The Australian Government has prepared the National Electrical Vehicle Strategy with a focus on increasing the uptake of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in order to reduce emissions and improve the wellbeing of Australians. The first priority of this strategy are passenger vehicles, with the following objectives having been identified.
Objective 1: Increase supply of affordable and accessible EVs.
The government has identified that vehicle supply is the main issue to adoption of EVs in Australia. To address this, they will adopt a Fuel Efficiency Standard in an attempt to improve the supply and variety of EVs into the Australian market. Fuel Efficiency Standards are in place in over 85% of the global car market. This type of standard sets limits on a manufacturer’s average emissions across all cars sold in a given market. As the Electrical Trades Union noted in their submission, vehicle fuel efficiency standards are “an effective mechanism to reduce passenger and light commercial fleet emissions” and that they “would incentivise global manufacturers to send EVs and lower emission vehicles to Australia”.
The standard in Australia has not been set at this stage, and the government will work with stakeholders in its development, ensuring that it will be similar to those in other advanced markets.
To also assist in supply, the government is committing to ensuring the Commonwealth fleet consists of 75% low emissions by 2025. It has also joined the Zero-Emission Government Fleet Declaration aspiring to procure 100% zero emission vehicles by 2035. In achieving this, the Commonwealth will join with State and Territory governments and the New Zealand government in combining fleet vehicle purchases. It is hoped that this will provide manufacturers with security to invest in Australia as well as contribute to the second-hand market, thereby improving accessibility to electric vehicles for all.
Objective 2: Establish the resources, systems and infrastructure to enable rapid EV uptake.
The Strategy acknowledges that support must be provided to make it easier for Australians to charge their EVs, as this is crucial to encouraging Australians to make the switch. The government has embarked on installing 117 sites on major highways at an average interval of 150km, and will develop a national mapping tool to bring together similar local tools to provide reliable information, regardless of a driver’s location.
Discussions are underway with Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to facilitate the electricity system in readiness for the rapid adoption of EVs. At this stage this includes standardisation for EV supply equipment, including data sharing service and installation rules.
The National Construction Code will be updated to ensure new buildings will be able to accommodate EV charging if desired. The government will also conduct research as to how to enable EV uptake in existing multi-residential buildings.
Skills to facilitate the transition to EVs are also required. Last month we provided information regarding the Australian Energy Employment Survey. This is an important piece of work that will provide necessary feedback and identify gaps to further inform the Clean Energy Capacity Study that is currently underway with Jobs and Skills Australia.
Objective 3: Encourage increase in EV demand
If demand for EVs increases, this will then encourage supply. The Australian Government has reduced some taxes associated with imported cars via the Electric Car Discount whilst there are also a range of state government initiatives designed to encourage demand. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is also providing eligible borrowers discounted interest rates for a range of EVs under $90,000 further encouraging demand.
The Strategy now leads the way to encourage EV uptake. The Fuel Efficiency Standard and skills development are the most important to get things moving and we hope the government moves on these urgently.
The National Electric Vehicle Strategy is available online.