Introduction: The National Electric Vehicle Strategy
In a bid to improve affordability, create jobs, and reduce emissions, the Australian Government has introduced the National Electric Vehicle Strategy (the Strategy) as part of their Powering Australia plan. This strategy aims to create a nationally consistent framework that will lead Australia’s road transport sector towards net-zero emissions. The focus is on light passenger and light commercial vehicles, as they contribute significantly to road transport emissions.
Key Objectives: Australia's Electric Vehicle Strategy
The Urgency of National Collaboration
The Strategy’s primary goal is to accelerate the transition from petrol and diesel-powered internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs), as the technology required for this transition is available now. Stakeholders have emphasized the importance of the Australian Government taking a national, strategic leadership role in the switch to EVs, calling for national collaboration to provide the necessary systems and infrastructure to support this early-stage transition.
Fuel Efficiency Standard: A Key Requirement
One of the key points raised by stakeholders is the urgent need for a light vehicle fuel efficiency standard. Overseas fuel efficiency standard requirements have been a strong driver for the supply of fuel-efficient vehicles, leading to more affordable and diverse low and zero-emissions vehicles in the market. Introducing a Fuel Efficiency Standard that is both internationally comparable and appropriate for Australian conditions is an immediate action for the Government.
Emissions Reduction and Economic Impact
With transport accounting for 19% of Australia’s emissions and passenger cars and light commercial vehicles contributing 60% of these emissions, the transition to EVs is vital for achieving Australia’s economy-wide emissions reduction target of 43% below 2005 levels by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050. Australia has the capability and capacity to develop manufacturing opportunities to support EV supply, including component parts and batteries.
The State of EV Adoption in Australia
Although Australia currently lags behind in EV sales, accounting for only 3.8% of the national car market in 2022, Australians are eager to make the switch. Feedback from consultations on the Strategy made it clear that improved cost, choice, charging availability, and accessibility for all are essential for a successful transition.
Equitable and Safe Transition to EVs
The Strategy includes new initiatives to address stakeholder calls for an equitable and safe transition to EVs, building on existing work and collaboration with jurisdictions and industry. This will involve preparing for recycling, reuse, and stewardship initiatives for EV and other large-format batteries and delivering world-leading EV guidance, demonstrations, and training for emergency service workers.
Leveraging Australia’s Critical Mineral Resources
Australia has abundant critical minerals, including lithium, copper, nickel, and magnesium, essential for EVs and battery storage. With globally significant deposits of vanadium, cobalt, lithium, and other essential materials, Australia has the opportunity to make batteries used domestically and create jobs by exporting them worldwide.
Conclusion: Toward a Globally Competitive EV Market
The Australian Government’s commitment to delivering low-emissions road transport aims to improve the wellbeing of all Australians. By incorporating insights learned from overseas, the National Electric Vehicle Strategy will help make Australia a globally competitive market for EVs, with better access to a broad range of affordable EV models, targeted infrastructure to enable EV use across the nation, and new industries and jobs along the EV supply chain