CEO and founder of electric car company Elon Musk has put in his two cents into Australia’s debate on whether or not the target put forward by Labor to have half of all new car sales electric by 2030 can be met.
“No question,” is the short answer from Musk.
The entrepreneur delivered his verdict on the state of electric vehicles in Australia to Michael Cannon-Brookes, CEO of software giant Atlassian, reprising the so-called “billionaire tweets” that ended up seeing South Australia establish the Tesla big battery, the biggest in the world.
Australia is currently knee-deep in a media furore about electric vehicles, since the Coalition said it would not release its promised strategy as part of its “Climate Solutions” package until midway through next year (and this with a federal election looming), while Labor announced 50% target for electric vehicle target by 2030.
Labor has since copped considerable criticism for this policy, which is half as ambitious as the Australian Greens policy of 100% electric vehicle sales by 2030 but has still sent Coalition members into apoplectic fits making all kinds of false claims about the suitability of electric vehicles for Australians.
Not so Cannon-Brookes, who reached out to the Tesla CEO for his opinion on the matter.
“I’m pretty sure Elon wouldn’t think 50% of new vehicles sold being electric in 11 years is in any way ‘ambitious’,” tweeted Cannon-Brookes in response to a fellow Twitterer musing on Australia’s heated electric car debate.
“As for our prime minister’s comments that EVs will “end the weekend” for consumers? Batshit insane! @elonmusk?”
I’m pretty sure Elon wouldn’t think 50% of new vehicles sold being electric in 11 years is in any way “ambitious”. As for our prime minister’s comments that EVs will “end the weekend” for consumers? Batshit insane! @elonmusk ? 🤷🏼♂️
— Mike Cannon-Brookes 👨🏼💻🧢 (@mcannonbrookes) April 8, 2019
The Tesla CEO replied on Wednesday, Australian time, saying if course Australia could reach that target – just look at Norway where half of vehicles sold were electric in this month alone.
“Norway has already proven it could be done last month. No question Australia could do this in far fewer than 11 years,” replied Musk.
Norway has already proven it could be done last month. No question Australia could do this in far fewer than 11 years.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 10, 2019
Musk’s observations confirm earlier comments by Labor’s climate change spokesman Mark Butler, who told The Driven podcast that he expected EV sales would “take off” in the second half of the next decade, once the “ticket price” reached parity with petrol and diesel cars and the charging infrastructure was in place.
“Over … the next four, five, six years it very clear that the ticket price of an EV will reach the same level as petrol vehicles,” Butler told The Driven.
“Given that the running costs of an EV are so much cheaper, and we have the infrastructure set up, then I think sales of EVs in the second half of the 2020s will simply take off.” (You can hear more of that interview here).
Musk has spent 8 years of building an electric car company that is now valued around $US50 billion, is finally turning profits and is blazing a trail across Europe and China with its popular, best-selling Model 3 electric sedan.
Cannon-Brookes, meanwhile, has been heavily involved with his “fair dinkum power” campaign, and whose company also just committed to 100% renewable energy by 2025.
The Coalition’s wild and sometimes hilariously inaccurate campaign against electric vehicles defies its own carbon abatement policies, which factor in up to 50% share for electric car sales.
And, contrary to energy minister Angus Taylor’s claims to Chris Kenny on Sky News this week that a million electric cars would overburden the grid, or cause issues if charging from renewables because “the sun doesn’t shine at night”, a report commissioned by his department recently showed that managed well, electric cars could in fact help reduce energy prices by helping to smooth peak loads on the grid.