The Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) has welcomed an announcement of a new federal ‘electric vehicle strategy’, including a fuel efficiency standard for new cars and light commercial vehicles.
The strategy - which is designed to remove barriers to buying and owning electric vehicles (EVs) in Australia - was announced by Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen this morning. The federal government expects six key outcomes from the strategy, namely – a greater choice of EVs; a reduction in transport emissions; better ease of charging for EVs nationwide; an increase in Australian manufacturing and recycling of key EV materials and making vehicles cheaper to run.
Current EV sales only account for 3.8 per cent of new car sales in Australia, compared to nine per cent globally.
However, the government has stopped short of developing a target for EV uptake, instead opting to pursue strategies which increase the choice and affordability of EVs, for Australians.
Fuel efficiency standard to show ‘Australia will no longer settle for less’
The introduction of Australia’s first fuel efficiency standard will require car makers to meet a set emissions limit across their entire range, or face penalties. This, according to the strategy, would encourage car makers to sell more EVs or fuel efficient vehicles within their range to remain under the limit.
Cars sold in Australia use 40 per cent more fuel on average than their equivalents in the European Union and 20 per cent more than their equivalents in the United States.
Speaking to the media, Minister Bowen said that Australia was lagging behind by not having a fuel efficiency standard.
“Australia and Russia are the only advanced economies without fuel efficiency standards”, he said.
“It’s years overdue for Australia (…) fuel efficient and electric vehicles are cleaner and cheaper to run – today’s announcement is a win-win for motorists.”
The federal transport minister, Catherine King, said that the introduction of a fuel efficiency standard would “send a strong message to the global car industry that when it comes to transport technology, Australia will no longer settle for less.
“More than 85 per cent of all cars sold in the world are subject to fuel efficiency standards. It’s time Australians were offered the same choice.”
New ‘national mapping tool’ to improving charging network
The announcement includes a commitment to the development of a national mapping tool to “support optimal investment in…EV charging infrastructure”. The tool will identify where charging stations are most needed and the federal government has suggested it will need to develop national standards on charging infrastructure.
Other initiatives will include and the creation of guidance for those living in apartment blocks about the purchase and ownership of EVs.
Joe Heffernan, Executive Director of the Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) welcomed the announcement.
“As we quicken the pace of decarbonisation in Australia in answer to climate change, supporting the uptake of electric vehicles through better and more accessible infrastructure is crucial. Ordinary Australians want to take advantage of cleaner travel and cheaper running costs that EVs provide, but they need choice, availability and peace of mind when they set out on their journey.
“Particularly here in WA – Australia’s road-trip state – a network of high-quality EV chargers, across the state’s vast road network is key. However, this must go hand-in-hand with investment in more genuine renewable energy sources. It is no good to invest in clean, emissions free vehicles if the power used to charge them comes from dirty sources like coal and gas.
“WA home to some of Australia’s windiest, sunniest places and we are in prime position to lead the way in creating a world-class EV network powered by renewables like wind and solar.”
MEDIA INFORMATION: The Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) is the state’s foremost non-profit, non-government conservation organisation representing nearly 100 environmental organisations across Western Australia.
For more information, visit: ccwa.org.au.
CONTACT: For any enquiries relating to this release, please contact Robert Davies
0412 272 570 or by email, [email protected]