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Electric highways pave way for electric bikes

Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle soundtrack electric highways
Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Millions of taxpayer dollars is being given to private companies to provide charging points to create electric highways, paving the way for electric motorcycles and scooters.

Last year Chargefox received $6m in Federal Government funding and $1m from the Victoria Government to install 21 charging sites from Adelaide to Brisbane, around Perth and in Tasmania.

In Queensland, the state government is spending $2.5m to build an “Electric Super Highway” with 17 fast-charging stations along 1800km of highway from Coolangatta to Cairns and from Brisbane to Toowoomba.

Now the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $15 million in funding to Evie Networks for more charging stations that will be about 100km apart.

Dennis Savic with electric Cafe racer motrcycle electric highways
Australia’s first electric motorcycle, the Savi Cafe Racer

Range anxiety

These electric highways should go some way toward easing “range anxiety” that is preventing the adoption of electric motorcycles and scooters in our wide, brown land.

While some electric motorcycles boast up to 300km range, that is on an urban route. Highway riding depletes a battery quicker.

For example, the Harley-Davidson electric LiveWire (pictured at the top of this page) has 230km of city range, but only 150km of highway range.

So highway charging points about 100km apart will be more suitable for motorcycles.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle electric highways
LiveWire on a fast charger

Electric highways

The latest funding will support the first phase of the $50.2 million electric highways charging network with 350kW ultra-fast chargers powered by renewable energy. 

Some 42 charging sites will be installed at roadside service centres connecting Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane, plus charging stations in Far North Queensland, Tasmania and Perth.

Construction has started on the first site north of Brisbane, with 23 sites operational in the first year. 

Each of the 42 sites be able to charge two vehicles at the same time providing about 100km of charge in 15 minutes using Tritium ultra-fast chargers.

Riders will be able to use the stations via special apps that find stations and handle payment. 

Chargefox charging app electric highways

In the initial stages, there could be a long wait at these charging points. However, we suspect that demand will drive more charging stations.

Evie Networks boss Chris Mills says they estimate Australia needs about 350 sites to cover all the highways in our National Land Transportation Network.

So far only about a quarter of that amount is planned. By comparison, there are about 6500 service stations in Australia.

Chris expects that most motorists will charge their electric vehicle at home, work, public carparks or shopping centres.

  1. For those bike riders that avoid hyways. What’s in the plan to cover the more ridden roads by bike riders in the country area’s ?

  2. the problems EV bikes face are range (obviously) and the time it takes to charge. When I’m at home, having it get powered up over night, but if I’m doing a longer run then I’m happy to plan say half an hour to top up the battery and get a coffee (probably better for me than the 5 minute leg stretch filling up with petrol) but it it turns each stop into an hour or more then it becomes impractical.

    one typical ride I do is a 150kms (mix of freeway and twisties) down to Phillip Island on a Saturday morning to the track, park up during the day (no power there), ride to the caravan park in the evening and maybe out to get dinner somewhere (no obvious external power at the site, and not sure they’d like me running an extension cord out a window!), back to the track in the morning and then home 150kms on the Sunday night. Zero ‘range’ concerns with the Harley because I can always find a servo, top up, and be on my way in 10 minutes tops.

    I don’t doubt the technology will improve (or we’ll all get thorium reactor powered vehicles!) but there are some challenges short term for EV adoption (and while hybrid is an option for cars, I’ve not seen anything that would work in a bike form factor).

    I’d love an EV bike for the run into the city … though with the extra rego, insurance, and other fixed costs… it just doesn’t make sense 🙁

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