Here’s our latest question from a reader:
I’ve only recently discovered The Driven but very impressed & will definitely be a regular reader!
There’s a Tesla in my neighbourhood and I get a thrill every time I see it glide past, but I’d happily trade that sensation for a ‘mundane’ setting where most vehicles were electric.
What advice can you offer to the average punter who wants to help EVs become more visible and price accessible? Particularly in WA, there feels like a real absence of action on this.
Are there existing efforts to lobby organisations and government that I can contribute to, with a goal of encouraging pro-EV policies?
Your guidance appreciated & keep up the good work,
Hi Damon – many thanks for the kind words. The short answer to your question is to join your local branch of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association (AEVA).
The more members we have (by the way, I say ‘we’ as I should declare up-front that I am the Victorian branch secretary and editor of the national AEVA publication EVNews) the bigger the voice we can get to effect change in government policy and action. (Let alone having more members to help with the work!)
By the way – the local branch may feel a bit miffed at your comment that there seems to be little action on EVs in WA. For the WA state government that is sadly true, but the WA AEVA branch is working hard on multiple fronts. Only last weekend they ran their 10th annual EV try-drive event. By all reports, it was a great success.
They have also launched a crowd-funding campaign to build more DC fast-chargers (in the absence of government support). That campaign has been so successful that the first one is about to be installed at Lake Grace on the Perth to Esperance route.
All around Australia the AEVA runs public education talks, presents at conferences, gives general advice sessions for government and business groups, writes submissions to all local, state and federal inquiries into EVs, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
The biggest problem preventing electric car uptake in Australia is the lack of federal action on EVs. So your question, therefore, morphs into the bigger question of, why there is so little federal government action to address what is now the inevitable transition to electric transport – in all its forms?
Even the simplest and most obvious step – federal adoption of stricter vehicle emissions and fuel economy standards (which, by the way, have been gathering dust for some time on ministerial desks) – is lacking.
Without the adoption of these stricter vehicle standards, there is no reason whatever for manufacturers to think about bringing EVs in any numbers to Australia. They are, after all, struggling to keep up with the demand for EVs in other parts of the world.
That demand, by the way, is in part is driven by the fact that the other major OECD countries adopted emissions and fuel economy standards some years ago.
Following this first step, a federal EV adoption framework would then be needed to smooth the transition process and increase the availability of EVs to the general public. An EV buying policy for government fleets is an excellent example, as these vehicles filter to the second-hand market in decent numbers.
The ACT government EV buying policy is an Australian example of such a policy – but a federal framework will help this sort of action filter through to the other states.
There are many other examples throughout the world of how to promote EV adoption. Given we are lagging so far behind comparable countries in EV adoption it would not be hard to pick and choose from the best options.
Tim Storer’s senate report from last year in fact has done so!
So how do we, as the general public, promote the need for EV action? The answer lies back to where I started: joining grass-roots EV organisations and by our numbers making as loud and concerted a clamour as we possibly can. We need to show our local representatives there are significant numbers in the EV vote.
As such, AEVA is well placed to show both the lived experience of EV owners themselves, as well as to speak with a coordinated voice to provide expert information on the best methods, policies and support mechanisms regarding the EV transition.
To find where your local AEVA branch meets and/or to join – go to https://www.aeva.asn.au/
Bryce Gaton is an expert on electric vehicles and contributor for The Driven and Renew Economy. He has been working in the EV sector since 2008 and is currently working as EV electrical safety trainer/supervisor for the University of Melbourne. He also provides support for the EV Transition to business, government and the public through his EV Transition consultancy EVchoice.