Electric vehicles may be a better travel option for remote Australians than many might think.
Researchers have crunched the numbers to find electric vehicles have the battery range for most country people to connect to essential services in remote and regional Australia.
The study from Australian National University wants to counter the myths surrounding the usefulness of EV's in big Australia.
They fear people in the bush could be left in the dust if policy-makers put country Australia in the too hard basket for the roll out of EV charging stations.
One proviso is that no-one yet knows what impact unsealed roads will have on the advertised range of EV's.
Co-author Dr Bjorn Sturmberg said the results of the study show the use of electric vehicles in remote communities is more feasible than might be expected.
"We analysed the distances between people's homes and the nearest 'service hub' towns - where they might go to the do the shopping, for example," Dr Sturmberg, said.
"The vast majority of residents, or 93 per cent, could do those trips with even the lower-range of electric vehicles currently available on the Australian market. That's without needing to recharge en route."
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Dr Sturmberg said given this, there's no excuse for leaving our remote communities out of the discussion.
"We need to do better - electric vehicles shouldn't be left in the too hard basket," he said.
"It's an unequitable and unfair path forward if remote and regional communities are the last ones left driving diesel vehicles, especially as they will be some of the most impacted by catastrophic climate change.
"Yes the barriers are obvious - large distances, unsealed roads. But the benefits are equally obvious. It's difficult and expensive to get diesel out to these communities, and electric engines are simpler and more robust than fuel engines."
Co-author Dr Francis Markham said some aspects of the research need further investigation.
"Information on the performance of electric vehicles in very hot conditions is still lacking. However, we are confident that electric vehicles do have a place in regional and remote Australia."
According to the researchers, transport is one of the key issues we need to tackle to limit the worst effects of climate change.
"The transport sector is responsible for 25 per cent of global emissions and more than 18 per cent of Australia's greenhouse gas pollution," Dr Sturmberg said.
"It must rapidly decarbonise - and electric vehicles are going to be a crucial part of that decarbonisation."
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