Australian companies turning substations into public EV chargers

Substations across NSW will gradually become public EV chargers that offer 7kW of free electricity for those on the move.

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New South Wales power company Endeavour Energy’s existing roadside substations will double as “free and fast” public EV chargers, via a new deal with Australian startup JOLT.

The deal to connect chargers to the padmount substations is expected to yield more than 230 electric vehicle (EV) charging sites by 2025 and more than 1000 over the next decade, according to a joint release from the two companies.

Endeavour Energy’s Chief Customer and Strategy Officer Leanne Pickering claims the first charging stations are expected to be operating by the end of this year, and said the company forecasts a quarter of its customers will be driving an EV within 10 years.

The power company’s network covers Sydney’s Greater West, Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands, the Illawarra, and NSW South Coast.

JOLT CEO Doug McNamee added the planned expansion of JOLT’s wind- and solar-powered DC network across NSW would cut barriers to EV uptake like access to charging for those without off-street parking.

The Australian company gives users the first 7kW of charge for free, giving the average EV a 40km (ish) range boost in about 15 minutes, with the remaining amount paid for by the kWh.

JOLT’s business model is a little different to other companies offering EV top-ups. Its public chargers have digital displays with programmatic advertising, opening up a revenue stream.

“The JOLT network has already given out over 162,000 free kilometres to EV drivers, that’s 4 trips around the surface of the earth,” Mr McNamee claimed.

According to JOLT’s FAQ page, people who stay plugged in at a public charger without using it are whacked with a $5 charge every 30 minutes of overstaying.

As we reported last year, the Aussie app-based startup landed a sizeable investment from massive US investment firm BlackRock, which grabbed an equity stake and talked of plans to inject a conditional $100 million of capital to help fund its national infrastructure network.

At that time JOLT’s intended app- and QR-based network comprised more than 5000 public chargers across Australia, reportedly to be installed over the next five to 10 years and fed solely by renewable energy. This latest Endeavour Energy deal is part of the puzzle.

Meanwhile, Endeavour Energy powers Australia’s fastest-growing economy: Greater Western Sydney. It maintains 430,000 poles and columns, 202 major substations and 32,600 distribution substations, connected by 60,000 kilometres of underground and overhead cables.

MORE: All the latest stories about EVs and the supporting infrastructure

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Mike Costello
Mike Costello is the News Editor at CarExpert.

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