Australia’s biggest shopping centres are better prepared for electric vehicles than our leading office towers, with a retail EV charging station penetration rate of 78%. 

New CBRE research showed the office EV charging station penetration rate sat at just 20% here in Australia.  

There has been exponential growth in the electric vehicle market over the past five years, with 6.8% (23,967) of new vehicles purchased in the year to April 2023 being EV’s. 

However, Australia is still behind the global growth rate average of 12-14%, with the Electric Vehicle Council estimating that Australia will need to support an EV fleet of 1 million vehicles by 2027 – up from the current total of 83,000 – to reach achieve 2050 net zero targets. 

“Australia’s office EV charging stock appears to be underdeveloped, with just 60 charging stations across the buildings we surveyed,” CBRE report author Sophie Plumridge said.  

“On a city-by-city basis, Perth property landlords are leading the way in both the office and retail stakes, with Brisbane lagging in the office sector and Melbourne needing to play catch-up on the shopping centre front.” 

Charging station infrastructure will be key to supporting the market’s expansion, but even at current levels office landlords have their work cut out for them according to CBRE’s analysis. 

Natasha Mulcahy, the Head of ESG for CBRE’s Pacific Property Management business, said they were seeing a sharp increase in tenants, and particularly government tenants, requesting EV charging infrastructure from their office landlords.  

“The first step for landlords should be to conduct an EV Charging Assessment, which will examine electrical infrastructure, historic and projected electricity use, and create a capacity plan for EV infrastructure,” Mulcahy said.  

 To gauge infrastructure readiness, CBRE conducted a stocktake of EV charging stations in Sydney’s biggest capitals – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.  

To refine the survey sample, 20 of the major premium/prime building office buildings in each city with a NABERS Energy rating of 5.5 or 6 were analysed as were 10 of the major regional and sub-regional shopping centres. 

At an office level, the stocktake shows that Perth has the highest charging station penetration rate, with 35% of the city’s surveyed buildings having charging stations and Perth accounting for 43% of the charging stations across all four cities.  

Plumridge said this could be linked to the state government’s Charge Up Workplace program, with grants being offered to small businesses, non-government organisations and local governments to offset 50%-75% of EV charging station installation costs. 

 Perth also has the highest proportion of car drivers as method of travelling to work out of the four cities surveyed at 45% according to the 2021 Census. 

At a retail level, 31 of the 40 centres that CBRE surveyed nationally had EV chargers with Perth again leading the way, with a 100% penetration rate.  

By contrast, Melbourne’s retail centres are relatively undersupplied with only 40% containing chargers. 

Neil Glozier, Director – Energy and Sustainability for CBRE’s Pacific GWS business, said property owners and managers were having to quickly understand and develop their strategies for EV infrastructure, with key considerations including asset ownership and commercial structures, ongoing operations and maintenance and aligning end users’ requirements alignment with electrical infrastructure.