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A local tech company has won a grant to deploy 50 electric vehicle chargers on streetside power poles in Australia, overcoming one of the key obstacles to widespread EV adoption.
The scheme is similar to others that have been rolled out across Europe, the United States and Canada in the past three years. London has more than 1000 public lamp post chargers, ranging in capacity from 3kW to 50kW. Will New Zealand be next?
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) – set up to fund investment in EV infrastructure – has awarded Intellihub $871,000 to install the 7.4kW chargers, which can add roughly 50km of charge every hour.
The company will install EV chargers on power poles across nine local government areas in New South Wales, connected directly to the overhead electricity supply.
The nine local councils taking part in the scheme are Waverley, Woollahra, Randwick, Lake Macquarie, Ryde, Singleton, Parramatta, Northern Beaches and Inner West.
The charging poles will cater for EV owners who live in apartments, townhouses and terraces that don’t have off-street parking. It is estimated that one in four Australian households don’t have off-street parking. Something that is also becoming increasingly common in Aotearoa.
Access to home charging is seen as vital to EV uptake because overseas studies show that roughly 80 per cent of owners prefer to charge at home. The remaining buyers use work, shopping centres and highway fast chargers.
Intellihub claims that there is potential for 190,000 chargers to be attached to power poles across the country. It estimates that one on-street charger could service up to 10 households.
Origin Energy will supply green power for the chargers.
The trial will also look at the possibility of vehicles soaking up excess solar energy during the day, removing strain on the grid during peak hours.
They may also be able to take electricity from vehicles and return it to the grid when needed.
If the trial is successful, Intellihub says it will look to roll out more chargers on a commercial basis.
Intellihub chief executive Wes Ballantine said the new technology was an “accessible, safe and practical option” for accommodating the influx of new electric vehicles over the next few years.
“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,” he said.
“Power poles line most of our public streets and that presents an opportunity for the EV charging market,” he said.
As part of the trial, rechargers will be placed in a variety of locations, including streets with high-density housing, shopping strips, sporting fields and hospitals.
It’s likely to take at least six months before any chargers are operational and the trial period will run for 12 to 18 months after that.
During that period, different prices will be applied in an attempt to gauge public interest in the technology.