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Goodbye ‘range anxiety’: power poles to become electric vehicle chargers in latest NSW sustainability project

Alex Ritchie avatar
Alex Ritchie
- 4 min read
Goodbye ‘range anxiety’: power poles to become electric vehicle chargers in latest NSW sustainability project

One of the biggest barriers of electric vehicle ownership in Australia is about to become much less imposing, as a new $2 million trial in NSW sees power poles to become chargers. For car buyers considering making the switch to electric, this may help move the dial, as infrastructure for electric cars becomes more accessible.

The electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure trial will see 50 locations install charges on street-side power poles, including Waverley, Woollahra, Randwick, Ryde, Parramatta, Northern Beaches, and the Inner West. It will also include regional areas like Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, and Singleton.

The federal government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) announced it was supporting this Australian-first strategy with $871,000 to utilities hub, Intellihub, for the roll-out of the charging infrastructure. Origin Energy is set to power the $2.04 million project and will ensure that the energy required will be matched with certified renewable energy to the grid.

In terms of billing for drivers, an app that connects with the energy grid will be made available. And, if the trial is successful, it’s likely that power pole charging stations will be extended across other councils in New South Wales.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller believes the trial will play an important role in increasing the accessibility of public electric car chargers.

“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 streetside power poles, providing a great opportunity to pair with electric car charging,” said Mr Miller.

Overcoming range anxiety in Australia

Australia is not a small nation, with hours-long drives a common experience when moving from town to town – particularly in New South Wales. Recently, the ACT became the first state or territory to announce a total ban on the sale of new petrol cars as of 2035, with the rest of the nation expected to follow suit. Without the roll out of appropriate charging infrastructure, there is a risk that drivers may get stuck or even lose power on the road.

Currently, most EV batteries are able to sustain enough power to take the drivers around 300kms on average. For comparison, this may not be enough to take you from Sydney to Newcastle and back without charge (return distance of 324km), let alone other popular regions like Forster or Byron Bay.

So, it’s not surprising that a 2021 Electric Vehicle Council survey found that more than half (52%) of respondents cited lack of charging equipment as the biggest barrier to making the switch to an EV. The survey also found that almost three quarters (68%) of consumers want governments to provide more public charging infrastructure, with more than four in five (82%) rating fast public charging infrastructure as either important or very important.

Earlier this year, the NSW government announced it would be funding the roll out of 3,500 EV chargers across the state for tourist locations, like wineries, museums and motels, through a $20 million grant program.

Thanks to supported infrastructure projects, like the new NSW-based trial or the grant program, there is a greater chance that drivers will be more comfortable with switching to a sustainable vehicle option.

Financing your next EV purchase

If the latest news has you feeling empowered to make the switch to an eco-friendlier vehicle, it could be worth considering your financing options. EVs do have a reputation of being on the costlier side, but there are a range of cheaper models available - if you’re willing to ditch the dream of a Tesla.

If you’re in a healthy financial position and are considering taking out a car loan for your EV, it’s worth noting that most lenders offer competitive ‘green’ car loans for just this purchase. Green car loans often come with lower or discounted interest rates, as lenders want to encourage and reward Australians making more sustainable choices.

To help you easily compare car loan options, consider utilising RateCity’s comparison tables. Comparison tables may allow you to compare apples with apples, as you’ll see a multitude of loan options side by side. including interest rates, fees, and features.

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Product database updated 28 May, 2024

This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Peter Terlato before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.