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Clean Transport

How to Stop People from Using EV Chargers

After some reflection, I have come to the conclusion that the people making the decisions about where to place electric vehicle chargers do not drive EVs. Some chargers are placed in positions that make their use difficult and inconvenient.

I expect the next comment will be — there is little demand for EV chargers, people don’t use them. Effectively, they have worked out how to stop people using some EV chargers.

Let me be positive first. I have used the Queensland Electric Superhighway fast chargers and found that they are sited in well-lit areas that are easy to access and near amenities such as shops, public toilets, and playgrounds. These sites have been well thought out. Other sites not always so.

Many complaints are surfacing about gas/diesel vehicles parking in EV charging spots. Of course they will if the spot is convenient for the shopping. The same people park in the handicapped spots. The EV charging spot needs to be far enough away from the shop door to make it less attractive to the inconsiderate carpark vultures. But not too far.

The EV charger needs to be in a well-lit area for public safety at night time. It needs to be accessible. We attempted to use one in Gatton. The EV charger was in a parking spot at the end of the row. It was surrounded by large SUVs and work trucks. We simply could not get our Model 3 into the parking bay. Large trees provided shade but hindered maneuverability.

Another hindrance might be cost. I was put off using an EV charger at Springfield because it was in a private carpark. You had to pay to use the carpark and pay for the use of the charger. Thankfully, there are free chargers in a nearby shopping centre. If you install a charger and then price it higher than other chargers within a reasonable distance, people won’t use it.

My local library has installed chargers, and the Brisbane City Council is proud of the achievement. However, the chargers are designed to be used by Nissan Leafs. The council runs a fleet of these. The charging cord is kept in the library. The carpark is locked at night. For me to charge my Tesla, I would have to buy an adaptor, request the cord from the librarian (when the library is open), and charge during the day. These chargers are designed to be used by a very small number of cars at select times. In two years, I have only seen them used once — by a Mitsubishi i-MiEV. 90% of EVs in Australia are Tesla Model 3s.

Low-lying flood-prone areas would be worth a mention also. Hopefully future planners will learn from their mistakes, the charging ecosystem will improve, and placement will no longer deter people from using EV chargers.

 
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Written By

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].

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