EV owners urged to change charging behaviour for Easter

Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson |

Electric chargers are expected to be in high demand over the Easter holidays.
Electric chargers are expected to be in high demand over the Easter holidays.

Record numbers of electric vehicles are expected to hit Australian roads this Easter holiday period and experts are calling for drivers to plan ahead to avoid lengthy charging queues. 

Australia’s second-largest charging provider, Evie Networks, warned it expects more than 10,000 drivers to use its chargers over the four-day holiday, with Saturday tipped as its busiest day.

The warning comes after electric vehicle sales more than doubled in Australia during 2023 and as some experts say the nation’s charging network has yet to catch up to the growth. 

Evie Networks charging business head Bernhard Conoplia said the company expected charging stations to be even busier this Easter than at Christmas as the number of electric cars ballooned and driver confidence grew. 

“We watched this period last year and we saw that Easter is just as busy as Christmas,” he said. 

“Last year, the peak was on Easter Saturday, followed by Easter Monday, and Sunday was a bit quieter.”

But Mr Conoplia said Australia’s charging networks were better positioned to cope with the holiday rush after expanding their reach and charging points during 2023.

Figures from data firm Next System showed Australia added almost 400 sites to its network last year and more than 750 charging points, while Evie Networks alone doubled its network to more than 200 charging locations with nearly 500 bays.

New electric vehicle charging stations have also recently opened in Bowen, north Queensland, by Tesla, in regional South Australia by NRMA, and in Lake Macquarie, NSW, as part of a collaboration between the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and local council.  

But Smart Energy joint managing director Joel Power said more chargers would be needed to support electric Easter road trips and low-emission vehicles in everyday use.

“The rate at which we’re deploying infrastructure is still very behind the uptake of electric cars,” he said. 

“There were nearly 100,000 electric cars sold last year so we’re not keeping up with the pace.”

Mr Power called on state governments to invest in more metropolitan charging stations to support motorists without off-street parking, and said private networks should stop “holding back” the roll-out.

“We’re close to the magic number of EVs,” he said. 

“If sales go up 100 per cent again this year, we will definitely reach a tipping point.”

Mr Conoplia said Evie Networks expected to see the biggest demand this Easter at locations “within two hours of major capital cities”. 

These included Newcastle, Taree and Sutton Forest in NSW, Avenel and Lakes Entrance in Victoria, and along the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sunshine Coast corridor in Queensland. 

“There will be some isolated queuing but people are becoming more aware of how busy it can be around this time of year,” he said. 

“The busiest time is typically in the middle of the day when people are on their journeys but what we’ve seen is that people are planning around that and doing their charging early or late in the day.”

He said electric vehicle drivers should also consider fully charging their cars before travelling, only charging to 80 per cent at a public station, and checking apps to see which bays were occupied. 

AAP