Australia's Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced A$15m (US$10.1m) in funding to Evie Networks to roll out an ultra-fast battery EV charging network along the country's roads.

The funding will support the first phase of the A$50.2m intercity highway charging network with 350kW ultra fast chargers located along the National Land Transport Network and beyond.

A total of 42 charging sites, all powered by renewable energy, will be installed at roadside service centres connecting Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane, plus destination charging in Far North Queensland, Tasmania and Perth.

Construction will start on the first site north of Brisbane, with 23 sites to be operational in the first year.

Each of the 42 sites will be able to charge two cars concurrently and will enable the typical EV available in Australia to charge 100km within 15 minutes using Tritium chargers. All sites will be open access with charging plugs suitable for all EV models available, including Tesla, with an adaptor.

Spacing of sites is designed to align with Australian geography, population areas and highways.

"Evie's fast charging stations across the country will help to increase the supply and adoption of electric vehicles by building the charging infrastructure in key areas along major roads," said ARENA CEO, Darren Miller.

"Reducing range anxiety will encourage EV uptake by giving motorists confidence they can get where they want to go – even on long road trips."

Last year, ARENA also committed A$6m to Chargefox's ultra fast network, which will include 21 charging sites from Adelaide to Brisbane, around Perth and in Tasmania.

"Both networks will provide complementary coverage along major highways connecting capital cities and both will be powered solely with renewable energy," added Miller.

Last year ARENA and CEFC (Clean Energy Finance Corp) published a report which predicted the uptake of EVs would increase significantly in the next decade. The report said EVs would reach price parity with petrol cars by the early to mid 2020s when looking at the upfront cost and sooner than this on a total cost of ownership basis.

A lack of fast charging infrastructure was identified as a barrier to the uptake of EVs.

"We have estimated Australia needs around 350 sites to cover all the highways that make up Australia's National Land Transportation Network," said Evie Networks CEO, Chris Mills.

"While many consumers will charge at home, they will also need plenty of fast chargers in towns, suburbs and cities. There are currently around 6,500 petrol stations. This is just the beginning of the infrastructure build out."

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