AC/DC - Its Time To Power Up!


As an EV-er living between Canberra and the Illawarra, life is pretty breezy, I can park at home or at work and plug in hassle free. Worst case, I can jump on a rapid charger when my haphazard planning rears its shameful head.

The above sounds ideal, but reality is, I spend a good third of my time in heart of Sydney every week. Which is where I've witnessed firsthand the growing pains of our ‘electric vehicle revolution’.  

While Australia's EV adoption is accelerating, we're staring down the barrel of a significant roadblock - quite literally when it comes to charging infrastructure, especially for those of us without the luxury of a private garage or driveway.

In big cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, space is at a premium. Many of us call apartments home or live in areas where off-street parking is as rare as hens’ teeth and, oh... if you do find a park, be prepared for the automotive equivalent of the octagon!  

When rapid charging is the only option, it’s here that a massive challenge for potential EV owners lurks. After all, who wants to buy an electric car if you can't charge it conveniently and maintain its optimal performance long-term? I've seen some creative and frankly, concerning solutions from desperate EV owners (including myself). Extension cords snaking across footpaths, cable concealing polypipe flanked with witches ‘hats or precariously balanced on makeshift ramps and gantries … the list goes on.

While I admire the ingenuity and deeply understand the need, one thing is crystal clear - we need a better way! This is where kerbside AC charging comes into play. It's a game-changer for urban EV adoption, offering a lifeline to those of us without off-street parking. 

AC charging is universal for all EV’s and super convenient. For people who live in single/dual dwelling residences with private off-street parking (like me 66.6% of the time) can easily set up an AC charging solution at home, which means you can plug in your car overnight and wake up to a battery that is appropriately charged. This can be on anything from a trickle charger plugged directly into a 10 or 15amp socket through to a 7kw-22kw wall box.  

Conversely, building committees in apartment complexes with dedicated resident parking spaces often baulk at the idea of installing chargers, citing costs, safety and logistical hurdles. I've heard stories of EV owners spending months navigating strata politics just to get permission for a single charging point which in the end is met with a resounding no. It's enough to make you want to plug your own ears and take up walking full time. An excellent idea that I fully endorse but … not entirely practical for all. 

Whilst AC charging doesn’t have the instantaneousness ‘wow’ factor of an ultra-rapid charger, AC charging is much gentler on your car's battery long term. Think of it as giving your traction battery a nice relaxing massage rather than a high-intensity workout, ultimately better supporting its health long-term. AC charging is also typically cheaper than its speedier DC counterpart. The equipment costs less to install and maintain, and you can often take advantage of lower electricity rates by charging during off-peak hours.

Another great thing about AC charging is that it's generally widely available. If you take a look on PlugShare you'll already find AC chargers at many workplaces, shopping centers, and public parking spots. This means you can top up your battery while you're going about your day-to-day  business.


I am pleased to say however, there is definite hope on the horizon for those of us without off-street parking or combative body corporates. In recent years, I’ve been impressed by the ease of access to ever increasing AC kerbside charging when visiting the UK.  Companies like Connected Kerb are revolutionising kerbside charging with sleek, unobtrusive designs that blend seamlessly into urban landscapes. Their chargers can be integrated into existing street furniture like bollards and lamp posts and are heralded as a hugely valued asset, not just by EV owners but the broader communities they are situated in.


Here in Australia, we're starting to see these positive steps reflected. The New South Wales Government recently announced a significant rollout of kerbside chargers, with plans for over 600 charging ports across the state. EVX and ChargePost are two of the recent recipients for round one of these grants and aim to address the critical challenge of providing accessible AC charging infrastructure, particularly for EV users without adequate home charging options. 

In February this year, I was a little bit ecstatic to see that Wollongong City Council and Endeavour Energy had partnered with EVX to bring pole-mounted EV chargers to the streets of Wollongong, Austinmer, and Thirroul. This initiative is already making life easier for both EV owning residents and visitors, showing that with the right approach, we can overcome the challenges of urban EV charging.


Of course, kerbside charging isn't without its challenges. We need to consider issues like equitable access, maintenance, and integration with existing infrastructure. But I'm optimistic that with the right approach, we can overcome these hurdles. 

The road to widespread AC kerbside charging may be long, but it's one we need to travel if we want to make EVs accessible to all Australians, regardless of where they live.  AC it's a reliable, cost-effective, and convenient way to keep your electric car running. For most EV owners, it's the perfect solution for everyday charging needs.


Currently, there isn't a single agreed-upon ratio for charging infrastructure Australia, however the consensus seems to lean towards a range of 10-20 EVs per public charger, with the understanding that this can vary based on local factors and the type of charging infrastructure available.

Our key goal should be to learn from global best practices and work together to create an EV-friendly future for our cities.  

After all, the only thing that should be running out on our streets is our enthusiasm for clean transport – not our battery charge!

You can find out more about EVX, ChargePost and Connected Kerb through their respective highlighted links.