Australians could cut their household energy bills by $1700 if they swapped a petrol for an electric vehicle but only if the car was charged at the right times.
The prediction is one of several expected at the Sydney Innovation Summit, held on Tuesday by Schneider Electric, in an effort to address how Australia can achieve its target of net-zero emissions by 2050.
Electric Vehicle Council energy and infrastructure head Ross De Rango, who will speak at the event, said Australians had a unique opportunity to transform their homes, energy usage, and transport using solar power.
If used smartly, he said, the energy source could do more than shave down electricity bills.
“More than a third of Australian homes today have solar panels on the roof already,” he said.
“Because of the amount of solar and because of the ease with which EV charging can be shifted to a different time of day, we have a very good pathway to significant emission reductions.”
Mr De Rango said the average petrol vehicle in Australia consumed $2000 worth of petrol or diesel fuel each year.
By swapping a petrol car for an electric model and charging it with energy from solar panels, he said, motorists could cut costs by 75 per cent.
“You can go from $2000 a year in petrol or diesel to $1000 a year if you charge at what we would consider to be a less ideal time, or down to $300 or $400 if you charge at the right time,” Mr De Rango said.
“It’s a huge difference. It’s the reason we’re already seeing consumers making that choice.”
But Clipsal vice-president Chris Kerr said first-time electric car owners could find setting vehicle-charging routines tricky, and risked missing the biggest savings.
“Bringing an EV into the home can be a hungry source of electricity unless you manage it optimally,” he said.
“There are numerous journeys for home automations and energy management but it’s all managed through multiple apps.”
He said using a home automation system to manage charging could simplify the process, though electric vehicle owners could also set charging times manually or through their car’s software.
Further savings could be unlocked through electric vehicles in future, Mr Kerr said, when the batteries in cars could be used as solar-powered backups for the home or to feed energy back into the grid when required.
A limited number of vehicles support bi-directional charging, including the Nissan Leaf, but Mr De Rango said Australian standards would change to allow it.
“Those standards are currently being reviewed to make them fit for purpose for vehicles and that’s a process that will take a little while,” he said.
“In a couple of years time if Australian consumers want to do vehicle-to-grid, the local standards and regulations won’t get in the way.”
South Australia became the first Australian state to approve the technology in December, with hardware provided by Melbourne-based firm Jet Charge.
(Australian Associated Press)