Electric vehicles (EVs) are getting a lot of attention at the moment, and there’s a good reason for this. NSW has just announced a large-scale EV strategy intended to increase EV sales to 52% by 2030–31 to help NSW achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
But this comes off the back of a much larger wave of commitments from the rest of the world:
- The US under the Biden Administration plans to spend $174 billion to drive EV uptake and upgrade its 640,000 Government fleet of vehicles to EVs;
- Norway plans to end sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2025;
- The UK plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030;
- Japan plans to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars by the mid-2030s;
- France will spend €1.3 billion to drive the uptake of EVs before prohibiting the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, and this is just to name a few.
It would seem like we are almost certainly headed in one direction, and with a shorter ETA than most expect – a rapid transformation of the vehicle market. This is, of course, a good thing for you and the planet. So, what’s the plan, and how does it affect you? This question is best answered by:
- Dispelling some of the understandable myths around EVs
- Outlining some of the major benefits; and
- presenting some of the most relevant things NSW Government are introducing.
You might ask:
Aren’t EVs unaffordable for most and without a variety of models?
This is correct – for now, but not for much longer.
Fleet vehicles for businesses such as taxi (or Uber) services, public and commercial hire, tourism, and many more are going to be the first cab’s off the rank (pardon the pun) to make the switch to EVs. This will be in part due to large incentives put in place by the NSW government but also the reduced running costs for fleets provided by EV technology. However, the fleet transformation also helps remove some of the primary barriers to EV uptake, namely variety and cost.
Because fleets present a significant purchasing power in the market, retailers and importers are going to be bringing in and selling a much wider variety to accommodate interest at scale. So, this means that there will likely not only be more variety for everday consumers but also a lower price point. Noting that fleet buyers replace their vehicles more frequently, typically every three to five years, meaning that this will also help to build the secondhand EV market in the near future.
How is the range problem addressed?
Range is a very understandable concern with battery-powered vehicles, especially when we live in such a large country with points of interest typically very far apart. The more we travel outside CBD areas, the more range we need to get to places we want to go. This is commonly referred to as ‘range anxiety’.
Range anxiety, unsurprisingly, is one of the biggest barriers to purchasing an EV. However, to tackle this, the NSW Government will be investing $171 million over the next four years to ensure widespread EV charging coverage so current and future EV drivers can be confident they can drive their vehicles whenever and wherever they need to.
Drivers in NSW already have access to the largest regional network of EV fast chargers in Australia, with 59 EV fast-charging sites featuring 153 charging stations available across New South Wales as of July 2020 and another 35 underway.
A note on range to keep in mind is that the average distance travelled for NSW drivers daily is 36.5km, and the range for base model EVs is 230-300km. So, if you’re living in an urban area and driving to work, it’s more than likely you’re well within range and for multiple trips. If you’re living in a regional area, the below map shows the beginning of what will be rolled out; ultra-fast chargers at 100 km intervals on all major highways in NSW. An ultra-fast charger can charge your car with up to 400km range in 15 minutes!
What about paying for our roads?
Traditionally, NSW drivers contribute to the cost of road maintenance and construction through a fuel excise charge, stamp duty, registration costs and more. However, EV drivers (for a limited time) won’t have a charge attached for road use like the fuel excise charge (currently 42.7 per litre of fuel). This is one of the more attractive incentives NSW are putting in place to encourage uptake up EVs, along with other benefits such as the removal of stamp duty and being able to drive in T2 and T3 lanes. While the incentives paired with the rebate means much lower costs overall for early adopters, this has a lot of people wondering how EV drivers will pay for road use on-going. The key point here is ‘limited time only’.
Until a certain amount (30%) of new car sales are EVs, there won’t be a road use tax. The intention is to introduce this later as a distance-based road user charge (RUC), which will be set at 2.5 cents per kilometre for EVs and 2 cents per kilometre for plug-in hybrids. This charge will reflect an EV driver’s use of the road network, and drivers of EVs should not expect to pay (on average) more under the RUC than drivers of petrol cars currently pay through stamp duty and fuel excise. The idea behind the charge will be to create a fair and efficient tax framework to support our infrastructure.
So, what is the rebate?
- $3,000 for the first 25,000 new battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles purchased for less than $68,750 (price inclusive of GST – available from 1 September 2021).
- Including the removal of stamp duty, eligible EV purchasers will save up to $5,540, and help drive the uptake of EVs to more than 50 per cent of all car sales by 2030-31.
The NSW Government will provide more details on how to apply for the rebate in the coming weeks.
Aren’t my electricity bills going to be much higher, particularly with electricity prices rising?
This is true in the sense that you will use more electricity, but when you consider what you’re saving on costs for running a petrol car, you will still be saving! EVs have lower fuelling costs and require less maintenance than petrol and diesel cars. An average NSW driver is likely to save around $1000 in running costs per year by switching to an EV.
It’s also worth mentioning that solar energy and electric vehicles go together like a hot cup of bushels and a couple of Arnott’s Scotch Fingers. They complement each other.
Now that solar systems are more efficient and more affordable than ever, it is even easier to install a solar system on your roof that is large enough to both power your home and your electric car. And, if you already have a solar PV system on your home, you can easily install additional capacity to charge an electric car.
An electric car is a zero-emissions-capable vehicle. If charged exclusively with on-site solar power, or through purchasing Green Power, they produce zero carbon emissions. But even charged directly from the electricity grid, EVs produce far fewer carbon emissions than their petrol and diesel equivalents.
Ultimately though, your car will likely be in one of three places during the day – at home, at (or near) work, or in a commuter car park.
Car at home:
- If your car is at home during the day, due to either working from home or preferring to take public transport, then choosing an energy retailer with off-peak tariffs or considering solar, is your best choice to manage the power needed to charge your car.
- If your car is at home, it’s likely you are not using it much, potentially only for groceries, picking the kids up from school, or weekenders. In this instance, your car will only need to be charged a couple of times a week to account for that.
- The EV market is rapidly advancing, and there are already vehicles that can feed the home when the car isn’t being used – much in the same way that a home battery would work – except you get to drive it too! This option is expected to become more widely available from 2025.
Car at work:
- City car spaces and on-street parking areas are also set to be equipped with chargers, so if your car is at work during the day, chances are that over time, you will be able to charge your car while you work. There is excellent potential for services like this to be built into salary packages and much more.
- It’s worth keeping in mind that with the current average distance to work in NSW being 16.6kms each way, you would get seven return trips from one charge with a base model EV.
Car in a commuter car park:
- While EVs are much better for the environment, for the sake of road congestion and efficiency, a mix of transport, bike/e-bike, train, bus etc is always recommended, especially as it improves over time. Ultimately, there is nothing more efficient than public or self-powered transport – and the NSW EV charger rollout is keeping this squarely in focus.
- The NSW Government will be implementing more destination chargers at commuter carparks. Many commuter carparks across New South Wales are already designed for the easy addition of EV charging and are ideal places for motorists to make the most of destination chargers while they are at work. The location of the chargers will be to encourage drivers to use public transport as part of their commute and will tackle the first mile/last mile challenge many countries now face, taking more vehicles off congested roads and making switching between different modes of transport as easy as possible.
Next steps – our local team of Energy Advisors are here to help!
From the Nissan Leaf to the Hyundai Kona to the Tesla Model 3, there are now many cars on the market that are both reliable and fun to drive and many more on the way.
The very near future will see a range of benefits for individuals and the community from EV ownership, including fewer tailpipe emissions, lower running costs than petrol and diesel vehicles, and health benefits through lower air pollution, plus greater fuel security.
While there is still a way to go, incentivisation is the best first step to change, and the NSW government has put forward the most far-reaching suite of EV incentives in the country. Of course, there’s a lot to consider, and no doubt just as many questions, but if you would like to know more, visit this link and check out the full overview of the strategy.