Electric cars are here and are likely to be powering all our cars at some point in the near future. They attract a great deal of interest and awareness when it comes to sustainability – but is Australia ready to go electric?
WHAT ABOUT OUR INFRASTRUCTURE?
One of the biggest problems Australia faces is Australia itself. The sheer size and lack of inland population make electric cars unrealistic to many, as vehicle range and reliable charging points away from home or outside main cities are major concerns.
There would need to be major infrastructure developments within Australia in order to cater for a majority shift towards electric vehicles. Drivers need affordable and available charging points at workplaces and public destinations – something that Tesla Motors is currently working to make a reality. This will essentially create a Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane route for electric cars.
Australia lags behind just about every other developed nation in the uptake of electric cars. Aside from the current lack of infrastructure, there are currently no government incentives for those who use clean vehicles. A factor that, if introduced, would surely further aid the shift towards a greener Australia.
ELECTRIC CAR EFFICIENCY
Electric cars need to be competitive in terms of convenience, not just emission output, style and cost. Even where charging points are available, the time needed to recharge an electric car can be significant. Finding a petrol station and topping up within five minutes takes less forward planning than a 30-minute charging pit stop.
That said, the average Australian passenger car travels 38km per day – meaning an electric car with a 400km range is potentially more efficient for inner-city commuting or just as a general run-around. Take into account overnight charging, the question of efficiency shouldn’t be a huge hindrance for many Aussie drivers.
WHAT ARE THE COSTS OF GOING GREEN?
One of the biggest hurdles electric car retailers are working to overcome is creating a car worth its price tag. Unless you’re an eco-warrior, why would you want to spend $50,000 on an electric car that isn’t as nice as a $20,000 car running on petrol? For the everyday consumer, electricity isn’t exciting enough to warrant a price gap of that size.
What we are seeing now, especially with companies like Tesla, are cars that match their price point petrol rivals for luxury, design and accessories, while still running on electricity. That’s more like it.
To make the deal a little sweeter, running costs of an electric car are much lower than those of their petrol-guzzling counterparts. Electric motors do not have oil, filters, timing belts or other items that need replacing over time. There is also no mandatory servicing, which means more money is saved. Not to mention that powering your car on electricity is a fraction of the cost of petrol. Who doesn’t love a bargain?
Arguably the key selling point of the electric car is its minimised environmental impact. We live in an age where taking care of our environment has become paramount. Renewable energy or green energy have become focus points of a cleaner future – but more needs to be done.
Electric cars promise to spur a transport transformation, aimed at stabilising human-induced climate change whilst maintaining current standards of usability. Although electric grids in Australia are heavily dependent on coal, switching from petrol cars to electric cars would drastically reduce our country’s CO2 emissions. With the added possibility of solar powered charging points, sustainably-powered vehicles are well on the way to becoming a reality.
WOULD YOU GO ELECTRIC?
We may be slow initial adopters of the electric car, but the proposed electric infrastructure developments coupled with increasing affordability may well turn Australia green in years to come. After all, we’re a nation of nature lovers who value the environment we live in. So next time you buy – will you consider going green?
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