Electric vehicles could double demand on grid by 2030

Electric car charger

With more Aussies making the jump to electric vehicles, emissions will fall as our reliance on petrol cars diminishes. The energy market may face a struggle to adapt, however, with electricity demand set to double by 2030, according to a new report. 

The research, undertaken as a collaboration between universities, industry and government, identifies a range of challenges that electric vehicles could force on the market, including the large pressure that charging could cause across Australia's main electricity grids. 

The Reliable Affordable Clean Energy for 2030 Cooperative Research Centre (RACE 2030) identified that electric vehicles are likely to make up 80% of new vehicle sales by 2030, accounting for almost 25% of Australia’s total vehicles. 

The report found that if the additional charging load of new EVs was spread evenly across the day, it would represent just a 3 or 4 percent increase in demand on the grid, however if all EVs were plugged in during the evening peak as most people return home from work Australia could see a doubling of peak electricity demand.

Currently, electric cars only account for 0.07% of new car sales, according to the Electric Vehicle Council (EVC). The EVC attributes this to the current pricing structure of electric vehicles, with most still considered luxury items priced between $50,000 and $100,000. 

Currently, Australia has 357 fast chargers at 157 locations and 2000 standard chargers at 1200 locations. The federal government said its highest priority is the roll-out of EV charging infrastructure where it is needed.

Focus on EV charging not enough, says council

The federal government’s recently announced Future Fuels strategy ignores the most important and effective measures to improve the uptake of EVs, according to the EVC. 

The strategy will support and accelerate the rollout of some charging infrastructure, but won’t include subsidies, tax incentives or sales targets to increase the sales of electric cars themselves. 

The EVC highlights that the strategy also fails to deliver minimum fuel efficiency standards, which have been used in the US and Europe for decades. Fuel efficiency standards require car manufacturers to sell vehicles with a combined level of emissions below a defined benchmark, encouraging the sale of zero-emission vehicles.

Australia is looking to embrace EVs, where it currently trails most of the developed world, in order to reduce transport emissions and move towards cleaner energy. The EVC says introducing subsidies and tax incentives to provide customers with a financial benefit to purchasing an electric car would rapidly increase the uptake of EVs across the country.

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