The Electric Vehicle Council has called on the Labor party to create an EV target to match its renewable energy ambition – a 50 per cent share by 2030.
The call by the EVC came as Labor unveiled its energy policy ahead of the election, including a $15 billion boost to funding for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and a new body to be called the “Energy Modernisation Fund”.
Labor also unveiled a $2000 rebate for household batteries for 100,000 households, part of a target to achieve one million batteries by 2025.
The EV industry is desperate for similar target, an are hoping for targets, or at least some sort of incentives plan, is recommended by the Senate EV inquiry, as hinted recently by inquiry chair Tim Storer recently.
EVC chief executive Behyad Jafair says that if half of all cars on Australian roads were electric, then 2,000 lives a year could be saved, and emissions equal to 41 megatons of CO2 could be avoided.
Transport emissions account for around half of all emissions in Australia, and the impact on the health of Australians is significant – it was the cause of death for over 1,700 Aussies in 2015 – and that number is rising.
“Pollution from road vehicles causes on average five deaths every day in Australia. That’s more than the number of lives taken in vehicle crashes,” said Jafari in a statement.
“We can save thousands of lives every year if our Federal Government does what has been painfully obvious everywhere else in the world and puts in place a national plan to support electric vehicles.”
Jafari’s statement is backed up by the recent report on air pollution from the World Health organisation demanding a reduction in carbon and particulate emissions that are the cause of death for 1 in 10 of the world’s children.
Many countries around the world have set EV targets and introduced incentives to encourage drivers to shift to electric transport, from Norway, the world’s leader in electric vehicle market share, to the UK, the US and New Zealand, to name a few.
“Electric vehicles powered by renewable energy produce zero emissions. For this and many other reasons, the electrification of road transport has been embraced by the governments of all our major trading partners,” says Jafari.
But the Australian government has been painfully reluctant to follow this lead, despite a ministerial forum on electric vehicles being conducted as far back as 2015.
“Unfortunately, while the Australian electric vehicle industry is full of recognised global leaders, the lack of direction from our government has made Australia itself a global laggard.”
Australian health advocacy group, Doctors for the Environment, also supports the reduction of carbon emissions through promotion of electric transport.
Health is not the only benefit, either, says Jafari.
“Electric vehicles present Australia with many opportunities, from clean air to new investment and jobs, but these can’t be taken for granted.
“We need a national plan to put Australia at the forefront of transport electrification.
“I welcome Bill Shorten’s commitment to a 50 per cent renewable energy target and urge him to complement that with a similar target for electric vehicles sales by 2030,” he says.
Recommendations for the recent Senate Committee into electric vehicles is expected to be announced by Storer in coming weeks, and it has been signalled that those recommendations may reflect targets set by trade partners such as the New Zealand, which aims for 64,000 EVs by 2022 or the UK, which plans to ban petrol and diesel car sales by 2040.
A target of at least 50% by 2030 would, “put Australia on track to reaching zero emissions in transport by 2050,” Jafari said.
“The era of the internal combustion engine is coming to an end, and for the sake of Australian’s health and wellbeing, it can’t come soon enough,” says Jafari.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.