The push for more electric vehicles has been a key part of Labor’s climate policies. But do they really live up to the green hype?

Chris Smith reports.


The argument over the future of cars is getting electric.

Scott Morrison, Prime Minister: “I can tell you an electric car costs more than a standard it’s twenty eight thousand.”

Bill Shorten, Opposition Leader: “Well that’s great, we’ve got a Prime Minister who spends his time in the motor pages, that’s super!”

Both say they want to see more electric vehicles on Australia’s roads.

Labor’s aiming for 50% of new cars to be electric, by 2030.

The Liberals want between a quarter and 50 per cent of all new vehicles to be EV, by 2025.

Dr Kenan Degirmenci has researched renewable energies for many years and says we need to reduce carbon emissions much faster.

Dr Kenan Degirmenci, QUT Lecturer: “Australia has made the commitment for the Paris Agreement reduce carbon emissions by promoting electic vehicles but also most importantly by promoting renewable energy sources.”

But when it comes to electric cars motorists still have questions.

Why are they so expensive? Will they really emit less carbon? And what about the cost of replacing more expensive, electric batteries.

Range is important in terms of battery storage and so is loading infrastructure, says Dr Kenan.

Currently, the electric vehicle fleet in Australia represents 0.2 per cent of total cars.

Dr Kenan Degirmenci, QUT Lecturer: “We need more share of renewable sources if we want to increase the electric vehicle fleet in Australia.”

Currently, electric vehicles can travel above 250 kilometres on a single charge.

The Tesla Model X can reach up to 500 kilometres on a single charge with towing capacity.

A national rollout of ultra-rapid charging is proposed as an investment priority over the next 15 years.

That could mean it will take just a few minutes to power up your green car.

Dr Kenan Degirmenci, QUT Lecturer: “Our study found that environmental performance is even more important for potential consumers than price and range because it is the critical distinction that you’re making here compared to the combustion engine.”

Norway already has more electric vehicles per capita, than any other country.

And they’ve achieved their CO2 emission targets, three years earlier than pledged.

If Australia is to meet its committment to lower emissions, electric cars could soon be a far more common sight here.

Chris Smith, QUT News.