As part of the RAC trial, members are given the chance to register their interest to become one of 50 members to trial an electric vehicle for a week. The trial is designed to help bridge the gap for many drivers keen to explore EV technology but unsure of some of the practicalities involved.
In a 2022 working paper on the barriers and potential enablers to EV uptake, The Consumer Policy Research Centre of Australia found 16% of respondents said that the ability to test or trial an EV would help them their purchasing decision.
“Twenty members have already completed trials, collectively clocking up more than 14,000 kilometres,” said Rhys Heron, RAC’s Senior Manager Communications.
“Of the participants, 35 per cent have been from regional WA.”
This regional interest may have been helped by the WA government’s work to establish Australia’s longest electric vehicle fast charging network. The network is under construction and expected to have 49 fast charging locations across the state by January 2024.
Selected participants have been encouraged to share their daily experiences online through EV diaries. Both EV believers and sceptics have put the cars through their paces, testing charge times through home solar power, negotiating public charging stations during busy school holiday periods and answering questions from interested on-lookers.
“We have seen many self-described ‘EV Sceptics’ transform into ‘EV Believers’ over the course of the trial,” said Heron.
These results reinforce a positive trend towards EV technology that the organisation has seen translate into EV vehicle sales. According to the RAC, not only are more people considering an electric or hybrid vehicle as their next car, the number of EVs on WA roads has more than doubled in the past 12 months alone.
Starting late last year, the trial had been expected to run until June. However, due to an overwhelmingly positive response with more than 1,000 member registrations, RAC expects to run further trials in the future.
Growing numbers of EV drivers in our largest and most vast state is an exciting development and may just be the inspiration Australia’s smaller eastern states need to embrace the technology and join the ranks of EV believers.
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