The Labor party has announced it wants to see a rapid increase in electric vehicle ownership in Australia with 50% of all cars owned being electric by 2030, what are the other parties saying?

The Labor party has announced that, if elected, it would seek to drive ownership of electric vehicles in Australia to the point where, by 2030, 50% of all cars owned would be electric. The first step would be to ensure that half of all government fleets be electric by 2025 and that any Federally funded road upgrades would be linked to electric vehicle charging infrastructure. A Labor Government would also seek to incentivise electric vehicle charging infrastructure for both residential and commercial developments.

However, the Labor party has also announced it would seek to follow US regulations around fuel efficiencies and emissions rather that stricter European laws. Speaking on ABC News Breakfast this morning (April 1) Labor’s Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Mark Butler MP said, Australia’s vehicle landscape more closely aligned with the US than it did Europe.

But, this begs the question, which US regulation would Labor seek to follow? California’s original plan, or the Trump administration’s wind-back of the Obama-era 2025 targets?

Up until very recently, California could set its own stricter fuel efficiency and emissions standards, and it was to this regulation that most car makers selling vehicles in the US adhered, so as not to have to produce two sets of vehicles for the US market. Indeed, in 2012, then US President Obama, introduced legislation that would see the US mirror California’s fuel efficiency and emissions targets.

And, don’t forget, it was California’s stricter regulation that caught Volkswagen in its infamous Dieselgate scandal where the car maker was found guilty of cheating emissions testing via the use of a ‘defeat device’. But the Trump administration, last year, scrapped California’s emissions and efficiency independence and has moved to scrap the Obama-era legislation that would have seen all vehicles required to meet fuel efficiency standards by 2025 of 4.7L/100km.

Instead, the Trump administration and the Environmental Protection Agency want fuel efficiency standards capped at 2020 levels, or 7.3L/100km.

On the other side of the House, the Coalition announced earlier this year it wanted a greater uptake in electric vehicle ownership, but didn’t outline exactly what that meant (last week it announced it wouldn’t release its EV framework until next year) and that it would seek to introduce fuel quality standards in Australia if reelected. However, it failed to commit to a fuel emissions standard.

The Green, last week, released its Climate Change Policy which called for a total ban of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2030 to be replaced by total electric vehicle ownership in Australia. The Greens also called for a 17% luxury car tax to help pay for a scrapping of registration, import tariffs and registration fees on electric vehicles to increase uptake.


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