The future of electric vehicles in Australia


Sales of electric cars have tripled for three years in a row.

But the electric vehicle (EV) pace is only just warming up, with dozens of new models due in coming months, along with a vast expansion of the charging network to tempt buyers to ditch their petrol and diesel vehicles.

Here are the top innovations working to capitalise on increasing interest in electric vehicles.

the future of electric vehicles in australia

1. Easier charging payments

Charging an EV at a public station can be a nightmare due to the payment system that requires you to have apps (there are about a dozen) and active accounts for each.

But that should gradually get simpler as payment systems are streamlined.

One of the biggest networks in Australia, Evie, is already trialling credit card tap-and-go payments. It means not having to fuss around with apps and accounts, and instead paying as you do for fuel with the tap of a card.

2. More slow chargers

Much of the media emphasis on charging has been with fast charging on popular routes, particularly down Australia's east coast. But slow chargers are equally important for those who want to shop or stay at a hotel along the way, as well as for those parking their car at the office for the day.

If you're parking your EV for many hours, a slow charge suffices and is generally a lot cheaper, which is why more businesses are installing slower AC chargers for EVs.

Don't be surprised to see incentives aligned with charging, too: a cheap charge if you buy a meal deal, for example, or half-price charging if you spend $100 at your local shopping centre.

3. Cheaper charging

Fast charging on the road is the most expensive way to charge your EV and that's unlikely to change anytime soon. You're paying for the convenience of not having to stop for long.

But home charging is set to get more affordable as energy retailers look to encourage EV drivers to charge when there is excess electricity in the grid; that includes during the middle of the day and middle of the night.

There are already EV-specific plans and the industry is only just finding its feet when it comes to mass home charging.

4. Borrowing home chargers

It's been called the Airbnb of charging and already there's one company trying to capitalise on the appetite for charging in busy areas.

Chargehound encourages those with a garage and charger to rent it out to EV drivers keen for a top-up.

If there's a benefit for each party, it's something that could become more popular as the number of EVs on the road grows.

5. Faster charging

How fast an EV charges depends on the charger as well as the car.

Currently, there's not an EV in the country that can fully utilise the 350kW capacity of the fastest chargers.

But car makers are increasingly arming their vehicles with better batteries and higher charge capacities, something that promises to bring charge times down.

6. Chargers for towing

Most charging stations don't yet accommodate vehicles with trailers.

But in a nation of towers, that will change, especially as we start seeing more electric utes and large SUVs on the market. Expect to see charging stations better accommodate longer vehicles.

We could also see more stations with protection from the weather, something that is not a priority at the moment.

7. Vehicle-to-grid

So-called vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging allows EVs to feed back into the electricity grid during busy times and charge when there's excess in the grid.

The potential is enormous, although there are still big regulatory and cost hurdles, which should decrease over the coming years.

And with more cars fitting the appropriate V2G hardware, we're likely to see more options for spreading the demand for electricity.

8. Better batteries

Some brands have tinkered with battery swaps in overseas markets - predominantly Nio in China - but given batteries are designed for the life of the vehicle it appears most aren't heading down that path.

But better batteries are on the way. As the most expensive component in an EV, batteries are where the bulk of the research and development dollars are being deployed.

By the end of the decade, we're expecting to see solid state batteries start appearing in some EVs.

They have a higher energy density and are less susceptible to temperature variations, so they can be about half the weight of today's lithium-ion batteries. That means manufacturers could double the driving range or halve the size of the battery pack - or settle somewhere in between.

9. Home batteries

Household solar took off when panels became more affordable and the same is expected to happen with home batteries.

Most home battery systems cost upwards of $10,000, meaning the payback is a decade or more.

But cheaper batteries will make home battery systems more appealing, something that not only will cut your home electricity bill but also allow your EV to soak up excess solar energy, which is currently fed back into the grid cheaply.

10. EVs heading off-road

The emphasis with the current breed of EVs has been on suburban running and SUVs and passenger cars.

But electric off-road vehicles - including utes - are on the way.

The major ute manufacturers are working on electric options, while Nissan, Toyota and others are working on EV versions of their heavy-duty 4WDs.

11. Electric trucks

Already there are EV trucks available, and that trend will continue.

Trucking operators look at the total cost of ownership, and as lower running costs increasingly offset the higher initial purchase price of an electric vehicle, you can expect the transition from diesel to electrons to ramp up.

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Toby Hagon is one of Australia's most respected motoring writers. A regular contributor to News Corp, Wheels magazine, Qantas magazine and 4x4 Australia, he also features as a motoring expert on ABC Radio and is editor of