Driving the uptake of electric vehicles will be number one priority of a newly detailed plan released by the NSW state government, which intends to make more electric vehicles available to consumers by encouraging car-makers to import more models.
Part of the 10-year stage one of the Berejiklian government’s Net Zero Plan announced on Saturday, the strategy will support the roll out of more electric vehicle (EV) chargers and encourage the adoption of EVs by fleets.
It will also support changes to NSW building codes to make it easier – and cheaper – for EV chargers to be installed, and amend licensing and parking regulations to support EV uptake.
NSW drivers stand to benefit from the plan, which the state government hopes will drive competition amongst carmakers and hence lower prices of electric cars which, due to the currently high cost of batteries, often cost a great deal more than their internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts.
“The global electric vehicle market is growing rapidly, with about 2.1 million electric vehicles sold around the world in 2018. In Australia, electric vehicles are forecast to reach upfront price parity with traditional combustion engine vehicles from 202,” the government report states.
“Electric vehicles present a significant opportunity for motorists to reduce their yearly car operating costs. Already today, the average driver can save about $1300 per year on fuel costs by switching to an electric vehicle, as well as saving about $300 on annual maintenance costs,” it says.
The ‘Electric Vehicle Infrastructure and Model Availability Program’ expands on a preliminary “Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Plan” first released in January 2019, and will be rolled out over the next three years to help fast-track the adoption of electric vehicles.
“By rolling out fast and conveniently located charging infrastructure across the State and making new buildings electric vehicle ready, more NSW motorists will be encouraged to purchase an electric vehicle regardless of whether they live in their own home, a tenanted property or an apartment with or without a private car space,” the report says.
“By encouraging vehicle fleet procurers to buy electric vehicles, their bulk purchasing power will incentivise importers to sell a greater range of electric vehicle models. This means the NSW electric vehicle market will become increasingly competitive and lower cost.
“Co-funding fleets with the private or local government sector will bring a substantial number of new electric vehicles into New South Wales. These vehicles are typically resold to the second-hand market after three to five years, giving NSW drivers more electric vehicle options at a lower cost.”
Behyad Jafari, of the Electric Vehicle Council, says the new plan shows that NSW is leading the way for the adoption of electric cars, which are a proven technology and have the potential to help tackle a large part of Australia’s transport-related carbon emissions.
“The New South Wales government is showing genuine leadership through these measures,” said Jafari in a note by email.
“Every citizen in the state will win from a transition to electric vehicles. The air we breath will be cleaner, we will break our dependence on foreign oil, and we will all save money in the long run.
“I am deeply appreciative that Energy Minster Matt Kean has truly listened to the electric vehicle industry and delivered for the state. We look forward to further constructive dialogue with Mr Kean,” he says.
The new plan aims to tackle a lack of confidence in EVs in both consumers and carmakers. As The Driven has noted on numerous occasions, carmakers are reticent to bring more models to Australia unless government policy is geared towards their adoption.
By rolling out EV charging hubs across the state and ensuring new buildings are EV-ready, so-called “range anxiety” will be alleviated encouraging more consumers to make the switch to electric transport.
“Rapidly rolling out conveniently located charging infrastructure across the state will signal to consumers that the government backs the purchase of an electric vehicle,” says Jafari.
“Making new buildings electric vehicle ready will send a further strong signal. The benefits of electric vehicles should be for everyone, regardless of whether they live in their own home, a tenanted property, or an apartment with or without a private car space,” he says.
Additionally, co-funding to assist fleets with electric vehicle purchase will also signal to carmakers to import more models, giving consumers and fleet operators a wider range of models to choose from.
“By encouraging vehicle fleet procurers to buy electric vehicles, their bulk purchasing power will incentivise importers to sell a greater range of electric vehicle models,” says Jafari.
“Fleet vehicles are, on averages, resold to the second-hand market after three to five years. This will give NSW drivers more electric vehicle options at a lower cost.
“Over time this will make the electric vehicle market in New South Wales more competitive for all consumers. This is smart, practical policy from Australia’s premier state.”
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.