EVs not so easy …..

Local ownership of electric vehicles is set to rise from 340 in 2022 to 11,000 by 2030. Yet plans for public charging remain unclear.

In Port Phillip, it is estimated that 90% of dwellings may have limited access to charging EVs at their homes.

Council has voted to continue a limited program of private EV kerbside charging despite an estimated $4K cost to council per charger and expert advice that priority should be given to public kerb side charging.
The existing pilot program which permitted 10 private EV charging stations will be extended to 100 over four years but with prohibitive permit costs and bonds. While the installation costs are worn by the landowner, is was revealed that the cost to Council of issuing a permit was approximately $4,000 each.
Port Phillip is the only council in Australia permitting private kerbside charging. The charger can only be used by the landowner and assumes that the parking space is available.
Meanwhile, despite nearly a decade of considering public charging options, Council has approved less than a handful chargers.
Experts prioritise public charging stations
The projected influx of EV is set to dramatically challenge councils, EV users and the community. In 2022, there were just 340 EVs registered in Port Phillip, with that number expected to reach 11,000 by 2030. In Port Phillip, it is estimated that 90% of dwellings may have limited access to charging EVs at their homes, due to limited off-street parking and access to infrastructure in multi-unit dwellings.
Planners and sustainability experts are keen to facilitate a network of public charging options, however, progress has been painfully slow.
Local public EV charging is …. rare
So far, public EV charging in St Kilda (and Port Phillip) is little more than a utopian dream. There are four public plugs in the Acland Court Car Park and two plugs at the South Melbourne Market (Note: TWiSK requested data on the SMM charger usage on 3 May and received no reply despite three follow up calls).
In May, Council reported that was working with Intellihub, who were awarded a grant of $1.35M by the Victorian Government’s Zero Emissions Vehicle Emerging Technologies (ZEVET) program to install 100 EV chargers mounted on power poles across three inner city local government areas, including City of Port Phillip. This program was due to be completed by end of 2024.
Meanwhile Council has been working since 2021 with a preferred supplier of EV charging (EVIE Networks) to install public ‘fast’ charging infrastructure at no cost to Council.
So far, no fast chargers have been installed.
Parking, power supply and responsibility are the barriers
To be fair, public charging is a problem than no one wants to own. The first issue is parking – people without off street parking are in trouble. Every public charger requires a parking space – this is not so easy in Port Phillip where parking is a hotly contested issue.
Body corporates can install chargers but the cost can be staggering as power supplies may need to be upgraded – and then there still the question of parking – how do you share charging spaces in multi-unit developments?
The extra demand on the electricity network is also a tricky consideration. Having a 11,000 cars drawing from the grid in a local area needs to be managed. Will they be charged at home, work, night or day?
Whose job is it anyway?
But possibly the biggest barrier is responsibility – or lack of it. Local government doesn’t want to the job, neither does state or Federal governments. Nor do the power companies or car makers. And with technology evolving so rapidly, it’s not clear what charging method will win the market race.
But clearly, private kerbside charging was never going to solve more problems than it created.
It’s not easy being green.

Read the council media release