EV owners looking to recoup some of their hard-earned could soon see their daily commute covered by plugging into a series of free charging stations.
Emerging EV charging company Jolt is rolling out a network of chargers in Australia with a business model that will largely see advertisers fit the bill instead of users through the use of roadside billboards.
The Australian-owned charging network, which currently has six stations in Adelaide, will soon expand to 16 stations over the coming weeks before it moves into Sydney this May.
Similar to rival services, users can access the network by downloading the Jolt app, where they can recharge up to 7kWh for free in around 15 minutes at a rate of 25kW, however, time can vary depending on the car.
While not enough to fully charge a battery, with common EVs such as the Nissan Leaf fitted with a 40kWh pack, that free 7kWh is enough for most EVs to travel around 45km – with access to the free charging restricted to every 24 hours.
Users are also able to request more power after the 7kWh is added at a rate of 42 cents per kW, a fee that is slightly more expensive than Chargefox that demands 40 cents per kW without the initial free period.
For context, when charging for a full hour with the free period included it would cost a total of $7.56 and add 25kWh to the battery, which is significantly more cost-efficient than a petrol equivalent.
Michael Selden, the head of sales and platforms at Jolt told Chasing Cars, their service could see many EV owners save around $1,000 worth of electricity in a year.
“Our whole business model is about helping transition carbon-based petrol owners to EV cars by lowering that cost of ownership,” he said.
“In the (Sydney) Inner West 55 per cent of households don’t have access to off-street parking, therefore, they would never consider an EV, so our whole business is about having EV chargers in highly visible locations which will help anyone who’s driving a petrol-based car that is considering an EV to make the switch.”
The next phase of the rollout will see a slew of stations pop up around Sydney in locations in the Eastern Suburbs, Inner West, North Shore and the Northern Beaches. Faster chargers capable of 50kW are also a strong possibility for the future but no dates have yet been set.
Mr Selder said the visible locations of the billboards served a dual purpose to not only creating better value for advertisers but to reinforce confidence in the charging network.
“At the moment, if you’re not driving an EV you don’t really know (the infrastructure) exists, it’s always tucked away at the bottom of shopping centres or the basements of car parks,“ he said.
EV ownership still faces a large hurdle of a large upfront cost but the growing network of free and affordable chargers could go some way to help lower the running costs once buyers have swapped the cash for the keys.
Jolt currently has the following six locations open in Adelaide.
The following stations will be opened within the next week.
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