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Aussie industry responds to UK petrol, diesel ban

Baby steps: Australian industry is urging the federal government to provide assistance to increase sales of low-emissions vehicles, but does not see the need for a wholesale ban like the one set in the UK.

No need for drastic deadline, but FCAI and EV Council call for government action

10 Feb 2020

THE Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) and Electric Vehicle Council have called upon the federal government to offer support for the industry to encourage the transition to lower-emissions vehicles rather than set a deadline for a wholesale ban on combustion-engine vehicles.


British prime minister Boris Johnson last week revealed his government’s plan to ban the sale of petrol, diesel and even hybrid vehicles by 2035.


Britain had previously set a target of banning sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040, along similar lines to targets set in France, while Norway is leading the charge in Europe with a clamp-down on internal combustion engines by 2025.


The FCAI was quick to respond to the moves in Britain, urging that policy initiatives at both a federal and state/territory government level should centre on outcomes instead of mandating specific technologies like pure-electric powertrains “given Australia’s unique geography”.


“To this point, the automotive industry has achieved significant gains in the increased efficiency of internal combustion petrol and diesel engines and they will continue to play a significant role for many years to come,” the chamber said in a statement.


“To ensure Australia achieves the best outcome, the FCAI urges strong federal and state government support to encourage both CO2 targets and the adoption of all low-emission and energy-efficient powertrains in the Australian market.”


The response came after the FCAI’s British counterpart, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), accused the Johnson government of moving the goalposts for consumers and the industry overall, describing the UK’s charging network as “woefully inadequate”.


Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari told GoAuto that Australia should study the steps taken by the UK in recent years in the lead up to Mr Johnson’s announcement, including fuel efficiency regulations as well as EV uptake incentives and grants.


“Our take really for Australia is, look at a few of those steps that they’ve taken and considering that we’re at zero on the dial, we know what two or three steps we can take along the way,” he said.


“We don’t need to worry ourselves yet about ideas like banning petrol and diesel vehicles, let’s just look up what initial things we can do to help grow and support that transition to electric vehicles in Australia.


“We have an industry that has an appetite to both bring in more vehicles to Australia, particularly lower-priced vehicles, and quite a lot of participants looking to increase the rollout of charging infrastructure.


“But the key thing they’re looking for to really ramp up that investment is a bit of guidance and some certainty by the government.”

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