Electric Vehicles FAQs

We answer the frequently asked questions about electric vehicles and how they will impact the future of transportation in Australia.

The transition to electric vehicles will provide significant benefits across energy, transport, public health, infrastructure and industry development.

For consumers, the running costs for an electric vehicle are far cheaper, and because they have fewer moving parts, maintaining an electric vehicle also costs significantly less. Analysis by Canstar Blue shows that fuel savings from an electric vehicle amount to $1881 per year.

The rise of electric and hybrid vehicle technology is supported by governments and environmental organisations seeking to reduce emissions and improve energy storage technology. Australia has become increasingly dependent on imported liquid fuels, so electric vehicle uptake will improve Australia’s fuel security.

A transition to sustainable, zero emissions road transport also has the potential to have a positive impact on air quality.

In Australia, the number of electric vehicles has steadily increased over the past six years, with 16 models now available.

Globally, the number of electric vehicles sold each year is growing rapidly, with a 40 per cent increase from 2015 to 2016. There are now more than two million electric vehicles on the road, with suggestions this could rise to 140 million by 2035.

Without support from Australian governments, manufacturers have been hesitant to supply electric vehicles into our domestic market, with current models in Australia largely priced for the prestige segment, meaning some of the best-selling electric models are not yet available in Australia.

However, several new electric models are expected to be introduced into the Australian marketplace over the next 18 months, including models that will compete in price with some of our current best-selling conventional vehicles.

While electric vehicles have been more expensive than conventional vehicles, this appears to be changing, particularly with the mass production of more efficient batteries.

The cost of electric vehicles in Europe is expected to match regular internal combustion cars as early as next year.

The running costs for an electric vehicle are far cheaper (around $1.23 a litre for a fuel powered vehicle vs $0.30 per litre-equivalent for an electric) and because they have fewer moving parts, maintaining an electric vehicle also costs significantly less. Analysis by Canstar Blue shows that the savings on fuel from owning an electric vehicle can amount to $1881 per year.

Governments in some jurisdictions are addressing the purchase cost premium in the short term by providing consumers with incentives to encourage electric vehicle alternatives. In its recent report on electric vehicles, the NRMA recommends that Australian governments introduce similar incentives.

Manufacturers and technology companies are rapidly moving the automotive industry towards an electric and automated future. As trends point to increasing numbers of electric vehicles, countries around the world have begun phasing out petrol and diesel propulsion.

Even major industry players are supporting an electric vehicle future, marking a historic end to cars that rely solely on an internal combustion engine, for example:

  • Every new model line from Jaguar Land Rover will be electric from 2020
  • Dyson will launch an electric car by 2020
  • Every Volvo from 2019 will have an electric motor
  • Volkswagen, Daimler & BMW Groups have committed $75 billion to further develop electric cars
  • General Motors will launch at least 20 new all-electric models by 2023 as part of its "Zero Emissions Future" strategy
  • Ford is shifting capital investment away from internal combustion engines to electric cars

Several countries are moving to ban fuel-based cars, including the Netherlands (by 2025), Norway (2025), France (2040), the UK (2040), India (2030), Germany (2030), and China (2040).

China, the world’s largest car market, is leading the boom in electric vehicles with 140 battery makers, electric vehicle production quotas and a requirement that all Chinese car manufacturers produce an electric vehicle by 2019.

NRMA Report – “The Future is Electric”

Australia must now decide what role it wants to play in the new electric environment. With one of the largest supplies of mineral resources required for battery production, and an entrepreneurial and well-educated population, Australia is well placed to take advantage of electric vehicles. However, current policy settings are hindering major investment.

Globally, the number of electric vehicles sold each year is growing rapidly, with a 40 per cent increase from 2015 to 2016. There are now more than two million electric vehicles on the road, with BHP suggesting this could rise to 140 million by 2035.

The report considers what governments, manufacturers and energy companies are doing to bring forward the EV revolution. It analyses vehicles and pricing, battery provision, Australia’s current charging network and connector types and energy provision.

Australia has a low uptake of electric vehicles compared with our global counterparts. The inevitable transition to electric vehicles requires Australian governments to demonstrate support for the adoption and availability of all electric vehicles for all Australians.

  • To support electric vehicle uptake, a rollout of charging infrastructure should be prioritised - Consumers are unlikely to commit to the mass uptake of electric vehicles until they can be confident that access to adequate charging opportunities exist. Investment in widespread charging infrastructure should be prioritised to encourage electric vehicle uptake, especially in rural and regional areas.
  • The Australian Government should remove impediments to electric vehicle purchasing - The Australian Government should provide a short-term exemption to Fringe Benefits Tax and abolish the Luxury Car Tax for electric vehicles.
  • Prioritise domestic electricity generation – To improve fuel security, the Australian Government should prioritise domestic electricity generation.
  • Australian governments should encourage research and development in electric vehicle batteries and other technologies to support the transition to an electric vehicle future.
  • An inter-governmental working group to co-ordinate the transition to electric road transport should be established. Governments should lead the way by adopting electric vehicle fleet targets.

NRMA Social Dividend Investment Strategy

As a mutual, we exist to add value to Members and the community. After a strong financial performance in 2016-17, the Board wanted to return value to the community, and our Social Dividend Investment Strategy was born.

The Social Dividend Investment Strategy guides how we will invest our strong returns in ways that benefit the community, as well as increase the relevance and value of our offering to our Members. We are in a unique position to help communities become more sustainable, make mobility safer for the community and improve transport access for everyone.

The NRMA's core purpose - to keep people moving – is embodied in this project, which will remove obstacles to the adoption of electric vehicles.

While the EV market is Australia is in its infancy, there is an opportunity to develop an EV ecosystem to support the adoption and rollout of EVs in Australia.

Rather than see the emergence of electric vehicles as a threat to the NRMA, we want to embrace the potential of new vehicle technologies.

If we accept that the automobile industry is going to be unrecognisable within the decade, the NRMA has a responsibility to make this change to electric and automated vehicles as seamless as possible for our Members.

Currently, the major barrier for people considering purchasing electric vehicles is access to conveniently located, safe, fast chargers. There are simply not enough chargers in public places to make electric vehicles a viable option for longer journeys.

We've already been working to change this. Our new office in Sydney's Olympic Park has a fast charging station that can charge most electric vehicles in half an hour, and we have other lower-level electric vehicle chargers at locations across NSW and the ACT.

Just like the NRMA was there to help Australia navigate the rise of the automobile 97 years ago, we'll be here to help Australia navigate this new era of electric vehicles.

Electric Vehicle Charger Network implementation

The NRMA will establish Australia’s largest electric vehicle fast-charging network, suitable for a range of electric vehicles and free for NRMA Members.

More than 95 per cent of NRMA Member road trips will be covered by the network. The $10 million investment will deliver at least 40 chargers, more than double the size of the current network of chargers in NSW and the ACT.

The network will unlock Australia for electric vehicles, enabling stress-free journeys whether motorists are doing the daily city commute, or visiting beaches on the South Coast, weekend getaways to our world-class wine regions or snow trips to the mountains.

These NRMA chargers will be fast, conveniently located, suitable for a range of EV types, easy to use and safe.

Our first charger is already in place in Western Sydney, outside the NRMA’s new office at Sydney Olympic Park. We hope to have the next charging stations operational next year and will take a phased approach to the roll out of the network.

A fast charging station is already in operation at the NRMA’s new headquarters at Sydney Olympic Park, with the NRMA taking a phased approach to the rollout of the network. The initial phase will include chargers in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the ACT, the Illawarra, Mid North Coast and Newcastle.

We’ll be prioritising sites where lots of NRMA Members live, where electric vehicles are embraced and supported, and areas of high tourism demand, striking the balance between infrastructure delivery for both metropolitan and regional communities.

Sites will be selected based on a range of factors, including community support, planning policies, land use, environmental factors and electricity supply.

The position of the chargers will consider a vehicle range of around 200km.