The ACT Greens, which has held the balance of power in the ACT for the past 12 years, on Friday announced a comprehensive plan to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles that includes creation of a $50 million fund to give people and businesses $10,000 towards buying an electric car or motorbike.
The capital territory government is already a leader in decarbonisation, having reached a goal of 100% renewable energy sources ahead of schedule in 2019 before switching its focus to a reduction of transport-related emissions.
Now, the ACT Greens has released a grand plan that ACT Greens leader – and current ACT climate and energy minister -Shane Rattenbury says he thinks will see the ACT become Australia’s electric vehicle leader by 2030.
“This is a bold plan that will make the ACT the electric vehicle capital within a decade. It’s what we need to address climate change, but also to give ACT residents and businesses the advantages of electric vehicles that other countries are already enjoying,” said Rattenbury in a note by email.
“EVs are good for the environment as they create no greenhouse gas emissions, and no tailpipe pollution. They are also good for consumers, being significantly cheaper to run and maintain.”
The plan includes providing a $50 million fund with which to provide financial incentives to accelerate the adoption of private and commercial transport.
It will also include a target to reach 90% new electric vehicle sales by 2030, far out-reaching the 50% goal put forward by the ALP before 2019’s federal election, to come in line with leading overseas jurisdictions.
In addition to a reduction in tailpipe and lifetime emissions, electric vehicles are a smoother driver, therefore having less wear and tear than combustion vehicles.
Adoption of electric vehicles also reduces damaging air pollution, which is responsible for thousands of heart- and lung-disease-related deaths each year, as well as noise pollution in traffic.
In announcing the new targets, Rattenbury highlighted the lack of federal policy to encourage the adoption of clean transport. While a federal policy was promised for mid-2020, it has now been delayed until later this year, if at all.
“A lack of government support has left Australia languishing when it comes to zero emission vehicles. Our policy will turn this around, making electric vehicles more available, affordable and convenient. In a decade, driving an EV will be the norm in Canberra, even for commercial businesses,” said Rattenbury.
“The Greens policy takes the most successful electric vehicle policies from around the world – focused on incentives and infrastructure. It will make the ACT the national leader, and a world leader, in clean, green transport. It will even bring employment and educational opportunities, as we establish the leading electrical vehicle industry in Australia.”
As part of the plan, ACT Greens also want to see public transport, garbage trucks, taxi and rideshare vehicles transition entirely to electric vehicles by 2035.
If implemented, it would also see continued expansion of charging infrastructure including requiring installations for multi-unit residential and commercial buildings to ensure complex-dwellers do not miss out.
It will also sound out industry and the education sector to identify further opportunities for transition, as well as continue research into vehicle-to-grid and vehicle-to-home.
“If we’re to tackle climate change, we simply can’t keep doing things the way we’ve always done. Acting now to give Canberrans real and affordable options to make the switch to EVs is just part of our Greens plan to Build a Better Normal in this unprecedented time.”
The ACT government is currently trialing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles although the trial is on hold as vital refuelling infrastructure installation has been delayed by the Covid-10 pandemic.
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.