Is Australia Finally Ready For Electric Vehicles?


Nov 17th, 2020

Is Australia Finally Ready For Electric Vehicles?

Electric vehicles are beginning to dominate the roads in Europe and the US, but they still represent only a tiny slice of Australia's cars. Who wouldn't like the idea of a petrol-free car—the lower maintenance and operating costs, and even a prospective future of earning from your EV? 

Despite the apparent benefits of owning EVs, there are still a couple of speed bumps on the highway that slow down the uptake of EVs in Australia. There is no doubt that EVs are the future of the automobile industry. The question is this: What will it take to bring the future to us in Australia? 

What Holds Electric Cars Back?

In the motor vehicle industry, legislation was passed decades ago that protects Australian automobile manufacturing industries. This legislation prohibits the direct importation of various manufacturers, whereas many other national governments offer incentives for EV makers to sell their vehicles.

Electric cars only accounted for 0.6% of all vehicle sales in 2019, despite growing interest in EVs amongst Aussies. According to the Electric Vehicle Council chief executive, the country's primary challenge is that every other developed country has a vehicle standard that incorporated policies for EVs. Policies should be made to show that we are plying this highway. That's how we manifest how serious we are about joining the EV revolution.

Although purchase price, limited charging stations, and range (the maximum distance a vehicle can travel between top-ups) are also significant challenges to the growth of EVs in Australia, none of these holds Australia's EV market hostage like the standard policies. 

How Does Range Anxiety Affect Australia’s Uptake of EVs?

It is true that more than 60 public EV charging stations are being built this year, thanks to NRMA, in a bid to make EVs a more viable option. But will this ever be enough to take off the range anxiety when you’re cruising on your EV across long distances, say the Bushland, for instance? Charging the car is free and straightforward, for now at least. The challenge is, ‘would the car make it to the next charging station?’

With fast-charging stations not prevalent yet, it can take an average of one hour to get a full charge. One would then have to worry about when next and how long it'll take to charge; that's when range anxiety gets real! This is partly a security issue—the stress and frustration attached to this feeling and condition can eat you up alive.

Aussies may be big on saving mother earth, but they're less likely to do so if playing hero comes at the expense of their wellbeing.

Although fuel cost – regardless of travel range – is zero, range anxiety is plus one. Until enough charging stations can be found around, you will need to travel around equipped with plans A, B, C, and D just in case the power goes out faster than you thought. Save for the early adopters, it's one less reason for the majority of Australians to purchase an electric vehicle. Fast charging stations are critical to supporting the widespread introduction of electric cars in Australia.

What Is the Longest Range of an Electric Car?

When you talk about electric vehicles, the range is one of its most important statistics. Whether you can get to your destination or stay stranded by the roadside depends on your vehicle's range. Maybe you are an early adopter, and you're hell-bent on getting ahead of the EVs game. However, you certainly would want to limit your chances of getting stranded—stuck with a rundown battery on the road— don’t you? 

In that case, you'd want to know about the electric vehicles with the longest range. The Tesla Roadster is the most extended car, boasting 965km between full-charge and 'drained-out'. The Roadster has an estimated top speed of 250km/h. Do keep in mind that the stated range was calculated based on tests. As such, there are inconsistencies between the estimated range and the real-world range.

What Needs to Be Done to Improve Australia’s Uptake of Electric Vehicles?

All evidence goes to show that Australia isn’t ready for EVs just yet. When then will Australia be ready? Probably, by 2030! I don't know. One thing is certain, though, to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles, some significant steps have to be taken by the government. Below are a few recommendations.

1. The government should consider establishing national targets for EVs amongst light passenger vehicles, light commercial vehicles, and buses. That is, set a standard to put a target number or per cent of EVs on the road periodically. 

2. Look into and review legislations on electric cars and the importations of vehicles.

3. Increase efforts on putting in place charging infrastructure and also coordinate with operators in the charging industry.

4. Create and implement a 10-year electric vehicle production roadmap, covering research, design, telematics, development, batteries, and supply chain. 

5. Implement strict vehicle emission standards as those implemented by other developed countries.

6. Create a strategy to develop a customer education campaign to increase awareness of electric vehicles' benefits and capabilities.

7. Set a target number of EVs for the government fleet.

8. Operate closely with the electricity agencies to prepare a plan detailing priority network upgrades needed to manage electric cars' demands.

When these changes are effected, then one might say that Australia is ready for electric vehicles.

Remember, is always ready to help you with your new and used parts. Replace obsolete car parts; put your vehicles in good shape to avoid range anxiety, even in petrol-powered cars.

By Damilare Olasinde