Let's cut through the myths and spread the facts on Electric Vehicles!
FACT: Electric Vehicles environmentally out-perform Fossil fuel vehicles in energy consumption, raw material waste, exhaust emissions and fuel emissions when run on renewable energy.
EVs use around 3-5 times less energy than conventional fossil-fuelled vehicles and have no exhaust emissions unlike polluting internal combustion engine vehicles. By charging an EV using renewable energy, there is the potential to run your car completely carbon neutral and even when an EV is charged by fossil-fuel electricity they still generate lower net emissions than ICEVs. If Australia were to shift to 100 percent EVs operating on renewable electricity, this would eliminate six per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Moreover, EV battery recycling and repurposing is on the rise and recent analysis found that over their lifespan electric vehicles can use up to 300x less materials than fossil fuel cars, as they have more recyclable materials.
Transport emissions are one of the largest and fastest growing sources of pollution in Australia so now, more than ever, we need to be supporting clean, electric vehicles.
FACT: EV batteries can be recycled and will be because there are valuable resources contained within. The main material is stainless steel and, by weight, steel is the most recycled metal in the world. Batteries also contain copper, which is in such strong demand by recyclers. Other elements such as lithium, cobalt, and manganese require specialised equipment to recover, but they can be collected by recyclers as mixed metal dust that’s shipped off for further processing. Alternatively, battery packs can be returned to their manufacturer to be directly recycled into new ones.
Lithium has quadrupled from its price in 2020 and is at a record high. This is expected to cause a shortage of at least some brands of home batteries in Australia over the next few months and may affect the supply of EVs. Happily, it will also increase the focus on recycling. The price spike won’t last, but improvements in recycling will.
FACT: If properly integrated EVs can actually increase the reliability of the energy grid, soaking up clean solar and wind energy during the day and acting as batteries at peak times at night.
One of the largest EV vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trials in the world is already happening right here in Australia allowing EVs to act as batteries on wheels to send electricity back to the grid when it's needed most. In the future, you could drive your EV as you need and then plug it n to the network when not in use to maintain grid stability.
FACT: It is possible for homeowners with solar panels to charge their electric vehicle directly from the electricity generated on their own rooftop, which would be completely zero emission transport.
The simplest way to charge a vehicle using your home’s rooftop solar is to plug the car into your house during the day when the sun is shining. If the amount of solar electricity being generated is equal to or greater than the amount charging the car, no grid electricity will be needed. But you can also charge your electric car at night using battery storage. For home battery owners, it is possible to charge a home battery system during the day with solar power and then charge an electric car in the evening with this stored energy.
FACT: We need to ramp up the public pressure to ensure cleaner cars are affordable and accessible for everyone. Good electric vehicle policies are a win for everyone. EVs can run on clean energy, are cheaper to ‘refuel’ and maintain, and can play a big role in cutting rising transport emissions and local air pollution meaning they benefit everyone regardless of whether you drive an EV or not.
People in regional and rural areas have led the way on rooftop solar and now—as people who regularly clock up higher kilometres—can benefit most from going electric. Now is the time to accelerate EV uptake with a smart package of federal and state government reforms, like upfront incentives, high sales targets, and filling the gaps in charging infrastructure, especially in regional areas.
FACT: All forms of sustainable transport will play a part in our future clean transport mix
A well-serviced public transport system is a much needed solution to current environmental and social concerns. But with a closing window in which to rein in emissions, electric vehicles are an important part of the puzzle to decarbonising our transport system.
Australia is still very much a nation that prefers and depends on private vehicles, and it'll take a significant political/cultural/economic shift to get public transport where it needs to be. In the meantime, while Australians are buying new cars, we don't think it should just be the wealthy who have the option to choose a cleaner EV - just the same as rooftop solar.
At Charge Ahead we believe all aspects of the transport sector need to be transitioned and decarbonised, and Electric Vehicles will play one role in that transition.