Innovation

“Truckloads of money”: Business owner says electric vehicles saved him thousands

Matthew Elmas /

electric vehicles

Nightlife owner and founder Mark Brownlee. Source: Supplied.

Labor’s plan to make half of Australian vehicles electric by 2030 will require some heavy lifting from small business over the next decade, but for early adopters of the technology, it can’t come soon enough.

Mark Brownlee, owner and founder of subscription music service Nightlife, has been operating four electric vehicles over the last four-and-a-half-years and says he’s saved big.

They are a little bit more expensive initially but once you get over that hump you save truckloads of money,” he tells SmartCompany.

Nightlife staff use the vehicles to make local deliveries regularly, but as far as Australian businesses go, they’re still in the minority.

Electric vehicle market share was less than 1% in Australia last year, compared to almost 5% in New Zealand and more than 15% in Norway.

It is hoped Labor’s electric vehicle target will provide certainty to manufacturers, prompting them to offer a wider range of models for cheaper prices locally.

“The cars can cost twice or three times as much, but there will be more manufacturers coming into the market now, the price will plummet because there’s an incentive,” Brownlee says.

Brownlee says he charges the vehicles for 25 cents on the dollar to what a traditional car would cost and also saves money in ongoing maintenance.

“They don’t really wear out, the only thing we’ve done is change two front tires.

The biggest problem with diesel vehicles, is you get to the three-to-four-year warranty running out and you are spending two or three grand a year servicing your vehicles,” Brownlee says.

While a lack of charging infrastructure has been cited as a concern holding back electric vehicle adoption in Australia, Brownlee says small firms doing local deliveries can easily go an entire day on one charge.

If Labor wins the upcoming election, its electric vehicle target is expected to push down prices in Australia, with additional support for SMEs available through an Australian Investment Guarantee.

Under the program, business owners will be able to immediately depreciate 20% of the value of an electric vehicle valued at over $20,000.

Labor’s policy was also welcomed by the NRMA and Electric Vehicle Council yesterday, but the Automotive Dealers Association has concerns.

Chief executive David Blackhall is worried Labor’s emission standard unfairly targets independent car retailers while similar policy mechanisms in the US and UK are aimed at manufacturers.

The standard will prevent retailers from selling new vehicles with c02 emission per kilometre above 105 grams.

Small business minister Michaelia Cash is also a critic, yesterday labelling the target a “vehicle tax”.

NOW READ: IKEA Australia wants to deliver your next flat pack with an electric truck

NOW READ: Three ways electric vehicles will change our world

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Matthew Elmas

Matthew is the news editor at SmartCompany. You can contact him at [email protected].

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