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Tesla, ACT to switch on more EV chargers
More chargers on the way but EV lobby calls for more action from government
31 May 2018
By NEIL DOWLING
SEPARATE announcements by Tesla and the Australian Capital Territory government to expand Australia’s public electric vehicle charge stations will give motorists access to almost 600 plug-in units by the end of the year.
Tesla this week said it would add 18 Supercharger outlets to regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland to infill a chain of its existing roadside chargers.
The additional chargers, expected to be in place by the end of the year, will add to Tesla’s existing 20 Supercharger stations and more than 500 home and office installations.
The ACT government also announced new EV charge stations for the territory, confirming 50 more chargers to bring its total to 73. The chargers are needed to service the ACT government’s program of increasing government fleet EVs.
The latest expansion ties with the Queensland electric super highway that has 17 chargers – and one in the process of being added – between Coolangatta and Cairns. WA has 11 chargers creating a similar regional highway from Perth to Augusta.
Most of the charging stations around Australia have been funded and installed by the automobile clubs such as the RAC in WA, RACQ in Queensland and RAA in South Australia.
The NRMA has recently committed $10 million to 40 charge stations that will begin installation next month, adding to the NSW’s 11 public chargers.
The Electric Vehicle Council of Australia CEO Behyad Jafari welcomed the expansion plans but noted that there were no federal government-funded charge stations and aside from the ACT government’s announcement, little action by state governments.
“It is still being viewed as a price issue,” he told GoAuto.
“In fact, building EV charging stations should be seen as a benefit. It should be a top priority because the EV industry around the world has shown to create jobs and make significant reductions in emissions.
“It’s taken a long time to get to this point and Australia still has a long way to go.”
Mr Jafari said consumers needed to be exposed to lower-priced EVs before a wider take-up of sales in Australia.
“We have proposed tax exemptions for EVs and subsidies but we have not been successful (with governments),” he said.
“The global EV market share is rising but in Australia the sales of EVs are 0.1 per cent of the car market – if we could even get to two per cent, that would still put us behind the rest of the first-world countries but it would make a difference.”
Mr Jafari also said that the federal government’s actions on EVs was slow, adding that there are no federal government-funded charge stations in Australia and only the ACT and Queensland state governments currently having public EV charging points.
There are 536 electric vehicle public charging stations in Australia, up 60 compared with July last year, but only eight have been installed by state governments.
The automobile clubs, however, are responsible for the 17 being installed on the Queensland Electric Super Highway from Coolangatta to Cairns; 11 in WA through the RAC; one each in Tasmania and Victoria; and one in Sydney at the NRMA office before the 40 planned units comes on stream later this year.
Tesla said it would continue to roll out urban and regional chargers – which require payment by most users – and said it expected to have 500 units operating. It did not specify when the full 500 would be in operation.
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