Electric Dream Machines
Production Electric Vehicles in Australia have arrived only recently (2012) - the first imports were the Mitsubishi i-MiEV followed by the Nissan Leaf. There are no government incentives to assist with the uptake of EVs unlike most countries in the developed world. Electric Vehicle charge stations have been established in many capital cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Adealiade, Canberra, Brisbane and Perth) but in general it would seem Australia is lagging behind Europe, America, China and a host of other nations in encouraging electric vehicle uptake. At MEC we consider this a failure of current government policies that provide generous subsidies to the motor industry in general but have not followed the world trend of encouraging the change over to a clean electric fleet. The health costs alone would indicate that a change to electric powered vehicles in out cities should be a priority.
There is no doubt that the change to electric vehicles will be a reality over the next two decades. Plug-in hybrid vehicles will lead the charge. Having the ability to drive more than the average vehicle daily commute (about 38 kilometers) will mean that most hybrids will run on electricity for most of their journeys. The change to pure electric we envisage will happen from 2020 onwards with the advent of cheaper batteries that have longer ranges. New battery technologies such as Lithium Air will overcome the current market resistance caused by range anxiety and ultra fast charge stations (3 – 5 mins charging) are also being investigated. With economies of scale kicking in we fully expect that by the early years of the next decade pure electric vehicles will begin to make their presence felt.