This morning President Elect, Joe Biden announced the nominees and appointees of his Key Climate and Energy Team. This team will lead the effort to reduce America’s emissions, a key policy of the Biden election campaign.
Under the new plan, America will rejoin the Paris climate agreement. Biden says he wants america to lead the world on Climate Change, a bold statement considering other parts of the world like Europe have far stricter emission standards in industries like transportation.
Biden says they will set new emission standards for cars. Given the announcement of bans on the sale of new ICE vehicles we’ve seen from countries like the UK (2030), harsher regulations in the US, will ultimately force a faster transition to electric vehicles.
To support adoption of electric vehicles, Biden’s clean energy plan involves the deployment of 500,000 charging stations across America. It is estimated there is currently around 100,000 public places to charge, so this would be a 5x increase over the next decade.
China leads the world in charging stations, more than 500,000 public electric vehicle charging locations last year. There’s definitely a chicken and egg challenge with EVs, with the availability of charging locations a key influence on EV adoption. Private enterprise are often slow to roll out charging locations until there’s enough EV owners to fund the rollout, so having the Government help break out of that cycle, is definitely advantageous.
During the speech, Biden highlighted that the Government vehicle fleet is massive (around 250,000), which Biden says will transition to clean, electric vehicles, sourced from the American auto industry.
With China, Europe and America, all putting their foot firmly on the accelerator to transition their vehicles to EVs, it leaves Australia’s very passive position look incredibly weak on the world stage.
While Prime Minister Scott Morrison has repeatedly said we will meet and beat our Paris targets, that’s not really enough by today’s standards. With the transport sector making up a significant portion of Australia’s emissions, we’re not doing enough to accelerate the EV transition here at home.
Biden also spoke of EV incentives. If an American buys an electric vehicle, that is seen to be helping the cause, so the Government provides a rebate of up to $7,500. In stark contrast, Australia charges significant taxes like the Luxury Car Tax as well as states now proposing dedicated taxes that will impact EVs directly, resulting in a disincentive for potential EV owners.
Australia often looks internationally to benchmark our performance against the rest of the world, but despite seeing ourselves as a country that leans heavily on the bleeding edge of tech, in terms of EV adoption, we are unfortunately laggards. Currently less than 1% of vehicles sold in Australia are electric and that needs to change if we’re going be serious about Climate Change.
When an ICE vehicle runs, it emits CO2 from the exhaust. These emissions contribute to the worlds emissions which are having a collective impact on the climate. While our cities are fortunately not filled with smog like others around the world, we do suffer from extreme weather events, costing the economy billions of dollars each time they occur.
As Australia heads into another summer, it reminds us of the events just 12 months ago, where fire ravaged large parts of Victoria. While driving ICE vehicles don’t have an immediate impact like fires, the collective contribution from driving them, make them a serious issue.
The great positive is that the world has a solution to replace ICE vehicles and that’s electric vehicles. We’re also not just talking about passenger cars here either, every mode of transport is transitioning to EVs and Australia needs to get behind it today.
While we don’t manufacture cars in Australia, we do have the ability to offer incentives to automakers to bring their EVs to Australia, by reducing import costs, removing the LCT or even GST from EVs, or mirror the US model, with a rebate for EV purchases.
To date, Australia’s charging infrastructure has largely been left up to private companies to rollout. While the ARENA has provided some financial assistance to private charging networks like Chargefox, company’s like Tesla have had to roll their own charging network, which started more than 5 years ago, due to a lack of action from the Government.
As great as the Plugshare map is right now, Australia needs a rapid expansion of charging locations to support Australia’s EV adoption and give us a fighting chance to grow the EV market locally from 1%, to 100%.
We need a unified national response against climate change.President Elect, Joe Biden