STANDARDISED EV recharge plugs aside, significant gains are being made in the provision of facilities for EV owners to recharge their vehicles.

Commercial recharge stations of various types and in various situations are beginning to appear mainly in the larger cities and adjacent suburbs with a rollout set to continue as government and private enterprise combine to cater for an expected exponential growth in demand for such facilities.

While it may be preferable to have rechargers located in booths, kiosks, service stations, shopping centres, public buildings and even in an owner’s garage, a need exists for many EV owners who don’t have access to off street parking.

Enter Intellihub which is in the process of utilising local power poles in a trial for street-side EV recharging.

The Intellihub Group is an Australian and New Zealand based utility services company that delivers innovative metering and data solutions to maximise digital and new energy services. The company is a provider of multi-utility services across electricity, gas and water networks for residential, commercial and industrial, embedded network and solar metering customers.

With Australian Government support through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) amounting to $871,000, Intellihub is in the process of commissioning the first deployment of 50 electric vehicle (EV) chargers installed on street side power poles for EV owners without off-street parking across New South Wales.

Intellihub will install EV chargers on power poles across nine local government areas in New South Wales to cater for EV owners who live in apartments, townhouses or units that do not have access to EV charging on-site.

The power pole trial project is valued at $2.04 million and is supported by Schneider Electric who will provide the EV charging infrastructure and Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) who will be managing the charging service. Schneider Electric’s EV chargers will allow for convenient top ups, as well as overnight charging.

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.

The nine local councils taking part in the project include Waverley, Woollahra, Randwick, Lake Macquarie, Ryde, Singleton, Parramatta, Northern Beaches and Inner West local councils.

The trial aims to highlight the fact that there are currently no regulatory barriers to using existing infrastructure that already has power running to it, such as street power poles, and will also help to understand the impact of EV chargers on the electricity network.

If the trial is successful, Intellihub aims to pursue a wider rollout of chargers to more local councils on a commercial basis.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said power pole charging provided the perfect solution to increasing public EV chargers.

“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 utilises street side power poles, providing a great opportunity to pair with EV charging,” he said.

“We look forward to seeing the results of the trial from Intellihub and hope to see it rolled out right across Australia.”

Intellihub CEO Wes Ballantine 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.”

About 1.9 million Australian households do not have access to off-street parking.

According to ARENA, it could be the difference between going electric or remaining fossil fuel-powered for the approximately one-in-four Australian drivers who do not have off-street parking.

Power pole chargers take up no space at street level, require no off-street parking and can service up to 10 households.

The concept is already being rolled out across the world. Major global cities, including London, Los Angeles, New York, Hamburg; and Toronto are installing tens of thousands of power pole or streetlight EV chargers.

Drivers will use a third-party app to manage their service. They’ll get information about charging costs, time limits, billing and other tools for interfacing with the electricity grid.

Researchers will monitor how many people use the chargers during the trial and their impact on the electricity network.

power poles provide plug-in possibilities

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