BMW Australia CEO Marc Werner used a media event in Victoria on Wednesday to vent his frustration and demand action from Canberra to bring Australia up to speed with its counterparts in the rest of the world.
“At BMW, we are clearly on it, but here in Australia we continue to languish in the doldrums as senior government officials concentrate on their private affairs rather than formulating the advancement of our society,” said Werner.
Werner cited a lack of firm policy as a major problem not only for BMW but the industry as a whole.
“We need, urgently, a set of short- and medium-term support options to kick start our market. Things like strong electric vehicle targets, CO2 emission targets, extended infrastructure, and tax incentives. That all works in other countries, why not in Australia?
“The world has given us 20 years notice that we are transitioning to electric vehicles. There is no excuse for government to ignore that opportunity.”
An industry body called the Australian Electric Vehicle Council brings together manufacturers, including BMW, as well as energy companies, infrastructure providers and other peripheral businesses with a role to play in the move towards an electric future.
“Our industry is doing the heavy lifting on their own and the short-sighted attitude of the government is honestly disappointing.
“I will say it was heartening to see the minister for energy citing that he expects to see EV take-up increase dramatically with a million EVs on the roads in Australia by 2030… 2030.
“[But] these targets are extremely light in comparison to other countries.
Mr Werner said BMW alone aims to have more than half a million electrified vehicles on the road around the world by the end of next year.
“At least the government is thinking about the situation, however, thinking about this is not enough. It’s clearly not enough. We need to see some action here, or Australia will continue to lag behind the rest of the world.”
“I call again on the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to show the strong leadership and strong action this country so desperately needs. I live in hope.”
BMW established a sub-brand for electric vehicle development in 2011, and introduced it to Australia with the BMW i3 and i8 in 2014. Electrified versions of its more conventional vehicles have joined its line-up since then, such as the 330e and X5 xDrive40e.