Electric cars, trucks, buses, boats and even pedal bikes should all be made in Australia, backed by low interest Federal Government loans in a bid to position the country as a global powerhouse of EV innovation.
That’s the wish – some might say it’s a dream given the current government’s tepid attitude to clean energy – of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association who put their proposals before the Senate committee on electric vehicles on Thursday when they sat in Brisbane.
The organisation says all the expertise is here, and government loan funding would give the industry the support it needs.
“There exists a strong case for the manufacture of electric buses and trucks, as electrified heavy haulage offers massive cost savings compared to diesel,” says the AEVA.
“Manufacturing of electric seafaring vessels should also be supported and develop the expertise this nation holds in specialised shipbuilding.
“Low interest loans underwritten by the Commonwealth should be afforded to businesses who manufacture electric vehicles here in Australia,” AEVA said.
“Support should also be afforded to chemical processors to develop plants making feedstock for battery manufacture.
“Finally, a significant boost to academic and industrial research institutions like the CSIRO and Australian universities is essential if we are to enhance our capacity in advanced materials sciences and battery technology. Battery technology should become a field of major national significance for ARC Discovery and Linkage grants.
“Despite what some politicians might say, electricity is cheap and set to get cheaper as more decentralised generation is installed on rooftops and hillsides,” the AEVA say in their submission to the Senate.
“Driving an EV is two to three times cheaper per kilometre than petrol or diesel in all states of Australia ” they add.
The AEVA’s wish-list could change the whole environment around EVs, they say, and position Australia as a world-leader, but action is needed now.
The AEVA’s recommendations, which they say are, “somewhat in order of urgency” also include strict emissions regulations on all new ICE passenger vehicles, motorcycles and light trucks sold in Australia.
“Australia risks becoming the dumping ground for inefficient ICE vehicles if emissions regulations are not brought in.
By mandating a limit of 105 g CO2-e/km manufacturers will be incentivised to offer low- and zero emission vehicles for sale in Australia. This will ensure there is a viable and competitive market for EVs and plug-in hybrids,” the AEVA submissions says.
“We should encourage EV and EV component manufacturing in Australia. We have a wealth of knowledge and expertise in automobile manufacturing which is at risk of being lost for good.
Electric vehicles are technically easier to build and require less intensive facilities than comparable ICE vehicle manufacture. Automation and standardisation of many processes has resulted in increased efficiencies which were not possible in years past.”
And let’s not forget electric bikes.
“We need to encourage the use and uptake of electric bicycles,” says AEVA.
“Electric bicycles are a fantastic, low-cost way to get more people out of cars and alleviate congestion and air quality issues on urban roads.
“Supporting electric bicycles through purchase rebates, salary packaging, improved cycling infrastructure, and relaxing regulations on model availability (particularly with respect to power-assist levels) will greatly enhance uptake and deliver tangible health benefits to the community.”
Tony Bosworth writes for www.TheDriven.io and RenewEconomy.com.au. He has 35 years experience in journalism, and has been instrumental in launching and editing several automotive magazines including Which Car? magazine in the UK.