As the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) ramps up in Australia, how they’ll be powered is a growing area of interest. Sifting through all the info out there can be overwhelming, and at times – conflicting. So, we’ve done the hard work for you, by turning to Origin’s General Manager Strategy & E-Mobility, Chau Le, to answer the most common questions.
What are the benefits of EVs?
“The obvious advantage of an EV is eliminating the need for petrol, meaning less contribution to emissions,” says Le.
Given transportation is the third highest source of greenhouse gas emissions, EV charging is a crucial piece of the puzzle to meet Australia’s net zero by 2050 target. But Le says the benefits go beyond the environment.
“The cost of EV charging is significantly less than petrol. Whether at home, work or using a public charging station, monthly costs rarely exceed $70. That’s compared to roughly $350 for a petrol-powered vehicle.”
How are EV charging stations powered?
EV charging currently relies on the electricity grid, but the grid as we know it is changing.
Renewable energy currently contributes almost 50% of electricity across the National Electricity Market at certain times and by 2025 the proportion of renewable energy in the grid is expected to increase significantly. This means EVs could eventually be run on zero emissions, making them an attractive transport solution.
“People often ask me what the move to electric will mean when it comes to increased pressure on the electricity grid.”
Le explains, “smart charging will optimise the energy grid by shifting EV charging demand away from peak periods and absorbing excess renewable energy”.
Smart charging means EV owners are getting the best charging price by allowing energy retailers to manage charging times on the owner’s behalf to optimise charge to off-peak periods.
“Smart charging is a huge advantage. With petrol, drivers pay a set price, but EV drivers will have the opportunity to schedule their charging to off-peak periods or draw on excess solar.”
This is achieved through vitrual power plants, like Origin Loop, which use technology to bring together individual energy sources and distribute power to homes and businesses on a large scale.
Episode two of our So Watt? podcast delves into all things EVs
Where can I charge my EV?
According to Origin’s EV smart charging trial, 80% of charging will occur at home or work, as this is where we spend most of our time. Le says many businesses are leading the way by engaging Origin 360 EV Fleet services to install their own charging infrastructure.
“In our trial, we found many businesses motivated to transition to EV fleets as they saw it as the right thing to do. The reduced operating costs were a bonus, but the key driver for businesses right now is leadership.”
Businesses have a significant role to play, as they are responsible for of new car purchases. According to Le, “businesses are beginning to recognise EVs as the cornerstone of future fleet requirements and employees will soon expect EV charging stations at their workplace.”
However, Le says businesses should not be left on their own to get their plans into action.
“We know there are real world barriers for businesses implementing EV fleets. Some industries worry EVs will not be fit for purpose, while others are concerned about organising home chargers and reimbursements for employees. Origin 360 EV Fleet management is designed to combat these barriers, with a personalised plan of action to make the transition for businesses as smooth as possible.”
How long does EV charging take and how long does it last?
Charging times depend on the battery and charging point. With a standard household socket, you can reach about 15km per hour. So if you’re like most people who charge overnight, you’ll have a fully charged battery by morning. Alternatively, a public fast charging station can fully recharge your EV in under an hour.
On average, you get 300-650km out of a full charge. This is beyond what most people travel in a day.
Le says, “At home and workplace charging is most common and typically enough to sustain mileage, but public chargers are a good insurance policy for those who are hesitant, and they are growing by the number. Recently, the Federal Government committed to increase the amount of renewable energy powered fast charging stations in Australia sevenfold.”
What’s next for EV charging?
With the upfront costs of buying EVs expected to reach parity with petrol vehicles by the middle of this decade, it’s paramount that Australia’s charging network is ready for an increase in EVs.
Le says “the future is bright for EV charging, with a well-designed public charging network that is growing by the day.”
Queensland are extending their Electric Super Highway to include 49 fast charging stations and New South Wales announced a major investment toward widespread and world-class EV charging coverage. Most recently, the Australian Government pledged $178 million to ramp up the roll out of electric charging stations.
And according to Le, many businesses are getting on board too, as it seems inevitable EVs will become the norm. “Businesses see EVs as an economic and leadership opportunity, so we expect more businesses to prepare for an EV future by transitioning to EV fleets and installing their own charging infrastructure. When they do, we’re ready to support them with our Origin 360 EV Fleet services.
This article is part of Origin’s Destination EV series. As businesses drive towards electric vehicle fleet management, Origin is committed to making the transition a smooth ride. Origin’s Destination EV is a resource and content series providing expertise and practical advice to businesses considering Origin 360 EV Fleet management. We’re here to help you on the journey to cleaner transport technologies.