Since 2011, I have been organising an annual Electric Vehicle Show in Newcastle with a view to highlighting the opportunities for changing to renewable energy to power our transport needs, to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to reduce air pollution in cities.   

Tesla and Prius are names we know, but have you heard of the ix35, the Mirai, the I-PACE, the EQ, the i-3 and i-8, the Leaf, the Nero, the Ionique, the eVito and eSprinter, the Kona, the Urban, the e-tron, the Polestar, and the Regera?  

Electric cars are really coming. Production of electric cars in China has increased 85 per cent and sales by 97 per cent in the first seven months of 2018. In 2017, Tesla sold 17,000 vehicles in China, making the country its second-largest market for EVs after the US.  More than 100 new EV models were released at the 2018 Annual Car Show in China by a plethora of local manufacturers. When these hit our shores EV uptake will expand exponentially. Cities in particular are leading the push to electric transport by banning particle emitting diesel cars and trucks. Networks of charging stations are becoming a reality in the US, China and Europe. 

WALLSEND: NRMA is leading the way here by installing charging stations

WALLSEND: NRMA is leading the way here by installing charging stations

NRMA is leading the way here by installing charging stations across NSW and the ACT. EVs coupled with solar panels to generate green electricity directly or via the fuel cell and hydrogen is the goal the planet needs to cut both polluting particle emissions and greenhouse gases. 

The Chinese government has been at the forefront driving the switch to new energy vehicles. Car makers selling more than 300,000 vehicles a year in China must reach targets requiring 10 per cent of vehicles to feature a hybrid or electric powertrain.

However, Norway is the leader in EV adoption, with more than 30 per cent of existing cars and about 12 per cent of new cars sold being electric. A friend returning from Oslo spoke incredulously of riding in Tesla taxis.

A taste of this electric transport revolution, including the fuel cell hydrogen car, will be on show at Newcastle Racecourse, Broadmeadow, later this week as part of the Greater Hunter Makers and Technology Festival.

Emeritus Professor Tim Roberts, School of Enviromental and  Life Sciences, The University of Newcastle.



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