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eLu: Charging your community

eLu’s national launch event at the Gold Coast Titans High Performance Centre at Parkwood Village. Images: eLu.

eLu’s commitment to community is evident when one looks closer into its development of next generation electric charging infrastructure designed to add value to local communities.

As of the end of June last year, 46,624 electric vehicles (EVs) had been sold across the country. This is almost three times higher than the same period in 2022, representing an increase in uptake of 269 per cent (Electric Vehicle Council).

The increasing popularity of electric vehicles has placed a strain on Australia’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure, particularly in rural areas, where the development of said infrastructure is still in its infancy.

Electric charging infrastructure innovator, designer and manufacturer eLu is hoping to shape the market for the better. A subsidiary of Australian company Lumen Energy Australia, eLu focuses on the delivery of electric charging infrastructure at a community level, providing flexibility and minimal impacts when compared to other options.

Doug Fraser, Director of Queensland – eLu, says the company’s vision of providing electric charging infrastructure is focused on convenient and user-friendly solutions.

“Our focus is about community and the EV (electric vehicle) charging experience that we provide. What we do is quite different,” Fraser says. “We’ve recently launched our Australian flagship electric vehicle charging station on the Gold Coast at the Titans High Performance Centre at Parkwood Village. What we have there is an ultra-fast DC charger, or what we call a ‘supercharger’.

“The idea is that people can come in, have a coffee or a meal at The Club, or go to your medical appointment, you can charge your car with the supercharger. If you’re playing a round of golf, you can use the AC charger. By the time you finish your game, you’ll have charged up your car at a cheaper rate.”

NRL Titans superstar/EV enthusiast AJ Brinson, one of the first to use eLu’s charging station at Parkwood Village on the Gold Coast.
NRL Titans superstar/EV enthusiast AJ Brinson, one of the first to use eLu’s charging station at Parkwood Village on the Gold Coast.

eLu aims to install its EV charging options in locations that are community orientated, or where electric charging may not yet be available for the public. The latest eLu charging station installed is operational off the Bruce Highway in Gympie, at Gunabul Homestead Golf Club.

“It’s a golf and country club that’s just north of the Sunshine Coast. It’s a great location for traffic that’s driving up the East Coast. It’ll very much service the needs of the local community, which has very little charging capability,” Fraser says.

“This will let them charge up all models. Some charging infrastructure can support one model such as a Tesla, but not for other vehicles. It’s a good community focused solution.”

This is also a key example of the flexibility provided by eLu’s charging infrastructure options. The country club itself was built in 1881 and has legacy electrical systems as a result, meaning there’s a limited power supply. To put a normal DC charger would’ve been difficult with these constraints. 

Luckily, eLu’s ultra-fast DC chargers have 200kw battery integrated into the charger itself. 

“Because we have that in-built battery, it can act as a buffer between the grid and the car charger, instead of taking a big hit out of the electrical network. Usually, with EV charging you need to put additional infrastructure in place. You don’t need that to power these machines,” Fraser says.

This drastically reduces the associated challenges with setting up EV charging infrastructure in very remote areas, or locations with low power supply.

“That project shows our capability of being able to establish a super fast charger in an area that’s challenged in terms of power capability. That can often make it difficult or impossible for charging to be setup. With our units, we can virtually raise it anywhere,” Fraser says. “It’s a great solution for ‘plug and play’, for it to serve as the power supply.”


 

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It’s Fraser and eLu’s hope that the establishment of such EV charging can help to create a community hub for locals and passers-by alike. 

“We look at sites to see if they could become a community hub. Providing a service where the community can not only charge their cars, but they can have an experience there as well,” Fraser says. 

“That’s a good charging experience, along with food, drink or a round of golf, whatever it is. We want to offer an experience that’s more than just waiting for your car to charge.” 

eLu has ambitious goals for its future charging output, with the company aiming to have 30 charging stations in place in the next 12 to 18 months. “Our long-term goal is to provide a service for the community and create a brand that’s community friendly,” Fraser says. “Battery energy storage systems are another piece of hardware that we’ll be exploring in the future.

“We want to embrace the community and give them a sense of ownership over the services that we’ll end up providing. That sense of community is something that’s ingrained in me, as well as the company.”

eLu’s electric charging systems feature a tap ‘pay and go’ system, increasing the ease of operation for the end user.
eLu’s electric charging systems feature a tap ‘pay and go’ system, increasing the ease of operation for the end user.

Another exciting development in 2024 will be the establishment of eLumina and eLu’s brand new, state-of-the-art research and development centre in Queensland. This centre is expected to further add to the company’s innovation in the space, while also providing a big boost in terms of manufacture to keep up with demand.

Fraser says keeping the product’s research, development and manufacture on home soil is a particular aspect that of which he’s very proud.

“We place great importance on having a manufacturer in Australia,” he says. “We’ve got a great local supply chain that’s secure and reliable for parts and the machines themselves, which we can deliver quickly. If repairs or maintenance are required, we’ll have all of those parts in our own warehouse to be able to facilitate servicing machines very quickly, right here in Australia.

“If somebody has an issue or a query, they’ll be able to contact a person based locally here on the Gold Coast who can respond to them straightaway. We’ve already got staff on the ground, but the facility will help us deliver that support even more.” 

This article was originally published in the April edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.

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