Australia’s electric vehicle numbers doubled last year. What’s the impact of charging them on a power grid under strain?

22 Mar 2023

Thara Philip, Andrea La Nauze and Kai Li Lim write for The Conversation.

The number of electric vehicles (EVs) in Australia doubled in 2022 and Tesla’s Model 3 emerged as the best-selling mid-size car, the first time an EV has held this title. Despite these headlines, Australia is off to a slow start with electric vehicles. They accounted for only 3.8% of all vehicle sales in 2022, rising to 6.8% of new car sales in February 2023.

The federal government is working on the first National Electric Vehicle Strategy to make them more accessible to Australians. With tax exemptionsmore affordable models and the expansion of a limited charging network3.8 million electric vehicles are expected to be on Australian roads by 2030.

As the numbers grow, an increase in electricity demand for charging is inevitable. Careful planning is needed to manage this growth at a time when concerns have been raised about the power grid’s capacity to meet the demand for electricity.

However, early findings from our ongoing research on the use and charging of electric vehicles suggest they will have a more limited impact during peak demand periods than some have feared. Ultimately, they could improve grid stability, with “batteries on wheels” feeding in electricity at times of need.

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