Govt announces modified New Vehicle Efficiency Standards

Silvery-blue electric vehicle (EV) charging (new efficiency standards)
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Australia’s Commonwealth Government has announced New Vehicle Efficiency Standards (NVES) it says will reduce emissions from new passenger vehicles by more than 60% by 2030 and save motorists money at the bowser.

The government has modified its original New Vehicle Efficiency Standard to bolster its chances of being passed in Parliament.

Related article: Vehicle Efficiency Standards to deliver savings for Aussies

The modifications include:

  • Recategorising a limited number of 4WDs from passenger car to light commercial vehicle. This acknowledges that some off-road wagons use similar ladder-frame chassis, and need comparable towing capacity above 3 tonnes, to dual cab utes. This includes models such as the Toyota Landcruiser and Nissan Patrol.
  • Smoothing the emissions trajectory for light commercial vehicles. This reflects adjustments announced by the US EPA to its vehicle standard and smooths the transition for utes, vans and 4x4s.
  • Adjusting the weight-based relative emissions limits (known as the break point), recognising that heavier vehicles emit more.
  • Staging implementation to enable preparation and testing of essential data reporting capabilities. The scheme will commence on 1 January 2025 but manufacturers will not begin earning credits or penalties until 1 July 2025.

The government will provide $60 million to boost EV charging at Australian dealerships, under the Driving the Nation fund.

Australia’s peak electric transport body has endorsed the government’s new vehicle efficiency standards as a big step forward for Australia.

“For many years now, we’ve campaigned for Australia to join the US and Europe by introducing vehicle efficiency standards so car makers are incentivised to offer their best and most affordable electric options to Australians,” Electric Vehicle Council CEO Behyad Jafari said.

“The government’s NVES model represents strong, ambitious standards that will send a clear signal to the global automotive industry: Australia now demands the same options in electric cars, vans and utes that you offer to the US and Europe.

“We know most Australian drivers are now interested in considering electric options, so more choice on the market will naturally drive greater take-up of EVs. Ultimately, these standards will mean all Australian consumers are paying lower fuel bills, breathe cleaner air and enjoying a greater choice of the latest and greatest in new cars.”

Smart Energy Council CEO John Grimes said he was pleased to see action to improve fuel efficiency in new cars sold in Australia but was disappointed the New Vehicle Efficiency Standards had been weakened to include some SUVs in the light commercial vehicle category.

Related article: New EV recap shows record year for electric transport

“Calling a Toyota Land Cruiser a light commercial vehicle does not pass the school drop-off test,” Grimes said.

“Toyota is Kodak on wheels—a company that has failed to modernise, wanting us all to pay the price for their poor business decisions and lack of action.”

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