Despite government targets for EVs to make up over half of all new car sales by 2030, the more sustainable choice of vehicles still represent under one per cent of the Australian market.
One of the reasons for this is the expense, with EVs mostly occupying middle to luxury price ranges, as well as uncertainty about what owning one actually entails.
To help dispel some myth and get more drivers behind the wheel of EVs, several Aussie companies have swooped on the opportunity to introduce them into the more firmly established world of car sharing.
Australia’s first wholly EV car sharing app, evee, reported it has seen demand for EV hires triple since before covid.
“The demand for electric cars is unprecedented and despite the lack of government policy, Australians are ready to drive, experience, and buy EVs,” evee founder, Slava Kozlovskii said.
Launched in 2015, the company now employs eight staff and allows EV owners to hire their vehicles directly to customers, with a long range Tesla model 3 going for around $300 a day.
Currently the platform has 70 vehicles available to hire, and a presence in every Australian capital city, as well as the Gold Coast, Cairns, and Alice Springs.
Car host, Keith Mason said demand had been so great he was able to make around $10,000 in just six months, helping cover the costs of owning the vehicle, as well as allowing him to interact with other people interested in EVs.
“My ultimate motivation for renting my Tesla out is to share my knowledge learned during five years and 100,000 km of EV ownership,” Mason said.
“A handful of renters have gone on to purchase an EV after renting which is really satisfying for me.”
According to Mason there were a mix of reasons someone would hire an EV, from embarking on extended road trips without the feeling of contributing to emissions, to those just looking to try out the technology.
An informal survey of Mason’s customers showed 90 per cent had never driven an EV before and around 75 per cent were considering purchasing one.
Making car sharing the standard
Placing every Australian in an EV will help cut down on tail-pipe pollution levels, but doesn’t solve the issues of manufacturing emissions, road congestion or the consumption of space used for storage.
Some see the future of EVs as a built-in and streamlined system of shared or communal ownership.
Australian property developer Cedar Woods has built EV car share facilities into two of its newest apartment buildings in the 6.5 hectare Jackson Green housing development in Victoria.
Once operational, residents from the buildings will be able to hire a Tesla Model 3 through a partnership with proptech company, Ohmie Go, which is looking to roll out similar schemes nationwide.
“Fully managed, on-site e-mobility and its integration with the built-form is the inevitable progression for all new large-scale residential developments,” Ohmie Go chief executive and founder, Kyle Bolto said.
Residents pick up and drop off the vehicles from dedicated bays in the building’s car park, paying an hourly, daily or weekend rate which can be as low as $15 an hour.
Cedar Woods chief operating officer Patrick Archer said the service was well-suited to the location of their development, being 20 kilometres from Melbourne CBD, with existing alternative transport options.
“Jackson Green is well serviced by public transport meaning car ownership is not always a necessary expense,” Archer said.
“We consider the needs of people in our communities and we believe that carshare services will bridge the gap between public transport and car ownership.”
The vehicles will be partially subsided through a partnership with Origin Energy, which has installed a 40kw solar PV system to power common areas as well as additional communal EV chargers.