New EV strategy: Can our electricity infrastructure cope?

Blue EV charging spot marked on road with white infographic (evie actewagl)
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The Federal Government yesterday announced Australia’s first National Electric Vehicle Strategy, which it says is a comprehensive roadmap to ensure Australians have a better choice of electric vehicles (EVs) and encourage greater use of cleaner, cheaper-to-run vehicles.

But Monash Energy Institute deputy director Dr Roger Dargaville said a good deal of work will be required to ensure the grid is equipped to handle a significant uptake of EVs.

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“The federal government’s EV strategy, which includes new fuel efficiency standards and battery recycling, is very welcome news. But we need to remember that our country’s electricity grid and charging infrastructure are currently not sufficiently equipped to handle a significant uptake of EVs. We are lagging behind many other countries in terms of charging infrastructure, and so a lot of work is required to build the required charging networks.

“It is important to consider that as the number of EVs on the road increases, we will require more electricity generation to meet the additional demand caused by electric vehicles. However, if we rely solely on our traditional energy generation systems and fossil fuel energy we will not reap the full benefits of increased EV adoption.

“We need investment in the required infrastructure to support EV uptake. This includes not only charging infrastructure but also the development of a smart grid that can handle the increased demand for electricity with high penetration of renewables and the creation of policies that incentivise private investment in EV charging stations.”

Dr Dargaville said the government should prioritise the development of sustainable supply chains for EVs.

“This means ensuring that the production and disposal of EVs are environmentally friendly, with measures in place to reduce the carbon footprint and minimise the waste generated during the process,” he said.

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“The government also needs to consider the potential benefits of supporting a local EV manufacturing capacity. If we rely too heavily on imports, it could affect the cost and availability of EVs in the country.

“Lastly, the government needs to create demand for EVs among drivers. This can be achieved through education campaigns, incentives such as tax breaks and subsidies, and regulations that promote the adoption of EVs.”

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