Electric vehicles are popular but do they impact the energy crisis?

electric vehicles being charged

The popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) in Australia has skyrocketed in recent years as more companies have released cheaper models to cater for all demographics.

EV sales are expected to continue rising, eventually overtaking fuel powered cars.

New data analysed by Cornwall Insight Australia has shown that the increased uptake of EVs may cause the National Electricity Market (NEM) to become overwhelmed by peaks in demand.

This is expected to be particularly prevalent during the hours of 7pm - 10pm as this time period has been found to be the most popular time for EV owners to charge their cars.

“EVs are expected to overtake internal combustion engine vehicles by 2038-39. As more and more people make the switch, the increase in consumers charging their cars in the evening has the potential to put significant strain on the energy network,” explains energy consultant at Cornwall Insight Australia, Con Dimitrakakis.

What can we do about extra energy use from EVs?

To combat the problem, Cornwall Insight Australia has suggested the implementation of financial incentives (such as tariffs), timers and smart chargers to help encourage people to charge their EVs outside of the peak charging time.

This plan focuses on changing consumer behaviour, steering EV owners away from charging up between 7pm and 10pm. The aim is to prevent the NEM from becoming overwhelmed as we see more and more people switching to EVs.

2038 may seem very far away, but Dimitrakakis says that “if the market can get ahead of potential kinks in the system now, the switch to EVs can be made smoother for the energy market and consumers alike.”

Here are three important notes about the current EV story from the Australian Energy Council:

  • Electric cars need to charge using the local electricity network. Such energy typically comes from coal-fired power plants which are not emission-free. But carbon dioxide emissions from battery-powered vehicles were around 40 per cent lower than for internal combustion engines last year (as per BloombergNEF).
  • While EVs produce the bulk of their emissions through the manufacturing process and the sourcing of their energy, the lifetime between EV and internal combustion engines vehicles gives EVs a clear advantage.
  • More electricity grids are now moving towards increasing their renewable energy production, which will see EVs producing fewer emissions throughout their lifetime regardless of the energy source. Car manufacturers are therefore looking to produce more EV alternatives for the mass-market.

Worried about your electricity bill during the current energy crisis? Check out our energy home page for tips on how to reduce your electricity bill and save money. In addition, if you’d like to learn more about buying an EV, check out guide on buying an electric vehicle.

Compare energy plans

Find energy plans available in your area.