Is Ampol Missing the Point with Electric Vehicles?

From six months, Ampol Australia is building 121 ultra-fast charging stations across its service network. These are being built on the east coast in metropolitan centers and large regional cities. Ampol is aimed at commuters and others who just need a top-up during the day. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which funds these chargers, believes that there will be great growth in electric cars after 2025, when electric cars will be cheaper than petrol cars.

I support any rollout of chargers to support the recording of electric cars, but I think the preconditions behind this project are hard to agree on. First of all, the east coast and metropolitan areas are pretty well covered both with Tesla Superchargers and also with state chargers like those in QESH (Queenslands Electric Super Highway). It would be great if these 121 ultra-fast chargers were built in areas where there are no chargers at all — there are plenty of these areas that we found out on our recent trip to Winton.

Second, commuters and school mothers can charge at home. They do not need ultra-fast charging stations — just plug things in at night and unplug them in the morning. I wonder what marketing will be done to get people to come to servos (gas stations) when they could save money, time and hassle by just charging in their own garage or driveway.

An increase in EV recording is happening in Australia now. 2021 saw a penetration rate of less than 1% of new cars sold as plug-in electric vehicles. By September this year, we had already reached 2%, and it will be even higher by the end of the year when Chinese electric cars get here. By 2025, Australia should be around 50%. Compare this to: “I would expect the growth part of the basket to happen from 2025 onwards and over the next decade after that,” said ARENA CEO Darren Miller, adding that most Australians right now were unaware of the significant savings.

I find Ampol and ARENA a little naive. A quick search for European and Scandinavian EV sales should be enough to convince them that we are entering the upward crossroads of the S curve and that the petrol station industry needs to reinvent itself to this bold new electrical world. People need a reason to get in before you can sell them a choccy bar or a slushy one.

“The types of energy that people need change from being diesel and petrol to diesel, petrol, electricity, maybe hydrogen – that’s our customer base, and Ampol is going to play a leading role in that transition,” says James Myatt , Ampol’s General Manager for Energy, explains. “Electricity is much more efficient and cheaper than petrol and diesel … (and) once you have committed to the upfront costs, people will be pleasantly surprised by the low maintenance and low operating costs of an electric vehicle. And convenience is honestly something that people will really love. ”

I’m glad they will play a leading role. Think they better lead faster. In Norway, very few cars are in line for diesel, petrol or hydrogen. More than 90% of new car sales are plug-in electric.

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