Going electric – your electric vehicle questions answered

Electric vehicles have become popular in a number of cities around the world as communities transition to lower carbon lifestyles.

In Australia, the electric vehicle industry is still relatively young, consisting of less than 0.1% of all vehicle registrations, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics data. Many European countries are further ahead, with Norway topping the list with 56% of vehicles being plug-in electric vehicles, based on 2019 data.

Despite this, the Electric Vehicle Council recently reported a tripling of interest from Australians in buying electric vehicles, between 2018 and 2019 alone.

There are a number of reasons for slower growth of the industry in Australia, including:

  • purchase price (when compared to fossil fuel vehicles)
  • variety of vehicles available on the market
  • perceived issues around a vehicle’s range and fear of running out of charge mid transit
  • some people may not have space to park and charge an electric vehicle

Key questions about electric vehicles

Where can I charge an electric vehicle in Port Phillip?

Council has installed two free charging stations in the rooftop carpark of the South Melbourne Market. 

There are also three privately owned charging stations available for use to any member of the public:

  • Prince Hotel, St Kilda
  • Get Electric, Port Melbourne
  • Pullman Hotel, Albert Park

View a map of charging stations.

Please refer to each business for more information, including fees.

Is owning an electric vehicle a good way to reduce my emissions?

Transport accounts for 16.25% of our community’s emissions. Electric vehicles, especially when powered by renewable energy, can significantly reduce your emissions. Common ways to get renewable energy is by installing solar panels on your home or business or by purchasing green power.

In addition to carbon emissions, traditional vehicles cause air pollution. Vehicle pollution causes over 1,700 deaths each year in Australia.

The best ways to reduce your transport emissions are by walking, riding, and using public transport when you can. There are also many other options for reducing your carbon footprint – here are 8 powerful ways.

What types of electric vehicles are available to buy today in Australia?

There are two types of electric vehicles - fully electric vehicles (use battery only) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (use a combination of battery and petrol).

The number and type of vehicles available in Australia is growing and includes hatchbacks and SUVs. Find out which cars are available in Australia.  

How far can an electric vehicle travel before I need to charge it?

The ‘range’ of an electric vehicle is how far it will travel before needing to re-charge. The range of vehicles currently available is between 200km and 600km. The average Australian drives 38km per day.

There are almost 450 charging locations across Australia and many more are being built.

Are electric vehicles expensive?

Electric vehicles are generally more expensive to purchase than conventional fossil fuel vehicles but are much cheaper to run. The price of electric vehicles has decreased over the last five years and are continuing to decrease with new technology and an increase in demand.

Electric vehicles can save the average Australian driver over $1,500 per year on fuel costs. Cost savings become even more significant if you can charge them using solar panels installed on your home or business.

This tool, funded by Australian Renewable Energy Agency provides an understanding of the comparative costs of owning an electric vehicle in Australia. 

The Victorian government also offers a $100 reduction in registration fees for hybrid and electric vehicles.

What incentives are available to buy an electric vehicle?

From May 2 2021, the Victorian government offers a $3,000 subsidy for new zero emissions vehicles purchased.

The Victorian government has set a target for half of new car sales to be Zero emissions vehicles by 2030 and are adding 50 new charging points to their existing network of 24 sites.

Zero emissions vehicles do not use petroleum fuels, and therefore do not emit greenhouse gas emissions from the tailpipe. Battery Electric Vehicles and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) are examples of these technologies.

For more information about the subsidy and eligibility visit Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Subsidy | Solar Victoria.

What are the methods for charging an electric vehicle?

There are essentially two ways to charge an electric vehicle. AC charge is the slower, cheaper option, and is the most appropriate method for most in-home charging situations. This requires the use of a special adaptor box which connects to the 240V output. This is an ‘overnight’ style of charging where you would need to have the vehicle on charge for around 6 hours. Some on-street charging facilities also offer AC charging.

DC charge is faster (e.g. approximately 3 hours for a full charge) and costs several times that of AC systems. Output is typically 50kW and this type of charger is commonly available at charging stations.

More rapid charging stations are also making their way to Australia. They have an output capacity of between 150kW and 350kW and could charge a vehicle in less than 15 minutes.

I don’t have an off-street carpark. Can I charge my electric vehicle from my home to the street?

Under Port Phillip Local Laws, people are not allowed to run power cords across a footpath or road for safety reasons.

What is Council doing to encourage more electric vehicles?

We are encouraging uptake of electric vehicles by installing public charging stations and working with partners and electricity distributors to install more charging stations on public land.

We are also transitioning our fleet of vehicles to hybrid and electric vehicles. There are currently twenty-five hybrid and electric vehicles in our fleet.

We’re also advocating for changes to the Planning Scheme to ensure charging infrastructure is considered on private land.

Both our Council Plan and Sustainable Environment Strategy support these actions.


More information

Australian Government Green Vehicle Guide: https://www.greenvehicleguide.gov.au/

Transport options in Port Phillip: http://www.portphillip.vic.gov.au/transport.htm