The government of New South Wales (NSW) is planning to add 500 new fast and ultra-fast charging stations spread across 86 sites in the next two years. Each of the sites will have bays for charging between 4 and 15 EVs. Albury, Newcastle, Raymond Terrace, Coffs Harbour, Tamworth, Wagga Wagga, and Mildura are some of the locations earmarked for the project.
Consequently, the government has announced the winners of the first round of grants worth $39.4 million. They include Zeus Renewables, BP, Ampol, Evie, the NRMA, and Tesla. These companies will build charging stations within the next 24 months.
The proposed charging stations are part of a multimillion-dollar plan to ramp up Australia’s EV network. The charging stations will be able to recharge the majority of modern EV batteries from 20% to 80% in about 15 minutes.
According to the EV council, Australia has EV charging stations in 2147 locations as of June 2022. This is a 15% rise compared to the same time the previous year. NSW electric vehicle charging networks account for 347 locations from that total figure. This includes 118 fast and ultra-fast EV chargers.
“In the coming years, hundreds of stations will be built,” said Matt Kean, the NSW energy minister and treasurer. “The investment will offer the Australian public the fastest, largest, and most comprehensive EV charging network. All the stations will rely on renewable energy.”
NSW has the most public EV charging stations in Australia and is far ahead of Victoria, Queensland, and Western Australia. The announcement from NSW is coming barely a week to the close of the submission of the federal government’s National Electric Vehicle Strategy consultation paper.
More funding for public EV charging stations
Tesla has been the only company that has consistently offered four or more charging bays at each site. However, the growing EV adoption in Australia has put more pressure on charging sites leading to long queues. With the proposed three funding rounds by the government of NSW, that queue will get shorter.
According to the NSW government, the $39.4 million is the first of three funding rounds. The NSW government wants to facilitate the rolling out of 250 sites which is part of its plan to make sure that in metropolitan areas fast and ultra-fast charging stations are only 5 km apart or 100 km apart on highways and major roads.
“All the stations will have no fewer than two fast charging bays of 175kW and two ultra-fast charging bays of 350kW capacity,” said Kean who owns Tesla Model 3.
The second funding round will begin before the end of the year. Tesla will use their share of the grant to build four new 15-bay super-charging stations in key locations in NSW. This includes Albury and Marulan which are vital holiday routes.
When completed, Tesla’s 15-bay locations will be the biggest public EV charging stations in the country. However, this is far behind the 164-bay supercharging station proposed by Tesla in central California. To date, Tesla has the largest supercharging stations in Australia with a minimum of 4 superchargers. Other EV manufacturers usually have one or two.
Thankfully, Tesla is gradually making its supercharging network open to non-Tesla EVs. The initiative started in Europe. However, there is no clear timeline on when it will be implemented in Australia—or if it will be implemented at all.
Tesla currently dominates the number of EVs in Australia. Other manufacturers are reluctant to build more supercharging stations because there are not so many drivers of their brand in Australia.
Victoria is closing the public EV charging stations gap
Victoria’s Liberal and National parties have made an election pledge of $50 million to co-fund 600 EV charging stations. According to David Southwick, the deputy leader of the Victorian Liberal Party, the coalition will collaborate with community organizations, local councils, and businesses to build more EV charging stations.
“Rolling out 600 more charging stations across the state will lower the hindrance to electric vehicle adoption,” Southwick said. “The more Victorians drive electric vehicles, the more they can save on the rising fuel cost. It will also help us to achieve our emission reduction targets.”
Victoria’s opposition parties have promised to match the brake on electric vehicle tax in the state until 2027. This will cost the state about $82.2 million.