ARENA and CEFC release electric vehicle outlook

Electric vehicles could represent 90 per cent of all cars and light commercial vehicles on Australian roads by 2050, according to new modelling released by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

The modelling forecasts a surge in electric vehicle (EV) sales from as early as 2021, based on the right combination of incentives, models and infrastructure.

It also finds, on current trends, EVs could have the same driving range capabilities as diesel or petrol-fuelled cars by 2024, addressing one of the biggest consumer concerns about EVs.

“Australians have traditionally been early adopters of new technology, but we’re lagging when it comes to EVs,” CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said.

“This research shows we can increase the uptake of EVs in a way that benefits drivers as well as the environment.

“It’s about lowering prices, supporting more models and creating a charging network.

“The reality is that the transition to EVs is inevitable. We’re already seeing vehicle makers confirm they will stop producing pure internal combustion engines over the coming years.”

The report, prepared by Energeia, forecast three potential scenarios.

Under all scenarios, including under a scenario of no intervention, the report predicts between 2020 and 2027, EVs will reach price parity with traditional combustion engines and then rapidly increase as a percentage of new vehicle sales.

Model availability, registration fee reductions, procurement targets and fuel efficiency standards have been found to be key drivers for the uptake.

The availability of charging infrastructure, while not found to be a driver, is a barrier to EV uptake.

Energeia’s market study has identified the vast majority of trips made in Australia are well within the range of current and future EVs, with investment in public charging infrastructure being a necessary prerequisite to EV uptake globally.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said EVs represent a great opportunity and looked forward to the increasing share of electric vehicles in the Australian market.

“They can offer a better and more efficient driving experience, with lower emissions while reducing Australia’s dependence on fuel imports,” he said.

“As far as ARENA is concerned, they also offer a great opportunity for renewable energy technologies that can be used to charge them.

“Also, being a battery with wheels, EVs offer tremendous opportunities to support the grid through smart charging.

“This report illustrates methods that have been used elsewhere around the globe to encourage people to buy electric vehicles.

“It examines charging infrastructure in some detail and also models what future EV uptake trends in Australia might be.”

The CEFC has already invested in a number of projects to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles, including the provision of discounted finance options for individual and fleet buyers.

Through the Clean Energy Innovation Fund, the CEFC is also financing start-up companies targeting the EV market.