A goal of no more new petrol or diesel cars on roads by 2030 has been re-iterated by the Australian Greens to push a switch to electric vehicles in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.
The target is part of a refreshed climate policy from the Australian Greens, which also proposes a 100 per cent switch to renewables by 2030, a new public authority named Renew Australia and places a transition to zero emissions transport as a high priority.
The policy notes that “Australia’s very high transport emissions, at 19 per cent of our total pollution, means we need to use our clean energy to power an electric vehicle revolution.”
Key measures that the Greens climate policy proposes to accelerate a transition to electric vehicles include introducing a tax on luxury ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles to fund subsidies for electric vehicles to make them more affordable.
“A 17 per cent tax on luxury fossil fuel cars would help cover most costs for scrapping registration fees, import tariffs, GST and stamp duty on electric vehicles, reducing the cost of electric vehicles by around 20 per cent,” the policy states.
“Combined with emissions standards for vehicles that lead up to a complete ban on new internal combustion vehicles by 2030, air-quality will be improved and households can reduce their cost-of-living at the petrol bowser. We can encourage a homegrown electric vehicle and battery charging industry at the same time.”
The repeated call for a ban on petrol and diesel-fuelled vehicles follows closely on the heels of a confirmation from MP Melissa Price’s office on Tuesday that the Coalition’s national electric vehicle strategy which was promised by Scott Morrison in his “Climate Solutions” speech in February would not be delivered until mid-2020.
Labor is viewed as more favourable to EVs, but has yet to unveil its policy. Both the Coalition and Labor refused to endorse a sweeping package outlined by independent Senator Tim Storer at the conclusion of the Senate inquiry into EVs.
The Coalition’s decision to delay its policy strategy was condemned on Wednesday by Greens’ spokesperson for Transport and Infrastructure Senator Janet Rice.
“The Morrison government’s delay to the electric vehicle strategy means Australia isn’t even in the slow lane when it comes to electric vehicles, we’re stalled on the sidelines,” said Rice.
“The Labor party isn’t much better, watering down the recommendations in the Senate inquiry report.”
“The major parties have no plan, no policies and no incentives to drive electric vehicle uptake.”
“The Greens are the only party with a real plan to get Australia in the fast lane so that we can reap the rewards that will come from electric vehicles.”
It’s not only political opponents that are critical of the delay in pinning down a national EV strategy – on Wednesday, global energy mainstay Schneider Electric weighed in on the discussion, calling for fast-track to a national charging infrastructure.
“Our overseas experience shows that the national Government has to play a strong role in developing the EV transport sector,” said Laetitia Odini, EV Solutions Marketing Manager at Schneider Electric in a note by email.
“In Australia we want to improve the mobility experience and to help create a more sustainable future. Electric vehicles will play an increasing role in decarbonizing transport and further electrifying our society. Our vision aligns strongly with the Electric Vehicle Council.
“We fully understand the responsibility that large businesses share in advancing the electric vehicle market. There is also a critical need for Governments to provide targets and leadership so business can properly plan the investment required to meet those national targets,” she said.
If Australia were to implement a ban on petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, it would join the ranks of progressive nations placing restrictions on high emissions, fossil-fuelled vehicles.
Norway, the world’s leading EV market by share with half of all vehicle sales now electric, has banned all new ICE vehicle sales by 2025.
Many other major cities and territories across the globe have made similar calls, including London and Oxford, Los Angeles and Seattle, Mexico City, Paris, Vancouver and British Columbia, Auckland, Barcelona and Madrid, Rome and Milan, and Hainan.
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.