The Daily Mail posts an article with this needlessly antagonistic headline: How Australian taxpayers will need to spend BILLIONS to transition from petrol and diesel to electric cars (which start at $47k for a VERY basic model) – as the ACT pushes ahead with a BAN on combustion engines by 2035 .
Contra the headline, the article itself is not bad.
Professor Levinson estimated the current infrastructure should be able to handle a market share above 20 per cent, given most cars will be charged at home.
‘This is not going to be a sudden crisis,’ he said.
Professor David Levinson, an American civil engineer and transportation analyst at the University of Sydney, said the federal government’s lack of commitment to the electric vehicle market was ‘disappointing’.
‘Given the potential abundance of renewables in Australia, this is disappointing, but the government has made few efforts to accelerate EV uptake with tax breaks or higher fuel or petrol car purchase taxes, and the previous government was talking down EVs as recently as the 2019 campaign,’ he said of Mr Morrison’s tenure.
Professor Levinson said he expects lower cost EVs to enter the Australian market in the coming years.
‘As the price of batteries drop, we would expect lower cost car-sized EVs to enter the market in Australia as they have in other countries. That will naturally increase market uptake,’ he said.
‘Inflation will raise the cost of everything, but the relative higher price of EVs should diminish, and Bloomberg expects a crossover point in a few years when EVs are less expensive that petrol cars.’
Professor Levinson believes Australia need to do more to combat the country’s ‘large share of carbon emissions’ and commit to electrifying its roads.
‘Converting new cars purchases to electric takes out tailpipe emissions. But old cars will remain on the road for years,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘It will take about 20 years to turn over nearly the entire fleet from the point that almost all new cars are EVs (around 2030), without government incentives or mandates.’
Some additional points:
- Australia is slow in EV uptake compared to peer nations. Almost all of Norway’s new cars are EVs now (https://cleantechnica.com/2022/05/04/norways-april-ev-market-share-at-84-fleet-share-at-23/).
- There are 2600 petrol stations in New South Wales (https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/~/media/EPA/Corporate%20Site/resources/clm/2008552ServStations.ashx) So long as electric vehicle range is similar to petrol vehicle range, we would expect that public charging stations should have a similar number. But EVs have the advantage that they can slow charge at many people’s houses, so there might not need to be quite as many.
- EVs should be defined to include e-bikes, small golf cart sized vehicles, as well as replacements for people’s cars and Utes. So there is already a wide range in price, but yes, as the price of batteries drop, we would expect lower cost car-sized EVs to enter the market in Australia as they have in other countries. (The Kia Soul EV is available in Norway, e.g., though still more expensive than the petrol version in Australia ) And that will naturally increase market uptake. (Inflation will raise the cost of everything, but the relative higher price of EVs should diminish, and Bloomberg expects a crossover point in a few years when EVs are less expensive that petrol cars).
- The infrastructure should be able to handle a market share above 20% EVs, most EVs will charge at home, most EV homes will have rooftop solar, and most houses will have batteries. Particularly as more storage for renewables comes online (for example, Snowy 2 begins to come online in 2025), this is not going to be a sudden crisis.
- The transition to EVs which will happen despite government policies not because of them. (Though government could make this easier or harder). As the transition continues demand for fuel will drop, so there should be plenty of market supply available, but a government serious about Net Zero would tax fuel at a higher rate than present to lower demand.