Around 100 sites with surplus network capacity have been identified and Ergon is already speaking with companies who provide EV charging station infrastructure.

Up to 60 charging stations could be purchased which would be used to charge Ergon’s EV fleet and be made available for charging privately owned EVs as well.

Senior Network Strategy and Policy Engineer Don McPhail said, “As the EV market develops in the eastern seaboard capital cities, we believe it will develop in regional Queensland cities from Toowoomba to Cairns and with it the need for public and private charging infrastructure.”

While the focus of our mapping has been to identify surplus network capacity, it’s also part of an interactive program of Australia’s electricity grid which will help identify the most valuable locations to invest in renewable energy and demand management within the national grid.

Image of a map of Queensland with coastal cities ringed to show possible locations EV charging centresThe mapping by a team of graduate engineers has been detailed.

“They meticulously drilled right down to individual suburban transformers to identify locations that have surplus capacity knowing the EV market and the need for public and private charging points is going to grow. That will translate into an increase in the demand for power.

“So we’d rather better utilise our existing assets as potential EV charging point sites rather than upgrade the network at considerable cost which puts upward pressure on electricity prices,” he said.

And it’s not just about EV charging locations or surplus capacity Don said, it’s also about EV driving range and “range anxiety” as we found in our Townsville EV trial.

“In mapping our network, we also considered the driving range of fast charge capable vehicles like Teslas. We’ve identified how far apart the charging stations need to be along the Bruce Highway so drivers could get from one to the next and that they overlap.

“Based on a driving range of about 400 kilometres and network mapping, we’ve identified it would be possible to have charging stations along the Bruce Highway at the major coastal communities all the way to Cairns.

“On that basis we’re already talking with industry and state government parties about potential EV charging sites or locations that have surplus network capacity. Our aim is also to lower the cost for them to connect to our network and these sites might just do that,” he said.

Tesla is also expanding its charging network in Australia with plans to extend it north to Brisbane from Sydney.