Electric cars are coming in droves, so we needs to get ready for them

Any entrepreneur will tell you if you can identify a fledgling market and corner it, you’ll have a license to print money. And if Dubbo can establish itself as a regional leader in charging stations, we could become the go-to place for travellers, fuelling a tourism boom.

In the past year, sales of electric cars in Australia jumped by 70 per cent and there will be an estimated 30 million on roads around the world by 2030 – a million of them here. Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past decade will know electric cars are here to stay. In fact, they’ve been here for a while.

Long before Henry Ford dreamed of his assembly line, electric cars were trundling around Europe and an estimated 30,000 were on the road at the dawn of the 20th century. But along came petrol and motorists quickly changed to cars that could offer almost limitless range – provided you could find somewhere to fill up – and the electric vehicle languished in the pages of history for almost 100 years.

But along came the Toyota Prius, the General Motors EV1 and later the Tesla Roadster, which were all important leaps forward in electric technology. Today, most manufacturers have an electric model in production or close to it, inspired both by increasing concern about climate change and legislation that will soon outlaw the sale of oil-powered cars in various countries. 

The Greens, unsurprisingly, are agitating for Australia to join those countries putting a ban on petrol and diesel-powered cars by 2030, but it’s not just the political ideologues talking about it. Earlier this year, Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg declared the electric car “revolution” would rival the introduction of the iPhone and Labor have been talking tough on carbon pollution, meaning some sort of restriction is likely in the next decade.

However, all of that talk is cheap for people living in big cities where the average car would struggle to travel 100km in a day. Out here in the sticks, it’s common for people to want to drive a few hundred kilometres in a day – sometimes each way – and there aren’t any electric vehicles that can do that trip, recharge and do it again in a realistic time frame.

Our leaders need to encourage the boffins to come up with better and better batteries, or faster chargers, that will let us join in on this revolution. Otherwise we’ll risk being left behind again.