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How Moreton Bay is going electric - suburb by suburb

Posted: 5pm 19 May 2022

Moreton Bay Region may be one of the fastest growing urban areas in Queensland, but it is lagging behind in the race to drive electric vehicles.

Transport and Main Roads Department figures show Moreton Bay is fifth in the 12 Local Government Areas of South-East Queensland for the number of electric vehicles (EVs) registered in 2021. 

However, when last year's figures are viewed as a percentage of the estimated population, our region slips down to eighth.

Ipswich and Noosa lead, followed by Brisbane (North and South) and Gold Coast. Sunshine Coast, Scenic Rim, Redlands are next, with Moreton Bay, Logan, Lockyer and Somerset in the rear.

North Lakes tops this region’s registration list to February 28, 2022 with 44, followed by Caboolture, Narangba 20; Redcliffe, Scarborough 19; Albany Creek, Mango Hill, Warner 18. 

Motor Trades Association of Queensland (MTAQ) CEO Rod Camm says Ipswich’s “strong innovation influence” and Noosa’s “affluence” were behind the EV uptake.

Racing ahead

“Brisbane and Gold Coast are the next best, which is what you would expect from the high population density areas,” he said.

“The more makes and models available, the more we will see uptake. But the catch 22 is manufacturers will not send more varieties if the uptake is still low in Australia.”

That is set to change according to Infrastructure Australia’s Priority List which says by 2040 EVs are “projected to account for 70-100 per cent of new vehicle sales and at least 30 per cent of the vehicle fleet in Australia”.

But, a lack of access to charging stations (as well as the cost of EVs, availability and single-charge distances) is seen by more than half of motorists as a barrier to buying.

To ease concerns, Infrastructure Australia has called for “national policies and regulation to complement the roll-out of the fast-charging infrastructure”.

The State Government is also now providing a $3000 subsidy for those buying an EV to the value of $58,000, as Queensland aims for a zero-emissions future.

Test drives

Brendale Hyundai Sales Manager Simon Borggaard said the subsidy has already triggered some of the sales of electric vehicles at the dealership in recent months.

“It was one or two (sales) a month, now it’s double figures,” he says, “that’s got a lot to do with the Ioniq model and I think fuel prices. We’ve had a few buying with the $3000 grant.”

Mr Broggaard says getting more electric vehicles in the showrooms and available for test drives is a key to increasing sales of those models.

Nova MG Caboolture Assistant Manager Daniel Stys says the $3000 subsidy has led to “additional inquiries”.

“Test drives are making the difference,” he says, “once people experience the EV their knowledge (of EVs) goes up and they understand the cost effectiveness of them in terms of fuel/electricity and servicing once every two years, not every year.”

Village Nissan Retail Sales Consultant Jeanette Morgan says the North Lakes dealership is receiving “a lot of inquiries about electric vehicles”.

Availability the key

A new EV model is to be released and Village Nissan has a car for inquiries and test drives at the Stapylton St showroom.

Looking further forward, Ms Morgan says “availability” of EV models will be a key.

While dealers tackle supply and demand, the State Government is building an Electric Super Highway of charging stations and giving incentives to EV buyers.

To cater for the growing EV market, Queensland has the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Strategy 2022-2032, with includes $10 million for charging infrastructure.

Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Minister Mick de Brenni says: “We are working now on building rules that would transform the family EV into the family battery.

“Plugging into solar at work, or in major carparks, charging up when the sun is shining – and then, with bi-directional charging capacity, putting electricity back into the home when the sun has set, or the wind isn’t blowing.”

Strong demand

Electric Vehicle Council (EVC) Chief Executive Bhyad Jafari says that level of government support will give drivers “confidence to make the move now instead of putting it off".

But, in its recent State of Electric Vehicles report, the EVC also says demand is way outstripping supply as Australia is seen as an unattractive market.

“Because the Federal Government refuses to introduce the same fuel efficiency standards as the US and the UK, Australians are being denied access to the electric cars they want — especially at the more affordable end,” Mr Jafari says.

"Car makers look at Australia and see strong demand, which is encouraging. 

"But they also realise every time they sell an EV in America or Europe that will count toward meeting the fuel efficiency standards of those jurisdictions. So, naturally they prefer to sell EVs there instead of here.

“If Australia continues to be one of the only developed nations without fuel efficiency standards then we will continue to be a dumping ground for the world’s dirtiest vehicles.”

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