Australia Risks Becoming a “Dumping Ground” For Polluting Cars as EV Sales Lag

A new report has shown that Australia is at risk of becoming a “dumping ground” for some of the world’s least economical and environmental vehicles if it continues to avoid implementing fuel standards, incentives on electric cars sold, as well as rolling out sufficient charging infrastructure in the near future. 

The report comes courtesy of BloombergNEF, who pointed out that there is a notable absence of emissions and fuel standards that could translate to Australia being more than a decade behind other developed economies when it comes to the adoption of electric vehicles.  

As it stands, electric vehicles accounted for 0.7% of all new cars sold in Australia last year, and analysts are pointing to the lack of incentives for car buyers as well as car manufacturers to import new electric vehicles to a place where there is little demand.

“The market is held back by a lack of sales incentives, poor model availability and a mismatch between consumer preferences and the EV models on offer,” Will Edmonds, an analyst at BloombergNEF said. 

“As a small right-hand drive market, without sales incentives or tailpipe standards, Australia risks becoming a dumping ground for heavy emitting models,” he continued to explain. 

BloombergNEF just released its Electric Vehicle Outlook for 2020, which shows that there are currently 7 million passenger electric vehicles on the road around the world. In addition, there are half a million electric buses, 400,000 electric delivery trucks and 184 million electric motorbikes, scooters and mopeds globally.

By 2025, EVs are expected to account for 10% of global passenger vehicles manufactured, and this will rise to 28% and 58% in 2030 and 2040, respectively. In Australia, however, it’s likely that in the absence of tangible incentives for buyers and manufacturers, sales and adoption rates will be around 10 years behind. 

EV sales in Australia are forecasted to rise by around 30,000 a year, and make up 3.2% of total sales by the year 2023; the authors noted that this will be partially due to more EV models on the market, declining costs in the construction and maintenance of EVS, as well as electrification targets pushed by government and corporate fleets around the country. 

“At the best of times, manufacturers prioritise larger markets with strict emissions standards, or supportive policies, in their EV sales strategies. The COVID-19 pandemic is placing even more pressure on manufacturers’ supply chains, resulting in a bleak outlook for Australia’s already low number of available EV models.” 

“If manufacturers push the heavy emitting models they are unable, or unwilling, to sell in other markets into garages of Australian consumers, it will take longer, and more effort, to bring down Australia’s rising transport sector emissions.” 

Edmonds continued to explain that price parity – where electric vehicles are mass-manufactured and sold to the consumer at the same price as an internal combustion engine vehicle – isn’t far away. “We expect EVs will reach cost parity with ICEs beginning from 2022, with some segments taking longer,” he said. 

“By 2023, we expect EV sales will increase to around 30,097 units per year, making up 3.2% of new car sales. EV sales are expected to be driven up by improving model availability, declining costs as well as corporate and government fleet electrification targets,” he said. 

Australia Electric Car
Electric vehicle charging port

Giles Parkinson of Renew Econony writes that “Australia has no policy for the uptake of EVs, with the current Coalition government ridiculing a proposed 50 per cent target put forward by Labor in the election campaign last year, although EVs did get a mention in the newly released Technology Investment Roadmap, which recognises that they can cut emissions and lower costs.” 

Behyad Jafari, chief executive of the Electric Vehicle Council has said that Australia’s legislative landscape is actively working against the electric vehicle market, and he is awaiting the government’s long-anticipated electric vehicle policy which is scheduled for released mid-2020, however, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this timeline could be pushed back. 

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