Electric vehicles trialled in new research to support grid stability

By Ceyda Erem ·

As more Aussies purchase electric vehicles (EVs) for their regular transportation, experts have already begun tossing around ideas of how they can be used to their full potential. 

It looks like the ACT Government is already working on a plan that will not only help EV owners earn big bucks, but provide stability and reassurance in the national energy market (NEM). 

Around 51 EVs in Canberra will be used in a new first of its kind trial, involving plugging the vehicles into the nation's power grid to prevent blackouts and improve voltage fluctuations. 

To do this, a two-way battery is being designed to allow EVs to be charged from the grid but to also supply electricity when needed. 

"When electric cars are plugged in, they could be called on in a heartbeat to avoid a mass power outage," said the project’s research leader, Bjorn Sturmberg. 

"They'll only have to do this a couple of dozen times a year — when there's a storm or some other emergency in the grid — which means the grid needs power really quickly.”

According to Sturmberg, the cars will only be needed 15 minutes at a time and only drain 5% of the car’s battery. 

He also mentioned that owners of the cars could also earn up to $1,000 a year for their participation. 

"Electric vehicles are a big part of the future energy solution in Australia," said Sturmberg. 

Electric vehicles surge in popularity

Earlier this year, Mozo reported that the number of EV sales between 2018 and 2019 had increased by more than 200%, with more than 6,700 sold. 

What’s even more impressive is that according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), petrol-electric hybrid purchases were up by 54% in 2019. 

But unfortunately, the research also found that full-battery EV sales only accounted for 0.6% of total car sales during 2019. 

So what’s holding the everyday Aussie back from taking a greener approach to their daily commute? 

Cost of electric vehicles

Figures from Electric Cars Guide found that the upfront cost of an EV can cost upward of $50,000, putting a serious dent in the average household’s budget. 

Behyad Jafari, the chief executive officer for the Electric Vehicle Council says that making EVs a more normalised, affordable option for Aussies requires increased government support. 

“If we had politics that really backed the electrification of our fleet, and people understood the government was behind the transition, we could be actively transforming our cities and our economy,” he said. 

Keen to learn more about EVs? Our comprehensive FAQ guide answers commonly asked questions and has stacks of information on the pros and cons of owning an electric vehicle. 

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Ceyda Erem
Ceyda Erem
Money writer

Ceyda Erem is Mozo’s authority on Energy, as well as having broader expertise as a personal finance writer. She loves to put her researching and writing talents into stories that help our readers to make more informed financial choices, whether that’s about finding the best energy deal or writing about the latest sneaky bank tricks. Ceyda has a Bachelor of Arts (major in writing) from Macquarie University.