Small service station owners have renewed calls for the Federal Government to help them pay for the installation of fast chargers for electric vehicles (EV), as part of Energy Minister Chris Bowen’s plan to encourage more Australian motorists to buy an EV.
Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) CEO Theo Foukkare said thousands of ‘Mum and Dad’ businesses want to install fast chargers, however most do not have the financial means to do so.
“Our members want to get on board with this, but most don’t have access to half a million dollars to upgrade their electrical grids – and they need to do that to install fast chargers for EVs,” Mr Foukkare said.
“We’d like to work with Mr Bowen and the Albanese Government to develop a fund that smaller servos can apply to, to help pay for the upgrade needed.”
Mr Foukkare said governments at all levels had rolled out slow chargers, which can take hours to charge a single vehicle.
“The ones we’ve seen from government are slow and often they can only be used by two cars at once.
“That’s leaves motorists waiting in line for hours – just to get a bit of power to finish their trip,” Mr Foukkare said.
He said small business convenience stores want to install EV charging points to cater for increased demand and to remain financially viable.
“They want to be part of this significant, environmentally responsible change and they need to keep people in work too,” Mr Foukkare said.
“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 70,000 people across Australia – so they could certainly do with the extra business.
“We want to keep people employed and look after the environment – it’s as simple as that.
“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.
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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