Australia’s automotive industry on Tuesday published it’s the 2021 results of its industry-led voluntary emissions standard, and while there is clear progress, Australia remains a global laggard, with no federally led or mandated emissions targets.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Australia’s peak representative organisation for companies who distribute new passenger vehicles, light commercial vehicles, and motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, reported on Tuesday the results of the voluntary emissions standard it established in 2020.
FCAI’s voluntary emissions standard aims sets a 2030 target for passenger cars and light SUVs of less than 100 grams of CO2 per kilometre (gCO2/km), and 145gCO2/km for heavy SUVs and light commercial vehicles (MC+NA), all by 2030.
The results of 2021 saw an average for MA vehicles (passenger cars and light SUVs) of 146.5gCO2/km, down slightly from 150gCO2/km in 2020 and the 2021 target of 150gCO2/km.
Meanwhile, for MC+NA vehicles an average of 212.5gCO2/km was achieved in 2021, down from 218gCO2/km in 2020, but still well above the targeted 193gCO2/km for that year.
By contrast, the EU has set itself an emissions target of 95gCO2/km for passenger vehicles between 2020 and 2024, and 147gCO2/km for vans. It sets even harder long term targets out to 2030, and many countries will ban the sale of fossil fuel vehicles by 2030, and Norway by 2025.
So, while there is progress, it appears to be marginal, at best, and suffers from a lack of any federally mandated or led emissions target for the country’s transport sector. This affects not just emissions that impact the climate, but particulates that impact people’s health.
Many major car makers have made it clear that the lack of any emissions standard means that they have no incentive to bring EVs to the Australian market. VW is bringing none, other car makers have made only a few EVs available.
The FCAI says it wants the federal government to adopt its targets and make them mandatory. But it is not in favour of tightening them to catch up with overseas standards.
“Clear and consistent policy direction on a national scale is critical for manufacturers to prioritize new low and zero emission powertrains for the Australian marketplace,” said Tony Weber, FCAI’s chief executive.
“We are reiterating our calls for government’s adoption of the FCAI voluntary emissions standard as part of its ambition to reduce emissions in Australia’s transport sector.
“While our future is full electrification, our short-term pathway to achieving emissions reduction will encompass a range of technologies available. This includes hyper efficient internal combustion, plug in hybrid, hybrid and full battery electric options.”
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.