Australia to target vehicle emissions to boost EV supply

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Australia’s government plans to introduce new regulations targeting vehicle carbon emissions to boost the uptake of electric cars.

Just 2 percent of cars sold in Australia are electric compared with 15 percent in Britain and 17 percent in Europe, and the country risked becoming a dumping ground for vehicles that can’t be sold elsewhere, Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen said.

Apart from Russia, Australia is the only OECD country to either not have or be developing fuel efficiency standards, which encourage manufacturers to supply more electric and no-emission vehicles, he said.

“Policy settings are denying Australians real choice of good, affordable, no emissions cars,” Bowen told an electric vehicle summit in Canberra.

Australia recorded 20,665 EV sales in 2021, a significant increase from the 6,900 sold in 2020, which means electric cars now make up 1.95 percent of the new car market.

The government of Australia will release a discussion paper for consultation in September, with a focus on increasing EV uptake, improving affordability, and looking at options for fuel efficiency standards.

Currently, just eight EV models priced under A$60,000 ($41,450) are available to choose from in Australia, compared with 26 in Britain, Bowen said.

The move on emissions follows the May election victory of the centre-left Labor government led by Anthony Albanese, which campaigned on a promise of climate policy reforms that would bring the country in line with other developed economies, Reuters news report said.

Albanese has promised tax cuts for electric vehicles, and raised Australia’s 2030 target for cutting carbon emissions to a 43 percent reduction from 2005 levels.

Tesla Chair Robyn Denholm, who was on a panel discussion at the summit, said Australia has to catch up with the rest of the world as quickly as possible.

“It isn’t just about EVs. It’s also about reducing the emissions from petrol vehicles. What we can’t accept is the world’s dirtiest cars in Australia. That’s what we have today and that’s increasing,” she said.