Chargefox’s ultra-rapid electric car charging network has expanded to Western Australia for the first time, with the opening of its 18th site at Australind.
The electric car charging network provider has also inked a deal with Swedish-Chinese car maker Volvo, to provide five years unlimited charging for owners of the car maker’s XC40 Recharge plug-in hybrid, adding to the growing list of brands – Nissan, BMW, Porsche, Jaguar, Audi and Mercedes – to have such deals.
The Chargefox ultra-rapid charging service provides up to 350kW charging to electric car owners, which at its maximum rate can add 400km driving range in as little as 15 minutes (we note the actual charging rate depends on each model’s built-in inverter).
CEO Marty Andrews says all of its ultra-rapid charging sites are powered by renewable energy and there has been high uptake of the company’s network, which also encompasses management of the Queensland Electric Super Highway.
“We have almost 10,000 users on our app, and we have powered more than 145,000 EV charging sessions. We are really pleased to see the positive impact our network is having on the environment at such a critical moment in time,” he says.
Electric cars still account for a tiny percentage of the Australian auto market, but sales are increasing, with 340% more electric vehicles sold year-to-date than in 2019, and there are a number of more affordable, new electric models on the cusp of hitting the Australian market such as the MG ZS EV.
Behyad Jafari, CEO of the Electric Vehicle Council, says 56 per cent of Australians are now considering purchasing an electric car as their next vehicle, “and access to world-class charging infrastructure is key to their decision”
The addition of the Chargefox rapid charger to Western Australia will also likely be warmly welcomed by local EV drivers.
With an EV charging report that outlines a cost-effective charging network buried by the WA government, the WA EV community has turned to crowd-funding to install a fast charger at Esperance to link Perth and the south-west coast.
Access to charging infrastructure has been identified as an integral part of accelerating a switch to the electric cars, which in turn plays a big role in mitigating transport-related carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.
“Australia’s per capita transport emissions are 45% higher than the OECD average, with transport being our third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Cars are responsible for roughly half of those emissions,” says Andrews.
The adoption of electric vehicles in Australia has been stymied by a lack of federal EV policy designed to accelerate the adoption locally, and because of currency conversions, import costs and for some models, the addition of the luxury car tax, they are often well out of the league of most Australian budgets.
Andrews points out, though, that it is only a matter of time before Australians may not have any choice but to buy electric, as car makers pledge to stop making combustion engine vehicles.
“Every global car manufacturer now has a deadline for when they will cease production of petrol cars,” says Andrews. “VW, the second biggest manufacturer in the world, will stop the production of petrol vehicles by 2026.”
Meanwhile, the Chargefox network, which has been funded by Australian Motoring Services (RACV, NRMA, RACQ, RAC, RAA and RACT), Wilson Transformers and the founder of Carsales, Greg Roebuck, is continuing to roll out across Australia.
“Turning on our latest two charging stations in regional Victoria and WA means drivers can now travel up and down the east coast of Australia, and from Melbourne to Adelaide without long charging stops,” says Andrews.
“These sites will further reduce range anxiety and help drive EV adoption in Australia. As all the major car companies focus their efforts on building EV models, we anticipate that 2021 will be the year that we will see the tipping point of EV adoption in Australia,” Marty said.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.