A superhighway for electric cars begins in Queensland next week with the unveiling of a superfast electric car charger in Noosa.
The ‘new generation’ superfast electric car chargers can fully charge an electric car – a Tesla, for example – in 20 to 30 minutes with enough power to drive 250 kilometres.
Previously chargers have taken four to six hours to fully charge a car.
The Noosa fast-charger is the first step in a south-east Queensland grid of superfast car chargers to be put in place within “three to five years”, by Tritium, a Brisbane-based electrical engineering company.
Tritium has been supplying superfast chargers in Europe for three years, where electric vehicles in some countries make up 20 to 25 per cent of private cars.
In Queensland there are now 14,436 electric-petrol hybrid vehicles registered (June 2015), and 179 fully electric cars. In total that’s 0.3 per cent of vehicles.
Noosa was chosen as the launch site for the private-sector’s first regional fast car charger because it demonstrated the capacity of the new fast-chargers, Tritium director Paul Sernia said.
“Noosa is also that distance where – if you wanted to do a day trip – then having access to fast charging at the destination is essential,” Mr Sernia said.
“You can’t do the trip otherwise. So it is a really great example of how this technology can support electric car movement.”
Noosa’s superfast charger is at the Noosa Blue Resort, a site where electricity is provided by the electricity retailer who has partnered with Tritium to roll out the superfast chargers.
The Queensland Government’s new energy body Energy Queensland – the merger of Energex and Ergon – will also invest $3 million in superfast electric car chargers in regional Queensland from 2017.
Paul Sernia believes a suitable grid of super-fast electric car chargers will quickly be put in place in south-east Queensland.
“I think within three to five years will you have significant infrastructure in place,” he said.
Electric cars in Queensland – the state of play
– There are only 179 electric cars and one electric truck registered in Queensland;
– However, there are 14,536 electric-petrol hybrid vehicles – an increase from 102 electric-petrol hybrids in 2006
– There are 68 diesel/electric cars; and most registered electric vehicles are electric golf buggies and electric wheelchairs
(Source: Queensland Transport to June 2015)
Electric car chargers in Queensland
There are currently 57 electrical vehicle charging locations across Queensland but
only three chargers are “high-power” charging stations, two in Brisbane, one in west Queensland.
Where are Queensland’s electric car chargers?
· 11 on the Gold Coast
· 5 in South Brisbane
· 11 in Brisbane CBD including 2 fast (50kW) chargers
· 6 in north Brisbane
· 15 on Sunshine Coast up to Tin Can Bay
· 3 in western south-east Queensland, including 1 fast (50kW) charger
· There are also five in the Townsville region and one in Rockhampton.
How Tritium’s superfast Veefill operates
1. Tritium’s superfast chargers can provide enough electricity for a 50-kilometre journey in 10 minutes of charging; time for a cup of coffee and check your Facebook.
2. After half-an-hour’s charging – perhaps a walk on the beach – you can drive back to Brisbane.
3. The cost of the amount of electricity used is around 3.9 cents per kilometre, less than a four-cylinder petrol car – at around 6.9 cents per litre, Tritium says.
4. You will be charged around $10 to “fill the tank” or fully re-charge an electric car.
Tritium has had similar electric chargers in place in 12 countries for several years – including Norway, Switzerland and Germany – and is only now growing in Australia.
Queensland’s Main Roads department has been supporting electric car announcements, a spokeswoman for Main Roads minister Mark Bailey said.
“The Queensland Government is working on establishing an EV super highway from Cairns to Brisbane,” the spokeswoman said.
“Energy Queensland – the merger of Ergon and Energex – is investing $3 million to install a minimum of 45 EV charging stations in locations across regional Queensland,” she said.
“It is expected this project will begin rolling out fast-charging stations during 2017.”
Tritium now has a partnership with a licensed Sunshine Coast electricity retailer which sells electricity to apartment complexes and which will allow Tritium to place the electric car chargers in high-profile locations.
Ben Chester is the co-founder of Locality Energy Planning one of 12 licensed electricity retailers in Queensland and a firm specialising in providing electricity to around 60 large unit complexes – strata-type communities.
He said his firm became involved in offering an alternative to letting unit owners charge their cars using electricity paid by the body corporate.
“The body corporate as an entity does not want to pay for you to charge your car, because then you are getting your power for free,” Mr Chester said.
Locality Energy Planning allows individual unit owners to put on a electric car charger and have the electricity they use to charge an electric car charged to their individual unit within the complex.
Mr Chester said Noosa was chosen simply because it was the turnaround point for an electric car.
“At the minute there is nowhere for anyone where you can drive an electric car – Gold Coast, west of Brisbane, or up to Noosa – and get back,” he said.
“The point is that they can get there with an electric car, but they won’t get home.
“So this particular high speed charger is a public-access charger, it will be available to anyone who pulls up at Noosa,” he said.
New economy website, Renew economy shows Australia’s reluctance to encourage electric vehicles to reduce carbon emissions could cost $350 million over the next 20 years.