Australians should be able to choose the type of car they drive.
And the Morrison Government will continue to empower them in making these new technology decisions.
This is the message from the Federal Government’s Energy Minister Angus Taylor with the release of a discussion paper on the development of Australia’s Future Fuels Strategy.
The paper considers the role of a mix of technologies, including traditional fuel, hybrid, hydrogen fuel cell, electric and bio-fuelled vehicles.
The Minister says the Government will focus on three principles to support the future fuels sector:
- addressing barriers to the roll out of new vehicle technologies to increase consumer choice;
- investing in early-stage technologies to stimulate the market and drive private sector investment; and
- giving Australians access to the right information to help them make informed choices.
What the Morrison Government will not do is subside the cost electric vehicles.
“Australians are already making the choice to switch to new vehicle technologies where it makes the most economic sense, with hybrid sales doubling last year,” Minister Taylor said.
“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.
“Importantly, this discussion paper shows that closing this gap through subsidies for new technology vehicles is not value-for-money for taxpayers and is an expensive form of abatement.
“Depending on the vehicle type and use, this would cost up to $747 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent or up to around $8000 over the life of a vehicle. Fleets is where this gap will close first.
The Government’s position is at odds with other countries where subsidies and tax incentives are offered to speed up the introduction of electric vehicles or EVs as they are commonly known.
In some countries diesels will soon be banned and in some German cities older diesel vehicles are already unwelcome — all in a bid to reduce harmful engine emissions.
In Britain news this week that battery electric vehicles (BEVs) surged to take a 15 per cent share of new lease car registrations in the third quarter of 2020, as the Government’s Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax incentives took full effect.
According to the latest report of the British Vehicle Renting & Leasing Association (BVRLA), plug-in and hybrid vehicles overtook diesel in gaining a 36 per cent share of new lease car registrations during the same period and look set to overtake petrol very soon.
Nearly one-fifth of the BVRLA car leasing fleet now relies on some form of powertrain electrification as the fleet sector continues to drive the transition to cleaner road transport.
Diesel’s share of the total lease car market fell below 50 per cent for the first time, while petrol held steady with a 34 per cent share.
Average CO2 emissions for BVRLA car leasing fleet new registrations fell from 107g/km to 105g/km in Q3-2020, a new low and around 8 per cent lower than the national average.
Back in Australia, however, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) is taking a softer approach.
Chief exec Tony Weber has welcomed the Government’s discussion paper.
Mr Weber said the announcement presents a strong position with regards to the Government desire to let the market determine the direction and uptake of new technology while supporting its growth through investment in infrastructure and the removal of any barriers that discourage vehicle technology development and adoption.
He agreed that continued development of zero and low emission vehicles by global vehicle manufacturers coupled with the market demand led by private and business buyers at affordable prices and operating costs will be important drivers towards zero carbon emissions.
“The FCAI will consider the Government’s position and respond formally to the discussion process,” Mr Weber said.
Angus Taylor’s ‘Future Fuels’ discussion paper is “yet another flaccid, do-nothing document that will prevent Australians getting access to the world’s best electric vehicles,” according to the Electric Vehicle Council.
Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari said the discussion paper was acutely disappointing.
“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,” Mr Jafari said.
“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.
“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.
“Mr Taylor is apparently happy to leave all those benefits on the table and cement Australia’s reputation as the world’s transport tech laggard.
“Most other nations, including the US and thae UK, have had fuel efficiency standards in place for decades. Taylor thinks we’re still not ready for even this modest measure.
“As always, the result of inaction in a dynamic environment is not stability. Australia’s inertia on EV 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.”
Figures from the Electric Vehicle Council show 40 countries have EV purchase incentives in place including:
|Market||Incentive (local currency)||~AUD|
CHECKOUT: Electric cars — why so slow?