AUSTRALIA’s rural towns and small communities could face dwindling tourism numbers if electric vehicle (EV) use outpaces the availability of chargers and infrastructure, according to the Caravan Industry Association of Australia.
Although the road trip tourism sector has so far only been minimally affected, the industry will need support from the Federal and State Governments to prepare for increased EV uptake in the future, the Association’s General Manager Luke Chippindale told travelBulletin.
In South Australia, EV sales in 2023 so far have already exceeded the number of vehicles sold in 2022 by almost 40%, according to the latest figures from The Motor Trade Association.
“The coordination, funding and installation of charging infrastructure and its supporting grid infrastructure is of the upmost importance to the industry; without this approach, a $27 billion-a-year contributor to GDP will be significantly impacted,” he explained, highlighting the 61 million nights Aussies spent in holiday parks across the country in 2022/23.
Drive tourism accounted for more than half of those nights, with 90% occurring in regional and rural areas – away from metro and urban-based infrastructure networks.
Chippendale pointed that “many parks around the country cater for EV chargers through access to electric power sources or have sought to install charging infrastructure on the parks grounds”.
Although the Federal and State Governments have “made good starts” on plans to deliver an EV charging foundation for Australia, Chippindale believes that “significant consideration needs to be given to how electrical supplies are forwarded to parks, many of which only have constrained or minimal supply”.