Australian news, and some related international items

Australia lagging behind in electric cars, though they save lives and cut costs

Electric cars would save lives and cut costs, but Australians ‘risk being left behind’, SMH, By Nicole Hasham
6 October 2018 Deaths from air pollution would be prevented and the Morrison government would meet its pledge to make electricity more reliable and affordable if more Australians drove electric cars, but a lack of political will is holding back the benefits.That is the widespread view expressed to a Senate probe into electric vehicles in Australia. Electric car maker Tesla, headed by controversial entrepreneur Elon Musk, is among those who assert that “government leadership” is the main barrier to increasing electric vehicle uptake in Australia, while the government’s own infrastructure adviser warned that Australians “risk being left behind” in the global transition.

Australia trails the world in the adoption of electric vehicles. Just 2284 were sold last year – 0.2 per cent of total vehicle sales. This is largely attributed to a lack of vehicle choice, fears about limited driving range and higher upfront costs than traditional cars.

In contrast, electric vehicles make up about 20 per cent of new sales in Norway, and are expected to reach 30 per cent of sales in China by 2030.

The Senate inquiry, chaired by independent South Australian senator Tim Storer, is investigating the benefits and opportunities of electric vehicles in Australia.

It is broadly acknowledged that electric vehicles improve air quality, help address climate change, boost public health and are cheaper to run than conventional vehicles.

……The Morrison government said these two outcomes – making electricity more reliable and affordable – would be its “unrelenting” focus following the demise of the National Energy Guarantee. However the government provided only limited support for electric-vehicle adoption.

Tesla told the inquiry that thousands of Australians had placed deposits for its model 3 sedan and research showed 50 per cent of Australians would consider an electric vehicle for their next purchase.

But it said governments must help ensure Australians could access charging infrastructure and a wide range of vehicle models, and reduce financial and logistical hurdles.

“The main barrier to increasing electric vehicle uptake in Australia is not consumer appetite; rather it is clear government leadership,” Tesla wrote.

Tesla said the Morrison government should set an ambitious target for electric vehicle uptake to send a clear message to manufacturers and consumers that Australia was ready for the transition.

The NRMA, ClimateWorks and the Electric Vehicle Council also called on governments to act to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles in various ways, such as implementing vehicle emissions standards, supporting the establishment of charging infrastructure and setting targets for government fleets. ……



October 8, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics

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