Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicle (EV) uptake in Australia is rapidly increasing, with EV sales more than doubling from 2021 to 2022. When considering transport options, these cars are much more sustainable than traditional petrol or diesel vehicles, as they can be powered by renewable energy such as solar and wind, reducing greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels.

In addition to reducing emissions and responding to our climate emergency, EV uptake can have far reaching benefits for car owners including reduced running costs.

Broadly, there are two types of electric vehicles                 

  1. battery electric, and
  2. plug-in hybrid

Both types produce less pollution than a traditional petrol/diesel/gas car, with greenhouse gas emissions from a battery electric vehicle typically 30-50% less over its lifetime.

These emissions will continue to decrease even more with:

  • improving technology
  • increasing renewable energy in our electricity grid
  • charging from home or workplace solar. 

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Why should I consider an electric vehicle?

There are many good reasons to buy an EV, but for most people searching for a new car, cost is the primary consideration. While typically more expensive to purchase, EVs are much cheaper to run due to lower fuel and scheduled servicing costs (around 30%!). This means that over the life of the car, it may in fact be cheaper to own an EV.

It’s also worth thinking about the re-sale value of your car. If Australian EV uptake follows international trends, the demand for conventional cars will significantly decrease in the future and therefore so will their value. Don’t be stuck with a car you can’t sell!

To better understand the comparative costs of EV ownership, check out the Electric Vehicle Council’s cost calculator tool.

Further benefits include:

  • less pollution and better air quality
  • climate action/emissions reduction
  • improved community health and wellbeing
  • reduced reliance on international trade
  • more liveable towns

Buying an electric vehicle

Rising petrol prices and improving model availability are driving more and more Australians to consider buying an EV. As popularity increases, the cost of EVs will continue to drop. For a current list of available models, see here.

The Victorian Government has set a target for 50% new car sales to be zero emission vehicles by 2030. To help reach this target, they are offering a $3000 subsidy for new zero emissions vehicle purchases, which includes Battery Electric Vehicles and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles - cars that don’t emit greenhouse gases from the tailpipe.

For more information and eligibility requirements, see Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Subsidy.

Note: The Victorian Government has recently introduced a tax on zero or low emissions vehicles (in effect from 1 July 2021). Zero-emissions vehicles will now be charged 2.5 cents per kilometre and plug-in electric vehicles will be charged 2 cents per kilometre under the ZLEV Road-User Charge.

If you are looking to buy an EV, See here for a current electric vehicle guide.

Green Finance Options

Several banks and loan institutions now offer specialised green and/or EV-friendly loans at reduced rates to incentivise environmental action. These include Bendigo Bank, Macqurie Bank, Westpac, Pepper Money and Plenti.

Eligibility criteria and structures vary between providers.

How do I charge my electric vehicle?

It is estimated that 90% of charging is done either at home or at the workplace, therefore when purchasing an EV it is important to consider charging needs. Home vehicle chargers typically come in the form of 7kW AC units that can be mounted to your carport or garage wall. These are readily available and can be installed by most qualified electrical contractors.

There may be times when you are away from home and need to charge your EV. There are now over 3,000 public chargers (including 470 fast or ultra-fast chargers) installed across Australia at over 1,650 locations, including paid services at Mornington and Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula, with more being installed every month. In addition, many of the Peninsula’s hospitality establishments now offer on-site charging for customers.

Check your nearest public charging locations on the charging stations map.

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Trends

Electric vehicles are here to stay and will likely become the predominant form of road transport in the near future.

In 2020, worldwide EV registration increased by 41% despite a downturn in global car sales due to COVID-19. Around 3 million cars were sold, bringing the total number of EVs on roads to 10 million. In countries with more progressive EV policies, such as Norway, up to 9 out of 10 new car sales are EVs or plug-in hybrids.

Australian uptake is also gaining momentum, with annual sales of battery electric and plug in hybrids tripling from 2020 to 2021. There are expected to be 58 EV models available in the Australia market by the end of 2022 (up from 31 in 2021), with 14 priced below $65,000.

EV uptake in Australia 2011-2021.png
Source: Electric Vehicle Council, State of Electric Vehicles August 2021.

Many major carmakers have now committed to only manufacture EVs, including Jaguar (2025), Volvo (2030), Mazda (2030), Ford in Europe (2030), Bentley (2030) and Nissan (early 2030s). AUDI, Volkswagon, Hyundai and GM are also following suit with similar commitments, while Toyota recently revealed plans to provide electric models by 2030.

Worldwide, most developed Nations have outlined EV commitments, helping to drive this transition.

Table 1: National EV commitments 

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Source: climatecouncil.org.au

What are we doing to promote electric vehicles?

The Shire is encouraging uptake of electric vehicles by:

  • Developing an EV Charging Roadmap
  • Facilitating the installation of public chargers
  • Educating community on the risks and benefits of EV ownership
  • Transitioning to a zero-emissions Council fleet, in line with Climate Emergency Plan commitments
  • Exploring planning mechanisms to improve charger availability
  • Advocating to Government for policy support

Mythbusting and FAQs

Read current information on common electric vehicle myths.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are electric vehicles expensive?

Electric vehicles are currently more expensive to purchase than petrol or diesel cars, however prices are becoming more competitive with improving consumer choice, technological advances, production scalability, and in some states, rebates and government incentives.

This is good news when we consider that the running costs of an electric vehicle are significantly lower, saving the average Australian driver up to $2,000 a year, a figure further improved when recharging vehicles from home solar systems. Electric vehicles also contain around one third the moving parts of a petrol or diesel car, meaning significantly reduced scheduled servicing costs.

These factors may in fact contribute to a lower total cost of ownership over the vehicle’s lifetime. As such it is important to consider all associated costs throughout the duration of ownership when considering your next car.

The Electric Vehicle Council’s cost calculator tool, funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, provides an understanding of comparative costs of owning an EV in Australia.

Are EVs actually better for the environment if they are supplied (recharged) with grid-sourced electricity instead of solar?

Yes. Research shows that even when recharged by the coal-dominated Australian energy grid, EVs produce lower net emissions to run than equivalent internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. As the energy grid continues to become ‘cleaner’ over time with increasing penetration of renewables, EVs will also become cleaner. It is an unavoidable truth that the only way for Australian states to reach their net zero emission targets is with zero emission vehicles.

Additionally, EV batteries can be used well after their EV end-of-life. Once a battery reaches 70 per cent capacity it is no longer fit for use in a vehicle, however can be recycled or repurposed as stationary storage to help further reduce impact to the environment. Toyota, for example, offer a credit toward the price of a new battery for any used EV batteries that are returned for recycling. BMW also has plans to re-purpose old EV batteries for mass power storage or recycling.

Typically, lifecycle emissions of EV’s in Australia, which consider emissions associated with production and manufacturing as well as on-road operation, are around 30-50% less than a comparative ICE vehicles.

Are electric vehicle batteries reliable?

This is a commonly perceived problem with electric vehicles. Most car manufacturers now guarantee 8 years/160,000km by way of battery warranty. Estimates suggest typical battery life is generally between 10 and 20 years which compares favourably with the lifespan of a traditional car. Just like vehicle parts in a normal car, these batteries can also be replaced at end of life. It’s also worth noting that as technological advancements continue to be made, the reliability (and range) of batteries will only increase.

From a safety perspective, evidence suggests that the lithium-ion batteries used in EVs are in fact as safe or even safer than conventional fuel and combustion engines. There are numerous studies that show that fires in EVs are no more likely to occur than fires in traditional cars. In Australia, Fire and Rescue organisations do not treat EVs any differently.

What sort of range can my EV deliver?

The typical range of a battery EV is around 300-450km, more than enough to satisfy the average Australian motorist’s daily drive of 35-70km. This range is comparable to the average range of a petrol car (approximately 400-600km) and is projected to further improve with technological advances.

Are all ‘hybrid’ vehicles considered to be electric vehicles?

No, it’s important to understand the difference between a plug-in hybrid and a traditional hybrid vehicle. These typically employ both fuel combustion and battery electric motors that work together. Traditional hybrid cars cannot be charged directly from an external electricity source such as a charging station or power point. Their electric motor is instead generally charged by kinetic energy produced through internal combustion, meaning the electric range and output of these cars is limited.

By comparison, plug-in hybrid vehicles function as pure electric vehicles, which only revert to internal combustion propulsion when the charge is empty. Effectively, fossil fuel combustion functions as a backup option only, and acts independently of the electric power output. These cars can facilitate many of the same environmental benefits associated with EV driving. 

 

To learn more about EVs and the EV transition visit the Electric Vehicle Council website.