The number of electric cars, buses and bikes on Queensland roads has almost doubled in the past 12 months and increased by more than 1100 per cent since 2017.

According to the latest figures from the Department of Transport and Main Roads, 5266 registered full-battery vehicles are on Queensland roads.

“That is an 86 per cent increase in the last 12 months and a boost of 1163 per cent since 2017,” a departmental spokeswoman said.

In 2016, Queensland had fewer than 300 fully electric cars registered. With hybrids included, that figure was about 700.

By early 2018, the number of electric vehicles, including hybrids, had swollen to 1300.

By June 2021, 5266 vehicles have been plugged in more than 25,000 times on the network of 31 Queensland government-owned electric car chargers, from Cairns to Coolangatta and west to Toowoomba.

Overall, those 31 chargers have sent 383,468 kilowatt-hours of electricity to electric vehicles, allowing them to drive an estimated 1,917,339 kilometres on batteries, approximately 132 times around Australia.

This has stopped an estimated 500 tonnes in carbon dioxide tailpipe emissions.

Near these government-owned chargers is an expanding web of private-sector electric car chargers run by companies such as PlugShare, Chargefox and Evie Networks.

This week, the federal government announced 403 new private fast-charging stations –including 86 in Queensland– would be funded at a cost of $24.6 million. At least 100 of them are being placed at Ampol petrol stations.

Figures released by the government show motorists slowly returned to the originally free-charging network after a price of 20 cents per kilowatt-hour was introduced in January 2020.

But experts suggest that until the price of a small electric vehicle drops $10,000, bringing it closer to $30,000 on-road, the petrol-powered, dual-cab ute will remain Queensland’s favourite car.

Jon Day represents about 200 Queensland businesses and private electric vehicle owners in the Australian Electric Vehicle Association’s Queensland branch.

He has driven 37,000 kilometres in his $70,000 electric Hyundai Kona since late 2019, but has only paid $100 in charging fees because he uses his home solar system.

Queensland Electric Vehicles Association president Jon Day (left) with fellow members Graeme Manietta (centre) and Jeff Shaw and Jon’s  2019 electric Hyundai Kona.
Queensland Electric Vehicles Association president Jon Day (left) with fellow members Graeme Manietta (centre) and Jeff Shaw and Jon’s 2019 electric Hyundai Kona.

Mr Day said three things had to happen before motorists swung more prominently to electric vehicles: the price gap between electric and non-electric vehicles had to close, a wider range of electric vehicles had to become available, and more needed to be known about charging an electric car.

“For example, the second they bring out a dual-cab ute in an electric form, I’m pretty sure people are going to start buying them rather than the petrol models,” Mr Day said.

“In Australia, three of the top four best sellers are dual-cab utes.”

Manufacturers have to be convinced to stop using Australia as a dumping ground for petrol vehicles, which are already being phased out in other countries that had tough national vehicle emission policies, he said.

“And because the manufacturers only see low EV sales volumes they don’t bother as much to sell [electric cars] here when they can sell their cars in Europe or America,” Mr Day said.

At the end of the 2020-21 financial year, there were 3447 passenger vehicles among the 5266 electric vehicles registered in Queensland, making up just 0.13 per cent of all vehicles.

The Tesla and the Nissan Leaf were still the most popular electric passenger vehicles registered for Queensland roads by June 2021.

Top 5 electric vehicles and base model price

  • 51 per cent – the Tesla model 3 (base model $55,900)
  • 13 per cent – the Tesla model S (base model $86,190)
  • 11 per cent – the Nissan Leaf (base model $53,190)
  • 10 per cent – Tesla model X (base model $112,000)
  • 5 per cent – Hyundai Kona ($62,000 base Elite model)
  • 3 per cent Hyundai IONIQ (base model $74,500)
  • 2 per cent – Mercedes EQC 400 (base model $137,000)
  • 2 per cent – MG ZS (base model $44,000)

Most Queensland electric vehicles are registered to homes either on the Gold Coast – at Southport, Surfers Paradise or Hope Island – or in Brisbane or Fortitude Valley, according to Main Roads.

The top five locations of battery chargers are near airports: at Hamilton near the Brisbane Airport, at Coolangatta near the Gold Coast Airport and near Cairns Airport.

ueensland’s most-used electric car charging stations

  1. Hamilton: 19 per cent of all electric car charging.
  2. Coolangatta: 8 per cent.
  3. Helensvale: 8 per cent.
  4. Cairns: 8 per cent.
  5. Cooroy: 6 per cent.

The Queensland government has received 4530 responses and more than 140 written submissions in July on its new Zero Emissions Vehicle Strategy.

“The new ZEV strategy will consider a range of aspects related to zero emissions vehicles, including targets, consumer charging preferences, future infrastructure locations and electricity grid impacts, and incentives to encourage electric vehicle take-up,” a spokeswoman said.

Extracted in full from: Queensland’s electric vehicle numbers up by almost 1200% since 2017 (