Australians encouraged to transition to EVs

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The Clean Energy Finance Corp (CEFC) held the NSW Electric Vehicle Drive Day on July 4, to encourage Australians to switch to electrical vehicles (EVs).

CEFC CEO, Ian Learmonth, said that fleet buyers could play an important role in helping Australia tackle one of its toughest emissions challenges – transport. 

“Australia has some 19,000 businesses operating fleets with 20 vehicles or more, representing more than 2.1 million vehicles in total.

“Australians have traditionally been early adopters of new technology, but we have fallen behind the pack when it comes to EVs.

“Fleets buyers purchase as many as one in five new vehicles in Australia. We want to see EVs become their fleet vehicle of choice. It’s about using their market power to influence the way we use our roads and the impact we have on our environment.”

Australia is the world’s 16th largest car market but ranks 21st in terms of new EVs sold, according to the 2019 EV Outlook from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. While there are about 9100 EVs in Australia, this is 25 per cent lower than the much smaller New Zealand market.

“The reality is that we need to cut emissions right across our economy, from electricity to transport and more. Australians are already acting on electricity, with more and more of us putting solar PV on our rooftops,” Mr Learmonth said.

“We can also have a big impact on emissions if we put electric vehicles in our garages, supported by charging infrastructure.

“In a smaller market like Australia, we know it will take time for more EV models to become available, and for prices to come down so EVs are more affordable for personal buyers. For fleet buyers, where driving needs are different, there is an opportunity for the EV transition to occur more quickly.”

Cars and light duty vehicles were responsible for 75 per cent of Australia’s total transport emissions of 102 million tonnes in 2018, according to the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory. The data also shows that transport was the equal fastest growing sector for emissions (along with fugitive emissions) from 2000 to 2018, with continued growth expected to 2030.

Modelling produced for the CEFC and ARENA found that with the right combination of incentives, models and infrastructure, EV sales in Australia could surge from as early as 2021. The Energeia report forecast that EVs could represent 90 per cent of all cars and light commercial vehicles by 2050, supported by $1.7 billion in investment in new public-access fast charging points.

The NSW EV Drive Day gave fleet buyers the chance to test the driving experience and performance of a range of vehicles and discuss vehicle operating considerations with manufacturers and industry experts.

It showcased the latest range of battery EVs, plug in hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell EVs, across 16 models and 21 vehicles. More than 100 registered fleet managers and buyers met with representatives from BMW, Hyundai, Jaguar, KIA, Mini, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Renault, SEA Electric, Tesla and Toyota.

“Increasing the share of EVs on the road translates directly into lower emissions from fuel combustion. While EV charging will add to demand for electricity, emissions from vehicle charging will fall as we increase our share of renewables,” Mr Learmonth said.

“By working with industry groups and other financiers, it’s clear that vehicle buyers want to see lower vehicle costs and more models to encourage them to switch to EVs.

“We hope that increased buyer interest in EVs from volume buyers such as fleet owners can encourage EV manufacturers to grow their share of the Australian market.”

The CEFC has financed more than 1000 EVs via its co-finance programs with major banks and non-bank lenders. Together with its finance for lower emissions on-farm vehicles and equipment, the CEFC has invested more than $500 million in low emissions transport. The CEFC is also considering investments in EV charging infrastructure.

The NSW EV Drive Day was organised by the CEFC, with support from Transport for NSW, the NRMA, the Australasian Fleet Management Association, Charge Together and JetCharge/Charge Fox.

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