Australia needs more than 50,000 chargers to drive uptake of electric vehicles

9 Nov 2021

The Federal Government needs to do more than install 50,000 charging stations in Australian households if it wants to drive down vehicle emissions by incentivising the take-up of electric vehicles, the Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie stated today.

Responding to the Government’s recently announced Future Fuels Strategy, the Mayo MP refuted the strategy’s claim that reducing the cost of electric vehicle ownership does not represent value for money for the taxpayer because advances in technology will eventually make the cars cheaper.

“You only have to look at the evolution of the electric vehicle (EV) market overseas to know that you need ‘carrot and stick’ approaches to encouraging the switch to electric vehicles and that includes tax incentives such as removing the luxury tax on EVs and stricter standards on vehicle emissions," Rebekha said.

“Australia could end up like Cuba, a dumping ground for vehicles that don’t meet the strict environmental standards of the modern world.

“Norway is currently leading the world in the uptake of low emissions vehicles and over 50 per cent of new car sales are 100 per cent electric vehicles.

“In Australia, EV sales as a percentage of new car sales was 1.57 per cent this year, just up from 0.55 per cent in 2019. We have a long way to go, and we need more than chargers and the hope that battery technology will improve to get there.”

Rebekha said Australia should be leading from the front and taking advantage of the manufacturing opportunities of electric vehicles.

As the Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Friends for Climate Action, Rebekha co-hosted a forum in Federal Parliament earlier this year showcasing the opportunities involved in driving down Australia’s transport emissions.

Guest speakers included Tim Washington, the Chair of the Electric Vehicle Council Australia; John Blackburn, a strategic policy expert who has published several reports on Australia’s liquid fuel security for the National Roads and Motorists’ Association; Norwegian Ambassador Paul Gulleik Larsen, who spoke about his country’s uptake of electric vehicles; and Claire Painter, the Corporate Communications Manager at Mercedes-Benz Australia.

“Transport is the third-largest source of emissions behind electricity and Australia’s transport emissions are rebounding quickly as COVID-19 restrictions ease,” Rebekha said.

“The forum was a conversation starter for Members of Parliament, but it also outlined the exciting opportunities of a well-managed electric vehicle transition in Australia and its role in decarbonising our transport sector, improving our fuel security, improving local air quality, reducing the cost of vehicle ownership for everyday Australians, and the flow-on effect in our innovative tech start-ups and manufacturing industries.

“Until recently, Australia had a strong and proud tradition in automotive manufacturing, especially in South Australia with Holden and Mitsubishi. The loss of automotive manufacturing resulted in hundreds of direct and indirect job losses.

“We should not accept that the closure of traditional high-volume vehicle manufacturing was the end of our vehicle manufacturing endeavours in Australia.

“The introduction of many new electric vehicle manufacturers across the globe demonstrate that enormous opportunity still exists and that a new era of specialised low volume vehicle manufacturing in Australia remains a tantalising possibility.”

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