FORGET pulling into the servo. Electric cars of the future will refuel at destinations which suit our habits.
E-mobility technology company Tritium has worked in 27 countries installing electric car charging infrastructure, with facilities being installed at popular destinations, as well as restaurants, shopping centres and hotels.
“At the moment with petrol cars everyone goes to the petrol station and they fill up, the beauty we have here is that electricity is accessible in lots of different places,” Tritium chief product officer Paul Sernia said.
“We really have an opportunity to create a refuelling experience that suits the habits of the driver and do what is most convenient for them.
“Electricity is everywhere. It’s a very accessible fuel source so it’s about looking at everything, not just about supply but where the drivers are and what they need.”
The Veefil-RT chargers along the Queensland Electric Super Highway can provide about 50km for every 10 minutes of charge. But Tritium also installs even faster Veefil-PK chargers that can provide up to 350km of range over the same period.
While service stations are expected to ultimately adopt the quicker systems as drivers migrate to electric cars, Mr Sernia said simply replicating the petrol refuelling system was not the only solution.
“It’s available to anyone. We see cafes, restaurants, fast foot outlets internationally all installing charging stations because they want to offer this service to their customers,” he said.
“You don’t need to build a whole network, we have customers that put one or two in and that’s efficient for their use.”
Chargers on the electric highway, which stretches from the NSW border to Cairns, will remain free until mid-year.
Once costs are finalised, it’s expected prices will be slightly cheaper or on par with petrol-powered alternatives.
More than half of all electric car buyers do the majority of their charging at home, with public chargers used to top-up or while undertaking longer journeys.
Mr Sernia said doomsday predictions of an electric shortage were unfounded.
“We don’t need to build more power stations and we don’t need to upgrade our distribution networks. Electric vehicle charging can be managed,” he said.
“The beauty of electric vehicles is when you need the energy is within set windows, and you have very big windows when you are not using the vehicle so you have a lot of choices of what time you can refuel the car. That situation where they all turn on at once won’t happen. They will be managed. People will be turning them on at times when it’s off-peak and naturally turn them on at times of low demand.
“There are a lot of different strategies. I think we are more than able to adequately cope with an influx of electric vehicles.
“We’ve not seen that anywhere, even countries like Norway where their energy demands spike. It’s a worst case scenario that really never happens.”