Northern Territory of Australia Takes Baby Steps into the Electric Future

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The Northern Territory, home of the iconic monolith Uluru, is not a state but a vast and sparsely populated territory. Up till now, there have been only 61 electric vehicles registered in the Northern Territory (a penetration rate of 0.03 per cent), but that is about to change.

The Northern Territory (NT) covers 1,349,129 square kilometres (520,902 sq mi), making it the third-largest Australian federal division and the 11th-largest country subdivision in the world. It has a population of only 247,000, though, as of September 2021 — fewer than half as many people as in Tasmania. The largest population center is the capital city of Darwin.

“I often hear people say that you can’t drive an electric vehicle in the NT, and I use that opportunity to let them know that it’s pretty easy actually … I let them know some of the things that I’ve done,” Richard Smith, who is from Darwin, tells ABC News. He owns the Tesla Model X and “has clocked up close to 60,000 km since he purchased the vehicle in 2018,” the news agency writes. “Driving the Tesla, Mr Smith circumnavigated Australia over 18 days, often exceeding 1,000 km in a single day.”

The NT government has committed to installing EV chargers at government buildings and is offering stamp duty concessions on purchases and free registration for five years. Enthusiasts are hoping this will stimulate the uptake of EVs, but many think the government should also be offering $3000 incentives like New South Wales and Victoria offer.

The government is also increasing the number of EVs in its own fleet — adding 20 more per year. There are currently 15 EVs in the fleet.

The general car buying public is waiting for cheaper, off-road-capable electric vehicles. The expected arrival of electric off-road-capable vehicles in 2022 is expected to surge sales in northern Australia, where there is a strong 4WD community and culture.

Range anxiety in such a large territory is slowly being abated by the installation of chargers, and the realization that at a pinch, every power outlet is capable of charging your car. Planning for long trips and use of an app to locate chargers is strongly recommended.

Featured image by Nathan March from Pixabay

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David Waterworth

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].

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