Tasmania could be a leading supporter of electric vehicles through our compact geography, clean and green brand, high percentage of renewable energy generation and a shorter average car commuting distances.
However, electric vehicle uptake in Tasmania is the lowest in Australia, with the State Government developing a series of strategies to alleviate barriers for ownership.
The Tasmanian Climate Chang Office's 'Electric Vehicle State of Play' report this year revealed key barriers to electric vehicle uptake in Tasmania were the purchase price, cost of batteries, limited selection and range of models available, lack of public charging infrastructure and lack of consumer awareness.
Australians purchased 1,369 electric cars in 2016, representing 0.1% of the national passenger vehicle market. However, in Tasmania, only 56 electric cars were purchased between 2011 and 2016, representing 0.02% of the state's passenger vehicle market.
This compared to 1017 in Victoria, 843 in NSW, 805 in South Australia, 541 in Queensland, 298 in Western Australia, 125 in the ACT and 12 in the Northern Territory.
Furthermore, there were just 16 electric vehicle models available in 2016, with the vast majority of models priced at more than $60,000.
However, model availability is expected to increase, with seven new electric vehicle models anticipated to be introduced into the Australian market in the next year. Three of these models are likely to be priced at $60,000 or less and it's predicted that cost parity with internal combustion vehicles will be reached by 2025.
In terms of infrastructure, Tasmania lays claim to just 16 of the country's 476 public electric vehicle charging stations, with the State Government chipping in $250,000 to support the rollout of a state-wide charging network.
This compared to 134 stations in Victoria, 130 in NSW, 75 in Queensland, 63 in Western Australia, 42 in South Australia, 14 in the ACT and two in the Northern Territory. All of Tasmania's are the slower AC chargers, with none of the faster DC chargers yet available.
To accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in Tasmania, the Government has established an Electric Vehicle Working Group as part of reaching the state's target of zero net emissions by 2050.
The group will play an active role in: identifying barriers to and priority areas for electric vehicle uptake in Tasmania, understanding the impact of electric vehicles on Tasmania's electricity sector, assessing approaches for the rollout of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and investigating ways to improve data collection.
RACT is an active member of this working group.
In 2016, RACT installed electric vehicle charging stations at our three Destinations properties in Freycinet, Cradle Mountain and Strahan. Also, after being successful in the Government's ChargeSmart program, an additional charging station will be installed at RACT House, Hobart in 2019
The Tasmanian Climate Change Office report is available here.