Greens EV policy calls for ban on new petrol cars by 2030

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The Australian Greens have thrown down the gauntlet ahead of the Batman by-election in Victoria, with an electric vehicle policy that would ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars in Australia by 2030.

The Greens have unveiled a suite of measures the party said would “kick-start” the EV revolution in Australia, where it has so far lagged embarrassingly behind other developed nations.

As well as shutting down the market for new ICE (internal combustion engine) cars, the Greens’ propose  a four-point plan that would introduce light vehicle emissions standards by 2022, and remove import tariffs, GST and stamp and registration fees on zero emissions vehicles.

The policy measures, which would apply until 2022, would also introduce an EV sales requirement for manufacturers selling vehicles in Australia, and establish a $151 million fund to help fund the roll-out of public EV charging infrastructure.

The policy launch comes ahead of this weekend’s by-election for the inner Melbourne seat of Batman, which is being billed as a key battle in a long-running territory war between Labor and the Greens.

The Greens currently hold seven lower house electorates in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, as well as the federal seat of Melbourne, which is held by Adam Bandt.

A victory for Greens candidate Alex Bhathal would give the party its second lower house seat – although recent polls put Labor candidate Ged Kearney slightly ahead.

The Greens have fought the major parties hard on climate and renewable energy policies – both at a federal level, and in recent and upcoming state elections – in a bid to call out the distinct lack of policy ambition in the Coalition, and to shame the Labor party into meeting them somewhere much further than halfway.

Just last month, Victorian Greens Senator Janet Rice described the federal government’s vision of just one million EVs by 2040 as “pathetic,” and its policies as not even adequate to meet that low-ball target.

“At the moment, the Turnbull government is basically just letting Australia get left behind,” Rice told the Alternative Technology Association’s 2018 EV Expo in Port Melbourne.

“Energy minister Josh Frydenberg has just recently been talking really big on EVs, but his party is saying that they are going to make up 15 per cent of new vehicle sales by 2030, which is just pathetic.

“It’s absolutely pathetic – and it means that the benefits of the electric vehicle revolution just won’t be felt by the majority of Australians.”

And while the federal government will no doubt argue that the Greens’ proposed 2030 ban on new internal combustion engine cars is overly ambitious, similar targets being adopted by governments – and car manufacturers – around the globe suggest otherwise.

As the Greens note in their policy announcement, a target of no new fossil fuelled cars by 2030 would put Australia slightly behind Norway (2025) and on par with the Netherlands and India. France and the UK, meanwhile, have targeted zero new ICE cars by 2040.

And car makers are beginning to follow suit. Sweden’s Volvo announced in July last year that all cars it produced from 2019 onwards would be either hybrid electric or purely battery-powered, in what the company called a “historic end” to building models with only internal combustion engines.

Other car makers are expected to set similar targets, but in the meantime, are getting busy rolling out their own lines of electric cars, including most recently Jaguar Land Rover, with its well-hyped all-electric I-Pace SUV.

Meanwhile, back in Australia, the South Australian Labor government heads into the state election this weekend with a promise to waive stamp duty and five years’ worth of registration costs on new electric or zero-emission cars, if it is re-elected.

“The electric vehicle revolution is unstoppable and Australians should have the opportunity to embrace this global shift to electric vehicles, not get left behind,” said Senator Rice, in comments on Tuesday.

“Without action the big global car corporations will use Australia as their dumping ground for the most polluting cars as the rest of the world moves on.

“The Greens have a plan to drive the rapid phase-in of EVs, bringing more clean cars to the market and making them more affordable for all,” Rice said.

Adam Bandt, the Greens’ climate change and energy spokesperson, said the party’s plan was the “quantum leap” needed to cut emissions, meet Australia’s “paltry” Paris targets and “to stop people dying from air pollution.

“Without accelerating the uptake of electric vehicles, we’ll be stuck with dirty cars and smoggy cities,” Bandt said.

“We’ve seen how pollution in Asia is choking their cities. This plan is about making sure that Melbourne and Sydney don’t go down the same path.

“The Greens are showing the leadership and action that’s needed to drive reform. I urge the Labor party to indicate their support for this move, not rear-end it.”  

  • Roadtripper

    Can’t see it happening. Sadly we have a sizeable population of vocal petrolheads and that’s just going to piss them off.

    • Roadtripper

      Sure enough, check out the amount of vitriol coming from the Wheels magazine post about it. So much misinformation too!:

      • Pedro

        Wow interesting snap shot into the moronosphere

        • Nick Kemp

          Love that one. “in the moronosphere no one can hear you zoom past them in your EV”

    • Rod

      Once any sane petrol head sees the Tesla record 1/4 mile video they might think twice.

      • Nick Kemp

        I’d like to see the Bathurst 250 with Tesla and Jag i-pace in one class and the leaf and Zoe in another

    • Joe

      Australia sells over 1 million new vehicles every year and barely any EV’s amongst the tally. Without emissions standards we are already the dumping ground for ‘dirty ICE’ vehicles. Lets put the price of petrol up to say $2.00 Litre to make ‘dirty ICE’ vehicles pay it’s way for the health costs that ALL Aussies currently have to pay for. No more public subsidy for the ‘dirty ICE’…Craig Kelly I hope you are reading this.

  • Chris Jones

    A couple of points –
    1. The Conservatives in the UK have almost exactly the same policies. This isn’t a greeny-hippy-commie thing, it’s a transport, energy, infrastructure and trade issue and it needs a mature policy to make the transition smoother.
    2. This is actually a rather modest policy goal. The way automakers are headed, we’ll probably see 100% of all new cars being plug-ins by 2025. Any government who adopts this policy won’t need to do much – just sit back and let it happen and claim credit for it when it happens.
    3. The ban would only apply to the sale of new ICE vehicles. Legacy ICE vehicles will still be on our roads, just fewer in number. By 2025, nobody will want to buy an ICE vehicle anyway – they’re just not that good.

    • Rod

      Agreed but unfortunately energy policy has turned into a partisan battle in Oz as it has in the US (Federally)
      Those Countries that make it a bi-partisan issue, like Scotland, are achieving amazing things.

    • Peter Campbell

      I mostly agree except that manufacturers can knock out petrol cars cheaply on already paid off equipment and no new R&D. They will be happy to sell as many cheap petrol cars specially for Australia as we let them.

      • Nick Kemp

        So we will just make our own – come on Mr. Gupta

        • Peter Campbell

          Been there, done that. DIY converted electric car, 2009-2018; Mitsubishi iMiEV, 2013-present; Holden Volt 2018-present.

          • MaxG

            Nice! 🙂

    • Not a green hippy thing, just where the market is going – and fast
      ICE hybrids will go – if we’re not building ICE, why build a ICE hybrid, and so too go PHEVs

  • tsport100

    2030 ??? … Based on Australia having a three-year Federal election cycle which sees average terms of two-and-a-half years…. that’s 4-5 federal elections away….. Talk about kicking the can down the road!!

  • JoeR_AUS

    How about we implement 2014 Euro 6 first and get rid on ULP

  • D. John Hunwick

    For goodness sake do not let the petrolheads have their way. They can keep ICE cars but not get new ones. I will get an EV as soon as I can afford the one I want (Tesla s is too expensive). Others will do the same. Charging stations will soon proliferate.The reduced cost of not buying fossil fuel, no mechanic worries and frewuent services will convince many people to make the changeover before 2030.

    • Peter Campbell

      Is a low milage Holden Volt for $22900 too expensive? (See – No, I don’t know the seller). I do all my local driving in a Volt or an iMiEV. I only buy petrol for trips out of town in the Volt.

      • D. John Hunwick

        I won’t buy and EV unless it goes 400km on each charge. I refuse to buy a car that STILL uses fossil fuels. Holden (GM) has already built the car I want but THE SILLY BUGGERS DISCONTINUED IT and squashed them all. The reasons given for doing so are all hogwash – yet they want to be bailed out in 2009! I fear the Tesla E will be too late in coming for me to have time to pay the instalments!!

        • Peter Campbell

          I prefer to do what I can now. Consequently, I have not used petrol for local driving since 2009, firstly with a DIY converted car then an as well iMiEV. A petrol car sat at home largely unused until we sold both it and the converted car and got the Volt to replace them both. Its 75km plug-in electric range means that with the iMiEV and the Volt neither driver at our house uses any petrol except for out of town trips, which are infrequent.

        • Peter Lyons

          Unlike the 1st Generation Volt we did get, the 2nd Generation Chevy Volt is not built in right-hand drive. Nor is the Chevy Bolt (with a ‘B’). So Holden and Vauxhall miss out. Frustrating!

          • D. John Hunwick

            Thanks for this information.

      • Nick Kemp

        Is the volt driven by electric motors like the i3 and the Outlander? if so – what might the odds be that in the future you may be able to swap the ICE for a battery pack? In another 5 years or so a battery that size will probably have he energy density to do 400-500 kms

        • Peter Campbell

          The volt is driven by electric motors. Like the i3 and Outlander it is a plug-in series hybrid. It has more electric range than the Outlander. I am getting about 75km routinely which does me for all local driving. At the end of 75km it is not utterly flat; the car doesn’t let you get near the bottom of the battery which helps to ensure a long life for the battery. The ICE is good for dispelling range anxiety even if you never use it.
          I doubt you could swap out the ICE for more battery. It is thoroughly integrated into a lump with the two electric motors, the main traction motor and a second motor which can operate in series with the first for more power or, coupled to the ICE as a generator.
          You might be able to replace the existing battery with a more energy dense battery packed into the same space and then tweak the software to allow more kWhs to be used from it. I suspect that would be a lot of bother and expense on what by then would be an old car. The Volt batteries are doing well in examples with very high milage.
          I am more seriously interested in the prospect of a more energy dense battery for the iMiEV one day. Others have done the sums to work out that they could pack in double the capacity into the same battery box using the same configuration of BMS and connectors. The unknown seems to be what the car’s software would do with much more capacity. Would it refuse to recognise more than the original 16kWh or would it seamlessly recalibrate to recognise extra capacity, just as it now tracks gradually reducing capacity?

          • Ian

            Peter, your experience with PHEVs is very interesting. How often would you fill with petrol? Presumably you would charge your car regularly and benefit from the EV side of it and only occasionally resort to the ICE range-extender.

            This sort of vehicle is obviously a compromise work-around to the high cost of battery storage: work the frequently used short distance batteries hard to maximise value from these and use the cheap but environmentally harmful ICE for the longer but less frequent trip.

            If that is the design criteria for such a vehicle, then maybe as batteries become cheaper so PHEV models will increase battery size and aim to reduce the need for the ICE range-extender, or perhaps, not bother with extending range beyond 100km, but aim for the citi-car market.

            Another way to look at a car’s design criteria is the safety margin. Light passenger vehicles are designed to be safe at maximum speeds : 140 to 180km/h. The wheels, brakes and chassis are designed to withstand the forces encountered at those speeds. Trying to meet all these criteria results in vehicles having a weight of a tonne or more. Every day, hundreds of thousands of tonnes of vehicles are moved from point A to point B and back again.

            Battery vehicles should pose very little fire risk, the batteries can be positioned to create a very low centre of gravity, making vehicles more stable on the road in windy conditions, modern impact materials like D30, and all the other safety features like airbags etc should be able to compensate for heavy rigid steel structures. City driving is often limited to under 80km/h. Why not have very low weight city vehicles with lower capacity electric motors and small capacity batteries, absolute top speed 80km/h. Using the computing analogy, why carry around big fat laptops when you can get away with a small lightweight smartphone?

          • Peter Campbell

            So far, we have bought one tank of petrol and routinely plug in at home. We bought the car in January in Sydney with a full tank. I drove home to Canberra, and topped up the tank before having a week away at the coast. On the way, the petrol engine came on a little way past Bungendore (seamlessly) but it stayed off again for a while after using regenerative braking for the descent of the escarpment. While at the coast we did were able to charge at the house we were staying at so short trips to the beach and a couple of 40km round trips to Bateman’s Bay for groceries and a meal out were all electric. We did one trip to Milton (60km one way) to see some friends. It was electric all the way there but with the ICE maintaining the minimum battery charge for about 45km of the trip back. We returned to Canberra, leaving with a full charge and without topping up the petrol. Since then, all our driving has been local trips up to 70km max. all electric from the mains. So, we are still on that first (35L) tank of petrol from January. The gauge shows a bit under half full and an estimated petrol range remaining of a bit under 300km. The car has a sealed pressurised tank and monitors the age of the petrol. If if has not been topped up for a year, it will remind you to top up and if you don’t it will burn it and force you to top up. Every 6 weeks, the car turns on the ICE for 10mins to keep things lubricated.
            So, I don’t expect to buy petrol again until we do another trip away, which might be a few months from now. Our trip meter was reset when we bought the car in January and it is showing 1.5l/100km.
            I would predict that in time we will see EVs diverge, some with bigger, heavier, long range batteries and the ICE phased out entirely while others will be lighter, cheaper city cars of modest range. For the latter to sell, people need to understand that they don’t need multi-100s of km range in all vehicles. For years I have been telling anyone who will listen (and quite a few who won’t) that if they have two cars in their household, one probably never leaves town and could be an EV of modest range. I wouldn’t limit it to 80kph though. Our city driving includes plenty of roads at 80kph and a few with 90 or 100kph limits.
            I realised how little range was really needed in a city car back in 2008 and converted a Daihatsu charade to electric drive. It did excellent service for us for 9 years for much of our local driving with a range of about 70km. We sold it when we got the Volt recently. Four years ago we got an ex-demo iMiEV (purely electric) which also has modest range (~100km). My wife and I could commute in opposite directions purely electric. During that period we had a petrol car which my daughter used occasionally and we took for trips out of town.
            Now our daughter has moved out with the petrol car and we are back to just two EVs, the Volt with petrol range extension and the iMiEV city car not needing a huge range.
            I am not impressed with many of the PHEV hybrids that have a ridiculously small batteries and plug-in EV ranges of only 20-30km. The Mitsubishi Outlander is just acceptable at 50km and not a bad choice if you have a use for a 4WD SUV style vehicle. The BMW i3 with an optional range extender engine (‘REx’) is much better with well over 100km EV range.

            Something that is counter-intuitive when coming from ICEs is that an EV with plenty of power and performance capability is efficient when mainly driven modestly for ordinary errands. You don’t have that performance/efficiency trade off that causes a V8 to have appalling efficiency when just used to go shopping.

          • Ian

            Very encouraging personal account, thankyou, I hope lots of people read of your experience. Interesting the idea of vehicle mass not being the main factor in energy expenditure. Speed and profile of the vehicle -ie wind resistance – are obviously major factors.

  • Robert Westinghouse

    Great Idea…. but let’s start small…. Ban diesel powered vehicles – they are by far the most polluting vehicle technology.??

  • Ken Dyer

    Much as I like the Greens, and their policies, without detail, this is just pie in the sky. For example, the average age of cars is over 10 years. What credible policy would exclude reducing this average?

    Anybody can state a policy. E.g. Eliminate all ICE vehicles by 2025. Desirable – yes, achievable – unlikely without major changes in Government, and when pigs fly.
    Get real, Greens!

    • Pedro

      The Greens seem to have a way of shooting themselves in the foot by announcing things that are just going to alienate themselves and the people that support them from just about everybody else. All of their EV policies except the ban on new ICE cars would be mostly accepted by most reasonable people. Instead of having a EV policy/emission standards debate its going to be about ‘what a bunch of fruit loops the greens are for suggesting a ban on ICE’. Unless of course they want to get any publicity they can get.

      • Ken Dyer

        Spot on Pedro. I went to their website, and there was nothing there – no detail or anything. They do not do themselves any favours!

        • Michael Baldock
          • Ken Dyer

            Well thank you Michael. However, the policy is so boring and predictable – tax ICE, reward EV, punish emitters, subsidise prices, build more charging stations, and force car sales companies to sell more electric cars than ICE cars.

            You can already drive from Cairns to Perth using fast chargers, so that planks gone.


            The last point force car sellers to change their business model uses China, as an example – shades of Chairman Mao!

            Have a look at Tesla and its battle in Michigan, not California. That could happen in Australia.


            As Tony Seba points out, the horse and buggy age did not end because we ran out of horses. It ended because a superior technology was introduced. And so it is with EV technology.

            The Greens policy would do much better if it reflected the disruptive technologies that Tony Seba espouses, not just the one for one replacement of ICE vehicles. It is poor thinking and even poorer policy.

            Australia needs to totally rethink transport in Australia, and adopting policies such as complete ICE vehicle replacement for EV’s in small countries such as the Netherlands just does not cut it. This will come naturally as EV’s become cheaper from better battery technology, and they increasingly leverage the Internet of Things


            ICE vehicles have reached their potential and any improvements are merely incremental. On the other hand, EV technology is constantly improving. Think mobile phone development and where it has come from in 20 years. or as Tony Seba points out, what happened to Kodak?

          • Ian

            Nothing wrong with re-imagining the whole city living/transport infrastructure. A straight ICE to EV swap is very narrow minded indeed. Why have an EV that looks and feels like an ICE vehicle when you can have something new and different enabled by battery electric technology? We may need to go up a few steps in our thinking to look at transportation as a whole or further up the abstract ladder to the city-scape level or even further to the basic human needs and wants. The ICE vehicle has done much for democratisation and freedom of individuals and a Tony Seba type future may just spoil that.

          • Ken Dyer

            Thanks for that Ian. I recall somewhere reading about how as a society we need to re think capitalism as it relates to the freedom of individuals. This is what capitalism promotes and this directly leads to individual car ownership, a sign of status in a capitalist society. Let me hasten to say that capitalism is not a bad thing, perhaps only in the way it is presently implemented.

            That said, one perhaps could see the advent of EV’s as a communitarian social compact, a shared resource so to speak. Stop thinking about an EV as a privately vehicle and consider it as a resource that is available to many as required.
            It makes sense to me that perhaps the current taxi industry, reconfigured around autonomous EV’s might well be an appropriate business model.

            One could own several of these AEV’s, and rent them out as required, linked through mobile apps. These could be purpose built vehicles that might be able to exchange different bodies on the same technology platform. Think battery powered Ryobi tools. One battery, many tools.

            One also has to consider the social compact. One has to consider how to challenge the individualism that is the hallmark of today’s individualised ICE vehicles. Perhaps AEV’s may ultimately have the capability to express their occupant’s individualism, much as people’s individualism is expressed on facebook and twitter and other social platforms. In other words, AEV’s have to become sexier than ICE vehicles, and what’s more, have to undergo a quantum attitude change from being merely transport to a new and exciting way of interacting within a third generation industrial revolutionary society.


  • Robin_Harrison

    Talk of bans for new ICEVs by 2025/30/40/50 are safe, feel-good statements for our various politicians. When 21st century tech EVs reach price and convenience parity with 19th century tech ICEVs the massive difference in running and maintenance costs, nobody but the most dedicated enthusiasts will be buying new ICEVs by then.
    Our best guess for parity is 2025 and anything beyond that is just wishful thinking by the fossil fools. They would have more success selling video tape players.

  • Alex Hromas

    The argument that the policy is over ambitious is nonsense if you don’t set ambitious policies you get nowhere

  • Robert Comerford

    A more sensible approach would be to push for the end of sales of new vehicles that do not have a minimum real world battery only mileage by 2025 and a range extender (if fitted) must be flexfuel capable.
    A 100km range should see most people able to do their daily commute on battery alone.