Shellharbour City Council is preparing to get the city ready for electric vehicles, and is likely to call for private operators who can manage the devices on council land.

The council is starting by designing guidelines for how electric vehicle (EV) charge stations will be introduced and operated, with the issue to be considered at Tuesday’s meeting.

The council has identified the growing demand for EV infrastructure – with EV sales tripling in Australia last year – and recognises the need to expand the three charge sites in Shellharbour.

With global EV uptake rapidly increasing, the council is working on industry estimates that there will be 58 EV models in the Australian market by the end of the year, as major car makers including Mazda, Volvo and Audi planning to be 100 per cent electric by 2030 or earlier.

Shellharbour will need EV charging stations for the council’s own fleet, for locals, and to ensure it remains a desirable tourist destination.

Draft guidelines will go out for public consultation if approved on Tuesday night, including that the stations be located in desirable places for the user to shop or use amenities, and that there is existing or predicted demand for a charge station in that location. Council-owned charge stations will also be considered.

“Whilst the Shellharbour LGA has not been identified as an optimal zone in the (NS EV) Master Plan, it does suggest that by 2031, 12 50kW or greater fast charger plugs will be required in the Shellharbour LGA,” the council report says.

“Currently there are only four charger plugs in the Shellharbour LGA with power capacity 50kW or greater.”

Currently there are only four charger plugs in the Shellharbour LGA with power capacity 50kW or greater

– Shellharbour Council staff report

The 50kW fast chargers can charge a vehicle in about 24 minutes, and cost about $120,000. The guidelines will focus on “level 2” 22kW chargers, which take more than 50 minutes and cost about $30,000.

“Given that the current uptake of EVs is still relatively low, it is accepted that the current level of charging would be insufficient to cover electricity costs as well as associated costs of asset ownership such as depreciation and maintenance,” the report says.

“As a result, attracting third party operators would currently provide a more financially attractive model, as they will bear the cost of the EV infrastructure and all associated maintenance, repairs and depreciation through a lease arrangement with council.”

Extracted in full from: Shellharbour city to take the leap into EV infrastructure | Illawarra Mercury | Wollongong, NSW