- China is the world’s largest electric car market by volume, followed by Europe and the US.
- Many people have ‘range anxiety’ over how far you can drive an EV in a single round trip without needing to recharge.
- For those looking for a little more retro style, it is possible to get older cars converted.
By Seamus Byrne
1. For an electric driving experience, head to Norway
China is the world’s largest electric car market by volume, followed by Europe and the US. In 2016, the New Zealand government announced an Electric Vehicles Programme with a goal of getting 64,000 electric vehicles (EVs) on the road by the end of 2021. In July 2019, the government proposed a clean car discount of up to NZ$8000 for drivers buying low and zero emissions vehicles – and a fee for those purchasing heavy polluters. However, the proposal was halted in February 2020 by NZ First ministers, who wanted the policy to go to the electorate first. In Australia, the latest EV statistics sound good in percentage growth terms: 2019 saw a 203% increase in sales, from 2216 EVs in 2018 to 6718 last year, according to the Electric Vehicle Council. However, Australia has only about 17,600 EVs on the roads. In Norway, which has one-fifth the population of Australia, 79,640 EVs were sold in 2019, and electric vehicles make up about 56% of the total market.
2. Charging standards are now well formed
Many people still have ‘range anxiety’ over how far you can drive an EV in a single round trip without needing to recharge. All EVs now sold in Australia use the same Type 2 socket, but charging infrastructure is limited and standards for fast-charging systems are not yet in place. For example, at the moment Tesla’s Supercharger sites can only charge Teslas, not other electric vehicles.
However, a rapid charging system known as Combined Charging System (CCS) is becoming more popular in Europe and North America. And the German government announced in June 2020 that all petrol stations must include an electric charging facility.
Once fast chargers are widely in place, it’s likely we’ll begin to see more EVs on the road.
3. A car battery could power your home
Having a battery at home to store energy, mostly as an add-on to rooftop solar energy packages, is becoming more mainstream. But vehicle-to-grid technology may be an option, too. If you have the right car and power set-up, that electric vehicle in your garage can be a back-up battery for your home. Vehicle-to-grid technology is currently available in the Nissan Leaf EV, with a special power system installed that could power a home for up to two days in a power outage.
4. Yes, you can convert older cars
EV choices are still quite limited in Australia, with a small mix of brands – Tesla, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Jaguar – to choose from right now. In New Zealand, VW, Renault, Mitsubishi and MG are also in the market.
But for those looking for a little more retro style, it is possible to get older cars converted. The expertise is still limited and the costs are crazy, but if you dream of driving around in an electric old Porsche or a VW Kombi, it genuinely is a possibility.
5. Electric skies are a possibility
In the US, a nine-seat Cessna aircraft was converted into an all-electric engine through a partnership between AeroTEC and magniX. A 30-minute flight took place in May 2020, marking the first successful all-electric flight of a commercial aircraft.
The companies involved point out that this is so early there are not yet standards in place for testing and certification, but it’s another exciting milestone in the advancement of electric vehicles.
Picture: Roei Ganzarski, CEO of Magnix.
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