Most Australians think there are too few public charging stations to support EVs

Despite the surge in EV charging infrastructure installed in 2023, consumer expectations and demand are not being met.

Most Australians think the nation has too few public charging stations to support electric vehicles, a new study has revealed, even though their numbers almost doubled over the past year.

The research, released by Carbar, showed motorists in NSW were most likely to be dissatisfied with the amount of EV infrastructure available in what the company said should be a “wake-up call” for urban planners.

The survey results are backed up by one of the nation’s biggest electricity distributors, Ausgrid, which says Australia will need tens of thousands more public chargers to support apartment dwellers and to meet its emissions reduction goal by 2030.

The study of more than 1000 people, conducted by YouGov, found 71 per cent of Australians considered electric vehicle charging inadequate in their local area, with respondents from NSW more critical of charging infrastructure compared to those in Queensland and South Australia.

Higher numbers of Baby Boomers and Gen X respondents were dissatisfied with the number of EV charging points available, while Millennial and Gen Z participants were more likely to be happy with the options in their suburb (41 per cent and 35 per cent).

The survey findings came even though the number of public charging sites surged by 90 per cent in Australia during 2023, according research from Next System, and were forecast to double this year.

Carbar chief executive Des Hang said the findings should serve as a “wake-up call to policymakers” to investigate where electric vehicle chargers were most needed and to raise awareness of their availability.

“We’re measuring sentiment on EVs as opposed to the actual level of infrastructure,” Mr Hang said.

“In terms of powering a transition away from internal combustion engine vehicles, this is just as important.”

Figures from the federal government showed Australia had 800 fast and ultra-fast electric vehicle charging locations available at the end of last year, offering 2000 charging points.

But Ausgrid electric vehicle charging development head Nick Black told AAP the nation would need to ramp up the installation of public EV chargers to meet demand over the decade.

While state and federal governments had focused on regional and remote areas of the country, he said, rolling out more public chargers in urban areas would be vital to meet demand from apartment dwellers without access to off-street parking.

Australia's first power pole mounted EV charger was installed by Ausgrid in Newcastle (Image: Ausgrid)

“We believe there will be 30,000 charging points required across NSW, and within Ausgrid’s distribution network areas there are 11,000 required by 2030,” he said.

“We can leverage our power poles to install those chargers.”

Ausgrid launched its first pole-mounted EV charger in Newcastle in late 2022 as part of a trial but Mr Black said the infrastructure would need to be rolled out “at scale” to meet consumer demands.

AAP

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