Old fossils: What's at stake if Australia ignores global EV transition | RenewEconomy

Old fossils: What’s at stake if Australia ignores global EV transition

Australia’s inaction on electric vehicles means it could be left behind in yet another round of global disruption, leaving it hostage again to international developments, rather than reaping benefits of helping to engineer the change.



Australia is being warned that it is in danger of missing out on enormous economic and social benefits if it continues to dawdle over initiatives that could support the rollout of electric vehicles, and the creation of significant manufacturing and technology industries.

Over the past two days in Adelaide, leading industrialists, analysts, industry players and some forward-looking politicians have spoken of the huge opportunities in the transition to EVs, which will reshape not just the choice of cars, but also transport and energy infrastructure.

In a speech to the Renewable Cities conference, independent Senator Tim Storer gave an outstanding speech about how and why Australia should “play its way back” into the biggest transformation in transport since the advent of the internal combustion engine.

Storer says Australia is missing out on the $90 billion already invested in electric car manufacturing, but the opportunities – and what it may miss out on in the future as well – were much broader and more significant.

We by no means fully understand the extent to which this revolution will transform the way we live our lives,” he said.

“The danger is that without action, Australia will be left behind in yet another round of global disruption – we will again be held hostage to international developments, rather than reaping the benefits of helping to engineer the change.”

Other politicians have also been awake to the possibilities of EV, and the innovation opportunities that it might bring with it. Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is one, but nothing has happened since.

Now what do I do?

Storer has urged South Australia, for instance, to learn from Tesla’s example in California, where the EV and storage company took over an old GM and Toyota factory to build its Model S electric vehicle.

“Tesla’s success in establishing its manufacturing plant in California has proven what’s possible.

“It’s less than a year since Holden ceased its operations at its Elizabeth plant, meaning that much of the skilled workforce is still around, as is the site.”

Storer said Adelaide is also the perfect testing ground for new EV technologies and business models, given its high rooftop solar penetration, a world class university sector, a highly skilled labour force, and a sizable population.

“It’s not necessarily about convincing Toyota or GM to come back here; it’s about convincing the next EV start-up to choose Australia as its launch pad to pioneer disruptive innovations that match our natural strengths and competitive advantages.”

UK billionaire Sanjeev Gupta has proposed to do something along those lines, and vowed to establish – within three years – an EV manufacturing plant producing low-cost, lightweight vehicles being developed by Formula 1 designed Gordon Murray.

However, Gupta has not made it clear whether any such factory will be in South Australia, Victoria (the other big former home of car manufacturing in Australia), or elsewhere.

On Wednesday, Gupta lamented the fact that Australia could miss out on the manufacturing opportunities given its unique resources that cover just about everything needed for a battery manufacturing industry.

Manufacturing has been dying a slow death in Australia due to a multitude of reasons, but Gupta says it can be revived if it can develop more cheap solar power, and has outlined plans to build up to 10GW of large-scale solar to support that.

The same opportunity is seen in a $20 billion proposal by CWP renewables and Vestas to build up to 9GW of wind and solar in the Pilbara, partly to supply cheap renewable power to south-east Asia, but also to create an industrial hub in the north west.

There is talk of lithium processing hubs emerging elsewhere in Western Australia, at Kwinana south of Perth, and Business News reported on Thursday of suggestions that Wesfarmers was looking to get into the battery manufacturing business.

So-called gigafactories have also been discussed for Townsville, led by ex Macquarie Banker Bill Moss, and for Darwin.

Storer wants to look into the possibilities of EV manufacturing and associated industries.

“We, perhaps more than any other country on earth, have all the right ingredients to be an EV manufacturing powerhouse.

“We essentially have all the natural and human resources needed to build an electric vehicle, from the lithium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite that goes into the batteries, to the steel, aluminium and plastics that go into the chassis and bodies.

“We also have the highly trained engineers and computer scientists to build the machines that will build the cars and the software that will operate them. All this offers the promise of vertical integration within a comparatively stable political environment.”


PwC earlier this year released a report outlining the significant economic benefits of EVs in Australia. This chart above highlights just a few of them.

As report author Mark Thomson told the Renewable Cities conference on Thursday, the EV transition will be one of the only major industry transitions that could deliver a boost to jobs rather than a reduction.

Another good reason to engage is Australia’s perilous reliance on imported transport fuels, which could see consumers run out of fuel for transport within a couple of weeks of any supply disruption in, for instance, the South China Sea.

Storer noted that the EV uptake in Australia had been disappointing, equivalent to just 0.2 per cent of total sales last year, and with few EV models available in Australia.

“We are lagging 5-10 years behind the rest of the developed world,” he said.

He proposed a range of initiatives including tax concessions for companies that establish EV or EV component manufacturing in Australia; support for EV start-ups, and the introduction of long-awaited fuel efficiency standards for light vehicles.

Sadly, this issue threatens to explode into another divide between the right wing of politics and the rest, as some form of “carbon tax” on cars.

Storer also proposed exempting EVs from the luxury car tax; working with state and local governments to coordinate and expand the roll out of charging infrastructure; and waiving of vehicle registration and stamp duties, along with free parking and use of bus lanes.

“It’s also time for government take the lead in driving EV uptake through aggressive fleet purchasing policies, and to provide incentives for business to do likewise,” he said.

You can read Storer’s speech below. We’re publishing it in full, because it’s not often you get a federal politician thinking coherently about the future.

Speech - Renewable Cities Conference - 24 May 2018 (PRESS)


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  1. Ben 2 years ago

    It took a while before I found the point of the article. Which is basically saying that the EV industry wants government subsidies and tax incentives.

    No surprises then! Why, this could be the next rooftop solar effect, which is to transfer wealth from low incomes to wealthy incomes! Of course then we’d need even more “progressive” tax rates to even out the inequality.

    And what are EVs supposed to save us from?

    • Joe 2 years ago

      ….breathing in Dirty Air for one…..and then there is that other matter of Climate Change due to our addiction to FF usage.

      • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

        Electric cars would also improve the nation’s balance of payments by eliminating a lot of the oil now being imported to be used as fuel.

        • Joe 2 years ago

          So many pluses for going EV but so little will power from The COALition Climate Criminals.

    • DevMac 2 years ago

      Like most things related to progressive technologies with the current Government, it just needs some forward-thinking policies. Currently they’ve been quite obstructionist when it comes to anything that threatens the status quo.

      A statement of intent would be good enough at this point. Which is a sad statement in itself.

      And don’t forget “dependence on imported products”. With Australia’s petrol reserves at fairly low levels, it’s amazing this doesn’t factor into the Government’s “energy security” policies.

      • Ben 2 years ago

        DevMac I appreciate your non-tribal response, thanks.

        Is another subsidised industry what this country needs? Or would it be better to let the technology stand on its own?

        Some people will be early adopters, mostly in the cities. Unlike rooftop solar, EVs are not as useful across Australia’s geography. So EV subsidies will disproportionately assist city folk while being effectively paid for by people with no hope of cashing in.

        Am I wrong?

        • MacNordic 2 years ago

          one of the problems of the Australian Market is its size: most manufacturers of EVs have captive markets on hand at 10- 30 times the size of the Australian, for instance Europe or North America.

          In order to convince a manufacturer to establish a production in Australia, there would at least have to be a favorable climate for its product.

          As to the desirability of a certain manufacturing industry, there should be a good look at the overall picture:

          How much benefit would be generated by the presence and what would the cost of a favourable climate be?
          Relevant parameters might be jobs, tax income, retained payment streams that would have gone overseas as well as avoided costs – and a whole lot more.

          Avoided costs might be the non- creation of a strategic oil reserve, which should stand at 90 days of usage according to international standards. (currently at around 20 days, if I am not mistaken). EVs obviously do not need oil reserves.

          Usefullness of EVs: most newer EVs tend to have well above 200km of range and a quick- charging capability. A trend to over 300km of range is clearly visible and there is no real reason that trend should not go on. The large majority of car users would have no problem to cover all of their travel needs with such a car.

          Hope this helps somewhat;-)

          • Ben 2 years ago

            I’m all for entrepreneurs starting industry, and I might even be convinced some incentive could be directed that way.

            I’m not sure if there is any data on lifecycle cost of EVs vs traditional vehicles, but for a prospective owner that’s a factor beyond the idealism.

            Then there is the increased electrical load on the grid that cannot hope to be met by renewables.

            I don’t think anybody wants another Tesla as a business model.

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            There’s nothing wrong with Tesla’s business model. The only issue is that they are not scaling quite as fast as intended to meet the massive demand for their products.

          • Barri Mundee 2 years ago

            And your evidence is……???

          • maxlyrical 2 years ago


          • MacNordic 2 years ago

            For the lifecycle cost, there are quite a few studies around, mostly showing the EV to be either on par or lower cost than the ICE vehicle – even today. With dropping battery cost, this is going to get better in the coming years.

            Some studies (note: they assume grid charging; home PV- charging would significantly shift the results further towards EVs):

            From 2015, showing EVs to be (far) cheaper: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030626191731526X?via%3Dihub
            Another one: https://www.engineering.com/ElectronicsDesign/ElectronicsDesignArticles/ArticleID/15954/Electric-Vehicle-vs-Internal-Combustion-Engine-Vehicle-A-Total-Cost-of-Ownership-Analysis.aspx

            As to the additional grid load: 10 million EVs in Australia would mean an extra 28TWh electric energy consumption (around 14% of current yearly usage). Going from the fact that most cars are not in use around 90-95% of the time, an intelligent charging network will easily cope with that extra load, shifting it to nightly or midday surplus generation times. Assumes average usage patterns& grid connection for some of the time the cars are sitting unused.
            More on that: https://reneweconomy.com.au/evs-will-fast-track-australias-shift-100-renewables-57195/

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            You seem to assume there would be no Australian made EVs exported.

          • MacNordic 2 years ago

            Oh, sorry for that impression – there could be (and most likely would be), of course.

            The phrase “captive market” was used by me to describe markets with existing customs or trading union (EU/ NAFTA), enabling quick and – most importantly – free movement of goods across borders: minimal paperwork, no tariffs, no fees, established multimodal transport links, quick movement in days, common standards (e.g. safety, emissions, charging)

            And Australia is a long way from most markets, unfortunately, always adding the time and cost of ship transport.

            In order to put an Aussie EV onto other markets, they would have to conform to local rules& standards of the destination market (“homologation”), have the steering wheel on the applicable side, work up a good standing and establish a recognisable branding at competitive cost. Exchange rate fluctuation is also to be considered, same as the high cost of labour, especially compared to other car producing countries in SE Asia.

            All doable, but adding complications, risk, effort and time
            (and rather well illustrated by the export efforts of the former Australian manufacturing plants).

            Am not sure about existing free- trade agreements for cars; but as there are import tariffs on cars for Australia, I would assume most trading partners would level the same on imports from Oz…

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Oddly enough, the bulk of right hand drive countries are on our doorstep.
            India, Japan, Southern Africa, Indonesia.
            UK and Ireland are further afield, as is Malta.
            Are you forgetting that we did have a car industry until that fuckwit Abbott killed it? All the requirements for export will be well known.
            It is of course needful to have someone wear the black hat, point out all the possible pitfalls, but we also need a cheer squad.
            This country is far too ready to say, “Aw nah, that might not work. Too hard to get it right. Let’s just dig stuff up and give it away. That’s much easier. We know how to do that.”

          • MacNordic 2 years ago

            Some doorstep;-)
            Lets hope for the best& have somebody start EV manufacturing in Oz – cheering will be provided here, I dare to think!

        • DevMac 2 years ago

          I don’t consider the issue to be about subsidies, I consider it to be about keeping pace with the rest of the world for the sake of Australia’s economy into the future.

          EV’s are undoubtedly the future of consumer transport. If Australia can start manufacturing them earlier rather than later, it will attract talent

          Additionally, it will enable Australia to actually use some of the minerals that it digs out of the ground, rather than selling all of them overseas, then buying back the products made with them.

          Where subsidies are potentially needed is to speed up the transition. Subsidies shouldn’t be for supporting markets that can’t support themselves completely, they should be for supporting markets that will enable “jobs n growf” – which is why there are subsidies for mining and fossil fuels etc.

          Saying EV’s are not useful across Australia’s geography is treating all Australia’s geography as equal in the eyes of EV usage. EV’s are perfect for city driving, which is a very high percentage of Australian driving. The network of chargers for EV’s in Australia is ever-growing as well. It’s a small percentage of use-cases that lie outside of EV applicability, and subsidising EV manufacture won’t mean banning petrol or diesel cars, at least in the short-mid term.

          In regards to assisting city folk being paid for by non-city folks, that goes back to my point about subsidies being good for the economic health of the country overall.

          Finally, regarding your comment below regarding “increased electrical load on the grid that cannot hope to be met by renewables” that’s precisely where failure of the Federal Government’s vision in poor support of renewables has ill-effects down the line. If they were stronger in their support of renewables there would be more being built, and thus able to provide more power to the grid sooner. I’d actually be more worried about Coal not being able to support the load in future given the age of most of the coal-fired power stations around Australia.

          • Ben 2 years ago

            EVs may be the eventual future of road transport, but not unless a seriously disruptive technology is developed. And Australia doesn’t have the customer base to attract the kind of investment that will realise massive technology changes.
            Subsidies – as far as I can tell the “fossil fuel subsidy” is pretty much the tax credit on diesel used by miners and farmers. We subsidised car manufacturers before but that didn’t work out too well. And until the above-mentioned disruptive technology happens, the market just won’t be there. Or the need.
            With the grid, and expecting renewables to be able to charge all these new EVs, I don’ think you understand the limitations of renewables’ ability to react to load changes. Hydro can, but wind and solar cannot. The reality is that most EVs will be plugged into a house in the afternoon as solar ramps down and disconnected as solar ramps up. The grid is already feeling the effects of increased ramp rates because of solar coming in and out. Wind cannot ramp up to meet demand. Only hydro and fossil fuels can do that, and solar thermal to a limited very expensive capacity. And the increased demand will inevitably require additional investment in transmission and distribution.

            Practical stuff around EVs that needs to be discussed:
            Charging at public stations – again who pays – the taxpayer? For something that a very small minority will ever use? Not much of a selling point.
            Charging at work – again not much of a selling point.
            Charging lanes on the road – decades away from being realised.
            Swap and go batteries – again won’t happen until a disruptive technology (small / light / safe) comes along.

          • MacNordic 2 years ago

            Why not use EVs to buffer ramping PV production in times of high generation during the day? Both charging stations and PV feed-in is hooked to a good part to the local distribution network – so stays in the vicinity and minimises the transmission needs.

            An easy way to make things easier would be to allow employers to provide EV charging to their employees from the companies PV plant – without the tax office going after them for “additional benefits/ non- monetary payments” and introducing administrative nightmares…

            In Europe, quite a few employers offer free charging as a means to retain employees.

            Payment at public charging points there is mostly by pay as you charge – with some utilities providing free charging as an incentive (people buy an EV, install a home charger where they have to pay and sometimes use the public one to top up).

            Fossil fuel subsidy (sticking to liquid fuels) can take different forms – the one you mentioned, but also the more indirect forms of cheap drilling licences, favourable tax regimes for oil companies and refineries as well as the legacy cleanup after a filling station or refinery/ oil terminal is closed and the last owner folds (not all that uncommon to have the public foot the cost).

            Then there are the macro- economic implications:
            Most developed countries are net importers of oil and oil products, with significant payment streams going out of the country instead of staying within the economy. While that is ok for value- creating products such as tools, machines and such, it is a problem for pure consumption articles such as fuels. Numbers for Europe: Each day, there are oil imports worth ONE BILLION Euros – with the yearly import bill coming in at around the same height as the whole German state budget. (Gas imports not included in that)

            Securing the import lanes and networks also costs the state.

            I so far deliberately excluded added health& environmental costs, which should be added to the subsidies as well but are difficult to cost accurately.

          • Pedro 2 years ago

            I think you are assuming that some how we will swap our entire ICE vehicles in a very short time frame (a few years perhaps?). I think it will be a gradual process and the big technical challenges you bring up will not really occur. It will be lots of small challenges solved a bit at a time. The EV being charged at home will be done at off peak times when demand is low and power prices are low because we all want to save a buck. Most EV will not require a full battery all the time. Most people will happily drive around on a battery 30-80% full just like i do in my ICE car.

            Who needs the government to pay for charging stations. Shopping centers and existing roadhouse petrol stations will put them in when they see they can make a dollar. The charging station will just be another way to get some one to the shops or order coffee and cake.

            As for power infrastructure it can be upgraded if cost effective. you can also charge a battery from another battery at a slightly higher voltage

          • DevMac 2 years ago

            I disagree.

            Obliquely thanks to the gaming of the power infrastructure rules, Australia has gold-plated grid infrastructure vis-a-vis poles-and-wires. Tesla’s big battery has been taking the ‘load’ of frequency issues caused by ups and downs of supply and demand, and more big batteries on the grid will further nullify this is a cause for concern in the future.

            I also don’t understand your “practical stuff” concerns. Charging at public stations would be the same as refuelling at a servo. You pay for the electricity you put into your car. Charging at work will become an ’employee atttracting’ point of difference, but mostly won’t be necessary for the commuter set because they’re mostly not pushing the EV distance limits. Swap and go batteries is not likely to be a thing, and neither does it need to be in the short-mid term. Changing batteries (every x years) is likely to be a ‘major service’ kind of event. Charging lanes on the road, same as Charging at work: not necessary for a majority of commuters.

            We don’t have to solve all the potential problems of EV’s before getting behind them as a concept, because a lot of the potential problems aren’t real-world problems yet. Sure, prepare for them, but don’t do nothing because there aren’t solutions to non-existent problems yet – that’s a good way to see the world pass you by.

    • MikeH 2 years ago

      >this could be the next rooftop solar effect, which is to transfer wealth from low incomes to wealthy incomes

      Yeah. Well that’s bullshit.

      >…the highest uptake of solar PV systems is coming from families, those on low-incomes and with homes of three bedrooms or more,


      >what are EVs supposed to save us from?

      And a climate crank as well. Did you get lost on your way to a One Nation meeting?

      • RobertO 2 years ago

        Hi MikeH no he just a coal troll

    • Rod 2 years ago

      And you think Government doesn’t subsidise other business?
      Jobs n Growf doesn’t happen on it’s own.

    • Marcus L 2 years ago

      Hi Ben, If we’re going to talk about obscene subsidies have a look at what fossil fuels are receiving, according to this article. Getting paid to pollute, and talk about wealth transfer!

    • john 2 years ago

      It is ok ben do not care about your kids great

    • Ian 2 years ago

      You appear to be quite blind to obvious benefits….and be on the hunt for conspiracy.

    • Chris Fraser 2 years ago

      Petrolheads, naturally.

    • solarguy 2 years ago

      Apart from what Mike has said below, I’ll add this…….you are a mindless dickhead!

      • Joe 2 years ago

        Just another day out for another Trolli…add our Benny to the Trolli list of shame.

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          I blocked Ben some time ago, but it’s pretty clear from the replies what he’s raving about.
          Re subsidies, if Governments, Local, State and federal, were to start buying only EVs for all purposes, that would save ratepayers and taxpayers large amounts of money, and give a kick start to EV sales, without any subsidy at all. I have no idea how many cars are publicly owned, but in 2008, Centrelink in Armidale NSW (population 25,000) had 6. Docs had 8. In Tamworth (pop. 48,000) the Base Hospital had 8.
          It’s not just Com Cars. There are vast numbers of Gov’t vehicles, most replaced every 2 years.
          Every company that provides sales and executive staff with cars runs fleets of many cars, again replaced every 2 years or 60,000 km, whichever comes sooner. It won’t be long before such companies begin to understand the savings to be made by making all new purchases EVs.
          EV manufacturers need only market to Gov’ts and fleet owners to get things happening here in Australia.
          Why aren’t they doing it???

      • Pedro 2 years ago

        Come on Solarguy. no need for insults. Ben does raise some good points about subsidies. In general I am against any subsidy as it distorts the market place. They way I read Ben’s comments is that he chooses to ignore the massive FF subsidies that have been going on for decades and cherry picks to suit his argument.

        • solarguy 2 years ago

          Please wake up Pedro, he’s a coal troll.

          • Pedro 2 years ago

            Thanks Solarguy, I am aware of Ben’s method of argument. The discussion this forum is having with Ben is not to try and change his opinion but to rebut his arguments so that others reading his posts are not fooled. I get that it can be very frustrating reading his less than honest posts, manipulation of facts and ideas. However I do believe that the dialogue should be respectful.

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          Exactly, Pedro.
          It is quite clear that Ben doesn’t read the careful replies that are posted to his nonsense. He is a troll. Don’t feed him.

  2. Joe 2 years ago

    Following on from the recent court decision in Germany allowing cities to ban ‘Dirty Diesel ICE’s’ from roaming city streets, Hamburg will from next Thursday ( 31/5/18 ) begin banning ‘Dirty Diesel ICE’s’ from Hamburg streets. Diesel engine cars that fail to meet Euro 6 standards will be banned from selected streets and areas of Hamburg. Hamburg is like many German as well as other European major cities that are drowning in their own Dirty Diesel Emissions. Other major German cities are looking on and could follow Hamburg’s lead……the rest of Europe?

    • Phil NSW 2 years ago

      After visiting Hamburg and many other cities in Europe the cities maybe polluted but as these cities are all relatively close to each other the whole countryside has a polluted air quality. I applaud this move and along with EV technology the future may deliver a totally improved European environment.
      What will this be driven by? Will Power
      Australia will power seems to be FF driven. Time for a change.

      • Hettie 2 years ago

        Not will power, Phil, but economic power.
        Our fossil foolish government, unlike King Canute, thinks it can hold back the tide. It can build breakwaters and seawalls, but the tide will win, as it always does.
        So long as there are entrepreneurs like Sanjeeve Gupta and Elon Musk, the troglodytes will not win.
        Australia may be a little late to the party, but as soon as there is a change of government government, we should forge ahead

        • Joe 2 years ago

          Hallo again young Hettie. The ACT Government are on board with the changing over of their car fleet to EV’s

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Yes they are. More power to them.

  3. Ken Dyer 2 years ago

    I am sure that anyone who reads Renew Economy did not miss this video about the E-type jaguar here:


    What really struck me was that the electric motor and battery was an integral unit that just slotted into the engine compartment, using the same engine mounts that previously held a 6cylinder petrol engine common to a whole raft of Jaguar models.

    As this article points out, there is a large amount of knowledge about how to build motorcars in Australia. How long would it take to engineer a similar EV motor that could be retrofitted into a Holden or Ford, or for that matter, a Mitsi or Hyundai.

    It just makes sense.

    • Rod 2 years ago

      I agree. The battery block just mounted to where the ICE was. Cables coming out and going to wheel fitted motors I assume.
      As you say, just transfer this concept to any popular vehicle body. A few more tweaks to brake boosters etc. and hey presto.

    • solarguy 2 years ago

      It sure does make sense. All that’s needed is the will, we have everything else.

    • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

      you don’t want to just slot them into the engine bay. you want the weight down low for lower centre of gravity. That’s where EV design is already going…

  4. Marcus L 2 years ago

    Not just cars… BYD in Shenzhen are building 2,000 electric buses per week. Shenzhen has replaced its whole diesel fleet with electric buses in just 2-3 years. Last time I was in Hong Kong (last April) I saw the city of Shenzhen’s skyline from Lantau Island for the first time in 5 years. Coincidence or less diesel fumes? BYD have recently opened an electric bus factory in California. Here’s a link…..

    • Connor 2 years ago

      China is way ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to electric vehicle uptake. Unfortunately, places like Beijing are still heavily polluted from the huge population levels and car usage, despite the government’s efforts and deployment of electric buses etc

      • Joe 2 years ago

        At least they/China are doing something about it!

    • Ian 2 years ago

      The sooner we get E buses here the better. Cities will be much quieter too, among all the other obvious benefits.

  5. john 2 years ago

    As I see it due to the small population in Australia it would be problematic to start up a new manufacturing plant to produce a new product in the country.
    Considering the large percentage of people adverse to change it would appear this would be very hard to justify.
    Should it be done yes absolutely, will it happen no.

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      Certainly people were averse (no d) to the change Abbott wrought when he killed the car industry.
      Whether they would now be averse to resurrecting it for EVs is another story altogether. There are many reasons to try.

      • solarguy 2 years ago

        If we want it to happen we can make it happen. No if’s no but’s about it. There is a lot at stake if we don’t make it happen, so it’s time we put our noses to the grind stone.

        We never got to the Moon by just dreaming about it.

    • Nick Kemp 2 years ago

      The good news is that EVs have relatively few parts so manufacturing here shouldn’t be thrown on the too hard basket. Even if it starts as assembling like ACE motors in Qld it’s worth doing here in my view

    • Joe 2 years ago

      Sonnen want to make batteries here in Australia to not only sell here in Australia but export overseas as well. Our small population doesn’t seem to have affected Sonnen’s thinking.

  6. RobertO 2 years ago

    Hi All, I look at it this way, Do we want to import everything or do we want to employ people to build Australia into a better place. Even just starting with refining minerals into usable materials or making base products such as batteries. We have so much we could do but do we want too? Will the Fed Gov want Australia to lead the world or are we stuck in the good old days where coal was our hope (for going backwards).

    • Joe 2 years ago

      Rob, you are spot on. It is all about value adding and that is s where the “Jobs and Growth” is to be found. We can be a whole lot better than just being a quarry for the world.

  7. Hettie 2 years ago

    Dragging the chain and missing opportunity is what Australia, especially under coalition Gov’t, does best.

    • Phil NSW 2 years ago

      Maybe it is time for a new political party. Think of a good name like “A low emission Australian future”. We know the major political parties aren’t fair dinkum.

  8. Ian 2 years ago

    The advantage of manufacturing in rapidly urbanising economies like China has lead to factories closing in places like Australia and opening in Asia. Highly automated factories make this cheap labour paradigm less important, and the time has come to take back manufacturing. EV are so damn simple to make, its a perfect opportunity to reintroduce vehicle manufacture to our country.

    In the past the limiting factor in commerce was a lack of cheap manufacturing ability, now its a lack of customers. China has been a juggernaut of manufacturing, but what’s the use of that if the rest of the jobless world can’t buy their sh-t. Manufacturing, after all, takes relatively low cost raw material (such as obtained courtesy of Australia’s largess) ands in some human effort and ingenuity and creates enormous wealth . With automated factories, high value jobs can be created right were they are needed, close to places where people live.

    What’s that old saying “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”

  9. Malthus Anderson 2 years ago

    Maybe Senator Storer was wrong on one point – EVs in Australia could easily be 100% by 2030, not 54% by 2040. But absolutely right in saying Australia could be a world leader in EVs and batteries. If only other politicians were as visionary.

    • riley222 2 years ago

      You kind of feel that maybe this might be an area where gov’t interference might be a good thing.
      All the chips are there, but whats likely to happen, our overseas friends are going to end up supplying OZ with all our needs, while a few select material suppliers rake in the profits, most likely tax free.
      Overall , OZ zero , our overseas friends, looking good. Another chance blown.
      Where’s the guts , or are we going to continue to vote for people that will sell us out.

      • Hettie 2 years ago

        Most likely, ICE models that can’t be sold in more enlightened right hand drive markets as EVs take over there, will be dumped on Australia, the last of the idiot luddite nations.
        Thanks, you RWNJs, for nothing.

  10. N Page 2 years ago

    The coal industry don’t know how to pigeonhole the EV. It burns coal! But it causes emissions… By burning … Coal! Look at them running into each other with conflicting arguments they’re like a destruction derby

  11. Clem Murray 2 years ago

    as I have said before the intention of the conservatives/LNP is to take away ownership and controll of australia from the australian people and by doing every thing they can
    to stop aust from becoming a world EV and battery leader is part of their policy but with an election getting closer every day we have a chance to do something about it

  12. Ian Smith 2 years ago

    And still we push to retain the selfish and self entitled use of the motor car. For all of the money spent on infrastructure for motor vehicles in our cities we could have invested into our city designs, public transport, active transport infrastucture and environment. We would have world class facilities and a transport footprint at least half as energy intensive as today. The ROI would be huge compared to the existing ROI.

  13. George Darroch 2 years ago

    World leaders in some areas. World losers in others.

    We actually have an EV manufacturing company in Victoria (they make small trucks) but little of substance is being done to support them.

    Right now we have a large skills-base of automotive manufacturing which is just withering away, thanks to the Federal Government and the propaganda machine that supports them.

  14. Carl Raymond S 2 years ago

    On the car demand site, I don’t think we need to worry. People want EVs, as evidenced by the half million car order book for Tesla’s model 3.

    There already exists an incentive that governments can continue to provide in the near term, by doing nothing. Electricity does not include a road tax component as petrol does. Keep this in place until the EV penetration reaches say 10% and the incentive is done, with zero paperwork.

    Don’t laugh, Josh Frydenberg has already suggested EVs need to start paying the equivalent of fuel tax – they are blind to the benefits and don’t care a jot that the transition will happen faster with a small nudge.

    On the manufacturing side, I’ll be impressed if we can get something off the ground. It will have to be niche, such as buses or trucks, or franchised so the technology arrives ready to go. It’s taken Tesla 12 years to get to the current point and they are still learning. If we’re honest we’ve missed the boat there.

    We have all the ingredients for batteries – lithium, cobalt, nickel. Worst case, these sub neatly for coal and gas. Better case, somebody builds a gigafactory here.

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      Nailed it.

  15. Patrick Comerford 2 years ago

    While it’s of some consolation to have people like the honorable senator quoted espousing views encouraging EVs the unfortunate reality is that we have missed the boat on this just as we have with renewable energy and fighting climate change. Countries like China will own the future and countries like Australia, which had so much to contribute, will be left to feed off the crumbs. In today’s world you either embrace and lead technological change or you……. Well just have it thrust upon you by others whether it suits your societies expectations or not.

  16. solarguy 2 years ago

    It’s never been a matter of can’t get EV and Battery manufacturing going in this country, but rather won’t. Let’s put our support behind the doers and get this show on the road before this opportunity is lost.

    We can start by giving the boot to this dysfunctional government!

    • Joe 2 years ago

      The old GMH site is sitting there in SA. Retrenched ex-workers in SA and Vic could be retrained. Surely if there is a genuine will an EV factory could be established…..”Jobs and Growth’, Malcolm….”Jobs and Growth”, there for the taking.

  17. Ken Dyer 2 years ago

    A key mantra of the LNP COALition is jobs and growth. In Australia as in elsewhere, these things are linked to productivity. Productivity has flattened in recent years as this article explains:


    Productivity (hence jobs and growth) only comes with innovation and leadership, both sadly lacking in Australia.

    Productivity improves when a one time disconnect happens. For example, the use of electricity to power factories; the replacement of horses with cars; the introduction of computers. These things gave one-off impetus to improving productivity. Any change after the first impetus, is mostly marginal.

    The Australian Electrric Vehicle Association gets it according to their submission to the productivity Commission back in 2016.


    Their submission points out the benefits that would accrue from the adoption of EV’s in Australia. Although it can be argued that the introduction of EV’s may only have a minimal effect on productivity, nevertheless, in a jobs and growth environment, where jobs are being rapidly automated, the history of the adoption of new and innovative technologies clearly indicates that, from a human perspective, the creation of jobs, drives the growth of productivity and economic progress.

    Australia’s universities are hotbeds of innovation. For example, an invention out of Geelong’s Latrobe University now in production is making carbon fibre wheels that are being sold overseas to Ford and Ferrari. The whole bloody thing was funded by Switzerland. Also, one only has to look at Redflow technologies who designed and created the Z-cell battery. It is being manufactured overseas.

    These are but two of the technologies that Australians have invented. But we never go through with these things that would benefit productivity and economic growth.

    Instead, we just continue to dig old, dirty and expensive coal out of the ground, sell it overseas and live off the royalties. We do not even own the mines!

    In our society, we castigate those on the dole and the pension and who are forced to live on Government handouts. What most people do not realise is that the whole of Australia lives on handouts from overseas users of our fossil fuels.

    No wonder our productivity is crap; we have a lazy and complacent government that basically lives off the “global dole”.

    It is a lesson that Australia has ignored for decades, to the detriment of our country.

  18. Hettie 2 years ago

    Re subsidies, if Governments, Local, State and federal, were to start buying only EVs for all purposes, that would save ratepayers and taxpayers large amounts of money, and give a kick start to EV sales, without any subsidy at all.
    I have no idea how many cars are publicly owned, but in 2008, Centrelink in Armidale NSW (population 25,000) had 6. Docs had 8. In Tamworth (pop. 48,000) the Base Hospital had 8.
    It’s not just Com Cars. There are vast numbers of Gov’t vehicles, most replaced every 2 years.

    Every company that provides sales and executive staff with cars runs fleets of many cars, again replaced every 2 years or 60,000 km, whichever comes sooner. It won’t be long before such companies begin to understand the savings to be made by making all new purchases EVs.
    Admittedly, many fleet cars travel long distances to cover regional sales territories, and range anxiety is a valid factor, but the sales representatives stay in motels, giving motel owners a big incentive to install charging points. Sales reps work as well as drive on their long trips, so typically do fewer than 600mm a day. Charge overnight. Top up at lunchtime. No problem.

    EV manufacturers need only market to Gov’ts and fleet owners to get things happening here in Australia.
    Why aren’t they doing it???

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