Time to act on electric vehicles, report says

Fifty per cent of consumers would consider buying an electric vehicle today, but this could increase to almost 70 per cent with the correct policy support, according to a report by the Electric Vehicle Council.

Released in Sydney today, the State of electric vehicles report, prepared by ClimateWorks Australia for the Electric Vehicle Council, provides an up-to-date assessment of the state of Australia’s electric vehicle industry.

The report says Australia’s lack of supporting policies, such as emissions standards and policies to reduce electric vehicle costs, is preventing the supply of lower cost models of electric vehicles that make up the bulk of sales internationally.

Electric Vehicle Council chief executive officer Behyad Jafari said the results reinforced the fact Australians are eager adopters of new technologies that provide environmental and cost benefits.

“What we have in Australia is not a lack of consumer interest in electric vehicles, but a lack of suitable models to choose from,” Mr Jafari said.

“The right level of support and standards provide manufacturers with an incentive to invest in Australia by bringing more choice to the market, providing lower cost alternatives.

“With that support driving initial momentum, electric vehicles are particularly attractive as they are cleaner and cheaper to operate.”

The report showed government support is critical to encouraging the uptake of electric vehicles.

Consumers indicated a number of policies would be particularly important in their decision to purchase an electric vehicle, including subsidies to reduce the purchase cost of electric vehicles, subsidies for the installation of home charging infrastructure, and the provision of public charging infrastructure.

“In those states, such as the ACT, where there are stronger incentives for electric vehicles through stamp duty discounts which can reduce the cost of an electric vehicle by more than $2000, we have seen the greatest rate of electric vehicle uptake,” Mr Jafari said.

Another comprehensive approach to supporting electric vehicles is in the introduction of light vehicle CO2 standards, currently being considered by the Commonwealth Government.

“Australia is one of the few remaining developed countries without light vehicle CO2 standards in place,” said Mr Jafari.

“Electric vehicles, powered by renewable energy emit zero carbon emissions, while providing a boost to the economy, providing opportunities for investment in Australian industry.

“The electric vehicle market in Australia is still in its infancy but we are seeing it grow, from less than 50 electric vehicles sold in 2011, to more than 1350 sold in 2016, and with almost 500 dedicated public charging stations deployed to provide additional convenience and options for electric vehicle owners.”