24 December 2023

EV infrastructure powering ahead in Braidwood after crowdfunded campaign reaches goal

| Claire Sams
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EVs on charge

Work to install new technology in Braidwood has started as the fundraising campaign reaches its total. Photo: Supplied.

As electric vehicles become increasingly popular, more infrastructure is needed to make sure people can make it to and from their destinations.

Electric Vehicles Canberra managing director Mark Hemmingsen was the man behind a campaign that sought to raise $15,000 to cover installing electric vehicle (EV)-charging infrastructure in Braidwood.

Mr Hemmingsen is thrilled the campaign reached its fundraising target.

“Just this week we were more than 90 per cent of the way there,” he said.

“With Christmas coming, I was feeling pretty confident that we could make up that last little bit and get the project underway.”

Mr Hemmingsen said the site itself was chosen when the Royal Mail Hotel reached out.

“I’ve always kept an ear out for somewhere in Braidwood that was interested [in hosting a charger], so when the owner reached out and expressed an interest in putting in a charging station, I jumped at it,” he said.

“Registering an interest is certainly the first big step, but there also needs to be access to parking and access to power.

“This site ticked all the boxes.”

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Initial works have kicked off on plans to install a dual-port 22 kW AC charger, and the infrastructure is expected to be operational by 23 December.

“We’ve got to cut a trench from the outbuilding behind the Royal Mail Hotel,” Mr Hemmingsen said.

“We figured we’d get that all sorted first because we’ve got to get some concrete down as well to mount the charge into.

“The parking spot is out the back of the hotel – it’s not infringing on the main street, both for pedestrian access as well as for the heritage feel of the street.”

People working outside to dig into the ground

Electric Vehicles Canberra managing director Mark Hemmingsen said digging and concreting works were the first steps in installing the EV charger. Photo: Electric Vehicles Canberra/Facebook.

Mr Hemmingsen said a switchboard would be installed outside, giving the option of increasing the number of charging stations in the future.

“That switchboard will then be connected, by a cable along the wall of the outbuilding, into the roof of the hotel so that we can connect into the hotel switchboard,” he said.

“It will be set up to manage the electrical loading on the hotel, but because of this they may not be able to deliver 2 x 22 kW (44 kW) during peak electrical power times so the hotel’s mains don’t get overloaded.”

While most EV chargers cost between $5000 to $10,000 to install, the cost came in a little higher.

“This site has the challenges of being both a heritage building and a fairly large site,” Mr Hemmingsen said.

A campaign was launched to ensure EVs could travel to and from the South Coast of NSW, including up and down the Clyde Mountain.

“The reason why Braidwood is so important is that, based on my calculation for an old Nissan LEAF, it would take about 24 kilowatt hours to get up the mountain.”

“You could have driven from the bay to Braidwood, but you would have been rolling into town pretty close to empty.”

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Mr Hemmingsen said the campaign was driven by those looking to travel around south-east NSW.

“It’s great to be able to drive to and from the coast in an EV, but there’s charging issues in between,” he said.

“You’ve really got to make sure you’ve got a full charge before you come up the Clyde Mountain.

“We listened to people who said that Braidwood would be a desirable spot to have some charging infrastructure.”

Mr Hemmingsen hoped the charging station at Braidwood would also encourage people to explore areas of regional NSW.

“If all the charges are being used in Batemans Bay, for argument’s sake, then this gives people the option to just say, ‘Well, look, I can either wait here for the long line of people charging or I can come up to Braidwood instead and have some lunch and charge here for a while’,” he said.

“It would be great to encourage people to come out to these towns, where they can stop for a meal and have a bit of a look around.”

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