Variable time of use pricing at new South Australian EV fast chargers is a good experiment

    During the next year and a bit, South Australian EV owners and tourists driving through the state will progressively gain access to a lot more proper fast chargers 100kW and above and it seems that time of use variable EV charger pricing might become common in SA.

    Reader Matthew Moyle-Croft sent me photos of some new South Australian fast-charging locations he’d tried recently.

    The first is RAA Chargefox at Barossa Central Shopping Centre which has a single 150kW dual CCS 2 Kempower unit priced at $0.68/kWh 5-10pm and $0.59/kWh at other times.

    Matthew said while the peak possible speed is 150kw, his car battery was above 50% and wasn’t warm so he only reached a 70kW charge rate.

    The next location he tried nearby was Engie Chargefox Rocland Nuriootpa which has what looks like five Tritium PKM150 units servicing an impressive 10 charging bays. This allows 5 EV’s with CCS 2 sockets and 5 EV’s with CHAdeMO sockets to charge at the same time.

    This location has been reported as being very expensive in some EV media coverage but at the time of Matthew’s photo, the $0.40 price/kWh displayed for the time period of peak solar output was reasonable. At other times the price is $0.80/kWh.

    This is explained by the SA government which makes it clear that the pricing at that site will fluctuate:

    “The Rocland Group and JET Charge, at the new Sturt Highway service station in Nuriootpa, will demonstrate how rapid EV charging using time of use pricing tariffs and surge pricing or dynamic power delivery can support and positively influence regional EV charging behaviours”.

    “The 10 rapid charging bays will provide up to 150kW of power output to a vehicle and customers will benefit from a flexible pricing model that will incentivize use during periods of high renewable energy generation”.

    “The trial will demonstrate how essential highway EV smart charging can contribute to overall electricity system strength, without adversely impacting upon EV driver perceptions or user experience on regional road trips”.

    Obviously, since South Australia is a world leader in renewable energy generation it makes sense for heavy electricity use like EV charging to be shifted to the middle of the day to soak up peak solar output.

    Of course, there may be some unhappiness amongst Aussie EV drivers using these new fast chargers but I’m not against the experiment as it should show that variable pricing changes user behaviour.

    Time of Use pricing is well established as a way to shift demand from times when it is expensive to provide a service, to when it is cheaper to provide it.

    As an example, my home electricity meter is set to a time-of-use tariff so my off-peak and shoulder power rates are about half the cost of a peak period kWh.

    When that meter change occurred I made sure most of my heavy home electricity consumption eg: heating, cooling, dishwasher, dryer, hot water heater etc occurred (in order of preference):

    • during the middle of the day when our solar panels generate the most power,
    • then shoulder/solar generation overlap period,
    • then off-peak
    • lastly avoiding any heavy use during the peak time range.
    Neerav Bhatt
    Neerav Bhatt
    Thanks to his broad general knowledge, research skills and ability to explain complex issues Neerav Bhatt has appeared in the online, print, radio and TV media including: ABC (Online, TV, Radio), SBS (Online, Radio), BBC World Service (Radio), 10 News TV, Sky News TV, Australian IT, Technology Spectator, Ausdroid, iTnews, APCMAG, IDG CSO and a variety of other publications. In 2023 he joined the techAU team and represents them at Sydney events.

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