As part of UQ’s commitment to sustainable transport, The University of Queensland has recently installed electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at the St Lucia and Gatton campuses.

The chargers are the first solar-powered fast-charging infrastructure to be built in Queensland, and are available for free use by the public as well as staff and students.


What are they?
The ‘Veefill’ is an electric vehicle ‘Level 3’ DC fast charger designed and built by Queensland based company, Tritium. It is designed to rapidly charge either fully electric vehicles or compatible plug-in hybrid electric vehicles from a range of manufacturers.

The ‘Tesla Destination Charger’ is a three-phase AC ‘Level 2’ charger designed for use exclusively with Tesla vehicles.

Why has UQ installed these charging stations?
We have recently received a number of requests for charging infrastructure from UQ staff and students who either currently own an EV or are considering purchasing one. The charging stations located at the Gatton campus are also of regional significance – being positioned on the major transport route between Brisbane and Toowoomba. Finally, UQ also wishes to be a leader in the adoption of sustainable practices and hopes that demonstration of these sustainable technologies will encourage others to follow.

What kind of vehicles are the chargers compatible with?
The Veefill charger is compatible with all vehicles that support DC fast charging via either the CHAdeMO or CCS (SAE Combo) standards. This includes currently available vehicles such as the Nissan LEAF, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, and BMW i3. There is also a range of compatible electric vehicles due to be available in Australia in the near future.

The Tesla Destination Charger is only compatible with Tesla vehicles. Tesla drivers may also use the Veefill DC fast charger by using the CHAdeMO Adapter available from Tesla.

How long does it take for a vehicle to charge?
The Veefill DC fast charger is rated at 50kW (80 amps). For a vehicle like the Nissan LEAF, this is equivalent to adding up to 70km of range per 15 minutes of charging time.

The Tesla Destination Charger is rated at 23kW (32 amps). For the Tesla Model S, this is equivalent to adding up to 35km of range per 15 minutes of charging time.

Who can use the charging stations?
Both the Veefill charger and the Tesla Destination Charger are welcome to be used by all members of the public as well as UQ staff and students.

How much does it cost to use?
Charging via either the Veefill station or the Tesla Destination Charger is free for the time being to help encourage usage. This is subject to change in the future and users may be charged a small fee in order to cover the costs of the electricity and infrastructure investment. 

Can other vehicles park in the charging bay?
The charging bay at St Lucia is designated for short term use by electric vehicles who are in the process of charging only. A 30 minute time limit applies. Enforcement of these conditions will be undertaken as per UQ’s parking enforcement policies.

The charging bay at Gatton is designed for use by electric vehicles who are in the process of charging. It is understood however that the location of this charger means that parking bays are sometimes required for animal emergencies. It is strongly encouraged that other bays are used if possible, however enforcement will be relaxed if other car parking bays are not available. This arrangement is subject to review once patterns of usage are better understood.

Where does the power for the charging stations come from?
Both the St Lucia and Gatton charging stations are connected to electrical supplies that contain solar PV generation systems. The St Lucia charging stations are directly connected to the distribution board of the Warehouse Building (#99) which is in turn supplied with power from a 164 kW solar PV system located on the building’s roof. The Gatton charging stations are connected to the electrical network for the main campus, with this load often being fully supplied by power from the 3.3 MW solar farm located on the southern side of the campus. This means that when the sun is shining, any EV charging that takes place is partially or fully solar powered. To learn more about UQ’s solar program including live data, visit uq.edu.au/solarenergy

What range do electric vehicles have?
This varies greatly depending on the model. An entry level compact EV such as the Nissan LEAF has a stated range of around 130-170km per charge. A larger vehicle such as the Tesla Model S sedan has a stated range of up to 550 km per charge.

What are the benefits of electric vehicles?
Electric vehicles are generally considered to be more sustainable than traditional internal combustion engine vehicles. The vehicles themselves produce no exhaust or engine noise, greatly improving local air quality. When paired with renewable energy for charging, EVs also offer the opportunity for carbon neutral transport. Furthermore, EVs often also have superior safety performance than traditional vehicles due to the design benefits of not having a bulky engine in front of the passenger compartment.

How common are electric vehicles?
Currently there is only a small percentage of electric vehicles on the road today, however this is rapidly changing. The uptake of EV vehicles across Australia and globally is expected to grow exponentially in coming years. Indeed, some forecasts predict that by 2020 up to 20 per cent of new vehicles sold will be electric.

Want to know more or get in touch?
Feel free to contact the UQ Sustainability Office: sustainability@uq.edu.au

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