The rollout of a national network of electric vehicle chargers has been bumped up the priority list by the statutory body.

Infrastructure Australia has labelled the expansion of electric vehicle charge infrastructure as a high priority, putting it on a list of 29 High Priority Initiatives for Australia.

In a report published today, the independent statutory body identified a lack of charge infrastructure as a significant barrier to electric vehicle adoption, calling for a “network of fast-charging stations on the national highway network” to drive adoption.

According to the study, electric vehicles are likely to account for 30 per cent of the national fleet by 2040, with 70 per cent new car sales expected to be fully electric.

Behyad Jafari, CEO of the Australia Electric Vehicle Council, said the report should give the Federal Government another nudge toward taking decisive action on the burgeoning technology.

“Infrastructure Australia is the objective authority on what the nation needs to start building. If their experts recognise a national fast-charging network as a high priority, then governments should heed the call,” Jafari argued, calling out the fact electric vehicle range is improving and the cost of entry is dropping.

“The key factor holding back the mass uptake on electric vehicles in Australia is consumer uncertainty about charging infrastructure.”

October 2018 saw the announcement of a $15 million high-speed charge network linking Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide and Sydney, along with Perth’s north and south. This report takes things a step further, calling for the nation’s major corridors – including from Melbourne to Perth, and Darwin to Adelaide – be electrified.

Stations will be no more than 200km apart, will be powered by renewable energy, and will support the full range of electric vehicles on sale in Australia at the moment.

Each station will have two outlets, both of which will be capable of 350kW charging. ARENA says it should take just 15 minutes to add between 200 and 400km of range, up to 15 times faster than home charging.

CarAdvice attended the launch of the first charge station in Euroa, Victoria, where a trio of manufacturers put pressure on the Federal Government to throw its support – and money – behind the electric revolution.

Jaguar Land Rover Australia’s then-new managing director, Mark Cameron, said we’re “quite a way behind” the rest of the developed world on “infrastructure, and incentives, and the view of electric cars”, arguing “governments that have said ‘right, we want to move to an electric, no-carbon future very quickly’ have put the right foundations in place”.

His calls were echoed by senior members of the Hyundai and Audi teams at the time. All contained a sense of urgency, summed up in the following quote from Behyad Jafari.

“Australians can and should be able to drive all over this massive nation with complete confidence in a zero-emission vehicle. The technology exists. We just need the political will to make it happen,” he said.

“The advantages of a mass transition to electric vehicles are manifest. Carbon emissions would fall, pollution in our cities would be phased out, our insecure dependence on foreign oil could be eradicated.

“But if we are to seize this exciting potential we need governments to show the public that EVs are supported.”