A $24.55 million commitment to expand Australia’s EV fast charging network has been welcomed by the Electric Vehicle Council.

The Future Fuels Fund’s first funding round will see more than 400 public fast charging stations rolled out nationwide.

The funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) covering 19 projects will be distributed to five charging infrastructure companies – Evie Networks ($8.85m for 158 stations  across eight regions), Ampol ($7.05m for 121 station across four regions), Engie ($6.85m for 103 stations across four regions), Chargefox ($1.4m for 16 stations across two regions), and Electric Highways Tasmania ($0.4m for five stations across one region).

The companies will build 127 fast-charging stations in NSW, 106 in Victoria, 86 in Queensland, 33 in WA, 29 is SA, 10 in Tasmania, nine in the ACT and three in the Northern Territory.

Together, the five applicants will deliver 403 new fast charging stations, each capable of charging at least two vehicles concurrently at 50kW or above.

“Obviously these new fast charging stations will provide a practical benefit to EV drivers, but beyond that they will also have a powerful effect on consumer sentiment,” Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari says.

“We know Australians are very interested in buying electric cars, but there is hesitancy about whether or not the government will back them with infrastructure and supportive regulation.

“The highly visible construction of hundreds of new fast charging stations across the country should send a powerful message to consumers about the viability and practicality of making the switch to a zero-emission vehicle,” Jafari explains.

“If the federal government wants to seize the benefits of accelerating EV uptake, it should support this fast-charging initiatives through consumer incentives and introducing long overdue fuel emission standards, akin to those enforced in the US and the EU.”

Based on the high merit of applicants, ARENA says it has boosted the funding envelope to nearly $25m – increased by $8.05m from an initial allocation of $16.5m.

Catalysing a total investment value of $79.9 million, Round 1 will see 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. 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.

The Future Fuels Fund is a $71.9m initiative announced in the 2020-21 federal budget to remove barriers to the uptake of new vehicle technologies.

Round 1 aims to support the growing number of Australian motorists with EVs with a charging network across regional and capital cities, while subsequent rounds will focus on increasing EV charging capacity in regional areas, reducing barriers to transitioning business fleets and increasing the use of hydrogen and biofuels in the transport sector.

ARENA chief executive Darren Miller says the increased funding pool will significantly expand Australia’s fast charging network and remove barriers to EV uptake.

“As the costs of electric vehicles come down, more consumers and fleet users are looking to go electric,” he says.

“Expanding the fast-charging network will make it easier than ever to drive an EV in Australia.”

Extracted in full from: Australia boosts EV fast charging network | Autotalk