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Buy a Tesla for the good of Australia, say country's dino-burners

Save us from declining demand, electricity suppliers cry

Australia's energy industry, overwhelmingly dominated by the burning of dinosaurs, has decided the country needs more electric vehicles (EVs).

Facing something of a crisis in demand, with renewables (particularly solar power) severely denting the lavish margins wholesalers formerly expected during daytime peaks, the Energy Supply Association of Australia (ESAA) has hailed 'leccy cars as its saviour.

That's because unlike someone putting solar panels on their roof, or investors renting farmland for wind turbines – both of which are a dire threat to most of the ESAA's members – electric vehicles would drive up grid demand. Owners get the warm feeling of believing their car are “zero-emissions”, while power stations recover some of their slackening market, at least long enough to adjust to the onset of renewables.

Not that the ESAA's report (PDF) put things so crassly. No, the ESAA is concerned merely for the national good.

Electric – and gas – vehicles are officially Good for Australia, the report says, because they offer “increased economic growth and employment in Australia by substituting away from imported energy supply towards domestic energy supply”.

The ESAA wants the government to set targets that would put 900,000 EVs on the road in ten years, while the “economically efficient target for EVs is 4 million EVs by 2035, representing approximately 22 per cent of Australia’s light passenger vehicle fleet”.

Over the same period it would like to see 2 million natural gas powered vehicles on the roads by 2035, along the way hitting 85,000 by 2025.

Clearly, the ESAA hasn't noticed that a venture born from Swinburne University's efforts in Australia's bi-annual solar vehicle challenge, EVX Ventures, hopes to cut electricity generators out of the equation entirely.

As long as the sun's shining, the Swinburne team's Immortus – which the venture notes has so far been developed without any government subsidy – should be able to trundle along at 60 km/h indefinitely. The company plans the Immortus to have a fully-charged range of 550 km at 85 km/h. ®

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