ELECTRIC CARS: There is no need to panic yet about the change from petrol to electric vehicles.
ELECTRIC CARS: There is no need to panic yet about the change from petrol to electric vehicles. joel-t

Batteries are future fuel for our cars

ELECTRIC vehicles (EVs) are set to change the face of domestic and commercial vehicles in the coming decade.

Renault, Tesla, BMW, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Hyundai and Jaguar are already selling into Australia now, with Audi, Mercedes Benz and Kia to follow this year.

Australia no longer has any car manufacturers and no control over fuel pricing. We are therefore being driven by what is happening overseas. Already some countries are far enough advanced in their planning to ban the sale of new petrol vehicles within the next 10 or so years.

But Australia is behind the world in building the national infrastructure to support EVs. Readily available charging stations need to be established and the impact on the power grid managed.

NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury suggests there is no need to panic about this major change in our vehicles. "There will be a gradual phasing out, but it will take quite some time," Mr Khoury said.

"We are one of the worst, if not the worst in terms of our take-up of electric vehicles in the OECD."

In 2017 in Australia, 1.2 million new cars were sold, of which only 1100 were electric.

"Petrol cars will be around for a very long time because the Australian fleet is almost exclusively petrol and even though car manufacturers are putting a lot more resourcing into electric vehicles and a number of countries have announced bans on the sale of new petrol cars, you will start to see a greater uptake of electric vehicles, particularly if Australia starts to build the infrastructure it needs."

Once price parity is reached with petrol and diesel vehicles, which could happen as early as 2024, owners of EVs will notice welcome cost savings.

"You will save on petrol costs and save on service costs because they are a lot easier to service because there aren't as many parts to them," Mr Khoury said.

"The overall savings are greater with an electric vehicle. Currently they are more expensive but as more of them become available we will see the gap close to the point that most people are saying price parity will happen in the next few years."

While various private and public agencies start installing public charging stations, homeowners will simply plug in at home.

The simplest and slowest plug-in wall option requires a regular 220/240V outlet. The alternative is the purchase of a 7.2kw or 22kw fast charger from a supplier such as Evse and which installation by an electrician.

UK electric vehicle charging provider Pod Point advises the time it takes to charge an electric car can be as little as 30 minutes or up to more than 12 hours, depending on the size of the battery and the speed of the charging point.