Why Australia is losing the EV race

When you buy your next car, would you be interested in getting an electric vehicle?

If you answered yes, you’re not alone. Since 2018, surveys have shown that around 50% of Australians would consider an EV. Despite this, Australia has the lowest rate of electric car ownership among developed countries.

Electric vehicle manufacturers have previously blamed government policy for Australia’s “dismal” EV uptake and now experts are weighing in, saying the Australian government is ignoring the household savings EVs could offer.

"We have the lowest cost of electricity in the world. We stand to save the most money by electrifying our vehicles and electrifying our heat,” engineer and renewable energy expert Saul Griffith told the ABC’s 7:30.

"If we electrified the majority of our domestic economy, we'd be saving every household $3,000 to $5,000 a year in total. That's billions of dollars per year for the nation. We have everything to win here."

Griffith says we need a suite of policies to incentivise EVs, similar to what we saw for rooftop solar. But instead the “hypocritical” government “let the electric vehicle be caught in the culture wars around fossil fuels”.

Australia has the highest per-capita uptake of rooftop solar in the world. With over 2 million Australian households generating their own free solar power during the day, it’s no wonder consumers would want to capture that and use it to run their cars.

"Rooftop solar in Australia is cheaper than the cheapest grid supply electricity in the world. But crazily we import oil instead of using that cheap resource to power our vehicles," Griffith said.

But with Minister for Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor dumping electric vehicles in the “luxury car” category, hopes that we’ll see any real movement on electric vehicle policy at a national level aren’t high.

“People who have the money to buy a luxury car are welcome to go out and do that. And we are seeing people buying, you know, expensive electric vehicles, and that's up to them,” Mr Taylor told 7.30.

“We're not into subsidising luxury cars, it's not something we're going to do as a government.”

So we turn to the states, many of which have or are poised to introduce their own subsidies of electric vehicles. 

"Let's have a race amongst the Australian states and territories as to who can have the best policies in this area. And let's shame the federal government into some action," said ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr. 

Read more at the ABC



Sources:

ABC: Electric vehicles 'caught in the culture wars' despite household savings, expert says

ABC: Australians want to buy electric cars, but car makers say government policy blocks supply