With the increasing demand for electric vehicles (EVs) and the growing acceptance of cleaner energy alternatives, new policies have been introduced to address the surge in interest.
The NSW Electric Vehicle Strategy (2021) projects a significant rise in EV sales to 52% by 2030–31, necessitating additional Electric Vehicle Charging (EVC) units across the state. These changes aim to streamline the approval process for building charging facilities, encouraging further investment in EV infrastructure.
This article aims to take you into deeper detail about this regulation as well as how to extend your EV’s battery life. Let’s get into it.
What’s the policy regarding electric vehicles in Australia?
The rise in interest and adoption of electric vehicles, driven by a growing acceptance of emerging technologies and cleaner energy choices, has led to increased demand. According to the NSW Electric Vehicle Strategy (2021), it is anticipated that electric vehicle sales will make up 52% of total sales by 2030–31. This surge in demand necessitates more Electric Vehicle Charging (EVC) units. Therefore, there is a need for additional electric vehicle facilities strategically located across the state.
To address this, new policies have been introduced to simplify the process of building charging facilities. These proposed changes aim to create a more straightforward approval process, encouraging increased investment in charging locations.
Where can information about planning pathways for EVC units be found?
Details about the planning approval pathways for EVC units are outlined in the NSW State Environmental Planning Policy (Transport and Infrastructure) 2021 (State Policy). Depending on the size or location of the EVC unit, the State Policy outlines three distinct planning approval pathways:
- Exempt development: This pertains to very low-impact development. If the proposed works adhere to all development standards specified in the State Policy, no approval is required from the local council.
- Development with consent: This refers to development that requires approval from a consent authority, such as a council or the Planning Minister. Council approvals under Part 4 of the EP&A Act are the most common type of consent.
- Development without consent: This applies to activities conducted by councils, NSW Government departments or agencies, or private bodies considered public authorities.
So, do you need planning permission for EV chargers in Australia?
What can be done without seeking consent for development?
Public authorities have the flexibility to install certain types of Electric Vehicle Charging (EVC) units without obtaining development consent. However, before carrying out this activity, they must undergo an environmental assessment as per Part 5 of the EP&A Act. The placement of these units should be on a footpath adjacent to an area where vehicles can legally park. This approach ensures that new EVC units are strategically assessed, leading to positive on-ground outcomes. Similar to the exempt development pathway, Section 2.124 of the State Policy outlines the complete set of development standards that must be met before installing an EVC unit without consent.
What requires consent for development?
The State Policy also outlines planning pathways for installing EVC units through the development with consent provisions. Section 2.124A permits electricity supply authorities or public authorities to develop EVC units on any land, provided they do not obstruct movement or interfere with firefighting equipment. For scenarios involving substations, electrical supply authorities can utilize this pathway.
In cases where homeowners lack access to a private garage or carport and need to park on the street, the development with a consent planning pathway allows them to install an EVC unit on public land (Section 2.124B). Homeowners can apply for a development application with the council for installation on public land, provided the electrical power is connected to the residential dwelling and cables are located underground.
Additionally, Section 2.124C allows for the development of EVC units in various zones or on land containing existing service stations, highway service centres, or car washing facilities.
How to maintain your electric vehicle battery for longevity?
Even though electric vehicle batteries generally last 15-20 years on average, like all batteries, they undergo ageing and wear. No need to fret, though – you can take several simple steps to enhance the health and lifespan of your EV battery, all of which we’ll cover in this blog.
Follow these six easy tips to care for your electric car battery and extend its life:
Limit the use of rapid and ultra-rapid EV charging
Rapid and ultra-rapid public EV chargers are great when your battery is running low and you need a quick charge. With high charging rates of 50kW and above, you can replenish your electric car in as little as 20-45 minutes.
These chargers are usually found in public places like supermarkets and hotels, and ultra-rapid EV charging points with rates of 150kW are often at motorway service stations.
While the allure of rapid charging for its quick turnaround may be strong for daily use, it’s crucial not to rely on these charging points exclusively for regular top-ups or full charges. High direct current (DC) charging rates, particularly those above 22kW, can strain your battery, leading to quicker degradation and reduced EV range over time.
Instead, reserve rapid charging for pre-long-journey top-ups and emergencies only. Frequent use of rapid charging could harm your electric car battery. For daily charging, industry experts recommend using a 3.6kW, 7kW, 11kW, or 22kW home electric car charger, as they impose less strain on the battery by utilizing AC (alternating current) from the grid. This not only offers cost benefits but also enhances convenience, especially if you invest in a home EV charger.
Maintain Your EV Charge Between 20-80%
If your EV battery frequently drops below a 20% charge, it can lead to decreased performance over time, causing range anxiety. Similarly, charging your lithium battery to 100% regularly can expedite degradation.
To optimize your EV battery’s health, avoid charging it to 100% every night, if possible. Keeping your charge between 20-80% puts the least strain on your battery. It’s a good practice to charge your EV up to 80% to minimize range anxiety or keep it within the 20-80% range for optimal performance.
Many modern electric vehicles offer features to help maintain this 20-80% balance. For instance, the Tesla Model Y allows you to set a charging limit through its internal touchscreen. This feature ensures your EV stops charging at 80%, whether you’re using home chargers or public charging points. Taking advantage of this functionality prevents unnecessary strain on your electric car battery.
An effective way to enhance your charging habits and preserve battery life is to invest in a smart home EV charger. These chargers come with advanced features that minimize reliance on DC rapid chargers, making it easier to keep your charge within the recommended 20-80% range.
Charge Your EV Fully Only for Long Trips
As mentioned earlier, it’s advisable to avoid regularly charging your EV to 100%, as this practice can harm your electric vehicle’s battery. Instead, it’s best to adhere to EV battery charging guidelines, which recommend a full charge only before embarking on long journeys. Charging to 100% frequently can lead to battery damage, and unless you’re covering substantial distances daily, the need for a full 100% charge is rare.
Therefore, reserve charging your EV to 100% for occasions when you genuinely require the entire range, such as road trips or extended journeys.
Shield Your EV from Extreme Temperatures
Similar to conventional vehicles, your electric car is better off parked in the shade rather than exposed to direct sunlight for prolonged periods. Shaded parking helps keep the battery cool, preventing overheating and ensuring longevity and optimal battery performance.
Likewise, extremely hot or cold weather can adversely affect your EV’s battery, leading to reduced efficiency and diminished range. To counteract this performance decline, park your electric car in a garage or an enclosed parking space whenever possible.
Avoid Charging Your EV Right After Driving
Allow your electric car to cool down before initiating the charging process. For instance, after a lengthy drive on the highway, it’s not recommended to start charging your EV immediately upon arriving home.
Ideally, aim to charge your electric vehicle during the coolest times of the day or night to promote the well-being of your EV battery. Using a smart electric car charger, you can schedule your EV to charge when temperatures are at their lowest. Since temperatures tend to be cooler overnight, this not only benefits your battery but also results in more cost-effective charging.
Take Short Drives in Your EV
Similar to traditional petrol and diesel cars, it’s essential to prevent your vehicle from sitting idle or parked in the same spot for extended periods. Regular short drives with your electric vehicle contribute to the maintenance of the EV’s battery and overall health.
If you use your electric car daily, this tip may not be a significant concern, as it likely gets sufficient activity. On the other hand, if it has been a while since your last drive, consider taking your electric car for a brief spin to ensure your battery remains in optimal condition.