Like most developed countries, Australia is planning on phasing out internal combustion-engined vehicles in exchange for environmentally-friendly electric vehicles over the next decade. Back in 2019, the Labor Party revealed an “ambitious” plan to have 50% of all new car sales be EVs by 2030. At the time, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (“FCAI”) said that “anything is possible” provided the required infrastructure and buyer incentives are made available. The Australian government has since committed $21 million in funding to public charging infrastructure through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (“ARENA”).
In June, Australian electric charging provider Jet Charge received $3.5 million from the government to develop new technology that will reduce and ultimately eliminate the cost of charging an electric vehicle at home. The funds were administered by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (“CEDC”) on behalf of the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Innovation Fund. They will be used to fast track the development of hardware that can manage when and how electric vehicles take power from the grid, thus allowing people to charge during off-peak hours or when renewable power penetration of the grid is at its highest at lower costs.
Jet Charge has been developing smart charging hardware for a while but this infusion of cars will accelerate the process, and the hardware will aid in better-integrating EV stations into the Australian electricity grid. “If we make sure electric car owners don’t charge at high grid periods, you can offer them at a cheaper price, that lower the cost of charging for people,” says Jet Charge co-founder and CEO Tim Washington.
“Our goal is to make EV charging free within five years, it doesn’t mean you won’t get an electricity bill, you still will, but it means you will be rewarded for certain charging behaviors,” he says. The infusion of federal funding was part of Jet Charge’s latest capital raising round of $4.5 million. The additional capital was raised from private investors and industry executives.
According to Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor, the government’s investment aimed to remove the barriers to electric car uptake without removing consumer choice. “We are taking practical action to address barriers to EV uptake so that Australians who choose to adopt new technologies can,” he said in a statement.
“What the Government won’t do is tell Australians what kind of car they can and can’t buy, or introduce a tax to meet an electric car target. Labor’s policy to force Australians to buy electric vehicles will increase the cost of buying a new car by as much as $5,000. We want to back transport technologies and local businesses that enable consumer choice and have the potential to lower energy costs.”
Experts say the actions being taken by the authorities in Australia are commendable, and North American EV players like Workhorse Group Inc. (NASDAQ: WKHS) may be wishing that the U.S. government takes bolder steps to make electric vehicles more attractive and accessible for all consumers.
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