The Australian government’s highly anticipated electric vehicle (EV) policy, aimed at increasing the supply of zero-emissions vehicles in the country, is facing delays due to concerns about community support. The policy includes the introduction of a fuel efficiency standard, which would penalize importers for selling internal combustion engines (ICEs) and encourage the importation of EVs and low-emissions vehicles.
Although EV sales have increased by over 7 percent this year, there are fears that implementing the policy could lead to a backlash over the increased cost of medium-sized cars, SUVs, and utes, which are some of the best-selling vehicles in the country.
The Labor party initially planned to introduce the fuel efficiency standard by the end of this year, but this timeline may be significantly revised. Various political players, including EV makers and environmental groups, support the efficiency standard as a way to phase out ICEs. However, car dealer associations and motoring clubs are urging a cautious approach, noting that affordable EV options are not yet widely available on the market.
Critics of the government’s rapid action point to Norway, where heavy subsidies and high prices for ICE vehicles led to sales of battery electric and plug-in hybrids comprising over 90 percent of the market. However, Norway’s overall new car market has experienced a significant decline this year, indicating that many drivers are still holding onto their ICEs.
The Department of Transport recently extended a contract for modeling work related to the fuel efficiency standard, demonstrating the government’s commitment to implementing an effective policy. Transport Minister Catherine King’s spokesperson emphasized the importance of designing a strong fuel efficiency standard that promotes the availability of modern, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly vehicles.
While there is still work to be done, the transition to EVs is underway, according to Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen. He believes that global car manufacturers will eventually cease ICE production, possibly by 2035 or 2040, and it is crucial to accelerate this transition.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: What is the purpose of the fuel efficiency standard?
The fuel efficiency standard aims to penalize importers for selling internal combustion engines (ICEs) and encourage the importation of electric vehicles (EVs) and low-emissions vehicles. It is an essential step towards reducing carbon emissions and transitioning to a sustainable transportation system.
Q: Why is there a delay in implementing the electric vehicle policy?
There are concerns about the level of complexity involved in introducing the fuel efficiency standard, as well as concerns about potential cost-of-living backlash due to increased prices of popular vehicles. The government is taking the time to design a strong policy that can gain support from the community.
Q: How have EV sales been performing in Australia?
EV sales in Australia have increased by over 7 percent this year. Two-thirds of all EVs currently on the road were added since July of last year. However, the availability of affordable EV options remains limited.
– The Australian Financial Review (https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/government-delays-electric-vehicle-policy-20231120-p59c12)