Following in the footsteps of Intellihub, EVX is planning to install 30,000 pole-mounted electric vehicle chargers across the Ausgrid network by 2029. Whereas Intellihib planned for 50 EV chargers, EVX is expecting to install 30,000. Quite a leap in the last 6 months for the electric charging pole dance.
In partnership with the City of Newcastle and Ausgrid, the first charger has been located by EVX at the Dixon Park Beach car park in Mereweather, New South Wales.
“Ausgrid has today opened the first power pole mounted electric vehicle charger in Australia, as a part of a broader program that aims to deliver up to 30,000 pole mounted EV chargers across the Ausgrid network by 2029.”
Ausgrid is the largest distributor of electricity on Australia’s east coast, providing power to 1.8 million customers — that’s over four million Australians relying on them every day. Their network is made up of substations, powerlines, underground cables, and power poles spanning 22,275 square kilometres throughout Sydney, the Central Coast, and the Hunter Valley.
The EVX mission is to enable more people with electric vehicles on Australian roads by increasing the number of accessible and reliable EV charging solutions — 100% powered by renewable energy. They offer practical day-to-day charging based on typical consumer parking behaviour and not purely on rapid charge solutions.
Richard Gross, Ausgrid’s CEO, was in Newcastle today to officially open the charger and confirmed Ausgrid’s commitment to helping the community achieve an affordable, resilient, and net-zero future. This means looking at how existing infrastructure could best be utilised.
“We are incredibly excited to be delivering this innovative Australian first with the City of Newcastle and EVX. These pole-mounted chargers will help to address EV accessibility by providing chargers for people without home systems, and those traveling outside of their local areas,” Mr Richard Gross said. “We believe it is our role as the electricity distributor to seek opportunities to help deliver innovative technologies for our customers, and we’re excited to continue rolling out this program across our network.”
Councillor Carol Duncan said the City of Newcastle is committed to creating a sustainable future for our city by implementing the actions of their adopted Climate Action Plan. “As part of City of Newcastle’s Climate Action Plan we have set an aspirational goal of seeing 10,000 registered electric vehicles in our city by 2025,” Councillor Duncan affirmed. “To achieve that we need to work with our partners such as Ausgrid and EVX to support the supply of suitable charging stations, both in new buildings and in public places. I welcome the installation of this charger at Dixon Park beach, which will allow our community or visitors to charge their car while enjoying our beaches, cafes, parks and pathways.”
EVX CEO Andrew Forster said: “This is essential community infrastructure for the future, and we are so excited that this partnership is off the ground. The project will make EV charging more accessible and affordable for both residents and visitors to Newcastle while contributing to the battle against climate change.”
Pole-mounted chargers are faster and cheaper to deploy than other kerbside charging units, and they don’t add to urban clutter, causing less disruption to the surrounding communities. The specific locations of the pole-mounted EV chargers will be determined over the coming months.
This announcement comes after a year of strong innovation announcements from Ausgrid, including the launch of its third community battery at Cameron Park in Lake Macquarie.
Customers in Newcastle should download the EVX app to activate the charger. Electric charging costs $0.50 per kWh. Some members of the public have expressed concern that there is not yet a flexible charging structure to encourage off-peak use. I am sure that will come in time. It is important to remember that a solution does not have to be 100% perfect to still be a good solution.
These “long dwell” 22kW AC chargers will form an essential part of the kaleidoscope of charging options being presented to the Australian people. It is all about convenience and flexibility of options as Australia moves towards the federal government’s aim of 90% new cars being electric by 2030. Recent delivery surges by Tesla, BYD, and MG indicate that this aim may be achieved earlier. In this past quarter, almost 10% of new cars sold have been electric.
“Long dwell” charging describes charging sessions that take one to two hours and the charger has been deliberately located next to cafes, parks, and areas frequented by tourists. In answer to some EV owners’ concerns about security, I would suggest that normal precautions be taken as in other public places. It is likely that CCTV monitoring will be in place, and Tesla owners can always activate Sentry Mode. As always, do not leave valuables in plain sight within the car.
The chargers will be placed on pre-existing utility poles, meaning the above-ground charging points can be added easily without major works, and less disruption to surrounding communities. Some precautions will need to made to avoid any potential tripping hazards. One hopes that the general public will exercise some common sense with this. However, there may need to be consideration of future litigation.
Users will need to bring the charging cable associated with their individual vehicle. For some car owners (e.g., Tesla owners), this may incur an additional cost which might outweigh the usefulness of these “long dwell” chargers. Eighty percent of EVs sold in Australia are Teslas. Some feedback on this issue would be appreciated.
I did a quick Facebook shoutout to see what other opinions were out there amongst the EV community. Most respondents said it was great, as they had cables which came with the car. Others recommended the cables available from evse.com.au. As a Tesla owner, it looks like I would have to pay almost $500 for a set of cables to do the electric pole dance. With an energy charge almost the same price as a Tesla Supercharger, I might judge it as “not worth it.” Hopefully EVX doesn’t end up having the same experience of underuse that is plaguing the AmpCharge chargers.
As one Facebook friend put it: “At 50c a kWh they’re taking the piss for an AC charger. I wonder how much of the 0.50c per kWh is going to Newcastle City Council for the use of the public space, or is the Newcastle council covering the cost of insurance claims and injuries from rate payer funds? On top of that I have download another app to charge the car — so I didn’t bother.”
As “long dwell” chargers become ubiquitous, it may solve the problems faced by many apartment dwellers who have no access to chargers within their buildings. Perhaps these will be the main beneficiaries of this rollout. The more chargers the merrier.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
EV Obsession Daily!
Tesla Sales in 2023, 2024, and 2030
CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.