In the absence of federal action, and in a bid to outdo rival states, NSW has announced it will roll out “up to” 3,500 electric vehicle chargers across regional areas.
The move is part of a $20 million grant package to establish “Australia’s largest destination charging network”.
The grants will be made available to regional councils, that can apply to install EV chargers at places like motels, wineries, cafes, restaurants, natural attractions, and museums.
The chargers will be able to provide top-ups to electric vehicle owners, the numbers of which are growing rapidly in the country, and in NSW in particular. Drivers will be able to park up, plug in and add up to 130kms of driving range to their vehicles in an hour.
Treasurer and Minister for Energy, Matt Kean, said that the co-funded grants range from $2,000 to $40,000 per site for EV chargers across regional NSW. They are expected to boost regional tourism from metropolitan areas where EV ownership is high and part of a $171 million investment the NSW government is making in EV charging over the next four years.
“EVs are growing in popularity and this will help ensure our regional areas have the charging stations needed to welcome EV-driving visitors,” Kean said.
Each state and territory has a specific electric vehicle strategy designed to increase uptake, although some are more dedicated to the cause than others. NSW, Victoria, and South Australia are all vying for the title of most EV friendly state and the current announcement certainly puts NSW at the forefront of that race.
The NSW Electric Vehicle Strategy aims to increase EV sales to 52% of all new car sales by 2030-31 and to have EVs make up the vast majority by 2035. The state is also planning to build EV “tourist drives” across regional NSW and their $171 million investment strategy includes $131 million for “ultra-fast” charging infrastructure.
Interest in electric vehicles has been growing steadily over the past decade since the non-polluting transport option was first made available on the Australian market in 2012. Recent petrol price increases saw searches for electric vehicles spike dramatically, with people searching for the cheapest EV options as well as what benefits and rebates are available from state governments.
Almost all states and territories provide rebates to new-EV owners of up to $3,000 off a new purchase, as well as tax relief and charging discounts.
The announcement comes after recent news that it’s now possible to drive across the entire state of NSW in an electric vehicle after crucial EV charging stations were installed along the Barrier Highway.
“Now that we’ve rolled out the final chargers along the Barrier Highway, located at Wilcannnia, Cobar, Dubbo, Parkes, Orange and Lithgow, it means drivers travel no more than 300 kilometres to recharge their vehicles when making the 1000-kilometre journey between Sydney and Broken Hill”, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said.