Small business petrol station owners have renewed a call for the Federal Government to
help fund critical power grid upgrades that would allow them to install fast charging
infrastructure for electric vehicles (EVs).

Australian Association of Convenience Stores (ACCS) CEO Theo Foukkare said business
owners wanted to offer the renewable energy option, however most were not able to fund
the half a million-dollar upgrade and installation cost.

“We’ve got thousands of AACS members across the nation that want to go green – but
they’re not able to find the half a million dollars to do it on their own,” he said.

The Federal Government’s released its Electric Vehicle Strategy in April, which it said aimed
to boost supply and demand of EVs, which Mr Foukkare welcomed.

“AACS is supportive of any plan to help Australians reduce emissions,” he said.

“However, we really think a government funded program that helps small business owners
to pay for these critical upgrades is essential to achieve that.”

This week The Australian reported the Electric Vehicle Strategy was set to fail, after
‘government officials predicted fewer than a third of new car sales would be battery operated by 2030’.

Mr Foukkare said a lack of reliable, fast charge EV infrastructure was to blame.

“Public infrastructure charging is being rolled out slowly by the federal, state and territory
governments, however, most only include slow charging equipment.

“That means they can only be used by two cars at once, are very slow in their charging
capacity and potentially leave other drivers waiting hours before they are even able to plug
in,” Mr Foukkare said.

“Of course that’s going to turn off new car buyers from choosing an battery powered EV.”
Mr Foukkare warned the slower charging stations being rolled out by governments often
lacked access to basic amenities.

“Australian motorists expect amenities like toilets, a place to sit and eat or enjoy a coffee,
free WiFi and even somewhere to do a small grocery top up,” he said.

“Our members already have those facilities – and they employ more than 84,000 people
across Australia – so they could certainly do with extra customers.

“The new EV charging companies don’t understand mobility trends and consumer usage like
the convenience and mobility sector does – we’ve have been doing it for decades,” he said.

Mr Foukkare said a grants program would also help to address a “charging void” for the
thousands of Australian drivers who do not have the ability to re-charge an EV at home.

“About 25 per cent of Australia drivers don’t have off street parking, so short of running an
extension cord from their house to the street – they will need to be able to recharge at a
local convenience store,” he said.

Theo Foukkare is available for interview on 0423 003 133

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