Ergon Energy has mapped its network for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations from Toowoomba to Cairns, Queensland. The move brings what Ergon has dubbed its “electric car super highway” one step closer to reality.
Around 100 sites with surplus capacity have been identified, and Ergon is already speaking with companies that provide EV charging station infrastructure.
Up to 60 charging stations could be purchased, which would be used to charge Ergon’s EV fleet Ergon’s fleet. The stations would also be made available for private EV owners.
Senior network strategy and policy engineer Don McPhail said as the EV market develops in eastern seaboard capital cities, interest will grow in regional cities – and with it, the need for public and private charging infrastructure.
“While the focus of our mapping has been to identify surplus capacity, it’s also part of an interactive program of Australia’s electricity grid that will help identify the most valuable locations to invest in renewable energy and demand management within the national grid,” he said.
“We’d rather better utilise our existing assets as potential EV charging point sites rather than upgrade the network at considerable cost which puts upward pressure on electricity prices.”
For EVs to become a viable transport option, Mr McPhail added “range anxiety” also needs to be addressed.
“In mapping our network, we also considered the driving range of fast charge capable vehicles like Teslas. We’ve identified how far apart the charging stations need to be along the Bruce Highway so drivers could get from one to the next and that they overlap,” he said.
“Based on a driving range of about 400km and network mapping, we’ve identified it would be possible to have charging stations along the Bruce Highway at the major coastal communities all the way to Cairns.
“Armed with this information we’re already talking with industry and state government parties about potential EV charging sites or locations that have surplus capacity. Our aim is also to lower the cost for them to connect to our network and these sites might just do that.”
Tesla is also expanding its charging network in Australia with plans to extend it north to Brisbane from Sydney.