The NRMA is boosting funding for Electric Highway Tasmania to help further open up EV tourism in the island state.

Also known as the EHT, the EV charging network is the work of a privately owned business created in 2017 with the goal of expanding EV access to some of Tasmania’s most picturesque destinations.

It currently consists of six EV charging locations, including Queenstown, Derwent Bridge, Devonport, Burnie, St Helens and Swansea. Sites include both DC 50kW and AC 22kW chargers, providing either quick top-ups or longer charges for visitors stopping for a few hours or more.

In the announcement, the NRMA said that it would enable the EHT to expand from six sites to 27 by mid-2023. A spokesperson for the NRMA confirmed the funding amounts to approximately a third of the network’s value.

To date, the charging network has been made possible thanks to critical funding from the Tasmania state government’s Electric Vehicle ChargeSmart Grants program to the tune of $200,000 for regional coverage, plus an additional $400,000 from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to install five locations in and around Hobart.

EV owner and member of the Tasmania branch of Australian Electric Vehicle Association (AEVA) Charles Gregory says the EHT has been a much-valued addition to the state’s EV charging networks.

They drive EVs themselves so they know what makes a good location from a driver’s perspective and choose their sites based on this,” he said in a note to The Driven.

“Their first locations included some regions that are lower populated and/or seasonal tourist areas, including the west coast and east coast.

“Their aim of going for full state coverage is invaluable, as it would be unlikely that national charging network operators would target these low traffic areas.”

Other partners including UPC Renewables, I Want Energy, TasNetworks and Chargefox have helped with energy costs, installation, maintenance, network upgrades and customer billing and support.

Penny Cocker, chair of the EHT board, said that the new funding will mean most destinations will be within 40km of an EV charger.

“EHT has deployed sites to cover all the gaps and ensure EV charging infrastructure fully covers our wonderful state,” she said.

“Most places will be within 40km of a fast charger, with nowhere more than 100kms away connecting even the remote Tarkine wilderness and providing EV drivers in Tasmania ‘Freedom to move’.

document prepared by Gregory for AEVA shows existing and planned DC fast-charging sites in Tasmania, including 20 planned EHT sites.

New EHT sites listed on the document include Cradle Mountain, Cygnet, Derby, Dunalley, Exeter, Fingal, George Town, Glenorchy, Kingston, Maydena, Miena, Oatlands, Ouse, Sandy Bay, Sheffield, Smithton, Sorell, Triabunna, Tullah and Waratah.

NRMA’s spokesperson confirmed the new funding will applied to these sites, as well as an additional site in Strahan.

NRMA Group CEO Rohan Lund said: “We are committed to increasing capacity in line with growth in EVs to minimise queuing and will be developing good quality sites, with lighting, security cameras, back up AC chargers and high reliability with fast response to any faults.”

Lund said that as, “More Australians are looking to transition away from petrol and diesel vehicles and this is starting to be reflected in new car sales,” but added that, “for many Australians concerns around where they would charge their EV remain – the NRMA is playing a leadership role nationally to help solve that problem.”

“That’s why we are supporting innovative organisations like EHT on the ground doing the work to alleviate range anxiety which is essential to boosting confidence and giving Tasmanians more choice when it comes to making this exciting transition.”

Extracted in full from: NRMA injects funds to quadruple size of Tasmania electric car charging network (thedriven.io)

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