Energy company AGL has revealed that it will soon offer electric-vehicle owners a new charging deal at a cost of $365 per year, billed by the company's CEO Andy Vesey as an "all you can eat" offer.
Vesey announced the plan at the Australian Energy Week conference in Melbourne and confirmed a launch date of November 1, although full details are still to come.
“If you’re an AGL customer, or become one, then we will provide charging for electric vehicles, $1-a-day, all you can eat,” Vesey said.
The offer is understood to be part of an effort not only to win more customers, but, crucially, to build base load on its generators. Vesey told the conference that power supply in Australia "way exceeds demand" and that "clever thinking and leadership" is required.
Speaking with CarAdvice today, AGL communications manager Karen Winsbury said that the new product is also about driving the adoption of EVs.
"It's not in response to battery technology, this is about encouraging EV use. As an energy company, it's about how people can use our product, electricity. We have a very big renewable fleet, we're the largest renewable [energy] company in Australia, so it's important for us that we're encouraging our customers into cleaner sources of energy and we're investing into that ourselves," Winsbury said.
She said that EV owners would be around $150-a-year better off with AGL's offering, although "there's an 'it depends' elements to that".
"How that compares to petrol, in particular, an average [use case] by our calculations would cost around $1700 per year to run. Of course, if you're a greater-distance user, the more you're better off [with AGL's offering]."
The new product will be a carbon offset offering, based on customer research that shows customers prefer Australian-based carbon offset programs.
"In particular, trees, tree planting. So we're looking at a carbon offset product that fulfills those requirements, which will be packaged up as part of the product offering so that consumers are clear on what they're getting," Winsbury said.
She said that the new product forms part of a broader plan to move to cleaner energy, with a carbon offset product also announced in May for residential customers.
"We obviously have a diverse portfolio which includes not-so-clean energy sources, but this is about a transition."
"Earlier this year, we announced our new greenhouse gas policy, which has a number of commitments. We've made commitments to not invest in any new coal plants and to actually retire our generation fleet by 2050. Certainly our CEO, but also the company itself, is very much about encouraging a transition to cleaner sources of energy."
The $1-a-day EV charging product will require that users be AGL customers and will require the installation of a smart meter at the home.
"It will come with a smart meter. In terms of the actual charging station itself - most people who buy an EV get a charger packaged as part of that, but if they'd like to purchase one, we'll also sell those. And we're looking at a pretty competitive price for the sort of charger we'll have."
More details will be revealed closer to the product's November 1 launch.