There have been some really dopey comments recently surrounding Labor’s national electric car plan. I say dopey because various commentators are failing to comprehend one very simple reality. We don’t make cars here anymore therefore we have no say about the rise of EV cars. In around 20 years your only option will be to walk.
Before you read on if you need an explanation of what qualifies as an electric car click here. The Labor plan calls for 50 per cent of new car sales by 2030 to be electric. It’s unfortunate that some are spreading a stack of misinformation, because it’s very important the public gets their heads around this kind of technology quickly.
At this stage EV cars account for around 0.02 per cent of sales. That would be mostly because Tesla, the pioneer of this technology, has cars priced north of $100,000 and in some instances $200,000. But its monopoly is coming to an end, with 11 EV cars arriving this year.
The most common questions we get about EV cars here at EFTM include where do I charge? How much does it cost to charge? How much is an EV car? How far will an EV car go. These questions are all relatively easy to answer but I’ll concede at this point in time Australia certainly is way off the ball game.
Labor really hasn’t offered up a staggering or shocking initiative, because here’s a tip, by 2030 most car manufacturers will only offer electric cars. So clearly, we need to get our skates on pretty quickly.
Labor is also saying that by 2025, 50 per cent of new purchases and leases of passenger vehicles that form part of the Commonwealth fleet will also be electric. Additionally, Commonwealth owned, and leased office buildings will include charging infrastructure where appropriate.
Incentives to allow businesses tax deductions for EV car fleets form part of the plan. For example, companies can claim an immediate $20,000 depreciation fee for private fleets. Labor also wants new federally-funded projects such as road upgrades to include electric charging infrastructure.
Obviously, states need to become involved, so the plan also includes new and refurbished commercial and residential developments to include the required charging stations.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) backs the Labor plan. The CEO of the FCAI Tony Weber said, “It’s fantastic to see this important topic receive the attention it deserves.”
Mr Weber added “The automotive industry has invested heavily in the development of new technology for battery electric, hybrid electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, many of which are already available on the Australian market. It’s critical that Australian consumers have the opportunity to enjoy the environmental and safety benefits these low emission vehicles offer.”
But let’s be realistic for a moment and forget about Labor’s plan. There’s been a stack of discussion comparing Norway which is an EV car haven to Australia. Obviously, we are much larger and the roll out of this kind of infrastructure will be on a larger scale.
But I’m sorry, if we were able to start rolling out electricity starting in Brisbane way back in 1882, then I’m pretty sure as a nation this is more than achievable in modern times. I heard a commentator today say, “it’s not a matter of simply plugging into a 240-volt power point.” This is literally the opposite of the truth.
We currently have Australia’s cheapest EV car, the Hyundai Ioniq in the EFTM garage and yes it can be charged from a power point. The process may well be slow, we might achieve a 40 per cent charge during the course of normal working hours. But given we also charge at home, it’s not like we are always on the verge of running flat.
The other issue is where does the power come from? Renewable sources obviously. That’s the biggie in this whole debate. There will never again be a new coal station built in this country, in fact around 75 per cent of the ones we do have are already operating way past their used by date. We have made a very strong start at producing cleaner power, so much so the current grid can’t cope with the power being generated.
There’s no doubt there are many, many holes in Bill Shorten’s plan. But I don’t get the negative vibe that seems to surround this issue. We need to be bipartisan here, this is not the time to make this a political issue.
We are a nation that has achieved so much since 1788, this is a revolution that we are just going to have figure out. There’s nothing special about Australia, many parts of the world have already left us for dead and I find that embarrassing. There are just too many bullshit lines going around. Don’t let this be another NBN fiasco.
Chris is EFTM’s Motoring Editor, driving everything from your entry level hatch to the latest Luxury cars through to the Rolls Royce.
He has been in the media for 20 years, produced three Olympic games broadcasts, attending Beijing 2008 & London 2012.
Strangely he owns a Toyota Camry Hybrid, he defiantly rejects the knockers.
Chris is married to Gillian and resides in Sydney’s North West. They have Sam the English Springer Spaniel and Felix the Burmese cat to keep them company, and recently welcomed baby Henry to the family.