Canberra tips in $25m to roll out 400 EV charging stations

Energy billionaire Trevor St Baker’s electric vehicle-charging company Evie Networks and fuel giant Ampol are among the winning bidders for the first round of Commonwealth grants to boost the roll-out of fast-charging stations across the country.

On Friday, the Morrison government will announce the five recepients of the first round of $25 million under the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s “Future Fuels Fund”, aimed at increasing charging infrastructure in the hope of driving a greater uptake of electric vehicles.

Governments have begun investing more in supporting the greater development of electric car-charging infrastructure as “range anxiety” – the fear of being stranded and unable to recharge – is a commonly cited barrier to a greater uptake of zero-emissions vehicles

Evie Networks, owned by the St Baker Energy Innovation Fund, will receive $8.85 million, the biggest share of the funding pool.

Mr St Baker, whose energy interests also include the Vales Point coal-fired power plant in NSW, said Evie would use the funds to develop 158 charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) in every capital city.

“We are now contracted and committed to 300 fast-charging stations across Australia within the next two years,” he said.

“In the highways, we are building chargers that can supply up to 300 kilometres in 10 minutes … in the cities, the standard is chargers that are between 50 and 80 kilometres in 10 minutes.”

Other recipients of the funding include ASX-listed fuel supplier Ampol with $7.05 million, French utilities giant Engie with $6.85 million, Chargefox with $1.4 million and Electric Highways Tasmania with $400,000.

Australia lags many countries in the transition to battery-powered cars (less than 1 per cent of Australia’s new car sales are EVs) but power companies and automakers say falling battery costs mean a tipping point is fast-approaching.

The Victorian government has set a target for electric vehicles to account for 50 per cent of new sales by 2030 and subsidies of up to $3000 for buyers, while NSW last month also announced a $3000 upfront discount and said it would waive stamp duty for buyers.

orists embrace the increasing range of technologies available.

“The government is focused on ensuring Australians can drive their preferred choice of vehicle – be that petrol, diesel, hydrogen or electric-powered,” Mr Taylor said.

“Projects funded under the Future Fuels Fund will significantly expand Australia’s fast-charging network, providing broader coverage, reducing range anxiety and minimising blackspots.”

Evie Networks said it placed a multimillion-dollar order for the supply of fast-charging equipment with Tritium, Mr St Baker’s majority-owned EV charging manufacturer. Brisbane-based Tritium, the world’s second largest fast-charger supplier, is set to list on America’s NASDAQ stock exchange.

Mr St Baker welcomed this week’s ARENA funding announcement, but called on Canberra to make transport electrification a far greater priority.

“This small Future Fuels fund is a very small outlay to try and incentivise competing EV fast-charging networks,” he said.

Extracted from The Sydney Morning Herald

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