After many years under the thumb of climate denier Scott Morrison, Australia is finally ready to enter the 21st century thanks to the leadership of newly elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Last week, at the first-ever electric vehicle summit in Canberra, Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen said the government would present a position paper on clean transport in September which will outline strategies reduction in emissions from cars and trucks.
Today, Australia is one of two major countries that do not have new car emissions regulations. The other is Russia. While the UK and Europe are seeing electric vehicles approaching a 20% market share of the new car market, Australia is at less than 2%. “Australia risks becoming a dumping ground for older technology that cannot be sold in other markets,” Bowen told the audience. “For me it is ultimately about choice and the political parameters deprive Australians of a real choice of quality, affordable and emission-free cars,” he added.
Bowen said the position paper due in September will usher in “a period of hope, that after a decade of denial and delay, after an era of demonizing innovations like zero-emission cars, after years of frustration, we now have a chance to give Australians access to the best transport technology in the world While Australia is lagging behind, Bowen stressed that policy initiatives can have significant consequences in a short time. Sweden had increased its share of electric vehicle sales from 18% to 62% in just two years.
Tesla and Volkswagen in Australia
Robyn Denholm is the chairwoman of Tesla’s board of directors and an Australian. She told the conference that Australia needed to catch up with the rest of the world as quickly as possible. “It’s not just about electric vehicles. It is also about reducing emissions from gasoline-powered vehicles. What we cannot accept are the dirtiest cars in the world in Australia. That’s what we have today and it’s growing.
Paul Sansom, the head of Volkswagen Group Australia, was present at the conference, where he said harmonizing policies between states and the federal government would help accelerate the electric vehicle revolution. Several Australian states, such as South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, are way ahead of the federal government when it comes to environmental policies, especially clean energy.
Even the Australian Capitol Territory, where Canberra is located, has announced that the sale of cars and light trucks with internal combustion engines will be banned by 2035. Sansom suggested that the rapid expansion of charging infrastructure electric vehicles would give a major boost to the electricity market. vehicles and that an educational campaign explaining the advantages of electric vehicles would also be welcome.
He also said the price gap between electric cars and conventional cars was already narrowing rapidly and that incentives in the range of $5,000 to $10,000 would be enough to create a tipping point and added that perks like allowing electric vehicles to use bus lanes or designated parking spots could also be helpful. Norway has been very successful in encouraging people to buy electric cars through such non-monetary incentives, which can be easily removed as demand increases. The Volkswagen importer for Norway has just announced that it will only import battery-electric cars into this country from January 1, 2024.
Volkswagen dealerships in Australia report that half of customers visiting their stores ask about electric cars. “In five or 10 years, no one will want to buy an internal combustion car – why would you?” said Independent MP Monique Ryan.
A boost for business in Australia
Tritium is an Australian company, but most of its business takes place in other countries where policies favor electric cars and trucks. Its CEO, Jane Hunter, told the Electric Vehicle Summit that Australia was in danger of missing out on important business opportunities. Tritium derives the majority of its revenue from outside the country and now has a factory in Tennessee capable of manufacturing 30,000 Level 3 high-speed chargers per year. That’s six times more than the company produces at its Brisbane factory.
Hunter told the audience that the new Inflation Reduction Act has made America “incredibly attractive for businesses to build on land” and will attract other related industries such as car and battery manufacturers. . “Australia needs to take big legislative steps” to attract and retain these industries in the country, Hunter said.
Even Australian financial institutions are getting involved in the electric vehicle revolution. As my colleague David Waterworth recently reported, Bank Australia has announced that it will stop making loans for conventional cars in 2025, and another bank, Pepper Money, will offer customers who take out loans to buy cars electric 12 months free recharge.
Policies have consequences
What is happening in Australia shows very clearly that policies matter. While Australia’s new government is to be applauded for moving quickly to reverse the ‘know nothing’ attitudes of the previous administration, ultimately it is Australian citizens who deserve credit for ending the policies. contemptibles of Scott Morrison and his henchmen. If the people lead, their leaders will follow. Nowhere is this more evident than in Australia today. Cheers, Australians!
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