Turnbull slammed for "absolutely pathetic" electric vehicle vision | RenewEconomy

Turnbull slammed for “absolutely pathetic” electric vehicle vision

Greens senator Janet Rice says Turnbull government’s lack of policy and ambition on electric vehicle uptake is seeing Australia get left behind.


Victorian Greens Senator Janet Rice has slammed the federal government’s failure to drive electric vehicle uptake, describing its vision of just one million EVs by 2040 as “pathetic,” and its policies as not even adequate to meet that low-ball target.

Speaking at the Alternative Technology Association’s 2018 EV Expo in Port Melbourne on Sunday, Rice said Australia needed a clear and ambitious EV target to work towards, and said it must be based on strong policy settings.

Chief among those policy settings would be vehicle emissions standards, which were still nowhere to be seen in Australia, despite being the norm “virtually everywhere else in the world.”

The comments follow a recent broadside from the Australian boss of German car maker BMW, who last week called on the federal government to abolish stamp duty and deliver GST relief on electric cars to boost sales.

“We need to see some action or Australia will continue to lag behind the rest of the world,” BMW Australia’s Marc Werner said.

“Things like strong electric vehicle targets, CO2 emission targets, extended charging infrastructure and tax incentives … that all works in other countries, why not Australia?”

“The BMW brand is not prepared to wait. Our future is clearly electrified vehicles,” he said.

The Greens are not prepared to wait, either. Rice said her party was just a couple of weeks away from releasing its own “comprehensive plan” on lowering transport emissions and making the electric vehicle revolution happen “as quickly as possible.”

But she said the lack of any policy direction, or even ambition on EV uptake, from the top in Canberra was putting the nation at a distinct disadvantage – both economically and environmentally.

“At the moment, the Turnbull government is basically just letting Australia get left behind,” Rice told the audience in a lecture series at the EV Expo.

“We’ve got a (government) that is beholden to vested interests and old technologies; people who just want the status quo to continue.

“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.

Even more of a concern, she said, was that it meant that Australia was not going to have transport playing its part in meeting its Paris targets in reducing carbon pollution.

“We know that we’ve haven’t got any carbon budget left. We know that we’ve go to reduce our carbon emissions and have a net zero economy as soon as possible,” said Rice.

“The government, in signing up to Paris … has committed (to that goal),” she added. “Having electric vehicles powered by renewable energy is such an important part of the solution.

“Basically we need … a suite of policy settings to really accelerate the take-up of electric vehicles, otherwise it’s not going to happen at the pace we need it to happen,” she said.

“We need to have a time-frame for introducing really strong vehicle emissions standards.

“Now they’ve been talking about that, but at the moment we’ve got no evidence that the government is going to be serious about implementing them.

“Basically it’s going to be a pipe dream that we’re going to get to … even 15 per cent by 2030 without strong government action.

“So we, the Greens, want to see strong vehicle emissions standards implemented, like those that, in fact, exist virtually everywhere else in the world.

“There are cars meeting those standards that are already being produced all around the world. …We should be only importing cars that meet those vehicles standards. Otherwise we risk becoming a dumping ground for the dirty cars of the world.

“We need a clear ambitious target to work towards. That’s absolutely essential. And then set the policy settings right, to get that,” Rice said.

“Leadership and that smart policy, that in itself will bring more vehicles to the market, and you will have the variety of vehicles that we need to have.”

A lack of available models for Australian EV consumers to choose from has been one of the biggest barriers, of late, to EV uptake. Currently there are only five pure electric vehicles available in Australia, four of which are $A50,000+ “prestige” cars, including the Tesla Models S and X.

As another speaker at the event noted, the Renault Zoe EV being offered for test drives at the Expo is new to the Australian market – but it has been available on the EU market since 2013.

The cheaper priced offerings of the new Nissan LEAF and Tesla Model 3 are due to become available here in late 2018 and early 2019, respectively.

Rice said that tackling the price differential between EVs and conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) cars was also going to be essential to kick-start the industry in the short term.

“Prices are going to come down, and people are going to realise that, because the costs of running electric vehicles are so much lower, it makes sense to pay that premium,” she said.

“But in the short-term, we’re going to need action to reduce that price differential.

“And obviously, public charging infrastructure, and fast charging infrastructure; they are the sorts of areas that the federal government really needs to take the lead on, and to really push forward.

“We’ve really got no excuses here in Australia. …We’ve got the renewable energy to power (EVs). We’ve got the sun, we’ve got the wind, we’ve got the intellectual capacity to make that all happen. We just need to seize the day and make it occur.”

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  1. Jacko 3 years ago

    As soon as EVs are comparable in performance and price with ICEs we won’t need any policy settings. Vehicle buyers, particularly fleets, will vote with their hip pockets.

    • howardpatr 3 years ago

      True but for a PM who hypocritically claimed to be innovative, Australia should be more pro-active in terms of developing the infrastructure for the coming of large numbers of EVs. That may well involve some incentives to encourage the purchase of EVs like the Tesla 3, Leaf, Zoe, etc

      Turnbull, the hypocrite he has shown us he is, remains controlled by the likes of Abbott, Joyce and the complete idiot, Craig Kelly.

    • Joe 3 years ago

      Turnbull’s son ( he got the Turnbull to install rooftop solar and the home battery ) needs to twist his dad’s arm again…BUY the EV Dad!

    • Peter Campbell 3 years ago

      “As soon as EVs are comparable in performance … with ICEs…” Why would we want to downgrade the performance of EVs?

      • JoeR_AUS 3 years ago

        Performance is not only the acceleration

        refill time?
        distance to empty?
        number of refill stations?
        not constrained too: back to base trips only
        CO2 generated by the grid on the East Coast is 292gm CO2e per km

        much more than meets the eye!

        • Peter Campbell 3 years ago

          -refill time?
          A few seconds to plug in at home. In practice charging time is not an issue. Our iMiEV can also plug into fast DC chargers (20 mins to 80% full) but I have only bothered once, just to know it works.
          -distance to empty?
          ~75km of EV range in the case of our plug-in Holden Volt, then 100s of km on its back up petrol generator. ~95km in our purely plug-in Mitsubishi iMiEV. Both vehicles have ample range for all our household’s local driving to be electric. We go for months on end without using petrol.
          -number of refill stations?
          Virtually every building has power points.
          -CO2 generated by the grid on the East Coast is 292gm CO2e per km
          The ACT where I live has all its power purchase agreements in place for 100% renewable electricity by 2020. The grid is only getting cleaner while petrol is getting harder to source.

          • JoeR_AUS 3 years ago

            It’s not what an individual can do but what the population do, as I ride a push bike, run to work now with no purchase agreements and I don’t have to live in the ACT!

          • DevMac 3 years ago

            The population tend to follow the line of least resistance, which is guided by government policy.

            A population is also made up of a bunch individuals, so Peter Campbell is modelling the behaviour he wants to see others follow. Which is commendable.

          • JoeR_AUS 3 years ago

            Again you skipped the intent

          • DevMac 3 years ago

            Still missing it then…

  2. handbaskets'r'us 3 years ago

    Craig Kelly please take a bow…

    • Joe 3 years ago

      No doubt his parliamentary ‘Environment and Energy Committee’ will soon meet to find ways to stop the coming of EV’s…I mean EV’s are more polluting then the ICE. Only the Kelly can save Australia!

  3. Joe 3 years ago

    Last year 1.18million new cars were sold in Australia, that’s some love affair with the ICE. But the ICE needs the fuel. I’m thinking that with petrol prices going up again then maybe, just maybe, new car buyers for once may consider the cost of filling the tank when showing off their new motor. The whingeling has started again with talk of petrol getting near $1.50 litre again. Let’s see what happens when petrol gets closer to $2.00 litre….a great advert for EV’s.

    • david H 3 years ago

      Joe, I agree. At the end of the day the market and technology will decide what happens. Politicians can influence how quickly or not this happens but in Weston society that cannot control it.

    • Andrew Woodroffe 3 years ago

      Actually, the big deal is not the price of petrol (cheapest part of running a car) but the massive vulnerability of availability if anything goes wrong in the supply chain. Australia is spending $200 billion on military hardware but our entire transport sector (apart from metro trains) is dependent on what, 3 weeks worth of supply?

      Electrifying our buses, vans, trucks to run on Australian generated electricity will go a long, long way to ensure better security for Australia. From a health point of view, any focus on EVs should be on buses (cost effective now) and ebikes rather than cars. Congestion and health is yet another whole issue.

      • Joe 3 years ago

        Petrol may be the cheapest part of running a car but it is the one thing that gets the motorists and media pumped and whingeling anytime petrol prices go up. Funny the sensitivity to petrol pricings once the new motor has been purchased but not a thought before going shopping for a the new ride. But of course fizzing around in an ICE motor is still way too cheap, as you pointed out the ‘externalities’ that are not priced but picked up as a ‘public subsidy’ once again.

    • daw 3 years ago

      It’s not a ‘love affair’ Joe it is more of a necessity, particularly in country areas.
      I like the idea of an EV but practicality is the first necessity and the world hasn’t yet found all the ingredients for the right mix yet.

      • Joe 3 years ago

        I won’t go in hard on our country cousins but what I will go hard on is the 460,000 plus 4WD Mummy Wagon petrol & diesel guzzling machines that were sold last year that you see roaming our city streets and I will go hard on the V8 racing machines that roam also roam our city streets. They have no place on city streets, it is an out and out ‘love affair’ with the ICE. For our country cousins EV’s are here to assist you good people as well. If by practicality you mean difficulties around charging and distance travel these are being solved. A bit of will at all levels is all that it takes.

        • JoeR_AUS 3 years ago

          Yet the average airline flight return to Europe generates more CO2 than the average house hold in a year…..

          We need some balance as the East Coast of Australia represents approx 80% of Australia population and around 70% of the energy is coal generated.

          So, Janet Rice in Australia we need clean energy generation as plugging in EV’s into the grid for the majority is not saving any CO2 at all

  4. Phil Gorman 3 years ago

    British steel billionaire Sanjeev Gupta rescued Whyalla’s steel works and has started work on a 1GW PV power station in SA. He wants to build electric cars in Adelaide using the synergistic output of these businesses. In late January he asked GM to sell him some of their SA manufacturing assets so he could start building build electric cars there. This request was supported by the state government.

    The Commonwealth response was lukewarm. Now its in tandem with News Ltd; peddling negative misinformation about electric vehicles. If Australia is to progress we really have to get rid of these dinosaurs.

    • John Saint-Smith 3 years ago

      The Lazy Negative Party is living up to its name.

    • Joe 3 years ago

      Rupert and his newsrags are always in ‘campaign mode’ against Labor, Greens and anything to do with Renewable Energy, so nothing new again to read the anti EV stories.

    • JoeR_AUS 3 years ago

      1. you also forgot that most of GM assets are to be transferred to other GM plants around the world,
      2. Holden plant at Elizabeth, which is now owned by the Pelligra Group and renamed Lionsgate Park
      3. Gupta put in a pre-bid for the remainder GM assets, which GM considered but rejected – much like ebay

  5. trackdaze 3 years ago

    Makes sense the coalition would have us lag. Third world countries typically become the dumping ground for yesteryears technology.

  6. Malcolm Scott 3 years ago

    I hope The Green’s policy is sector neutral in revenue/costs like some best examples of industry transitional assistance. Action on climate change and better health from a cleaner environment are urgent and important. We need to have a zero emissions fleet by 2037 or thereabouts. Everyone can backwards schedule from there and should be able to see that short of a wartime level of effort it’s going to be really hard to achieve the necessary schedule.

    The approach used by John Howard is worth advocating for, eg milk industry, Ansett. The handout to industry sought by the Electric Vehicle Council is an unlikely way to a practical achievable outcome that gets movement at the station.

  7. Ian 3 years ago

    The heirarchy of controls starts with Elimination, then Substitution, Engineering etc etc and finishing with Administrative (band aids). We have the opportunity to eliminate, however we are going for substitution. Pretty poor form really.

  8. Radbug 3 years ago

    It’s my conviction that, surprisingly soon, Australians will very little choice of new cars, other than EV’s.

    • Peter Campbell 3 years ago

      I’m not so sure that EV uptake elsewhere will dry up a supply of ICEs for Australia. Instead manufacturers will dump their dirtiest cars here where emission standards are low.

    • My_Oath 3 years ago

      It will happen, but not too soon. We will be the dumping ground for the last of the ICE production, just as the developing world is the dumping ground for the tobacco companies.

    • Ian 3 years ago

      Sorry to say this, Australians may have a thirst and desire for EV but other manufacturing nations needs will come first. Check my , unfortunately miserable, analysis of the current status of lithium production and reserves.

      If you are an apple farmer and you cannot cook, then you won’t eat apple pie!

  9. Rye an 3 years ago

    This mob haven’t the gumption or unity to tackle the question of balancing the loss of fuel revenue if they put so much as a toe in the zero emissions waters.
    Abbott and the Nats are revolting enough as it is.

    • daw 3 years ago

      politics Pfffft Discuss EV’s will U.

      • DevMac 3 years ago

        Turnbull slammed by Green’s for pathetic electric vehicle vision.

        Take out the politics?

  10. Ian 3 years ago

    At last, EV are on the agenda. Good on the Greens for taking the initiative.

    You can’t have EV without batteries, the existing and planned battery manufacturing capacity in the world is woefully inadequate . For our little country’s new motor vehicle needs we would use the battery output of two Gigafactories.

    You could even say that the vehicle-skins is secondary to the real part – the battery pack. Any plan for EV adoption that does not factor in the precurement of batteries as worthless.

    • daw 3 years ago

      Don’t hold your breath Battery production looks set to be limited by the availability of two critical components of the much touted Lithium-ion batteries -Lithium and ‘blue gold’. Shortfall in production of both are 000’s of tonnes short already and proven reserves are well short of future requirements.
      Another miracle is required to bring these dreams to reality.

      • Ian 3 years ago

        Daw, your comment got me thinking : how much lithium is there in a battery pack and how much lithium is produced? Figures vary and no one seems to be able to give a simple answer. Lithium production seems to mean lithium carbonate equivalent production. There are different levels of purity of lithium salts, but the upshot would suggest that the following figures are not far off the mark. Roughly 1kg lithium metal per 1kWh and the ratio of lithium to lithium carbonate is 1: 5.3. World production of lithium carbonate equivalent 40000 tonnes in 2017 and reserves 14 million tonnes. (Statista) Not all lithium is used in batteries, but if it was : 40000 x1000/5.3 = kWh = 7.5GWH

        14 000 000 000kg lithium Carbonate equivalent/5.3 = 2 600GWh @ 50kWh battery pack per car = 52 million cars.

        Tesla’s factory is supposed to produce 35GWh a year of battery packs, what is going on here?

        • daw 3 years ago

          Ian you have picked up on the Lithium issue but what about the other major difficulty? – Cobalt.
          I’m not sure your right about point 1 but agree wholeheartedly with points 2,3,4

  11. Gman 3 years ago

    I think there is no reason for Australia to lag behind the rest of the world. The only road block seems to be a government stuck in the dark ages. Why have we lost the automotive industry, because we moved to slowly and let opportunity like Me Gupta pass us by. Truly sad. Yet to see Snowy 2.0 kick into gear like the SA Tesla battery. These technologies are available now.

    • JoeR_AUS 3 years ago

      Its called legacy the reason

      +++ around 180 bilion dollars to replace the current coal/gas power stations.

      Chicken feed for some but ironic when we have 2 million homeless people in Australia.

      • Diego Matter 3 years ago

        That is why renewables are alredy cheaper.

        And, almost 10% percent of Australians are homeless? LOL

    • daw 3 years ago

      Snowy 2 is from the dark ages is it Gman?

  12. aussiearnie 3 years ago

    A difficult problem for the LNP. They have to chose between the oil lobby and the electricity industry lobby. What to do??

  13. Electric Boogaloo 3 years ago

    It was only a couple of years ago that The Greens were opposed to private transport and spending on roads rather than public transport.

    But then, The Greens were founded in opposition to renewable energy so I shouldn’t be surprised that they don’t know whether they’re coming or going.

  14. DevMac 3 years ago

    Turnbull spoke strongly about innovation not so long ago. What’s his record so far?

    – NBN using copper and HFC over fiber
    – Criticism of the worlds largest lithium ion battery
    – Talking-down renewable power at every opportunity (even when factually incorrect)
    – No incentives for Electric Vehicles

    All of the above are indicative of an ultra-conservative, anti-progress attitude.

    I don’t think innovation means what Malcolm Turnbull thinks it means.

    • JoeR_AUS 3 years ago

      He or anyone else you care to mention are not magicians, unfortunately!

      NBN the cost to put fiber to every home in Australia would be prohibitive eg Hungary has 1/2 the population but the country fits into NSW 12 times

      The world largest battery still does not stop SA and VIC have two days in Jan were they did not have enough power and had to pay 15times the going price for 2 days – the battery helps but still does not solve the shortage of energy problem.

      My Home last June (very cloudy) developed enough solar for a month to power my home for a day! So unless I had 96 panels there is not enough sun in duration or intensity to replace the grid – even SA cannot achieve that. So we need a balanced discussion on how renewable’s can be stored seasonal and what to back fill it in with? Please don’t offer me personal solutions as Sydney has 6m people….

      EV’s make no sense and even Europe Manufactures are stating that the energy is not available to power only new cars as EV from 2020.

      Australia is worst as we dont have clean energy for 80% of the population – we need to transition to clean energy but there is no silver bullet.

      • DevMac 3 years ago

        The closest thing to a silver bullet is investment encouragement through stable government policy. How many years has it been even since Turnbull took the reins, with no sign of anything remotely resembling that kind of basic leadership.

        EV’s make no sense
        Say what? That needs a long explanation, please indulge us as to why EV’s make no sense.

        My Home
        Please don’t offer me personal solutions
        Don’t give personal examples then.

        Distributed Solar and Wind Farms are precisely the kind of solution needed for your example, along with residential and commercial batteries, with pumped hydro and gas as backup.

        The distributed nature means that areas with sun can ‘have the back’ areas that are overcast. The grid connectivity between various states exists to help share the load for those reasons.

        The world largest battery still does not stop SA and VIC have two days in Jan were they did not have enough power and had to pay 15times the going price for 2 days – the battery helps but still does not solve the shortage of energy problem.

        15 times the going price is due to the gas generators gaming the market, which is why the need for more alternatives exists. The big battery has taken the top off those huge prices more than a couple of times.

        NBN the cost to put fiber to every home in Australia would be prohibitive

        At what cost lost opportunity? Australia’s best and brightest will leave for more advanced countries because communications infrastructure is the future, and Australia’s government has chosen to be left behind.

        • JoeR_AUS 3 years ago

          Sorry Dev, if you quote anyone, then at least be respectful and quote them in full or at least try to understand the context of what I wrote before you reply

          • DevMac 3 years ago

            Which bit?

            Your comment is there in full that I’m replying to, the quotes was mainly to indicate which part I’m replying to.

      • Diego Matter 3 years ago

        Hi JoeR_AUS.

        If your solar system is not able to produce enough electricity over a whole month of overcast weather in June to cover ONE day of your electricity usage, then I would recommend to have somebody check out your system. We had for example two faulty panels draging the production down.

        Today – admittedly in summer – we have an unusually overcast day in Queensland with rain and drizzle and our 5.5kWp solar system produced already enough at 2:30pm to cover our daily usage of around 10kWh. So I simply won’t believe that a properly designed solar system is not able to produce enough over a month in bad weather in winter for ONE day of electricity usage. I call B.S.!

        • JoeR_AUS 3 years ago


          Apologies it was two days we use 35kwh every day in June (house hold of 4 adults). The 1.5kwh system produced in 30days enough for two days! So a 6kwh would produce enough for 8 days.

          Notice Jul-Aug how much more the panels produced ie 100kwh a month but high lights how little they produce in Winter.

          • MaxG 3 years ago

            Well, the system is clearly under spec considering your daily consumption. I use on avg 22kWh/day, have 12kW/h in panels and 20kWh in a battery. It is currently rainy, cloudy overcast for the last few days in Qld, and I just make it.

    • daw 3 years ago

      Just trying to divert from the topic R U? We are discussing The Pro’s and Cons of Electric vehicles NOT politics Stick to the topic or POQ will U

      • DevMac 3 years ago

        Thanks for your totally on-topic contribution to the discussion

  15. MeZmeriZe_ 3 years ago

    So if I want to drive an EV from Perth to monkeymia for a weekend and back (something I’ve done a few times in my LPG car).. can It be done? Or do electric cars trap you in the city where a nightly.charge is no big deal? Can I tow my 20 foot boat to the river 100km away to go fishing with my daughters?

    • Diego Matter 3 years ago

      Yes you can – with a Tesla Model X.

  16. MeZmeriZe_ 3 years ago

    I don’t want EV’s in Perth. We have no competition for electricity here.. just the publicly owned western power/synergy monopoly and our power is going up in price by hundreds every year already.. So if the government charges them with with providing power to charge thousands of EV’s they will pass the infastructure costs onto us as usual. . Our already crazy power costs will go totally nuts.

  17. Gavin Hulme 3 years ago

    The economics of it all will be the driver of change.
    This has some great info for thought.

  18. MaxG 3 years ago

    Turnbull is innovative: depending on where you get your definition, it is either coming up with new ideas, or “innovation is generally considered to be the result of a process that brings together various novel ideas in a way that they affect society”… Snowy, clean coal, NEG… the point is: while he might be innovative, the outcome won’t be beneficial for the people of Australia… and he never claimed that aspect (AFAIK).
    Disclaimer: I hate this guy; never thought that a person could turn 180 degrees… but then, I do not understand flat earthers either.

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