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EVC report calls for greater EV adoption…

LAGGING BEHIND: The number one barrier to EV uptake in Australia is the lack of supply regulation, says the EVC. Without supply regulation, Australia will remain an EV laggard.What is green?

The Electric Vehicle Council (EVC) has released its 26-page State of EVs report for October, outlining growth in electric vehicle adoption locally, as well as highlighting what it says are barriers to further acceleration of EV sales, which centre primarily on model availability.

The EVC says demand for EVs in Australia has grown with EV market share increasing by 65 per cent in 2022 to 3.39 per cent of new light vehicle sales – up from 2.05 per cent in 2021.

However, the EVC says more needs to be done to ensure Australia does not continue to be a “dumping ground for some of the world’s most inefficient vehicles” and said it welcomes the federal government’s approach to “prioritising the development of an EV strategy early in its first term”.

According to the EVC’s report, the Albanese government’s National EV strategy “must ensure that Australians are able to access and capture the benefits of electric vehicles, while getting Australia on track to achieving our 43 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030, and net zero emissions by 2050”.

“To catch up to the rest of the world, Australia must introduce a robust and ambitious fuel efficiency standard to provide customers with greater choice in EV Models, reduce fuel bills and reduce emissions,” the report said.

“A weak fuel efficiency standard would be worse than doing nothing and would not increase the supply of EVS to our country.”

The EVC said its immediate priority is to continue to advocate for necessary policy action while continuing its work with Australian governments to support the roll-out and integration of charging infrastructure into the electricity grid, the use of temporary incentives to support the purchase of EVs and commit to future EV sales targets that align with net zero emissions goals.

“Rapidly growing interest from consumers wanting to make the switch to an electric vehicle has seen some models being sold out within minutes of being made available for purchase,” detailed the EVC report.

“This persistent demand for EVs is not being met due to a lack of supply of EV models to the Australian market – in large part due to the absence of a fuel efficiency standard.”

Year-to-date figures published by the EVC show 26,356 EVs were sold locally to the end of September with the Tesla Model 3 holding the largest share of the EV market at 33 per cent.

A total of 8647 examples of the Model 3 have been sold locally since January 1, 2022, ahead of the Tesla Model Y (5376), MG HS PHEV (1185), Hyundai Kona Electric (897) and Polestar 2 (779).

The top-15 list of best-selling EVs published by the EVC were headlined by these five EVs, with the remainder being (in order) the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Volvo XC40 Electric, Hyundai Ioniq, Mercedes-Benz EQA, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Lexus UX300e, BMW iX3, Porsche Taycan and Mini Cooper.

It is worth noting that of the 15 best-selling EV models so far in 2022, 13 were battery electric vehicles (BEVs) while only two were plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).

The EVC says there are now 45 EV models available locally and 95 variants comprising 35 plug-in hybrid and 60 pure electric variants. There are also 18 electric trucks, vans and utility vehicles available, as well as 18 models of electric buses.

Those vehicles now have access to more public charging infrastructure than ever before with 3669 public chargers available across 2147 locations nationwide, including 274 fast charger locations (54-99kW DC) and 82 ultra-fast charger locations (100kW+ DC).

On a state-by-state basis – and with every state and territory government now having introduced some form of incentive for the purchase of EVs – the EVC’s report shows the ACT continues to lead the country on EV sales (as a proportion of new vehicle sales) at 9.5 per cent, followed by NSW (3.7 per cent), Victoria (3.4 per cent), Queensland (3.3 per cent), Tasmania (3.3 per cent), Western Australia (2.8 per cent), South Australia (2.3 per cent), and the Northern Territory (0.8 per cent).

Further, the EVC says it is notable that NSW has seen an 84 per cent increase in EV sales during 2022, followed by a 76 per cent increase in the ACT, and a 75 per cent increase in the Northern Territory.

Despite the optimism, the EVC admits more must be done to address the challenge mass uptake of EVs will place on Australia’s aging electricity grid.

Noting recent and “unprecedented intervention” from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to maintain the reliability of electricity supply, the EVC says questions around the impact of EVs on the energy system highlight the need for effective integration of EV charging infrastructure.

“The risk here isn’t that EVs will break the grid, or that consumers won’t be able to charge their cars,” said the EVC’s report.

“It’s going to take decades to transition the on-road fleet from petrol and diesel to electric, so there’s ample time to execute on the transition in the energy system.

“The risk is that if the majority of EV charging happens at the wrong time of day, it could create an expensive outcome for everyone.”

The EVC said that across various independent studies and data sets it is possible to see that contribution to peak demand by EVs at home is in the order of 250W per vehicle, which it says is equivalent to about one in every 30 cars using a standard 7kW charger at home during peak times.

Extrapolating that data out to the end of the decade – and assuming approximately 1.5 million EVs are on Australian roads at that point – the impact on overall peak demand will be about one per cent, the EVC report added.

“We expect the majority of energy delivered into EVs to occur at home (over 80 per cent),” said the EVC’s report.

“Charging at home combines maximum convenience with minimum cost for most consumers. In Australia, this outcome is supported by a housing mix where most consumers, whether renting or owning, have a driveway or garage next to their home, with convenient access to an existing electrical supply that they’re already paying for.

“Public fast charging currently accounts for about 10 per cent of energy delivered to EVs in Australia, principally serving drivers on long journeys, and those without ready access to charging at home.

“Unlike charging at home, public fast charging mainly occurs in the middle of the day, while people are out and about. The majority of energy usage at public fast chargers is concentrated into the same part of the day as solar generation, which is excellent news from the point of view of the wider electricity system and is supporting the uptake of renewable energy.

“The challenges of deploying public charging come down to the need to strengthen the energy networks at specific locations. A location capable of delivering ultrafast charging to multiple vehicles will typically need a dedicated transformer.

“Enabling the planning and installation of new transformers and network connections in a timely manner and ensuring that the right tariff structures are in place to support the roll-out of fast charging locations, will be key to accelerating the deployment of public fast charging.

“Responsibility for this rests largely with the energy networks, the regulators, and state, territory and federal governments, working in consultation with industry,” it said.

The EVC said it is calling upon Australian governments to work collaboratively to align their incentive programs to be nationally consistent, and believes all state and territory programs should include an upfront rebate and/or zero interest loan with a monetary value of at least $3000 available to all EVs up to the fuel-efficient luxury car tax limit ($84,916) and pegged to this limit so that it is indexed over time; a full exemption from purchase stamp duty’ and at least two years’ free registration.

“The number one barrier to EV uptake in Australia is the lack of supply regulation. Without supply regulation, Australia will remain an EV laggard,” the EVC report added.

“Australian federal, state and territory governments need to work collaboratively to support the introduction of a robust and ambitious fuel efficiency standard. We welcome the Federal Government’s consideration of this important policy as part of its National Electric Vehicle Strategy.”

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