Removing the Barriers to EV Uptake in Australia

Frequent conversations with the general public show their genuine concerns about buying an electric vehicle. One of the most common barriers to EV uptake is lack of charging infrastructure. Those of us who drive electric vehicles know that most charging takes place at home. I have surprised many an enquirer by popping the frunk and showing them my charging cable — “I can plug it in anywhere … just like a toaster!” Then, we have the slightly more complicated conversation about how long it takes and how much it costs. This leads to more surprises, especially around cost. Far cheaper than any expected.

But what if you run out of charge on the highway? First of all, the car will encourage you not to do that. Second, most automobile rescue services in Australia (like NRMA in NSW and RACQ in Queensland) carry the capacity to recharge the vehicles (and have done for some time). I do explain the dangers of allowing the dirty electrons at the bottom of the battery to invade the electric motor and clag it up. Some get the joke, some don’t.

Charging infrastructure is increasing rapidly in all Australian states. Of course, Tesla is the leader, with 51 active sites hosting over 260 active DC fast charging stalls. Within 12 months, 20 new sites will be added, dotting the coast. A recent State of Electric Vehicles report by the Electric Vehicle Council of Australia found that there were 2,147 charging stations in the country, with 3,699 individual chargers Australia-wide as of June 2022. This number has doubled in the past 2 years. Of these, 366 have fast or ultrafast charging.

Removing Barriers

Springers Tesla Model 3 at AmpCharge EV charging station.

The report notes that there have been some issues with reliability of the charging infrastructure due to global supply chain disruption (COVID, war) and the lack of budgeting for maintenance. It may take longer to repair a broken charger than is expected, and if there is only one charger at a location, EV drivers may experience some inconvenience. “Of the 363 fast and ultrafast charging locations currently deployed, 257 of them (70% of locations) have a single EV charger in service.”

Now, with more and more rollouts of charging systems throughout Australia, barriers to EV uptake are pretty much gone. Apart from ignorance and misinformation, the only barrier facing Australians at the moment is the upfront cost of purchase. I expect this to be removed next year with cheaper imports reaching our shores.


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