Quick, look over your shoulder.

That flicker of movement on the Australian horizon is the electric vehicle revolution poking its head up with the dawning sun.

A fortnight ago General Motors said it would stop making petrol motors – with some exceptions – by 2035.

In Australia, electric vehicle sales quietly tripled in 2019 – although the numbers are still small, according to the Electric Vehicle Council.

That year, sales tripled from 2216 to 6718 and a further 3226 electric cars were sold in the first six months of 2020, despite new car sales slumping 20 per cent because of COVID-19.

In Queensland, 450 full electric vehicles were sold in 2019 and about 180 in the first few months of 2020 before COVID-19.

Then quietly this week, the Queensland government completed adding 13 new electric vehicle charging stations to what it now calls Australia’s longest electric vehicle superhighway.

Since it was announced in August 2016 Queensland’s network of electric car charges along the 1900-kilometre coastline from Coolangatta to Cairns has progressively expanded north, south and west.

Today there are 31 EV chargers west to Toowoomba and between Coolangatta and Port Douglas, which have run 22,000 charging “sessions” along the coastline.

This week, the two latest additions – at North Lakes and at Springwood – began to operate.

That means since September 2020 new EV charging stations have begun operating at Springwood, Ipswich, North Lakes, Forest Glen, Gympie, Gunalda (Curra), Gin Gin, Mount Larcom, Proserpine, Ayr, Cardwell, Innisfail and Port Douglas.

The private sector is also quietly expanding in the electric vehicle charger market.

Brisbane energy entrepreneur Trevor St Baker – who partly built his wealth from coal – is also widening his network of EV chargers, run under the Evie electric car charger network.

Evie plans 42 electric car chargers down Australia’s east coast. It opened the first one, north of Melbourne in mid-2020 and since November 2020 has added EV chargers near the DFO store near Brisbane’s Airport.

Overall Australia now has Australia has 2307 public charging stations; of which 357 of these are fast public charging stations. That means they can charge an electric car in 20 minutes.

According to the Electric Vehicle Council public electric chargers increased 40 per cent in the past 12 months. The driving range of an electric vehicle is now more than 300 kilometres.

Mr St Baker is also an investor in the Brisbane-based company Tritium, which last June won a $45 million deal to build 1500 electric vehicle chargers – of varying sizes – for the overseas market.

Tritium provides 90 per cent of the world’s markets in electric vehicle chargers from Brisbane and it is one location where Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese visited on Wednesday.

The company employs 250 people in Australia, 350 across the world and dominates the electric car charger market in Australia.

Mr Albanese told those at his Tritium media conference that next year – in 2022 – an electric car will cost about the same as a petrol car to run.

“We spoke upstairs about when price parity will come in, for example, with electric vehicles compared with petrol engines. That’s expected to be around about 2022,” he said.

“Technology – whether it’s the phone that is in your hand now, or the sort of cameras that are filming this press conference – whether it be electric vehicles, a Harley-Davidson motorbike, they will all be electric charged.

“If you said that 10 years ago, or indeed if you said that during the last election campaign with the sort of ridiculous scare campaign run by the Coalition, then you would have been shocked by this.”

Mr Albanese said Australian manufacturing should learn from Tritium’s experience.

“They have, with their liquid cooling technology, a unique product, a product that’s better than anything produced in Europe or in North America. It shows how good Australia can be if we commercialise our science, if we commercialise the capacity of our innovation,” he said.

The Electric Vehicle Council in August 2020 prepared a detailed study of Australia’s slow acceptance of electric vehicles.

It found:

  • There are now 28 electric vehicles for sale in Australia, including an electric Hyundai Kona
  • Sales of electric vehicles in Australia make up only 0.6 per cent of all new car sales, where it is about 5 per cent across all developed countries
  • 56 per cent of Australians now consider purchasing an electric vehicle as their next vehicle, representing a steady increase from 48 per cent in 2018 and 53 per cent in 2019
  • The main deterrents are the price and the driving range of electric, but 80 per cent of the 2000 people surveyed did not know how far electric vehicles can drive before needing a charge

There are now 1200 members of the Queensland branch of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association.

The group is a lobby group for change and its national secretary Chris Jones recently commented on the federal government’s latest Future Fuels Strategy.

“This government has been promoting ‘technology-based solutions’ for years,” Dr Jones said.

“The best technology for reducing transport emissions is electric.

“This discussion paper tries to reinforce the myth that Australia is not ready for EVs, and that reducing emissions results in cost and suffering.

“Australian consumers are ready for EVs now and the clean transition is well under way.

“The government should be supporting them as a priority.”

Extracted in full from: https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/charge-ahead-figures-show-australia-s-electric-vehicle-revolution-gaining-pace-20210212-p571zm.html