A $24.9 million plan to offer businesses vehicle charging stations for a monthly subscription fee could help put thousands more electric cars on Australian roads, according to the company behind the program.
The subscription service, launched by Melbourne firm Jet Charge on Wednesday, will be supported by a $12 million investment from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency in a bid to encourage more pay-as-you-go infrastructure.
And an environmental group welcomed the announcement, saying it could help to boost electric fleets in Australia and reduce “dwindling excuses from the business sector” around electric car adoption.
Jet Charge’s Charging as a Service project will offer to install, connect and maintain electric car charging stations for businesses and building managers without their clients incurring those costs up-front.
Businesses would instead be asked to pay a monthly fee for the infrastructure, with each charging point assigned to an electric vehicle in its fleet.
The project is expected to support the uptake of 3100 electric cars over the next three years.
Federal Energy Minister Chris Bowen, who joined the launch in Port Melbourne, said the government backed the project to help businesses cut emissions and unlock savings from electric cars.
“Businesses can save a lot of running costs by switching their fleets to electric and we are seeing plenty of enthusiasm from fleet users to offer cleaner, cheaper-to-run cars to their employees and cut down on fuel costs,” he said.
ARENA chief executive Darren Miller said he hoped the $12 million in funding would prove the worth of subscription infrastructure services and “lead to services like this rolling out across Australia”.
“We know that access to charging infrastructure is a barrier for fleet users looking to switch to EVs so it’s exciting to see Jet Charge developing a new way to make charging more accessible,” he said.
Fleet purchases account for up to half of all new vehicle sales in Australia and are thought to play a significant role in boosting the second-hand vehicle market.
Greenpeace Australia Pacific spokesperson Violette Snow said the group welcomed the subscription offering as a way to encourage more businesses to adopt low-emission vehicles and help Australia to catch up to EV adoption in other nations.
“It’s time for big business to step up on transport by committing to 100 per cent electric cars and trucks,” she said.
“Increased investment in charging-as-a-service dramatically reduces dwindling excuses from the business sector, adding to the business case for electric fleets.”
Ms Snow said companies including Ikea, Woolworths and Westpac had shown leadership in electric vehicles and more should make commitments to cutting transport emissions.
The latest figures from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries showed electric cars made up eight per cent of all vehicle sales in September, up from 2.7 per cent in September 2022.
(Australian Associated Press)