Drivers of electric cars in Queensland will pay 45¢ per kilowatt hour at most to charge their vehicles, about half the cost of fuelling up with petrol.
Until now, the state government’s network of 31 electric car charging stations – between Cairns and Coolangatta and from Brisbane inland to Toowoomba – has been free.
But drivers would be charged a fee to use Queensland’s electric super highway within weeks, sources told Brisbane Times.
A spokesman for Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said Yurika Energy was in negotiations with a private firm partner to charge a price below 45¢ per kilowatt hour.
“This equates to about $20 for 300 kilometres of driving range,” Yurika Energy general manager Charles Rattray said.
On Tuesday, petrol prices around Brisbane were about $1.63 a litre.
Prices on Queensland’s electric super highway – or QESH – are set by Yurika Energy, the sustainable energy arm of Energy Queensland. The network itself is managed by private company Chargefox.
Chargefox chief executive Marty Andrews said the company had worked in Australia and New Zealand over the past two years with councils, shopping centre retailers such as Westfield and equipment suppliers to put electric car chargers in place.
Mr Andrews said most electric car charging stations around Australia – similar to QESH – now charged less than 45¢ per kilowatt hour.
“For them, around the country, they range from about 25¢ to 45¢ per kilowatt hour,” he said.
“So it’s around one-half to one-third the cost of petrol.”
Queensland’s network of electric chargers has been promoted awkwardly, with limited signage.
Mr Andrews said Brisbane improvements were being discussed.
At Toombul Shopping Centre, home to two of Queensland’s fastest electric car charging stations, where a driver can add 400 kilometres to an electric car’s driving range in 15 minutes, there are no signs to find the stations.
The latest fast chargers are on the shopping centre’s roof, while the older chargers – mostly for Tesla vehicles – are in the undercover car park, where they can be located by mobile phone.
“For most of Queensland’s electric super highway, chargers are visible from the street, but in places like Toombul they are in the shopping centre’s large car park,” Mr Andrews said.
“We are building in instructions to our mobile phone app so you know what level on the car park you go to, but we are also working with the owners of those buildings to provide signage and directions.”
Mr Andrews said Adelaide City Council has added digital signage in council-run car parks letting motorists find the charging stations, as an example.
Brisbane-based Tritium, which provides electric car chargers to 70 per cent of Australia’s sites and 3000 sites outside Australia, recently introduced fast electric chargers at some Queensland sites.
Most of Queensland’s electric super highway chargers are 50 kilowatt hour DC chargers, which can add 75 kilometres to a car’s range in 15 minutes.
Mr Andrews estimated the cost of an electric car would reach parity with petrol cars in fleet sales by 2021-22 and car dealerships shortly afterwards.
“I think in 2025-26 mums and dads will walk into a showroom and the sticker price on an electric car will be the same as or lower than the sticker price on a petrol vehicle.”
The Queensland government planned to expand the number of electric vehicles in its fleet from 18 in 2018 to 288 in 2022, according to the Department of Housing and Public Works.
Mr Andrews said 12,500 electric cars were now registered in Australia, less than 1 per cent of total vehicle sales.
Extracted from The Sydney Morning Herald