After over 12 months of work, three full days of public hearings from witnesses and more than one hundred written submissions from industry and the public, the joint Victorian upper house committee Inquiry into Electric Vehicles report has just been released.
Out of its 180-odd pages, section three is probably the one of most interest to the general public.
It is there that consideration is given to the forms of government support that could be offered to consumers who may be considering buying an electric vehicle.
Unsurprisingly, the introduction of section three states ‘Victorian consumers are interested in purchasing electric vehicles’, but before EV options are likely to become more available in Australia, ‘Car manufacturers seek a signal that the electric vehicle market will grow in Australia’.
Furthermore, in many places of the report is was acknowledged that Victoria is falling well behind the world (as well as many Australian states) in EV adoption support measures and preparations that would offer just such a signal.
It was even noted within the report that some Victorian local government regions have EV charging and fleet EV adoption strategies ahead of any Victorian state ones!
Given no state likes to feel that it is a laggard in setting policies that might encourage economic development (or that other states are swiping it from under their noses) it can be hoped that the report at least alerts the Victorian government to how far behind the eight ball it currently is.
So what did the committee think might work to support the uptake of EVs in Victoria? Quoting directly from their report:
There are a number of ways the Victorian Government could assist with the uptake of electric vehicles in the private market, namely by:
- Establishing a State electric vehicle target
- Reducing the upfront costs for consumers of electric vehicles in Victoria
- Offering non‑financial incentives such as special vehicle lane access and parking privileges
- Future-proofing Victoria by supporting the development of a comprehensive and reliable network of electric vehicle charging infrastructure
The next question is therefore: will anything come from these findings?
Sadly, while the body of the report (as well as many of its 27 findings) list the litany of ways that Victoria is falling behind in EV adoption strategies and preparations, as yet no concrete policies have even been hinted at by either of the major Victorian political parties.
It is worth noting however that the Greens party have done so, as detailed here.
On the other hand, a state election for Victoria is coming up this November. So perhaps with the release of this report, now is a good time for Victorian voters to show that smoothing the way for EVs has become a mainstream concern. (Especially as a whole variety of those reasons for concern are explicitly described in the report!)
Also, by contacting parliamentary representatives and candidates in enough numbers, it would be a gentle reminder to them that there are actually a lot of potential votes in adopting EV supportive policies.
Bryce Gaton is a member of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association (AEVA) and is part of both the Victorian and national AEVA executive committees. He was also part of the team who put together the AEVA submission to the Victorian Inquiry into Electric Vehicles as well as one of the AEVA representatives who testified at the public hearings of the inquiry.