From petrol cans to Ultra Rapid chargers – 120 years of RAA solving ‘range anxiety’

30 October, 2023

Exactly 120 years since RAA began helping South Australia’s first car owners who worried about running out of petrol, the organisation is once again helping to solve ‘range anxiety’ for electric vehicle (EV) drivers.

Founded in 1903, RAA employed ‘agents’ to deliver petrol cans door to door like milkmen, and organised fuel deliveries to country members where limited supplies were a major hurdle for drivers.

RAA CEO Nick Reade and Governor of South Australia Her Excellency, the Honourable Frances Adamson AC. Inset: Governor George Le Hunte and William Kuhnel at an RAA event in 1903

Chief Executive Officer Nick Reade said RAA was continuing the tradition by building South Australia’s first border-to-border EV charging network, RAA Charge, in partnership with the SA Government.

“With EV sales doubling year on year, RAA is proud to be unlocking all areas of South Australia for EV drivers, just as we were for our earliest members 120 years ago,” Mr Reade said.

“There are a lot of parallels with what we’re doing now and what we were doing more than 100 years ago – we’re still solving range anxiety.

“There’s an iconic photo of former Governor Sir George Le Hunte on one of the first petrol vehicles at an RAA event in 1903, and today Her Excellency Frances Adamson AC is being photographed with an electric vehicle, which shows just how far we’ve come.

“But the biggest difference now is that RAA is much more than a motoring organisation – we’ve also been providing insurance for the last 100 years, and travel services through RAA Travel for the last 65.

“More recently we’ve branched out into home energy and are excited to see RAA Solar and Battery growing at a rapid rate.

“And we now represent more than 805,000 South Australians, rather than just a few hundred motoring enthusiasts like we did back then.”

Charging ahead with South Australia’s EV Charging Network

Mr Reade said the RAA Charge network was more than 50 per cent complete and on track to be finished by the end of 2024.

“By the end of October we’ll have completed 80 of the 140 planned network sites, and we’re not far away from having many of South Australia’s key tourism routes covered in terms of Rapid and Ultra Rapid chargers, which will be a huge milestone.

“That means next year you’ll be able to drive your EV from Bordertown in the South East, past Ceduna on the West Coast, and everywhere in between.

“The network will mean range anxiety is a thing of the past, and ensure the charging infrastructure is there for the increasing uptake of EVs. 

“This week we’re also offering South Australians the chance to test drive an electric vehicle for free as part of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, so they can experience the technology first-hand before making the jump and switching to an EV.

“At the RAA marquee there will also be a team of experts on hand to talk about EV charging at home and out on the road, and how to prepare for an electric future with advice on installing solar and battery.”

To find an EV charger near you, visit