Alternative Fuels, Transport News

Transition to electric vehicles slowed by big business lobbying

While governments around the world are pushing hard to transition to a zero emissions future, not-for-profit think tank InfluenceMap has found resistance to change by major automakers is acting as a handbrake on success.

The InfluenceMap report: Automakers and Climate Policy Advocacy: A Global Report released in May 2024, found that negative lobbying by the world’s largest automakers was putting global climate targets at risk and threatening the transition to electric vehicles.

The report was based on an analysis of the climate policy engagement strategies of 15 of the largest global automakers in seven key regions – Australia, EU, Japan, India, South Korea, UK and US.

The brands researched were: Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, BMW Group, Volkswagen Group, Tata Motors, Ford, Stellantis, GM, Hyundai Motor Group, Nissan, Renault Group, Mazda, Toyota, Honda and Suzuki.

InfluenceMap’s report found that 14 of the automakers, everyone except Tesla, had actively advocated against at least one policy promoting electric vehicles.

It found Toyota has been the most proactive in opposing climate regulations promoting battery electric vehicles in multiple regions, including the US, Australia and the UK.

It also pointed to the power of automotive industry groups in terms of lobbying against climate change legislation, highlighting the changes made to Australia’s New Vehicle Efficiency Standards policy announced in March this year after intense advocacy from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI). This moved the dial from the original 60 per cent reduction of emissions target by 2029, to 50 per cent reduction in emissions by 2029.

Of the brands researched, only Tesla, Mercedes-Benz and BMW are forecast to produce enough electric vehicles by 2030 to meet the International Energy Agency’s updated 1.5 degrees celcius pathway of 66 per cent electric vehicle sales.

InfluenceMap director Ben Youriev says the reluctance to move away from the creation of traditional internal combustion engine vehicles, in which the majority of the automakers are heavily invested, is working against the climate.

“Automakers’ substandard electric vehicle plans, and negative advocacy strategies, are driving the climate crisis,” Youriev says.

“Without an immediate gear change from them and their industry associations to reform their climate policy engagement they will continue to weaken and delay climate rules globally, steering the world to the brink.

“While electric vehicle sales continue to grow globally, negative advocacy from laggard automakers, particularly in Japan to protect their investments in polluting combustion engine technologies, remains one of the biggest obstacles to science-based climate policy”.

The full report can be found here

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