And Australians say they support a ban on petrol and diesel car sales. A survey released in March by The Australia Institute showed that voters overwhelmingly support a ban by 2035.
It’s not enough to say that carmakers may not have any choice – it’s clear that countries without vehicle emissions legislation and targets to drive the acceleration of clean transport risk becoming dumping grounds for older vehicles as car-makers wring out the last financial returns possible from an old technology.
But an easy to absorb parallel to draw, and which is an oft-raised example of how the price of new technology rapidly drops once adopted into the mainstream is the smart TV. Who in their right mind would buy a CRT television now?
There are some arguments that the internal combustion engine could live on if the fossil fuels that drive them are replaced by “e-fuels” which are made from renewable sources.
However, a new report from European clean transport lobby Transport & Environment argues that this is simply not cost-effective, countering a push from the oil and gas sector and auto industry suppliers to have e-fuels added to the EU’s vehicle carbon credits scheme.
As battery manufacturing costs continue to decline, so too will the cost of electric cars. And switching to e-fuels is not as cheap as it first might sound, says T&E.
In fact, the new analysis shows by 2030 a car powered by e-petrol in Europe will cost €10,000 (about $A15,500) more to own and run than a battery-electric car, costing 43% more than electric cars for the average driver.
Considering industry claims that the most cost-effective solution for the EU would be to create e-fuels in Africa because solar power is cheaper to make there, T&E says even without the costs of handling and distribution e-fuels would be more expensive per kilometre driven.
Even using a mix of e-fuels and petrol would be more expensive than simply running an electric car. Looking at the total cost of ownership over 5 years, the EV would be 30% cheaper than owning a car running on “e-petrol” – even if the vehicle were secondhand.
And there would be less benefit from running an ICE car on e-fuels than simply driving an electric car, says T&E.
According to the analysis, battery-electric vehicles powered by the EU grid in 2030 would emit half the amount of carbon than ICE cars run on e-fuels if the energy charging batteries and e-fuels are created using an electricity grid with the same carbon intensity.
E-fuels may have their place, however, says T&E. They may be useful for heavy industry, maritime and aviation sectors, and diverting e-fuels to road transport which already has a much more efficient alternative to ICE would be detrimental to carbonising these more difficult sectors.