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Education and infrastructure key to EV adoption: Audi

Plugged in: Many car-makers, including Audi, have joined the Electric Vehicle Council (EVC) in a bid to lobby the Australian government to make electric vehicles (EVs) more attractive to prospective buyers.

EVC lobbies for widespread EV adoption while Audi preps new emissions-free models

29 May 2017

THE newly formed Electric Vehicle Council (EVC) will help push the widespread adoption of emissions-free vehicles as the group lobbies for better infrastructure and more comprehensive public education, according to Audi Australia.

Speaking with GoAuto at the launch of the new TT RS, Audi Australia general manager of corporate communications Anna Burgdorf said that the council was still in its infancy, but plans were moving in the “right direction”.

“It’s early days but there are a lot of good people who are working together in the council and it is heading in the right direction,” she said.

“There is a lot more work that Australia as a market needs to do before you’ll see mass adoption of the technology and more sales. Every car company needs to play its role in doing more to bring this alternative drivetrain technology to Australia.

“I think you need to be part of the solution if you are going to want to sell those cars in Australia.”

According to official VFACTS sales figures, 12,844 new electric and hybrid vehicles were registered last year, accounting for about 1.1 per cent of Australia’s overall new-car market.

However, for the first four months of this year, 4169 new alternative drivetrain vehicles have been registered – representing about 1.2 per cent of the total market – and, with the EVC’s proposed $8000 incentive for electric vehicles (EVs), sales numbers are expected to rise.

Currently, Audi’s sole alternative drivetrain offering is found in its A3 Sportback e-tron – which features a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid powertrain producing a combined 150kW/350Nm with fuel consumption rated at 1.6 litres per 100km and an all-electric driving range of about 50km.

Ms Burgdorf admitted that its hybrid small car was not a big seller but it would lay the foundation for its emissions-free and plug-in models yet to come.

“The A3 e-tron sells in small numbers but it was an important first step into the EV market for us, and the next few years are going to see huge jumps in terms of the alternative drivetrain technology coming – Q7 e-tron, the e-tron model itself,” she said.

“The thing for us is to really draw a line in the sand that this technology exists, it’s really useful technology… but infrastructure I think is still the main issue in a country like Australia where you are driving long distances and you need to be able to plug in and recharge.

“I think there can be no question the government will need to make further inroads into infrastructure development.”

Ms Burgdorf cited many organisations around the country, including the RACV and Transurban, which are pushing the government for change and trialling new technologies including autonomous vehicles and EVs, and that better public awareness could also lead to more widespread adoption of electric technologies.

“There is a lot of work being done in all sorts of fields like that because it is coming and it’s coming quickly, but the market needs to be ready,” she said.

“I think there’s no question that this sort of thing needed to happen and that will only help to benefit the experience for the consumer in the future.”

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