The head of Australia’s peak electric vehicle lobby has described the Federal Government’s latest EV strategy as “yet another flaccid, do-nothing document that will prevent Australians getting access to the world’s best electric vehicles”.
The Morrison Government has ruled out offering taxpayer-funded subsidies to encourage EV uptake, with Energy Minister Angus Taylor in favour of a ‘fleet first’ strategy that would encourage Australian businesses to in invest in battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrids (PHEV).
According to the Minister, this would eventually benefit private buyers because it would lead to a dramatic increase of more affordable used EVs on the market.
However, Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari, who agrees that electrifying corporate and government vehicles should be part of a comprehensive EV strategy, said the discussion paper was acutely disappointing and ignores the need to rapidly reduce vehicle emissions and air pollution.
“A rapid transition to electric vehicles would clean our city air, drastically reduce our carbon emissions, and free us from our insecure dependence on foreign oil imports,” Jafari said.
“Global leaders from Biden to Boris are rushing to accelerate their transition to electric vehicles, but Angus Taylor reckons he knows something they don’t.
“The Prime Minister should have put Mr Taylor on the line to Joe Biden this week. He could have told the President why his electric vehicle plan is misguided. Mr Taylor might have clarified why his modelling shows the top recommendation of the International Energy Agency should be rejected.”
Taylor said Australians were already making the choice to switch to new vehicle technologies where it made economic sense and implied that this will result in the market driving prices down.
“We are optimistic about how quickly the technology cost will reduce for other electric vehicles compared to traditional cars, making it an easier choice for consumers,” he said.
But Jafari said continued Federal Government stonewalling on EV subsidies is delaying the kind of competitive EV pricing that has occurred in Europe.
“Australia’s inertia on EVs has been noticed by the global auto sector, which now withholds the best and most affordable electric vehicles from our market.
“Many of the most popular electric vehicles in the US and UK are unavailable to Australian consumers and that trend will rapidly accelerate under Taylor’s do-nothing plan.”
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