Electric infrastructure installed in Perth

The electric Hyundai Getz could become a more common feature on Australian roads. Image: The REV project

Australia’s first electric car recharge network has been built in Perth.

Western Australia is leading the way in the transition from fossil fuel to electricity-powered vehicles, as the nation’s first electric car recharge grid has been installed between Midland and Fremantle, Perth. The network consists of 23 new fast-charge stations in Metropolitan areas and will serve as a standard for the rest of the country.

The Renewable Energy Vehicle (REV) Project was an initiative developed by researchers at the University of Western Australia (UWA) and funded by the Federal Government. Currently there are about 50-100 electric vehicles (EVs) operating in Perth, but the team’s ultimate vision is for there to be millions of zero-emission cars that can be conveniently powered by renewable sources at home, work or at charging stations across the country.

“All EV charging stations are networked and transmit their data to a server at UWA, where user data and load profiles are being analysed,” explained Thomas Bräunl, REV project leader and UWS researcher, in a press statement.

Each station is connected to Western Power’s electricity grid and most have dual outlets. One of them — at Energy Made Clean in Colin Street, Western Perth — harnesses energy from solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. The time it takes to fully recharge a medium sized car (with a range of around 130 kilometres) at one of these outlets is around three hours, but used to take up to ten hours. Each recharge costs around $2 worth of electricity, which is relatively cheap compared to petrol powered vehicles that can cost up to $10 per 100 kilometres to run.

“In my view it [the EV grid] is an excellent initiative and very timely. Sustainable personal mobility is one of the grand challenges of this century and Electric Vehicles go a very long way in addressing this issue,” says Ajay Kapoor, researcher at Swinburne University, who was not involved in the project.

The UWA researchers are looking at the Perth EV grid as a national standard and plan to make continuous improvements and adjustments in the future. Six more outlets are planned and different renewable energy sources will be looked into. The team also has ambitious plans to develop an Electric Highway between Perth and the Margret River, WA, which will allow electric vehicle drivers to cruise outside the city without having to worry about there being no recharge outlets along the way.

Source: The University of Western Australia

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  1. To th ebest of my knowledge there are only two publically accessible fast chargers in the country. The first was commissioned last year at Mitsubishi’s head office in Adelaide and the second is about to go live at NRMA’s office in Strathfield, Sydney. These chargers will deliver an 80% charge in half an hour by feeding DC current directly to the batteries at up to 125 amps.

    The chargers installed in Perth are NOT fast chargers, but are in fact level (or mode) two chargers delivering AC current at around 32 amps. Congratulations to UWA for having the foresight and initiative to install this network but they shouldn’t be claiming to have installed something they clearly haven’t.

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