The ACT's often-stated political aspiration to become the electric vehicle capital of Australia is barely out of first gear, with Canberra's report card on recharging infrastructure offering grim reading.
For almost a year, the recharging station in Reed St, Tuggeranong, was out of action and has only recently been repaired.
The two rechargers in London Circuit have been dropping in and out of action so often that electric vehicle owners have lost all confidence in their dependability, and two out of three ActewAGL rapid chargers have been fitted with the non-industry standard CCS1 coupling.
Woe betide occasional visitors driving into town and needing to charge up their non-Tesla EV. To use the ActewAGL chargers requires a dedicated card and have the user signed up to a charging plan.
Alternatively, make your own arrangements.
Recent data compiled by vehicle insurer Budget Direct found that while the ACT has the country's highest proportion of electric vehicle (EV) to combustion engine cars at 83 EVs per 10,000 vehicle sales, it's also the territory with the lowest ratio of charging stations, with 0.1 per EV (or one charger for every 10 electric vehicles).
There has been no increase in ActewAGL's public charging network for several years, according to the position paper compiled by the ACT branch of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association
In its communications to customers, ActewAGL recently announced it is now migrating its chargers to "a national network" and has put a temporary halt to new membership.
All of which adds up to a bumpy road ahead for the ACT government which, as part of the Greens-Labor power-sharing arrangement, pledged to "build at least 50 electric vehicle recharging stations across Canberra and the region" during 2021-22.
ActewAGL started installing EV recharging stations in the ACT in 2015. It now has three rapid chargers and nine fast chargers.
Tesla, whose chargers can only be used by that brand of electric vehicle, has a bank of five at Majura. EV charging is also available at various Canberra hotels including the QT, Realm and Hyatt.
To reduce the downtime spent waiting to top up their battery pack, electric vehicle owners favour fast chargers over 20 kiloWatts but the association acknowledged there were significant costs involved in setting these up.
"Private investors must price the use of these chargers to recover those set-up costs in addition to their recurrent costs," the association stated.
A number of key recommendations have been made to the ACT government including allowing drivers to pay using a credit card, ensure easy reporting of faults and prompt and reliable servicing of charging points, and to prominently signpost the locations of charging locations, making them accessible 24 hours a day.
The ACT government is yet to announce details on another prominent pledge delivered in the Labor-Greens 10th Parliamentary Agreement.
Under the agreement, a sustainable household scheme will be set up in which ACT households and not-for-profits will be offered an interest-free loan of between $2000 and $15,000 "to assist with the up-front costs" of buying rooftop solar panels, storage batteries and electric vehicles.
Further clarity was provided recently when the scheme was expanded to include second-hand electric vehicles.
Meanwhile, the ACT branch of the electric vehicle association is staging an "experience day" at Ikea in Majura on Sunday between 2pm and 4pm. People will be able to be passengers and experience various models including a Tesla Model 3, BMW i3, Hyundai Ioniq and Nissan Leaf.
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