Electric vehicles are critical to a brighter, more sustainable future for Tasmanians. They’re cheaper to run, quieter to drive and have zero emissions when powered from the states renewable electricity sources.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are a rapidly developing technology. Their increased uptake will challenge our current energy network and provide many opportunities such as increased energy security. With advancements in battery technology, the upfront cost of an EV is expected to equal that of combustion engine vehicles by 2030.
EVs may be able to use the energy stored in their battery to power the homes and grids they are connected to at times of peak demand, and charge at times of low demand, this known as vehicle to grid (V2G) and vehicle to building (V2B).
TasNetworks plays a critical role in this transition, by ensuring the energy networks is prepared for the changing behaviours of the community. Our current focus is to better understand the expectations and changing needs of our customers to determine the best way to integrate electric vehicles and emerging technology into our network and provide convenient and affordable access to electric vehicle charging in Tasmania.
The benefits of an EV
EVs are powered by electricity and present some major benefits when compared to traditional combustion engine vehicles.Read more
Some of the potential benefits of an EV include:
Lower gas emissions
Electric vehicles produce no running emissions meaning cleaner air, especially when they are charged with renewable energy.This provides numerous health and environmental benefits.
Traditional motor vehicles emit air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and other harmful compounds. These pollutants can contribute to air quality problems, particularly in urban areas.
Price to run
While EVs prices are generally a more expensive up front cost, they are much cheaper to run. In the lifetime of an EV the savings could be substantial, especially when charged with an off-peak tariff or solar system.
EVs also have far less moving parts than combustion engine vehicles, which means they cost less to maintain.
Due to the weight of their batteries, electric vehicles tend to have a lower centre of gravity, which reduces the likelihood of a rollover during an accident, they tend to have greater safety features as well.
The uptake of electric vehicles will also benefit the economy, by creating local jobs and supporting energy security.
Types of EVs
Battery electric, hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are all powered by electricity but there are differences in their range and how they operate.Read more
Battery electricBattery EVs are fully electric and are powered by a battery. This means that they produce zero emissions whilst being driven. Battery EVs are charged externally via an outlet at home or dedicated charging station, they can also charge via regenerative breaking. Regenerative braking transfers the mechanical energy of braking into electrical energy to charge the battery.
Hybrid electricHybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) have both an internal combustion engine and a battery which is charged through regenerative breaking. Typically, hybrid vehicles use a smaller battery for slow speeds and idling but change to their combustion engine for greater speeds and loads. This is controlled via an on-board computer which determines the best economy for the driving conditions.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric vehicles (PHEVs) use regenerative braking and plug in charging for their battery. The combustion engine can also be used to recharge the battery, extending the range of the car.
Things to consider before purchasing
Battery life, driving range and charge time are just some of the important factors that should be considered before deciding if an electric vehicle is right for you.Read more
Driving habitsThe current range of electric vehicles is very broad, anywhere between 200 and 500+ kilometres depending on the make and model. Driving up steep hills or towing loads will require more power than driving on flat roads without a load, limiting the vehicle’s range.
The electricity tariff you are using will heavily dictate the running costs of your EV. The most can be saved when the EV is charged using an off-peak tariff, which is typically overnight, or via solar. You can discuss your tariff options with your retailer.
The maintenance costs of electric vehicles is lower as they have fewer moving parts, however, an electric vehicle’s battery will slowly degrade over time and distance travelled. The time and distance that the battery will need to be replaced will vary from vehicle to vehicle.
New or used
As always, budget and availability can come into play when you're purchasing a new or used vehicle. Currently there is a small but growing used EV market in Tasmania. If you're considering purchasing a used EV, be sure to have the vehicle’s battery and compliance paper work assessed before completing the sale.
When purchasing an EV, you will be provided with options for charging your vehicle. Currently, there are 3 standard categories of chargers in Tasmania, each with varying charge rates and costs. Find out more about the types of chargers, including our Fast Charger Scheme here.
Charging at Home or Work
Most EVs will come equipped with a mode 2 charger, which can be plugged directly into an Australian power socket. Mode 3 chargers are more suited for charging at home or work due to their lower supply and install costs, typically around $3,000 depending on the charger and its location. It’s best to have an electrician assess your home for suitability for a mode 2 charger. If you are interested in mode 3 charging, these can be installed by a licenced electrician.
If you are considering buying an electric vehicle, you should check with your car’s manufacturer about the best charging options for you.
There are many AC and DC public charging options available across Tasmania and many more are being planned, with the state government supporting further public EV charging infrastructure under Tasmania's Climate Change Action Plan 2017–2021.
As with any electrical device, care must be taken around EV's to ensure they are used and charged safely.Read more
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when interacting with your vehicle. This includes ensuring you charge your vehicle from a charging point that is compatible with your car.
- Only buy EV supply equipment that is compatible with your make and model, and meets Australian standards.
- Always plug your EV directly into a wall socket, avoiding multi-sockets, travel plugs or power boards. Extension leads can be ok, provided they are suitable rated for the current and environment (such as outdoors).
- Daisy-Chaining extension leads, where you plug multiple extension leads into each other to extend distance, increases risk of electrical fire and electrical shock.
- Always check your charging cable for wear and tear. Replace this cable if any damage is evident.
- Never use or modify the charging system of the EV or the charging unit. This can damage your EV, and poses a risk to you and your house.
As charging an EV can require a lot of power, always ensure the wiring in your household is able to handle the increased load. As an EV is classed as a high powered device, when charging one from old wiring it can lead to increased heat. This can lead to an increased risk of fire if not properly managed If in doubt, please check with a licensed electrical contractor.
A Residual Current Device (RCD) is highly recommended when installing EV charging infrastructure. This device will turn off power to a circuit if they detect a fault, protecting you and your property.