An Illawarra car enthusiast thinks Labor's Bill Shorten has a good idea to push electric vehicles, but said there would be hurdles.
President of the Dapto Classic Car Club Tony Kent has discovered electric cars can save their owners a lot of money, after purchasing a 2013 Nissan Leaf one month ago.
After a recent trip to Berry, Mr Kent found it cost him 12.5 per cent of what his 2002 Holden Calais would have cost him to drive. But this is where Mr Kent thinks the road block begins for Mr Shorten.
"It would have cost me $16 in the Commodore, but because I got down there and was able to get some free charge at the bowling club it only cost me $2," he said.
"Of that $16, $8 of that goes to the government in tax [petrol tax]. That's what Bill Shorten's got to wrestle with is it's a big cash cow for the federal government."
If elected, Labor has vowed to ensure half of all new cars sold in Australia in 2030 would be electric vehicles, in its new climate change policy. It also includes a network of charging stations build around major cities and freeways.
The ambitious target would be a dramatic increase on current electric vehicle sales, which make up just 0.2 per cent of Australia's market.
Mr Kent bought his vehicle second-hand through a Sydney broker, and paid "less than half" the usual cost - spending around $20,000.
"I come from an engineering background so I've always wanted an electric car," he said.
"Servicing is very cheap - it's been quoted as $100 which is much cheaper than a normal car."
Mr Kent currently uses the PlugShare app to find public charging points, while the car actually charges itself when going down hills. However, Mr Kent said the Illawarra did lack charging facilities and wanted local government to do more.
"I'd like to see the council put in some charging spots in the community centres, their playing fields and also the libraries," he said.
However he has found charging stations at the University of Wollongong and most shopping centres. At home he uses a three-point-plug to charge overnight on off-peak electricity.
The other downside of owning the environmentally friendly car, he said, was having to take it to Sydney for a service as he has struggled to find a qualified mechanic in the region.
Overall Mr Kent encouraged others to give electric cars a go. He said next year there will be many more on the market to choose from, but recommended choosing a second-hand import to cut costs even further.
ELECTRIC CAR FACTS
- Cheap to run - a round trip from Horsley to Berry was $2
- A service starts from around $100 (though most qualified mechanics are in Sydney)
- Cars self charge when going downhill
- Using a broker can cut the car price in half
- Charging stations take 30 minutes (for small cars) and a three-point-plug around 8 hours
- More models with larger engines and bigger distance capacities coming out in near future