Sydney’s Bondi Beach, known around the world for its rolling waves, recently made the news for an altogether different reason: the installation of the beach’s first public on-street electric vehicle charging station.
The station was launched by Osher Günsber, the current host of Australia’s Bachelor/ Bachelorette television series, a Bondi resident and a passionate driver of electric vehicles (he is now onto his fourth one).
“Throughout my professional career,” he is quoted by The Driven as saying at the launch event, “I’ve had to tell people they didn’t get something. Now I have the never important role of telling smart beautiful women, and smart handsome men, they did not receive a rose and it would it be best they packed their bags and left. But today I get to tell you that many people in this city, including me, do get something that they have wanted. Public electric vehicle charging.”
The initiative was part of a plan announced in December 2018 by three Sydney councils – Waverly, Woollahra and Randwick – who have teamed up and agreed a deal to install electric vehicle charging stations in the suburbs they oversee.
Anthony Weinberg, spokesperson for the three councils, explained to The Driven, “We’ve chosen prominent prime destination hotspots, they’re really good parking spots close to shopping and attractions and beaches so people can and will want to spend a bit of time there.”
All stations house 22kW AC chargers and will source their electricity through renewable energy projects. In two hours, a driver of a Tesla electric vehicle will be able to charge to 80 per cent capacity, enabling an additional 150 kilometres in range.
Parking spots at the station will be reserved for electric vehicles only but will be subject to the same time restrictions as internal combustion engine cars. As there is no time limit at Bondi Beach, electric vehicle owners will be able to enjoy the beach and its surroundings until their car is fully charged.
Pricing is also very affordable. Three different payment rates are being offered by the councils depending on the time of day – peak, shoulder and off-peak – all cheaper than what it would cost an electric vehicle user to charge their car at home. “We’re charging cheaper than what you’d pay at home,” claims Weinberg, “25 [cents] peak, 15 [cents] shoulder and 10 [cents] off-peak – Monday to Friday.”
The charging station at Bondi is one of many installed at locations in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, including Double Bay, Coogee Beach and Randwick. In total 11 sites have been identified and six charging stations have already been installed. Drivers of electric vehicles can book the spots through an app called Chargefox developed by the installer of the stations.
Additional charging stations will soon come online in other locations in these suburbs as well as in Bondi Junction and Maroubra. The council’s plan is to first build up awareness and use of the current charging stations before installing others. Says Weinberg, “Once utilisation is over 30-40 per cent, we will take the second spot next to each location.”
Overall, the project is part of the councils’ efforts to promote the uptake and use of electric vehicles and become more sustainable. Peter Cavanagh, Mayor of Woollahra stressed, “We want purchasing an EV to be a more viable option for people, and our councils are leading the way by providing handy charging stations.” Kathy Neilson, Mayor of Randwick added, “This project is an example of our shared determination and efforts to enact change at a local government level to help the environment for future generations.”
Image courtesy of Flickr. Originally published by S&S on July 16, 2019.