They have no grunt? They’re stealing our utes? There are no fast chargers? Of all the election battlegrounds, this debate over Labor setting a new vehicle sales targets of 50% electric vehicles by 2030 has to be one of the most ridiculous yet.
So here’s a quick rundown of just-about-everything the Coalition is getting wrong about what’s happening with electric vehicles. Australia is already one of the lowest adoption countries in the world when it comes to EVs to date.
Let’s not pretend that somehow that’s all because EVs have a magical and unique problem in Australia that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world.
They’ve got no grunt, no power
Scott Morrison tossed this one up during a press conference and it is so wrong that you have to wonder if he’s ever seen, or ever even read a single thing about what electric cars can do. For all the genuine concerns around ‘range anxiety’ for EVs, the way electric vehicle motors work mean they are almost entirely made of grunt. If they grunted any harder we’d be making pig jokes.
Basically, fuel-engine motors have to rev up to start generating their torque, which lets a car accelerate. Electric motors immediately deliver their power to a car’s drive system, which is known as ‘instant torque’.
In a nutshell, most EVs can absolutely destroy petrol-engine cars when taking off from a traffic light.
Here’s a video of a Tesla destroying every other tricked out car in some illegal street races.
They can’t charge in 15 minutes
This is about as close to the truth as they get, and by ‘close’ I mean ‘still wrong’. What’s true is that Australia doesn’t have a large network of fast charge stations publicly available yet to make this kind of charging option easy to find yet.
What’s crazy is that the Coalition has itself provided funding for just such a network of charge stations to start rolling out across the country. Here’s the CEO of JET Charge pointing out to Angus Taylor that his company is being funded by the government that is now saying his product doesn’t exist.
Hi Minister here is a charging station your government funded that can charge a car up in 15 minutes. And 200km in 8 minutes. I know because I'm one of the co-founders you funded. pic.twitter.com/AiLQQmhIue
— Tim Washington (@EVTimOZ) April 5, 2019
Today, Australia has one of the lowest counts of public charging networks in the world. Clearly that needs to get better to make life better for EV car owners so they can confidently travel all over the countryside. But these targets give us a decade to do it. Feels pretty reasonable if there’s already a Coalition government funded program in place to help make it happen.
They don’t have good range
Do petrol cars have good range when there’s no petrol stations? Because new electric cars are now basically at the point where they get similar mileage to their fuel-based friends (frenemies?). A low-end EV might only get 150-200km, but that’s aimed at being a city car that doesn’t roam far from home. But the newest long-range EVs are getting around 500km to a charge.
Build the charging infrastructure and there won’t be a problem. It’s not like we’re not trying to force EVs to compete against the V8s in the Bathurst 1000.
On the flipside, the cost saving on charging versus fuel is astounding. One 70-year-old from Queensland, Sylvia Wilson, drove a 20,396km round trip of Australia in her Tesla Model S at a cost of $150 in electricity charges to do so.
A napkin calculation at a generous 8L/100km on $1.40 per Litre (like I said, very generous) for a petrol vehicle to cover the same distance would put the cost at roughly $2,285.
They’re too expensive
The handful of EVs available in Australia today are pretty expensive. There’s almost nothing you can get here for less than $50,000. But, again, that’s today. Globally there’s a lot of small, smart EVs appearing and as our market shows more signs of life for EVs we’ll expect models to start appearing at almost every price bracket.
Half of Labor’s concept is also to target 50% EVs in government car fleets by 2025. Part of what that does is also help create a better second-hand market for EVs, because government cars get replaced every couple of years. And a second-hand market means an opportunity for more EV options at cheaper prices.
They’re going to take your ute
There is no part of this policy that suggests forcing people to sell their current vehicles, let alone have them stolen and driven into a canyon. This is about setting the conditions for electric vehicles to flourish, so that people won’t even want to choose fuel-engine cars anymore.
Michaelia Cash to save the utes. Johnny's car today wont be the one he drives tomorrow and claims 50% of the apprentices standing behind her will be driving an electric vehicle under Bill Shorten. #ausvotes #qldpol pic.twitter.com/Lzvd26vBGh
— David Marler (@Qldaah) April 9, 2019
But, if you really want to, you can still be part of that 50% of new vehicle buyers who buys a petrol guzzler in 2030 if you really want to. Have fun with that.