Power + Utilities Australia FOCUS

Is Australia ready for the EV revolution?

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

The growth of EVs in Australia presents both challenges and opportunities for the utility sector. By investing in infrastructure, developing smart grids and working closely with the automotive industry, utilities can help to ensure that the transition to EVs is as smooth and seamless as possible. The utilities sector has been busy at work to ensure our with a number of trials being conducted across the nation including Flinders University bi-directional EV charging trial in South Australia and AGL and ARENA’s EV orchestration trial.  But the question still remains, is Australia’s grid ready, or on our way to be ready, for the quickly approaching transition to electrify our networks?

We asked industry experts Carly Irving-Dolan, CEO of the NRMA and Stuart Allinson, Energy Transition Partner at Startupbootcamp for their thoughts.

 

Carly Quote EV blog - we all need to work collaboratively

 

“While Australia has seen a healthy take-up of electric vehicles in recent years, the country needs a sufficient mix of public and private charging infrastructure to facilitate the transition to a low emissions future.

 Demand is already beginning to surpass the supply of available public charging infrastructure. What results is a less than optimal charging experience for users. Charger anxiety, queuing, and extended journey times will continue if concerted efforts aren’t made to address the imbalance.

 We need to build an ecosystem of charging infrastructure that allows drivers to travel wherever and whenever they want with ease. This includes the regions where rural and remote communities that are often the last to receive critical infrastructure.

 We all need to work collaboratively, bringing together charge point operators, energy providers, government and local communities to build a network that supports the next generation of mobility in the country.

 This will ultimately involve thinking about the energy transition differently, including how to expedite connection processes, as energy customers’ needs and use of the network change.”

 

 

“Emphatically, yes. As a population Australia has not been among the early adopters compared to countries like Norway, but the past couple of years have seen some critical shifts that open the door to the ‘hockey stick’ adoption curves we have seen elsewhere.

First, range anxiety has ebbed away as model ranges have extended out to 300, 400, 500km in a single charge. For sure, charge anxiety remains, but owners have got used to overnight charging or for the lucky few, trickle charging at the office car park. Next, costs have come down and with the raising of the threshold on luxury car tax for ‘fuel efficient vehicles”, EVs have also become ‘more affordable’.

It is not widely understood that 50% of Australia’s passenger vehicles are fleet purchases and with total cost of ownership now balanced in favour of EVs, the tipping point is here and numbers will grow dramatically.  Choices are increasing and lead times are shrinking – you can expect a couple of months wait at most on the most popular models.

For distribution networks – the uptake of EVs and the demand for home, transit and destination charging remain an uncertainty requiring sophisticated predictive analytics, agile network planning and a range of tariff and non-tariff support. Early indications are that charging will fill up off-peak spare capacity, although the real challenge will come with demand for fast charge: many conventional locations are not geared for it. But that is part of the brave new world of ‘grid scale Tetris’ so we have to adjust!

Anecdotally, EV owners I know talk of low or zero maintenance costs – apart from early tyre changes until they learn to master and moderate the acceleration! The servicing market will have to contend with this shift, but as far as I can see from this point, 5 years and game over.”

 

Subscribe here to read more from industry experts each month. 

 

You can also hear from Carly and Stuart at our exhibition and summit next 7 – 8 May! Register free online for the exhibition and use the code SUMMIT50 to save 50% on your delegate pass (offer ends 31 December). 

More Articles

Want to relive Power + Utilities Australia 2024? Didn’t get a chance to join us and want to see what took place across two days...

The countdown is to the Power + Utilities Australia 2024 Leadership Summit. In anticipation, we’re giving you exclusive insight into what you can expect our...

The countdown is to the Power + Utilities Australia 2024 Leadership Summit. In anticipation, we’re giving you exclusive insight into what you can expect our...