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Feds commit $25m to charge EVs
Australian government’s Future Fuels Fund to pay for 403 new EV charging stations
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2 Aug 2021
By NEIL DOWLING
FUNDING from the federal government will result in more than 400 public fast-charging stations for battery electric vehicles rolled out across Australia after 19 projects were approved with a total value of $24.55 million.
It is the government’s Future Fuels Fund’s first funding round and will go to five applicants – Evie Networks ($8.85 million), Ampol ($7.05 million), Engie ($6.85 million), Chargefox ($1.4 million), and Electric Highways Tasmania ($400,000).
They will build a total of 403 fast-charging stations, with 127 in NSW, 106 in Victoria, 86 in Queensland, 33 in Western Australia, 29 in South Australia, 10 in Tasmania, nine in the Australian Capital Territory and three in the Northern Territory.
Announcing the program, the federal government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) said the charging stations will be built across eight geographic regions covering 14 of Australia’s most populous cities and include regional centres including Geelong, Newcastle, Wollongong and the Sunshine Coast.
Each region will receive a minimum of eight new stations, all of which will be capable of charging at least two vehicles concurrently at 50kW or more.
The program is the result of expanding the funding pool by $8.05 million to $24.55 million, from an initial allocation of $16.5 million.
ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the increased funding would expand Australia’s fast-charging network and remove barriers to the uptake of EVs.
“As the costs of EVs come down, more consumers and fleet users are looking to go electric. Expanding the fast-charging network will make it easier than ever to drive an EV in Australia,” he said.
“The proposals we received were of such high quality, we were compelled to increase the funding. We’re delighted to be able to support more than 400 charging stations across the country.”
Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari said the charging infrastructure announcement was important on a number of levels.
“These new fast charging stations will provide a practical benefit to EV drivers, but beyond that they will also have a powerful effect on consumer sentiment,” Mr Jafari said.
“We know Australians are very interested in buying EVs, but there is hesitancy about whether or not the government will back them with infrastructure and supportive regulation.
“The highly visible construction of hundreds of new fast-charging stations across the country should send a powerful message to consumers about the viability and practicality of making the switch to a zero-emission vehicle.”
Mr Jafari said a strong EV uptake was in Australia's national interest because “it will clean the air of toxic pollutants, reduce our carbon emissions, and relieve our dependence on foreign oil imports”.
“If the federal government wants to seize the benefits of accelerating EV uptake, it should support these fast-charging initiatives through consumer incentives and introducing long-overdue fuel emission standards, akin to those enforced in the US and the EU,” he said.
The Future Fuels Fund is a $71.9 million initiative announced in the 2020-21 federal budget to remove barriers to the uptake of new vehicle technologies.
The Round 1 funding aims to support the growing number of Australian motorists with EVs with a charging network across regional and capital cities, while subsequent rounds will focus on increasing EV charging capacity in regional areas, reducing barriers to transitioning business fleets and increasing the use of hydrogen and biofuels in the transport sector.
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