“The issue of standardisation of EV charging plugs is a good example of why national leadership on EVs in needed. That’s exactly what Labor’s EV policy will deliver,” Mr Butler said.
“We’ve made it clear that as part of our EV policy, we’ll work to promote national standards for EV charging infrastructure and ensure investment in public charging stations meet these standards.”
Grattan Institute energy director Tony Wood likened the lack of uniformity on chargers to the differing rail gauges across Australian states, which limited the national rail network.
“One of the biggest challenges in building charging infrastructure is in making it standardised,” Mr Wood said.
The debate over charging standards comes as the electric vehicle industry becomes a key policy battleground ahead of the federal election due next month.
Labor has a target of making half of all new cars sold in Australia electric by 2030. Prime Minister Scott Morrison criticised the policy, saying it would force Australians to buy EVs against their will.
Electric vehicles currently account for less than 1 per cent of cars on the road in Australia.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) said the absence of mandated charging standards could slow the uptake of EVs but the industry was working to solve it.
“Charging standards within Australia would enable vehicle manufacturers and EV charging infrastructure providers to make investment in future EV-related product plans with reduced risk,” the FCAI said.
“To encourage the uptake of EVs and the roll out of public recharging infrastructure, Australia’s vehicle industry has decided to make a commitment to harmonise national EV charging standards.”
Australian Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari said the industry was rallying around a voluntary standard in the absence of government leadership to date.
Mr Jafari said the industry was looking at CC2 and CHAdeMO chargers as standard for regular and fast-chargers. New Zealand used CC2 as the standard for regular charging.
An Australian energy analyst, who preferred to remain anonymous, said Tesla’s dominance of the EV market meant charging standards would converge around its models.
Covering energy and policy at Fairfax Media.