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Is Australia ready for an increase in electric vehicle demand?

Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash.

High petrol prices and a shift in the consciousness of Australian car shoppers is seeing increased interest in electric vehicles.

Queensland’s recently announced electric vehicle subsidy scheme and the nationally driven Future Fuels Fund are solid steps to towards removing the barriers affecting uptake of new electric vehicles and generating increased consumer interest to battery electric vehicle (BEV) products.

With a variety of low emission vehicles now on the market, however, which represents the lowest cost emission option and does the Australian market have the infrastructure to cope with an increased demand for these vehicles?

Engineering consultancy firm, TfA Project Group has this month released their latest White Paper, exploring the types of BEVs available in Australia and the current challenges of charging a BEV in Australia.

The document highlights the need for greater public charging infrastructure for BEVs and suggests new regional service stations, including large service centres, are a logical location for improved charging infrastructure.

Fuel industry consultant, Mr Keith Sharp from TfA Project Group advised, “TfA has designed over 1,500 service stations and travel centres throughout Australia for the past 25 years.

“In recent years, we’ve worked on numerous projects that include future provisions for electric charging infrastructure in new and existing service stations, but this model still remains limited.

“The current metropolitan service station model does not readily lend itself to public EV charging.

“Where a typical metropolitan service station can refuel eight traditional petrol/diesel cars at once, the addition of a single 50kW charger (one hour to 60 per cent charge a Tesla 3) will overload many existing switchboards.

“To install multiple superchargers will often require not only a new switchboard but also an upgrade to the street transformer and network supply connection to the site. In the short-term, existing sites are not practical for more than one to two small chargers and one to two cars at once.”

Another key finding of the report was the need for considering how the future uptake of electric vehicles will impact the electricity grid, network load and infrastructure.

“BEV recharging can add significant additional electrical loads to the grid,” Mr Sharp said.

“ANU research has calculated that electric vehicles have the potential to make up to at least 25 per cent of the grid’s demand if one million electric vehicles were plugged in at the same time.

“While this is unlikely to occur anytime soon, given the current rate of electric vehicle uptake in Australia, it is important to remember that one million vehicles only represents approximately seven per cent of the vehicle pool in Australia.”

To read the Low Emissions Vehicles, An Australian Perspective white paper in full, visit: www.tfa.com.au.


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