The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), on behalf of the Australian Government, has announced the launch of the A$71.9m ($55.9m) Future Fuels Fund to introduce new vehicle technologies.

The first amount under the Future Fuels Fund, A$16.5m ($12.8m), will be made available to fund public electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure.

Future Fuels Fund is part of the 20/21 Federal Budget.

The funding will be provided for establishing fast-charging stations with 50kW and above capacity across eight geographic areas, including the Australian capital city and regional centres such as Newcastle, Wollongong, the NSW Central Coast, Geelong, Gold Coast, and Sunshine Coast.

ARENA said that each regional location could receive at least four fast EV charging stations.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said: “Through this initial round, we are addressing one of the barriers to rollout of new vehicle technologies by significantly increasing the number of fast-charging stations available to consumers across Australia, and reducing charging blackspots in both metropolitan and regional centres.

“This funding by the Australian Government will stimulate the fast-charging market and drive private sector investment and will build on our considerable body of work in this sector.

“As electric vehicles continue to become more competitive, it is important we have the recharging infrastructure in place to give motorists confidence they can choose an EV and recharge it conveniently and cost-effectively.”

Under the first round of funding, ARENA is requesting applications that ensure coverage across the geographic areas.

ARENA added that all the fast-charging stations should be powered by renewable energy.

Later this year, new funding rounds will be announced to support the business fleets to transition to battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and explore opportunities with hydrogen and biofuels.

ARENA has provided A$29.7m ($23.09m) for the BEV charging projects, including Australia’s first two intercity ultra-fast charging networks on major highways.