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Charger site rollout could help boost EV take-up

Imagine not having to pay for your car’s fuel? With an electric vehicle and NRMA membership, you won’t have to.

The organisation has announced it will establish Australia’s largest electric vehicle fast-charging network, which will be free for its members.

The $10 million investment will deliver at least 40 chargers – more than double the current amount in NSW and the ACT – removing the barrier of fuel costs, increasing renewable energy use and supporting tourism by unlocking regional locations currently inaccessible to EVs.

NRMA chairman Kyle Loades said financial success in 2016-17 made it possible for the business to invest in the initiative, which could help the shift away from petrol and diesel.

“Our research has highlighted that a lack of charging infrastructure is the single greatest barrier identified by NRMA Members to purchasing an electric vehicle,” Mr Loades said.

“There are simply not enough chargers in public places to make electric vehicles viable for longer journeys, and the NRMA’s investment will change this forever.”

However, there has been under-investment in the EV market in Australia, Mr Loades said.

NRMA released a report,The Future is Electric, which found that although more countries are moving towards electric vehicles, they were still more expensive than conventional vehicles.

Australia also has a history of low EV uptake. There are two million electric vehicles on the road globally, but only 1369 EVs were sold in Australia in 2016, representing just 0.1 per cent of the market.

Despite these numbers, consumers have positive attitudes about EVs.

The Electric Vehicle Council conducted a survey of 504 Victorians that found that 50.2 per cent of respondents would be willing to consider purchasing an EV, but issues like purchase cost and charge range ultimately stopped them.

The report said this was quickly changing with the mass production of more efficient batteries.

NRMA said they could remove these concerns and bridge the gap between consumers desires and actions, supporting the adoption and rollout of electric vehicles in Australia with the new network of free chargers.

“The NRMA’s core purpose is to keep people moving, and this initiative to remove obstacles to the adoption of electric vehicles and give motorists peace of mind will do exactly that,” Mr Loades said.

A charging station is already in operation at NRMA’s new headquarters at Sydney Olympic Park, and new charger sites are set to appear in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the ACT, Illawarra, the Mid North Coast and Newcastle.

NRMA is now calling for potential partnerships with councils and community groups to bring a charger to their local areas.

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