New Australian laws to clamp down on broken electric-car chargers

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New standards due to be introduced next year will require government-funded electric-car charging stations to be operational 98 per cent of the time.


Federal and state governments in Australia are due to introduce laws against unreliable electric-car charging stations next year.

As reported by The Driven, the standard – planned to come into effect from January 2024 – will require all government-funded electric-vehicle charging stations to be functioning at least 98 per cent of the time.

Out-of-order charging stations are a growing issue as more electric cars join Australian roads – and the number of electric-vehicle chargers nationally increases.

It will bring Australia in line with similar charging station ‘uptime’ standards mandated overseas, including 99 per cent in the UK, and 97 per cent in the US.

This reliability standard is planned to be introduced alongside several other electric-vehicle charging-related requirements, such as a common payment system, and multiple charging port options, and a more widespread use of the Combined Charging System (CCS) plug that is fitted to all but two electric vehicles currently sold in Australia.

The roll-out of Australian government-funded electric-vehicle chargers has faced other issues, including rural Australia’s power grid not being able to cope with the extra electricity required to charge vehicles.

Data on electric-vehicle charger ‘uptime’ is generally scarce, and Tesla – which runs one of Australia’s largest electric-vehicle charging networks, comprised of its ‘Superchargers’ – does not publish its numbers.

Tritium – a formerly Brisbane-based manufacturer of charging stations – claims a 97 per cent uptime figure on the Evie charging network in Australia.

However it does not publish a figure for the uptime of its electric-car chargers operated by Chargefox, another major charging network in Australia.

Each government-funded electric-vehicle fast charging station will now be required to have two DC charging units, with two ports each.

Chargers capable of delivering 150kW or more will need to have at least one ‘drive-through’ bay which can be accessed by larger vehicles, including those towing trailers.

The new legislation will require 70 per cent of the plugs at each government-funded fast-charging location to be Combined Charging System (CCS) connectors – and the cables must be long enough to accommodate vehicles with front, side, and rear charging ports.

It is designed to reduce the prevalence of CHAdeMO charging plugs, which are only fitted to two electric vehicles on sale in Australia, and make up a fraction of new electric cars sold.

At least one bay at each charging site also needs to comply with disability-accessible standards.

Already-established government-funded charging sites won’t need to complete these upgrades – and for those where compliance with the new rules is impractical or prohibitive, they can be excepted from certain requirements.

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