Exploring the feasibility of electric vehicle travel for remote communities in Australia

New paper out today showing that current EVs would be able to service the vast majority (93%+) of residents of remote communities in northern Australia (under simplified assumptions).

My take aways:

  • We cannot leave these communities out of our clean transport plans (as we did with clean electricity) – they are not in the “too hard basket”
  • If EVs can service trips in remote communities their ranges are likewise sufficient for regional communities – who too have received less support for electrification
  • Charging infrastructure – especially in regional and remote service towns – is now the missing piece of the puzzle

The media’s takes:

  • The Guardian “Regional residents at risk of being ‘last people in the world’ driving petrol cars due to misconception electric vehicle batteries lack range” (a stretch perhaps)
  • Cosmos Magazine “Electrification shouldn’t ignore remote communities.” (nailed it!)

Article is here and abstract and link to free to access pre-print are below


Remote communities in Australia face unique mobility challenges that may be further complicated by the transition from Internal Combustion Engine vehicles to Electric Vehicles (EVs). EVs offer numerous advantages including lower maintenance requirements and independence from costly, dangerous and polluting petroleum imports. Yet the adoption of EVs in Australia has been slow by international standards, and what policies do exist tend to focus on incentivising uptake among urban residents with the means to afford new technologies, potentially leaving remote communities in the ‘too hard basket’. In this study, we assess the feasibility of EVs for communities in remote Australia using Geographic Information System analysis of travel distances between communities and service hub towns utilising present-day EV specifications and charging technologies. We show that, while EV travel is often not currently feasible for trips to large service hub towns using low-range vehicles, over 99% of communities and residents would be able to travel to their nearest small service hub town with existing long-range EVs. This suggests that while the barriers to the electrification of transport in remote communities are significant, they are not insurmountable and are deserving of consideration in national and state policy developments in the deployment of charging infrastructure.

Pre-print of full article is here