The chairman of the Select Committee on Electric Vehicles has called for “the urgent need for leadership on this issue,” after hearing a switch from ICE to electric vehicles could save Aussie households $2227 a year or a whopping $20 billion annually.
The Senate Committee – headed by South Australia Senator Tim Storer – is taking submissions from companies, organisations and expert witnesses and last week was in Brisbane.
The committee heard from Dr Jake Whitehead, Research Fellow at the University of Queensland School of Civil Engineering, who said Australian households spend around $22 billion on transport fuel each year, and a further $13 billion on servicing and repairs.
Dr Whitehead said the transition to an electric vehicle fleet could save Australian households over $20 billion over a year or $2227 per household.
He also said the transition to EVs would require investment in skills and service industries, particularly charging infrastructure, and called on government to develop EV-specific servicing and repair mechanic courses too.
Dr Whitehead told the Committee the University of Queensland plans to launch a vehicle-to-grid pilot in the second half of 2018 to explore how EVs could be used to support regional and remote communities during blackouts and natural disasters (by using the vehicle batteries to run lighting, for example).
The Queensland Government, in its submission to the inquiry, also highlighted how electric vehicles will help to improve public health by reducing local air pollution. It’s estimated that motor vehicle pollution causes 1715 premature deaths in Australia each year, compared to around 1200 from road accidents.
They also outlined how, in the future, EVs could help stabilise the electricity grid by storing excess power (for example, from solar systems in the middle of the day), and by exporting it back to the grid when needed.
The Queensland government recently launched its The Future is Electric Strategy, which has the Electric Super Highway as its centrepiece.
The Electric Highway is aimed at reducing rage anxiety by ensuring there are sufficient superchargers along Queensland’s roads.
Senator Storer said this was “an example of the role governments can play in supporting the transition to electric vehicles”.
“The expert witnesses in Brisbane illustrated yet again the urgent need for leadership on this issue at the federal level,” Sen Storer said.
The committee’s next hearing date is in Canberra on October 18.
Tony Bosworth writes for www.TheDriven.io and RenewEconomy.com.au. He has 35 years experience in journalism, and has been instrumental in launching and editing several automotive magazines including Which Car? magazine in the UK.