Chargers have improved, and cities around the world are scrambling to install them along with other infrastructure to facilitate transportation in these zero-emissions vehicles. Queensland now boasts an electric car superhighway along its coast.
Are you ready to get in on a piece of the electric vehicle action?
Welcome to the Future of Electric Vehicles
Australia is leading the way when it comes to new infrastructure to accommodate electric vehicles. And while electric vehicle (EV) sales in the country have historically lagged behind those of other nations, things are changing.
From 2016 to 2018, the number of Queensland residents who owned an electric or hybrid vehicle nearly doubled from 700 to 1,300. That said, changes need to occur to get more electric vehicles on Australian roads.
With increased amenities for electric vehicles, including high-speed charging stations, more and more electric vehicles will be seen on local roadways.
What’s more, a new generation of electric vehicles is making the prospect of owning a zero-emissions vehicle not only more palatable but even exciting.
The Queensland Electric Vehicle Super Highway
In July 2018, the Department of Transport and Main Roads in Queensland developed an ambitious plan. To create a network of “fast-charging” electric chargers reaching from Cairns to Coolangatta.
The result? An AU$3 million project that saw the installation of 17 fast chargers north and south of Brisbane and west of Toowoomba.
To guarantee this system of chargers has a positive impact on the environment, the electricity for each station will be generated from renewable energy sources.
The network of charging stations allows Australians to drive from Queensland’s far north to its southern border. An ambitious goal, it underscores the nation’s commitment to make electric vehicles a viable transportation solution.
The vast majority of charging stations were constructed by Tritium, a Brisbane company. Tritium has already installed Veefil fast chargers to nations across Europe.
EVLink provided a small number of chargers, manufactured by Schneider Electric, for the project, too.
Australia’s March Towards Electric Vehicles
Although the project initially called for the installation of 18 electric chargers, technical difficulties have delayed the station at Helensvale until April. The installation of the chargers is scheduled after the Gold Coast’s Commonwealth Games.
Nonetheless, even a small electric sedan can close the 98-kilometre distance between Brisbane and the next closest charging facility in Tugun.
In its current configuration, the Queensland electric superhighway represents the longest electric vehicle thoroughfare in a single state.
Of course, Queensland’s superhighway alone can’t correct the challenges that continue to plague Australia in its transition to cleaner transportation alternatives.
Lagging Electric Vehicle Sales in Australia
Fully electric vehicles only accounted for 300 sales in Australia in 2017. Lagging sales of electric vehicles in Australia has been blamed on factors such as:
- Low battery capacities
- Poor availability
- Unattractive external appearances
Certainly, a lack of infrastructure for EVs represented a fourth, less conspicuous issue. But states like Queensland are working hard to resolve this.
What’s more, concerned citizens are calling for intervention at the state and national level to encourage more consumers to go electric. These governmental incentives could include discounts for state registration and federal luxury car tax.
Fast Chargers Versus Standard Chargers
Another factor that has contributed to poor electric vehicle sales is lagging information to the public. Most people prove familiar with “wall system” charging stations suitable for homes. But these require inconvenient overnight charging.
Fortunately, fast chargers have cut that time down to one hour or less. This rapid charging makes the proposition of an electric vehicle road trip along Queensland’s beautiful coast all the more palatable. It could also have a positive impact on local businesses.
Instead of passing through, drivers would have time to spend while waiting for their vehicle to charge fully. Over the long haul, this could infuse local economies with more foot traffic and a resurgence of pedestrians and activity.
But how much do these fast chargers cost for users? Based on an analysis by Canstar Blue of a Tesla Model S, AU$1.50 daily or AU$40 monthly.
This study was based on an electricity plan that charges 23 cents per kilowatt-hour and a typical daily commute of 30 kilometres.
Today’s electric vehicle batteries range anywhere from 330kWh capacities to 100kWh capacities.
New Electric Vehicles for Sale in Australia
Electric vehicles come with many advantages:
- New technologies
- More interior space
- A whisper-quiet ride
- Reduced running costs
But they have been historically limited to the pricy BMW i3 and equally pricy Tesla Roadster, Model S, and Model X. Fortunately, a new generation of electric vehicles are coming on the Australian market that proves more affordable and convenient.
These include the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, the Nissan Leaf, and the Tesla Model 3, to name a few. Let’s compare their amenities and capabilities.
The Hyundai Ioniq Electric
Hyundai’s new Ioniq model comes in three different types. Fully electric, hybrid, and hybrid plug-in EV. Launched in the third quarter of 2018, each represents a vibrant new option for Australian drivers appealing to diverse tastes and lifestyles.
The Ioniq is powered by a 28 kWh lithium-ion battery hooked up to the electric motor.
The electric motor’s power is nothing to write home about, but at 88 kW of power and 295Nm of torque, it ranks up there with many other small cars.
It boasts a travel distance of 280 kilometres between charges. Couple this with the attainable price tag of AU$38,500, and you have a tempting vehicle for daily commuters who want to make a positive difference when it comes to the planet.
The Hyundai Kona Electric
Hyundai also has plans to introduce the Kona crossover, known as the Kona Electric. This vehicle comes in two flavours, one with a 300-kilometre range and one with a 470-kilometre range.
The long-range Kona Electric can go from zero to 100 km/h per hour in just 7.4 seconds, and its electric engine has some serious muscle at 150kW and 395Nm. It’s earned acclaim, and Hyundai Australia has prioritised its sale.
At no more than AU$50,000, it will include amenities such as:
- Adaptive cruise control
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Autonomous emergency braking
- Lane-keep assist
- And more
Relying on AC power, the long-range Kona Electric will charge to full capacity in just under 10 hours from a wall unit. What’s more, at fast charging units, it’ll prove ready to go in under an hour.
The Tesla Model 3
Don’t let the brand name fool you. The Tesla Model 3 is slated to become the company’s biggest hit once production gets moving. And one of the main reasons is because of its more affordable price tag, coming in around AU$45,670.
Roughly the same size as the BMW 3 Series, this Tesla could hit the Australian market as soon as 2019.
The standard offering boasts a driving range of 355 kilometres and the ability to surge from zero to 97 kilometres in just 5.6 seconds. The long-range model claims a reliable 500-kilometre range.
The Nissan Leaf
The Nissan Leaf’s 2018 version proves roomier and features new technology such as semi-autonomous driving. It also boasts a larger battery pack, which means more overall range.
It can go up to 400 kilometres on one charge and races from zero to 200 kilometres in about 10 seconds. Better yet, it doesn’t have the weird, spaceship-like appearance of earlier models.
The Jaguar I-Pace
For those with discerning tastes and a little more in their pocketbooks, there’s also the Jaguar I-Pace. While it doesn’t necessarily come in as a highly affordable vehicle, it’s worth a mention because of its sleek design and serious power.
First revealed at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the streamlined design of this SUV is already available in Australia.
Powered by two electric motors (each axle gets ones), it powers through at 294kW and 680Nm. It claims a sprint of zero to 100 kilometres in under five seconds and can operate for up to 480 kilometres from one charge.
Its battery pack comes in at 90kWh, and while you’ll pay for its power and brand name, this car will change your view of what an electric vehicle can be. It comes in at AU$119,000 and is definitely worth a spin.
Are You Ready for Zero Emission Vehicles?
The next generation of electric cars proves sleek, powerful, and more affordable than ever before. They come with more room, loads of new technologies, and increased battery endurance, which translates into less EV range anxiety for you.
What’s more cities and states around Australia are working hard to construct a network of fast chargers to support their use.
Don’t Get Left in the Dust
From Tully to Mackay, Springfield to Toowoomba, the electric highway is here to stay. And the growth of this technology will continue to have a major impact on how Australians live, work, and play.
Are you interested in learning more about the benefits of electric vehicles? Or, looking for electric vehicles for sale? Check out our blog to stay on top of the latest news about the fast-paced, innovative world of electric vehicles.