Scientists have found almost all Australians can reach their nearest town with an electric vehicle even for those living the most remotely.
Research from the Australian National University shows the use of electric vehicles in remote regional and farming communities is more feasible than might be expected.
“We analysed the distances between people’s homes and the nearest service hub towns, where they might go to the do the shopping, for example,” report author Bjorn Sturmberg says.
“The vast majority of residents, or 93 per cent, could do those trips with even the lower range of electric vehicles currently available on the Australian market. That’s without needing to recharge en route,” Dr Sturmberg told AAP.
He said it was feasible for the most isolated Australians to reach their destinations with the current fleet of electric vehicles.
“It’s well within the range of electric vehicles to be able to drive 300 kilometres in the case of a medium-range electric vehicle or 600km for a top-end vehicle into your closest town to do your shopping,” Dr Sturmberg said.
He said the research assumed the vehicles were fully charged at the point of departure, but emphasised the need for more chargers to be set up around the country.
“So that residents feel comfortable they can have their car fully charged at home, they can drive in do their shopping, do their banking … in that time they can charge up their vehicles so they have enough charge to drive back again,” Dr Sturmberg said.
He said governments needed to set up more charging stations across Australia to encourage drivers to move to electric vehicles.
Co-author Francis Markham said further research was needed.
“For example, we still don’t have clear data on the impact of unsealed roads or different conditions on the effective range of electric vehicles,” Dr Markham said.
“And information on the performance of electric vehicles in very hot conditions is still lacking. However, we are confident that electric vehicles do have a place in regional and remote Australia.”
According to the researchers, transport is one of the key issues that needs tackling to limit climate change.
“The transport sector is responsible for 25 per cent of global emissions and more than 18 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas pollution,” Dr Sturmberg said.
He said there had been good progress in deploying chargers along major highways but there needed to be more chargers in townships to allow farmers and other rural Australians to drive into town and back home again.
The research was published in Australian Geographer on Friday.