A few days ago I tried out the new Engie Chargefox Homebush DFO 120kW fast DC dual CCS 2 electric car charger and was impressed with the price as well as the design and layout.
The only catches are that this Vicinity shopping centre only has free parking for 2 hours and during peak shopping times like Sunday afternoon you can expect a slow moving queue as you drive in and out of the centre.
As of mid 2023 this and the other new Engie Chargefox Vicinity shopping centre locations at Roselands and Chatswood Chase are the best value fast DC chargers I know of in Sydney, priced at $0.45/kWh for a potential top charge rate of 120kW.
Checking other recently launched Engie Chargefox locations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide they all have the same price of $0.45/kWh and all are dual CCS 2 so don’t bother trying to charge a Nissan Leaf there.
That’s the same price many other Australian fast DC charger locations only supply a much slower 50kW charging rate for.
I asked a knowledgeable contact at ENGIE Australia & New Zealand if only one car is plugged in at the Homebush DFO location can it supply 120kW, or is it strictly 60kW/60kW split between each CCS 2 cable? They confirmed my guess with the answer “you will get 120 for 1 car and 60/60 for 2“.
It is unclear whether all Engie Chargefox locations are load balanced so if one car is plugged in it gets the full 100kW+ speed available from that charver. I am waiting for clarification from my contact at Engie.
Being dual CCS 2 enables simultaneous use by the majority of electric cars, instead of the frustrating CCS 2 + CHAdeMO setup at many Australian DC fast chargers (CHAdeMO charging ports are used by a small and proportionately shrinking percentage of electric cars in Australia).
I tapped on to the activate the charger using my EVIE RFID card and it worked first time. Most Australian EV owners don’t realise that you don’t need to order an RFID tap n pay membership card for every single EV charging network.
Interestingly Engie chose the relatively unknown PHIHONG brand of charging hardware for the Homebush DFO location.
That doesn’t mean you’ll see the same PHIHONG unit at other Engie locations because unlike some other Australian DC fast charger networks which have a single supplier of charging hardware, Engie choose the equipment and power output with each Site Host Partner depending on factors such as the expected dwell time of an EV Driver and the space available for charging installation.
To prove this they have already definitely deployed Kempower and ABB (perhaps also other brands of chargers) at recently launched Engie Chargefox Australian locations.
A reader sent in some photos of them using the Engie Chargefox location at Richmond Victoria, equipped with slimline Kempower units.
In mid 2021 shopping centre owner Vicinity Centres announced a partnership with French multi-national energy company ENGIE to potentially install renewable energy powered fast DC chargers at up to 30 centres across Vicinity’s national portfolio, capable of charging up to 80% battery capacity in just 30-minutes.
These 30 locations were part of a network of 103 electric vehicle fast charging stations Engie planned to deliver across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, partly funded with $6.85m by the federal government Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
According to ARENA grant rules each Engie location will provide at least two designated parking spots for EV charging and will have a capacity of at least 100 kW.
Engie chose JET Charge to be the installation delivery partner and Chargefox to process payments, provide the public app and software platform the chargers run on.
For a long time Australian EV charging industry watchers like myself wondered what was happening with this Engie project but 2 years later in mid 2023 Engie are activating new sites on a regular basis which is great timing as Australian electric car sales numbers continue to increase.