The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced funding for a trial that will seek fifty street-side EV chargers installed on power poles, to assist people living in apartments and units with no off street parking.
According to project leader Intellihub, there is potential for 190,000 street-side chargers in Australia, given that one in four households in the country do not have off street parking. This trial will test the regulatory issues, and grid implications of having up to 1,4500MW of controllable load.
ARENA has committed $871,000 to the $2 million project by Intellihub, which will provide street side charging options across nine local government areas in New South Wales. Each charger – rated at 7.4kW – is said to be enough to service the needs of 10 households without home charging facilities.
Intellihub will be supported in the deployment by Schneider Electric who will provide the EV charging infrastructure – which will allow both for top-ups as well as overnight charging – and EVSE who will be managing the charging service.
Australian utility Origin Energy is also backing the project and will supply 100% renewable power for the EV chargers through matched renewable energy certificates.
The nine NSW councils taking part in the project include Waverley, Woollahra, Randwick, Lake Macquarie, Ryde, Singleton, Parramatta, Northern Beaches, and the Inner West.
“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 Darren Miller, ARENA CEO.
“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 there are power poles in most public streets, and that presents an opportunity for the EV charging market. “They’re an accessible, safe, and practical option for EV charging,” he said.
Solving the problem of accessible EV charging for inner-city and residential dwellings without driveways – not to mention simply allocating enough space in cities for top-up charging – has been ongoing for some time now, with a number of innovative options being toyed with around the globe.
Maybe the best-known solution we’ve covered is the integration of EV charging stations into lampposts in the UK, a long-term development which has seen continued funding and deployment in both 2019 and 2020.
In 2021, British-Dutch oil and gas supermajor Shell acquired Ubitricity, a leading European on-street charging provider and the largest charging network in the United Kingdom – further proof of the importance of on-street charging.
Ubitricity particularly has made a name for itself by working with local authorities to integrate public EV charging points into existing street infrastructure such as lampposts and bollards.
Meanwhile, the search for more innovative on-street charging has led to the development of EV charging technologies such as pop-up charging designed by UK-based Urban Electric Networks, and the fabled inductive EV charging which requires only that a car pull up over a particular patch of pavement.
Another British pioneer of on-street EV residential charging, Char.gy, began a “world-first” public EV inductive charging trial that will complement the company’s lamp post-embedded EV charging stations in late-2021.
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.