Stretching from Eucla at the South Australian border to Esperance and up to the Kununurra in the states far north, the network will reportedly be the world’s longest by the time it is fully operational in early 2024, with the average distance between charging stations less than 200 kilometres.
The $4.1 million project is part of the West Australian Government’s $43.5 million investment to boost EV infrastructure around WA.
Energy companies Synergy and Horizon Power will install the charging stations, with Melbourne-based JET Charge supplying Australian-developed PHEV-friendly AC fast chargers and 150kW DC rapid chargers at each location.
A map of the network provided by Synergy Energy shows a scattering of charging stations in the state’s south-west, and along convenient locations along the Eyre Highway, otherwise known as the Nullarbor route, the North West Coastal Route, the Great Eastern Highway from Kalgoorlie-Boulder through the Wheatbelt, and the Northern Highway that stretches from Port Headland through the Kimberley to Kununurra near the Northern Territory border.
The exact location of each charging station was yet to be confirmed and was dependent on a variety of factors and timeframes that cannot be confirmed at this time.
Anyone who has travelled along the Eyre and Northern Highways, in particular, would know that range anxiety is an issue even in vehicles with fuel tanks.
Distances of around 600km between towns aren’t uncommon in Australia’s largest state, with the expanse broken up by roadhouses. Some of these will become part of the EV network, including locations well known to grey nomads such as Sandfire and Pardoo between Port Headland and Broome and Caiguna and Balladonia on the Eyre Highway – which will be complemented by South Australian charging points at Border Village, Yalata and Ceduna.
The sight of EVs sharing dusty roadhouse forecourts with Toyota LandCruisers and road trains is a rarity, but Jet Charge CEO Tim Washington is confident the network will change that.
“We started JET Charge almost a decade ago to accelerate the transition to low emissions vehicles in Australia by breaking down the barriers to electric vehicle charging,” he said.
“(We) are so proud to be involved with a landmark EV charging network that features a lot of Australian-made innovation and will absolutely smash those barriers allowing people to drive EVs all over the great State of Western Australia.”
WA Premier Mark McGowan echoed Washington’s statement and added the network was a key step in reducing carbon emissions as the diesel-reliant state transitions to net zero by 2050.
“WA’s EV fast-charging network is an important step to boost our uptake of electric vehicles, enabling drivers to travel the vast distances around the State more easily,” he said.
And while Western Australia still has some way to go before most of its power comes from renewable sources, the state’s Climate Action Minister, Reece Whitby, said an EV will generate 30 per cent fewer greenhouse-gas emissions than a comparable petrol vehicle.