CitySmart’s next Green Heart Fair in June will see the debut of the unique Move for Less transport expo. Guest speaker and electric vehicle (EV) consumer expert Alina Dini from QUT talks about her own family’s EV lifestyle and why up-close experiences like expos are key to dispelling myths and winning over motorists.

Q. What’s happening with the EV market in Australia right now?

A. Although EVs were first introduced into the Australian market in 2010, sales have been low. Our market is not as well-developed as our peers overseas like New Zealand, Canada, the U.K. Apart from awareness of Tesla, most Australians don’t know much else about EVs and hold many misconceptions fuelled by misinformation. Speaking for myself I can say that my EV is by far the best car I’ve ever owned and I don’t even have a high-end model.

Right now, the local EV market is going through a rebirth. We’ll see a variety of new types of EVs coming into the market over the next 2-3 years, giving motorists much more choice for EV style, brand and price.

Similarly, other supporting aspects of the market such as public charging stations and special electricity rates for home EV charging are also becoming available. The market has evolved a lot in 10 years and motorists should have a better all-around experience.

Q. In 2018 what are the biggest consumer barriers or knowledge gaps to purchase?

A. Many consumers still lack confidence in EVs. Buying a car is a big investment, and one that you expect will deliver to expectation for 10 or more years. It’s understandable that consumers are still hesitant.

There have been few EV models available, there is little trusted public information about them, there aren’t many visible on our roads, and they typically cost more at the dealership even though they are far less expensive to operate. As for the market maturity, consumers are valid to feel that the lack of visible progress in the EV market is a justifiable reason to hold off on buying until later. A bit like mobile phones before you had decent reception outside of major cities!

Q. How is the Move for Less expo a good opportunity for EV manufacturers and dealers?

A. People have questions. Don’t they cost more? Does it have enough power? Is there a risk of electrocution? Will the battery last long enough? Is insurance more expensive? Consumers will value parties who can provide trusted answers to these questions. Many consumer concerns could so-easily be resolved with more quality information in the market, more opportunity for real-life education and product test drives.

Consumers are already receptive. To help win them over, let them experience the EV world up close. There’s clearly a broader market for innovative products and services which help consumers improve their household bottom line plus the win-win of delivering a better outcome for the environment.

Consumers want more choice in the market to reflect their individual shopping preferences, including the way they travel. Move for Less is a great forum to showcase these exciting new ways to live.

Q. Why should householders consider an electric vehicle?

A. It’s some of the less-recognised features of EVs that make such a positive difference to me as a motorist. EVs are so easy to operate. It’s a smooth, low-effort driving experience. They are also quiet, an attribute you can’t fully appreciate until you ride in the car. With less noise, the stereo sounds better and traffic is less stressful.

Practically speaking, our EV is without doubt the lowest-cost form of motorised transport available to us. We spend only $0.70/day to refuel with off peak electricity at home. Our capped-price warranty servicing is less than $500 a year, which also includes road-side assistance which we have never needed to use.

Q. Tell us about your daily routine as a household that uses EVs.

A. Our household has two cars: an EV with 120km all-electric real-world range, and a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) that has about 50km electric range before it automatically switches to petrol for longer trips.

I drive the EV daily for work – my job requires a car – as well as typical errands to the shops and so on, and for my driving needs it suits me very well. My husband makes frequent longer trips towing a trailer during the week, so the other car is better for him. We also use the PHEV on weekends and family holidays, so having both types of plug-in cars means that our needs are always met.

We drive only 20-30 km on a typical day, so we only have to plug in every second day, and a typical recharge for us takes about three hours to full. We recharge both our cars at home, and from this base we have no trouble planning our trips around Southeast Queensland including frequent visits to our relatives at the Sunshine and Gold Coasts. We have rarely needed to use public charging stations. But we should also be able to travel even further with our EV now thanks to the new Queensland Electric Superhighway’s fast-charging network that is being built.

Be part of the Move for Less expo

Contact the CitySmart events team on 07 3007 7000 or email partnerships@citysmart.com.au about joining the Move for Less expo at The Green Heart Fair, Chermside on Sunday 3 June 2018.

There are  exhibitor and sponsor opportunities for:

  • vehicle manufacturers and dealers
  • bicycle and skateboard manufacturers and retailers
  • rideshare and car-share companies
  • technology companies helping consumers travel smarter
  • government departments
  • active transport providers
  • transport industry
  • insurance companies
  • car financiers

For more details visit the Move for Less event page.

About Alina Dini

Alina’s focus lies in growing linkages between energy management, mobility, and digital engagement through the lens of consumer experience.

From Sydney to Silicon Valley, Alina has advised a range of organisations on strategic opportunities in the energy and transport sectors, including co-authoring Australia’s first electric vehicle policy (Queensland) and presenting strategic growth opportunities to energy and resource companies across the Asia Pacific as a clean technology consultant.

As a policy manager at Tesla, Alina built tactical partnerships and was part of a team that secured more than $465 million in Government support to grow the company to $55 billion market capitalisation. Through her research into market barriers for consumers of energy technologies at Carnegie Mellon (MSc) and Queensland University of Technology (PhD), Alina is uniquely equipped to guide customers through the process of adopting innovative energy solutions that realise real savings.