Electricity provider Ausgrid has revealed a plan to make electric vehicle charging more accessible in Sydney, partnering with start-up Jolt to convert street-side power kiosks into EV chargers.
Access to EV chargers is often cited as a common barrier to the adoption of electric vehicles, but the new plan from Ausgrid and Jolt will see existing electricity infrastructure re-purposed to help overcome this issue. And it will be free to use, and powered by green energy.
“I’m excited Ausgrid is part of this world first initiative which is taking existing, essential community infrastructure and breathing new life into it,” Ausgrid CEO Richard Gross said in a statement.
“With this partnership, we will be supporting the electrification of transport, making it easier to charge and using 100 per cent green energy.”
An image uncovered by the Australian Electric Vehicle Association (above) shows a render of an existing power box with Ausgrid branding, that boldly states “Empowering Lives”.
It’s not just about empowering Sydneysiders to switch to zero emissions transport, either. The plan from Ausgrid will see Sydney residents – particularly in areas where it’s not possible to park in a driveway or garage and charge at home – able to access streetside charging instead of having to visit shopping centres or fast charging sites.
“Most people are familiar with our green kiosks on street sides across Sydney. They’re essential for Ausgrid operations but most people don’t give them a second thought,” says Gross.
“By partnering with Jolt these kiosks will be transformed into state-of-the art charging stations which will allow EV drivers to pull up, plug in and charge their vehicles.
Ausgrid has not yet revealed which locations it will convert, but says it is already working with councils to begin installation in early 2021. We can reveal that the Northern Beaches is one of these councils.
It has also not explicitly said what charge rate of the streetside chargers will be, but given Ausgrid’s statement that each EV will be allowed to add 7kWh free power to their batteries each day in around 15 minutes, the max charge rate will be about 28kW.
Jolt CEO Doug McNamee said in a statement that drivers would be able to charge for longer via a Jolt smartphone app, presumably for a cost.
“There is significant demand for electric vehicles locally but there are several barriers holding people back – we want to change this and make owning an EV as easy as possible,” McNamee said.
“Our network of on-street fast chargers will help reduce vehicle ownership costs, eliminate range-anxiety and provide charging options for those that don’t have access to charging at home.
“This will help speed up the transition to the widespread use of electric vehicles. We look forward to unveiling the first charging stations with Ausgrid in the near future.”
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.