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The EV revolution is here

Since Karl Benz, the recognized father of the modern automobile, patented his three wheeled Benz motorwagon 138 years ago, the automotive business has been at the forefront of technological innovation.

The current discussion around the Federal Government’s New Vehicle Emission Standards, that require manufacturer fleet average emission reductions of up to 60% by 2030, has highlighted that motoring continues to change rapidly.

Not only has the automobile changed our entre society, with the provision of individual mobility, but has motivated technological advances at a rapid pace, aided all the more by the competitiveness of vehicle manufacturers eager to introduce new technologies to capture new target markets.

The next great change in automotive technology is currently underway, and it is, excuse the pun, accelerating.

The expansion of electric vehicle (EV) options and the increasing consumer acceptance of them, is changing the way we move around our world and the impact that movement has on the global environment.

Whilst not yet suitable for every use case, EVs are increasingly filling the role of urban mobility and are even beginning to appear in commercial applications, including heavy vehicles for long haul deliveries and electric vans for last mile logistics. It is not too much of a stretch to expect that within a few years almost any family with more than one vehicle will have an EV to perform the majority of their daily journeys.

That is not to say we have seen the last of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. The increasing efficiency delivered by computer controlled and hybrid power plants will extend the life of the ICE for years to come. In a country such as Australia, where the occasional long drive/road trip remains part of the culture, having an ICE vehicle for irregular use and/or work applications will be a practical option, in addition to an EV for urban/shorter trip use.

To gain the greatest benefit from new EV and ICE technologies and to help meet the proposed ambitious emission standards, Australian governments need to help investment in charging infrastructure and improve fuel standards to a point where the best ICE technology can work most efficiently.

Blanket mandates for the end of ICEs have proven to be unachievable. Where such have been mooted, and even legislated, many have been rolled back in recognition of the somewhat more cautious pace of consumer uptake of EVs than authorities would have liked, and that manufacturers are not yet geared to produce the volume of EVs demanded by ICE bans by as soon as 2035.

Nonetheless for those contemplating the switch to EV ask yourself this question: 90% of the time what do you use your vehicle for? For most city dwellers the answer will likely be local, relatively short distance trips - commuting and general mobility. In which case the oft mentioned range anxiety should not be an issue. Even if you don’t keep a second ICE vehicle, the occasional use that may require an ICE could well be covered by car hire or a bit of forward planning around regional and rural charging facilities.

For others the answer to the question may suggest that EV motoring is not yet for them. However, given the pace of technological advancement and rapidly growing choice, it may soon be.

At LSH Auto Australia, being the nation’s leading Mercedes-Benz retail group and with Mercedes-Benz offering the broadest range of EVs on the market, we have developed vast expertise in EV sales, service and support.

We see our role as being technology guides for our customers. We help identify which technology will best meet their mobility needs. Our teams work to understand our customer’s regular travel routines, their irregular trip requirements or desires, and what other vehicle options they may already have. Be it a full EV, a plug-in hybrid, mild hybrid or pure ICE, the primary aim is to provide the best solution for the mobility needs of each customer.

As mentioned, the automotive industry changes rapidly and Australians are known for welcoming technological advancement. Consequently, being part of the EV revolution is critical for the future success of our businesses and for the continual reduction of the environmental impact of meeting our individual mobility needs.

John Good, Managing Director LSH Auto Australia