In the lead up to the election it is heartening to see the reality of electric vehicles as the preferred transport mode occupying centre stage of political debate.
About 10 years ago, futurist Gary Ellem proposed that we create the Hunter Valley Electric Vehicle Festival with a view to promoting electric transport: EVShow to encourage public awareness; EVPrize to encourage school students into STEM study and careers; and EVConference to influence government uptake of EVs.
By increasing the uptake of electric vehicles locally, we could shield ourselves from a future of high petrol prices and redirect spending on oil imports to locally produced electricity infrastructure.
The sustainability benefits of electric vehicles would also help with energy efficiency and reducing pollution. At that time the Hunter was a centre for electricity production; centre for industrial vehicle and machinery manufacturing; centre for the rollout of Australia's first "Smart Grid"; and a centre for mechanical and power system engineering.
From small beginnings in 2010, the HVEVF has grown steadily each year with the generous support of local foundations and government grants and the hard work of a dedicated battalion of volunteers to become the major EV event in Australia.
To date some thousands of schoolchildren have built and raced their electric vehicle in the EVPrize.
Tens of thousands of people have enjoyed the EVShow, but still our governments lag behind the worldwide move to electric transport. There is a lack of commitment in the form of incentives, infrastructure roll out and legislative updating.
We still subsidise fossil fuel use for transport. During 2017-2018, we exported $60 billion of coal and imported $33 billion of petroleum and $33 billion of passenger and goods vehicles.
If we moved to electric transport and created all of the required electricity in Australia then we would see an annual saving of $33 billion in fuel imports. In addition, perhaps most importantly, we would gain energy security.