Image credit: Channel Ten
While discussions of the government potentially placing a carbon tax on petrol, dramatically impacting Australia’s automotive industry. Its interesting to take a look at how existing eco-friendly efforts are progressing in Australia. Last year Aussies purchased 45,626 Diesel cars, 8,826 Hybrids and 112 Electric cars. While these number may seem low, all categories are growing.
The most interesting of these is Electric Cars, completely eliminating the need for petrol all together. After attending the North American International Auto show in January, I seen first hand how almost all vehicle manufacturers are going electric. Sure there’s work to be done on battery technology to increase range, but given their fuel source can be derived from the unlimited ball of fire in the sky, its very clearly the future of transportation.
With only 112 electric cars being sold in Australia (pretty sure they were all Mitsubishi i-Miev), the industry needs to do a lot of work in getting vehicle options on-sale. There’s also an education process that needs to take place, explaining that a majority of people drive much less than 100km range of today’s electric vehicles. The other issue is cost.
As demand increases, mass production of these new vehicles will drive prices down, therefore becoming affordable for more people. So we have a bit of a chicken and egg issue, a possible way to solve this is for car manufacturers to take a hit on electric vehicles to increase sales to a point in which they become profitable in 3-5 years. This is the model console manufacturers use, but by the end of the product cycle the item ends up being very profitable.
The government also has an important role to play in the adoption of electric vehicles across Australia. The infrastructure required to improve the viability of EV’s, is a large scale roll-out of public recharge stations. Right now these high-voltage quick-charge stations don’t have an official standard like the home charging stations do. This means EV manufacturers are nervous or just not supporting them, Ford Focus electric for example. This needs to be sorted and now.
My next car will be fully electric, the only question is which one.
Hopefully by the end of 2011 we see a massive increase in EV sales. Given 112 is the starting point, it shouldn’t be hard. Competition will be key, so while Mitsubishi was the first to sell a fully electric vehicle in Aus, we’re likely to see many others arrive on our shores this year.