Warning over 'misleading' EV incentive attracting Aussies to buy

A little-known detail about public EV chargers has ignited debate online with some suggesting it's unfair to other drivers.

King George Square car park provides free EV charging to drivers.
Drivers debated whether it is fair that some car parks provide EV charging for free. Source: Facebook

A driver eager to praise parking facilities in one major city has revealed a little-known electric vehicle (EV) perk that many motorists had no idea about, igniting pushback from those who don't drive EVs.

And despite the perk being broadly appreciated by those who do own an EV, one expert believes it's a "misleading" incentive that will eventually catch them out.

EV driver Daniel Stapley parked his car in the King George Square car park in central Brisbane on Monday and was so impressed by the charging bays available there that he praised the facility on social media, delighted to learn it didn't cost any extra money to recharge his car on top of the parking fee.

"I was more surprised because it's a very convenient location right in the city, and they had a good number of bays available," Stapley told Yahoo News. Fees to park at King George Square are $24 for the first hour on a weekday.

After the perk was revealed online, one motorist was frustrated to learn EV drivers had some public charging facilities available for free, saying that "no business offers free petrol" and it was therefore unfair EV drivers dodge this expense in some locations.

"Free charging. Why?" he asked.

The question sparked debate and many EV drivers defended the perk, pointing out their cars are much more environmentally friendly than other vehicles on the road, and therefore this should be rewarded. It was also mentioned free charging is in the best interest of businesses now there has been an uptick in EV sales — with over 87,200 electric vehicles sold in the country last year.

There have been free charging stations sprouting up in shopping centres and public car parks, both private and council-funded, around the country, with Woolworths even offering it at some stores. However, many public chargers are only available at a cost.

Despite most people being hard-pressed to dislike a free perk, one "big supporter of electric vehicles" believes free public chargers aren't going to be viable in the long run, instead calling them a "misleading" incentive.

The Queanbeyan council in NSW has been praised for installing 20 free 7Kw charging stations. Source: Facebook
The Queanbeyan council in NSW has been praised for installing 20 free 7Kw charging stations. Source: Facebook

"In my opinion, it's going to be temporary. It's an incentive to motivate people to embrace and accept electric vehicles," Mehdi Seyedmahmoudian, renewable energy professor from Swinburne University of Technology told Yahoo News.

Offering free charging facilities will ultimately come to an end, especially as more and more Aussies buy an EV and the demand for infrastructure continues to "rapidly grow", Seyedmahmoudian said.

"Whether drivers like it or not, electric vehicles are coming... we have to make sure we are providing reliable, cost-effective electricity for people who are buying electric vehicles," he added.

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