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Electric Vehicle Charging Network for South Australia

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Carrying on from their founders’ vision, the Royal Automobile Association of South Australia is empowering a new generation of road adventurers by building an electric vehicle charging network. “The original members of RAA were disruptors in 1900. They pushed their primitive vehicles long distances along rough roads and uneven terrain. RAA’s founders approached local hotels and left drums of fuel at strategic spots to enable them. Now RAA is building chargers to meet the next challenge,” comments Mark Borface of the Royal Automobile Association (RAA).

“We solved range anxiety issues 120 years ago, and we’re looking forward to solving them again now,” RAA President Peter Siebels said.

While current EVs might not scare the horses, they are a disruption.

RAA is South Australia’s largest member organization and has won a government grant worth more than $12 million to create a statewide network of electric vehicle (EV) charging points along highways, regional cities, tourist destinations, and Adelaide suburbs.

Over the next two years, with partner Chargefox, we’ll be installing 536 EV charging points at 140 new locations to create the state’s first EV charging network. More than three-quarters of the new charge points will be in regional SA.

There is expected to be a mix of fast, rapid, and ultra-rapid chargers no further than 200 km apart. Costs may vary but are expected to be around the 35 cents per kWh. Two types of chargers will be installed, AC (fast) with Type 2 sockets and DC (rapid) chargers with CCS2, and some with CHAdeMO connection sourced from different reputable suppliers.

This should create a boost for tourism and an encouragement for drivers to purchase an EV. South Australia has also introduced a $3,000 purchase rebate and three years of free registration available to the first 7,000 drivers buying a new electric car. This is similar to NSW and Victoria. In 2021, 984 new electric cars were purchased in South Australia. It is expected that uptake will increase dramatically in 2022 now that the rebate has been offered. Queensland looks like the only state without EV incentives — counterintuitively, the data indicates this has not slowed the uptake of EVs, with Queensland having a similar uptake to NSW and Victoria (about 1500 vehicles in 2021).

“RAA believes EVs are the future of motoring, and our research shows almost 80 per cent of motorists [in SA] would consider buying an electric vehicle,” RAA Managing Director Ian Stone.

With the upcoming Perth to Sydney Marathon in my mind, I reached out to team leader Jon Edwards for a comment, hoping perhaps that the South Australian charger buildout may alleviate some of his charging concerns.

“It relates but doesn’t help with our Perth to Sydney marathon in October unfortunately. One critical thing is the chargers proposed for the SA side of the Nullarbor will not be very useful and very slow charging. Check this link. We collectively need to lobby for the SA Nullarbor highway to be DC charging (or rapid highway as they call it) to keep up with what we have done on the Western Australia side,” he wrote back.

Looks like the railway gauge issue all over again — Australian states have different railway gauges. Though, this problem will be easier to solve.

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