August 5, 2020

Reporting on… Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles. They’re expensive and we don’t have the infrastructure. Right?


Electric vehicles (EVs) are coming down in price, and they’re much cheaper to run than petrol cars. They don’t need special equipment to charge and, as a bi-directional mobile battery, they could play a key role in the renewable energy revolution. Which is why Zero Emissions Solutions has formed a working group to research EVs, looking at the pros and cons, the market, and affordable options for going electric.

In the first in a series of posts about electric vehicles, Ursula Hogben, one of the founding members of Zero Emissions Solutions, gives us the highlights of a webinar held by the Coalition For Conservation Electric Vehicles and Sustainable Mobility panel on 12 May 2020.

If you’d like to know more, read on. And if you work in the electric vehicle industry or are interested in our EV working group please do get in touch.

The Coalition For Conservation Electric Vehicles and Sustainable Mobility panel on 12 May 2020 consisted of four speakers: the Hon Matt Kean MP – NSW Minister for Energy & Environment, Behyad Jafari – CEO Electric Vehicle Council, Tim Trumper – Chair NRMA, Tim Washington – JET Charge.

I’ve summarised key points into 10 questions and answers.

    1. Can I charge an EV on 100% renewable energy?
      Yes! If you’re with a 100% renewable energy provider at home (eg Diamond Energy) and/or have solar. Several EV charger providers across Australia use 100% renewable energy.
    2. I have range anxiety – where will I charge?
      Approx 90% of EV charging, in Australia and internationally, occurs at home or at work. Just as we plug in our phones each night, we’ll get used to plugging in our car when we come home. (See Linda Richardson’s report on her latest long distance trip in her Hyundai Kona).
    3. What about charging across Australia?
      There are over 450 charging locations across Australia, from several providers. The NRMA has committed $10 million to build an EV fast charging network, free for members, with over 40 EV fast chargers, they say will cover 95% of member road trips.
  1. Are EVs expensive to buy?
    The initial purchase price of an EV is currently more than the equivalent traditional (internal combustion engine) vehicle. There are new EV models, including lower cost EV models, available in Australia each year. There are second hand EVs available. EVs are likely to be cheaper than traditional cars by the mid-2020s.
  2. Are EVs expensive to run?
    EVs are cheaper to run, have fewer components, lower servicing costs, and lower fill-up costs. The Electric Vehicle Council says:- the cost of running a car on fuel is $1.50 per litre, compared to $0.33 per e-litre for an electric car, making an EV 70% cheaper to run – an EV can save the average Australian driver over $1,500 per year on fuel.
  3. Isn’t a petrol car a more secure alternative?
    Australia has only approx 29 days of fuel security. This is a systemic risk. Accelerating public and private electric transport increases Australia’s transport self-sufficiency and helps Government and communities to manage this risk.
  4. Are there health and environment benefits?
    Vehicle pollution causes over 1,700 deaths each year in Australia. Australia would eliminate 6% of total greenhouse gas emissions if everyone drove an EV charged by renewable energy
  5. Do I need both a car battery and home battery?
    As bi-directional charging develops, your EV battery may be able to be used as your home battery as well.
  6. Are other countries transiting to EVs?
    Yes! There are over 5 million electric passenger cars in 2018, an increase of 63% from 2017. Approx 45% of electric cars are in China, a total of 2.3 million. Europe has approx 25% of the global fleet, and the United States 22% (IEA Report, May 2019).
  7. How could Australia further embrace the transition to electric vehicles?
    We could support local manufacturing of batteries and EVs in Australia. We could increase charging facilities, and remove the luxury car tax. We’d reduce our reliance on imported fuel, reduce air pollution, reduce noise pollution, expand an industry to create jobs, and improve our environment.

This post is part of the ‘Reporting On..’ series, where ZESN volunteers share research and report back on forums they have attended. To get the latest reports and updates delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to our blog here. And if you’d like to be involved in the Zero Emissions Solutions working group on electric vehicles do get in touch.

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