As part of Australia’s international contribution to climate change and sustainability, the Australian Government has lodged an updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which emphasise’s the Australian Government’s commitment to an emissions reduction target of 43% below 2005 levels, and its commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
Over the past few years and months, the Australian Government has taken multiple positive steps to deliver on its commitment to the sustainability targets, including the establishment of a new Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW), the passing of the Climate Change Act in 2022 and the release of its Long Term Emissions Reduction Plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. In particular, the Plan explains how Australia aims to reach a net zero economy through a technology-based approach, which includes a Technology Investment Roadmap and its Low Emissions Technology Statements. Furthermore, the Australian Government will invest AUD 20 billion in low carbon power over the next decade, in hope to stimulate AUD 80 billion worth of private and public investments on green technologies.
According to the two Ministers, The Hons Chris Bowen MP and The Hons Catherine King MP, transport is Australia’s second largest source of national emissions. On average, new passenger vehicles in Australia have around 20% higher emissions than the United States, and around 40% higher emissions than Europe.
While EVs are becoming more and more popular in Australia, they are still yet to become the dominant and mainstream choice of vehicle for consumers to buy. Current policies are struggling to incentivise Australian consumers to purchase electric vehicles (EVs), with one of the major factors being the lack of affordable supplies of EVs in the Australian market. In 2021, EVs were just under 2% of new light vehicle sales in Australia, compared with 9% globally in the United States and Canada.
With the need for response and improvement, one of the key strategies that Australia has proposed includes the National Electric Vehicle Strategy. The EV strategy will:
- Encourage a rapid increase of EVs in Australia by making them more accessible and affordable
- Establish and support the infrastructure to support EV use
- Establish a $500 million Drive the Nation Fund
The Australian Government has recently commenced a consultation, with the online submission platform receiving over 500 submissions, representing the views of over 2150 Australian individuals and organisations.
However, despite the clear directions which are given out on the national level, the Minister mentioned how the State and Territory Governments policies to encourage EV take-up have lacked coordination and alignment. For example, the Electric Vehicle Council has criticised the Victorian Government in its State of Electric Vehicles report on its current tax policies, including the ending of the $3000 subsidy for zero-emission vehicles. From ACT’s perspective, whilst it is becoming the leading state for EVs, there are still many infrastructure issues that need to be resolved.
Hence, our team aims to assist the VIC and ACT Government in developing new initiatives and measures to practically implement the National Electric Vehicle Strategy through a data-driven approach, by analysing the relationship between vehicle types and EV uptake, and identifying other factors which might influence the amount of EV uptake.
The Underlying Questions
After thorough discussion as a team, we used the human-centred approach and design thinking to determine the underlying questions which we are attempting to resolve:
- How can we develop policies and regulations that will better incentivise customers to purchase and use Electric Vehicles rather than Petroleum Vehicles in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- How can we accurately and reliably describe what factors influence the uptake of EVs and implement that in predictive models?
Our team has developed an application interface that displays a dashboard of insights, trends and graphs which explore the relationship between vehicle types and the uptake of EVs, the current issues with EV infrastructure, the potential reasons of particular consumer behaviour and the reasons why Australians might not be adopting EVs as rapidly as other countries.
Under the dashboards and metrics, we also provide relevant policy measures and incentives that we believe could help stimulate EV uptake, and expand the charging infrastructure in each state and territory of Australia.Please Note the Website is designed mainly for Desktop and Ipad
There is a varied amount of open source and government data about the registration and purchase of EVs. Our team aims to derive meaning and insights out of these resources.
The project aims to
Suggest policy measures to incentivize EV adoption for specific vehicle types that show potential for higher uptake.
- Recommend strategies for expanding charging infrastructure to target vehicle types with slower EV adoption rates.
- We joined and cleaned multiple datasets
- Mapped post codes with geospatial data to create visualisations on a map
- Explored infrastructure availability
- Identified customers’ color preference for EVs over the years
Figure 1. Electric Vehicle New Registrations From JAN To JUN 2022
Generally, VOLVO with model XC40 registrations tends to be constantly improving towards the half-year checkpoint, whereas the other manufactures and models tend to be unstable or decreasing. The highest registrations are AUDI and VOLVO, with their trends opposing each other, generating a domination in the EVs industry (Figure 1). To explain such a pattern, customer preferences and each model utilities must be studied.
Figure 2. Comparison between EVs in terms of efficiency and price
From figure 2, for generally higher price vehicles, the utilities such as battery capacity and electricity range are low, and vice versa. This suggested a higher demand in short distance travel using solely electricity, and also a demand to conveniently switch to gas power whenever necessary. The customer preferences in traveling and power consumption could be summarized by two types of electric vehicles.
Figure 3. Comparison between PHEV and BEV pricing distribution
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) run on electricity alone, via a large motor and battery pack, hence produce zero emissions. On the other hand, Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) have gas-powered engines as back-ups, which will take over when battery power has been completely depleted. Since PHEV does not maximize environmental impact, their industry pricing tends to be higher to shift the demand to BEV. However, there are still gas stations and high demand for long distance travel in Australia, PHEV price thus has partially escalated (Figure 3).
Figure 4. EVs registrations and charging infrastructure in Australia
To emphasize their incentive to shift the demand to BEV, Victoria’s, as well as Australia’s, government deploys high-power charging stations at the same rate and location as where EVs are registered (figure 4).
This not only ensures the residents’ convenience but also highlights the incentive to transfer to complete green transportation in the future.
Figure 5. Color preference of customers for EVs over the years
It is very evident from the data that mostly the customers prefer to purchase white color EVs and over the years the gray, black and blue EVs are also becoming a preferred choice. Red and silver colors are less significantly purchased comparably.
Comprehensive Solution for Shifting to Electric Vehicles and Reducing Emissions
To effectively transition from petroleum vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs) and achieve emissions reduction goals, a multi-faceted approach is essential. Leveraging the insights from the project and additional considerations, we propose the following comprehensive solution:
1. Targeted Charging Infrastructure Deployment:
- Demand-Based Infrastructure: Plan and deploy EV charging infrastructure based on accurate demand projections. Focus on urban areas with high population density and commuting needs. This ensures that charging stations are conveniently accessible to users.
2. Strategic Government Policies and Incentives:
- Registration Subsidies: Introduce substantial registration fee subsidies for EVs. This will reduce the upfront cost for consumers, making EVs more attractive.
- Workforce Development: Allocate funds for programs and training initiatives to enhance the electrical workforce's skills in EV-related technologies. This ensures a skilled workforce for charging infrastructure expansion.
3. Incentives for Public Transportation:
- Zero-Emission Bus Initiative: Accelerate the transition to a sustainable public transportation system by committing to the complete purchase of zero-emission buses by a specific date, such as 2024. This step reduces emissions from a major source of public transportation pollution.
4. Collaborative Initiatives:
- Public-Private Partnerships: Foster collaborations between government bodies and private enterprises to jointly invest in EV charging infrastructure. This partnership ensures efficient deployment and maintenance of charging stations.
5. Research and Innovation:
- Innovative Battery Technology: Allocate research funding to develop advanced battery technologies that increase EV range, reduce charging times, and enhance overall performance. Innovation in battery technology addresses key consumer concerns.
6. Awareness and Education:
- Public Awareness Campaigns: Launch nationwide campaigns to educate the public about the benefits of EV adoption. Highlight cost savings, environmental impact, and the evolving EV landscape.
7. Coordination among State and Territory Governments:
- Harmonized Policies: Establish a unified approach to EV incentives, subsidies, and infrastructure planning across states and territories. This coordination eliminates confusion for consumers and promotes nationwide adoption.
8. Financial Incentives for Fleet Transition:
- Fleet Modernization Incentives: Offer tax incentives, grants, or subsidies for businesses and government agencies transitioning their fleets to EVs. This bolsters the market and increases demand for electric vehicles.
9. Integration with Renewable Energy
- Solar Charging Integration: Encourage the integration of EV charging stations with solar power systems, making EV charging more sustainable and reducing strain on the grid.
10. Continuous Monitoring and Adaptation:
- Regular Policy Review: Periodically review and adapt policies and incentives to align with technological advancements and changing consumer preferences.
By implementing this comprehensive solution, Australia can create a conducive environment for the adoption of electric vehicles. Through strategic planning, collaboration, and targeted incentives, the nation can effectively reduce emissions from the transportation sector and make significant strides towards achieving its sustainability goals.