Electric vehicle update: The end of the ICE age?

Image: Jaguar UK

Is the end of the ICE (vehicle) age looming? Amid a flurry of announcements from car manufacturers and governments around the world, Bryce Gaton surveys the significant shifts away from ICE vehicles and towards electric.

Change is afoot in the electric vehicle (EV) world. More and more EV developments are being reported in mainstream media, including further markers of the looming end of the ICE age! In this case, ICE equals internal combustion engine, or the standard petrol or diesel car. So let’s look at what’s been happening so far in 2018.

Electric vehicle sales
EV sales in the first quarter of 2018 hit 312,400 worldwide, 59% higher than for the same quarter in 2017. Of these sales, 66% were pure EVs (battery-only) and 34% were plug-in hybrid EVs (EVs with a plug-in rechargeable battery and an ICE engine).

Even in Australia, sales of EVs were reportedly up 132% for the quarter—albeit from a very low base in 2017 when few EVs were available here. Australian EV sales currently sit at around 1000 annually, excluding Tesla sales (Tesla doesn’t provide sales data to VFACTS, the private body collating Australian car sales data), which is less than 0.1% of annual new car sales.

Planning for charging stations
In Australia, one hurdle in the way of significant EV sales has been the lack of public charging infrastructure. However, in a significant shift, almost all Australian states and some businesses are addressing this.

Queensland now has what it claims as the “world’s longest electric vehicle super highway in a single state”, after recently completing the first stage of a fast charging network to allow electric vehicles to travel from the Gold Coast to Cairns and inland from Brisbane to Toowoomba (see further info at www.bit.ly/2xHTcBr).

For businesses, councils or other groups interested in installing charging stations, the Queensland government has also recently released a Practice Note (www.bit.ly/2xJ7Qs5) outlining key principles for planning electric vehicle charging to “support the selection of the right type of infrastructure at the right location.”

The document includes a detailed introduction covering EV charging basics, plus a practical guide to choosing the most appropriate charger type for a proposed site and tips on cost recovery.

Although the document is Queensland-specific, it makes a useful starting point for any community group or local chamber of commerce that is beginning their journey in advocating for, planning or installing EV charging infrastructure.

Read the full article in ReNew 144.