About eight years ago my wife and I decided to take a very practical step to reduce our carbon footprint by buying an electric car.
However, the only option at the time was converting our petrol car to electric drive, which we completed with a 1990 Subaru Sherpa.
Since then we have driven it more than 40,000 carbon-neutral kilometres, with our 1kw solar system at home offsetting the energy we use.
The Sherpa covers over 90 per cent of our daily trips and the only maintenance has been changing the windscreen wipers and putting on a new set of tyres.
Over the years I have seen a growing interest in electric vehicles.
Last April, for example, the Australian Electric Vehicle Association (AEVA) hosted a Green Drive Day in Adelaide where over 400 people came to test drive an electric vehicle.
Meanwhile, Hyundai, Nissan and Tesla are all due to release EV models into Australia, by early next year and Renault’s Zoe is already on sale here.
Two of the most common questions I am asked is about EV range and what happens if you run out of power.
Interestingly, the average Australian commute is only 30km according to the NRMA and the Electric Vehicle Council and 40 per cent of EV owners charge their cars at home using solar power.
If you want to do a road trip, fast charging networks are being installed and there are a large number of charging points compared to only a few years ago.
AEVA, in conjunction with the Tesla Owners Club has established a charging network that covers the main routes around Australia, including from Adelaide to Darwin.
So, with a little bit of planning you can be confident you will be able to find a charging point.
Although I see a bright future for electric vehicles, adoption can be accelerated with leadership from all levels of government, otherwise we risk losing out on the benefits that flow from moving to a low carbon future.
We all need to work together towards building a sustainable, cheaper, and efficient clean energy future for generations to come.
The more people that invest in electric cars, the more likely government will be forced to take action.
Our experience shows it’s possible, and the benefits far outweigh the small changes you make to the way you commute.
Paul Koch is a chairperson for the Australian Electric Vehicle Association (AEVA).