Adelaide to trial free electric vehicle charging network

Tuesday, 15 December, 2020

Adelaide to trial free electric vehicle charging network

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will invest $983,776 in JOLT Charge Pty Ltd, to develop and trial its free electric vehicle (EV) charging network in Adelaide.

JOLT will install 21 innovative EV fast charging units that are embedded in roadside advertising panels across Adelaide in car parks, streets and public spaces. The network will be introduced across several areas, including Campbelltown City Council, Charles Sturt Council, Marion Council and Port Adelaide Enfield Council.

The $1.97 million project will provide fast chargers that can charge all types of EVs and will provide approximately 15 minutes of free charging (approximately 45 km of range), with the option for users to pay to use the JOLT chargers for longer than this period. All 21 units will be powered by 100% renewable energy.

The project will test the commercial viability of generating revenue through advertising sales to cover the cost of the EB charging infrastructure and the provision of charging for EV drivers. If successful, this model could help to develop a larger charging network in inner cities and major networks across Australia, ahead of the expected increase in EV sales.

ARENA has previously supported the rollout of two ultra-fast-charging EV networks across Australia by Chargefox and Evie Networks, which have focused on enabling travel on key highways. These ARENA-funded EV projects help to address consumer range anxiety for EVs and demonstrate and inform the market on how EV charging can be managed at higher levels of uptake, with the lowest cost and greatest benefit to consumers.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the innovative model will also help to test consumer behaviour in using EV charging in metro areas, leading to a viable business model to address charging availability and range anxiety, leading to an increased uptake of EVs.

“This project will test the appetite of customers living in metro areas who use their vehicles for shorter trips to charge their vehicles while they’re out shopping or at public events. The more we can learn about consumer behaviour now, the better prepared we will be for the broader uptake of EVs across Australia,” Miller said.

Doug McNamee, CEO of JOLT Charge, said the ARENA grant will enable the company to make EVs more accessible with the launch of the free charging network.

“Increasing the availability of charging infrastructure is a key piece of the puzzle for widespread adoption of EVs. We are excited to be partnering with innovative and forward-thinking councils, helping them transition to a zero-emission transport future,” McNamee said.

ARENA will also continue to support consumers choosing new vehicle technologies through the rollout of the Future Fuels Fund, which will help businesses and regional communities take advantage of opportunities offered by hydrogen, electric and bio-fuelled vehicles.

Image credit: JOLT Charge

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