13 January 2023

EV registrations double in past year as ACT leads uptake

| Ian Bushnell
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family and car

Charging ahead: Brent Fuller, daughter Frankie and wife Tania Losanno, and their Polestar2. Photos: Ian Bushnell.

The Fuller family of Narrabundah swapped an ageing petrol car for their first electric vehicle last year and haven’t looked back.

They are part of an accelerating trend of EV ownership in the ACT, with the number of vehicle registrations doubling last year from 1417 in November 2021 to 2871 registrations in November 2022.

The ACT is already leading the nation on zero-emission vehicle uptake, with 9.5 per cent of all new cars being EVs and ZEVs, and these will soon make up around one per cent of total vehicles registered in the ACT.

Brent Fuller told Region the timing seemed right to update the family car to an electric one when his family bought a Polestar2 sedan with a 380km range for about $65,000 early last year.

They have been reaping the benefits ever since, cutting their running costs significantly and taking advantage of the ACT Government’s two-year free registration scheme.

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Mr Fuller says the monthly fuel bill has plummeted from $200 to $20 and without the need for regular servicing, the family will save about $1000 to $1500 a year.

A recent round trip to Melbourne cost them about $32, with a stop halfway to charge for about 20 to 30 minutes, something they would do previously anyway.

“There are significant savings before even considering the broader social savings as well, such as decreasing our carbon footprint,” Mr Fuller said.

“It’s also an incredibly pleasant vehicle to drive.”

He loves the quiet running and appreciates the power immediately available to overtake safely, compared with the old petrol car.

Range anxiety has never been a problem around town or on their regular trips to Melbourne.

The family has installed rooftop solar and a home charger thanks to the Government’s Sustainable Household Scheme, and uses the Plugshare app to locate chargers and plan their trips out of town.


The Fullers’ Polestar2, a popular choice in Canberra. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

Mr Fuller knows he is in a fortunate position, but has no hesitation recommending the switch to electric.

“It’s a great opportunity, you can charge at home and not be concerned about the cost of running a vehicle. How many Canberrans drive more than 50 to 100 kilometres a day?” he said.

EPSDD Deputy Director-General, Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction Geoffrey Rutledge said most of the EV take-up last year was in the $60,000 range, with Tesla and Polestar the most popular brands.

Mr Rutledge said the increasing numbers and the fact that a fifth of all new cars in that price range were EVs made him optimistic that the shift was on in the ACT, despite price-point sensitivities and supply issues.

“What it tells me is that when price parity is available, then the switch to electric is not a difficult one,” he said.

The rego incentive and the $15,000 interest-free loans through the Sustainable Household Scheme were doing their bit.

In fact, just as many people were using the full amount to buy a second-hand EV such as a Nissan Leaf as a new EV, and it was also helping to buy a charger.

“What we’re seeing in the SHS is people adopting solar and they’re getting big systems, so 10 kilowatt systems, and then that leads them to try and then electrify everything in their home,” Mr Rutledge said.

“So then they get the reverse cycle, they get the battery or they get the electric vehicle.”

The change of Federal Government would also have an impact as the fringe benefit tax cut flows through, as well as the psychological effect of the Commonwealth fleet of 1500 to 2000 vehicles going electric and appearing on ACT roads.

man in car

Brent Fuller behind the wheel of his Polestar2: “It’s an incredibly pleasant car to drive.” Photo: Ian Bushnell.

But Mr Rutledge said the real gamechanger would be if the Federal Government tightened the fuel efficiency standard to align with Europe which would open the country up to more EV models and stop Australia being a dumping ground for outmoded petrol, and diesel cars.

He said new car sales in the UK for December were 34 per cent electric, 27 per cent hybrid and petrol and diesel 40 per cent.

The boost in supply and price reduction would also give private fleet managers more incentive to make the change and reap savings.

Mr Rutledge said the ACT Government’s fleet switch had reduced its running costs by about 80 per cent.

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The imminent arrival of the Chinese brand BYD, which offers a more accessible $45,000 SUV, was another positive sign.

“Interestingly, they’ve opened shops in Sydney and Melbourne and are about to open a shop in Woden which tells me that they must see Canberra as a place that’s willing … that they see as a good market,” Mr Rutledge said.

For those worried about the demand on the power grid when EVs become the norm, Mr Rutledge said the work by the directorate and Infrastructure Australia showed that it would be offset by increased solar PV and greater energy efficiency of other appliances.

There would be local pinch points particularly in townhouse and multi-unit developments but these could be planned for.

To alleviate range anxiety, the Government is rolling out a further 77 public charging stations across Canberra, most of which should come online this year. It has committed to 180 chargers by 2025.

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Electric cars and this whole new ‘electric system’ is a terrible idea. They are actually very damaging to the environment (digging up the earth for batteries to run them, ongoing waste and dumping of batteries and the components, overheating of parts), plus the millions of older (but nothing wrong with them) cars that the government will now force people to take off the roads and forced to go into landfill. Not to mention the huge electricity prices – watch the government increase electricity prices as soon as they can. And they are silent cars so they cause accidents, kill wildlife, and run people over because no one can hear them coming. The ACT commie government just wants to monitor and control people’s lives and that’s all this is about. Introducing a stupid compulsory change to people that financially benefit$ their mates

The 1966 version of the Batmobile had atomic batteries that were charged by a standalone atomic/nuclear reactor. The standing start (complete with flames) and acceleration were pretty amazing and the car looks much better than what the electric vehicle manufacturers are offering. I think I will wait. Ha ha ha

Capital Retro7:57 am 23 Jan 23

The comic strip authors 50 years ago were visionaries. You have alluded to the Batmobile EV and how it was powered but let’s also remember Dick Tracy’s 2-way wrist radio which is now a reality.

HiddenDragon6:55 pm 16 Jan 23

It’s so comforting to know that the unfortunate things which used to happen to public phones when no one was looking will never, ever happen to EV charging stations –


Capital Retro4:06 pm 16 Jan 23

Ah, the car with the Swedish name which is owned by Geely in China where it is built.

And there is nothing wrong with that!

Out of the 8.9 million barrels of gasoline consumed daily in the U.S. on average, only 1.8 million gallons, or approximately 20 percent, actually propel an internal combustion vehicle forward. The other 80 percent is wasted on heat and parasitic auxiliary components that draw away energy.

As the world begins its shift to EV proliferation, the good news is electric vehicles are far more energy efficient on the road.

Roads made from fossil fuels and by machines that run off fossil fuels

Heat is wasted? What happens in a canberra winter where its -7 outside.?
All that range of an EV is going straight into inefficient heat generation

All these ignoramuses thinking they are doing good for the environment. EVs are the new iPhones. You replace them every 3 years with the latest model and dump it into landfill. Batteries will be leaching toxic waste into the ground for thousands of years.

David Lee (David Lee)1:35 pm 16 Jan 23

The battery can last 5-8 years. Better battery recycling technology is being developed and evolving, too. The recycling industry investment is driven by EV adoption.

David Lee David Lee, interesting that the key words are “being developed and evolving”. The batteries are all going to landfill now, we are just outsourcing the problem to third world countries who don’t have the regulatory and environmental red tape of processing rare earth minerals and pumping the toxic waste into their waterways. Fusion technology is being “developed and evolving as well”.

Sam Oak,
Mature battery recycling technology exists, so it’s nothing like your example of “fusion”.

The only thing currently stopping widescale recycling of EV batteries is the regulatory framework to make it so.

Many countries are already moving to force this to happen due to the wastage and pollution problem

Will this make EV ownership slightly more expensive? In the short term yes, but as with all new technology, early development cost money. But the prices for EVs are already reducing and will continue to do so.

Capital Retro8:18 am 18 Jan 23

Sounds like the science is settled, chewy.

Chewy, it may exist but it’s not economically viable without government subsidies. Ask a company whether it’s cost effective to recycle a battery and send it back to China to turn it into a new battery. Again we can’t manufacture battery ourselves without huge subsidies to compete against cheap Chinese labour. And no recyclable good gets turned into something new without at least half of the inputs replaced with new materials and in this case it’s the lithium ion cells being replaced. All that gets recycled is the casing.

No that’s completely incorrect.

Just like every other issue around pollution, the should be borne by the consumer through regulatory controls.

How exactly do you think ICE vehicles improved emissions and air pollution impacts over time?

Hint, the manufacturers didn’t enact those changes out of their own goodwill.

The current reason batteries aren’t recycled is because no one forces them to be, not because the recycling technology doesn’t exist.

Which also leads to another point that emissions standards for ICE vehicles are also far too low and should be improved to adequately capture their true impact on the environment, rather than allowing manufacturers and consumers to outsource the costs to others.

Chewy so you think pushing the cost back onto consumers is a good idea amidst Existing cost of living pressures? And the choice car manufacturers face between using recycled inputs or brand new is not a domestic one. We have no car manufacturing industry. It is dictated by the Chinese whether they want to pay for our recycled waste to make batteries or use brand new inputs. They recently stopped accepting our trash and the majority of our recycling is be diverted to landfill ordinarily. Your economic ideas don’t stack up.

Sam Oak,
So you think government subsidies are a good idea?

From your previous comments, seems a strange position to take.

“And the choice car manufacturers face between using recycled inputs or brand new is not a domestic one”

Once again, this is not correct. We and other countries can set our own regulatory frameworks to improve the performance of manufacturers by demanding certain performance levels.

And It’s also strange that you only want to argue this for EVs when the exact same process has happened for ICE vehicles over decades.

Consumers and Governments have obvious and real power to impact the standards that manufacturers must meet for products and that’s exactly the way it’s always worked with progressive and iterative improvements over time.

Your deliberate attempts to discredit EV usage with false arguments is completely transparent.

Are they really saving money?
Car wont last as long and range is poor in winter unless you freeze in it.
Car also costs twice the amount.

Pay more so you can use coal power?

David Lee (David Lee)1:43 pm 16 Jan 23

Recent scientific research has shown that EV adoption overall reduces greenhouse gas emission even the power comes from coal-fired. In ACT, green energy increases year and year and has become the leading jurisdiction in Australia.
The more adoption, the less cost. BYD Atto 3, recently entered into Australia cost around $48,000 less than a new Mazda CX-5.

What is an EV worth when there is no replacement battery or when the battery is deemed unsafe in 10 years, where newer technology is safer and less likely to go boom?

Your CX-5 is going to be declined in price but would still be functional. The range and capacity of the BYD is going to decrease year on year.

Ev’s dont have the same durability as ICE cars to the long term reduction in greenhouse isn’t valid. The majory of the greenhouse cost is in the manufacturing of the EV. If you need 3 of them for every ICE thats not very efficient.

And Ken Behrens can relax a bit about EVs because, as the photo shows, they can be parked on the nature strip just like the current ICE vehicles. Shame about soil compaction and the parking laws.

Capital Retro7:01 pm 16 Jan 23

EVs are also much heavier than an equivalent ICE one.

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