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Over $15 million has been granted to Evie Networks, as part of an ambitious new plan to build an ultra-fast electric vehicle charging network along the highways of Australia.

It is hoped the $50 million public-private partnership between Evie and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will dramatically expand electric vehicle charging coverage in Australia by adding an additional 42 open access ultrafast sites to the national network.

There are currently only around 70 fast-charging sites in Australia, most of which aren’t available to the general public without a subscription.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said this funding builds on ARENA’s previous investments in driver education, battery recycling and charging infrastructure.

“We’ve worked to ensure our investments work together to maximise the overall outcome for Australian drivers and fleets.”

“When complete, our investments will support Australia achieving a standard of highway coverage which ranks among the best in the world along the highways linking Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane as well as providing coverage in Adelaide, Perth, Tasmania and North Queensland.

The ultrafast chargers will be located at highway service centres and will be capable of refueling suitably equipped vehicles in 5 to 15 minutes.

While charging, drivers can leave the vehicle and enjoy the convenience of 24/7 on-site amenities.  Meanwhile, service centre owners will enjoy the benefits of attracting EV owners to their sites.

Evie Networks CEO, Chris Mills, said public-private partnerships such as this ARENA investment were essential to ensure Australia realises the jobs, growth and clean air benefits of electric vehicles.

“We have estimated that Australia needs around 350 sites to cover all the highways that makeup Australia’s National Land Transportation Network,” he said.

“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.”

The network will use state-of-the-art Australian made ultrafast technology manufactured by Tritium in Brisbane. This technology has only recently begun to be deployed in Europe and North America.

As part of the move, Evie Networks is partnering with the University of Queensland to support the ARENA knowledge sharing program.

This knowledge will be used to shape the Australian electric vehicle industry which according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the EV council has potential to add $3 billion to GDP, create over 13,000 jobs and reduce emissions by 18 million tonnes.