The Australian renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced a new way for businesses to access EV charging, which is set to roll out nationally, with a new business model supported by ARENA.

ARENA, on behalf of the Australian Government, is providing $12 million from its Driving the Nation Fund to support Melbourne-based EV charging company JET Charge’s delivery of the $24.9 million ‘Charging as a Service Project’,  it has launched, which it claims offers a new way for fleet operators to pay for EV charging infrastructure.

Under the Charging as a Service (CaaS) model, JET Charge  says it will install and maintain EV chargers at a customer’s site and fleet operators will pay JET Charge a subscription fee for the service, similar to how consumers pay for streaming services.

The project is set to run for three years and will see the uptake of more than 3,100 new EVs with supporting charging infrastructure.

ARENA says that transport accounts for nearly one fifth of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, making it a vital sector to decarbonise for Australia to meet its emissions reduction targets.

With fleets accounting for roughly half of new vehicle sales, they provide a valuable opportunity to reduce emissions on Australia’s roads.

For small fleet operators, the upfront costs and ongoing complexity of installing and maintaining charging infrastructure are significant barriers to electrifying transport.

The CaaS model will allow small businesses to fully outsource their charging needs to JET Charge through a monthly bundled payment. JET Charge  says it can aggregate demand from fleets to access economies of scale and provide a lower cost of charging to its customers.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the project is an exciting opportunity that will make EV charging more accessible to businesses and their fleets.

“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,” Miller said.

“Not only will this project put over 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.”

JET Charge CEO Tim Washington said he was extremely excited to be working with ARENA in launching this game changing model for Australian fleets.

“We know that fleets are looking for a way to electrify, and that infrastructure is a key barrier. Our CaaS project will not only increase affordability, but also demonstrate what running private charging networks will look like at scale,” said Washington.

The Driving the Nation Program is an ARENA funding program developed to enable the demonstration and deployment of net zero emissions vehicle technologies.

ARENA has invested more than $150 million to zero emissions vehicles since 2015, including public charging, vehicle to grid trials, innovation in charging, hydrogen refuelling and fleet decarbonisation.