State and territory governments should consider a mandatory electric vehicle scheme requiring all new car sales to be zero-emissions by 2035 if there is an “absence of national leadership on introducing fuel-efficiency targets”.

The suggestion is in a briefing paper prepared by the Electric ­Vehicle Council that recommends the federal government embrace fuel-efficiency standards in line with those in the US and the EU.

The paper will be put to Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen at an August 19 summit in Canberra amid a growing push to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles from Australian roads.

Mr Bowen is set to speak at the private event with Atlassian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes, Industry Minister Ed Husic, teal independent Zoe Daniel, Supercheap Auto managing director Benjamin Ward, Tesla chairwoman Robyn Denholm, Volkswagen Group Australia boss Paul Sansom and Tritium chief executive Jane Hunter.


Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen. Picture: Oscar Colman

The 13-page Electric Vehicle Council report outlines four mandated electric vehicle sales targets between 2025 and 2035 for state and territory governments to consider should the federal government fail to introduce fuel-efficiency targets that pave the way to a zero-emissions vehicle fleet by 2050.

“This type of scheme could also be introduced nationally as an alternative to fuel-efficiency targets if it proved to be a more feasible option,” the report says.

The ACT government recently became the first jurisdiction in the country to ban the sale of new ­petrol cars from 2035.

Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari said the main recommendation in the briefing paper was for the government to adopt fuel-efficiency standards in line with Europe and America.

“While the world was accelerating towards electric vehicles, Australia has fallen behind,” he told The Australian. “It’s time for Australia to join the rest of the world in its transition to zero-emissions vehicles to avoid being used as a dumping ground for old polluting cars.”

The report blames Australia’s lack of mandatory fuel-efficiency targets and lack of national purchase incentives for being the key drivers of the low take-up of EVs.

In the event of sales mandates for EVs being adopted, the report proposes a 100 per cent target by 2035, a 55 per cent target by 2030, a 30 per cent target by 2027 and a 10 per cent target by 2025.

“Manufacturers need to achieve a target each year, which increases over time, and pay a penalty when they fall short. Alternatively, manufacturers receive tradeable credits if they exceed the target,” the briefing paper says.

Mr Bowen did not comment on whether Labor would consider sales mandates for EVs. But he told The Australian that Labor was “committed to a national electric vehicle strategy to make EVs cheaper, increase their sales and roll out more EV charging infrastructure.”

“We have already introduced the electric vehicle discount into parliament, helping cut emissions and make upfront costs cheaper for families and businesses who want them,” he said. “The government is also working towards a low-emissions vehicle target for the Commonwealth fleet, meaning 75 per cent of new purchases and leases will be EVs by 2025.”

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, which represents the major car companies, last month released research authored by S&P Global showing EVs would make up only 18 per cent of all vehicles sold in Australia in 2030 if the government did not do more to accelerate their arrival.

Australian Automobile Association managing director Michael Bradley said Australia needed a “CO2 standard for its vehicle fleet to help boost supply of cleaner cars to our small market”.

“But the Government needs to resist the calls of vested interests and always put consumers at the centre of its work to determine what’s feasible, and at what cost,” he said.

“Australia desperately needs a technology-agnostic approach to the inter-related issues of vehicle fuel efficiency, air quality, energy security, fuel quality, and declining tax revenue.”

Extracted in full form: States and territories urged to go it alone on EVs if national push absent (theaustralian.com.au)

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