Australia’s fast-growing electric vehicle (EV) market and eagerness to adopt new technologies have turbocharged business for Wallbox.
The Spanish company launched its smart EV charging systems and energy management solutions in Australia in 2018. Working with distributors, it has sold over 10,000 units to residential customers to date. The company is now trialling its public charging solution, Supernova, with multiple Australian organisations. It is also active in the Australian EV industry, undertaking R&D, training electricians and sharing its knowledge with the Clean Energy Council and Australia’s Electric Vehicle Council.
‘Wallbox is now one of the top 3 EV charging brands in Australia,’ says Xavier Peña, Wallbox’s Head of Marketing for APAC and New Markets.
‘Australia is a leader in renewable energy and should be at the top of the list for any international investors and companies in the renewable energy space.’
A fast-growing market charged with opportunities
Founded in 2015, Wallbox develops and manufactures EV chargers and energy management solutions. Its mission is to ‘encourage more efficient and sustainable ways for people to use and share energy,’ says Peña. ‘The chargers are a central piece of the entire energy ecosystem.’
EVs were not common at the time Wallbox entered the Australian market in 2018, but the company saw enormous potential.
Australia’s EV sales increased by 86% in 2022 (Source: Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, National Electric Vehicle Strategy, April 2023). As at May 2023, electrified vehicles – battery EV, plug-in hybrid and hybrids – made up 15.6% of Australia’s automotive market. Battery EVs made up 7.7% of the market in May (Source: Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, A record sales month for motor vehicles in May, 5 June 2023).
‘Australia has lagged behind other countries in adopting EVs, but that is changing fast,’ says Peña. ‘We believe the market will continue to grow, thanks in part to the National Electric Vehicle Strategy.’
Released in April 2023, Australia’s first National Electric Vehicle Strategy outlined 3 ways in which the nation would boost the uptake of EVs. It would:
increase the supply of affordable and accessible EVs
establish the resources, systems and infrastructure to enable rapid EV uptake
encourage increased EV demand.
The strategy calls for a Fuel Efficiency Standard to help reduce fuel costs and improve the supply and variety of EVs coming into the Australian market.
‘The moment the Fuel Efficiency Standard is approved, we expect a significant increase in EV quotas and EV models that will become available,’ says Peña. ‘We expect EVs to make up 20% of the vehicle market in Australia in the next few years, similar to the UK or the Netherlands.’
‘Australians are quick to adopt new technologies,’ he adds. ‘Renewable energy companies have a better chance of success in Australia than in countries where technology adoption is slower.’
The widespread use of solar panels among Australian households is also a plus for Wallbox.
‘Over 40% of Australian households have solar panels,’ says Peña. ‘Our chargers are one of the few that can use excess solar energy to charge EVs. With fuel and electricity prices going up, solar is the more affordable and efficient power source.’
Thriving business in Australia
Wallbox works with distributors to market and sell its products in Australia. It has agreements with some of Australia’s largest distributors of solar panels and renewable energy solutions. They include One Stop Warehouse, Jet Charge, Electric Future and Solar Juice. In 2023, Wallbox signed a partnership with Carbon Leasing & Rentals (CarBon), Australia’s first EV leasing, subscription and rental company.
Peña says Australia’s decentralised energy market fosters competition. ‘There are around 200 companies that offer electricity in Australia. This opens up strong possibilities for smaller businesses like us to form partnerships.’
Wallbox is also expanding into the public charging market with its next-generation DC fast-charger, Supernova. The charger is designed for public charging in urban locations and semi-public parking lots.
Network operator Transgrid is trialling Wallbox’s Supernova in Sydney. It is the first instalment of Supernova in Australia and allows Transgrid to add 100 km range in under 15 minutes. The company has transitioned more than half of its passenger fleet to electric or hybrid vehicles. The trial will help Transgrid identify other sites which would benefit from installing similar charging units.
The Motor Traders’ Association of NSW (MTA NSW) is also trialling Supernova. MTA represents owners and business principals in the NSW automotive industry. With the addition of Supernova 150 kW to the existing 60 kW version, Wallbox now offers a complete EV charging solution for public, residential and business customers.
Contributing to Australia’s EV industry
Wallbox is participating in EV research in Australia. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) used the company’s Quasar charger in a project that looked at the capability of vehicle-to-grid technologies to provide services to the electricity grid. Wallbox also works with manufacturers to make sure its chargers are compatible with their EVs.
Training the next generation of electricians is also important. Wallbox partners with the Centre for U, which provides training and support services for the electrical industry. The company is taking part in a train-the-trainer program, teaching people how to install their EV chargers. These people will go on to train future electricians at vocational training institutes like TAFE.
Wallbox is also sharing its expertise to help ensure Australia’s EV industry aligns with international standards. The company supports the Clean Energy Council and Australia’s Electric Vehicle Council.
‘Going back to our mission, we want to help pioneer the way Australians manage and share energy,’ says Peña.
How Austrade helped
Wallbox started working with Austrade in May 2021. The agency provided legal and tax information and referrals to help Wallbox set up its business in Australia. This included salary guides, real estate overviews, industry data (electric charging and the uptake of solar PV panels in residential homes) and information on government grants and incentives. Austrade also introduced Wallbox to Invest Victoria and the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Australia.
‘Austrade also helped raise our profile,’ says Peña. ‘They invited the Australian Ambassador to Spain to visit our factory in Barcelona, which generated some good publicity for us. They also invited us to events where we could network with key stakeholders in the Australian EV industry.
‘Entering a new market is never easy,’ says Peña. ‘Finding a reliable partner like Austrade who can make it easier by providing information and connections is very comforting.’
Go further, faster with Austrade
Contact Austrade for more information about investment opportunities in Australia.