Powering ahead with electric vehicles

The Opportunity

Despite the significant economic, environmental, and health benefits of electric vehicles (EVs), WA lags behind the rest of Australia in EV uptake. Currently, WA scores zero out of ten adopting policy incentives to increase the uptake of EVs (Fig x) and have just 13 publicly accessible DC charging sites.

With prices continuing to fall, electric vehicles are expected to reach up-front price parity with petrol cars by 2027, and Infrastructure Australia predicts that by 2040 70% of new car sales and 30% of vehicles in Australia will be EVs. This can and should be accelerated. Modelling shows 75% of global new car sales must EVs by 2030 to limit global heating to 1.5 degrees.

Infrastructure Australia has ranked the creation of a National Electric Vehicle Fast-Charging Network in its top 10 High-Priority Infrastructure Initiatives, noting the poor geographic spread of our existing fast-charging infrastructure and the vast distances where EV’s are currently unsupported.

A rollout of charging stations at WA workplaces will provide a massive apprenticeship and employment stimulus for WA’s 20,000 electricians and will also stabilise the grid by increasing demand during the daytime off-peak period.

Rolling out state-wide DC fast-charging infrastructure will support EVs to become mainstream and to allow EV owners to travel safely and conveniently around the state.

The Proposal

Deliver a state-wide rollout of a DC Electric Vehicle fast-charging network by 2025

Provide grants for the installation of charging stations at one in ten workplaces around the state by 2030. (This would cover about 25,000 WA workplaces)

Phase in an all-electric state vehicle fleet.

Introduce incentives for EV uptake including removing stamp duty and registration fees and providing fleet incentives (given fleet vehicles account for half of all new car purchases in Australia).

Jobs and Benefits

635 jobs from the state-wide network of 40 DC electric fast-charging stations and 25 000 charging stations at workplaces by 2030

A positive impact on local economies with EV drivers stopping for longer on average than a petrol fuel stop and being more likely to spend money on food, drinks and conveniences.

Economic resilience and energy independence from global supply chains and oil shocks.

Reduced spending on healthcare due to decreased respiratory illness stemming from vehicle emissions.  In WA its estimated 200 people die prematurely due to vehicle pollution every year

Carbon Savings

The emissions from the Average Australian vehicle is about 200 gCO2e/km.  For the 2 million passenger vehicles averaging 14,000 km per year here in WA, conversion of the WA passenger car fleet could save 5.6 million tons of CO2 per year if 100% renewable energy was used.

Even if EVs were charged from the current WA grid (currently over 80% fossil fuels), emissions would still be lower than petrol and diesel and would make for a saving of about or 2.5 million tons.

What would it cost?

A report prepared in December 2018 by UWA for the WA State Government found a state-wide electric vehicle charging grid could be built for about $30 million.

The grid would cover all major highways across the whole state, provide at least two DC fast chargers at each location, be located not more than 200km apart, and enable EV charging in minutes.

The rollout of 25,000 charging stations at places of employment would cost between $14m-$82m per year over ten years (at current prices and depending on the use of single or multiport fast charger stations).