Building an electric future

03 May 2018
Electric vehicle plug
Electric vehicle plug

 

Looking out the window at Sydney Olympic Park to see another car pulling up at our electric vehicle fast charger, it strikes me as a symbol of how motoring in Australia is radically changing. The NRMA’s role is to help Members and their communities prepare for whatever the future brings.

Recently, the NRMA announced a $10 million investment to build Australia’s largest electric vehicle fast-charging network, suitable for a range of vehicles and free to use for NRMA Members.

We have been working hand-in-hand with our Members who own electric vehicles, electric vehicle enthusiasts, and a large number of interested local councils and community groups, to plan this network.

We’ve had an amazing response, with over 550 expressions of interest. We’ve met with people as far afield as Narrandera and Byron Bay, and everyone is rallying behind this initiative.

With cars no longer manufactured in Australia, it is inevitable that new imported cars will increasingly be electric. All major car manufacturers are releasing new electric models the next few years and investing nearly $100 billion to support the shift to electric. China and Germany are planning to phase out petrol and diesel cars. Last year, China sold over 500,000 electric cars and installed almost a million chargers. It’s expected there will be more than 145 million electric cars on the road by 2035 – up from 2 million today.

Many Members we spoke to said they would consider buying an electric vehicle but were nervous about the lack of charging infrastructure. We aim to solve this with a network of chargers available to keep you moving, whether you are commuting to work or taking a road trip to explore our great country.

Journeys beyond the city are driving the network’s design. The plan is to have more than 40 fast-charger sites – which will charge most vehicles to at least 80 per cent capacity in around 30 minutes – and enable electric vehicle journeys on major driving routes across NSW and the ACT. Newcastle will be the first charging site to Members and we will announce more locations in coming months which will support road trips to the Snowy Mountains, the NSW South Coast, and even Queensland.

This network will connect motorists to unique regional experiences and open towns to a new wave of business opportunities as more electric vehicles join our roads.

Cost is a deterrent in buying electric today, but prices are about to drop. The Nissan Lead is likely to hit Australian roads at around $45,000, while the Hyundai Ioniq will arrive in Australia this year, priced similarly to its petrol equivalent, yet will save it’s owner around $1000 a year on fuel.

As battery technology improves and manufacturing costs fall, electric cars will soon be a cheaper way to travel while causing less stress on the environment.

Electric cars are essentially big batteries on wheels, capable of storing energy. With off-peak overnight charging, excess power could be returned to the grid during peak demand.

The future of motoring in Australia will be electric. We will make sure this transition is as seamless as possible for Members. The shift will happen faster than we all think.