The Senate Select Committee that is conducting the first major inquiry into electric vehicles in Australia is likely to delay its recommendations for up to two months after deciding to commission modelling of various proposals.
The committee headed by independent Senator Tim Storer had been expected to report back by December 4, but this will likely to deferred until January 30 so that the Parliamentary Budget Office can prepare the detailed modelling.
The inquiry has received 138 submissions, and called nearly 100 witnesses over five public hearings – with the overwhelming majority arguing for a co-ordinated approach to help kick-start the EV sector in Australia, which is badly trailing the rest of the world.
Storer hinted recently that targets and various incentives were being discussed, but gave no indication of their potential scope.
The Electric Vehicle Council this week called for a 50 per cent EV target for 2030, in line with Labor’s 50 per cent renewable energy target.
Numerous reports have suggested Australia needs to prepare infrastructure and other incentives so it can catch up with the rest of the world. Having more EVs is likely to help with the integration of renewables, particularly at household level, because of their storage capacity, according to local fast-charger manufacturer Tritum.
Some 26 countries now have specific EV incentives, including several with mandates to end the sales of petrol and diesel cars. Some of these are not imposed until 2040, a point where most car manufacturers believe they would have stopped in any case.
Storer said in a statement issued to The Driven on Friday that the Senate committee is expected to confirm the extension when it meets on Tuesday.
“We are on the verge of concluding an expansive, timely and insightful inquiry into a critically important technological transition that is well and truly on our doorstep,” Storer said.
“From the start of this process, my hope was that we’d be able to deliver a consensus report with concrete recommendations that could be adopted by the Government to help them get on the front foot with the fast approaching electric vehicle revolution.
“I have been blessed with an excellent group of intelligent and engaged senators and I’ve already identified a number of constructive areas in which I’m confident we can reach agreement.
“This extension will allow for further analysis to be undertaken on the budgetary impacts of additional policy proposals to accelerate electric vehicle uptake currently under consideration by the Committee.”
Australians have struggled for choice of EVs, despite numerous surveys revealing huge interest and more than one third of car owners looking to an EV for their next purchase.
Three new EVs to be introduced into the Australian market over the next 12 months are likely to offer more choice and lower prices. But it’s noticeable that all three cars – the Hyundai Ioniq, the second generation Nissan Leaf, and the Tesla Model S, will have been available overseas for two years before reaching Australian shores.
The Ioniq was formally unveiled this week and will be available for sale from 18 Hyundai dealerships from mid December.
It is the first EV with a decent range (230km) to be offered for less than $A50,000, with a price tag of $45,000 – although dealer fees and other on-road costs may tip the final price over $A50,000 in some states.
These cars will be joined by the Jaguar i-Pace (December), the second generation BMW i3 (with double the range) in February, the Hyundai Kona EV early 2019, plus offerings from Mini, Porsche and Audi, and possible VW.