Senate calls for concerted effort to pave way for EVs

Proper planning at many levels needed to prepare for electric future

Senate calls for concerted effort to pave way for EVs
The Senate committee wants a range of actions on EVs including for charging infrastructure


The Senate is urging a comprehensive and planned approach to the nation’s electric vehicle (EV) future, including for local manufacturing.

In releasing its report, the Senate Select Committee on Electric Vehicles has accepted the logic of a transport future with a high degree of EV acceptance, reflecting the bulk of submissions to it over the past year.

"Australian Governments should prioritise the development of a national EV strategy and an inter-governmental taskforce to lead its implementation," the committee states.

"National EV sales targets could be set to deliver certainty to business and consumers, and careful examination should be given to policies that may be introduced to reduce the upfront cost of EVs and improve their price competitiveness with internal combustion engine vehicles.

"The Australian Government should set EV targets for the Australian Government Fleet and work with state and local government to coordinate fleet procurement. It should partner with business to manage and facilitate the roll out of charging infrastructure, establish consistent national standards, and ensure new developments and the electricity grid are 'EV charger ready'. Government could actively assist industry to develop its domestic EV manufacturing and supply and value-chain capabilities.

"In the absence of appropriate regulatory settings, Australia's near term EV uptake is likely to be modest. Slow uptake will continue to result in EV manufacturers not prioritising the Australian market and fewer EV models being available to Australian motorists. It will also delay the realisation of substantial economic, environmental and health benefits, and risk seeing opportunities for economic development pass by."

Among its 17 recommendations it wants the federal government to consider establishing national EV targets for light passenger vehicles, light commercial vehicles and metropolitan buses and for the government fleet.

To this end, it seeks federal coordination of federal, state and local government EV fleet, truck and electric bus procurement through the inter-governmental EV taskforce.

On the technology side, the committee seeks federal development and implementation of a "comprehensive 10-year EV manufacturing roadmap".

This would cover research and development, vehicle and system design and manufacture batteries, telematics, supply chain and component manufacturing.

To take care of the knowledge component, the COAG Industry and Skills Council should be harnessed to establish national training arrangements for automotive service technicians in relation to electric vehicles.

The committee wants electricity supply infrastructure focused on, with the whole effort underpinned by a national strategy.

"Addressing these risks and challenges will require effective national standards and regulation in regards to charging infrastructure and electricity grid integration, building and construction, public safety, consumer protection, processes for disposal and/or re-use of batteries, and skills training," its first recommendation states.

Read about Linfox’s electric vehicle plans, here

Meanwhile, it notes that SAE level  5 automation , of the sort thought to develop in concert with EV take-up, is expected to be at least 10 years away

The Australian Greens were suitably quick off the mark with its response. But despite the government not being the preponderant party on the committee, it was critical of the recommendations for leaving the country "in the slow lane", compared with the likes of Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark.

"The world is experiencing an electric vehicle revolution that is transforming how we move people and goods," Senator Janet Rice, Australian Greens transport spokesperson and member of the Committee, says.

"But Australia is a global laggard when it comes to policy ambition and certainty. The government has a choice to get Australia in the fast lane, but that means hitting the accelerator with ambitious targets and incentives to drive the uptake of electric vehicles.

"We have the opportunity now to get on board and benefit from this technology, such as the economic boost and jobs in vehicle assembly, battery and component manufacturing, and EV infrastructure installation, all while improving Australia’s fuel security, reducing carbon pollution and improving public health from cleaner air."

A Greens EV plan would see: setting a target of 100 per cent of new passenger vehicles being electric by 2030; strong vehicle emissions standards; removing import tariffs and other taxes such as GST, stamp duty and registration; and rolling out fast charging infrastructure.

The full report can be found here

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