The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Australia’s peak automotive industry body, has welcomed the release of Labor’s environmental policy which includes a new focus on low emissions and electric vehicle targets.

“It’s fantastic to see this important topic receive the attention it deserves,” said Tony Weber, chief executive of the FCAI.

“The automotive industry has invested heavily in the development of new technology for battery electric, hybrid electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, many of which are already available on the Australian market. It’s critical that Australian consumers have the opportunity to enjoy the environmental and safety benefits these low emission vehicles offer.

“We have been calling for the implementation of an achievable emissions target for some time, so we welcome the opportunity to discuss this in more detail. The key is to implement achievable emissions targets, designed in consultation with industry, as part of the transport sector’s contribution to lower overall emissions.”

Weber commented on the ambitious targets for 50 per cent low emission vehicles by 2030 and cautioned that a considered approach is necessary to encourage the uptake of these vehicles.

“We have learned from observing the European market that strong infrastructure support and incentivisation [sic] is required if meaningful low emission sales are to be achieved.

“A well thought out introductory plan that includes tariff and tax relief, financial and non- financial incentives and the provision of comprehensive infrastructure will need to be implemented if the targets are to be achieved.

“The just-announced $200 million infrastructure fund will support these initiatives,” Weber said.

Weber also noted that a considered and pragmatic approach is necessary when dealing with Australia’s unique automotive market.

“It’s well known that Australians love their sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and light commercial vehicles (LCVs). Our market is made up of approximately two thirds SUVs and LCVs, and one third passenger vehicles (PVs).

“We need to have a realistic and stepped approach to the implementation of emissions targets,” Weber said.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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