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Chargefox anticipates local mass-market EV adoption
Australian EV popularity to dictate long-term expansion for Chargefox network
10 May 2019
CHARGEFOX CEO Marty Andrews says the company’s long-term rollout of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure will be dictated by mass-market take-up from Australian consumers, which he anticipates will happen around the middle of the next decade.
Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of Chargefox’s third ultra-rapid charging station in Toombul, Queensland, Mr Andrews said the company is working with various automotive groups to determine how to go about a long-term expansion strategy.
“We are committed to continuing to add new stations as EV take-up grows and the number of users of the Chargefox network grows,” he said.
“And we work with two groups closely on that front. One is the car manufacturers, so we’re partnering with them to understand where they are selling their cars and what consumers are looking for.”
Chargefox has partnered with the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Jaguar Land Rover and Hyundai, all of whom have recently released or will soon be releasing their first all-electric models.
Mr Andrews said it has also received investment from a range of motoring clubs around Australia via Australian Motoring Services, whose vast member base can also provide feedback for where and when additional charging stations are required.
“They’ve obviously got a massive member base – 1.1 million members across the country – and those clubs exist for the benefit of members so we work through those organisations as well to understand where the club members want to see support for EV infrastructure,” he said.
“So, we will adapt our infrastructure needs through input from both of those groups.”
Chargefox’s current plan involves increasing its charging network to 22 stations by the end of the year, across locations in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania, with the aim of making EV travel between major cities a viable possibility.
It plans to expand its network beyond the planned 22 sites, however timing for the expansion will depend on when Australians warm to EVs on a mass-market scale.
To help predict when the switch will happen, Chargefox has used market research from the likes of EV advisory service Energeia and has predicted a two-stage adoption of emissions-free vehicles in Australia.
“(The Energeia report) calls out two significant tipping points, the first one is, in two to three years, fleet buyers – half of new cars bought are bought by fleet buyers,” Mr Andrews said.
“Fleet buyers consider total cost of ownership, so it’s not just sticker price, it’s the running costs of the vehicle, and so in about two to three years the total cost of ownership of an EV will reach price parity for petrol vehicles.
“Fleet buyers are very economically driven, they will switch in droves to EVs.”
Meanwhile, Mr Andrews predicted that private buyers would begin making the switch when the asking price of EVs can reach parity with petrol vehicles, which will occur around them middle of next decade.
“Then I think a couple of years later – in the mid-2020s now, maybe 2025 – I think mums and dads will walk into dealerships and the sticker price of an electric car will be the same price or lower than a petrol vehicle,” he said.
“And that’s the other half of new cars sold, and I can see significant uptake at that time.”
With the federal election in full swing, Mr Andrews said he was pleased with the amount of attention EVs are now getting from both major parties, and regardless of who wins the election, he said the discussions around EVs have changed for the better.
“No matter what happens in the election there will be an ongoing conversation now about electric vehicles in the government of the day, and there is far more opportunity as a result for us to help educate them about what that means and help them shape their policies going forward to support EVs,” he said.
“So, I think that’s almost already done its job, the political conversation has been great from my point of view to see everyone talking about it, and I think that will continue to happen regardless of who wins the election.”
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