15 May 2024

New EV charger added to summer's busiest highway

| James Coleman
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EV car being charged

The new charger is located out the back of the Bungendore Service Centre. Photo: ActewAGL.

It’s 148 km from Canberra to Batemans Bay, an easy jaunt for any electric vehicle on the market (except maybe the Mitsubishi iMiev).

But the issue is that 7723 battery-powered EVs are registered in the ACT (as of 29 April), and many of them will be heading to the beach come the first warmish wind in November — and there aren’t that many charging stations if you need a top-up.

The Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council (QPRC) has revealed plans to install “at least 100 to 175 public chargers” by 2030 when the area is expected to have between 10,000 and 20,000 EVs.

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But at the moment, there are only four plugs in Braidwood – two at the Braidwood Servicemen’s Club & Golf Course and another two outside the Royal Mail Hotel.

The latter was thanks to a crowd-funding effort late last year, headed by Electric Vehicles Canberra (EVC) managing director Mark Hemmingsen. Locals raised more than $15,000 for the cause.

Mr Hemmingsen told Region in December that Braidwood was important, “based on my calculation for an old Nissan LEAF”, which would chew through about 24 kWh to ascend Clyde Mountain.

“You could have driven from the bay to Braidwood, but you would have been rolling into town pretty close to empty.”

Clyde mountain

The Clyde gives an EV more range on the way down through the car’s regenerative braking system but takes it away on the way back. Photo: Alex Rea.

The only other chargers on the route are in Batemans Bay, in the Village Centre car park.

But now there’s another option for those turning off the air-conditioning and biting their nails on drawing close to Canberra.

Electricity and gas retailer ActewAGL has opened Bungendore’s first public charging facility in the rear car park of the Bungendore Service Centre, just off the Kings Highway.

“Drivers are in for an efficient and convenient charging stop – whether they’re local and out and about enjoying cafes, shops and galleries, or visitors making their way to and from the coast,” ActewAGL retail general manager Rachael Turner said.

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The new station can simultaneously charge two EVs and supports the full range of current models, including those from Tesla, BYD, Hyundai, Nissan and Mitsubishi.

For the tech heads, it’s a 75 kW DC fast charger with CCS2 and CHAdeMO plugs, capable of providing 75 km of range in 10 minutes.

It’s available on the Evie Networks platform so EV drivers can use it, provided they have the Evie card or app set up on their phones.

ActewAGL says the installation will help alleviate “the potential for range anxiety” on the busy route.

“With several more stations in planning, we’ll continue to provide accessible and convenient charging solutions to make EV ownership even more attractive,” Ms Turner said.

The new charger is open now.

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This is a good news/bad news story. The fact that the addition of one new 2 point charging station on the busy route to the South Coast is newsworthy enough for a Riotact story sums up the whole challenge of EVs. Essential government and industry investment in a huge nation wide charging network is lagging so far behind the roll out of EVs it’s a joke. This and the still limited range of many of the available EVs are the big issues. We just drove from Canberra to Newcastle and 3/4 of the way back home on one tank of petrol, averaging 6.2 litres/100 km in a large family car. I get nervous if my fuel tank gets below a quarter full, which would represent the full range for some EV models. Sorry but I’ll be waiting a few more years until the range and charging network issues are sorted.

Can these EVs tow a van to the coast and back too?

I hope not. There are enough obstructions on the road already.

Andrew Denny9:05 pm 01 May 24

No, because the EV drivers will be the the ones whizzing past all the Land Cruisers and Dodge Rams towing 25ft twin axle off road palaces on wheels

MIchael M: Yes. And with probably greater ease than ICE vehicles. The only question with the current technology is how often to stop and charge. There are enough chargers along the route to cover the journey, even with a tow.

A Nonny Mouse5:17 pm 02 May 24

Yes. I have done quite a few trips to various parts of the coast towing our camper trailer (2010 Jayco Flite) with our electric car. We can generally get to the coast (say Narooma or Lake Tabourie) without needing to charge on the way. On the way back, having charged at our powered caravan park site during a stay, we generally would not quite back it back on one charge. A short partial charge is all that is needed to get all the way home with confidence. Bateman’s Bay was not ideal because it was a bit too soon after packing up. A partial charge in Braidwood or Bungendore will now be ideal.

If two cars use the the 75kw fast charger at the same time, the charging output will be reduced

My BYD Atto 3 has no problems going from Canberra to Ulladulla or vice versa, does NOT need a charge on the way – but I support high powered fast chargers being installed.

PC__LoadLetter8:37 am 02 May 24

Folks who don’t have at home charging will queue up there on a Sunday afternoon to have a little extra charge on Monday morning to get to the chargers at work. Same as Majura Park supercharger.

PC__LoadLetter9:54 am 01 May 24

It’s disingenuous to say that a Tritium RTM75 can charge 2 cars simultaneously. Some can. But this one has 1 CCS plug and 1 CHAdeMO plug. It could only charge 2 cars simultaneously if one of them is an obsolete Japanese EV that uses CHAdeMO.

devils_advocate10:47 am 01 May 24

Wonder if the EC/EU will mandate common charging plugs like they did with phones

PC__LoadLetter8:36 am 02 May 24

They did that ages ago. All new cars in Europe use the same Type 2 plug. Usually with the extra two pins underneath it for CCS Type 2. Same as we use.

But that isn’t much help for the Japanese cars already on the road. They use a different locking mechanism and a different signalling protocol. Both of those need power to resolve, but 400 volts is too much power for a handheld device, so you’ll have to remember to recharge it occasionally. And they’re stupid expensive. While you could require the manufacturer to do a port swap, many of the CHAdeMO cars in Australia are cheap grey import Nissan LEAFs, which Nissan Australia refuse to touch. They were imported from Japan when 5 years old, when they’re basically forced off the road there. And they’re still coming & still being sold here dirt cheap.

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