Charge an electric car for $5? Energy trial goes public

A program promising to fully charge an electric car at home for $5 has been opened to the public after two months of testing.

Origin Energy announced the wider launch of its EV Power Up program on Tuesday after trialling the service with 200 drivers from March, and receiving more than 1000 applications for the scheme.

The program, which automatically recharges vehicles during off-peak times and with cheap, renewable energy, promises to cut more than $450 off the price of typical at-home charging.

It also comes during a challenging time for vehicle-charging infrastructure after one of the nation’s biggest hardware providers went into administration and questions were raised about Tesla’s Supercharger rollout plans.

Origin Energy first revealed its car-charging program in February and received more expressions of interest than it could accommodate.

The EV Power Up program, which is available to Origin customers and Tesla drivers, offers electricity at 8c per kilowatt hour, which the provider estimates would fill a Tesla Model Y for $4.60.

The cheaper rate is only available during off-peak times and when renewable energy is high, though users can opt out of the cheaper rate if they need to charge their car immediately.

Origin future energy general manager Brendan Manzie said the scheme provided price certainty for electric vehicle drivers but would also support national electricity grid as the number of EVs in Australia grew.

Mr Manzie said the company also planned to expand the scheme to support more electric vehicle brands in future, such as BYD, MG and Volvo.

“We’re starting with Tesla vehicles – the most popular EV brand in Australia – and look forward to progressively expanding EV Power Up to support a range of EV models in the near future,” he said.

The company estimates electric vehicle drivers could charge their cars annually for $122 under the scheme, compared to $574 under normal electricity tariffs and $1055 at a public charger.

Origin Energy is not the only electricity retailer to offer electric vehicle charging incentives, however, with companies including AGL, Ovo Energy and Simply Energy providing discounted rates of six to eight cents per kilowatt hour to charge vehicles during off-peak times.

The scheme will launch to the public at a challenging time for public car charging after Australian tech giant Tritium went into voluntary administration in April, and questions were raised about Tesla’s public charging network after layoffs were reported within its Supercharger division.

In an email to Australian Tesla owners, however, the company said “projects currently in construction are continuing to be completed and put into operation”.


Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson
(Australian Associated Press)


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