The Australian government has announced a AU$6 million investment in an “ultra-rapid” electric vehicle (EV) charging network powered by renewable energy across the nation under the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

According to the federal government, the EV charging network will be deployed around Sydney and Melbourne; between Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, and Adelaide; and across Western Australia.

Euroa, in Victoria, and Barnawartha North, outside Albury Wodonga on the New South Wales-Victorian border, will be the first sites to gain charging areas thanks to a grant from the Victorian government.

The AU$15 million EV charging network is being built by Chargefox, with plans to develop 21 charging stations across the nation, each around 200km apart.

The charging stations are designed to provide a range of 400km or up to 80 percent capacity within 15 minutes of charging, with the network to be worth AU$15 million.

“Electric vehicles have the potential to lower transport costs, enhance fuel security, and increasingly create more sustainable cities with less pollution and better health outcomes for our communities,” Minister for Energy Angus Taylor said on Monday.

Chargefox had launched business on Monday, after being co-founded by Jet Charge using investment from Australian Motoring Services (AMS) — which is jointly owned by motoring clubs NRMA, RACV, RACQ, RAC, RAA, and RACT — as well as from Wilson Transformer Company and founder Greg Roebuck, who will serve as Chargefox chair.

“Chargefox is Australia’s first and largest ultra-rapid electric vehicle (EV) charging network for modern EVs,” the company said.

The charging network will be deployed on interstate freeways as well as in cities, with each site to have at least two charging stations with 350kW of power.

The first two sites will feature four charging stations each, with Euroa’s to be powered by 150kW of solar and 450kWh of station storage while Barnawartha North relies on 200kW of ground-mount solar. The latter site will also “feature landscaping [and] picnic facilities”, Chargefox said.

“Each 350kW capable charging station will feature both CCS2 and CHAdeMO plug standards. CCS2 can output up to 350kW, and the CHAdeMO can output up to 200kW under the new high-powered CHAdeMO standard,” the company said.

Australia will join Europe and the United States as the only region with a 350kW network, Jet Charge CEO Tim Washington said.

“We have, as a country, trailed the world in high-powered charging infrastructure,” Wilson said.

“Building on our six years’ of experience, we have been able to bring together leading automotive brands, automotive services, electricity network providers, infrastructure service providers, and software providers to build one of the most sophisticated EV charging infrastructure projects in the world.”

A Senate inquiry into EVs in Australia had in August heard that the mining sector as well as the health of citizens would improve if EV uptake increased.

A report produced by the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) estimated that the lithium value chain, including raw materials and cells and battery packs, could increase from $165 billion to $2 trillion by 2025 if there were more EVs in Australia.

“PMG has seen an opportunity to use the growth of a new industry in Australia and made the decision to take significant action to become part of the supply and value chain for the EV market,” a spokesperson from the Pilbara Metals Group added.

“We have a chance to be able to make high-quality, low-cost materials for batteries specific to electric vehicles.”

Doctors for the Environment Australia then told the Senate committee that poor air quality causes 3,000 deaths a year, with half of these attributed to vehicle emissions.

Tesla senior manager Sam McLean additionally told the committee that there would be advantages to producing its EVs in Australia, including easier access to lithium and nickel, as well as a skilled workforce to tap into.

According to McLean, Australia should invest in EV infrastructure and set sales targets.

A report earlier this year, meanwhile, ranked Australia after Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the US in terms of EV numbers.

The report also revealed that Australia has 15 to 16 EVs per charging point.

The Senate had established a motion to form a select committee in June this year to look into the economical, environmental, and societal benefits of EV uptake, as well as the opportunities for EV manufacturing, supply, and value chain and how the federal government could work with state governments to support EV targets.

Extracted from ZDNet