The Caravan Industry Association of Australia (CIAA) has proposed a bold new plan to transform the country’s 2600 caravan parks into a national electric vehicle (EV) charging network covering regional and rural areas.
The proposal calls for commercial and government assistance to install fast chargers for electric cars on these sites to meet the rising demand for EV technology, according to a report by the Examiner.
This comes after EV drivers reported long waits to access chargers during the holiday season, with EV charging company Evie Networks seeing record-breaking use of its charging stations between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Many of the largest queues were seen in regional locations and major routes between capital cities.
CIAA General Manager Luke Chippindale said a major problem is that regional Australia needs to be addressed in the rollout of EV charging infrastructure.
“A lot of the work has been done around metro areas, but regional and rural areas have been overlooked,” he said. “Now is the time to act.”
He suggests that installing fast-charging EV stations in caravan parks along major travel routes throughout Australia could be a solution for the emerging industry. Some parks have already taken the initiative and have signed deals to install Tesla Superchargers on their properties.
The CIAA plans to prepare a market readiness report on the issue, including plans to install community batteries to share energy with consumers and power grids.
The report will also include a detailed plan for the implementation of the proposal, including the necessary investments and infrastructure.
Early conversations have been promising in terms of the technology options for a network, and we know possibilities to be a major contributor are endless,” said CIAA Chief Executive Stuart Lamont. “Unfortunately, these options require significant financial contribution and a will to be solution-focused.”
The Federal Government’s National Electric Vehicle Strategy consultation paper has also discussed investments in EV charging infrastructure.
Climate Council Advocacy Head Jennifer Rayner stresses the importance of making charging readily available along major transport routes, particularly during the holiday when people move around in different places.
“It’s a real obstacle to people feeling comfortable to making the shift to an electric vehicle,” Dr. Rayner said. In Europe, there has been a focus on making sure charging is readily available along major transport routes. During the holiday seasons, when people are moving around in different places, that away-from-home infrastructure becomes really important.”
As of June 2022, Australia had more than 3600 public electric vehicle chargers in more than 2100 locations, according to the Electric Vehicle Council. The figure represents a 15 percent increase since early 2021.
Electric car sales have risen rapidly during that time, from 17,243 new car sales in 2021 to 33,410 last year. The CIAA proposal, if implemented, could significantly boost the growth of the EV market in Australia, making it more accessible and convenient for consumers in regional and rural areas.