Tasmania could be a leading supporter of electric vehicles (EV) 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.
An EV state of play report by the Electric Vehicle Council and Climate Works Australia, released in 2018. revealed Australians purchased 1,208 battery electric vehicles and 1,076 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in 2017. This represented 0.2% of the national passenger vehicle market, a 67% increase on 2016.
However, in Tasmania, only 61 electric cars were purchased between 2011 and 2017, representing 0.02% of the state's passenger vehicle market.
This compared to 1,324 in Victoria, 1,238 in NSW, 957 in South Australia, 688 in Queensland, 375 in Western Australia, 165 in the ACT and 13 in the Northern Territory. Data for 2018 is currently being collected by the EVC and CWA and will be revealed later this year.
Furthermore, there were just 23 electric vehicle models available in Australia in 2017, with 19 priced at more than $60,000. However, across 2018 and 2019, nine new models have or will come on the market. These include the Hyundai Ioniq BEV and PHEV, Hyundai Kona, Audi Q7, Jaguar I-PACE, Mercedes-Benz EQC, Nissan Leaf, Range Rover Sport P400e and Tesla Model 3.
Five of these are expected to be priced at $60,000 or less, with EVs predicted to reach cost parity with internal combustion engines by 2025.
The Tasmanian Climate Chang Office's 'Electric Vehicle State of Play' report, released in 2018, 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.
In terms of public charging infrastructure, Tasmania has a much lower number of charging stations compared to other mainland states, with just 34 slow chargers and one fast charger as of May 2019.
Furthermore, of these, 27 are Tesla chargers, justifying the need for standardised charging stations. The Tasmanian Government is also chipping in $450,000 to support the rollout of a state-wide charging network.
To accelerate the adoption of EVs in Tasmania, the Government has even 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 Electric Vehicle Council and Climate Works Australia report will be revealed soon.