A vehicle for the future

Tasmania is well placed to be a national leader in the take-up of electric vehicles. With 90% of our energy being renewable, the use of electric vehicles fits perfectly with our clean, green image.

Types of electric vehicles:

Electric vehicles are generally considered to be any of the following:

  • Hybrid electric vehicles: powered by an internal combustion engine and a small battery which is charged by the engine and braking.
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles: powered by an internal combustion engine larger battery which is charged by the engine, braking and/or an external power source
  • Plug-in battery electric vehicles: powered entirely be electricity stored in a rechargeable battery
  • Fuel-cell electric vehicles: powered by electricity generated using compressed hydrogen. This is a relatively new technology.

Ownership and challenges:

It seems that ownership of electric vehicles will increase significantly over the next 10 years or so. While the take-up of zero and low emission vehicles has been quite slow to date, major vehicle manufacturers are investing tens of billions of dollars worldwide to improve and commercialise battery technology.

However, there are still challenges to owning an electric vehicle in Tasmania, which are as follows:

  • There are only 16 dedicated charging stations in the state, the majority of these are owned by private businesses and there are large parts of Tasmania that aren't covered. This can create 'range anxiety' for drivers needing to recharge every x number of kilometres.
  • The current cost of electric vehicles is still very high compared to similar vehicles with internal combustion engines. However, the cost does appear to be dropping with more vehicles entering the market.
  • Battery technology is advancing so quickly that there is a risk current vehicles could be superseded quite quickly.
  • Given how new the technology is, there is a limited second hand market. Thereby forcing customers to buy a new, potentially very expensive, electric vehicle.

Just like the rest of Australia, Tasmania has been quite slow to adopt electric vehicles. In fact, according to the Global EV Outlook 2017 report produced by the International Energy Agency, only 56 electric vehicles were purchased between 2011 and 2016.