Prime minister Scott Morrison has doubled down on his description of Labor’s electric vehicle target as a “war on weekends” by insisting that Australians like to buy cars and utes with “a bit of grunt.”
We are not going to argue with the desire for grunt, but we will point out that if grunt is what he and other Australian drivers are looking for, then he and they should really get out and try an electric vehicle: They are faster, have greater acceleration and better handling than anything that the petrol and diesel cars can offer.
The shift from glorified golf buggies to highly desirable performance cars has been led by Tesla, of course, with a series of cars that can accelerate from 0-100kmh in less than 2.5 seconds. This drag race between a Tesla Model S and a Holden supercar tells the story. No prizes for guessing which car wins.
You only have to look at the reviews of electric cars by experienced driving writers, and even the reaction to the arch-skeptics from Top Gear, when they finally took a Model 3 for a spin down the track.
The Morrison grunt claims go to the heart of the Coalition’s extraordinary campaign against Labor’s proposed electric vehicle strategy that calls for 50 per cent of new vehicle sales to be electric by 2030 and 50 per cent of government fleets by 2025.
It’s basically a campaign based on falsehoods and ignorance, as we highlighted last week and on Monday, and contradictory to their own position, which has seen them advocate EVs and charging networks, and even assume a similar uptake in their own emissions reduction policies.
“They’re going to attempt, if they get into government, to control many aspects of our lives including what cars we drive,” energy minister Angus Taylor told Chris Kenny on Sky News.
Labor leader Bill Shorten countered the attacks by assuring the Australian public that the targets would not mean Australians have to give up owning “grunty” vehicles like utes. “That doesn’t mean we’re going to confiscate someone’s ute in 2030 – it doesn’t mean that,” Shorten said on Monday.
But perhaps the tradies wish they would.
Tesla, and other EV makers, are focusing on electric utes in their next range of options, and they promise to be exactly what the Hilux-driving “tradies” cited by Morrison would want.
The R1T electric ute from Rivian, for instance, will have 600km range, a towing capacity of 5 tonnes and can carry payloads of 800kg (and whose founder RJ Scaringe has already pegged Australia as a key market).
Tesla is also designing an all-electric ute (and which is touted to be revealed in coming months). CEO Elon Musk gave a hint of its design just a month ago, and last year also promised an electric tradies van and said the Tesla Ute would be able to power the tools as well.
He assured customers it would have a dual motor, all-wheel drive and ‘crazy torque’. And provide 240 volt power to use the tools all day.
Ssangyong, Workhorse and Great Wall are all working on electric utes.
Towing? It’s worth mentioning again that time a Tesla towed a Qantas jet. Camping? Tesla EV owners like nothing better to take their car out on camping trips. It keeps the beers cold and the lights on.
You want grunt, prime minister, you’ll find grunt, and comfort, and a cold beer, in an EV.
Finally, it is worth linking this Facebook video from Labor, which highlights the extraordinary Sky-led backflip on the EV transition, and how, just a few months ago, Coalition MPs were saying that EVs and charging stations were just the thing.