Government reveals National Electric Vehicle Strategy

Electric vehicle (EV) charging at kerbside charging station (sicona funding)
Image: Shutterstock

The Federal Government has announced Australia’s first National Electric Vehicle Strategy, which it says is a comprehensive roadmap to ensure Australians have a better choice of electric vehicles (EVs) and encourage greater use of cleaner, cheaper-to-run vehicles.

As part of the strategy and following extensive public consultation, the government will introduce a Fuel Efficiency Standard, working with industry and the community to finalise details in coming months.

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Australia and Russia are among the only developed countries that don’t have fuel efficiency standards. On average, new cars in Australia use 40% more fuel than the European Union, 20% more than the United States, and 15% more than New Zealand.

Previous analysis has shown that the introduction of a fuel efficiency standard could save motorists $519 per year in fuel costs.

Fuel efficiency standards will only apply to new cars, and not retrospectively, so consumers will still be able to choose they vehicle they want to drive.

The strategy also looks at reducing barriers to electric vehicle uptake, whether it be demand, supply or infrastructure.

Transport is the third largest source of emissions in Australia. This strategy will help cut our emissions by at least 3 million tonnes of carbon by 2030, and over 10 million tonnes to 2035.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said, “This strategy delivers on our commitment to provide greater choice for Australians to drive cars that are cleaner and cheaper to run.

“This strategy provides the coordination and leadership to drive down costs and improve infrastructure so that we get more affordable and accessible electric vehicles on the market.

“The government has already cut taxes on EVs through the Electric Car Discount, saving up to $11,000 a year on a $50,000 electric vehicle. Thanks to the Albanese Government’s leadership, two and half times more EVs are being sold this year than they were at this time last year.

“Fuel-efficient and electric vehicles are cleaner and cheaper to run—today’s announcement is a win-win for motorists.”

The Electric Vehicle Council has welcomed the National Electric Vehicle Strategy but warns the government must act swiftly and boldly to calibrate and enforce Australia’s fuel efficiency standards. Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari said, “There’s a long road ahead for Australia to catch up with the rest of the world on electric vehicle policy, but this strategy can accelerate progress.“It’s a relief that an Australian Government has finally committed to fuel efficiency standards, which have been operational in the US and Europe for decades. But with those jurisdictions now leaping forward in terms of ambition Australia must bring in strong standards that keep pace with the modern world. If we squib it on the detail Australia will remain the world’s dumping ground for dated, high-emission vehicles.“We will be working closely with the government as it designs a fuel efficiency standard for passenger and light commercial vehicles. Australia has a bright and clean electric future just around the corner, but only if we get the policy settings right today.”

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Consultation on the design of fuel efficiency standards begins today, and is available here.

Following the consultation, the government will release its proposed Fuel Efficiency Standard by the end of 2023.

The National Electric Vehicle Strategy is available here.

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