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Byron Shire
December 7, 2023

Byron council part of EV charger trial

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Byron Shire Mayor, Michal Lyon, at the Wordsworth Street EVX pole charger PIC supplied

Two new electric vehicle (EV) kerbside chargers have been attached to power poles in Byron Bay in the leadup to Christmas as part of state-wide plans for the infrastructure.

EV infrastructure company EVX was last year reported to be working with NSW energy distributor Ausgrid on a project aimed at attaching EV chargers to 30,000 power poles, with Newcastle one of the first regional cities to sign up.

Essential Energy is responsible for power distribution across the Northern Rivers and mid-north coast and EVX says the two companies launched their first power pole charger in Hawkes Nest, south of Port Macquarie, earlier this year.

A more recent agreement with the Byron Shire Council led last week to the installation of two power pole chargers in Byron Bay as part of a one-year trial.

One is in Childe Street, towards the southern end of Belongil Beach, and the other in Wordsworth Street, on the western side of the disused rail line bordering Byron Bay’s town centre.

More time to shop, eat, explore, chill out…

Electric vehicle charging station, Epiq Marketplace Lennox Head – photo David Lowe

EVX says their Australian-made chargers work differently to most charging stations already present in and around the shire, such as the public stations near the Byron Bay library and near the council chambers in Mullumbimby.

Privately run stations also exist, such as at The Farm at Byron Bay’s Ewingsdale Road entrance off the highway.

Another nearby charging station was opened seven years ago at the former Macadamia Castle above the Pacific Motorway in Knockrow, part of the Ballina Shire, and there is one at the Epiq housing estate at Lennox Head, also part of the Ballina Shire.

EVX says its power pole chargers are much simpler to set up but take longer to charge vehicles.

The extra time is expected to suit users stopping for an hour or more, with exact charging times dependent on vehicle specifications and battery utilisation.

The new technology is critical to tackling bottlenecks at other charging facilities, particularly during holiday periods, EVX says.

EVX CEO Andrew Forster was quoted in a media release Monday saying despite its popularity with visitors, Byron Bay’s charging infrastructure isn’t meeting demand.

‘We are seeing queues at rapid charging stations along the main highways, up and down the coast,’ Mr Forster said.

‘There’s a fair level of tolerance in the “early adopter” EV community for charging delays, but as the number of EVs on Australia’s roads continues to increase, that tolerance level will fall dramatically,’ the CEO said.

Is the charger free? There’s an app for that

Byron Shire Mayor, Michal Lyon was also quoted, saying council staff worked with EVX in choosing appropriate locations for the new chargers.

The mayor says the one-year trial aligns with the council’s broader sustainability strategy and climate change mitigation goals.

Essential Energy Chief Commercial Officer, Justin Hillier was quoted saying the company was committed to facilitating the adoption of electric vehicles and was therefore working on more charge points across its network.

To use the chargers, EVX says, drivers need to download the EVX Australia app, scan a QR code on the charging point and start charging.

The EVX app shows the user which chargers are available but users can’t pre-book the chargers.

There aren’t any joining, membership, or connection charges but charging costs are $0.50 per kWH.

Users need to bring their own charging cable with EVX chargers designed for industry standard type two charging cables.

The unit is an AC dual 22kw, with a total capacity of 44kw, ready charger.

EVX says its software allows remote capacity updates as vehicle manufacturers increase the AC charging capacity of their vehicles.

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