5 August 2021

Electric vehicle registrations in the ACT surge past 1000

| James Coleman
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The Model 3

The Model 3, the entry-level Tesla. Photo: James Coleman.

“It’s cool – and nice to know that there are 1000 out there on Canberra roads.”

A Tesla Model 3 belonging to Peter McNeil made history last month as the 1,000th EV registered in the ACT.

So far, zero-emission vehicles account for 0.37 per cent of total vehicles in the territory this year and include cars powered by on-board batteries and hydrogen fuel cells. It’s still a tiny figure but one that is on the rise. Between 2019 and 2020 the number nearly doubled

“I didn’t want to buy another petrol car so I looked at all the EVs and decided on the Tesla,” Peter said.

Teslas make up nearly half of all the EVs in the ACT followed by the Nissan Leaf and the Hyundai Kona Electric and IONIQ Electric duo.

“Rebates and schemes certainly helped bring the cost down. Thirteen years ago when I bought my last car, I said to myself that it would be the last internal-combustion car I was going to buy because I thought electric cars would come in sooner. The Tesla came in around $70,000 which was a good $20K more than I wanted to pay but it’s worth it.”

The ACT Government has brought various incentives to the table over the years, hoping to win over those who are still using fossil fuel powered vehicles.

Karl and Peter

Karl and Peter proudly standing by their EVs. Photo: Supplied.

It started in June 2015 when buyers of EVs no longer had to pay stamp duty. Then in November 2018, the Government announced that all of the vehicles in their fleet going forward would be EVs. In March 2019, EVs were granted the ‘privilege’ of being able to drive along in the transit lane on Adelaide Avenue. Most recently, brand new EVs bought from May this year will receive free registration for two years.

A massive hail storm in January 2019 also forced many into the new car market and people who had been content with fossil fuel powered cars until that point began investigating in the growing EV options.

READ ALSO More opting to lease EVs, but better incentives would drive uptake

Peter still has his old car and said that whenever he gets back in it for a drive, he truly realises just how far EVs have come.

“The Tesla is truly fantastic to drive. Certainly for anyone who likes to put their foot down, they would be absolutely hooked by the Tesla. If anything, it’s probably a little too fast, but it’s really smooth and really easy to drive. It’s fantastic in stop-start traffic and it’s really comfortable.”

“I chose this one because it has a sticker range of about 500 km. We need to get down to my parents’ place in south-western New South Wales and this car will easily do that, although we haven’t had a chance to do that yet. We’ve done some small trips out to Bungdendore and back and a few other places.”

Almost 10 years earlier, the honour of the first EV registered in the ACT belongs to Karl Goiser and his Mitsubishi i-MiEV, with the very appropriate number plate of “EV101”.

First electric vehicle registered

The first electric vehicle registered in the ACT was a 2011 Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Photo: Karl Gosier.

Karl describes it as “very unusual” in those early days to see another electric car.

“When I bought the Mitsubishi in September 2011, you couldn’t buy an electric car apart from this one and the Nissan Leaf. People were very much against them.”

Karl said he’s always been interested in “electrical stuff” and the idea of having a car that is propelled by an electric motor and batteries was a fascinating thing for him.

“Now, thank goodness, I see an EV nearly every time I get out and drive around Canberra. The incentives that the ACT Government are giving are absolutely brilliant and should be carried out across the whole of Australia. Burning fossil fuels is a very important thing to move away from.”

He admits the range he gets from the aging hatchback isn’t great.

“It’s old. It has the same battery technology as your laptop, and the battery wears out over time. But I only use it inside Canberra and it does the shopping and everything I need to do in the city. I plug it in when I get home and it’s fully charged in the morning.”

For other duties, he exchanged his petrol car last year for the Hyundai Kona Electric which offers a more useable 400 kilometre range.

“It makes me very sad to know that there are about 200 models of EV available worldwide and about 12 in Australia. Manufacturers are very reluctant to bring their cars in because they know that the federal Government doesn’t support them.”

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I’d consider an EV when they are comparable in size, space, longevity, purchase cost and servicing costs to petrol cars. At the moment, they’re still 10+ years out from that.

From my little knowledge, the only thing that is not comparable from your list is “purchase cost” , although total cost of ownership over 5-10 years could be comparable. I have a colleague who is in the position where he could consider replacing a current vehicle with an EV, and his biggest concerns are range and availability of recharging points when on trips outside of the city (part of his use case).

Capital Retro6:19 pm 11 Aug 21

Re the “high performance” aspect of Tesla EVs, this will mean that in most Australian states, “P” platers will not be able to legally drive them. No such ban in progressive Canberra though so, “look out”.

OMG Lock up your children, Canberra!!! We are about to be beset upon by a plague of young rabid greenie ‘P’ platers doing burnouts in their brand new Tesla EVs

Capital Retro9:54 am 12 Aug 21

When you witness what happens when a car wraps around a tree at high speed and the young occupants are killed you will maybe will think twice about trivializing this matter.

Capital Retro9:52 pm 10 Aug 21

Are the Teslas being sold in Australia made in Berlin, Shanghai or California? And are they made from aluminium – the stuff they call congealed electricity?

Capital Retro9:42 pm 11 Aug 21

An Australian imported “made in China” Tesla”?

That’s priceless.

So nothing else has ever been made in China?

Capital Retro8:31 am 10 Aug 21

I don’t think the government owns any vehicles. More likely, the EVs they drive are leased to them.

I wonder how many people who drive electric cars also have a petrol car, which even if not used often, is there for the long trips to say western NSW, to central Australia and beyond. Or for using when hundreds of kms need to be travelled in one day with no time for recharging. Or for driving off road. The electric car’s limitations doesn’t concern them, because there’s the back up car. The electric car being used for driving about town and short country trips. Some of those trips which could be done with pubic transport, walked or cycled.

For those of us with only one car, it needs to be able to do all those things. However, when at home there’s buses, bicycles and good old walking. I cycled to work.

Maya123 … short answer is that even if they do have a petrol car for for the long trips and use thir EV for the bulk of their commuting, they probably replaced their second petrol car with an EV … so at least they’ve reduced their footprint by 50% … every bit helps 🙂

Yes, if I had a second car it would be electric. I just get annoyed by those people who say we should all get an electric car, when 1. it’s very expensive, 2. it won’t go everywhere, 3. on long trips it takes too long to charge, that is if there is somewhere to charge them, when I do wonder if they might still have a petrol car in the household that can be used when electric cars are impracticable. Many of us don’t have the luxury of a second car.
My commuting was mostly by bike, and occasionally bus (when raining, with a two km walk on the work end).

Your comment Maya is why I think the Plug In Hybrids when available in decent numbers will take off. Can do all the around town running on electric, then have the fuel tank for the big trips interstate. The are the obvious transition mechanism until range issues are solved with EVs.

But you are right – they remain very expensive per say EVs for what you get.

There is one little problem with the move to EVs as we are moving to a more unreliable grid with the increasing penetration of intermittent power sources. Supply should be targeted through prioritisation such as hospitals first and then decreasing priorities such as households afterwards and further down the priority list should be charging of EVs and possibly even requiring them to feed into the grid whatever power they have left. We still need some technological advances to ensure the appropriate information requirements and enforcement but I have no doubt that we are closer to this than most people expect.

Capital Retro2:19 pm 09 Aug 21

Gold Medal effort for virtue signaling, Richard Shortt.

Capital Retro6:58 pm 08 Aug 21

” Manufacturers are very reluctant to bring their cars in because they know that the federal Government doesn’t support them.”

The last vehicle manufacturer in Australia only survived so long because of massive taxpayer subsidies. I don’t think the electorate is in the mood to go there again despite all the hype that the EV promoters are throwing at us.

It’s all about “selling the sizzle, not the steak”.

“Manufacturers are very reluctant to bring their cars in …”
You even copied the sentence, CapitalRetro, and still couldn’t read it. The OP didn’t even mention manufacturing in Australia. He spoke in the context of their being 200 models of EV available (as in able to be purchased) worldwide and only 12 models are available in Australia.
Maybe you should try vegan sausages – apparently they sizzle nicely.

Capital Retro3:49 pm 09 Aug 21

It mentioned manufacturers, not importers and distributors.

Manufacturers were mentioned in the context of availability of models worldwide (200) and in Australia (12) …. Clumsy wording, but there was no mention of manufacturers actually manufacturing, unless you know of 12 models which are being manufactured in Australia.

Capital Retro6:52 pm 09 Aug 21

In 2021 ACE EV Group are launching a range of Australian made light commercial electric vans and cars, The ACE Cargo, ACE Yewt and ACE Urban. … A new, disruptive eco-system for the future of personal and business transport in Australia.

Thank you, CapitalRetro, for confirming that none of the 12 ev’s currently available in Australia are not manufactured here

James et al on EV’s. It would be REALLY good to see an article about what the ROI for an EV for most folk who will have to borrow to buy an EV might be. compared to the case for sticking with their current petrol vehicle.

As a retire Management Scientist* I can assure you that for us with a 2015 Subaru Forester with just 75,000 kms on it, the ROI on a Trade in and an EV is terrible. And, probably would be for many, if not most Canberrans who own a still-working petrol car.

It is all very well for folks to propound ideals, but it is NOT sensible to leave out the counter arguments.

I’ve been aware since the 70s oil-shock of the need to reduce fossil-fuel consumption. When we were just married and were looking for a house in 1980/81 I was aware of the base-line features for a house to be maximally energy efficient via upgrades.

So, we were looking for a house that ran due East-West or close, and was on the Nth side of the street and could thus be shaded by a wide and deep-enough shade deck, plus extra deciduous trees. We found one, < +/- 5 degrees off East-West – that needed cleaning up and garden's needing work, and a lot of weeding.

It now has r6.0 in the ceiling, r3.0 under it and r4.0 in the walls. Can you claim to have done as much?

To our relief the house had survived the 2003 fire-storm that hit the Mt. Taylor estate, when we got home that afternoon.

Wishing and hand-rubbing just isn't in the same category as is doing.

I’d add that I really do want a sensible response. One that deals with my points.

Surprise me.

Actually, TimboinOz, I don’t think the likes of you and I are the target demographic for EVs. As with all new technology, it is going to take some time before there is an acceptable ROI – particularly as you (and I) have a perfectly adequate vehicle and there is no incentive to change. So, I think for the moment, the EV take-up (and the Tesla in particular) is, in the main, going to be left to the cashed-up young professionals who want to be the first to be seen in the latest technology. Nevertheless, I have had the opportunity to drive a Tesla and I can tell you it’s a very nice ride with plenty of get up and go.

Capital Retro11:55 am 09 Aug 21

Why is “get up and go” important to you, Grumpy?

Not important CapitalRetro – It was an observation … I actually drive a 1300cc car which certainly doesn’t have ‘get up and go’

Capital Retro2:24 pm 09 Aug 21

OK, we will file that under “sizzle” then.

I could think of another place you could file it, CapitalRetro, but fill your boots and file it under “sizzle” if it makes you feel good.

Capital Retro4:37 pm 09 Aug 21

I have no desire to “get up and go” like you.

Not used to country driving, are you CapitalRetro? If I had to choose between my current 1300cc and a Tesla with “get up and go” to overtake a road train on the Barrier Highway, get up and go wins hands down every time.

Capital Retro9:54 am 10 Aug 21

Are there any recharging pints for EVs on the Barrier Highway?

liberalsocialist10:08 am 10 Aug 21

Good points, but I don’t think return on investment is going to ever cut it as a term. You can’t price the environment. But I, like you, have instead put the considerable dollars that could otherwise be put into an EV into solar and battery for our family’s home. It cost just over $20,000 and I am sure reduces our energy footprint far more than if I has spend three times as much on an EV. I can only think that perhaps it is the fact that I can’t waltz around Canberra showing everyone how green I am that stops people from buying, say, a $40,000 car (still a good one) that’s good on fuel and then putting the remaining $20,000+++ into getting their home energy efficient.

Capital Retro2:27 pm 08 Aug 21

Rebate good.

Subsidy bad.

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