The market for electric vehicles (EVs) adoption has been slower in Australia, especially when compared to the US and European markets.
Though things have started to change in the last year, and Australia has begun to accelerate towards green transport (EVs and e-transport), especially now that Australian governments, both federal and state, are taking more action to support electrification of the nation’s fleet as part of the journey towards net-zero emissions by 2050.
This transition will also depend upon big corporates and energy companies, to set the example and use their experience, expertise and know-how to work together to ensure green transport keeps moving – literally. Read more below.
Renewable energy, range anxiety and reducing costs
Renewable energy plays a huge role in this transition to green transport. Apart from reducing greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy generation using solar and battery technologies enables us to move from relying solely on big power generation sites to more local generation and storage.
Distributed energy generation will make a significant contribution to our carbon neutral future.
A shift in mindset towards converting every EV charging site into a microgrid; solar, battery and charging will go a long way in reducing the burden on the grid, reducing energy costs, and providing more energy certainty for Australian fleets.
As transport owners and operators work towards a net zero future, there must be consideration on how the sites of such infrastructure can be supported with onsite solar and battery systems, whether at, depots, shopping centres, or fuel stations.
Investments in long-term planning, and infrastructure that can be scaled over time to meet the increased demand, will help make EV and e-transport ownership more affordable and attractive to buyers; and also help in stabilising the grid.
EV advocates and early adaptors understand EVs need a stable and reliable source of electricity, with a recent survey finding that 92% of respondents indicated that public fast-charging infrastructure is important for encouraging the purchase of an electric vehicle*.
Setting up local renewable energy generating microgrids alongside the EV charging infrastructure will ensure fewer disruptions for customers stopping to recharge their electric vehicles, reducing ‘range anxiety’ – the worry that the battery will run out of power before the destination. It’s one of the key reasons stopping people from making the big switch.
“… having big corporates involved, like EnergyAustralia, ensures that you’re getting renewables put into your heavy vehicles.”
Anthony Lahiff, Symmetry Solar, Ex-Nilsen Group.
Using available expertise
The energy industry, particularly energy companies such as EnergyAustralia, has significant experience in managing the grid and large projects. This expertise should be harnessed to help design, build and maintain the infrastructure required to charge electric vehicles, including depot electrification.
In a huge country like Australia, with a long-haul road and transport system across the vast open spaces, the opportunity to help electrify key transport corridors is an exciting one.
To encourage the transition to clean energy within the transport sector, EnergyAustralia recently partnered with electric vehicle manufacturers and distributors such as Foton Mobility, Nexport, SEA Electric, EBUSCO to support their customers in the greenification of their fleets through its Green Transport energy suite of solutions. This includes ‘charging as a service’ suite of solar, battery and charger plans, to manage the EV charging and energy systems at customers’ sites, all managed through a Virtual Power Plant.
Also, to make the transition easier, EnergyAustralia is offering a one stop solution to fleet owners and operators looking to develop the EV charging infrastructure to power their fleets. This covers support from selection of vehicles and designing the charging infrastructure to suit the size of the fleet, to financing and actual execution of the projects.
Investment is also being put towards new technologies designed to improve the efficiency and performance of electric trucks.
EnergyAustralia and its partners use an innovative Green Transport Energy Ecosystem, giving customers a central view on their decarbonisation goals and tracking how well their transport is transitioning to green energy. This involves building customised digital platforms to track information related to usage, finding the nearest EV charging station, monitoring battery management systems and more.
Collaborate and advocate
Industry bodies are also collaborating to support the adoption of electric transport. For example, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and the Heavy Vehicle Industry Association (HVIA) help guide the industry on electric truck adoption, through working groups, training and knowledge sharing.
EnergyAustralia is also working hard to help get Australian industry up to speed with electrification especially in the areas of looking at the EV infrastructure network as a whole, planned for scale and future-proofed, and has much expertise and energy know-how to help grow this area.
“Big corporates need to be driving the change and setting the example for the rest of industry to follow… we need to work together on driving this change.”
Heather Bone, Director ESG from Team Global Express
A range of vital EV incentives in place across Australia, from both federal and state governments, are also important steps in the drive towards electrification of Australia’s fleet.
The future is greener
It’s clear that the outlook for green transport in Australia is promising despite the slow progress, and with the support of industry, an electrified future is taking shape on the horizon.