Brisbane Floods Expose Charging Infrastructure Vulnerability

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The recent rain bomb that deluged parts of Brisbane, Queensland, has exposed the vulnerability of the electric vehicle charging infrastructure there. Over 1 meter (39 inches) of rain fell in three days. It was not just the Tesla Superchargers close to the city center that were unavailable, but many other sites belonging to other providers also.

As Adam, who was charging at the still operational Hamilton Queensland Electric Superhighway (QESH) site, told me: “Last night I redirected 5–7 cars away from Hamilton QESH all looking for DC fast charging. This included one family who needed to travel home to Mullumbimby (156 km or 100 miles).”

Brisbane Floods Expose EV Charging Infrastructure Vulnerability
Tesla Brisbane Superchargers flooded.

There are only 3 QESH chargers in Brisbane. Many other chargers were operational and above the flood level, but the approaches were under water. Toombul shopping center is a good example of this. We have two dedicated charging area. Our fast charging stations (capable of adding up to 60kms of range in 15 mins) are located in the Level 1 undercover car park. Our Level 1 carpark is open from 7am to 10pm daily. The ultra-rapid chargers (Capable of adding up to 400kms of range in 15 mins) are on Level 2 of the undercover car park. Our Level 2 is open 24 hours. All of our EV chargers are managed and supplied by Chargefox. Using their app makes it easy to find, charge and pay for sessions.

It doesn’t help if you can’t get into the carpark because all the surrounding roads are under water.

The high speed Tritium chargers based at the University of Queensland St Lucia’s campus are off line as most of the UQ campus was under water. A spokesperson said: “They are all be offline, and hard to say if they are ever coming back.” These latest Brisbane floods exposed the vulnerability of  charging infrastructure in the city. 

Other chargers were available but malfunctioning like the chargers at North Lakes IKEA. Customers found they weren’t able to be started with the app.

The downpour also highlighted the fact that most chargers are outside with no cover. This is uncomfortable in the rain and also in Brisbane’s very warm summers. As time progresses and infrastructure evolves, it would be good to see some European style charging stations built where there is some thought given to the comfort of those charging up.

On a positive note, one person noted: “My zappi was partially underwater, but hosed off and working fine now.”

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David Waterworth

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].

David Waterworth has 737 posts and counting. See all posts by David Waterworth