electric cars, industry news
By 2024 the entire Western Australian coast will be able to be visited by an electric car.

Brisbane-based worldwide charging hardware supplier, Tritium, and charging infrastructure company, JetCharge, have teamed up to build a charging network to cover 7000km of Western Australia’s vast expanse for electric vehicle owners.

The project will use $43.5 million of funding from the WA government, earmarked to future-proof the state for the electric vehicle future.

The new network will consist of 98 new fast chargers at 49 locations (two sets of charging hardware per location) and the chargers themselves will be Tritium’s latest ‘RTM’ model, which is capable of charging EVs on DC at a rate of 75kW. It has both the European-standard CCS2 combo connector used by most electric vehicles, and a Japanese-standard CHAdeMO connector which is used by cars like the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

The RTM unit is said to be able to operate at its full potential in environments from minus-35 degrees celsius to 50 degrees celsius, and uses a liquid cooling system to maintain the correct temperature whilst charging.

Tritium says the first of the locations will open early in 2023, with the full network operational by early 2024.

As to the locations of the chargers, a map shared by Synergy, a WA energy company, gives an idea.

The proposed network covers the entire west Australian coast, from Eucla in the south, stretching all the way to Kunanurra in the north. Key locations include Broome, Port Headland, Exmouth, Geraldton, Esperance, and Margaret River.

electric cars, industry news
The current state of DC fast charging coverage in Australia as of September 2022. (credit: PlugShare)

Despite now being a global operation, Tritium’s hardware is all constructed in its Brisbane plant which has an annual capacity of 5000 units.

The new incoming network is not the only long-distance EV support mechanism in Australia, with several “chip fat” powered DC units providing the infrastructure for electric cars to pass the infamous Nullabor Plain (at least the bit of it which is actually in WA), which spans a 700km distance from Caiguna to Southern Cross.

To do so, Tritium DC charging hardware is powered by a leftover frying oil generator using oil from the Caiguna Roadhouse.

The cost of installing an equivalent solar-powered fast-charger is over five times the cost of one of these so-called “bi0fil” units.

It is unclear how some of the more remote chargers in the proposed network will be powered, whether it will be by generator, solar, or connected to the mains.

It is also worth noting that the network will not allow every current EV to make the whole distance between Eucla and Kunanurra, with some stretches, like the one between Derby and Fitzroy Crossing (measuring in at 257km), or Esperance and Ravensthorpe (188km), or Fortescue River and Karratha (205km) proving too far for some models, like the Nissan Leaf, Mini Electric, and Mazda MX-30 currently on sale.

There are still some distances in Australia which are extremely difficult to traverse with an electric vehicle, with no DC charging hardware existing between Medura Pass in Western Australia and Adelaide in South Australia (a distance of 1448km by road) or Cairns and Darwin (2848km by road).

electric cars, industry news
Better just to fly? There are no DC charging locations between Cairns and Darwin.

By the time the new Western Australian network comes online, it will rival the Eastern Australian charging network (which spans from Port Douglas in the north to Adelaide in the south) by distance.


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