Australians are getting used to seeing electric vehicles (EVs) on the road more and more these days. Even so, Australia lags behind the rest of the world – only 2% of new car sales were EVs in the first half of 2022, compared with 16% in California which is similar in terms of new car sales due to climate and to a certain extent, population (25m vs 38.2m.) All told, Australia’s EV uptake is about four times lower than the global average.
This isn’t to say that Australian sales are picking up pace compared to previous years, and it’s being helped along by incentives from government. This has led to numerous urban infrastructure changes, such as rolling out fast chargers in urban and suburban centres. So how are electric vehicles changing the face of urban environments in Australia?
Rapid Charger Deployment
There has been a huge uptick in EV rapid charger infrastructure investment, with major projects such as the National Ultrafast EV Charging Infrastructure Network, promising at least 42 ultra-fast EV charging sites situated along the highways of Australia’s east coast. This is outlined in part in the National Electric Vehicle Strategy, which aims to support optimal investment in EV infrastructure and establish a network of 117 EV chargers on major highways at 150km intervals, supported in part by the NRMA. The government is also investing $500m to the “Driving the Nation” fund as well as collaborating with state and territory governments to prepare the electricity grid for EVs. In the near future, we may see EV chargers sitting alongside bowsers at service stations.
Switching To Solar and EV-Friendly Homes
We will see more people choosing electric when prices come down and the obvious cost benefits of EVs emerge. This will be helped in part by switching to solar power and retrofitting (or building) homes with EVs in mind. Increasing the throughput of power from 20A to 32A and higher means less time waiting for charging (though overnight charging is still popular, it doesn’t help if you’re at 10% and need to use the car straight away!) Homeowners are designing houses with this in mind, though developers and strata committees in apartment complexes will have to think about improving EV access – which could also mean they become more attractive to potential residents or investors.
eBikes and Other Alternatives
eBikes, eScooters and other electric alternatives have also changed the game in terms of urban environments. eBikes assist travellers with daily commutes as it combines human pedal power with a small electric engine to help up hills and other terrain. eBike uptake has a flow on effect for urban centres by reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality, and promoting a healthier lifestyle. This gives cities even greater incentive to invest in cycling lanes and other infrastructure. eBikes and EVs are both leading to great changes in urban environments in Australia, and they are only set to continue.