WA - AEVA National Conference and Expo
5th November 2023
By Chris Johnson
The AEVA National Conference and Expo on November 2-5 sold out and was a resounding success. Charles, Riz, Steven and I managed to catch up several times to discuss some important lessons learned from the meeting, in particular that owner and consumer associations are vital to represent our interests over those of the suppliers.
As EV sales from all manufacturers increase, our role in providing information to new owners is vital, particularly around charging and basic electrical safety. The OEMs didn't have much interest in education and the charging vendors simply wanted to sell you a charger.
The WA government stand was easily the biggest and heavily promoted the WA Electric highway. The toy electric car race track in the shape of the WA network (see pic) was a huge hit for kids who managed to burn out the motors on all six cars. The Model Y RWD in the background is one of the official cars used for road trips to promote the network and prominently carries the logos of all the WA government agencies involved.
It is a welcome change to see government employees driving Teslas in remote locations across WA! A number of senior managers in these organisations have also chosen the Model Y as their personal vehicle after driving them at work. There appears to be no prejudice against Tesla from government and I suspect the Y's versatility will see numbers in the fleet increase and flow to the second hand market. My feeling from the event was that with government firmly on board this meeting will be seen as the turning point in WA when EVs became completely mainstream.
The final image is from a presentation by Markus Nilson Rotevatn from the Norwegian EV Association, showing that even when 83% of new car sales are BEVs, the change in the fleet composition is very slow.
Markus and his colleague Helena are both employees of the Association and ran a very high quality workshop the day before the conference on effective lobbying to change policy and ways they managed to grow their association. There is a lot of detail around this for possible discussion in another forum.
The AEVA expo was also a good opportunity to finalise arrangements between the associations in WA to fund two more Delta 22kW DC rectifier chargers for the Nullarbor route. Two are already in place at Balladonia and Madura, crowdfunded through University of WA. Two more would fill the gap on both sides of the WA/SA border until the Horizon Power (WA) and NRMA (SA) DC chargers are installed. The chargers can then be deployed to the central parts of WA where no other charging infrastructure is currently planned. The existing units have been robust and reliable in pretty demanding conditions - Balladonia's is out in the weather, bolted to the bottom of a loading dock (see pic).
The new units have been purchased by Jon Edwards through TOCEVA Racing and will be funded by equal donations from AEVA, TOCA and TOCWA (plus some smaller private donations), with equal acknowlegement on either adjacent signage or a plaque on the device. I'm sure Charles Gregory from TOCA (Tas) committee can attest to how vital these are as he drives his Tesla home from the meeting in Perth.