Tesla photo turns electric car 'anxiety' on its head during Aussie long weekend

Electric vehicle 'charging anxiety' is said to be holding back adoption of battery-powered cars. But is it overblown?

Queues for petrol at a service station in NSW, as a driver 'disproves' the idea that EV charging stations are lagging.
Busy petrol stations over the long weekend showed it's not just EV drivers who can deal with queues, one Tesla owner argued. Source: Facebook

One Aussie Tesla owner says its time to pump the brakes on a common electric vehicle concern.

He says his latest road trip highlights how "charging anxiety" fears around having to wait in long queues to refuel aren't necessarily exclusive to EV users, with motorists photographed lining up down the road to fill up at one busy NSW petrol station over the King's Birthday long weekend – in stark contrast to his pit stops.

Charging bays continue to roll out across the country, with the Albanese government recently announcing plans to double the amount of outlets on our roads in the next year. Last year, an additional 120 charging stations were rolled out around the nation's major highways, seeing a new fast charger installed approximately every 150km.

So for this EV owner, it was the case of plenty of room for his Tesla, with him sharing photos of the surprising juxtaposition online.

In one, regular motorists can be seen banked up for metres, with the queue extending beyond the service station and overflowing onto the nearby highway. In the other, his Tesla sat 'refuelling' in an empty charging bay not far away.

"That charging anxiety on long weekends though?" he joked while sharing the two images side-by-side.

Empty Tesla charging bays at a NSW service station, as EV driver says infrastructure is adequate.
The NSW man said the pictures poured cold water on the idea that EV charging infrastructure was sorely lagging. Source: Facebook

While anecdotal, the Tesla owner made the point that charging anxiety – cited as a top reason people worry about transitioning to an electric vehicle – isn't as worrisome as some may think.

"King's Birthday long weekend from Port Macquarie to Sydney," he said. "Plenty of empty stalls at superchargers. Petrol stations all have queues. There were another 10 cars queued on the HIGHWAY after this pic," he wrote.

He claimed the wait for petrol was at least 20 minutes long, plus an additional "10 minute line at the counter inside".

In NSW between Sydney and Port Macquarie, there are some 50 EV charging stations along the coast, depending on which route drivers take, data from the NSW state government shows.

With that figure expected to grow, questions were raised in reaction to the man's post over whether EV infrastructure was in fact lagging behind the number of cars on our roads, with some online suggesting the images appeared to disprove "the current narrative".

This year, as EV uptake continues to grow — albeit at a slower rate than in previous years — surveys continue to show consumer concern about limited charging infrastructure is holding back adoption.

Data from the federal energy department shows Australia is approaching a total of 900 DC fast-charging sites, marking a 90 per cent increase compared to two years ago.

There are about 3,000 regular EV charging stations nationwide, and 7,000 individual plugs and sockets.

However one unavoidable difference is the time it take to fully recharge. For a Tesla Model 3 sedan – seen pictured above in the driver's post – it takes at least 20 minutes to fully charge at a Supercharger station.

A map of the country showing all the spots electric vehicle charging stations are located on national highways.
Almost 120 bays were added to national highways, meaning there's a station every 150km Source: NRMA/ Australian Government

It comes as the government earlier unveiled its updated fuel efficiency standards to parliament in March, in a bid to incentivise carmakers to import cleaner cars into Australia.

Electric vehicle sales in general dipped five per cent in April, after three years in a row of very strong growth, with experts saying the sector is struggling to advance beyond the "early adopter phase".

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