Three years after Tesla visit, Turnbull may finally act on EVs | RenewEconomy

Three years after Tesla visit, Turnbull may finally act on EVs

Energy minister Josh Frydenberg has declared Australia’s electric vehicle revolution to be “nigh.” But can the Coalition back its proselytising with policies? Or will EVs go the way of renewable energy in the party room?


Predictions that 2018 could (finally) be the year of the electric vehicle in Australia have gained significant momentum after a promising start in the first few weeks of the new year.

Energy and environment minister, Josh Frydneberg, penned an op-ed published in the Sydney Morning Herald over the weekend declaring a revolution in vehicles – similar to that of mobile phones and digital cameras – was “nigh.”

It was quickly followed by other government ministers canvassing a change in fuel excise tax towards a “mileage” tax – as if the government had recognised, some three years after prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s gushing visit to the Tesla EV factory in California, that change is inevitable.

“A global revolution in electric vehicles is underway and with the right preparation, planning and policies, Australian consumers are set to be the big beneficiaries,” Frydenberg wrote, noting that key barriers including price and lack of infrastructure would first need to be cleared.

Now, it could be argued that this is a statement of the bleeding obvious, served up by a government that has been widely criticised for being well behind the global pace on driving the uptake of a vital low-carbon technology.

Even Saudi Arabia is making efforts to embrace EVs, and Australia stands almost unique in the western world for having no emissions standards to speak of.

Last year, at the Energy Efficiency summit in Melbourne, Frydenberg talked of the tabloid (read Murdoch media) back-lash to efficiency standards, which the papers likened to a carbon tax. He may have found the courage to act.

Meanwhile, in the US, just a day after Frydenberg’s article was published, auto giant Ford used the Detroit auto show to announce an increase in its planned EV spend to $US11 billion by 2022, and a target of 40 different hybrid and fully electric models in its fleet by that time.

Still, Frydenberg’s op-ed, which has been welcomed by industry leaders – including the the Electric Vehicle Council of Australia – offers a much needed sign of a progressive government ready to embrace positive change – at least in theory.

“The Minister’s comments demonstrate a level of understanding of the size and scope of the benefits available to Australia from the global transition to electric vehicles,” said EVCA CEO Behyad Jafari.

“Australia’s national road fleet is among the least efficient in the developed world. At a time when the electricity sector is increasingly powered by renewables, it makes sense to move our vehicles away from fossil fuels and power them from that clean source or energy.

“What we need now is a co-ordinated national plan to encourage and support the purchase of electric vehicles, through short-term incentives, the deployment of charging infrastructure and strong fleet targets to provide certainty for industry development.”

Certainly, the minister did not hold back on the potential benefits – economic and environmental – of a transition to electric cars.

“Not insignificantly … the fuel cost of a 300km journey in an electric vehicle is currently about a third of that of a petrol-fuelled car,” he wrote.

“The technology around batteries is also improving rapidly. The density of batteries has nearly doubled on average every five years and the price has halved in the same period.”

Frydenberg also noted that certain Chevrolet and Renault models already traveled around 350km without needing to be recharged, and could be recharged in less than 30 minutes using current fast-charge technology.

“Indeed, it’s the view of Australia’s Chief Scientist that by 2025 there might be electric vehicles in production that can drive 1000 kilometres on a single charge. This will be remarkable,” he said. (Chief scientist Alan Finkel owns at least one EV, it should be noted).

On emissions, the article pointed to the CSIRO Energy Roadmap estimates that EVs could reduce CO2 emissions by at least 15 million tonnes by 2030.

Nor did Frydenberg downplay the rapid progress being made in other parts of the world, driven by other much more progressive governments, or the “staggering projections” being posited on future EV market growth.

“China is the largest vehicle market in the world with 25 million annual vehicle sales, with an expectation that electric vehicles will make up 10 per cent of new sales by 2025 and 30 per cent by 2030.”

But will Frydenberg’s words of support for electric vehicles translate into action? It is worth remembering that a similar enthusiasm for electric vehicles was once declared by Turnbull, back in February 2015, not long before he took over the top job.

As we reported at the time, Turnbull gushed praise for the “exhilarating technology” on display at the Tesla Factory, in Fremont, California, which he visited for a tour and a test drive of a Model S.

“The all electric cars are being made in a huge factory that used to belong to GM and Toyota,” Turnbull wrote on his Facebook page. “A reminder of how innovation drives jobs.”

Three years later, however, it is clear that the shift to EVs has been an embarrassing failure on Turnbull’s watch, with total sales actually falling, year-on-year, since 2015.

Frydenberg, meanwhile, has already moved to downplay the role of federal government policy in driving the revolution he so passionately wrote about.

In particular, he has kiboshed any hopes that the Turnbull government might legislate a mandatory vehicle emissions benchmark – a policy lever many argue is essential to drive the shift away from petrol fuelled cars.

“We’re not talking about mandates at present,” Frydenberg said during an interview with Brisbane’s 4BC radio on Monday, arguing that it was the price of the electric vehicles, and lack of supporting infrastructure, that were really holding back sales in Australia.

“What we have seen… from consumers surveys… is that around 50 per cent of the population are interested in buying an electric vehicle and some 20 per cent of them have absolutely looked into it in quite significant detail. …Price range and infrastructure is what … has been holding back the uptake.”

Inconveniently for Frydenberg, those same surveys also showed that almost two thirds of people (64 per cent) want government incentives to encourage the purchase of electric cars, including a majority of supporters of all the major parties. (See chart below).

“Half of all people agree that people purchasing electric vehicles should pay less tax than those purchasing vehicles that run on petroleum,” said Matt Grudnoff, a senior economist at The Australia Institute.

Grudnoff co-authored this TAI report, published in October last year, that concluded Australian governments should “learn from the successes of other countries” and introduce policy incentives to support electric vehicle adoption.

The TAI paper recommended four policies to help Australia transition to electric vehicles: Exempt all electric vehicles from Luxury Car Tax (currently the federal government offers a discount, only); a benchmark for vehicle emissions with penalties paid by vehicles depending on how far above the benchmark they are and subsidies for vehicles depending on how far below the benchmark they are; targeted incentives to encourage the development of EV charging stations in strategic locations; and, for a limited time, to allow electric vehicles to use bus and car pool lanes.

“All up, with their potential to reduce air pollution in urban areas, curb carbon emissions from electricity and the transport fleet, save consumers money and improve vehicle safety standards, electric vehicles should be an easy sell in Australia,” the report says.

Of course, some of the policy measures recommended by the TAI are in the realm of state governments – a fact Frydenberg is keen to note in his article.

“At a state level, governments have responsibility for vehicle registration, stamp duty, government purchasing and are undertaking new charging infrastructure roll-outs. All important areas for reducing the costs for electric vehicle customers and thereby incentivising their uptake.”

And he also acknowledges a need for greater coordination between federal and state governments – something he is working on via the Vehicle Emissions Forum.

“Better coordination of existing and future activities around research and development, charging infrastructure planning, vehicle fleet targets and financial incentives, will bode well for the industry in the exciting decade ahead,” Frydenberg writes.

And indeed it would. Just don’t mention the energy war.

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  1. howardpatr 3 years ago

    The Member for Hume, Angus Taylor, might add EVs to his STOPTHESETHINGS website and oppose them like he opposes wind turbines.

    • Joe 3 years ago

      Angus who?

        • Joe 3 years ago

          I was being sarcastic. Yes, I know him. Another Liberal lightweight who can’t see past his own nose.

          • Michael Murray 3 years ago

            Ah sorry 🙂 I hadn’t heard of him.

  2. Robert Westinghouse 3 years ago

    LNP are offering no incentives for EV, no acknowledgment that EV reduce auto pollution and in the same breath, they are suggesting introducing a km tax – OMG. Instead perhaps tax diesel and high polluting autos, not taxing people for driving. The LNP still do not get the environment thing….

    • Alastair Taylor 3 years ago

      Disincentivising driving whilst promoting sustainable transport modes is exactly what the inner and middle rings of our cities need. With a new source of revenue, further public transport subsidising of the outer suburbs and building a much larger off road bike network all throughout the city is exactly what we need.

      • Robert Westinghouse 3 years ago

        AT – Agree. Public transport is essential. But the government continues to push for private ownership/building of more roads. If they spent as much money on city roads, we WOULD have a good public transport. The government fails to remember it is the PUBLIC that votes them in….but I know the system is not fair.

    • Joe 3 years ago

      Robert you nailed again. Quoting Josh F. partially from the article “….with the right planning, preparation and policy…” why would The COALition ever start doing that let alone with EV’s or anything remotely connected to Environment. Weasel words is all we get from Joshie and his puppetmaster Two Tongues Turnbull.

    • Rod 3 years ago

      Agreed, rather than incentivising EVs and energy efficient vehicles a km tax does the exact opposite.
      I’m not sure where this brain fart came from but with the incredibly low number of pure EVs on our roads my suspicion chip is in overload.

      • Robert Westinghouse 3 years ago

        Thanks Mate: Yes, it is all hot air and nothing good will come of it. I keep writing and writing to the federal and the state men…. but we all need to do it…I live in the bush with NO public transport…so they Donald Duck us again and again

    • Pedro 3 years ago

      We need to decouple the government tax revenue stream from fossil fuels, as this in an incentive for governments to encourage crappy performance from ICE and governments are hopelessly addicted to this revenue stream. So I am in favour of very little tax on on fossil fuels (a CO2 pollution tax) and a tax on distance x weight of vehicle.

      • Hettie 3 years ago

        Agreed. If the purpose of the tax is, as claimed, to fund road maintenance, the vehicle weight multiplier is essential.

  3. Roger Franklin 3 years ago

    South Australian Election……..17 March 2018…………. Talk about potentially supporting EV’s! Can’t help but think there is a link here……….

    • Joe 3 years ago

      Surely Premier Jay has a chat to the Elon about setting up a Tesla EV factory in the good state of SA. The Big Battery has been a winner…EV’s next big winner.

  4. johnnewton 3 years ago

    We have a spare fsctory or teo in SA. Why not offer it tot Tesla at peppcorn rent to make the Aussie EV? Nah, too rad for this mob.

    • Nicholas Folkes 3 years ago

      I couldn’t agree more. Make EVs in Australia so financial incentives for buyers makes sense instead of being an importer only.

    • George AD 3 years ago

      Far too sensible. Instead we’re wasting tens of billions on war machines (that employ skilled Australians, but which have far less benefit.)

      • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

        Funny how they can alwyays find money to build submarines but cry poor for what should be truly transformative initiatives and nation-building such as FTTP NBN, great public hospitals and schools etc.

        • Joe 3 years ago

          Ah…The NBN…again in the news headlines today ( 17/1/2018 ). And there he was on my TV holding a media presser and as usual its all Labor’s fault as he / the Turnbull tries to cover his own arse when he is 100% fully responsible for the the crap, not so superfast broadband now being delivered. The dude has no shame, he should just resign.

  5. Dee Vee 3 years ago

    I’m at a loss to understand why the Federal Government is talking about a “mileage tax” . Apart from the obvious incorrect term, Aren’t most roads owned and maintained by the states?

    • Alastair Taylor 3 years ago

      To access roads you pay a yearly registration: everyone, regardless of how much they drive, pays the same price.

      Road user price changes might mean shifting to your ‘registration’ (or whatever they want to call it) will be priced based on how many KM you drive – i.e if you drive more, you pay more and you’re rewarded with a lower registration if drive less.

      It has the potential to do large-scale behavioural shifts within cities and no doubt there’ll be exemptions for PT poor areas (although, the revenue raised should be redirected to provide PT-poor areas with much better levels of service) and regional areas.

      • Mike Shackleton 3 years ago

        Registration in Australia might pay for vehicle access to the road network, but none of the revenue from fees goes towards actual road construction and maintenance. All it does is pay for the cost of administering the registration system.

        In the UK they encourage the purchase of low emissions vehicles by pegging the rego cost to vehicle emissions. On the annual renewal the cost of rego for differing emissions figures is clearly outlined so as to encourage drivers to consider lower emissions vehicles when they buy their next car.

        In London the inner city congestion charge is avoided by low emissions vehicles.

        Revenue raising through fuel excise is probably the best way to assist with a transition. Maybe it should be more aggressively raised every year to encourage people to get rid of inefficient cars, a bit like the cigarette tax. Legislating how the revenue from fuel excise can be spent – ie. on improving PT and reducing fuel dependency would be a good idea. At the moment the money just goes into consolidated revenue.

        Road use charging will be complicated and opaque. There will be lots of rules and they will be difficult to understand. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it though.

        • Peter Campbell 3 years ago

          “In the UK they encourage the purchase of low emissions vehicles by pegging the rego cost to vehicle emissions.”
          We do that in the ACT too. Stamp duty on new vehicles also varies in several bands according to emissions. Zero emissions vehicles are exempt. More efficient vehicles are lower than average vehicles which are lower than inefficient vehicles.

    • Nicholas Folkes 3 years ago

      The bastards want your $$.

  6. George AD 3 years ago

    None of these suggestions do enough to lower the relative purchase price of a new EV.

    I suggest that there is a levy on all non-zero emissions vehicles (say $200) sold in a particular year, and that is distributed equally among all purchasers of EVs as a purchase-credit. If few are sold, then buyers will benefit greatly and more will be sold in subsequent years. If many are sold, then buyers will see minimal benefits but the policy will have achieved its purpose.

    • George AD 3 years ago

      Oh, and to adopt minimum emissions standards for vehicles, something that should have been adopted years ago.

      • Gyrogordini 3 years ago

        Throw in a carbon tax on Dino juice, and a vehicle weight tax, and you’re starting to get somewhere.

        • Nicholas Folkes 3 years ago

          We pay enough tax.

          • John Saint-Smith 3 years ago

            Spoken like a true tax avoider.

          • mick 3 years ago

            mate look at the way governments waste our hard-earned and it becomes almost the right thing to avoid filling their coffers

          • John Saint-Smith 3 years ago

            ‘almost’? What on earth do you mean with that lazy negative comment? That’s why we have Lazy Negative Party government.
            Obviously the right thing to do is to participate fully in the democratic process, and work hard to get the politicians and the ideas we need. Novel concept? Only about 2500 years old.

          • mick 3 years ago

            do you mean the one vote one value no rigging votes no bought out and ignorance in journalists non populist political class with no money influence i doubt that sort of democracy has been seen since the second election in ancient greece

          • Carl Raymond S 3 years ago

            That’s a decoy. Nobody is advocating *more* tax. What is needed is taxation that’s heavy on emissions and rewards adoption of zero emission technology. Letting EV drivers pay no road tax (fuel excise) until EVs reach 10% penetration would be an excellent measure, requiring the govt to do precisely nothing at this stage.

          • Nicholas Folkes 3 years ago

            You are advocating for more tax. What emissions – harmless Co2? You’ve been conned.

          • Carl Raymond S 3 years ago

            2 plus 2 is 4. 1 plus 3 is 4. If the latter is more than the former, you are correct.

          • Michael Murray 3 years ago

            That depends who “We” are. If we are the PAYE tax payers I agree. If we are the multinational companies I don’t think so. Last time I looked I PAYEd more tax that Adani.

          • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

            Actually yes the average income earner pays more than their fair share but the average big company pays far less than their fair share.

  7. Simon 3 years ago

    And, just so I dont stop sounding like a broken record, Australia supplies more of the lithium in theses cars than any country in the world – likely to be more than 50% in 2017. Yet we do little more than turn big rocks into little rocks and ship them to China. A couple of the major global chemical companies invested in Australian lithium mines are developing chemical manufacturing facilities near the mines – a rare event in the mining industry.

    But I guess it is no surprise to anyone here that Australia – not even Western Australia – does not have a specific policy designed to leverage this position of power and create more value from our resources – unlike major competitors like Chile.

    No surprise whatsoever…

    • handbaskets'r'us 3 years ago

      There’s an $800+ million lithium processing plant going into Kwinana, WA.
      -Not all bad.
      But otherwise big rocks into small as usual…

      • Simon 3 years ago

        Yes – that is good – but it is low hanging fruit and really must be done to ensure longer term operational viability. No policy required.

        Going to the next step is where Australia lacks vision.

        • Nicholas Folkes 3 years ago

          Policy = Vision.

          • Hettie 3 years ago

            No. In the case of the Coalition, policy clearly demonstrates no vision at all.

          • Nicholas Folkes 3 years ago

            I agree however the Labor party has even less vision.

    • Mark Fowler 3 years ago

      Actually most lithium currently comes from the brine deposits in South America but the good news is that an Australian company Orocobre is one of the producers.

      • Simon 3 years ago

        Actually Mark, if you care to review the US Geological Survey site where they keep very good records on these things:

        …you will find that Australia has been dominating lithium supply for a number of years. Argentina is a laggard. Chile has had a few political problems/scandals linked to a major lithium producer.

        As I noted – Australia likely to supply over 50% of global lithium production in 2017. Waiting on the numbers, but no other country has brought on as much new production as Australia has in the last 12 months – so this is likely to be the case.

        • Mark Fowler 3 years ago

          Looking at the link the 2016 breakdown was SA 17,900 tons (Chile, Argentina and Brazil) and Australian 14,300 tons. 2015 was almost equal tonnages. The SA tonnage includes very little contribution from Orocobre who inow producing at 12,000-14,000 tons pa but this is offset by Galaxy who started shipping ore (not finished product unfortunately) – don’t know their current production.

          Doesn’t really matter – what matters is the changeover to non-polluting vehicles.

      • mick 3 years ago

        gday mate how about graphene?

    • Roger Brown 3 years ago

      There is a Australian company (Lepidico Ltd ) that will be a “Miner , Producer” in 2019 . The 1st plant ( L-Max ) will be built in Canada , close to Cheap reagents ( Sulfuric Acid ) to leach out the Lithium Mica’s and other valuable by- product$ . Galaxy took a 11.9% interest of Lepidico Ltd , to stop any more Take-Overs of LPD from Lithium Australia . Most Lithium companies are still finding , fencing off , drilling etc etc . The one with the most land holdings , will do well in the future .

  8. Nicholas Folkes 3 years ago

    Frydenberg is talking about ‘financial incentives’ for imported EVs. Why didn’t the bastards help car manufacturers transition to EV production in Australia so industry, jobs and taxes could have a positive effect on our economy instead of being the arse end of the world again? Another missed opportunity that Australia will pay dearly for. We are a nation of idiots.

    • Rod 3 years ago

      Well with the split 53 – 47 we do have at least 47% of idiot voters.

      • Nicholas Folkes 3 years ago

        Both Labor and Liberal have utterly destroyed this country. Only 40 years ago we had a strong manufacturing base that provided real jobs. These days we are a third world country that makes almost nothing. I consider Labor, Liberal and Greens voters as ‘idiots’.

        • John Saint-Smith 3 years ago

          Apparently you’ve never heard of China, or containers for that matter.

          • Nicholas Folkes 3 years ago

            We’ve all heard of China and their chauvinist ambitions of turning Australia into a slave colony. China is not our friend. They’re a bunch of children.

          • John Saint-Smith 3 years ago

            Chauvinist Chinese children running a slave colony? I merely sought to point out that uncompetitive production costs and unimaginative Australian manufacturers, who simply closed their local factories and invested in low wage China have destroyed Australian manufacturing, not the LNP,ALP and Greens. Admittedly, they haven’t helped, but when Labor asked what help they needed, the then heavily subsidised Australian manufacturers, who were scamming Australian consumers all the way to the bank, said ‘Just lower the value of the A$, and the world will beat a path to our door.
            Wow! Talk about naïve.

          • Pedro 3 years ago

            I have been told by an Australian Chinese person that Chinese people consider Australia as the world quarry. And we think we are the clever country…yup that sure is clever sending all that lithium OS and buying it back at 10000%.

          • John Saint-Smith 3 years ago

            And the Japanese before them. But everyone blames the politicians, never the business community. It is so easy to make a fortune in Australia, digging up millions of tonnes of our treasure house of resources, both renewable and non-renewable, and shipping them overseas with as little messy processing as possible.

            Sure, the Lazy Negative Party doesn’t help with innovation – didn’t even have a Science Minister for a while – and Malcontent Turnbull promised innovation and delivered jingoism, but where’s the push from the Confederation of Industry, or Chamber of Commerce? Why don’t our superannuation funds invest in innovative Australian industries?

            Perhaps we’re just too lucky for our own good.

          • Nicholas Folkes 3 years ago

            It’s both; the politicians and the voters. We neeed leadership instead we have lazy politicians with zero vision.

          • Nicholas Folkes 3 years ago

            Indeed. Chinese look down at Aussies with contempt. They think we’re idiots for giving away our resources and assets to foreign multinationals for a pittance.

          • Nicholas Folkes 3 years ago

            Hey Naive,

            Could you please supply data supporting your lies regarding “heavily subsidised Australian manufacturers”? Australian car manufacturers received very little subsidy. The level playing field does not exist, only in the fantasy land of economic rationalists and free traders.

          • John Saint-Smith 3 years ago

            We don’t have any car manufacturers in Australia.

          • Nicholas Folkes 3 years ago

            Derr, I quoted what you said.

        • Rod 3 years ago

          That leaves One Neuron or Xenophon.

          • solarguy 3 years ago

            Love the One Neuron thing Rod.

          • Nicholas Folkes 3 years ago

            We are in the political wilderness at the moment.

        • solarguy 3 years ago

          So tell me how do you compete with low wages from any country.

          China is an economic power house, that will just keep snowballing!

          Got any answers to that little problem?

        • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

          And the culprit is economic rationalist ideology; that failed ideology needs to be challenged.

        • Joe 3 years ago

          Lets dial back the time machine 40 years and stay there forever, yeah.

        • nakedChimp 3 years ago

          What have the Greens done please?
          They would have converted the economy EARLY on into one that embraced local, sustainable jobs and manufacturing. They sure as hell wouldn’t have opted to import cheap, polluting crap from overseas paid for by coal and gas.
          You really have that one backwards my friend.

  9. John Saint-Smith 3 years ago

    3 years behind the rest of the world… Just beginning to discover the potential when other countries have already mandated the extinction of the ICE… Yet to think through the details of how to promote the move to low polluting vehicles… No plans to develop battery production or EV manufacture… The Lazy Negative Party is keeping up with expectations.

    • Nicholas Folkes 3 years ago

      Lol. You’ve changed your mind quickly. It was only a few days ago you were talking about the benefits of local de-industrialisation and sending production to China.

      • John Saint-Smith 3 years ago

        Sorry, I have no idea what you are talking about. Please desist.

    • Frank Speaking 3 years ago

      Magnis Resources (MNS) – The share advisories describe it as a graphite Miner with a mine under construction in Tanzania, however it is also involved (30% stake – the technology {a Director is a Prof up for a Nobel Prize for his foundation research into Lithium Batteries} and providing the graphite .
      2 Battery Megafactories in Westphalia (German Industrial Heartland) in planning stage, One under construction in New York State and One Planned with Qld Govt support in Townsville

  10. Ferris B 3 years ago

    The first incentive to owning an EV at this early stage is the proposed distance tax is a few years away, as for further incentives the local car industry is keen to claim a buyer subsidy is needed to allow them to sell affordable cars, I don’t believe that one bit, firstly they aren’t making an attempt to offer the public the new longer range cars available in the UK and secondly it would just be another excuse for dealers to increase their margin, the local car industry also claim theres no charging infrastructure so why sell cars, this is where the govt can step in by supporting the business led roll out the charging infrastructure ( with respect to the Queensland government), as time goes on and EV numbers increase plus there is a clear price competitive alternative to internal combustion engines then the government can start hitting tailpipe polluters where it hurts.

  11. MaxG 3 years ago

    It is quite mind-boggling that the LNP achieves 58% for doing nothing WRT EV support… go figure.

  12. Miles Harding 3 years ago

    I presume that this action will take the form, so familiar with the LNP; that of none at all.

    It will be interesting to see how the LNP would implement a milage tax, when licensing is controlled by the states. As many responents have pointed out, this is pointless until EVs make up a significant fraction of the vehicle polulation. All it would only serve to do is disincentivise the update, leaving Australia more vulnerable to oil shocks.

    Charging infrastructure is not an impediment to significant update. Many of us have been driving EVs all over the place, apparently with no charging infrastructure at all. It hasn’t stopped Teslas being driven from Perth to Sydney.

    • Roger Brown 3 years ago

      Springfield Shopping centre (S.East Qld) has 3 Tesla charging spots and another 2 spots for a Pay for Kwh’$ . I think Cairns has finished installing their charging points .

      • nakedChimp 3 years ago

        There are EV charging points in Cairns?
        Where? I didn’t see any (only travel the major roads there for shopping/biz).

        • Roger Brown 3 years ago

          Google Cairns EV charging points.

  13. Ian 3 years ago

    Bring it on I say. Let’s set up something that is fair and eqitible, that takes into account the impact on obesity, emissions, road impact, road construction cost and other trauma. That way bike riders and walkers would actually get PAID for all of their impact.

    • Rod 3 years ago

      It could also go the other way. If fuel tax was reduced or replaced with a km tax a ford F350 would pay the same to go 100km as a Daewoo Matiz. That is perverse. Gawd knows how it would work for motor bikes. And maybe cyclists would be charged per km!

  14. Malcolm Scott 3 years ago

    “We have no plans to …….” That’s probably something we can agree on.

    Time for the states to give up on COAG and go it alone in like minded partnerships with other states, as the Victorian Gov’t did by taking the lead on electronic stability control.

  15. Mark Fowler 3 years ago

    For the right policies to be put in place lust tell the LNP party room that it will increase the demand for coal and it will go though unopposed.

    • technerdx6000 3 years ago

      Its not even untruthful. Until coal is phased out, electric vehicles will increase coal demand

      • Pedro 3 years ago

        That would be likely if every other car bought this year was an EV. But also you have 1GW on new non fossil energy generators installed/year

    • Ian 3 years ago

      EV , with their (mostly) unused battery / range capacity, can provide a large electricity storage option for the grid. The average daily distance travelled is about 30km/day @at 200Wh/km that’s 6kW per day, battery capacity for the nicer EV is 60kWh or more. For a tiny bit of coal power you can buy a large amount of storage. Besides our coal power stations are so clapped out that increasing electricity demand is probably not going to make much difference to coal consumption. As Pedro says, plenty of renewables generation is being brought online every year.

  16. Durham 52 3 years ago

    Anyone from this lamentable federal government speaking about innovation or the environment is just hot air and anyone who thinks that a few flowery words from minister Fraudenberg will add up to anything worthwhile, should check their grip on reality. I do note that he promised nothing and blamed everyone else for anything which might be holding back the uptake of EV’s in Australia. Having thrown in a few key words such as innovation, opportunities, bright future, etcetera, to give the press a few quotes, he never the less failed to deliver the LNP’s most relied on weapon and answer for everything, a three word slogan!

    • mick 3 years ago

      just a thought if we go beyond uber to a driverless share mode of road use how many people in cities and big towns will actually own a car ice,hybrid or otherwise

    • Patrick Comerford 3 years ago

      Oh I don’t know I thought I saw a “It’s Labors Fault” in there somewhere.

      • Nicholas Folkes 3 years ago

        The Labor party couldn’t organise a root in a brothel.

        • Peter Campbell 3 years ago

          Well, there’s an insightful analysis!

  17. Peter Campbell 3 years ago

    Josh is a bit slow on the uptake. Here is Labor’s Andrew Leigh in 2010:
    “I rise today to update the House on the imminent launch of Australia’s first electric car network in Canberra in 2012 and to explain how the electric car will benefit Australia’s economy, health, foreign relations and environment…”

    • Nicholas Folkes 3 years ago

      “Economy”, they’re all imported. If you want to benefit the economy make EVs in Australia.

      • Peter Campbell 3 years ago

        EVs, wherever the come from, consume locally made energy, not imported oil.

  18. Warwick Cathro 3 years ago

    Just compare Australia’s EV policy vacuum in this area with New Zealand’s EV roadmap. We have no targets, and no meaninful incentives apart from the fact that EVs avoid the fuel excise. An incentive that Minister Paul Fletcher has this week signalled that he wants to eliminate.

    • Nicholas Folkes 3 years ago

      NZ is full of left wing lunatics.

  19. Robert Comerford 3 years ago

    Ahh ,so we announce a possible mileage tax, that will go down well in the bush. Good way to get their national party mates to kick up a stink. So that will quickly go in the ‘forget about that one’ basket so nothing more will be mentioned.
    As expected by Joshie.

  20. Ken Dyer 3 years ago

    Frydenderg’s opportunistic piece signals another front is about to open up in the COALition’s fight to maintain the renewable energy status quo, that is , the future of the motor vehicle.

    The above opportunistic piece needs to be considered together with a report from 2014 – link below

    Nothing has changed in the intervening years. The report points out that Australia’s road spend has consistently been higher than vehicle taxes, and what is more obvious, the spend on public transport, particularly railways, is significantly less.

    It will be very interesting to see how the politics evolve in relation to motor vehicle emissions, and whether Australia will continue to see the lagging behind of the Federal COALition as the rest of the World sprints away.

  21. PacoBella 3 years ago

    As the new LNP Senator ex-general Jim Molan has already noted publicly, one of the gravest strategic threats facing Australia is the certainty that we would run out of petroleum within 2 weeks if our sealanes were blockaded. The EV Council has already identified an urgent need to switch to EV’s to guard against this outcome. Perhaps the fear of invasion by hordes from the north can be used to leverage a transition to renewable energy powering EVs (an opportunity for Australian defence industry to come up with electric tanks/armoured vehicles/planes??).

    • Hettie 3 years ago

      Also a good reason to stay away from hydrogen power packs.

  22. brucelee 3 years ago

    “offers a much needed sign of a progressive government ready to embrace positive change ”

    That’s giving waaaaaay too. Much credit to this government. The ONLY reason they mention this is because they can see petrol tax revenues declining and they need to protect that income.

  23. Barry Alternative Fact Covfefe 3 years ago

    Learn from success. Politicians and success go together like oil and water, and voters would have it no other way 🤦

  24. Kevin Brown 3 years ago

    I believe road user charges could be sold to the public if they fully replaced State based registration fees, vehicle sales and driver’s licence stamp duties all of which are regressive taxes and the Federal fuel excise. Most people, but especially the burgeoning cohort of retired Australians (conflict of interest declared!) would realize a saving.

    A GPS tracked road user charge based on vehicle curb weight, carbon emissions, and time of travel would change road user’s behavior as well as their future vehicle purchasing decisions. This would increase productivity and help us meet our COP21 emissions target.

    The road user charge that I would like to see adopted would be based on:
    1. Curb weight. A 50t B Double truck does exponentially more road damage to our roads than a 5t commercialvehicle or a soccer mum’s SUV. The Road Transport Industry needs to pay a fair share for our road maintenance. Such a regime should encourage rail and coastal shipping and take a lot of heavy vehicles off our roads.
    2. Carbon Emissions. EVs should be zero rated. A small charge should be applied to ICE vehicles in urban locations where public transport options are available to encourage their use.
    3. Time of Travel. A congestion charge/fees should be applied at peak times to selected routes to encourage users to change their time of use as well as fund public transport and extra road and bike lane development.

    • Hettie 3 years ago

      Sounds like a great idea. You have defined a series of objectives, and provided pathways to all of them.
      Can’t ask for more in such early stages.

    • nakedChimp 3 years ago

      I don’t like the GPS tracking part.. they know more than they need to know already.

    • Ian 3 years ago

      City centres are not the places for private motor vehicles, whereas rural settlements are very difficult to service with public transport. You can’t take one transport technology and make it fit every circumstance. Brisbane and other Australian cities have already taken steps to remove cars from the city centre and improve public transport using trains, busses, boats , bicycles etc. We just need to take this to another level.

      Brisbane has one saving grace on the liveability stakes and that is its river and attached parklands. It has an incredibly stupid elevated highway running the length of the prime city waterfront area. The which (practically) does not even seem to service the city centre. The person who implemented the riverside expressway in Brisbane should be exhumed and shot.

      As a token to a greener, more liveable city . The riverside expressway should either be removed or closed off to vehicular traffic and repurposed as a park similar to the NewYork Highline Park.

      The city has already created a mall down Queen Street, they should complete the job on other city centre streets.

  25. Kym 3 years ago

    Something seems fishy to me.
    The current number of EV’s are still small.
    If the system is changed to include a fee per kilometer, it can be set at a level that the government doesn’t loose out, the fuel excise can be removed, the fuel price can be dropped.
    Of course the price will not fall by the same amount as the fuel excise, as the fuel companies have been doing it tough lately.
    With a reduced bowser price, the pay back time for an EV could be greater than 10 years so the ICE auto companies wil be happy.

  26. DogzOwn 3 years ago

    Lest we forget $, it takes a mighty swag of foreign exchange to continue fff(foreign fossil fuel) supply while zzz(zero emission, zero Forex, zero foreign ownership) for our EV energy

  27. Patrick Comerford 3 years ago

    Fybro and Trumble the leaders who lead from behind. And to add insult to injury they are leading us to the back of the pack. Pathetic!

    • Hettie 3 years ago

      Like the Duke of Plaza Toro, they find it less exciting.

  28. trackdaze 3 years ago

    $3000 for full Ev
    $2000 for plug in hybrid with 50k electric range
    $1000 for hybrid with 1.5kwhr battery with better than 4litres per hundred.

    Applicable to either sold or produced. Reduces by $500 each year.

    Not hard at all. funded from the current account deficit given 90+% of our fuel is imported.

  29. Alan S 3 years ago

    If you’re interested in buying or converting to an EV go to the Alternative Technology Association’s 2018 EV expo on Sunday, February 18th at the Melbourne International Karting complex.

  30. Barri Mundee 3 years ago

    Any more than words so far? If Frydenberg and Turnbull were serious about EV’s they’d be supporting them practically eg by offering subsidies/rebates for EV purchases, assist with charging stations rollout etc.

    In other words, they’d have a plan. Simultaneously they could ensure, now that we have no local IC vehicle manufacturing industry, that imports complied with EU fuel efficiency, emissions and safety standards.

    Judge politicians by what they do not by what they say. On that score Jay Weatherill is streets ahead of the federal government headed by MT.

    Hot air is easy to come by.

  31. Hettie 3 years ago

    There are two very obvious trolls about on this thread. Please don’t reply to them. Argument only encourages their silliness.

  32. Aluap 3 years ago

    What liars Frydneberg and the Coalition government are proving to be. They criticise the Labor SA government whenever they can. Most recently Frydneberg berated the SA government for depending on electricity from Victoria, failing to mention the SA gas exports to Victoria meant that there is a net power export from SA to Victoria. Did the McMahon government lie as much?

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