A plan to create Australia’s first national electric vehicle charging highway, led by Fast Cities Australia CEO Chris Mills, has been supercharged with an additional $7 million investment from the St Baker Energy Innovation Fund.
Following seed funding of $0.5M from the St Baker Energy Innovation Fund 12 months ago, Fast Cities Australia has been selecting, designing and planning sites for the nation-wide infrastructure.
Fast Cities’ Co-founder Paul Fox said the funding provides working capital to support building a $100M infrastructure project covering the national highway network.
“Just like the growth of mobile networks 20 years ago, or the solar industry ten years ago, the electric vehicle (EV) charging industry is ripe for professionalisation and rapid growth,” he said. “We’re building a team with deep domain experience in both electric vehicles and infrastructure deployment.”
As an early Tesla employee and EV industry veteran, Fast Cities’ Head of Operations and Planning, Dr Andrew Simpson, said he was looking forward to establishing the foundational network of 42 ultrafast charging stations.
“The ultrafast chargers are game changing because they allow electric vehicles to refuel at the same speed as petroleum vehicles,” he said.
“By increasing refueling speeds and efficiency, we are opening the door for electrified commercial fleets that can travel long distances, entirely powered by renewable energy.
“Our initial 42-site network is designed to attract a wide range of lower-cost EVs to Australia. Anything less than 42 sites would be too far apart, except for the most expensive vehicles.”
Fast Cities’ Chairman, Trevor St Baker AO, said building the core inter-city ultrafast charging network would play a big part in Australia catching up with the rest of the world in EV adoption, with attendant productivity, public health and emissions reductions benefits.
Fast Cities’ CEO Chris Mills said the organisation was well-placed to access the expertise and capital needed for the national project.
“We are working closely with the St Baker Energy Innovation Fund, the best service providers in the country, and Tritium, the world’s leading manufacturer of ultrafast EV chargers. We are in good company.
“The additional $7 million Series A investment from the St Baker Fund means we can start building a nationwide network that will give drivers, fleet owners and manufacturers the confidence to go electric. We’ll be looking to the St Baker Fund and additional investors to realize the ultimate plan for several hundred million dollars of EV charging infrastructure.
A recent report by PwC and the EV Council of Australia found that modernising Australia’s transport sector through electric vehicle uptake would have major positive impacts on public health and the national economy. Electrification of passenger vehicles alone would add $2.9 billion to real GDP, create more than 13,000 jobs and reduce emissions by 18 million tonnes by 2030 – the equivalent to taking 8 million petrol vehicles off the road.