In March, the RAA announced the opening of the first of 140 EV charging stations that will be built across the state to encourage the decarbonisation of transport in South Australia.
The RAA Charge network will be made up of 86 AC fast charging stations (capable of up to 7kW output), and 54 DC Rapid (up to 150kW) and Ultra-Rapid (up to 200kW) charging stations in metropolitan, regional and rural locations.
James Ehmann, National Manager at StreetFleet, provided some local insight in the challenges and opportunities for fleets considering a transition to electric vehicles in South Australia.
“The statewide electric vehicle (EV) charging network in South Australia is a pioneering development that will pave the way for the more widespread adoption of electric vehicles and is expected to be an exemplar for other states and territories to follow,” explains Ehmann.
“StreetFleet is very supportive of this initiative and the transformation it represents in our industry and the opportunities it brings to fleet operators.”
“The size and scale of South Australia means that the initial rollout will have its challenges. Implementation and adoption is obviously easier in metropolitan Adelaide but it may be some time before regional users are able to enjoy the same reliable and convenient access to charging infrastructure. Typical EV range combined with developing charging infrastructure in our regional communities will mean that government organisations, not-for-profit and private sector EV fleets operating in regional areas will initially have to contend with greater risk than their metropolitan counterparts and it is only reasonable to expect that regional charging stations could experience congestion, particularly during peak times. Equipment failure or technical issues at a charging station on a major regional route will likewise have far more significant consequences for regional road-users.”
“As the charging network grows and EVs become more pervasive and battery technology develops, these issues will be ironed out. The EV sector also brings with it many commercial opportunities for manufacturers, fleet service operators and even regional communities where product and service initiatives can be built around charging stations creating employment and stimulating local economies.”
The statewide EV charging network sends a clear message to global vehicle manufacturers, business and the community that South Australia is intent on leading the transition to electric vehicles in Australia.
The message was reinforced in February when the Malinauskas Labor Government repealed the Marshall Liberal Government’s electric vehicle tax, which would have imposed a charge on every kilometre travelled in an electric car.
Removing the proposed Road User Charge (RUC) on electric vehicles in SA caught the attention of local and national Fleet Managers that had been considering electric vehicles for fleet applications but were concerned about the extra administration burden of the RUC.
There are also incentives for the purchases of new battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are in place, including a three year exemption on motor registration fees, and a $3,000 subsidy (capped at a vehicle price of $68,750 incl. GST).
South Australia’s Premier, Peter Malinauskas MP, said when the RAA network was launched that, “South Australia leads the world in decarbonisation of our electricity grid, and supporting a faster uptake of electric vehicles makes sense from an economic and an environmental standpoint.”
Novated lease buyers can also purchase electric vehicles, using the benefit of the FBT Exemption, with confidence knowing a statewide charging will allow them to enjoy their new car and explore regional areas.