The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced it’s partially funding a trial for 50 electric vehicle (EV) chargers to be installed on street-side power poles in New South Wales.

    The chargers are designed for EV owners who live in apartments, townhouses or units and don’t have access on-site EV charging.

    The Federal Government’s ARENA has pledged $871,000 in funding to the trial which is projected to cost just over $2 million in total.

    Nine local councils across the Sydney and Hunter regions of NSW are taking part in the trial, including Waverley, Woollahra, Randwick, Lake Macquarie, Ryde, Singleton, Parramatta, Northern Beaches, and Inner West.

    This trial is being lead by Australian and New Zealand-based utility services company Intellihub and will be supported by Schneider Electric, which will supply 7.4kW EV chargers suitable for “convenient top ups and overnight charging”.

    Origin Energy will also be supplying the EV chargers with renewable energy, and the charging service will be managed by EVSE.

    The trial aims to demonstrate there are no regulatory barriers to using existing street furniture that already has power running in it for EV charging.

    Intellihub said there’s potential for 190,000 street-side power pole EV chargers across Australia, and it also estimated that just one of the on-street chargers could service 10 households that don’t have access to off-street parking.

    “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,” said ARENA CEO Darren Miller.

    “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 also added the trial would help with the lack of public access to EV chargers for Australian households.

    “It’s expected that as many as 10 per cent of new car sales in Australia will be electric vehicles by 2025,” said Mr Ballantine.

    “That equates to an extra 120,000 new EVs on our local streets each year. It is likely that many of these car owners may be unable to charge their EVs from home.”

    “Power pole 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.”

    This Australian trial isn’t the first time EV chargers have been installed in existing street furniture, with light pole and bollard-mounted EV chargers already deployed in the UK, US, Germany and Canada.

    In The Rocks neighbourhood of Sydney, there are already a number of EV chargers installed on parking machines.

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

    In addition to ARENA pledging money towards this particular trial on behalf of the Federal Government, the New South Wales State Government has also pledged more funding for EV chargers in its 2022-23 Budget, to the tune of an additional $38 million.

    This State Government-based funding includes $10 million to co-fund 500 kerbside charge points, $10 million to co-fund 125 medium to large apartment buildings with more than 100 car parking spaces to make EV charging electrical upgrades, and $18 million for more EV fast charging grants to speed to speed up the rollout of stations.

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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