Australian federal election signals bright future for electric mobility.
Electric vehicles were a hot topic during Australia’s federal election campaign. Policy commitments from both major parties came thick and fast as they set out their plans to encourage cheaper, cleaner driving for all Australians.
While the majors did their best to cater to Australia’s growing enthusiasm for EVs, what made things even more interesting was the emergence of independent candidates. Calling for sales targets, purchase subsidies and emission standards, the ‘teal independents’ in particular also drove an important conversation around EVs.
Combined, it meant an unprecedented level of focus on the EV sector in an election that was overwhelmingly positive for the technology. It demonstrated that zero emissions mobility is where Australia is clearly heading.
To return to the majors, while some differences between them, where both parties aligned was in their support for the rollout of charging infrastructure. The Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the Coalition announced policies backed by significant dollars for investment in battery charging and hydrogen refuelling stations which they equally recognised as placing a serious handbrake on the sector’s progress.
A 2021 survey of consumer attitudes backs up this conclusion suggesting that 92% of Australians regard public fast charging as important for encouraging EV purchase (Electric Vehicle Council).
This is also demonstrated by EV sales figures. Australia is a laggard when it comes to the take up of EVs with just 20,665 of around 1,050,000 new cars sold in Australia in 2021 being electric (2%). In total, there are less than 35,000 registered EVs on Australian roads, of more than 15 million light vehicles (0.2%).
It was of course the ALP that won the election on 21 May and subsequently formed government. Based on their election promises, we now anticipate their suite of EV policies to be rolled out over the coming months.
So how will the world change for EVs under an Albanese Government? We take a look at each of their commitments and make some predictions for the future mobility landscape under this new leadership as well as the influence of the new dynamic in the Australian parliament.
Let’s start at the very top and consider the ALP’s umbrella strategy that will act as a catch all for their EV policy package, that is their National Electric Vehicle Strategy.
The ALP claims that the strategy will be Australia’s very first national approach to EVs and will be supported by a $500 million Driving the Nation fund in what they promote as a doubling of the Coalition’s $250 million Future Fuels Fund.
Key aspects of the strategy are outlined below.
Interestingly, the strategy doesn’t include a mandated vehicle emissions target – something the automotive industry has been seeking for some time. We continue to believe that a CO2 policy is a much-needed signal of the government’s commitment to reducing emissions in the transport sector.
We understand the national strategy is currently being drafted by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources and we look forward to working with all stakeholders as it’s implemented.
At the political level, the record number of independents elected to the House of Representatives will undoubtedly change the dynamics of how the parliament operates. Many of these individuals campaigned on making EVs more accessible and affordable for all Australians, so we equally welcome the opportunity to collaborate with them on making EV ownership a reality for all Australians.