Did you know, of the 1.15 million cars sold last year in Australia, only 1350 of those sold were electric vehicles?

Here in Australia, the total number of electric cars make up 0.2% of the total number of cars, compared to Norway at 6.2%. Electric cars are cheaper to power compared to traditional cars, with electricity costing around $0.33 kilowatt per hour (Electric Vehicle Council Australia) in comparison to $1.20-$1.50 for a litre of fuel.

As the sources of renewable energy become more readily available in Australia, electric vehicles will also be a better for the environment, CSIRO are predicting that electric vehicles could reduce carbon emissions by 15-25 million tonnes by 2030. So why aren’t electric vehicles a hit in Australia yet?

The first and most obvious problem is the cost of purchasing an electric car. Electric cars are not cheap, especially here in Australia. Currently the most popular electric vehicle is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, starting at $45,990 AUD. Other brands offering electric vehicles include Tesla, Jaguar, Hyundai, BMW, and Audi, all for a hefty price tag.

Secondly, the inconvenience of the length of time it takes to charge up an electric car and the number of charging stations available is a problem. When looking at the Electric Vehicle Council website, there are a myriad of electric charging stations around Australia. However, the most effective charging station is the high-power stations which make up only a fraction of the overall number across the nation. The average length of time it takes to charge all depends on the size of the vehicle and the type of charger that is used. There’s  no set  hours on the amount of time it takes to charge an electric vehicle, but on average charging an electric vehicle with zero battery usually takes around 11 hours with a standard power point at home.

Another issue is the revenue the Federal Government currently receives on fuel tax, the 41c per litre from fuel contributes towards building and maintaining roads throughout Australia.  Consequently, the increase of electric cars on our roads could lead to a drop-in revenue from fuel excise by 50% by 2050, leading to a decrease in road funding. As a result, an alternate form of taxing road users will have to be put into place.

Nonetheless, as an attempt to increase the number of electric cars on the road there are a few initiatives in favour of electric vehicles. In the state of Victoria, electric car owners get $100 off their annual registration fee and those in the ACT are exempt from paying stamp duty when purchasing an electric vehicle.

So, what do you think? Do you forecast that electric cars will become more popular in Australia in the future? Or will the price and lack of infrastructure be a continuing barrier?

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