Thursday, September 21, 2023

The NRMA comes to the rescue of flat EVs as the NSW government opens its latest electric commercial vehicle fleet incentive program

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NSW motoring association the NRMA has been helping motorists with dead car batteries for a century and now it’s coming to the rescue of the next generation with roadside assistance for dead battery electric vehicles, putting patrol vans on the road with rechargeable battery packs.

These are small steps for now, but a start. Only two vans, in Sydney and Canberra, with 4.8 kWh lithium-ion batteries to charge, will patrol. They give a stranded EV 5 km of range in just 10 minutes to get to the nearest charging station.

NRMA (not the insurance brand) has already built a network of more than 50 fast chargers and last year spearheaded the $56 million acquisition of Australia’s largest public EV charging network, Chargefox.

But as of now, NRMA Roadside Assistance will cover EVs at no additional cost to members, as well as access to NRMA’s network of more than 50 fast chargers.

Roadside Assistance patrol Tim Bryant said they are seeing more and more EV drivers calling us for help.

“NRMA patrols are now trained to look after both internal combustion engines and electric vehicles,” he said.

“The new mobile EV chargers being rolled out in our patrol cars will help us get more cars back on the road faster.”

Range anxiety continues to be a major problem for long-haul drivers when it comes to electric vehicles.

NRMA is now rolling out and operating a network of fast-charging stations across the country in a deal with the federal and state governments. The network currently includes 50 locations in NSW serving the state’s major tourist and transportation corridors, including the Hume, Newell, Sturt, Oxley, Great Barrier freeways, and the Mitchell, Pacific, Olympic and Great Western freeways.

The Motorists’ Association announcement comes as NSW Treasurer Matt Keen announced that Round 3 of the Drive Electric NSW EV Fleets incentive had opened. Registrations close on May 23. Details here.

Kean said the first two rounds are expected to increase EV registrations by more than 10%, with more than 1,000 vehicles hitting the road after the second round.

“The second round had 20 successful bidders – 17 individual fleets and three fleet aggregators – who will receive a financial incentive to move to electric cars,” he said.

“Successful bidders will also receive financial support to co-finance more than 1,000 smart chargers in total.”

The government is offering $105 million to support commercial fleets with the purchase of new electric cars.

Round 2 recipients are: Splend, Custom Fleet, Reliance, IAG, Woollahra Municipal Council, Carbon Leasing and Rentals Pty Ltd, Northern Beaches Council, Murray River Council, CB Cars Pty Ltd, Palm Investment Holdings Pty Ltd, NRMA-owned SIXT Australia , Origin Energy, ElevenX, Lockhart Shire Council, Essential Energy, Campbelltown City Council, Ballina Shire Council, Karmo Cars and TAS Australia.

The stimulus is part of the $633 million electric vehicle strategy

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