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Fast-charging EV network listed as infrastructure priority

Action time: Infrastructure Australia has listed a national EV charging network as a high-priority initiative.

Infrastructure Australia calls national EV charging network ‘high-priority’ project

14 Feb 2019

INFRASTRUCTURE Australia, the independent statutory board tasked with prioritising and progressing nationally significant infrastructure, has listed a nationwide electric vehicle (EV) charging network as a top priority in its 2019 priority list.
The priority list presents 121 nationally significant infrastructure proposals for the next 15 years, with a $58 billion project pipeline designed to help guide investment into the nation’s most pertinent projects.
Of the 121 proposals, eight are listed as high-priority projects, 10 as priority projects, 29 as high-priority initiatives (including the EV charging network) and 74 as priority initiatives.
It is the first time that a nationwide EV charging network has been included on the list.
The report reads: “The advent of electric vehicles, along with automation, growth in the ‘sharing economy’ and technological connectivity, could bring the largest transformation the transport sector has seen since the shift from steam to diesel locomotives.
“The increase in electric-vehicle uptake will forge links between the energy and transport network that did not previously exist, placing additional demands on the grid and pressure on consumer costs. 
“The 2019 Priority List highlights the need for investment in the connectivity and reliability of our National Electricity Market in the medium to long term, and optimisation in the near term.”
With a federal election coming this year, Infrastructure Australia urged policy-makers to consult the infrastructure priority list when shaping future policy.
The list was welcomed by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), with CEO Tony Weber urging for the plans to be put into action.
“Electric vehicles are a key component in the way of the future, so it is very pleasing to see further acknowledgement and real-world planning from Australian regulators on this technology,” he said.
“At the same time, road safety and congestion continue to present major issues for many Australian commuters, so action on this topic is also very important.
“We encourage federal, state and territory governments to allocate funding and resources for these critically important infrastructure projects.”
The Electric Vehicle Council (EVC) also welcomed the proposal, citing a lack of infrastructure as one of the main reasons for a low take-up of electric vehicles in Australia.
EVC chief executive Behyad Jafari said the opportunity to embrace the technology has arrived but action from the governments needs to occur before real change can happen.
“Infrastructure Australia is the objective authority on what the nation needs to start building. If their experts recognise a national fast-charging network as a high priority, then governments should heed the call,” he said.
“Australians can and should be able to drive all over this massive nation with complete confidence in a zero-emission vehicle. The technology exists. We just need the political will to make it happen.
“The advantages of a mass transition to electric vehicles are manifest. Carbon emissions would fall, pollution in our cities would be phased out, our insecure dependence on foreign oil could be eradicated.
“But if we are to seize this exciting potential, we need governments to show the public that EVs are supported.”
The Greens political party lambasted the inaction from both major parties, pointing out its own policy to invest $150 million in a national fast-charging network, as well as ambitious targets and incentives to help increase the take-up of EVs locally.

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