Since buying an electric car two years ago, Warwick man Chris Roulston has fully embraced his electric lifestyle.
Mr Roulston owns two of the 33 EVs in his southern Queensland region.
“We ended up changing everything within two years to 100 per cent electric,” he said.
“Every mower, power tool, ride-on mower, the whole works.”
But his attempts to convince others about the technology had often turned to frustration.
“People knock the idea back,” Mr Roulston said.
“Being a regional area, they’ve got it in their mind that they need a lot of range and a lot of kilometres.”
He said the high cost of EVs was also another sticking point, but the arrival of cheaper brands in Australia could be a sweetener, with price tags of less than $40,000.
“I think you’ll start seeing a lot more people on the road in EVs because that really knocks that purchase price argument out of the ballpark,” Mr Roulston said.
“They’re the cars we need. They are game changers.”
New data from Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads shows EV sales are picking up in parts of regional Queensland, with some areas recording a 50 per cent increase in ownership.
On June 30, more than 24,470 EVs were registered in Queensland, up from 16,731 in January.
While the majority of EVs were still registered in south-east Queensland, the number of vehicles registered in regional areas increased from 1,700 in January to about 3,000 in June.
Toowoomba reported a 50 per cent increase in EV ownership, up from 242 in January to 369 in June, while there was a 42 per cent increase in Cairns, up from 289 to 410.
Cassowary Coast recorded a 76 per cent increase, but ownership remained low at 23.
The head of public policy at RACQ, Michael Kane, said it reflected strong uptake of EVs across the country, with recent figures showing of the 82,137 vehicles delivered to Australia in April, eight per cent of those were EVs.
Dr Kane said he expected EV sales to accelerate with more affordable models coming to market.
“With the scaling up of EV production in China, we will see much stronger price competition,” Dr Kane said.
“The Australian new car market has always been quite driven by new model availability, so we can only see continued strong growth in the next 12 months.”
Government incentives may also be playing a part.
The federal government’s EV strategy released in April spells out proposed fuel efficiency standards for light vehicles.
Its electric car discount policy also exempts eligible electric cars from fringe benefits tax for businesses and removes import tariffs for families.
The Queensland government also has its own rebate scheme for EV models costing up to $68,000.
But for the RACQ, the lack of charging stations and showrooms in regional and rural areas remains an impediment.
“People do want to feel and touch,” Dr Kane said.
“The other thing we’re lacking is the diversity of vehicle types. We don’t have electric utes which are realistically priced.”
Mr Roulston said he was starting to see others make the switch, with five work colleagues set to receive the keys to a new EV.
“You’re trying to get people who’ve had petrol and diesel cars for the last 50 to 70 years to now rethink how they drive, to rethink what kind of car they’re going to buy,” he said.
“I try not to get too annoyed at people who make silly comments about EVs. It’s just to try and open their eyes to more options and to try and remove the fear.”
Extracted in full from: Electric vehicle sales increase in regional Qld as new models expected to accelerate uptake further – ABC News