The road has been cleared for electric vehicle (EV) charging across the Northern Beaches.

Last night (Tuesday, 24 August) Northern Beaches Council unanimously adopted an Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Plan that facilitates the creation of an EV charging network across the Northern Beaches.

While most EV owners charge their cars like they charge their phones (at home) people who live in strata buildings face a range of technical and legal complexities that can prevent the installation of EV charging equipment.

Council’s plan will see the provision of EV charging infrastructure on Council-owned or controlled land (such as car parks) with the aim of encouraging EV adoption by providing public charging options for strata residents and reducing range anxiety for tourists who visit the area in an EV.

Under the plan, Council will roll out EV charging stations that will be pay-for-use, unlike existing Council charging points which are free. Council says the aim will be to recover costs for infrastructure and electricity, and the fees will be set as part of the annual fees and charges framework.

NRMA Tritium fast DC charger at Bathurst charging a Nissan Leaf electric vehicle

The system will be operated by a third-party, independent of vehicle manufacturers and agnostic to the type of vehicle being charged, which makes the most likely operator JetCharge, which runs the national ChargeFox network which rivals the Tesla Supercharger network.

The Northern Beaches system may also utilise Brisbane-based Tritium chargers (used by ChargeFox and the NRMA charging networks) which have been an export success for Australia. With the slow adoption of EVs at home, Tritium have been expanding across Europe and North America with an Australian designed EV fast-charging system.

Northern Beaches CEO Ray Brownlee said electric vehicles are the way of the future and it was important to support their use.

Ray Brownlee

Ray Brownlee

“There is no better time to get this on our radar. We have been leading the way on electric vehicles and now both Federal and State Governments are also actively encouraging their take up.

“In the first half of 2021, 8,688 battery and plug-in EVs have been sold in Australia, which is more than in any calendar year. Of that number, more than 2,100 Full Electric or Hybrid Vehicles are estimated to be on the Northern Beaches alone.

“Council has a vital role to continue to provide more facilities to our community to promote electric vehicle uptake which supports our ambitious target to reduced vehicle emissions by 30 percent by 2038,” said Mr Brownlee.

NRMA DC Fast Charging station

With the plan endorsed, charging locations will be selected with consideration of both private-operated and Council-owned EV charging stations in strategic positions.

As one of the best known owners of an EV on the Northern Beaches, Mayor Michael Regan recused himself from the vote but is an enthusiastic supporter of the idea.

Michael Regan

Michael Regan

“I am one of the lucky ones and an early adopter of Electric cars. I have my own charger at home, but strongly believe that as we rapidly switch over to Electric Vehicles, governments need to lead the way with either direct investment or encouraging private investment. Council’s plan does both and maintains a level of flexibility to be able to change as the market, policy and consumers change.

“I am grateful that the NSW Government is also leading the charge with good policy. I look forward to the Commonwealth now stepping up with their policies and investment in this changing market. There is a real opportunity for federal leadership and innovation on this, particularly with Hydrogen electric technology moving rapidly now. Several car companies are introducing these into the market via fleets.

“The Commonwealth can play a major role in transitioning [the fleet] and investment for this segment combining that with what is happening around the country led by states creating electric highways. I can’t say it enough, the Commonwealth needs to be proactive on this.

“The technology is there and is rapidly advancing. We need a policy and plan for the nation, so that we don’t end up with the railway issues of non standard rail gauges across the country. I look forward to playing my part in shaping that policy. It is exciting times ahead,” said Mayor Regan.

Electric vehicle charging at Harbord Diggers

There are eight public charging stations on the Northern Beaches, seven in private commercial car parks, with the eighth at the Council PCYC car park in Dee Why. Council also has eight fully electric vehicles and 10 hybrid electric vehicles as part of its 379-vehicle fleet.

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate

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