By Samuel Smith
Last updated on: July 23, 2020 at 8:57 am
When searching for their next car, more than 40% of South Australian motorists would consider going electric, a recent RAA survey has found.
Almost two-thirds of participants who said they’d consider buying an electric vehicle were driven by a desire to reduce pollution – most notably, greenhouse gas emissions.
Other reasons for pulling the plug on petrol included the low running costs of electric vehicles, as well as their impressive on-road performance.
On the flipside, half of survey respondents said problems accessing charging stations would put them off purchasing an EV.
High initial purchase prices were also a cause of concern, while 59% of respondents said they would be interested in purchasing an electric vehicle if the government built more EV charging stations – something RAA continues to lobby for, especially in regional areas.
RAA Mobility Technology Specialist Mark Borlace said lack of accessibility to charging equipment had always been a barrier to EV ownership, but progress was being made.
“RAA is urging the SA government to continue to invest in fast-charging stations in Adelaide and across SA to encourage the transition to electric vehicles,” he said.
“The quicker the charging stations are rolled out, the quicker the take-up of electric vehicles will be.”
There are currently more than 40 electric vehicle charging stations in Adelaide, and earlier this year, regional SA welcomed 2 ultra-rapid chargers to a charging station in Keith. These can power-up an EV in as little as 15 minutes.
Another ultra-rapid charger is set to go live in Murray Bridge on Friday.
These chargers are just some of 22 being installed by Australia’s largest electric vehicle charging network – Chargefox – on the main highways linking Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
RAA, along with interstate mobility clubs, supports the development of EV charging infrastructure through our investment in Australian Motoring Services (AMS) which is a Chargefox stakeholder.
Mr Borlace said he wasn’t surprised by the level of interest South Australians showed in electric vehicles, given their environmental impact.
“Electric vehicles produce around 50% less pollution than petrol vehicles in South Australia,” he said.
“This technology is especially effective in our state, as we produce the greenest electricity on mainland Australia through the extensive generation of solar and wind power.
“It will play a key role in driving down pollution levels and will enable the State Government to achieve its target to slash greenhouse gas emissions.”
So how popular are electric vehicles actually becoming?
Well, a recent report by the Electric Vehicle Council shows 6718 EVs were sold in Australia last year, up from 2216 in 2018. That’s a whopping 203% increase.
According to Electric Vehicle Council Chief Executive Behyad Jafari, this number could skyrocket even further with government support.
“If the Australian EV market had the same incentives and support as the EU and China, we would be talking about some 50,000 new EVs on our roads,” he said.
“That would actually start delivering significant benefit in terms of cleaning our air, lowering our carbon emissions, and lowering our dependence on foreign oil.”
Types of electric vehicle
EVs fall into 3 categories – BEVs, PHEVs and HEVs – depending on the way they utilise electricity.
HEVs (hybrid electric vehicles) are powered by a conventional engine as well as an electric motor. The ‘regular’ engine does the majority of the work, while the electric motor assists, with the main goal of improving fuel economy. Hybrids can’t be plugged in and charged from the grid.
PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) work in a similar way to hybrids, except their batteries are bigger and can be plugged in to charge. Also, their electric engines are more powerful than those in hybrids and can propel the car without the use of a conventional engine.
BEVs (battery electric vehicles) are also known as pure electric vehicles. Unlike the other EV types, they’re powered only by batteries.
Electric vehicles currently available in Australia
If all the EV talk has piqued your interest, we’ve put together a list of electric vehicles available in Australia. Currently, the playing field includes a mix of affordable brands and luxury marques with prices ranging from $50,000 for the Nissan Leaf to over $200,000 for the Porsche Panamera Hybrid.
Here’s what you can buy in Australia today: