Are you planning to buy an EV but have no idea where you would charge it? This is the dilemma my family will be facing in early 2024. We’ll be trading our hybrid vehicle for a fully electric one, but the trouble is this: we live in a high-rise apartment building with no EV chargers onsite or streetside.
If this scenario sounds familiar, or you’re simply curious as to how the shifting tide of EVs will change the automotive landscape, then read on!
The EV charging dilemma for many Australians
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) released data for 2023 that highlights the growing tide of EVs in Australia. 49,948 fully electric vehicles were added to Australian roads from January to July 2023. Purchasing and charging an EV is all fine and dandy for the 90% of Australians who live in detached housing. But, for the 10% that live in apartments, locating a charging point on your property may prove difficult. This is the challenge we are facing.
Our high-rise building has a small parking lot for residents but is sans EV charger. We work in corporate office buildings with no EV chargers in the basement or on the street. So where will we charge our EV?
Changing habits to fit our needs
While we will be petitioning our apartment’s strata manager to install an EV charger onsite, we have decided to assess and address our future needs and habits.
We know that there are many occasions during the week when we will have time to leave our EV to charge whilst running errands. The following two activities are essential for our family each week. What’s more, they can be transitioned into EV charging opportunities:
- Grocery shopping
After checking over our receipts, it would seem that we spend a few hours at the shops each week – and there’s no doubt that most Aussies do this too! Most major shopping centres have public EV charging stations available. Some are free (usually slow chargers) and others require payment (usually fast chargers). Choosing where we shop based on available EV charging points is a very simple change.
Exercise and hiking are both activities we do individually or partake in as a family every single week. Using these activities as opportunities to charge our EV seems quite simple. Gyms located near public charging stations are becoming commonplace. Many parks and tourist destinations also have charging stations. This will mean planning ahead and capitalising on the opportunity to explore parts of Melbourne and Victoria we have never been to.
How long will you need to realistically charge your EV?
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who is happy waking up to a phone at 30% charge. You know that you’ll need to charge your phone at some point during the day so that you can make it through to nighttime. The same mindset does not apply to EVs for your daily commute.
Unlike your phone, which is often used consistently throughout the day, your EV will likely only be travelling 43km on average each day. Considering that a full charge of your EV battery will likely deliver 300 – 500km of travel, you will not need to fully charge your car each day. This means that you might be able to get through a whole week on just one charge.
So how long will it take to fully charge your EV? Each EV varies as to its battery size, travel economy, and charge time, but we will use averages. A standard EV will have a 70kWh battery. The following table outlines the range added per one hour of charging.
|3.7kW slow||7kW fast||22kW fast||50kW rapid||150kW rapid|
|Up to 20 km||Up to 40 km||Up to 120 km||Up to 300 km||Up to 900 km|
So, if I were going to go shopping for one hour, I would be looking for a charging station that has a 22kW to 150kW charger.
How do I find an EV charger near me or at my destination?
Thanks to the people at PlugShare, we have access to a map that outlines all the available EV charging stations across Australia (and even the world!).
Energy Matters has conveniently added this map for your use! Click here to access the map.
How can businesses adapt to the needs of their customers?
As you can see, there’s a growing need for charging stations across the country. Businesses can seize the opportunity to attract new customers with EV chargers installed in their car parks.
Goodwe, Fronius, SunPower, Sungrow, and Enphase all have EV chargers as part of their product offering. What people and businesses often don’t realise is that these products are available for their use and can be installed in their staff car parks, parking bays or even street frontage. With electric vehicles becoming commonplace, an EV charging station might mean the difference between a customer lost or a customer gained. I know that I’ll be selecting where I shop based on where I can charge my car!
Any shopping centre or large retailer with a customer carpark is missing a huge opportunity if they don’t have EV chargers installed. For a large installation of EV chargers, Energy Matters can facilitate this directly with the manufacturers. Contact us today by clicking this link.
The next phase of travel
Every single Australian driver is accustomed to filling up at the servo. Because this usually takes a few minutes, the notion of plugging in and charging for an extended period of time can seem to be bothersome – especially for people who won’t have ready access to a charger. But, with the wider adoption of EVs and the adaptation of businesses, it will soon form part of our weekly routine. As technology improves, and charging becomes faster, EV charging will become less of an inconvenience.
I know that the benefits for our family will far outweigh any challenges that might arise from charging.