Federal Government’s Future Fuels Electric Vehicle Announcement Little More Than Another Pamphlet

“The Federal Government’s new Future Fuels Strategy will struggle to drive up electric vehicles sales and drive down transport emissions. Norway, the global leader on EVs, has driven the transition to cheaper, faster, and cleaner vehicles through credible policies and regulations,” said Richie Merzian, climate & energy program director at the Australia Institute.

“The Prime Minister states his strategy is about offering choice of vehicles when in fact it does the opposite. Australia Institute’s submission on the earlier Future Fuels Discussion Paper notes a lack of credible transport policies including CO2 emission standards, electric vehicle incentives and fleet targets have been a handbrake on choice, robbing everyday Australian’s of the affordable electric vehicles which the United Kingdom and Norway enjoy.

“On Wednesday in Glasgow, the UK is preparing to announce the commitment to end the sale of new polluting cars by 2035 for wealthy countries and 2040 for developing countries. Unfortunately, Prime Minister Morrison, back home, has returned to the same damaging rhetoric around not ‘forcing’ Australians to save money and emissions by opting for electric vehicles.

“When it comes to fleets, the Government has chosen not to lead by example. It would cost less to electrify the federal fleet than what the Government recently spent on road upgrades to access the Beetaloo gas basin.

“Electric vehicles are more affordable to run and maintain, safer on the roads, better for the climate and popular, with seven in ten Australians keen to make the switch according to the Climate of the Nation 2021. The Formula E race car, on display at the COP26 venue in Glasgow, is also a clear reminder that electric vehicles won’t just bring it in the race to zero emissions but also on the racecourse too.”

Background

A thriving Electric Vehicle (EV) market is necessary to decarbonise transport emissions which have risen steadily over the last three decades and make up 19% of national emissions. EVs will also benefit household budgets, fuel security and our broader air quality – see the Australia Institute’s full submission to the Future Fuels Discussion Paper.

The federal government is well placed to correct Australia’s lagging EV take-up. It has the solutions, laid out by the tax-payer funded Australian Electric Vehicle Market Study, prepared by ENERGEIA for government-funded bodies ARENA and CEFC conducted a market review of electric vehicle sales, stock and infrastructure, to determine which policies and regulations impact most strongly on EV purchase decisions.

It found:

  • An increase in direct purchase incentives would drive EV model availability and demand;
  • fleet procurement targets increase model availability and overall uptake; and
  • vehicle CO2 standards (set at 105g/km) would increase EV availability and uptake in Australia.

It is therefore disappointing that instead of implementing those solutions, the government has produced yet another paper. The Future Fuels Strategy is not the Electric Vehicle Strategy promised in 2019, it contains only new funding for charging and (based on reporting) rules out policies that work like purchase incentives for EVs, fleet procurement targets and vehicle CO2 standards.

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