Intellihub, a utility services company, has announced the launch of a pilot project to install 50 electric vehicle (EV) chargers on existing power poles in New South Wales. The project is supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and aims to provide a solution for EV drivers who do not have access to off-street parking or charging facilities.
The 22kW pole mounted EV chargers will be installed on wooden power poles and will eliminate the need for costly roadworks and infrastructure upgrades. The chargers will allow for convenient top-ups, as well as overnight charging, and will provide 100% accredited GreenPower from Origin Energy.
The project will cover eight local government areas in Sydney and the Hunter regions, with the first chargers already live in Lane Cove, St Leonards, Maroubra, Coogee, and North Bondi. The remaining 41 chargers are expected to be online by the end of the year.
The project aims to increase EV adoption and provide network support
The project is part of Intellihub’s vision to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy by enabling more people to switch to EVs. According to Intellihub, EV uptake in Australia is currently low, accounting for around 1.5% of total new passenger vehicle sales in the first half of 2021. However, the demand for EVs is expected to grow rapidly, with some experts predicting that there will be more than one million EVs on Australian roads by 2030.
One of the barriers to EV adoption is the lack of public charging infrastructure, especially for drivers who live in apartments, townhouses, or units that do not have garages or driveways. By utilising the existing power pole network, Intellihub hopes to address this gap and make EV charging more accessible and convenient for urban residents.
The project also aims to provide network support by integrating the chargers with the grid and allowing for localised and controllable loads. The project’s distribution network service provider (DNSP) and retail partners will be able to assess the potential for on-street EV charging to provide virtual power plant services, such as demand response, frequency control, and voltage support.
The project will produce a blueprint for rolling out on-street EV charging nationally
The project is the first of its kind in Australia and will produce a detailed blueprint showing how DNSPs, local councils, and investors can implement on-street EV charging using power pole infrastructure. The blueprint will include insights into the technical, regulatory, and commercial aspects of the project, as well as the customer responses and expectations.
The project will also share the lessons learned from the installation, operation, and maintenance of the chargers, as well as the integration with the grid and the Exploren platform, which is a popular EV software and hardware provider that supports around 500 public chargers across Sydney.
The project is expected to contribute to the development of the EV industry in Australia and stimulate competition and innovation in the sector. The project will also improve the industry’s understanding of the impact of EVs on the electricity system and the opportunities and risks they present.