Arguably the biggest announcement during today’s MG Accelerate Together virtual press event was the firm’s confirmation that it plans to build a huge “multi-million dollar” public electric vehicle charging network across Australia.
The project will roll out across up to 1000 locations over the next three years, with up to 3000 charger units supplied. Local businesses are set to be the main location focus, with MG specifically naming hotels and resorts as being key locations.
A similar scheme is set to be rolled out in New Zealand eventually, too, although the firm didn’t disclose when this might happen. When quizzed why Australia was getting the first investment, the answer was a simple one; they need it more.
“We’ve considered that very closely, and there is a plan. Thankfully the New Zealand Government has been very forward thinking in their planning, and New Zealand as a country is 83-85 per cent renewable,” says Danny Lenartic, MG Motor Australia product director.
“When it comes to Australia though, and you’re looking at our infrastructure and the needs of the Australian community to access that infrastructure, it’s a lot weaker in this country than it is in New Zealand.”
“So, we’re starting in Australia first, but New Zealand will be considered in due course.”
It seems that a similar plan is closer to being a given, though, judging by MG Motor Australia and New Zealand CEO Peter Ciao’s follow-up. “After Australia is successful and after we know how to [plan], I will start this plan in New Zealand immediately,” he said.
According to numerous reports, Australia only had about 20,000 electric vehicles registered at the end of 2020. That number has risen significantly in 2021, with CarExpert reporting that over 7000 electric vehicles were sold in Australia in the first six months of this year.
However, that still puts Australia behind New Zealand, where over 30,000 electric vehicles are currently registered. This despite Australia’s much larger population and much larger new-vehicle intake.
“In Australia, purchase price is the biggest barrier to adoption of electric vehicles, closely followed by concern at the lack of public charging infrastructure,” said Ciao in a prepared statement.
“When we launched the MG ZS EV in late 2020, we offered the model at a price that delivered great value to customers. This has, in turn, changed the conversation about pricing of electric vehicles in Australia.
“We have achieved our ambition of delivering value and driving discussion. Now, we take the next step by supplying charging hardware that can be used by many electric vehicle owners in Australia.
“This initiative underlines MG Motor’s commitment to the Australian community which has supported us.”