Northern Beaches Council has a plan for electric vehicle (EV) charging.

Last week’s meeting (Tuesday, 23 March) of Northern Beaches Council endorsed a proposal to seek community feedback on a framework for installing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and investigate the transition of Council-owned vehicle fleet to electric or hydrogen.

Having voted in favour of declaring a climate emergency at the August 2019 meeting, Council is seeking to encourage the adoption of zero emission vehicles. Electric vehicle charging on the Northern Beaches is currently limited with only seven public charging locations according to PlugShare.

  • Terrey Hills Flower Market
  • Pittwater RSL Club
  • PCYC Dee Why
  • KFC Frenchs Forest
  • Warringah Mall
  • Harbord Diggers
  • Stockland Balgowlah
Electric vehicle charging at Harbord Diggers

The draft Northern Beaches Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Plan canvasses business models for both private-operated and Council-owned EV charging stations at key locations. The plan aims to:

  • Support delivery of EV charging utilising public land
  • Integrate charging with the public transport network
  • Ensure a fair selection of EV charging providers
  • Support EV adoption through availability of charging
  • Provide direction to providers on suitable charging locations

Council plans to install public EV charging infrastructure with a mix of level 2 (slow) and level 3 (fast) charging capability. The facilities will be provided on a user pays basis, with fees based on cost recovery rather than a commercial charging rate.

Other parties, such as commercial providers, wishing to offer EV charging need to express their interest to Council, who will determine locations that EV charging may be installed. Providers will also be obliged to share data with Northern Beaches Council, including ‘real-time’ usage and membership information.

Locations will be selected on a range of criteria including walking distance to town centres, well-situated on the road network, being well-lit, accessible at all hours and proximity to suitable power supply. Proposed locations for EV charging in the plan are:

  • Palm Beach
  • Mona Vale
  • Dee Why
  • Brookvale
  • Frenchs Forest
  • Manly
  • Sporting grounds
Michael Regan

Michael Regan

A well known EV driver, Mayor Michael Regan recused himself from the vote, citing a conflict of interest. Following the vote he said it made environmental and economic sense to promote the switch from fossil fuel vehicles to EVs.

“As an owner and driver of an EV, I can personally vouch for the many benefits of this increasingly popular and affordable mode of transport. As for the charging infrastructure, this was very simple to have installed at home and not expensive.

“As a Council, it is important we lead by example to drive down carbon emissions and invest in enabling infrastructure that will make it easier for residents to switch to green transport solutions.

“It is important that Council shows leadership by example in a community and reducing pollution should be important in every community. Using an electric car sets an example and helps promote their use as practical, efficient and good for the environment,” said Mayor Regan.

Council says the lack of charging stations is a barrier to adoption of EVs by local residents and businesses and limits transport investment options. The draft strategy aims to make it easier for EV take-up by encouraging public and private investment in charging infrastructure to create a core grid of chargers in the LGA.

Stuart Sprott

Stuart Sprott

Council also endorsed a proposal by Councillor Stuart Sprott to prepare a report on transitioning the Council-owned fleet to electric vehicles.

“It’s important we lead by example and move our Council fleet to EVs where possible, they are cheaper to run and require almost no maintenance. An internal combustion engine has thousands of moving parts, an electric motor has a fraction of that, there’s a huge difference and cost saving.

“We need to promote the uptake of electric vehicles. We don’t want Australia to become the dumping ground of old petrol cars as the rest of the world take up electric vehicles and we lag behind. It’s important for us to have the infrastructure in place ready to encourage people to use electric vehicles,” said Cr Sprott.

Council currently has eight electric vehicles and 10 hybrid EVs as part of its 379-vehicle fleet. Northern Beaches Council was also recently the first LGA in NSW to partner with a power utility to trial a community battery to store excess power generated by solar panels consumers have installed on their homes.

The Northern Beaches Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Plan (file link) was included with the agenda of the Council meeting on 23 March. Public submissions on the Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Plan will be open on Council’s Your Say website shortly.

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate