I've owned an electric car since May 2020. In that time I've been surprised how often I'm stopped to answer questions from curious people who are eager to have their questions answered.
And among those questions, the most common two are 'how far can you go?' and 'where do you charge it?'.
The easy answer to the charging questions is 'at home', because that's what you do. What they really mean to ask is 'where do you fill up on your way to a destination?'.
That's a little trickier depending on what electric vehicle (EV) you drive. If you drive a Tesla, then you have not only every non-Tesla charger available to you but the company's own network of superchargers around Australia.
As Australia tried to catch up with the rest of the world when it comes to uptake of EVs the one major hurdle we have to clear is the ubiquity of charging stations.
My car, a 2020 Tesla Model 3, can get roughly 400 kilometres on a single charge from 100 per cent if conditions are ideal and other models can get further again, but being able to leave home with even half a 'tank' and know you can stop anywhere to top up like a 'regular' car is simply not possible.
We rely heavily on the built-in GPS navigation offered in the Model 3 and an invaluable app called Plugshare which aggregates an exhaustive list of every type of charging facility available - and there's way more than you think.
In my estimation the NRMA has been by far the biggest contributor to the spread of readily-available chargers with their rollout of 50 kilowatt 'rapid' chargers around NSW. To date the company has installed 44 of these chargers with many more already planned.
If you're reading this it's likely there's one already in your town. But it's a far cry from the estimated 2600 petrol stations the EPA estimates we have in NSW alone.
The chargers available are fantastic to be clear, they're reliable and plentiful enough that little planning is needed and they're often free. But if someone was a bit low and was counting on that upcoming charger and was forced to redirect or the charger is broken down for whatever reason, there's isn't much recourse.
You can't just go a few blocks down to another one because sometimes the number of stalls is limited, especially in smaller towns.
But what is the answer? We can't simply rely on a company like the NRMA, or even Tesla - who recently promised to open their network of superchargers to other EV brands - to solve this problem.
I think the solution lies in a combination of both private enterprise and Federal Government action.
We're a long way it seems from the scare campaign waged by the Coalition last election warning us that EVs would 'ruin the weekend' and that 'Labor wanted to take away tradies' utes'. Absurd nonsense.
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