Strapline Electric Vehicles in Australia
The future of electric mobility in Australia is beginning to take shape
Australia has one of the slowest uptakes of fully electric vehicles in the developed world. But this is not due to a lack of interest in the local market. Research from the RACV shows that 50% of Australians are willing to consider going electric for their next car purchase.
Across Europe and China, governments have been proactive in driving demand by offering financial incentives such as rebates and tax subsidies. Here in Australia there are currently no government purchase incentives, and with the purchase price of electric vehicles on the market higher than the average petrol-driven car, it's unsurprising that the uptake of EVs has been slow. Approximately 2,200 EVs were sold in Australia in 2017, around 0.2% of all new cars sold.
However, as the cost of EV battery technology continues to fall, so too does the pricing for entry-level models, opening up the market for rapid sales growth. New release models such as the Hyundai Ioniq Electric and Nissan LEAF are competitively priced at around $50,000, bringing the electric vehicle into reach for thousands of motorists across the country. So too, the long-awaited Tesla Model 3, which is expected to land by the end of the year at a similar price point. Commentators, politicians and car manufacturers are predicting that EVs will comprise over 30% of vehicles on the road in Australia by 2030.
A further hesitation for many Australian motorists is what is perceived to be a lack of public charging stations. While 80% of EV drivers charge their cars at home, it is recognised by the industry that a network of public charging stations is essential to the mainstream adoption of electric vehicles. Both the NSW and Victorian governments have announced multi-million dollar programs to roll out public fast-charging stations, while private sector operators are installing charging points at shopping centres, offices and major carparks.
Long-range EV driving
In Queensland, the government's Electric Super Highway project created one of the world's longest lengths of highway equipped with fast charging stations. Stretching from Coolangatta to Cairns, the 1800km stretch of road has 18 charging points, ensuring that EV motorists can traverse the state's coastline with ease.
Further solidifying an electric car's viability for long-range driving, Victorian manufacturer Chargefox is currently installing a network of custom designed, ultra-rapid charging points capable of delivering EVs with 400km of range in just 15 minutes. 21 locations will create a network that will connect major Australian cities from Adelaide to Brisbane, ensuring EV drivers can embark on regional journeys just as confidently as petrol-driven vehicles.
An Australian-made EV?
Australian start up ACE EV has announced a partnership with Adelaide company Aldom Motor Body Builders to build electric vehicles in Australia. Beginning with electric vans and utes, then followed by passenger cars, full-scale assembly is expected to commence in 2020. Their target is to be producing 15,000 vehicles by 2025, with 80% of production being for export.
A local shift towards a greener bus fleet is also underway, with Australian made electric buses being trialed in Adelaide and Sydney. In Melbourne, a fleet of locally built hybrid buses have just entered service, with a total of 50 to be operational by 2022.
A global revolution in electric vehicles has begun. Australia may not be leading the way, but the future of the EV is steadily starting to take shape.