South Australian, already leading the country in the uptake of wind and solar in its grid, has now unveiled one of the most ambitious electric vehicle policies in the country, vowing to transition its government fleet to EVs and accelerate the rollout of fast-charging infrastructure across the state.
In a pre-budget announcement, South Australian energy minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the new Electric Vehicle Action Plan would support the uptake of electric vehicles by boosting charging infrastructure and expanding the availability of affordable all-electric models.
The state Liberal government says it will allocate $18 million in next Tuesday’s budget to fast-start the uptake of electric vehicles. Its aim is to make electric vehicles the “common choice” for new passenger vehicles by 2030, and the “default choice” by 2035.
“Headlining the Electric Vehicle Action Plan is the creation of a state-wide fast charging network where the public can plug in their electric vehicles,” van Holst Pellekaan said. “Consumers are saying there are two main barriers to electric vehicles which this policy will target – a lack of charging infrastructure and the availability of affordable models.”
South Australia will begin transitioning its vehicle fleet to electric models, providing a crucial boost for vehicle demand in the state, as well as facilitating the availability of more affordable options as the fleet vehicles ultimately flow through into the second-hand market.
“To accelerate the availability of new models, the State Government fleet will transition to electric vehicles within its existing budget, whilst calling on local government and corporate fleets to pledge similar,” van Holst Pellekaan said.
“The State Government spends approximately $80 million on vehicles and fuel each year – and our new policy will progressively shift that spend to electric cars. Instead of $15 million each year spent on imported fuel, we’ll be buying local clean power instead.”
Van Holst Pellekaan said the plan would bring more models into South Australia and deliver a steady stream of affordable used electric vehicles after a few years of use in government and private fleets.
The transition the State Government fleets will help accelerate public charging infrastructure in the City of Adelaide, at hospitals, schools and transport hubs.
The plan would see around 110 rapid highway charging stations installed across South Australia, along with a network of more than 350 fast destination chargers installed across major metropolitan centres, including an expected 100 destination chargers installed across Adelaide.
The government says this will also lead to lower electricty prices.
“As an added bonus, the faster uptake of electric vehicles is modelled to cut household power bills by around $50 by 2025 and $240 by 2030 as more users share the cost of the network,” it said. “Electric vehicles will drive the next wave of power bill savings, whilst meeting our need for speed on climate change and improving air quality.”
The announcement was welcomed by the Electric Vehicle Council, which said the South Australian government was demonstrating the kind of support and leadership needed from governments to help boost electric vehicle adoption in Australia.
“We know Australians want to make the shift to electric vehicles but they need their governments to demonstrate they are supporting the transition. That’s exactly what the South Australian Government is signalling today,” Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari said.
“An upgraded fast charging network will help give South Australians with the confidence to switch to an electric vehicle. The new normal for electric vehicles is a range of over 500 kilometres on a single charge. So even those living in the third-biggest state in the country can have confidence they’ll always be able to make it from A to B.”
“The plan to transition the entire SA Government Fleet to electric vehicles by 2030 is a vital step. Not only would it shift $80 million in cars and fuel to clean transport power it will also send a powerful signal to the market that a transition is real and appealing.”