In 2012, there were 10. In 2021, more than 1300 people had taken the plunge and bought and registered an electric vehicle (EV) in the ACT.
It’s clear local EV sales are exploding, which begs the question: where – and how – are we going to charge them all?
The ACT Government has already allocated $1.3 million of grant funding to install an additional 50 publicly accessible chargers across the capital. The government is waiting on detailed proposals from the shortlisted charging station companies before the money is dished out to the winner in late June.
In the meantime, the ACT Government also wants to know what it would take to fit charging infrastructure in new developments and retrofit existing buildings.
A report by Australian consulting firm Urbis – conducted as part of information gathering for the government’s ‘Planning System Review and Reform Project’ and released in January this year – looks into this, and what it would take for the ACT to be truly ‘EV-ready’.
What’s the problem?
By 2030, EVs will likely own 30 per cent of the Australian new car market. And according to another market study, virtually all new passenger vehicles sold in Australia will be EVs by 2040.
Savings on running costs are a key reason buyers are making the switch, and Urbis suggests EVs will make even more financial sense as time goes on.
But while more public charging stations at service stations and shops are a must, most owners will simply plug it in when they get home. The current outlook for the ACT puts this number at 70 per cent of owners, while other studies have suggested it could be up to 90 per cent.
Approximately 33 per cent of all dwellings in the ACT are either part of a multi-unit complex or semi-detached, and as the population continues to grow, this number will also grow.
Put the two together, and that’s a lot of people who will need a charging point in their private car spaces.
What’s the solution?
Urbis suggests changes to planning codes to bring the ACT in line with two global policy trends.
First, all parking spaces in new multi-unit residential developments should be fitted with the necessary infrastructure for slow charging; and second, 10 to 20 per cent of parking spaces in new commercial developments should have fast-charging infrastructure.
No matter the development, main switchboards and all associated wiring would need to meet a minimum electrical capacity.
Who is going to pay?
The report notes that building managers and owners’ corporations are reluctant to invest in charging infrastructure due to the expense and blames the lack of government incentives.
The ACT Government currently offers a $15,000 interest-free loan to help cover the cost of buying an EV and fitting charging facilities, but this doesn’t extend beyond individual households.
Installation costs in a new development range between $1700 and $2500 per apartment. It’s even more expensive for retrofitting, which ranges from $2500 up to $8000 per apartment.
However, having a charging point in the car space does promise a return on investment. Capital value per square metre is estimated to increase by anywhere between $250 to $4500, while rent could be increased by $10 to $130.
When will we see it?
The ACT Government says the recommendations in the Urbis report will be considered as part of the ACT Planning System Review and Reform Project.
It has been 15 years since the last major review of the Territory Plan, and the government says it’s time for a new plan that reflects the importance of adapting to climate change, delivering important infrastructure for a growing population and providing greater housing choice and accessibility.
“Outcomes of this process and its integration into the new Territory Plan will be provided through community and industry consultation in 2022.”
Watch this space.