV drivers in North Queensland with the first 24/7 convenient, safe and ultra-fast charging experience with the added benefits of Puma Energy’s service station amenities,” said Alan Plews, GM for retail at Puma Energy in a statement.
Evie Networks CEO Chris Mills says that the Puma Energy Cluden site is “critical for Evie Networks as it aims to achieve its ambition to connect the east coast of Australia, with ultra-fast EV chargers.”
“Our network is set to be the largest ultra-fast EV charging network in Australia and complements the existing Queensland Government network of fast chargers,” Mills said in a statement.
The Cluden charger is Evie Network’s second charger in Queensland; in November 2019 it opened its first site at Coochin Creek on the Sunshine Coast.
Evie Networks also has sites in operation in Avenel in Victoria, as part of a deal with the newly renamed Ampol (previously Caltex), as well as Taree and Tarcutta.
To celebrate the opening of the Cluden site, Puma Energy says all charging will be free for the month of July and drivers will also receive a free coffee while charging.
The St Baker Energy Innovation Fund has contributed $35 million to Evie Networks, which has also received a $15 million recoupable grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Tritium chose the site. It has been updated to reflect the fact that Evie Networks chose the site.
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.