EVs in North America
By Tobias Lord, General Manger, Electric Vehicles Oceania
On a recent trip to North America (Los Angeles, Toronto, Vancouver and Hawaii) it was wonderful to see the large number of electric vehicles on the roads, along with the availability of EV charging stations.
It is easy to say that USA and Canada have come to step into the EV future, they have begun to introduce infrastructure and promote the use of EVs. The governments and the public have accepted the direction of EVs and have made progress towards adopting and using a cleaner more sustainable mode of transport for cites and urban areas.
There are a large number of EV charging stations in the cities, provided by the local council/governments along with shopping centres/malls and other companies that have parking lots accessible to the public. A great way of promotion of this technology. In most instances, charging of EVs in these parking locations is free of charge, quite commonly, it is also powered by renewable energy sources, primarily solar panels attached to or nearby the stations. To add to the incentive of free charging to EV owners, the parking spaces that are provided are usually in quite favourable locations, often close to the entrance of the shopping mall or location. Even EV spots that are on the street (some do not always provide charging stations), are free parking in an area that requires payment into a parking meter.
Seeing EVs on the streets of these cities is not uncommon. Many people would easily recognise a Tesla as it stands out as a unique vehicle, but if you look a little closer, you will see many more EVs. Nissan, Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota and BMW are just some of the big name manufactures that have vehicles quietly rolling down the streets. Many of these look like regular models from these manufacturers, but a small badge will say electric or EV, distinguishing it from its fossil fuelled equivalent.
It is not only pure EVs that are common in North America. A very common sight is hybrid vehicles. Taxis and busses with hybrid systems have made their way into the majority of these vehicles in many cities. Catching a cab, you will more than likely find yourself in a hybrid vehicle. The popularity of hybrid busses seems to be common in many of the major city centres. Such a great step in the right direction to help clean up the air quality in the polluted and crowded cities from vehicles that are on the road most hours of the day and night.
As a step in the right direction, the governments of USA and Canada have made EVs easily accessible and the infrastructure available. The promotion and incentives for these vehicles, such as reduced registration and insurances, along with rebates on the purchases, shows the right chain of thought. It would be wise and forward thinking for the Australian government to take a look at the progress and direction these countries are taking (along with many other countries around the world). Before it becomes too late and we get left behind the rest of the world, adoption of this technology should be made common place.