3 June 2022

Not driving an EV yet? A government inquiry wants to know why

| James Coleman
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Only around 2000 EVs are registered in the ACT. Photo: James Coleman.

There are more than 2000 electric vehicles registered in the ACT, which still leaves at least 400,000 cars powered by fossil fuels. A new committee inquiry wants to discover why more people haven’t made the switch.

ACT Greens spokesperson for Transport, Active Travel and Road Safety Jo Clay announced the Inquiry into EV Vehicle Adoption in the ACT Legislative Assembly last week.

“We really want to hear from a broad range of stakeholders to find out the challenges and opportunities for Canberrans who want to switch to EVs,” she said.

READ ALSO Meet the Canberra filmmaker taking his DeLorean back to the future by going electric

The terms of reference for the inquiry focus on eight topics, ranging from charging infrastructure to assistance for people on low incomes.

“We look forward to hearing from as many people as possible about the barriers to uptake, possible incentives, ACT Government and private sector strategies, and guidance on transport infrastructure needs and planning for Canberra,” Ms Clay said.

The Committee invites submissions from industry groups, peak bodies, think tanks, academics, economists, unions and members of the public.

Jo Clay

ACT Greens MLA Jo Clay announced the inquiry last week. Photo: Region Media.

Secretary of the ACT Branch of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association (AEVA), Warwick Cathro, welcomed the inquiry. Their submission will cover a range of issues, including supply chain bottlenecks, stamp duty on used EVs and purchase incentives.

“We also think the ACT Government should review the way it structures leases for EVs in the government fleet to see if it is possible to bring more used EVs onto the used car market sooner,” he said.

READ ALSO Isn’t it IONIQ? Getting lost in Canberra’s ‘Garden City’ a joy in new electric Hyundai

Upfront cost is considered one of the biggest hurdles to EV ownership. The best selling EV in the ACT is the Tesla Model 3, retailing from $63,900 while the cheapest is the MG ZS EV, starting from $46,990. Even with ACT Government incentives – zero stamp duty, two years’ free registration and an interest-free loan of $15,000 – they’re likely out of reach for people on low incomes.

Cheaper options on the used car market are few and far between, but even if there were more, it may not be ‘problem solved’.

Tesla car

The Tesla Model 3, Canberra’s favourite EV. Photo: James Coleman.

Prices for used cars have jumped ever since car factories around the world were hit with forced shutdowns at the height of the pandemic and COVID-related staff absences, as well as the global semiconductor shortage. Wait times for new cars have blown out to as long as 18 months in some instances so customers have turned to the used market.

In Tesla’s case, COVID-19 lockdowns in their Shanghai factory mean that orders placed today are not due to arrive until February next year at the earliest, pending no further setbacks.

READ ALSO Tesla’s rewriting the rules for emission-free cars (but still has time for farts)

Range anxiety is another cause for concern among buyers. Mr Cathro said more charging stations will abate the fear of running out of juice by the side of the road and minimise the chance of all charging points being taken.

“It is important that the companies rolling out charging infrastructure with public funding be obligated to deliver on availability and other service levels,” he said.

“This is to increase public confidence in highway charging infrastructure.”

The ACT Government has dedicated $1.3 million towards the installation of 50 public charging stations. The shortlisted companies will begin construction once the grant papers are signed later this month.

Charging an EV

It does require a bit of planning to coordinate your car’s charging schedule. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has committed $39.3 million to building a national charging network, with stations at an average interval of 150 km on major roads.

He also promised to introduce an ‘electric car discount’. This will exempt many EVs from import tariffs and Fringe Benefits Tax, which should boost sales volumes and expand the used car market.

AEVA ACT is hosting an EV Experience Day on Sunday, 5 June, at the Knowles Place Car Park between 10 am and 2 pm, offering passenger rides in various EV models. There will also be a major EV Expo and Conference at EPIC in early August this year, drawing electric-powered transport options from across the country.

The Inquiry into EV Vehicle Adoption in the ACT is open for submissions online until 6 August.

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I’ll never go EV.

My several years old AWD is running fine and I have just driven it to north west Australia. Imagine how long that would take an EV with having to wait to charge it. That is, after you have searched and found where to charge it. No need to search for a petrol station.
I pulled in to one stop and there were a couple of charging stations. The car park was full. Those couldn’t handle the traffic if all the cars in the car park were electric. I parked, visited the ladies and drove off. Now, if my car was electric I would be sitting there twiddling my thumbs. What a waste of time!
Also, as an extra comment, several times I have come to service stations with queues of cars waiting to fill. Now, how many charging station would that need? Hectares and hectares, as cars must wait, not just fill up and leave as petrol cars do. Not all stations I have visited are on the electric grid either, so you would be charging off diesel.

The reluctance to buy an EV is driven by ROI. aka Return on Investment. NOT a difficult concept except for politicians, it seems.
OTOH we do own an energy-efficient house. It’s a much upgraded (insulated) 1970s, AVJennings, 15sq brick-veneer item.
But, it runs due East West and faces Nth. Plus a long, deep, shaded nth side deck. A nice find.

All the comments here are blindingly obious yet decisions-makers (on higher salaries) have little idea what is going on. What’s new?

Surely the biggest barriers are cost, options and range. I don’t know of any EV that is capable of seating 7, nor any that are capable of off-road or proper towing. Most don’t have a great distance range and can take upwards of 60 minutes to reach 80% capacity even with fast-charge (so a trip to Sydney will take an extra hour each way). None of that matters though, as they cost twice what a petrol car does for the same size/features. When they release a small-medium sized EV for under $30k, maybe people might start to consider it.

Because I don’t want to pay a fortune for a substandard car that the government can remotely switch off at any time.
I’m not afraid to park my current car in the rain (because, unlike a Tesla, it has door seals that keep the rain out).

I bought a new car in 2001, waited for 20 years to buy an EV – still nothing available – drove hybrids in EU and UK, they would be a great stepping stone in AU but none of the huge selection is available here. Don’t need chargers and use much less petrol. Vested interests I assume.

Cos the cars cannot do back to grid power as yet. It going to be norm in 5 years. The batteries in an electric car are 3 to 4 times more powerful than a Tesla Powerwall

Capital Retro5:04 pm 08 Jun 22

Discharging an EV battery into the grid from a home will cripple the grid and wear out the battery faster.

I don’t want to live in a country that is dependent on EVs providing my power at night.

How exactly is an EV battery discharging into the grid going to “cripple” it?

As for wearing out the batter faster, the only reason why people would connect their EV to the grid is if they were being compensated appropriately or would save sufficient money on their own energy use.

The idea wouldn’t be for EV’s to provide your energy at night, it would be for them to smooth demand and supply peaks when the grid required it (or when grid prices spike), meaning cheaper and more reliable electricity for everyone over time.

Capital Retro10:56 am 10 Jun 22

“compensated appropriately” would have to factor in the cost of a new battery every couple of years. This is another way “cheap renewables” can increase the price of electricity.

You continue to be an apologist for EV fanatics, chewy.

“The idea wouldn’t be for EV’s to provide your energy at night, it would be for them to smooth demand and supply peaks when the grid required it”
That’s the same thing. Oh, no, I got it now: it wouldn’t be to provide *your* energy at night, it would be to provide *everyone else’s* energy at night (when the PV panels aren’t supplying any power, and people want a cooked dinner)

Capital Retro,
Well it wouldn’t be factoring in a new battery every few years because they last longer than that but of course the benefit would need to be worthwhile otherwise no one would do it.

And I don’t know how you could possibly think this would increase the price of electricity when it would do the opposite.

It’s almost like people smarter than you who know what they’re talking about have done the research.

Tim C,
I have no idea what you’re talking about.

By “night”, I’m talking about the whole night period where solar panels wouldn’t be producing electricity. There would be no point in using your cars battery for this whole period because then your driving range would be further limited the next day.

I said they could be used for peak periods to smooth demands and costs. Evening cooking times are a peak period and you could use your battery to reduce your own needs and costs at that time. The EV would draw and discharge to the grid to take advantage of increased or decreased electricity spot prices.

I have no idea what you are talking about with “other” people, my comment specifically discussed how the individual would only connect their own EV to the grid if they were individually compensated appropriately.

It really isn’t that hard to understand.

You have no idea what you are talking about. To wear out the battery in my ev in 2 years will require completing 2 to 3 full charge cycles (zero to 100% and back to zero) each and every day continuously for 2 years. With my typical range, that’s about 800 to 1,200 kms a day, or at least 550,000 kms. And trying to drain (or charge) the battery to that extent through your house is going to require some majorly industrial rewiring for the amps required to wear out the battery in 2 years.

“Tim C, I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Quite obviously.

“By “night”, I’m talking about the whole night period where solar panels wouldn’t be producing electricity. There would be no point in using your cars battery for this whole period because then your driving range would be further limited the next day.”
Of course your range will be limited if you use power from your car, but where are you going to be getting the power that you use during the night, if not from your car or PV panels? Do you really use no electricity between sunset and sunrise?!

And the evening peak periods (incl. cooking) – don’t they happen during night time? ActewAGL informs me the peak demand period is 5-8pm – PV panels are not producing any power during that period at this time of year…. so, using power from your car to cook your dinner or “smooth out demand” (or whatever else you want to call the same thing) during this period will certainly reduce your driving range the next day, and your car won’t have a chance to be recharged in the morning because, for most of us, the sun won’t be shining on those PV panels for long enough the next day to recharge your car before it’s time to go to work.

And in case you didn’t realise, by feeding power into the grid (or discharging into the grid) you’re providing power for anyone drawing power from the grid ie. “other people”. You might be “compensated appropriately”, but you’re still going to have to get that power back into your car somehow if you want to be able to use it.

If it really isn’t that hard to understand, why can’t you understand it?

Tha ks for providing me with Exhibit B of people who don’t understand what is being discussed.

“Of course your range will be limited if you use power from your car, but where are you going to be getting the power that you use during the night, if not from your car or PV panels? Do you really use no electricity between sunset and sunrise?!”

Um, from the electricity grid. Where do you get your power from? Can you point out where anyone has suggested you should get your entire power needs from an EV battery or from rooftop solar panels?

Which then negates most of the rest of your comment.

Let’s spell it out for the slow.

If you can connect your EV to the grid, you could take advantage of electricity network spot prices to reduce your own electricity costs and potentially make money by selling back to the grid at peak demand periods.

You would then recharge the EV battery from the grid when prices were low. ie in the middle of the night.

This would mean that the demand patterns on the grid were much smoother and that electricity network infrastructure could be more efficient in not being required to be sized as large for extreme peak periods.

“And in case you didn’t realise, by feeding power into the grid (or discharging into the grid) you’re providing power for anyone drawing power from the grid ie. “other people”. You might be “compensated appropriately”, but you’re still going to have to get that power back into your car somehow if you want to be able to use it.”

Um, which was exactly my point. Charging the EV battery when prices are low, discharging it when prices were high.

Fuel prices might be high, but I don’t have to plan refueling stops or suffer range anxiety when I get to a broken or vandalised charger

Capital Retro3:27 pm 07 Jun 22

The article claims over 2000 EVs are registered in the ACT but the images of two do not have ACT rego and possibly the third one doesn’t either.

mrdavidboddy1:39 pm 07 Jun 22

Price is comparable to other luxury cars.

Where Canberra falls flat is low charging infrastructure. I live in an apartment. There’s no chargers in Gungahlin at all

Capital Retro3:20 pm 07 Jun 22

And the public chargers don’t even have a bucket and a windscreen washer!

A lot of people are re-stating the obvious objections here to uptake of EVs. Some valid – some based on myths and poor information. But here’s the thing – the only thing Australia is leading the world on is finding reasons NOT to reduce reliance on harmful energy sources. Maybe we should focus our efforts on solving the problems instead of avoiding them? Yes EVs are expensive and have room for improvement – they are getting better all the time, though and there are cheaper ones overseas. Let’s get our governments working on ways to bring the cheaper ones in from Europe. Let’s get them building more charging infrastructure. Build a local manufacturing industry for EVs and renewables. Solutions. You should try it.

Capital Retro4:01 pm 06 Jun 22

Where are you building your EV factory, bmewzed and how much in taxpayer funded subsidies are you collecting?

Capital Retro12:02 pm 07 Jun 22

When is you first production model due?

Would love an EV but we need a van and the range on small EV vans is only about 100km. In the meantime we are compromising by keeping the diesel van for large loads and longer distances but using e-bikes with a bike trailer for as many trips as possible.

Surely the question should be about the percentage of new vehicle sales that are EV and not the percentage of the ACT’s entire vehicle fleet that are EV’s?

How dumb can a pollie get?! And I am being quite serious here. If this one represents my electorate (top of Tuggers) she will NOT be getting my vote. Not due to policy but down to low IQ.

i) EVs are NOT cheap, and

ii) there isn’t a big supply of them.

iii) Lots of Canberrans are retired *. * So, we don’t drive a lot anyway.

? Shopping and Church (2 short trips per week) and travel to walk-group sites on some Saturdays.

? Rare GP & Pharmacy visits – so far, so good!

Tim B

Raging Tempest10:41 am 05 Jun 22

Lack of options, lack of availability, lack of infrastructure.

Yeah, ready to roll only…. Where are all the long range SUVs. Model Y: not in Australia; Ionic 5: no stock in Australia; EV6 no stock in Australia. As far (pun intended) as MG, etc go, I’m not taking an overnight break to charge when driving from ACT to New England. Spoils my “quick” long weekend trip to see family.

Our next car will be an EV, but the $ don’t quite add up yet; there’s nothing wrong with our current ICE cars. Our criteria include Canberra>Sydney one charge real-world range; able to tow, mild off-road ability, a ‘joy of ownership factor’, and V2G capability. There are cars that meet these criteria but at too high a price for now. Until there’s a catastrophe with our family ICE cars… then, the EV may become our one car.

Vincent Jessop1:52 am 05 Jun 22

A new battery cost third of what you pay for the car. $69,000 car, when you need a new battery that’s $23,000 battery plus the labour cost. By then the car is only worth about the cost of the a battery. Scrap metal.

Vincent Jessop1:46 am 05 Jun 22

Is the government going to pay for a EV for me? Are they going to give me the $55,000 that my current vehicle is worth? I’m a pensioner and can’t get a loan for a new car. It’s not up to them to dictate what I drive.

The Greens want us to only drive EVs. The way to make people buy EVs is for the Greens to triple the cost of registration for non-EVs. $3000 annual registration costs for non-EVs. If that doesn’t work then ban the sale of all non-EVs. Cost doesn’t matter to the Greens. Choice doesn’t matter to the Greens. The Greens know what is best for us. All hail Comrade Shane.

Lee V'me-Alone8:50 pm 04 Jun 22

can barely afford groceries.

HiddenDragon7:21 pm 04 Jun 22

This is the circular economy, Canberra-style – waste of space ratepayer-funded officials conducting an inquiry into the bleeding obvious.

People in high paying public roles should NOT be expecting the rest of the community to be able match their lifestyle choices and financial expenditure!

This survey shows an extreme lack of understanding and arrogance.

I am waiting for a good EV review – Tesla is too minimalist for its price, Ioniq 5/ EV6 are too pricey and Atto 3 is pending ANCAP safety rating. House prices in Canberra is still too high for me to afford one and install my own charger (cannot rely on public charging all the time).

Rawhide Kid Part35:33 pm 04 Jun 22

I think I’ll wait for hydrogen cars to become more readily available. No charging problems, no distance anxiety, less than ten minutes to fill up and only water as the exhaust product.

No tax-payer wasting inquiry needed – just read the Riot-ACT comments to this article. Plenty of submissions here.
Further proof that Greens just don’t live down on the planet the rest of us do (but people keep voting for them anyway?).
Most people can’t afford an EV, nor replacing the batteries every few years (perhaps they’re not as environmentally friendly as we’re brainwashed/marketed to think they are? Oh wait, don’t let the facts get in the way). Those that can, try to bully everyone else into their way of thinking, making out like we’re irresponsible, environmental vandals.

The time to charge must be comparable to filling up otherwise they are only of use as a around town car. If I want to drive to Queensland and need to charge 2-3 times on the trip, even if I am lucky to find a charging point available, I will lose how much time waiting? With 3 kids in the car as well. The technology has not reached the point for the average person to find the purchase worthwhile.

Cost, effective driving range and absence of sufficient numbers of re-charging stations

Richard Aichinger2:56 pm 04 Jun 22

The only reason I’m not buying an electric car yet is because due to lack of Government policy for electric vehicles, and lack of emission standards here in Australia, many manufacturers are not sending their models here yet, and the ones that are being sent, are in such extremely limited supply ( when there is already plenty of demand here ) that it is making it almost impossible to buy one.

I think the costs of the EV vehicles, the reputations of the brands with Tesla appearing to be like a research vehicle where the drivers are like guinea pigs for the company testing of automated driving, the cost of replacement batteries and not resonating beyond the green-left with politicians like Bill Shorten showing us charging his EV in inner-city Braddon to promote EVs. It’s out of touch with mainstream Australia and it’s very early days for EVs and the technology. There have been reports of accidents potentially being caused by the automated driving technology from Tesla. This is including reports from March in which a woman was thrown 15m across the road in Armadale in Melbourne’s inner-east after being hit by a Tesla in which the driver had claimed to be using the autopilot driving function at the time of the incident.

Capital Retro12:39 pm 04 Jun 22

I remember that 50 years ago the joke about the Greens was that they wanted “a Volvo in every garage”.

Two things have changed since then. The Greens no longer hug trees and now they want Teslas in garages.

There is also a lot of misinformation in the article.

Reasons why I haven’t bought an electric car.
When I worked I mostly rode a bike or caught the bus to work, so no need for a car. When I go to the mall I usually take the bus. What I did need a car for was at night and weekends, when bus service was awful. I also need it for holidays, although when younger I have taken some holidays by bicycle too. Rode to Melbourne once.
Now retired I need my car for long distance trips that an electric car would have difficulty handling and even if it could I don’t want to be hunting where to find a charger in outback WA, or waiting around for the car to charge. Also it would limit where I could camp, as I couldn’t camp where there is no electric power. That’s why I haven’t got an electric car; the inconvenience of it. That and the price, especially for a car roomy enough to camp in (stretch out fully) and carry the gear I do when going outback.

Buy an EV today and in five years’ time, greater range and efficiency will see your purchase worth zip. You won’t even be able to give it away

What – those University students waiting on tables to pay for their degrees aren’t buying EVs? Travesty

Phillip Carlson12:08 pm 04 Jun 22

I was one of the first to buy a Nissan Leaf in Canberra. Even made the Canberra times in an article. Loved the car but customer service is terrible.
Long story short after 6 years my range reduced from 110km to barely 30km, even less if I used the AC. Had to get rid of the car. Would LOVE another EV but there is only a half arse network. Tesla is the ONLY choice but I can’t justify $70,000 for a model 3 which is basically a fancy Mazda 3

Colette Raison11:14 am 04 Jun 22

Live in Bungendore and work in Canberra. Will get an EV when it has enough power to pull a caravan or horse float.

I guess ‘range anxiety’ is the main reason I don’t have a EV.
I know when travelling now I can pull into some small tin pot town, and it will have a petrol station.

Is this joke? Is the ACT government really that stupid and incapable of drawing the link between the high housing costs they have caused and lower discretionary spending?

Capital Retro8:21 am 04 Jun 22

Here’s another false one about Albenese’s promise to create an EV discount by removing import tariffs from EVs:

“The proposed removal of the import tariff on electric cars – a pre-election promise by freshly-installed Prime Minister Anthony Albanese – will only reduce the price of electric vehicles from Europe and the UK where luxury brands such as Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and Jaguar are manufactured.

More than half of the 23 electric cars currently on sale in Australia (including the Tesla) are already subject to a zero import tariff because of pre-existing free trade agreements with countries they are sourced from including China, Japan, South Korea and the United States.”


Capital Retro8:13 am 04 Jun 22

According to the latest ABS vehicle registrations as at 31st January 2021 there were 318,148 vehicles registered in the ACT, not “at least 400,000”.

How many other fanatical claims are there in this article?