EVs could account for over half Australia new car sales by 2030

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Industry-backed report finds doubling Australia’s projected EV uptake to 2030 would deliver a $2.9bn boost to GDP, 13,400 new jobs, and save drivers an average of $800 a year.

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Boosting Australia’s electric vehicle take-up to double the amount projected under business-as-usual would deliver a $2.9 billion boost to GDP, create thousands of new jobs, and save drivers an average of $800 a year between now and 2030, a new report has found.

The report, published on Thursday, was prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Electric Vehicle Council (EVC), the NRMA and the St Baker Energy Innovation Fund.

It models a scenario – dubbed the AU [email protected] case – that assumes that by 2030, 57 per cent of new car sales in Australia will be battery electric vehicles, or pure EVs (not including plug-in hybrids).

To put that in perspective, current forecasts by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) under a neutral EV growth scenario indicate EVs would account for just 10.4 per cent of vehicles on the road by 2030, compared to 20.8 per cent in the PwC scenario.

As we have reported, the federal government has indicated – both through statements and through its lack of action to support EV uptake – that it, too, sees EV growth happening at around this rate, resulting in just 1 million EVs on Australia’s roads by 2040. (An outlook that was recently slammed as “pathetic.”)

Taking all this into account – and the fact that out of the 1,157,000 new cars purchased around Australia last year, EVs accounted for just 2,200 – the the PwC scenario represents a rather big leap.

But, as the report hopes to point out, it is not such a big leap if you consider the rapid progress that is being made in other countries; the falling costs of the technology; the potentially huge environmental benefits; and the ambitious EV plans of almost all of the major global car manufacturers.

Nor is it such a big leap when you consider Australia is coming off a base of little or no policy incentives from both state and federal governments. So there is plenty of room to move – and a multitude of reasons why we should.

“Reform to incentivise the purchase of cleaner, safer vehicles will improve customer choice and generate economy activity while reducing costs to governments from sectors like health care,” the report says.

Indeed, the report found multiple economic benefits of building teh rate of EV uptake to a level that would push BEVs to around 20 per cent of the new sales market in 2030.

These included an increase to real GDP by $2.9 billion, and an increase to net employment by 13,400 jobs, relative to 2016-17. It would also result in a projected $15 billion reduction in fuel imports, the report said.

And the benefits would not just flow to the broader economy. The report notes that Australia’s failure to embrace EVs is also costing consumers.

By 2030, it says, each EV is estimated to save drivers $1,700 per annum in total ownership costs (savings are assumed to increase between 2018 to 2030, with an average saving of $810 per annum over the analysis period).

In terms of Australia’s climate and emissions reduction target – committed to through the Paris climate deal – a shift to EVs would also be a big win. Particularly, when it is aligned with the current shift to a low-carbon electricity grid.

According to the findings of the report, EV uptake under the [email protected] scenario would deliver 18 million tonnes of emission reductions – equivalent to a $628 million tax cut – from the sector with the fastest growing emissions in the nation.

As to the economic cost of boosting Australia’s EV uptake – the part of the report Murdoch papers have chosen to lead on – PwC puts that at a net $3.2 billion capital injection in supporting infrastructure.

As the report points out, it is a relatively small figure, considering the federal government has set aside $75 billion over the next 10 years to be spent on transport infrastructure.

The amount is also negligible when the above projected savings, and contributions to GDP, are all factored in.

The report says the $3.2 billion of investment required to support EV growth over the period 2018 to 2030 is would mostly go to increased investment in EV charging infrastructure and the reduced investment in areas such as fuel infrastructure.

But of course, all this still relies of the support of the federal government, at a time when that does not seem forthcoming.

Just yesterday, during his heavily coal-focused National Press Club address, federal resources minister Matt Canavan was asked whether Australia’s flagging petroleum production shouldn’t pave the way for “branching out and encouraging things such as electric cars… and renewable energy.”

His response was to talk up the “nation-building, changing” prospects of two potential shale reserves in the Great Australian Bight and in the Northern Territory (where there is a moratorium on exploration and production). Nothing on EVs or renewables.

Elsewhere in the Coalition, Queensland Nationals MP George Christensen distinguished himself earlier this month by declaring the state government’s EV super highway of fast charging stations from the Gold Coast to Cairns an expensive failure.

Ironically, or not, he came to this conclusion because he observed that not enough people were using one of the stations, located in the coastal town of Bowen in the Whitsunday Region of Queensland.

But, as the PwC report notes – and the graphic below confirms – the shift to EVs is happening, much like the shift to renewable energy is happening, whether governments choose to support it, or not. The choice we have is whether we want to be in the driver’s seat, or get run over.

“The creation of incentives for cleaner vehicles would also set the market up to avoid shocks that will ultimately arise when upfront costs of EVs fall below parity with internal combustion engine (ICE) cars, expected around 2025,” the report says.

And one of those shocks, it points out, would be felt in the national electricity market, which just happens to be on the cusp of a major transformation, itself.

“Through the National Energy Guarantee, the Australian government, the Australian Energy Market Commission and the Australian Energy Market Operator must plan to ensure dispatchable electricity is able to meet the needs of electric vehicle operations,” the report notes.

“The electricity needs of fast charging infrastructure cannot be overlooked in electricity planning, with
some fast chargers requiring on-demand power similar to a factory or other industrial facility when in use.

“It is incumbent on the Australian government to lead this transition.”

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21 Comments
  1. Joe 1 year ago

    I guess if Nissan with The Leaf and the Elon with his Tesla got their acts together in getting their EV’s to Australia we might even beat that 2030 prediction..

  2. Ralph Buttigieg 1 year ago

    Sounds like a bunch rent seekers asking for a hand out to me. The only people in the drivers seat should be consumers not carpet baggers. Consumers will swich over the EVs fast enough when appropriate cars are available at a competitive price. I expect that to happen in the 2020s as battery mass production knocks down prices even further.

    • Chris Drongers 1 year ago

      Feel sorry for young couples buying petrol service station leases just as electric vehicles become mainstream. Unless the terms of their lease includes provision of fast chargers for passing traffic they are going out the back door in a decade, just like taxi plate owners did this decade.

      • TweedCAN 1 year ago

        A fast charger with 4 outlets costs $1m in substation and setup costs, can only service 100 vehicles per day (full charge) and costs $1500/day in power alone. The turnover is too slow to be a viable business unless you charge high (unattractive) prices. People will charge at home at night because it is cheaper and more convenient though not good for the grid or cutting coal power use.

        • Chris Drongers 1 year ago

          Business may not be viable at current prices
          – but what cost will superchargers be when they become mass produced items instead of the almost bespoke items they are now? About the same cost as a petrol pump and piping?
          Electricity cost is irrelevant as it is passed on to the chargee, as are petrol costs. If your charge station is near a feeder power line and you buy power in bulk your ‘fuel’ charge will be less.
          People will probably prefer the longer but more convenient home charging option but for some being able to ‘top off’ or obtain a ‘get home’ charge in quarter of an hour or so might be worthwhile. There might be a premium for charging at particular times (before work/lunch/after work) to spread demand. Autodrive cars that book themselves in for a charge and take themselves there are another option.
          Sourcing power comes from coal or gas now is going to become less an issue in years ahead as wind and solar’s lower generation costs than coal and gas push the latter out of the system.

          • TweedCAN 1 year ago

            Each fast charge outlet can peak to 50kW so 4 outlets require a 200kW transformer (sufficient for up to 200 homes) and these do not come cheap. NRMA is putting in 10 fast charge stations each with 4 outlets and the cost is $10m.
            The charge rate is slow compared to fuel so to service large numbers of vehicles you are going to need upwards of 20 outlets per station and now you are talking up to 1MW peak draw per station. More than half the people in NSW will not have access to dedicated off peak charging or home solar charging.
            Meeting recharge demand for significant numbers of e-cars means planning to provide a range of options for different users to spread the load geographically and over the 24hr cycle otherwise perverse outcomes will result.

          • Chris Drongers 1 year ago

            Yeah, so? All good points and well stated.
            But if I developed a new technology that enabled random recharging of cars but that required thousands of drivers to navigate to multiple loci manned by bored, untrained, tired uni students which in turn were supplied by manned tankers carrying thousands of litres of explosively combustible liquids what would the arguments against it be?
            Electric transport and its provisioning is just different, not necessarily difficult.

        • neroden 1 year ago

          Tesla builds fast chargers at a cost of somewhere between $50K and $100K per outlet (so they can do 10 to 20 outlets for $1 million). So your numbers are wrong.

          That said, yes, people will charge at home most of the time because it’s more convenient. From their home batteries or solar panels or nearby wind turbines.

  3. Alan Searchwell 1 year ago

    Meh! There’s this guy who lectures on disruption at Stanford University in California who takes an entirely different view. Tony Seba (look him up on youtube) in his book “Clean Disruption” projects that battery costs are going to continue falling fast enough to make small cars with a single charge range of 200 miles or more, cost the same or less than a comparable car powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE). Think of something like a Nissan Note, Honda Fit or Toyota Yaris that can go more than 200 miles on a single charge.

    If Seba is right, ICEs have no hope by about 2025 and anybody buying one at that time would need to have their head examined. I first watched a video of a talk by Seba back in late 2014 or early 2015 and in his more recent talks, he has upped the ante. Instead of claiming that ALL new vehicles will be electric by 2030, he is now saying that the tipping point should be reached by about 2025. Even if he is off by five years or so, you’re still looking at 100% market share for EVs by 2030! Sounds crazy but, is it?

    • GregS 1 year ago

      I hope he’s right, and I’m wrong but I think Seba is hopelessly over optimistic on this.

      • Nick Kemp 1 year ago

        In his talk on you tube he makes the point that his last forecast on battery prices etc were seen as aggressive at the time yet proved pessimistic.

    • neroden 1 year ago

      My projections say that Seba’s 2030 projection is correct, but his 2025 projection is too optimistic. 🙂 Does that help?

      Interestingly, big trucks (semis / tractor-trailers) and buses will probably be converted by 2025. There will be laggards in the passenger-car industry.

      • EdBCN 1 year ago

        I think you’re absolutely right about heavily used vehicles and heavy vehicles going electric much faster than private passenger vehicles. I’ve been saying that for years and it is now starting to pan out.

  4. Nick Kemp 1 year ago

    If they are right then we will probably be about 10 years behind the rest of the world

  5. Ian Jones 1 year ago

    To increase electric vehicle uptake Governments of the world would only have to impose mandatory speed limiters on all vehicles similar to 90 km/hr +5% limiters on Trucks in France. Overnight, this would make it pointless to purchase the currently over powered, over weight/size petrol / diesel and electric vehicles. This limit could be set at the current highway speed limit (say 110 km/hr for NSW). OK there would be a backlash from the Automobile Associations but the government could defend its position as “simply enforcing existing speed limit laws”. And anyone who has lost a loved one in an automobile accident or has a child with Asthma, would surely support a simple and fair initiative to improve road safety and the environment.

    May be the Government, Community Groups, Forums like RenewEconomy, Universities and Learned Societies should also run radio/internet campaigns explaining to the public:
    1. Why a 2000 kg overpowered SUV takes more energy/petrol/battery power to accelerate to 60 km/hr than an 1000 kg “energy optimized” 5 door family hatch back,
    2. Explain why the Aero Dynamic Drag increases with the square of the speed and therefore the car uses much less petrol/electricity at 100 km/h than at 120 km/h,
    3. Explain if the car companies designed the engines, transmissions, breaks, tyres and chassis for a maximum speeds of around 110 – 120 km/hr (not the current average of around 160 to 200 km/hr), then for the same passenger & luggage space & luxury & safety, the car will be cheaper, lighter and use less petrol or the battery range will be longer…. (The 2006 Popular Mechanics Articles on how to build a 100 mpg car could well be worth a second read in 2018… : https://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/a769/3374271/ )
    4. And therefore focus on the advantages of this law vs the “perceived reduction in Civil Liberties”.

    I know it could be a tricky subject but forums like RenewEconomy can play its part to bring about change. And the choice is simple. A Healthy Barrier Reef with lighter, safer cars that drive quite nicely at the current speed limits. Or over powered, heavy in-efficient vehicles and Coral Bleaching. For me a health Barrier Reef brings more joy to my life than having enough horsepower under the bonnet just in case I choose to exceed the speed limits……

    Disclaimer : I drive a 2009 Citroen C4 Picaso grande 7 places (1.6l Turbo Diesel 105 HP, Top Speed 167 km/hr. About 6 liters per 100km mixed and 800 km on a tank of Diesel). Having been a Maintenance Engineer for 10 years I like to purchase my cars new and then scrap them at their “end of life”. It has about 150,000 km on the clock so I should get another 3 or 4 years when I plan to purchase a Nissan Leaf or Hyundai Ioniq or Toyota Prius or similar.

  6. itdoesntaddup 1 year ago

    Wishful thinking. Musk still can’t get model 3 production above 1,000 a week.

    • George Darroch 1 year ago

      Actually, Bloomberg are tracking VINs and have them at about 1270 per week at the moment.

      • itdoesntaddup 1 year ago

        Actually, we have their real production figures for Q1. 9,766 in 13 weeks, with 2,020 in the last week achieved no doubt by stockpiling nearly complete vehicles and putting in the last screw to complete them.

  7. neroden 1 year ago

    Bluntly, a simple exponential projection says that nearly 100% of all new cars sold worldwide will be BEVs by 2030.

    Getting started on this earlier would be a help for any country which does so, but the laggards will have converted by 2030.

  8. EdBCN 1 year ago

    It’ll be 100% of sales before 2030.

  9. Gman 1 year ago

    No concrete incentives in place for ev’s at the moment. Car makers struggling to make a business case for new products like New Leaf and Kona EV. Least of all incentives for Nissan e-Power products. Engine generator for battery and electric motor a promising stopgap.

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