Queensland leads on transition to electric vehicles

The Queensland Government has announced the creation of a Queensland Electric Super Highway, a series of fast-charging electric vehicle stations located along the Queensland coast from the Gold Coast to Cairns, to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles in Queensland.

Queensland Environment Minister and Acting Main Roads Minister Steven Miles said the energy supplied in the fast-charging stations would be green energy purchased through green energy credits or offsets.

The announcement coincides with a global shift away from petrol and diesel cars, with the British Conservative government's commitment to banning all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 and France’s five-year plan to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 as part of the Paris agreement.

Automotive companies are beginning to market and regulatory pressures. Last month, Volvo (owned by Chinese firm Geely) announced that it will build only electric and hybrid vehicles starting in 2019.

Tesla and General Motors are already selling all electric cars, and Audi and Mercedes Benz are producing 'mild hybrids' which combine electric power for functions such as air conditioning and water and oil pumps with gas powered engines.

The transition to electric cars combined with advances in artificial intelligence that will enable driverless cars to become widespread is expected to drive a whole new model of car ownership and personal transport.

A report recently released by think-tank, RethinkX, has predicted that by 2030, within ten years of regulatory approval of driverless vehicles, 95% of U.S. passenger miles traveled will be served by on-demand autonomous electric vehicles owned by fleets, not individuals, that provide Transport as a Service (TaaS).

The report suggests the transition to the TaaS model will be driven by economics.

“Using TaaS, the average American family will save more than $5,600 per year in transportation costs, equivalent to a wage raise of 10%. This will keep an additional $1 trillion per year in Americans’ pockets by 2030, potentially generating the largest infusion of consumer spending in history.”

The report predicts that TaaS will be four to ten times cheaper per mile than buying a new car and two to four times cheaper than operating an existing vehicle in 2021.

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