The Queensland Government supported supercharger network will expand with 18 additional charging sites, with $2.75 million in new funding.
The ‘Queensland Electric Super Highway’ will expand into the North-West of the state, extending the length of the ‘highway’ by a further 1,800km – to a total of 3,800km – in a move that the state government expects will enable EV driving tourists to explore more of the state.
“Not only were we the first state in Australia to develop an EV strategy, but we revolutionised electric vehicle travel through delivering the Queensland Electric Super Highway,” Queensland transport minister Mark Bailey said.
“Sending the QESH out west not only puts EV charging on the map in regional Queensland but supports the drive tourism market too, importantly to tourism centres like Winton where the Palaszczuk Government is delivering $4.9 million in new additions to the Australian Age of Dinosaurs museum.”
The announcement comes after the Queensland government flagged a number of potential sites in regional areas that could become host to a fast-charging station, including the regional hubs of Barcaldine, Emerald, Hughenden, Mount Isa and Longreach.
Thirty-one chargers have already been installed and are operational as part of earlier stages of the ‘highway’ rollout, with the additional commitment seeing it grow to a network of almost 50 fast-chargers.
The fast-chargers have been built at intervals of around 100 to 200 km along the Queensland east coast to help EV road-trippers explore the state. Charging costs 20 cents per kWh, making the network one of the cheaper charging options currently available in Australia.
The network has used rapid-charging stations built in Queensland by Tritium, with previous deployments using Tritium’s Veefil-RT 50kW DC model.
Queensland minister for energy, renewables and hydrogen, Mick de Brenni, said he expects the growth in the state’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure will help accelerate investment in additional renewable energy projects.
“Every time a motorist makes the choice to fill their tank with energy made in Queensland, it allows for the continued growth of renewables in our state,” de Brenni said.
“Our $2 billion Renewable Energy and Jobs Fund means electrical vehicle owners will have access to the cheapest, cleanest electricity in the nation.
He added that the growing charging network meant the government could accelerate the transition of the government fleet from petrol to electric. It has already committed to double the number of EVs in its QFleet year on year.”
Renewable energy campaigners, Solar Citizens, welcomed the commitment of the additional chargers, but said the Queensland government should be looking to do more to support electric vehicle uptake.
“Electric vehicles are a win-win for Queenslanders, they can run on cheap clean renewable energy and slash emissions that are harmful to our health and the climate,” Solar Citizens National Director Ellen Roberts said.
“It’s great to see Transport Minister Mark Bailey recognising the importance of making electric driving more accessible. Now we’d like to see Queensland follow the lead of states like Victoria and Queensland and do more to make electric vehicles affordable for all.”
The Queensland government fleet already includes 81 electric vehicle models that are currently used by government employees, and the Palaszczuk government has committed to purchasing five Hyundai NEXO hydrogen vehicles.
The NEXOs are expected to be delivered within the next few weeks and follows the ACT government incorporating 20 NEXO vehicles in its own fleet, along with opening Australia’s first hydrogen refuelling station in Canberra.