QUESTION: Electric Vehicles

In Question Time, Mark asked Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, representing the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government, about the development of a Government strategy for new electric vehicles.


The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: South Australia, up until 2016, had a low emission vehicle strategy. It is now quite a dated document. It has ministers Patrick Conlon and Paul Caica on the inside sleeve; it is a historic document. The point I think is that since that document expired—it was 'South Australia's Low Emission Vehicle Strategy 2012-2016'—there has been no replacement strategy. That particular document was not specifically aimed at zero emission vehicles, such as electric vehicles. Nevertheless, they do make up an important component of that sector.

The most recent report about the state of electric vehicles in Australia, including South Australia, is a report from June of this year, 'The State of Electric Vehicles in Australia'. It is produced by ClimateWorks Australia and it was commissioned by the Electric Vehicle Council. That document points out that sales of electric vehicles nationwide increased 67 per cent in one year. However, whilst that sounds impressive, there were only about 2,200 sold in the most recent year, which represents 0.2 per cent of motor vehicles sold, or one car in 500. In South Australia, only 1,000 electric vehicles have been sold in the last six years.

My questions of the minister are:

1. Is the government now working on a new electric vehicle strategy for South Australia? If they are, when might it be released and what consultation will be undertaken?

2. What steps is the government taking to lead by example and convert a majority of the state fleet to electric vehicles?

ANSWER - The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment): I thank the honourable member for his ongoing interest in electric vehicles and low emissions. I have just found one of the old 'Fix it, Pat' lapel badges in my drawer, so minister Conlon does live on. In relation to electric vehicles, it is something that I think we will see more of, even though there haven't been as many purchased as perhaps the honourable member would like. Two years ago, I took the opportunity to visit the Formula E—which is the electric grand prix—people in London. I had heard that there was some speculation that they may be interested in coming to South Australia.

I thought that it might be logical to have that as part of the Adelaide 500 weekend. Unfortunately, the Formula E people would like to be at six months. They don't want to be anywhere near petrol; they don't burn petrol, so they want to be away from it. That was a bit disappointing, because I am not sure that we have the capacity in South Australia to shut down the streets of Adelaide for another race in and around the streets, like a city race. I am getting a little distracted there. In relation to the electric vehicle strategy, I will take that on notice and refer it to the minister in the other chamber and bring back a reply.

Reply provided on 16th October 2018

The Hon David Ridgway MLC:

The Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government has provided the following advice:

1. The South Australian Government acknowledges that growth in low emission vehicles has the potential to make substantial economic and social impacts and that this state is well placed to benefit. Furthermore, electrification is widely recognised as a global transport megatrend along with automation, connectivity (intelligent transport systems) and shared transport mobility.

The South Australian Government supports a national response and coordinated approach to low emission vehicle policy development. The government is currently considering the merits of a separate electric vehicle (EV) strategy approach or whether low emission vehicles should be considered as part of overall priorities for action across government pertaining to low carbon or future transport mobility.

2. The South Australian Government has set a target of 30% low emission vehicles in its fleet by 2019. This is likely to be met with vehicles such as Toyota and Hyundai hybrids, including the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (plug in hybrid electric vehicle) as well as an advance order for the Tesla Model 3 vehicle. Fleet SA will continue to trial low emission vehicles as a wider range becomes available and more affordable (noting there are few commercial EVs).

In addition to the adoption of low emission vehicles, the South Australian Government has partnered with local governments, universities and the private sector to deploy charging infrastructure in the city centre, greater Adelaide region and for e-tourism purposes across rural Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo Island.

This has seen 50kW DC fast charging infrastructure deployed in the city and planned for the Tonsley Innovation District. It has also seen 30+ 22kW Type 2 AC charging stations provided on-street and in city carparks and low-cost Type 1 AC charging being provided in rural areas to date. These services support early adopters in the private and commercial use of electric vehicles.