Online energy retailer Powershop has announced the expansion of its cut-rate electric vehicle charging offer from Queensland into New South Wales and Victoria, citing a rising interest in EVs around the country.
The announcement of the expansion into NSW and Victoria comes as Australian energy giant AGL just yesterday resurrected and upgraded its EV electricity plan offering $240 worth of credits towards bills to customers who own at least one electric car.
The Powershop move confirms a new trend by energy retailers to win over customers with plans based around EV ownership and charging. In addition to AGL’s offer, fellow big three retailer Origin Energy only weeks ago announced it had cut a deal with Hyundai to offer savings to owners of Kona and Ioniq electric vehicles.
This, in turn, suggests the shift to electric vehicles is finally taking hold in Australia which, up until now, has been branded a global laggard in reducing transport emissions by encouraging EV uptake.
Compared to the AGL and Origin offers, which take the form of rebates or credits, Powershop’s offer focuses on maximising the savings gained through driving an electric vehicle.
The New Zealand-owned company has also published research on Tuesday, showing one in four Australians are considering buying an electric or hybrid vehicle within the next two years.
According to the survey, more than half of respondents said they would make the change to reduce fuel and maintenance costs, and to address environmental concerns by reducing their carbon footprints.
“Fifty-seven per cent of Australians said they would consider buying an electric or hybrid vehicle because it will help reduce fuel costs and we hope the launch of our super off-peak tariff will support the growth of electric vehicles in Australia,” said interim CEO for Powershop Catherine Anderson in a statement.
“We want customers to be encouraged to charge up, instead of fill up.
“Our research found that three of the top five reasons people would consider buying an electric or hybrid vehicle were financial: the price of fuel, the cost to run and the cost to maintain.”
Powershop’s offer, which in Queensland offers rates as low as 9.9 per kWh (less than half of its normal off-peak rate of 21.18 cents), will vary in NSW and Victoria depending on the local poles and wires operator, but promises to be – on average – around 50% cheaper than normal off peak rates (you can check here to find your local provider’s offer).
The cut-rate tariffs are offered during the night between 12am and 4am so that electric vehicle owners can recharge their vehicles at night while sleeping (4 hours on a specially installed 7kW wall charger would add about 160km of driving range, over four times the average daily commute for most Australians).
To be able to use the offer, residents would need to already have, or get, a free smart meter installed in their homes.
The increasing number of retailers offering electric vehicle-focused offers to customers comes at a time when the Australian market is facing a marked decline in petrol and diesel vehicle sales, and a significant upturn in EV sales.
For 17 consecutive months, data from the Federal Chamber of Automotive industries has shown overall sales in fossil fuel vehicles are decreasing, while the opposite can be said for electric vehicles – and this without the inclusion of data from electric vehicle maker Tesla.
Tesla’s Model 3 electric sedan – which has proven itself a driver of EV sales in the US and Europe according to figures from electric vehicle sales database EV-Volumes – has arrived in Australia after a long three-year wait since its unveil in 2016.
With deliveries of the best-selling EV now underway across Australia, it is understood that thousands are expected to hit Australian roads once orders are filled, effectively doubling if not tripling the current Australian EV fleet by the year’s end.
The timing of Powershop’s newest announcement is in line with its strategy to help Australians reduce their carbon emissions.
“We want to give our customers a more cost effective option to charge their EV and be a driving force for EV uptake to help create a better energy future that Australians need and deserve,” says Anderson.
“We believe in supporting sustainable options to safeguard the planet for future generations – from our backing in 100% renewable generation, to completely carbon offsetting our customers energy use at no extra cost to them.”
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.