Is there free shopping centre EV charging?

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Most public electric vehicle charging stations in Australia are in malls. This is because the retail centres are funding these charging stations, which are now free to use, to draw environmentally concerned customers and enhance their brand recognition.

The price for the retail centres to offer this service could go up if the demand for charging stations develops along with the popularity of EVs. The Australian government has implemented policies like the Low Emissions Technology Statement 2021 and the Future Fuels Fund.

This provides funding for constructing new charging infrastructure to encourage EV adoption and address the potential issue of limited charging infrastructure.

Is EV charging at shopping centres free?

In late 2023 there will be about 2000 regular EV charging locations across Australia, with approximately 300 public fast charging stations.

This number has started growing rapidly. But when compared to China’s total of 1.4 million EV charging stations, Australia is lagging a significantly long way behind.

As electric vehicles and hybrid plug-ins gain popularity, more and more of them hit the road. However, there are concerns that the current scarcity of EV charging stations will cause issues.

Shopping centre EV chargers provide free electricity

Right now, most public EV charging stations are in shopping centres, with more constantly added and more being built along highways.

For most EV drivers, a shopping centre EV charging station presents one of the most logical places, outside a home or workplace to charge the car.

Now, the question arises regarding whether these public chargers are free.

New EV charging station installations within shopping centres like Stocklands and Westfields have recently increased. When you visit their websites in these shopping centres, they clearly state that EV charging is free.

Therefore, the answer is yes; charging EVs around Australia in shopping centres that provide EV charging is generally free.

electric vehicle charging point at a shopping centre
Save yourself some money using EV chargers at the shops, as they are typically free

The required electricity and infrastructure are provided and paid for by the shopping centre. The reason for this expenditure is that it will benefit their brand image as environmentally friendly. As well as it will attract customers with EVs.

This model works right now when the majority of customers drive petrol-powered vehicles. Therefore the charge costs per day for a larger shopping centre would only be a few hundred dollars per day.

How will popularity and demand increasing affect free energy?

When the number of EV vehicles on the roads increases over the next few years, the shopping centre’s charging costs could reach thousands of dollars per day. This policy might be reviewed, and a charging regime could be implemented.

To ease these concerns of EV owners, the previous Federal Liberal Government has recognised the potential benefits of promoting EVs. This was proven through the release of the Low Emissions Technology Statement 2021. It specifies ‘Enabling Infrastructure’ as a critical goal.

Labor won the last Federal Election and appears to be more progressive on renewable energy.

The main goal is to give Australia clean energy for homes, businesses, and transportation by reducing emissions.

Furthermore, one of the two main priorities to achieve this was including more EV charging stations to “support consumer choice”.

Future Fuels Fund

For example, in the 2020-2021 budget, the ‘Future Fuels Fund‘ was announced, aiming to “address barriers to the roll-out of new vehicle technologies”.

The fund provides the Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which manages the fund with $500 million to develop new EV charging infrastructures. So, while Australia is still a long way behind the rest of the world, there is a clear intent to play catch up.

In summary, EV charging stations are currently free and should stay free. If the Australian Government effectively applies these funds and continues to prioritise low-emission energy.

More and more EV charging stations will be installed in shopping centres and other locations consistently for the future. This will help avoid a situation where there are too many electric cars trying to use charging stations.

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