Main content area

1. Electric vehicle charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure where it is needed

Infographic showing the objectives and actions of this priority initiative. Text description follows

Objectives:

  • Leverage private sector investment in charging and refuelling infrastructure to address public ‘charging blackspots’ and demonstrate hydrogen refuelling infrastructure through the $250 million Future Fuels Fund.
  • Incentivise transport emissions reductions, including additional investment through the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF).
  • Ensure access to charging and refuelling infrastructure that effectively integrates with the grid and meets the needs of business and households.
  • Design actions and investments that can complement those made by other levels of government.

Actions:

  • Assess deployment needs and opportunities for charging and refuelling infrastructure
  • Address battery electric vehicle charging blackspots
  • Demonstrate hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle refuelling
  • Help business and households access electric vehicle charging
  • A new ERF method

Opportunity

Australian motorists expect convenient access to competitively priced battery charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure for their vehicles.

'There is a lack of usable truck charging infrastructure to enable the potential rollout of plug-in battery electric heavy vehicles.'

– Truck Industry Council

'The National Farmers Federation strongly supports regionalisation and championing EV-friendly towns, and the associated infrastructure required for this cause.'

– National Farmers Federation

For businesses and households to incorporate low emission vehicles into their everyday lives, they need to be confident they can conveniently access battery charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. Installing battery charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure can be expensive for businesses with large fleets or commercial vehicles, because they will likely also need to make substantial electrical upgrades (ChargeTogether Fleets 2020).

It is also important to take Australia’s unique geography and the likely charging behaviour of Australian consumers into consideration when planning to roll out public charging infrastructure. Only around 25% of charging is likely to occur at work or through public electric vehicle charging infrastructure (McKinsey 2018). However, this may be vastly different for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, which may mirror current petrol refuelling habits. Therefore, it is important to balance the need to increase consumer confidence in being able to access public charging in line with likely charging behaviour.

Recent private sector announcements indicate we already have an attractive environment in place to foster private investment in Australia for charging infrastructure, which is supported by more Australians already choosing to invest in new vehicle technologies. For example, BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has bought a stake in the Australian electric vehicle charging network JOLT, with an initial $100 million investment for building up the network (Changarathil 2021). This is BlackRock’s first investment in electric vehicle infrastructure in the Asia Pacific, and its largest in this sector in the world. This type of private sector investment in battery charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure is expected to increase as more electric vehicles are on the road.

The government has a particular role to play in addressing market failures or gaps in the rollout of charging infrastructure. For example, the private sector is more likely to fund the early rollout of infrastructure in metropolitan areas where demand will initially be concentrated. However, this may lead to an inequality of access in regional areas where uptake may be slower. The government will be able to address this need through targeted co-investment with industry. Australian governments have been partnering with industry to develop a national highway of public fast chargers that will fill charging blackspots for battery electric vehicles. Through the Future Fuels Fund, the Australian Government has already provided approximately $25 million to roll out this enabling infrastructure.

Future Fuels Fund Round 1 is a success

The Australian Government recently announced $24.55 million of funding for round 1 of the Future Fuels Fund (administered by ARENA), focusing on metropolitan locations and major regional centres. This is generating a combined $79.9 million in public–private investment.

Figure 4 shows 403 fast charging stations will be built in blackspot areas in 14 of Australia’s most populous regions. ARENA estimates this will give 75% of the population convenient access to fast public chargers. Figure 4 indicates the locations of existing charging stations and proposed charging station locations from round 1 of the Future Fuels Fund, with shading indicating a 100 km radius around each charger. The map does not show all planned charger investments by the private sector or state, territory and local governments. Having addressed major population centres, future support for public charging under the fund is expected to focus on regional blackspots, including linking regional areas with major population centres. The expanded $250 million Future Fuels Fund is expected to extend coverage to around 84% of the Australian population.

Future funding rounds will focus on co-investing with business in infrastructure that helps to shift their fleets to battery electric vehicles and explore opportunities with hydrogen and biofuel infrastructure. It will also partner with industry to explore opportunities for heavy and long-distance vehicles. 

Further research and consultation will focus on regional charging needs and blackspots to help increase consumer choice in these areas. The scope of later rounds will be developed in consultation with industry.

Figure 4: Existing and proposed electric vehicle charging station coverage in Australia from round 1 of the Future Fuels Fund

Map of Australia showing existing electric vehicle fast charging station locations and proposed locations for charging stations as part of round 1 of the Future Fuels Fund. Text description follows

Existing charging station locations are largely centred around metropolitan areas, capital cities, regional centres and major highways. The figure shows that proposed charging locations will increase charging station density and coverage in metropolitan areas and for major regional centres.

Actions

The government will increase access to public battery charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure through both co-investment and utilising the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). This will help drive down the cost of infrastructure and ensure it is deployed where needed.

In October 2021, the government announced that it would develop an ERF method that covers emissions reductions created by electric vehicle charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. A new ERF method would aim to further incentivise the rollout of infrastructure (Action 1.5). The Clean Energy Regulator will lead on public consultations for this new method.

The government is further signalling to the market that investment into battery charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure is a priority by upgrading these technologies in the Low Emissions Technology Statement 2021 from emerging technologies to enabling infrastructure.

The government will continue co-investing to build Australia’s charging networks, through the expanded $250 million Future Fuels Fund to support co-investment with the private sector and other governments. The fund will have 4 streams of key infrastructure investment to support early uptake and consumer choice:

  • public electric vehicle charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure (Action 1.2 and 1.3)
  • heavy and long distance vehicle fleets (Action 1.3 and 1.4)
  • light vehicle commercial fleets (Action 1.4)
  • household smart charging (Action 1.4).

This investment is expected to deploy charging infrastructure in over 400 businesses, 50,000 households and 1,000 public charging stations.

The government will also ensure that enabling infrastructure is rolled out ahead of demand and is not duplicative by undertaking analysis to inform these co-investments with industry (Action 1.1).

As part of the Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings, all Australian governments committed to ensuring new buildings can accommodate electric vehicle charging. The Australian Building Codes Board is considering how to ensure readiness for future installation of electric vehicle charging in the next update of the National Construction Code, scheduled for 2022.

Action

Lead agency

Delivery

1.1

 

Assess deployment needs and opportunities for battery charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure

The government is investigating where demand for low emission vehicles is likely to grow. The following studies will inform investment decisions to roll out battery charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure to meet this demand:

  • The Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE) will investigate charging blackspot locations in regional Australia.
  • The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) will develop a roadmap to identify, at a national level, the optimal locations of future battery charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure and how this can be effectively integrated into Australia’s electricity network.
  • DISER is completing a National Hydrogen Infrastructure Assessment to identify hydrogen infrastructure rollout priorities.

BITRE and DISER

BITRE project: 2022

DISER roadmap: 2022 to 2024

DISER Hydrogen Infrastructure Assessment: 2024

1.2

Address battery electric vehicle charging blackspots

The $250 million Future Fuels Fund will continue co-investing with industry and state and territory governments to roll out public charging infrastructure where it can have the greatest impact for regional and metropolitan motorists.

ARENA

 

2021 to 2025

1.3

Demonstrate hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle refuelling

The $250 million Future Fuels Fund will support the demonstration of hydrogen refuelling stations for hydrogen hubs, major freight routes and passenger road corridors. Hydrogen funding is also available through the $464 million Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hubs program, as well as through ARENA and the CEFC.

ARENA

2023 to 2025

1.4

Help business and households access electric vehicle charging

The $250 million Future Fuels Fund will help commercial fleets and consumers with installation and electrical upgrades for charging infrastructure, including for heavy and long-distance vehicles (such as those used in the logistics, agriculture and mining sectors) and smart charging for households.

ARENA

 

2022 to 2025

1.5

New ERF method

The government will develop a method to incentivise emissions reductions in transport, including through electric vehicle charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.

CER and

DISER

2021 to 2022