Widespread support revs up for government action on electric vehicles


​A broad coalition of representatives from Australia’s emerging Electric Vehicle market are calling on the Federal Government to support a nationally co-ordinated approach to support the move from petrol and diesel, to electric cars.

Issues raised by the industry include the introduction of infrastructure, incentives and regulation to ensure the growing consumer uptake of electric vehicles helps to meet Australia’s climate, energy productivity and air quality goals.

The collaboration includes representatives from small businesses, not-for-profits and some of Australia’s largest companies who have released the ‘The Path Forward for Electric Vehicles in Australia’ report. The report shows that electric vehicles can reduce CO2 from vehicles by up to 47 per cent by 2050.

Findings in the report demonstrate a reduction in consumer electric vehicle costs of more than $8000 can be achieved through targeted incentives such as Fringe Benefit Tax exemptions.

International evidence shows Australia lags behind other major countries in uptake of electric vehicles, and those countries have offered incentives which are not yet available here. The report also contains evidence of the benefits to health, air quality and fuel security in countries with strong incentives for electric vehicles.

The group’s report comes in response to the Federal Government’s Vehicle Emissions Discussion Paper which aims to develop strategies to meet Australia’s greenhouse gas emission reduction obligations. Australia’s transport sector is rated as one of the worst among developed nations in terms of emissions intensity.

The transport sector produces 17 per cent of Australia’s carbon emissions, with emissions due to rise by six per cent to 2020. 

Moving industries from alternative fuel sources to electricity, also known as ‘electrification’ is a key recommendation of the ClimateWorks Pathways to Deep Decarbonisation by 2050, developed to help Australia reach net zero carbon emissions while maintaining a steady rate of GDP growth.

ClimateWorks CEO Anna Skarbek said there is significant opportunity to reduce emissions for the transport sector in Australia.

“Electric vehicles are the solar panels of the automotive industry. With the right support, we could see a rapid uptake that would have positive outcomes for our health, the economy and for consumers.”

TransGrid Executive General Manager Greg Garvin said supporting the early adoption of electric vehicles is a smart way to achieve economic growth in a low carbon future.
“Combined with support for the increasing role of renewable energy, electric vehicles play an important role in realising economic benefits from new energy technologies.”

AGL CEO & Managing Director Andy Vesey said, “Electric vehicles will help the Commonwealth Government achieve its two degrees target. In support, AGL has committed to have at least 10 percent of our fleet vehicles electric by mid-2018 – a figure that can grow as more options become available in the Australian market”.

Next steps for the group involve a demonstration project to explore the needs of consumers when purchasing, driving and charging electric vehicles and ongoing consultation with manufacturers to deliver more model choice to the Australian market.

The group’s report will be submitted in response to the Vehicle Emissions Ministerial Forum’s Vehicle Emissions Discussion Paper and is available here​.