Where are the electric cars and solar panels? The socio-spatial mismatch of mobility and energy transition in Australian capitals

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Leung, Abraham
Burke, Matthew
Perl, Anthony
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Adelaide, SA, Australia


Two disruptive developments are happening in the private transport propulsion and power generation area. Electric vehicles (EVs) are poised to replace an increasing share of traditional ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles. Meanwhile, photovoltaic (PV) solar panels are also entering into the power generation scene as a promising renewable source of energy. Both technologies are encouraged by recent reduced costs, a global concerted effort to cut carbon emissions and to wean ourselves off reliance on fossil fuels. While EVs and PVs can meet these environmental and economic goals, the social aspect of electrifying private transport is under-explored. EVs are often marketed as niche vehicles with a higher price tag, which can increase the equity disparity in terms of fuel efficiency and resilience across socio-economic lines. This paper aims to explore Australia’s socio-spatial pattern of EVs and PVs and to propose a framework for further socio-spatial analysis. As electrified private transport becomes more widespread, equity impacts of EVs on transport remain uncertain and warrant further study. For the case of Australia, we suggest that electrification in private transport should be coordinated with other policies, such as renewable energy (especially roof-top solar), ride-sharing, and charging infrastructure to maximise benefits. The lower price tag of e-scooters or e-bikes might also offer an affordable alternative for those who cannot afford full-sized EVs. In Australian cities there is little policy to guide this promising change in urban transport.

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Proceedings of the 8th State of Australian Cities Conference (SOAC 2017)

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© The Author(s) 2018. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. For information about this conference please refer to the conference’s website or contact the author(s).

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Transport Planning

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