The National Roads and Motorists’ Association (NRMA) is set to end free fast-charging as it gears up to fund its rapidly expanding national electric vehicle (EV) charging network.

    As reported by The Driven, the motoring group expects to launch a trial for payments on its 50kW DC fast-charging network later this year.

    The entire NRMA EV fast-charging network, which currently consists of more than 50 stations in New South Wales, is free for every EV driver. This reportedly creates queues and frustrations at certain in-demand stations.

    NRMA Energy CEO Carly Irving-Dolan told The Driven the motoring group is developing a smartphone app that will allow payments to be made at its fast-charging network.

    “The aim is that around October, November is when we will start to look at a trial (for billing),” said Ms Irving-Dolan.

    “And if we can get that right, then we’ll go from there. But that is the plan.”

    Ms Irving-Dolan added charging rates haven’t been decided yet, but said it’ll be “very competitive”.

    Chargefox, which is now wholly owned by the Australian motor clubs, as well as Evie recently upped the pricing on certain 50kW DC chargers from $0.40 per kWh to $0.45 per kWh.

    “We’re not here to make… huge amounts of money at all, it’s just to ensure that we can actually continue to build infrastructure for the users,” said Ms Irving-Dolan to The Driven.

    The NRMA announced in April it would partner with the Federal Government to build 117 additional EV fast-charging sites across Australia. This funding partnership is worth $78.6 million.

    These upcoming EV charging stations are designed to ensure regional and remote areas are connected to a fast-charging network.

    The EV fast-charging stations will be made up of four bays and up to 400kW capacity, which means if all four bays are being used charging will be limited to around 100kW.

    Ms Irving-Dolan told The Driven some of these remote sites will be standalone with “trailer packs” with the chargers, solar, batteries and potentially some diesel back-up. Satellite communications will also be needed, as there will be no 4G or 5G communications.

    “So we have to build some solutions to enable some of those areas to actually be able to charge,” said Ms Irving-Dolan.

    The NRMA Energy CEO told the publication that Australia needs an estimated 30,000 EV fast-charging sites. They also mentioned the need to focused on urban areas where some people have no off-street parking.

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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