ARKANSAS, Oct 12 (Future Headlines)- Australia is set to embark on its most extensive electric vehicle (EV) fleet charging project to date, with a substantial boost of $12 million in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). The project, named the “Charging as a Service Project,” is initiated by JET Charge, a Melbourne-based EV charging company, with an overall budget of $24.9 million.

This groundbreaking initiative introduces a novel approach for fleet operators to finance EV charging infrastructure. JET Charge will undertake the installation and maintenance of EV chargers at the customer’s location, and fleet operators will cover the costs through a subscription fee.

The project aims to put over 3,000 new electric vehicles on the road during its three-year duration, making a significant contribution to Australia’s efforts to reduce emissions and transition to cleaner transportation. As the Australian government endeavors to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, there is a growing emphasis on decarbonizing the transport sector by encouraging fleet owners to make the shift to electric vehicles.

Fleet vehicles account for approximately 50% of new vehicle sales in Australia. However, for smaller fleet owners, the substantial upfront costs and challenges associated with installing and maintaining charging infrastructure represent significant barriers to EV adoption.

JET Charge’s subscription service is expected to significantly reduce the cost of access to charging services, making the transition to EVs more economically feasible for fleet operators.

ARENA CEO, Darren Miller, highlights the potential impact of the project in accelerating EV adoption among fleet owners, stating, “We know that access to charging infrastructure is a barrier for fleet users looking to switch to EVs, so it’s exciting to see JET Charge developing a new way to make charging more accessible. Not only will this project put more than 3,000 new electric vehicles on the road, but it will also help prove the charging as a service model and hopefully lead to services like this rolling out across Australia.”

Environmental organizations have welcomed this ambitious initiative. Greenpeace Australia Pacific’s spokesperson, Violette Snow, calls it “an essential step in the right direction” and urges larger businesses to join the transition to electric transport.

“Increased investment in charging-as-a-service dramatically reduces dwindling excuses from the business sector, adding to the business case for electric fleets,” Snow states. “We’re already seeing major companies like IKEA, Woolworths, and Westpac showing leadership by switching to electric cars, vans, and/or trucks. Fleets play a critical role in Australia’s transition to electric vehicles as their cars make up over 40% of new car sales and are only used for three to five years. When a business commits to going electric, that means more everyday Aussies will be able to buy second-hand EVs sooner and start driving toward cleaner, healthier streets.”

In essence, the Charging as a Service Project backed by ARENA represents a significant milestone in Australia’s EV journey. By making EV charging more accessible and cost-effective for fleet operators, it not only supports the growth of EV adoption but also aligns with the government’s ambitions for a cleaner and more sustainable transport sector. This project not only puts thousands of new electric vehicles on Australian roads but also paves the way for innovative charging solutions to be implemented nationwide.

Reporting by Alireza Sabet; Editing by Sarah White