The federal government has formally begun consultation on Australia’s first national electric vehicle strategy and highlighted the opportunity of manufacturing electric vehicles (EVs) and batteries onshore as it looks to drive an increase in demand for EVs.
Energy Minister Chris Bowen said the federal government is working with states and territory governments, industry, unions and consumers to provide Australians better access to modern road transport technology and ensure infrastructure and industries are ready to support the transition.
Australia is significantly behind when it comes to EVs, which represent only 2% of new cars bought in Australia last year compared to 9% globally.
Bowen said the demand is there for EVs but changes are needed to take the industry to the next level.
“At the heart of the national strategy will be a plan to improve affordability and choice for consumers by growing the Australian EV market,” he said. “This is a genuine consultation to inform the right policy settings so we can see more affordable electric vehicles on our roads.”
Bowen said the government is excited by the possibilities “right up and down the supply chain” but will initially focus on building a bigger domestic market for EVs.
“The more we have an electric vehicle market in Australia, the more that would support electric vehicle component, and indeed, potentially more in due course, manufacturing,” he said.
Transport Minister Catherine King said policy settings to “encourage Australian manufacturing of EVs, chargers and components” will be included in the final strategy, which will have a goal of increasing local manufacturing along with improving affordability and uptake, reducing emissions, increasing charging infrastructure and delivering fuel cost savings.
“But this … is really about how can we get batteries, how can we get other components needed for electric vehicles here, and if there is an industry that wants to manufacture, a company that wants to start manufacturing cars here, we will be there supporting them every single inch of the way,” she said.
King confirmed fuel efficiency standards are also on the table, with nearly 20% of Australia’s carbon emissions coming from the transport sector, making it the nation’s second-largest emitter.
The government is accepting feedback on its consultation paper until the end of October.
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