Australia needs to get serious about the uptake of electric vehicles on our roads, according to a report from a Senate Committee.

The committee has made a number of recommendations to the Australian Government as a result, including the introduction of a national electric vehicle (EV) strategy, an inter-governmental taskforce, EV targets and a comprehensive plan for the rollout of a national public charging network.

The Electric Vehicle Council says the recommendations need to be implemented immediately so Australia “can catch up to the rest of the world on the great global shift to electric vehicles”.

Australia has not yet given a target for electric vehicle sales, with the committee recommending several be put in place for light passenger vehicles, light commercial vehicles and buses in metropolitan regions as well as a national EV target for Government fleet vehicles.

Evidence from the Electric Vehicle Council provided insight into how far behind our nation is in comparison to others.

Both Norway and Netherlands aim for every vehicle on the road to be electric by 2025, while other countries including Taiwan, France and the UK aim for the same result by 2040.

To encourage more EV sales, a number of manufacturers including Nissan, Renault, Hyundai and Tesla are working to introduce more affordable alternatives with price points between $35,000-$50,000, the report states. Hyundai recently introduced the Ioniq Electric, which is Australia’s cheapest EV priced from $44,490 (plus on-road costs).

While the committee has put forth its recommendations, Australian Greens Senator Janet Rice says they’re not good enough.

“The weak recommendations of this report demonstrate just how feeble Labor and Liberal are when it comes to electric vehicle policy,” she says.

“The world is experiencing an electric vehicle revolution that is transforming how we move people and goods.

“But Australia is a global laggard when it comes to policy ambition and certainty.”

The report says there are a number of projected economic benefits if Australia increases its EV uptake. Those benefits include an increase of 13,400 jobs, vehicle ownership savings of around $1700 per year and lower emissions including the equivalent of taking eight million petrol vehicles off the road.

Behyad Jafari, chief executive of the Electric Vehicle Council says the benefits of a mass switch to electric vehicles are huge.

“Cost of living pressure would ease if we broke our dependence on the bowser. Carbon emissions would drop. And if the smoke and noise of combustion engines was phased out, our cities would become healthy and beautiful places to live,” he says.

“A switch to electric vehicles would also go a very long way toward ending our fuel security issues. We could break our dangerous dependence on imported oil.

“The benefits of electric vehicles are so obvious that all the Australian Government needs to do is show that it’s backing the switch. Once momentum swings in behind electric vehicles, the shift will come quickly and investment will flow.”

Extracted from The Motor Report