Electric transport will give us fuel security, cut our annual $34 billion fuel import bill and more. Here are several brief pitches for the electrification of transport in Australia.
Australia’s progress towards electric vehicles
Australia is moving slowly towards electric vehicles. The NSW Coalition government is showing the way with solid policies supporting electric vehicles:
- ending stamp duty for cheaper vehicles,
- rebating $3,000 of the sales cost of cheaper vehicles,
- transitioning the government car fleet to electric vehicles,
- investing in ultra-fast charging stations,
- delaying a tax on distance travelled, and
- transitioning to electric buses.
(NSW unveils a 490 million support package for electric vehicles: Renew Economy: 20 June 2021)
(NSW releases a master pans for 1000 ultra-fast charging along major routes: The Driven: 12 Sep 2021)
While the NSW government offers great support to battery-electric cars, unfortunately, the NSW Hydrogen Strategy is proposing inefficient uses of hydrogen, e.g., blending hydrogen into domestic gas which would see green hydrogen burnt to heat homes, using about 6.8 times more electricity than air conditioning.
(See Hydrogen inefficiency: On this site)
As the electrification of transport across Australia starts, we are beginning to gain some of the massive potential benefits.
Cut fuel imports by $28 billion a year
Moving to renewable transport would slash the massive cost to Australia of importing crude oil and refined petrol products. This cost has averaged $34.4 billion a year over the last three years. Yes, Australia pays $34.4 billion a year to fuel cars, buses, trucks, tractors, electric generators, and planes.
We will not be replacing jet fuel soon, so renewables will not eliminate this cost soon. However, the transition to renewables might cut 80% of this cost, $28 billion a year.
This saving could pay for our renewable energy infrastructure. For example, the planned electricity transmission line between Mt Isa and Townsville will cost $1.7 billion, so the reduced imports could pay for 16 of these projects every year.
(These three paragraphs could form a 1-minute pitch for electrification.)
(Australia’s goods and services, the top 25 imports 2019-20: Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)
(Copper String promises 60 billion in new investments and that’s just energy investments: Renew Economy: 20 July 2021)
Increase Australian fuel security
Moving to renewable energy transport would increase Australia’s security because our fuel supply would come from our sun and wind.
Currently, Australia’s fuel is at risk because we import our petrol and diesel, so international conflicts and accidents, like the blocking of the Sue Canal, can disrupt the supply of these essentials. What’s more, we only have low backup stocks, under 27-days’ cover. A one-month hiccup could stop our cars, buses, trucks, tractors, and many electric generators.
(These two paragraphs could form a 30-second pitch for electrification.)
(Australia imports almost all of its oil, and there are pitfalls all over the globe: The Conversation: 24 May 2018)
(Australia has 27 days’ worth of petrol in case of emergency: 20 Sep 2019)
New industry: Bus making
Moving to electric buses is already seeing the emergence of a bus making industry.
(NSW to roll our 120 electric buses in 2021 ahead of a complete transition: The Driven: 2 Dec 2020)
Moving to renewable energy transport is bringing other benefits too:
- increasing road safety because popular electric cars almost drive themselves,
- preparing for when car manufacturers stop making internal combustion cars,
- reducing the cost of running and maintaining our cars,
- reducing air pollution,
- reducing the resulting illnesses, and
- reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
(Economic benefits of electric cars: RACV: 16 Feb 2021)
- State governments are powering into renewable energy
- Companies are leaping at renewable energy opportunities
- Renewables are bringing investment in local mineral processing
- We’re already exporting renewable energy
- We’re supplying renewable energy equipment & solutions
Updated 23 November 2021