Aussie council praised for 'brilliant' solution to common EV problem

The new initiative will help make charging stations more accessible for Aussies in apartments, townhouses or units, as demand across the country soars.

White Tesla charging with EV power pole charger in Sydney.
EV charging boxes are being installed on several power poles across one Sydney council. Source: EVSE

As demand for electric vehicles continues to grow across the country, one council has found a possible solution to a common problem often expressed by EV owners. A lack of sufficient charging stations has long been a source of frustration for many drivers — but not anymore, it seems.

The Northern Beaches Council in Sydney has engaged in a 12-month trial which will see several power poles on streets turned into charging points. The premise is simple — drivers park kerbside and plug their vehicles in and pay for the electricity they use.

If the 12-month trial is deemed successful, EV power chargers attached to electricity poles will likely be implemented nationwide.

The project is being led by energy technology business Intellihub, supported by council, and with funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). According to Intellihub, the project will help make EV charging stations more accessible for those who live in apartments, townhouses or units with no on-site EV charging facilities.

EV power pole charging stations in Sydney's northern beaches.
If the 12-month trial is deemed successful, EV power chargers attached to electricity poles will likely be implemented nationwide. Source: EVSE/Northern Beaches Council

The new chargers are much smaller than what we're used to seeing at petrol stations or charging hubs across the country. They're small grey boxes which are attached to the power poles and are generated by the overhead powerlines.

According to the Manly Observer, the sites are best used for top-ups rather than full charges. A two-hour charge will get drivers a 200km range and will cost 50 cents a kilowatt hour — which equates to roughly $10-$15 whereas a full charge might cost roughly $40.

Northern Beaches Council announced they were participating in the trial after noticing a surge in electric-powered vehicle usage. According to council, more than 1,300 EVs have been registered across the Northern Beaches over the past 12-month bringing the total to about 3,100.

Already, locals are on board with the "brilliant" initiative with scores of residents praising the idea online.

"Looks interesting! I’ll be sure to get out and use these so they decide they’re worth rolling out," said a Tesla owner on Facebook. Others agreed it was a "great idea".

"These look fabulous compared to what we have already," said another. "Just brilliant," wrote someone else in response.

The Northern Beaches Council is one of eight taking part in the trial across Sydney and the Hunter region in NSW. More information and the site locations can be on the council's website.

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