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Power Pole EV Charging Points

It is easy enough to transform your garage into a recharging point for your new electric vehicle (EV).  There are other public recharging points around many of our main towns and cities now that are easily accessible.  So, for a large number of relatively new EV owners, life is relatively straightforward when it comes to having to top up their EV with power.  But what happens for those EV owners who live in an apartment that has no off-street parking or garaging for their car?

New commercial recharging stations of various types and in various situations are beginning to appear in Australia’s larger cities and their adjacent suburbs.  You can find EV recharging points located at public buildings, service stations, kiosks, shopping centres, and even in an EV owner’s garage.  The number and need for EV charging points is expected to undergo exponential growth as the demand for such recharging facilities grows along with uptake of EVs.  Currently, one in four Australian households do not have off street parking.  EV ownership for these people is a less attractive proposition.  There is a need, therefore, to provide easy access to a recharging point for households who don’t have access to off street parking.

An Australian- and New Zealand-based utility services company called The Intellihub Group is in the business of providing innovative power metering and power data solutions to maximise digital and new energy services.  One of the interesting projects that they currently on-the-go is providing power pole recharging for EVs.  This is a perfect solution for the one in four households with no access to off street parking.

Intellihub is in the process of using local power poles in a trial for street-side recharging points, particularly catering to these less fortunate EV owners.  According to Intellihub, there are significant gains to be made in the provision of these power pole recharging facilities for EV owners.  Not only will the trial provide easy power access, but it will also help to understand the impact of EV chargers on the electricity network.  Researchers will monitor how many people use the chargers during the trial and their impact on the electricity network.

Via the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), $871,000 of Australian Government support has been given to Intellihub.  Intellihub has contracted the first deployment of 50 EV chargers to be installed on street side power poles for a group of EV owners without off-street parking.  These lucky EV owners live throughout New South Wales in either apartments, townhouses or units without any direct localized access to EV charging on-site.

The power pole project is a trial valued at $2.04 million, so it is also supported by Schneider Electric, the providers of the EV charging infrastructure and Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE).  Schneider Electric will manage the charging service for the trial.  Origin Energy will ensure that 100% of all the energy required to charge the EVs in the trial project will be matched with the equivalent amount of certified renewable energy resources that will be added to the grid.

The idea of power pole charging an EV is not a uniquely Australian concept.  Power pole charging is already being rolled out across the world.  Some major global cities, including London, Toronto, Los Angeles, New York, and Hamburg are installing tens of thousands of power pole or streetlight EV chargers.

Power pole charging an EV in a city/town environment seems a rather straightforward solution to making living with an EV a whole lot easier.  Intellihub CEO Wes Ballantine said: “It’s expected that as many as 10 per cent of new car sales in Australia will be electric vehicles by 2025.  That equates to an extra 120,000 new EVs on our local streets each year.  It’s likely that many of these car owners may be unable to charge their EVs from home.  Power poles line most of our public streets and that presents an opportunity for the EV charging market.  They’re an accessible, safe, and practical option for EV charging.”

The EV owners will use a third-party app to manage their recharging service.  They will be able to get information about charging costs, time limits, billing, and other tools for interfacing with the electricity grid.

This is a big step towards a practical recharging infrastructure across Australia.  It seems that owning an EV in a congested city/town environment might be getting a whole lot easier.