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Masterplan Drives the Future of Electric Vehicles in NSW

 NSW drivers can access the largest fast-charging network in Australia under the state’s electric vehicle charging master plan. The master plan is an interactive online resource for electric vehicle (EV) charging providers and planners to explore the network’s potential and invest in its expansion. It has a fully open-access map that enables investors to identify ideal locations for electric vehicle fast-charging infrastructure and helps to assess applications for EV charging grants.

The NSW Government will co-fund 1,000 charging bays along key travel routes across the state, while private investors provide around $160 million toward the initiative. The region’s Transport and Roads Minister said the master plan highlights NSW’s plans to boost its existing charging network by more than 300%. This means the state will have more EV charging stations than other Australian states and territories combined.

It was noted that the ultra-fast chargers will allow vehicles to charge to optimal range in under 10 minutes or about the time it takes to have a cup of coffee – future-proofing the state and signalling to the market that NSW is ready to receive more EV models. Once implemented, all EV charging stations will be powered with renewable energy, to significantly reduce NSW’s carbon emissions to zero.

Electric vehicle uptake in Australia is currently lower than in other developed countries but the number of EVs is expected to grow as cheaper models arrive and more charging infrastructure is rolled out. Alongside the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Australian Electric Vehicle Market Study Report was published and explored topics such as the potential uptake of EVs in Australia.

According to the report, EVs are expected to match petrol vehicles on both upfront price and range by the mid-2020s. Once EVs reach this price parity with internal combustion engine vehicles, sales of EVs are expected to rapidly increase.

The potential benefits of EVs include:

  1. Reduced fuel costs
  2. Lower maintenance costs
  3. Enhanced energy security
  4. Reduced air pollution (with associated health benefits)
  5. An improved driving experience
  6. Greenhouse gas emissions can be eliminated if EVs are charged using renewable energy.

To date, more than 7 million EVs have been sold worldwide with the pace of sales accelerating rapidly. According to Bloomberg’s Q3 2020 Global Electrified Transport Market Outlook, more than two million EVs were sold in 2019. Bloomberg expects global growth of 7% in 2020.

ARENA’s purpose is to support the global transition to net zero emissions by accelerating the pace of pre-commercial innovation, to the benefit of Australian consumers, businesses and workers. By connecting investment, knowledge and people to deliver energy innovation, we help to build the foundation of a renewable energy ecosystem in Australia.

EV charging can provide benefits to the grid if appropriately managed. If they are charged when there is plentiful cheap solar and wind power they can increase the use of renewable energy, with less need for electricity storage. Conversely, if EV charging is uncoordinated, additional generation and network investment may be required, increasing total electricity system costs.

Working out how to manage EV charging to best complement an electricity system, increasingly powered by renewables, will require new technologies and business models, as well as coordination between the EV industry, electricity sector – including retailers, networks and market bodies – and government.

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