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The NRMA (National Roads and Motorists’ Association) will be rolling out a new payment system for its electric vehicle charging network effectively ending free charging at its stations.

The move comes as a response to concerns over the misuse of the free charging infrastructure, with some EV owners engaging in “squatting” behaviour and exhibiting poor etiquette, causing delays and inconveniences for others waiting to charge their vehicles.

The transition to a paid charging model will be implemented in stages, beginning September 27, 2023, with three locations—Sydney Olympic Park, Picton, and Wallsend—being the first to introduce the payment system. NRMA plans to roll out the payment system across all 100 of its charging stations by the end of October.

Under the new payment structure, users will be charged 54 cents per kWh for charging speeds of up to 150 kW, and 59 cents per kWh for charging speeds above 175 kW. NRMA members will receive a 10 percent discount once the payment system is fully deployed, offering them more affordable charging options.

In a statement, NRMA explained its decision, saying, “Since its original social investment in 2017, the NRMA Electric charging network has been free to all electric vehicle users. The NRMA prioritized the roll-out of the network before seeking to apply costs to customers to give drivers the confidence to consider an EV and get used to the charging process.”

While the move to paid charging may come as a disappointment to some EV owners who have enjoyed free charging for years, it reflects the evolving landscape of EV infrastructure as the technology becomes more mainstream. According to NRMA, their decision aims to strike a balance between encouraging EV adoption and ensuring the fair and efficient use of its charging network.

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