More EVs for Oz?

2018 Leaf

There has been a dearth of electric vehicle options here in Australia, despite dozens of models being available overseas. Bryce Gaton looks at what’s happening in our EV market.

In 2016, Norway and Holland became the first countries to set a year—2025—for ending sales of new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. This could be discounted as something that’s easy to do in countries with no auto industry to protect, but 2017 has seen something of a sea change: countries with significant automotive manufacturing industries are now following suit. France and the UK have set 2040 to end ICE sales; China is setting aggressive year-on-year percentage targets for EV sales versus ICE (such as 20% by 2025) and is reported to be moving towards setting an overall ICE sales end date; India has set 2030; and California in the USA is proposing legislation to set 2040 as the end date.

Existing ICE vehicles are not covered by the above-mentioned laws, but this too is about to change. Holland is the first country to set a year—2030—for having all petrol and diesel cars off the road, together with closure of all coal-fired power plants . Meanwhile, at a recent meeting in Paris, the mayors of 10 of the world’s larger cities (including Paris, London, Los Angeles and Mexico City) pledged to remove petrol and diesel cars from large parts of their cities by 2030.

Sadly, here in Australia we can’t even get our politicians to agree on a plan to move our energy supply off fossil fuels, let alone one to shift transport to more renewable sources of energy.

However, some state and local governments are starting the legwork. Byron and Tweed shire councils in northern NSW recently released a report that looks at ways the region can encourage the uptake of EVs to reduce the region’s carbon emissions. The full report, ‘Power Up—the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Strategy’, can be found at: www.bit.ly/2iH8zQD.

The Victorian Government has asked for input to a new report which seeks to understand “the benefits and barriers to the wider uptake of electric vehicles in the state of Victoria”; public submission hearings are being held in November 2017.

In the meantime, do consumers in Australia have any new options if they want their personal transport to be less polluting? The answer is: yes, but not many.

Now
Excitingly, two new EVs have just been announced for sale in Australia! In late September Renault Australia announced the Kangoo ZE van and Zoe electric sedan were available for order. Disappointingly, the release is being done in stages, with the first being to commercial and government buyers only. Purchasers must hold an ABN (sole traders are included) and orders can only be made direct from Renault Australia, not through the dealer network. This is in line with the staged introduction they had in Europe, so it’s hoped they will become more readily available in the not-too-distant future. For more info on purchasing, see www.bit.ly/2zuVjc1.

Featured image: courtesy of Nissan

Read the full article in ReNew 142.