Innovative streetlight EV charger goes on trial in regional NSW


Essential Energy is empowering electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure in regional New South Wales with a four-week trial of an innovative streetlight EV charger to test the concept of low-impact, convenient charging.

The prototype has been installed in the Mid North Coast town of Port Macquarie to trial an innovative way to increase charging options for residents and visitors to regional, rural and remote communities.

Essential Energy has partnered with EV charging company, EVX and Australian manufacturer of Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Structural Profile composite fibre technology, Wagners Composite Fibre Technologies (CFT) to custom design a fully integrated streetlight EV charger for the trial.

Differing from other EV charging alternatives, the trial prototype connects to existing electricity used to power the streetlight. This eliminates the need to install additional infrastructure and undergo earthworks, reducing the visual and environmental impact.

Due to their convenient location near the curb adjacent to car parking spaces, streetlights have the potential to play a significant role in expanding public 24/7, top-up charging facilities in well-lit areas across regional, rural and remote communities.

Essential Energy Chief Commercial Officer Justin Hillier said the trial is using a prototype composite streetlight column with a cavity designed to completely house an EV charger.

“Essential Energy has been working in partnership with Wagners and EVX to develop a product that provides a faster and easier way to roll out more EV charging. The innovation of the streetlight EV charger also provides the opportunity for people who live in housing that can’t be retrofitted with charging facilities to purchase EVs, as well as offering top-up charging for tourists and locals,” Justin explains. “Enabling more options for charging across the Essential Energy network is part of our commitment to facilitating the uptake of electric vehicles.”

EVX Chief Executive Officer Andrew Foster believes the proof of concept will be great news for local councils across NSW.

“By combining innovative technologies with public infrastructure, this new approach to deploying much needed EV charging allows councils to potentially roll out new public EV chargers easily and cost-effectively at scale and in convenient locations. Importantly, the ability to utilise pre-existing infrastructure instead of adding new electrical assets to the streetscape is anticipated to make it simpler for councils to navigate crucial planning considerations, especially when it comes to assessing the public impacts of expanding EV charging capabilities.”

Wagners CFT Australia/New Zealand General Manager Ryan Leeson said they are looking forward to seeing the results of this innovative trial.

“As the uptake of electric vehicles and demand for charging increases, Wagners is excited to be partnering with Essential Energy to produce a solution for EV customers that leverages existing infrastructure, is low impact, and uses Wagners’ proven composite technology in the form of a streetlight column.”

Members of the public are encouraged to use the streetlight EV charger, which is free-of-charge, and to provide feedback during the four-week period via a QR code on the side of the column. The streetlight EV charger is located near 1 Clarence Street, Port Macquarie and is available for use until 10 June 2024.