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The Federal Government is partnering with Origin Energy to trial 150 smart chargers for electric vehicles (EVs), which will be installed in residential and commercial buildings across the National Electricity Market (NEM).

A rapid and unmanaged uptake of EVs could have negative impacts on the electricity grid if a large number of EVs are charged at home during peak periods.

The trial will explore the role smart chargers can play to assist the integration of EVs to the NEM through the management of chargers via remote access, to maximise EV charging at times when demand for electricity is low.

Through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the Government will provide $838,000 in grant funding for the smart-charging trial, with the total project expected to cost $2.9 million.

Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, said the project will help identify ways to overcome challenges in integrating EVs.

“The Government’s role is to support consumer choice for future fuel technologies and back new technologies through trials like this,” Mr Taylor said. 

“These projects will help those Australian motorists who choose to drive an electric vehicle to do so.

“As Australians choose future fuel technologies, it is important that energy market operators, energy companies and governments understand the impact EVs could have on our networks.

“Through this project, we can begin to understand how to minimise impact and maximise the benefit of new technologies on the grid.

“This project is significant as it is the first large scale demonstration of smart EV charging in Australia and the outcomes will be important to inform future government decisions.”

Around 6,700 EVs were sold in Australia in 2019 and sales continue to increase in 2020. The trial has been designed to ensure that EVs can be successfully integrated into the electricity networks to minimise any impacts for other energy users.

This aligns with the Federal Government’s development of a national strategy to enable choice for consumers across all types of future fuels, including for electric vehicles, hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

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