New South Wales drivers who cannot charge their electric vehicles at home will gain access to hundreds of additional public charging locations over the next 12 months.

According to the Electric Vehicle Council, there were 668 public regular-speed and fast EV charging locations in NSW in 2022 — the most in the country.

On Sunday, the NSW government announced more than 650 additional charging ports would be established at 391 sites over the next 12 months.

$4.1 million grants will see ports installed on kerbsides or in public council car parks across 16 local government areas across the north, inner west, inner city, east and Western Sydney, as well as Newcastle.

“This investment will significantly increase the availability of public charging options and give people confidence their next vehicle purchase can be an EV,” Energy Minister Penny Sharpe said.

“We will continue to roll out EV charging grants to further support the NSW goal of being the easiest place in Australia to own and drive an electric vehicle.”

The cost factor of the new chargers

The chargers will range from regular to fast-charging ports across pole mounted, pedestal and kiosk ports.

Rapid or ultra-fast chargers are usually reserved for highways to move traffic along on long distances.

Treasurer of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association Michael Day explained that the three types worked the same functionally, but looked different.

“Electronically they’re all the same. It’s really just the way its packaged … or the kind of place that they’re located,” he said.

“There’s a plug or there’s a cable, they’re all pretty standard. Sometimes they’re free, sometimes they charge depending on the operator and the location.”

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The program is set to boost the number of kerbside EV charging points.

The recipients of the first round of grants are a mix of councils and charge port operator networks.

For the latter, Mr Day explained that there was sometimes a commercial factor.

“So they would charge for it [but also] they can work with destinations or councils. And, if they choose, they can make it free.”

While available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, motorists will have to factor in car park rates and meter parking costs at some sites.

The NSW government said its commitment would be matched by $8 million in private investment.

Support for renters, apartment dwellers

NRMA spokesperson Peter Khoury says “every bit counts” when it comes to strengthening EV charging infrastructure.

“We need more, and we particularly need to look at solving for suburban and local problems such as apartment blocks where people can’t retrospectively put in charging,” he said.

“There are a lot of people living in older apartment buildings … not everyone is going to have driveway charging abilities, so making sure you’ve got lots of suburban places is going to be really important.”

Mr Day said the funding would help address the load structure needed for charging.

“In the layers of charging, we need home charging, we need destination charging, and we need fast chargers that are on the highway,” he told ABC News.

“So in this instance, that answers home charging if you can’t charge at your house and kerbside is the closest you can get.”

Ms Sharpe said almost 30 per cent of drivers in NSW did not have access to private, off-street parking to charge an EV — a figure “considerably higher” in metro areas.

Apartment buildings considered “EV ready” will be retrofit with infrastructure as part of a $10 million commitment.

As for concerns about using up parking spots, Mr Khoury said there would be little change.

“Not all of the infrastructure is going to take space, but this is important infrastructure,” he said.

“We know more people are buying EVs, so they’re going to need somewhere to charge and they’re also going to need somewhere to park — so this is two things at once.

“When you’re going to shopping centres, for example, you’re starting to see some allocated space for charging, but most of these locations have other parking available to people who are not driving EVs who need to park their car.”

However, as EV ownership increases, demand could outstrip the number of charging points available.

“We’re at that point where uptake is starting to take off and charge points have got to try keep pace,” Mr Day said.

“The critical thing we’re facing right now is the availability of charging and the possibility of congestion.”

Regional charging areas still of concern

Mr Khoury also flagged the need for more ports in regional areas, for both local drivers and holiday-makers.

He identified areas of interest in towns, near tourists stops and local businesses.

“It’s good that Newcastle city is getting charging sites [but] we also know that outside of Sydney, in regional areas, more people will live in homes where they can install their own charging,” Mr Khoury said.

“So there’s no doubt that we need to build more charging along regional highways and roads, not just for people who live in regional communities.”

The private sector is helping to fill in the gap in regional Australia via a partnership with the federal government to build a national highway network for EV charging.

An additional $20 million was pledged by the NSW government to install ports at regional tourist destinations.

“Now with EV availability getting better, it’s about getting better infrastructure and making sure it’s available in the right locations — that there’s enough of it and it’s accessible,” Mr Day said.

Extracted in full from: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-05-28/nsw-to-roll-out-hundreds-of-public-electric-vehicle-charge-ports/103896456

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