Bowen shifts Australia’s EV transition into gear and now we need to hit the accelerator

Energy and Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen’s announcement today committing to developing Australia’s first National Electric Vehicle Strategy has been welcomed by Greenpeace Australia Pacific as a plan to get Australia’s clean transport transition out of the slow lane - and acceleration is needed.

Minister Bowen made the announcement at the landmark National EV Summit in Canberra today, noting that the strategic consultation will include exploring options for the introduction of Fuel Efficiency Standards. Fuel Efficiency Standards would mandate car manufacturers to increase the supply of affordable, zero emissions vehicles into the Australian market.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific senior campaigner Lindsay Soutar said Minister Bowen’s announcement is a welcome shift into gear, but that the policy shift needs to happen quickly, and ensure it brings Australia in line with other major markets.

“Minister Bowen’s commitment to developing a National Electric Vehicle Strategy and kickstarting the discussion around Fuel Efficiency Standards is a welcome shift out of the slow lane for Australia’s electric vehicle transition, but there’s a need for speed.”

“We need to hit the accelerator in order to catch up to the rest of the world, where the electric vehicle transition is already well underway. But vehicle standards for Australia must pass the rego check. Standards that lack ambition will still leave us trailing the pack and block Australians from accessing cheaper, cleaner cars, something Minister Bowen has recognised.”

“Without strong and decisive policy, Australia risks remaining a dumping ground for the polluting, expensive petrol guzzling cars the world no longer needs or wants – and that is hurting our climate, our health and our hip-pockets.”

“We call on all our political leaders, on the business community and on the car industry, to work together to find a swift and effective route to affordable electric vehicles for all Australians. We can’t afford any further road-blocks, and we’ll all enjoy the benefits of cleaner, healthier, cheaper transport.”

Greenpeace Electrify Electric Cars

In Minister Bowen’s speech today the Federal Government committed to release a consultation paper on a National Electric Vehicle Strategy, which will include discussion around Fuel Efficiency Standards. This is expected in September.

He also reinforced the government’s commitments to:

  • Establish a truly national EV charging network – with charging stations at an average interval of 150km on major roads.
  • Create a national Hydrogen Highways refuelling network.
  • Setting a Low Emissions Vehicle target for the Commonwealth fleet of 75% of new leases and purchases by 2025. With thousands of vehicles in the Commonwealth fleet, it is big enough to encourage more EV model introductions to Australia, and to expand a resale market.

A petition from Greenpeace Australia Pacific calling on Minister Bowen to introduce strong Fuel Efficiency Standards has gained over 4000 signatories in less than 24 hours. It follows recent research from think-tanks The Australia Institute and ClimateWorks that show the strong economic benefit of introducing Fuel Efficiency Standards, which would save Australian households billions of dollars in fuel costs, in addition to tackling Australia’s growing transport emissions.

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact Fiona Ivits on 0487 003 872 or [email protected]