Petrol retailer and oil refiner Ampol is to install electric vehicle fast charging bays at more than 100 of its service stations around Australia, as part of a funding agreement with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
Ampol will receive $7.05 million of the $26.8 million awarded to five different groups to expand EV charging infrastructure, as promised under the federal government’s Future Fuels Strategy (FFS).
The recipients, which aslo include Evie Networks, Chargefox, Engie and Electric Highway Tasmania – will deliver a total of 403 new fast charging stations, each capable of charging at least two vehicles concurrently at 50kW or above.
The big news, though, is with Ampol, which only recently benefited from a controversial $1 billion federal government bail-out of its Australian oil refinery business, a massive fossil fuel subsidy pitched as a measure to protect national security and keep fuel prices down, but tipped by some analysts to be headed straight to shareholders.
Ampol says it will install renewable powered DC fast chargers (2 x 50kW bays to charge two cars at a time) at 121 of its petrol stations across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, and said it expected electric vehicles to “gradually displace internal combustion engines,” particularly in the light passenger fleet.
“Electrification and electric vehicles will play a critical role in reducing emissions across Australia’s transport sector over the coming years,” said Ampol managing director and CEO Matt Halliday in a company statement.
“Today’s announcement highlights the key role our existing network, skills and infrastructure will play in delivering EV charging to Australian consumers.
“Ampol’s national retail network, along Australia’s major highways and close to existing high-traffic roads, closely matches our country’s population and is strategically located to help minimise range anxiety for EV users.
“We remain confident in our ability to evolve our retail network to support battery electric vehicle adoption.”
Ampol said it would commence works on the EV fast charger installations in the second-half of 2021, which could be read as any time from now.
The company said the chosen installation sites would feature EV chargers supplied with renewable energy or covered by green certificates.
“E-mobility infrastructure is a central pillar to capturing our existing customer base through the energy transition, as we look to expand our role in electricity to make the ease of the current liquid fuels era translate into the future BEV environment,” Halliday added. “This includes exploring ‘at-forecourt’, ‘at-home’ and ‘at-destination’ solutions.”
ARENA said the funding round would help deliver a seven-fold increase in the number of fast charging stations in Australia’s most populated cities and regions.
“Charging stations will be built across eight geographic regions covering 14 of Australia’s most populous cities,” the Agency said in a statement.
“In addition to networks in the capital cities in every state and territory, regional centres including Geelong, Newcastle, Wollongong and the Sunshine Coast will each receive a minimum of eight new fast charging stations to drive the uptake of EVs in regional locations.”
ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the proposals received for this round of Future Fuels funding were of such high quality, the agency was compelled to increase the size of the grants allocation.
“As the costs of electric vehicles come down, more consumers and fleet users are looking to go electric. Expanding the fast charging network will make it easier than ever to drive an EV in Australia.”
The Trevor St Baker-backed Evie Networks was the biggest winner from the funding round, awarded $8.85 million to deliver 158 fast charging stations across eight regions in Australia, with project partners Tritium and ActewAGL.
A statement from the company on Friday noted that it was the only awardee to win in all eight Australian states and territories, including being the exclusive winner in Canberra.
Evie says it has plans to deploy over 300 fast chargers (a minimum of two per site), at shopping centres, grocery stores, restaurants and council owned areas to allow for charging wherever convenient.
Evie also had a previous deal with Ampol – inked in mid-2020 – to install a series of 350kW ultra-fast EV chargers at six of the petrol giant’s retail outlets in regional Victoria and NSW.
Another of this week’s Future Fuels Fund recipients, Engie, was awarded $6.85 million to deliver 103 fast charging stations across four regions in Australia, with project partners ISimply Energy and JET Charge.
ChargeFox was awarded $1.4 million to deliver 16 fast charging stations across Adelaide and Perth; and Electric Highway Tasmania, working with project partners Chargefox and Kingborough Council, was granted $400,000 to deliver five electric vehicle fast charging stations in Hobart.
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