ARENA backs social media campaign to boost EV uptake

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has given a boost to electric vehicle uptake in Australia with $172,215 in funding for EVenergi’s Charge Together campaign.

EVenergi’s public participation program will involve a social media and marketing campaign to identify prospective EV buyers, and undertake consumer research to help understand the barriers for uptake.

Participants will receive a home and car monitoring system that will emulate the cost and logistics of owning, as well as charging and maintaining, an electric car.

With the data collected, Evenergi will build an online tool for consumers to model the influence of rooftop solar, home batteries and electricity tariffs on a decision to buy EVs.

Evenergi’s consumer research will inform a report for government and industry that will identify barriers, potential infrastructure hotspots and lay the groundwork for EV charging stations as uptake increases.

Evenergi founder and CEO Daniel Hilson said Evenergi is committed to accelerating electric vehicle adoption in Australia.

“Our experience in the UK demonstrated that regional programs are a key part of putting in place the incentives and infrastructure required to support this,” he said.

“With the support of ARENA and the project partners, this program will encourage more Australians to consider electric cars and will help government and industry overcome the barriers to uptake.”

After the program was successfully trialled in the UK, the $349,573 program will be rolled out initially in South Australia. If successful, it could be expanded in other states.

The program will also show how electric cars can work together with rooftop solar and battery storage to reduce the load on the grid, and will provide energy networks with insights into the impact of electric cars on the grid.

The program involves partnerships with South Australian Power Networks, Adelaide Council, the SA Government and the Australian Electric Vehicle Association.

Program participants will be eligible to win prizes and will be offered rewards from Renault, Mitsubishi, AGL, Hyundai, Nissan and other industry leaders.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the project would help better understand why Australians had not embraced electric cars, what the barriers to uptake were and to encourage further investment.

“ARENA is excited to be involved in Evenergi’s project to capture information about the needs and preferences of potential electric vehicle customers, and the capabilities of electricity retailers and networks in order to accelerate the uptake of EVs,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“Understanding the potential impacts of EVs on both home energy use and the electricity network will provide valuable knowledge on how EVs can maximise the use of local generation while integrating into a more flexible renewable distribution grid of the future.”