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The residents of City Beach, Duncraig, Karrinyup, Nedlands and Canning Vale have been identified as Perth's most likely electric car owners of the future.

The findings are based on an analysis of electric car ownership around the world that showed owners usually lived relatively close to the CBD, had two or more household vehicles and had access to a garage or off-street parking.

It also found electric car owners usually had above-average incomes, higher levels of education, high technology skills and were generally older than the average car buyer.

The findings are contained in a national discussion paper released by the Energy Supply Association of Australia.

The paper said electric vehicles had the potential to transform Australian transport.

"Electric car technology is becoming increasingly competitive with conventional vehicles," the paper said. "Twenty-first century electric vehicles can exploit their technological advantages - performance, handling, safety and lower operating costs - to offset their disadvantages: shorter range and higher up-front costs."

But, the paper warned that a "critical mass" of electric vehicles had to be created in Australia to make them viable.

"We can make it hard for electric cars or we can make it easier," ESAA chief executive Matthew Warren said. "International markets have shown that the fundamental enabler for electric cars is critical mass.

"Once you have enough electric cars in a market, they create their own infrastructure, their own after-sales support and their own resale market.

"But if we don't find a way of enabling this initial critical mass, then in a small market like Australia we will just discourage car makers from bringing electric cars here and we may be waiting a long time to unlock the benefits they can deliver."

Mr Warren said advanced electric car markets around the world had an extensive network of car recharging facilities being supplied by retailers such as McDonalds, Target and Ikea, who saw the move as an incentive to attract customers.

The paper said electric car ownership could be encouraged by tax concessions, electricity tariff reforms and dedicated transit lanes.