Use the Power Poles for Electric Cars!

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How can I charge my electric vehicle if I have to use on-street parking? The answer is staring us in the face. All those ugly power poles in older, inner city suburbs can now be put to good use under an innovative project funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and implemented by Intellihub.

Intellihub plans to install 50 electric vehicle (EV) chargers on street-side power poles for EV owners without off-street parking in Sydney, Port Macquarie, and Singleton, New South Wales. These should cater to EV owners who live in apartments, townhouses, or units that do not have access to EV charging onsite.

The EV charging infrastructure will be provided by Schneider Electric, and EVSE (an EV charging specialist firm) will manage the charging service. Top-ups and overnight charging will be provided. “Origin Energy will supply 100 per cent GreenPower for the project, meaning all of the energy required to charge the vehicles will be matched with the equivalent amount of certified renewable energy added to the grid.”

This type of installation should be simpler than most, as there are currently no regulatory barriers to using existing infrastructure that already has power running to it, such as street power poles. A successful trial will lead to wider rollouts and a move to commercialization.

Image courtesy of Intellihub.

“Not all electric vehicle owners have the ability to charge their vehicle at home, which is why we’re excited to partner with Intellihub on this trial that utilizes street side power poles, providing a great opportunity to pair with EV charging. We look forward to seeing the results of the trial from Intellihub and hope to see it rolled out right across Australia,” ARENA CEO Darren Miller said.

“It’s expected that as many as 10 per cent of new car sales in Australia will be electric vehicles by 2025. That equates to an extra 120,000 new EVs on our local streets each year. It’s likely that many of these car owners may be unable to charge their EVs from home. Power poles line most of our public streets and that presents an opportunity for the EV charging market. They’re an accessible, safe, and practical option for EV charging,” Intellihub CEO Wes Ballantine added.

Australia is following the example of other major cities, like London, in maximizing existing infrastructure to encourage urban curbside charging.

Featured image courtesy of Intellihub.

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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].

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