Government grants $24.5mil to EV charging stations for electric cars

Electric car charging

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $24.55 million in funding to expand Australia’s electric vehicle fast-charging network as part of the government’s Future Fuels Fund.

Five applicants will receive the grants, which were expanded from an initial $16.5 million offering after the strength and large number of applicants. The five applicants will deliver 403 new fast charging stations, a seven-fold increase to the current number of fast charging stations across Australia’s most populated regions and cities.

There were over 23,000 electric vehicle registrations in Australia as of 31 January this year, a 62.3% increase over the previous year.

This first stage of the government’s Future Fuels Fund aims to support the growing number of electric vehicle users with an expanded charging network across regional areas and capital cities, while future stages will focus further on regions charging networks, increasing the accessibility of electric vehicles for business fleets and increasing the use of hydrogen and biofuels in the transport sector.

Electric vehicles have no exhaust emissions, but charging still pollutes

Electric vehicles produce zero exhaust emissions, compared to the high emissions of both petrol and diesel vehicles. They do still contribute to greenhouse gas emissions when charging using electricity from the grid, but with Australia’s grid steadily becoming more renewable-ready power usage is heading towards becoming less-polluting in future.

A survey conducted by the Electric Vehicle Council found that 7 of 10 Australians would purchase an electric vehicle if they were the same price as a petrol vehicle. While the buy-in cost of an electric vehicle may not yet be able to equal the prices of petrol or diesel cars, the ABS notes that while petrol vehicle owners spent $2,069 on fuel in the 12 months to 30 June 2020, electric vehicle owners spent on average $723 on power costs.

Deloitte and Bloomberg research has indicated 2024 may be the year we begin to see price parity between petrol and electric vehicles, which based on the Electric Vehicle Council research would see a sharp uptake in the latter. With lower power costs than a petrol vehicle requires for fuel, electric vehicles may become the cheaper option overall.

Some power companies have begun to offer tariffs with 100% renewable energy options, particularly in the UK. While Australia may still be behind in this regard, a greater uptake of electric vehicles may see power providers in the country offer similar packages. A 100% renewable energy plan coupled with an electric vehicle’s zero exhaust pollution would see the operation of the vehicle causing no carbon emissions.

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