Infrastructure Victoria, has released a draft of their updated 30-year Infrastructure Strategy for the state. Included in the draft are many recommendations, none more interesting than the first on page 40, that relates to Electric Vehicles.
Draft Recommendation 01
Within the next five years, require all new public transport buses and coaches, and government vehicle fleets, to transition to appropriate zero emissions vehicles where available. Incentivise zero emissions freight vehicles, and develop design standards and payment principles for charging infrastructure. Consider other policy levers to phase out internal combustion engine vehicles during the next 30 years.
The transport sector is responsible for Victoria’s second highest source of greenhouse gas emissions, and those emissions are growing. With electric vehicles offering a clear solution to the problem, it’s perhaps the easiest segment of emissions to address.
Reaching net zero emissions by 2050 will require widespread adoption of zero emissions vehicles, including managing their potential demands on the energy system (see draft recommendation 7).
If all vehicles were zero emissions, this would remove around 27 million tonnes of potential greenhouse gas emissions in 2046,47 and substantially contribute towards Victoria’s net zero emissions target by 2050.
It could also deliver health benefits worth between $270 and $735 million each year, especially for people living in dense urban areas and along major road corridors.
The report highlights that Australia trails behind global leaders in adopting zero emissions vehicles and that the Australian Government has the ability to change that.
The Australian Government holds many policy levers to accelerate zero emissions vehicle purchases, including importation rules and vehicle emissions standards. The Victorian Government should advocate for
the Australian Government to use these options to encourage zero emissions vehicle adoption.
The United Kingdom has recently announced a plan to end the sale
of new non-electric cars and hybrid vehicles in 2035. In the absence of Australian Government action, the Victorian Government could set an end date for the sale and registration of internal combustion engine vehicles in Victoria.
There is an opportunity for the Federal Government to set this benchmark, but if they fail, it seems states like Victoria are ready to set their own targets. If we end up with different targets in each state, that’d be an incredibly inelegant solution, meaning someone in Albury couldn’t sell their car to someone 10 minutes (and a river crossing away) in Wodonga.
Given that Electric Vehicles currently account for less than 1% of new vehicle sales in Australia, I think 2030 may be too ambitious and a 2032 target would be a great more achievable target. This would still send a strong signal to international automakers that we don’t want their legacy ICE-based products.
The report goes on to recommend that during the next 5 years, the
Victorian Government should require public transport operators to begin purchasing new zero emissions buses and coaches as soon as feasible. This adds to the Government’s 3-year trial of zero emission buses.
The next section of the draft report focuses on electric vehicle recharging.
Electric vehicles require charging infrastructure. The Victorian Government can encourage electric vehicle adoption by ensuring both public and commercial charging stations meet consistent standards
for design and payment.
In the next five years, the Victorian Government should develop standards governing the design and placement of electric vehicle public charging infrastructure and establish principles for smart charging and integrated payment systems so electric vehicle owners can use any provider to charge their vehicle.
I think for the most part charging infrastructure is being addressed well in Australia, however we are going to need a lot more locations as EV adoption increases over the coming years.
The report notes that the consequences of not acting, will see the following climate impacts by 2050.
- Average annual temperature increases of up to 2.4 degrees
- Double the number of very hot days
- Longer fire seasons with up to 60% more ‘very high’ fire danger days
- Declines in winter rainfall
- More intense downpours
- Sea levels rising by around 24 centimetres
- Declines in alpine snowfall of 35-75%
You can read the full infrastructure draft at infrastructurevictoria.com.au. Your feedback will inform preparation of the final strategy. This will be tabled in the Victorian Parliament in mid-2021.