It is an exciting time for electric vehicle manufacturing, so let’s take a look at the various types of electric vehicles currently available.
We are all familiar with the hybrid model, which is a form of electric vehicle that doesn’t need to be plugged in and charges through driving. There are also plug in hybrid vehicles which, like the regular hybrid, has an internal combustion engine (ICE) but also gives drivers the option to plug in to charge the battery. Then there are the fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) which generate their power by burning hydrogen. These vehicles are mainly in trials in Australia, so it is early days at the moment.
The type that is most common currently is the battery electric vehicle or, simply, the electric vehicle (EV). Tesla has long been the go-to manufacturer/supplier when it comes to electric vehicles in Australia, as it was the only supplier in Australia with appropriate infrastructure and support. This is now changing.
Most current car manufacturers are starting to introduce electric models, with the Kia EV6, Mazda MX-30, MG ZS or BMW i7 coming to market in recent times just to name a few. Then there are the new players in the market. Polestar, which is Volvo’s Chinese manufactured electric vehicle, has been in the market in Australia for only one year, and the Volkswagen Group’s Cupra Born on its way. Another player entering the Australia market is BYD. This brand appears to be targeting the lower end of the market, with their Seagull model anticipated to be priced in the low $20K region when it is hopefully launched in Australia this year. Currently, BYD has the Atto 3 model in the market. At a starting price of $48K, it is considered the lowest priced EV in Australia currently.
Common discussion around EVs are travelling distance between charges, as well as availability of charging points. If you have watched “Peaky Blinders” you will understand the challenge in the beginning of ICE cars about carrying enough petrol, as service stations as we know them now were non-existent or limited in availability. The same can be said as we embark on the EV age – what will the service station of the future look like? Daily commutes or short trips should be manageable if charging infrastructure is set up at the home or workplace. However, travelling distances needs careful monitoring and planning, with applications such as PlugShare showing charging locations and general information to assist with this.
There are also companies that are converting ICEs into EVs. Start-up Roev, is working closely with business and government to transition their vehicles to electric. Current plans are to convert utes, including Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger, popular in fleet management, into EVs. Their journey started with a Land Rover Defender and a Kombi van and now they want to extend the electrification to increase EV availability.
This year will be an exciting time for EVs, with new entrants joining the marketplace regularly and hopefully the prices will drop so that all Australians can be involved in this transport revolution. What an exciting time to be working in the electric industry.