Ultra-fast charging network provider Evie Networks has dropped time-based charging for use of its 50kW and 350kW chargers, but is calling for energy tariff reform to ensure Australians can enjoy competitive EV charging rates.
The update in pricing structure comes as the network opened its third ultra-rapid charging station in collaboration with oil giant Ampol, ending 11 months of time-based charging that was first introduced in January.
Evie Networks also has its own planned 350kW ultra-fast network that it says will compliment other existing networks and which also focuses on creating “clusters” of ultra-fast chargers on city outskirts so that EV drivers can top up before leaving town, and for outer urban residents.
In addition, it is opening a series of 50kW chargers at locations such as the recently opened Caddens Corner site near Penrith in Sydney.
The new charging structure is split into fast charging (up to 50kW) and ultra-rapid charging (up to 350kW), with Evie Networks now charging 40 cents per kilowatt hour for the former and 60 cents per kilowatt hour for the latter.
When Evie first introduced time-based charging, concerns were raised that it would unfairly end up costing owners of electric vehicles that can’t charge as fast more, which are typically at the lower end of the market.
The charge at the time was 35 cents per kilowatt hour plus 25 cents per minute, and it was the only time-based pricing structure for electric car charging at the time.
Responding to an enquiry from The Driven, Evie Networks CEO Chris Mills confirmed the new pricing structure, saying, “Evie cares about customer feedback and many have told us that the time component of our pricing was creating poor transparency in the end cost, due to the wide range of vehicle capability in the market.
“The time component was first introduced to prevent long-stay occupation of the charger, reducing its availability for other EV drivers. It’s pleasing to note that over-staying at the chargers is rare and as such we have reconsidered its need.”
The new ultra-fast price of 60c/kWh is higher than Tesla’s proprietary Supercharger rate which was also recently raised to 52c/kWh.
Mills responded:”Our new highway pricing has been set at a level that recognises the high cost of energy supplied by the energy networks together with the large upfront capital outlay in constructing and connecting these chargers.
“In these early days, the energy costs charged by the utilities results in us making a loss on every kWh sold on a 350kW charger. Through our projections of EV uptake, we estimate that these losses will continue for several years to come and this is the reason there are not many public ultra-fast chargers around.
Mills says Evie Network will continue to advocate for energy tariff reform to ensure that EV owners can enjoy competitive fast charging costs.
“Working together with the Electric Vehicle Council, we are dedicating a great deal of effort advocating to government at both federal and state levels on the need for energy tariff reform so that drivers can realise the opportunity of cheaper operating costs through EV ownership,” said Mills.
“There are no games here, we are taking a significant risk in the early days of EV adoption and if we want to see mainstream ultra-fast public chargers throughout the country, then we either need reform of energy costs or significantly more cars on the road.”
Time-based charging in Europe has also previously resulted in uproar because it meant that it could actually cost more to charge an electric vehicle than refuel a petrol or diesel vehicle.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.