Australia will languish at the end of the queue for the best and most affordable EVs, and
fail to reach net zero, unless it ignores the car industry lobby and introduces legitimate fuel
efficiency standards aligning with those enforced in the US or Europe, according to the
Electric Vehicle Council.
Australia is one of the only OECD nations not to have fuel efficiency standards, making
EVs difficult to purchase and creating long wait times for delivery. Strongly growing
Australian consumer demand for EVs is significantly outpacing supply.
Fuel efficiency targets require manufacturers to pay a penalty for exceeding carbon
emissions targets set for the average of new vehicles they sell. This means there is an
incentive for manufacturers to ensure they sell enough low-emission and zero-emission
vehicles to avoid raising their average.
Although consensus is growing for the introduction of EVs, there are calls from some
industry voices that weaker standards should be adopted, in line with existing voluntary
standards. But manufacturers and the Electric Vehicle Council are warning that such a
move will not create the change desired by Australian consumers and governments.
“The only fuel efficiency standards that will make a difference are standards in line with
those that exist in the US and Europe,” said EVC chief executive Behyad Jafari.
“Australia missed the boat by 30 years in introducing fuel efficiency standards making us
the world’s dumping ground for dirty vehicles today. If we finally get around to it and then
introduce standards that don’t work that would be a tragedy.
“Car manufacturers sell the bulk of their vehicles into markets with fuel efficiency
standards because that helps avoid penalty. There is currently no such incentive in
Australia, which relegates this market to a lower order priority.
“If we want to see larger and more frequent shipments of EVs to Australia government
should ignore the weak standards some in industry are lobbying for.
“There is no path to net zero by 2050 unless Australia stops selling emitting vehicles by
2035. Cars in Australia have a 15-year average life span. If we’re still selling a significant
quantity of combustion engine vehicles in 2036, we fail on net zero. It’s that simple.”