We are just days before the federal election being called and Labor has released the final component of its climate change policy which will have an impact on the automotive industry.
Their approach to transport is a two pronged attack. Labor is proposing to introduce vehicle emissions standards “in line with” 105 grams of CO2 pollution per kilometre, which is the same as the US.
The standard is imposed on car retailers (not manufacturers), which means car dealers will have to offset sales of high-emissions vehicles with sales of low-emissions vehicles. Coupled with this, Labor is setting targets for the take up of electric vehicles.
It wants a national EV target of 50 per cent of new sales by 2030, and a government fleet target of 50 per cent of new sales by 2025, and it will also allow businesses to claim deductions if they buy EVs valued at more than $20,000. It will also require all federally funded road upgrades to incorporate EV charging infrastructure.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the peak automotive industry body, has welcomed the release of Labor’s environmental policy.
“It’s fantastic to see this important topic receive the attention it deserves,” said Tony Weber, chief executive of the FCAI.
“The automotive industry has invested heavily in the development of new technology for battery electric, hybrid electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, many of which are already available on the Australian market. It’s critical that Australian consumers have the opportunity to enjoy the environmental and safety benefits these low emission vehicles offer.
“We have been calling for the implementation of an achievable emissions target for some time, so we welcome the opportunity to discuss this in more detail. The key is to implement achievable emissions targets, designed in consultation with industry, as part of the transport sector’s contribution to lower overall emissions.”
Weber commented on the ambitious targets for 50 per cent low emission vehicles by 2030 and cautioned that a considered approach is necessary to encourage the uptake of these vehicles.
“We have learned from observing the European market that strong infrastructure support and incentivisation is required if meaningful low emission sales are to be achieved.
“A well thought out introductory plan that includes tariff and tax relief, financial and non- financial incentives and the provision of comprehensive infrastructure will need to be implemented if the targets are to be achieved.
“The just-announced $200 million infrastructure fund will support these initiatives,” Weber said.
Weber also noted that a considered and pragmatic approach is necessary when dealing with Australia’s unique automotive market.
It’s well known that Australians love their sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and light commercial vehicles (LCVs). The Australian market is made up of approximately two thirds SUVs and LCVs, and one third passenger vehicles (PVs).
“We need to have a realistic and stepped approach to the implementation of emissions targets,” Weber said.
So is the target going to be achievable and is it the way the automotive world is heading?