Caravan park operators were told to prepare for electric vehicles, but who will pay for them?

Automotive industry leaders say trailer park operators need to start thinking about the ebb and flow effects of electric vehicles (EVs) and how an increase in vehicle charging demand may affect electricity costs.

The Royal Automobile Association’s (RAA) senior manager for mobility and automotive policy, Mark Borlace, said the RAA looked forward to working with the industry to ensure caravan park operators were aware of the potential costs.

“What we’re saying is that we need to think it through and work with the industry to ensure operators don’t go bankrupt trying to spend too much money on infrastructure,” he said.

Caravan Industry Association of Australia general manager Luke Chippindale said many parks were already thinking ahead, with a focus on their infrastructure needs and financial implications.

“We understand that parks have started to install charging points for electric vehicles and many are doing it from an individual perspective, in terms of having to find a point of difference for themselves,” he said.

According to Mr. Chippindale, car tourism accounted for about 75 percent of all tourism in the regional areas.

An all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning prototype truck.
Electric vehicles capable of towing caravans are not far off.(Reuters: Rebecca Cook)

Consequently, Mr. Chippindale hoped that governments at all levels would support the development of charging infrastructure across the country.

“Recharging the infrastructure and activating the accommodation sector to install charging points is crucial to help the recovery of regional tourism in the long term,” he said.

“We know that EV owners base their road trip vacations on where they can charge their vehicles and being able to provide that infrastructure, not just on the road, but when they arrive at their destination is a huge thing for regional tourism.”

In South Australia, the RAA received a $12.4 million state government grant to build 140 fast, fast charging sites across the state.

Who pays the bill?

Borlace said caravan operators were also in a unique position to help boost access to charging stations even though the transition to electric vehicles is still at an early stage.

RAA manager Mark Borlace at an electric vehicle charging station.
The RAA’s Mark Borlace says electric vehicles come with a few tweaks that everyone has to get used to.(Supplied: RAA)

“It’s embryonic… Electric vehicles still make up less than 1 percent of our vehicles on the road, so the industry has a little bit of time to adjust to how they will run their business in the future,” he said.

But Chippindale said installing new infrastructure wasn’t the only change operators faced.

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