The adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) has occurred more widely in other countries, and with fuel prices soaring, many people may be looking for alternatives, however, Australia is not quite there yet.
While there’s no doubt electric cars can provide numerous benefits, not least of which they are more environmentally friendly, there are some challenges that Australia needs to overcome before they become a more common appearance on our roads.
Two of the biggest roadblocks to the widespread adoption of EVs in Australia are infrastructure and the electricity grid.
Before electric vehicles become more widely adopted in Australia, the first step is getting the infrastructure in place. Without the right infrastructure in place, widespread adoption of EVs in Australia will not be successful.
Currently, EV infrastructure isn’t where it needs to be. There are huge gaps when it comes to the number of charging stations, and it doesn’t currently support an increase in EVs or EVs taking long-distance drives. Current infrastructure is not able to support the number of charging stations that will be needed in the future.
Some considerations around infrastructure include matching the right charging stations to vehicles, charge speed and vehicle type, optimum ratio of vehicle and charge points, and the provision of at-home chargers.
Consumers have concerns over finding a suitable place to recharge and their EV running out of juice. ‘Range anxiety’ is the term coined to describe the fear around your vehicle not having sufficient energy storage to cover the planned distance. No one wants to go for a drive with the fear of being able to reach the next charging station. To eliminate this concern, Australia needs to focus on building an appropriate and efficient EV charging infrastructure.
In order to facilitate the widespread adoption of EVs in Australia, EV owners will need to consider installing home chargers – which will often require upgrading their home electricity connection.
Workplaces may also need to consider installing chargers to enable employees to recharge their vehicles.
Access to public chargers in residential areas and at shopping centres, restaurants, and hotels will be essential, as well as access to public chargers along major roads. Given the extended distances that Australians travel, the ability to “fast charge” at a reasonable cost during longer trips will also need to be catered for, otherwise weekend getaways in your EV will need to remain within EV range of your home.
Public fast charging is essential to support EV adoption, however, Australia’s geography and immaturity of public charging infrastructure means most charging will continue to happen at home.
It’s crucial that Australia’s EV charging infrastructure is future-ready. This involves building enough charging stations in the right places.
The Grid is not ready
Another key challenge for EV take up in Australia is the strain they will put on the electricity grid.
Following on from the requirement of infrastructure, the electricity grid will need to be able to support the dramatic increase in charging stations and at home charging.
An EV ready electricity grid needs to be created, this means having the infrastructure to support large draws of electricity overnight (as EVs charge at home or Commercial EVs charge at depots), and during the day in charging centers. Inexpensive generation that is available at night will also be required to support all the “off-peak” charging of EVs, and this off-peak generation is generally provided by the base load generators that are now progressively closing.
Without investing in grid infrastructure and supporting electricity generation, our existing electricity grids will not be able to support substantial growth in EVs.
Current costs involved with electric vehicles remains another big barrier to more Australians buying an electric car.
EVs come with a high purchase price, and the subsidies introduced by various state governments are strictly limited in number. The cost of setting up the necessary charging infrastructure at your home or business is another potential barrier.
While Australia may not quite be ready for EVs just yet, if you’re looking for cost-effective and environmentally friendly energy solutions for your business, then you may be interested to learn about Next Green Group.