The MTA Institute (MTAI) continues to lead the way in Hybrid/Electric Vehicle (HEV) training and education with another busy month of students completing the Advanced Course. As always, I see students coming from a wide range of automotive disciplines that recognize the importance of being properly trained in HEV’s. Looking forward, I anticipate the interest from the auto electrical sector growing substantially as HEV’s become more mainstream with the public.

In terms of the future, it’s fantastic to see the Queensland Government taking the appropriate steps to prepare the state and the public on the automotive changes to come having announced the rollout of the world’s longest electric vehicle highway. The venture costing $3million will see 18 electric car-charging stations built, starting at Cairns and extending as far south as the Gold Coast. As an additional incentive the stations are also available to use at no cost in the initial phase which I hope will build excitement and motivate the public to make the transition into purchasing electric vehicles.

The question has been raised about the suitability of these charging stations with certain HEV’s because of the incorrect fitment design. But this solution is easily fixable with a ready available adaptor which can be easily purchased or made by an auto electrician.

It’s this type of negative thinking that is holding the motor trades and wider public back from embracing the opportunities of HEV’s and I will continue to educate and advocate on the matter.

Currently, Queensland have approximately 700 registered electric vehicles on the road (excluding hybrid vehicles) and the state government believe that the electric vehicle friendly highway will cause significant growth by 2020. Whilst the highway is a huge step in the right direction, I believe to make this work quickly and successfully, the federal and state governments need to offer tax incentives which is already in place and working successfully in countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

This method of building public interest through tax incentives is evident through the growing interest that Pro-Moto a training provider in the UK receives. Pro-Moto has reported that they are inundated every day with enquiries about HEV training on offer. Already in place is HEV standard training from stage 1 through to stage 4 which is a huge leap forward from Australian standards/training modules in place. I am currently working on building a level of standards and plan to present this to the manager of training within the month.

As with all emerging technology the initial cost for manufacturing is high. The cheapest electric vehicle currently on offer in Australia is the Nissan Leaf valued at $40k followed by the BMWi3 at $63k which of course seems hugely expensive for a small hatchback. I look forward to prices drastically going down as more competition enters the market and interest grows. This coupled with any incentives the government may introduce and I believe in a few short years we’ll have a healthy number of HEV’s on the roads and through dealerships.