The Australian arm of Swedish-Chinese carmaker Volvo is urging federal and state governments to take a leaf out of the EV policy book of NSW, which on Sunday leapt into the age of clean transport with the most progressive policy to support electric vehicle uptake Australia has yet seen.
On unveiling a $500 million plan to offer rebates for 25,000 electric vehicle buyers and inject significant funding into charging infrastructure, NSW is now a leader on the Australian stage against a backdrop of a global transition to electrification.
The move has been applauded by many major carmakers, with Volvo – which in March declared there is “no future” for combustion vehicles – becoming the latest to join hands for the change in policy.
Volvo has already committed to a 100% electric future for its auto manufacturing business and says that from 2030 will no longer sell any combustion engine vehicles.
The move by NSW, which will also see it transition its entire government fleet to electric by 2030, is a “significant step in the right direction,” says Volvo Car Australia MD Stephen Connor.
“Volvo firmly believes there is no long-term future for cars with an internal combustion engine. Therefore, Volvo is committed to becoming a fully electric car company by 2030 and becoming a leader in the fast-growing premium electric car market,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
The carmaker is on the cusp of releasing its first all-electric vehicle in Australia.
This is the XC40 Recharge, a stylish mid-sized SUV that will be priced at $76,990 before on-road costs. Although it will not be eligible for the $3,000 rebate under the NSW EV strategy, it is possible it may be eligible for a waiver of stamp duty (based on the NSW EV strategy website on the matter that states the threshold is $78,000 including GST, but no on-road costs).
Volvo’s all-electric offshoot, Polestar, also has plans to release its Polestar 2 in early 2022, which will also be joined by a Volvo C40 Recharge.
“In less than a decade we intend to only sell fully electric cars and, phase out any car in our global portfolio with an internal combustion engine, including hybrids,” said Connor.
“This will allow us to meet the expectations of our customers and be a part of the solution when it comes to fighting climate change. Other carmakers have announced similar plans.”
Electric vehicle policy to support uptake plays an important role in helping countries reach their carbon emissions reduction targets. The global average of EV sales now stands at around 5%. In some countries, it is much higher, in particular, Norway at 75% where three decades of EV policy have driven a solid transition.
Connor says it is imperative that other states and territories, as well as government at a federal level, also come to the party with supportive EV policies.
“We urge the federal government, and other states and territories, to recognise this reality and fast track their electric vehicle strategies. This is crucial to ensure Australia does not lag behind the global car market which is responding to the seismic technological change that is underway,” Connor said.
The comments fly in the face of the “Future Fuels Strategy” (FFS) released by the federal minister for energy and emissions reduction Angus Taylor that has been condemned for downplaying the role that electric vehicles have to play in decarbonising Australia.
Taylor’s team admitted in March that errors were made in the modelling that suggested hybrids, rather than all-electric vehicles, represent better value for money for Australians wanting to reduce their carbon footprints.
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.