We heard about JET Charge when we were researching the recent article about the Australian electric vehicle, the ACE EV. Unfortunately, like many technologies in Australia, they seem to be flying under the radar, which is great if you are planning a surprise attack, however not so great if you want people to know you are there!
JET Charge has two very important offerings that should be highlighted to the market – firstly they have simplified the way that an electric vehicle owner can charge their car. This is through supplying cables, chargers and other tools to make it easy to install a charger whether it is in a garage, apartment block or on the street. They can also supplier vehicle specific equipment such that an owner can have spare cables etc including the all important conversion leads – the human race hasn’t learned anything from a decade of smart phones, with different manufacturers designing their own plug connectors rather than standardising on a single one.
What JET Charge can really do is to help speed up the roll-out of the infrastructure to make it easier for consumers to buy an electric car or motorcycle. The second offering does just this: Chargefox is an ultra fast charging network that is being rolled out across the country. The plan is to connect Brisbane to Adelaide with a network of ultra-rapid charging stations and they have already installed several in between Canberra and Melbourne to help people travel the Hume Highway without running out of juice and giving drivers an opportunity to take a break and “refuel”.
The first stage is to get the number of charging points to 21 and this would in effect mean that drivers on the main roads between these two main cities can recharge quickly. This is what Better Place had been trying to do a decade ago, however failed largely due to a global CEO who was living on a different planet! The ultra-rapid charging units that Chargefox can push up to 400 kms worth of electricity into a battery in 15 minutes. If you compare that to a typical wall socket in a house, that would only give you enough power for three kms!
As you would expect these days, the Chargefox network comes with an app to guide you to the charging stations. Which leads to the obvious question: why can’t Google and Apple Maps have this information already embedded in? You shouldn’t need an app to provide publicly available information.
Electric vehicles are like petrol powered vehicles a century ago – they need someone to take control of the work to build the fuel infrastructure. Chargefox have the ability and desire to do this and they have started quite an ambitious plan to achieve their goals. If they can get the network fanning out from the major cities, then very soon all of the populated parts of Australia will be covered and it will encourage more electric vehicle sales which in turn will help the manufacturers to ship in more of them.