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Government predicts big future EV uptake

Up to 50 per cent of Australian new-vehicle sales to be electric by 2035

13 Aug 2019

THE Australian Government has commissioned a report by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics that has concluded that 50 per cent of local new-vehicle sales will be made up of electric vehicles (EV) by 2035.


Despite the large uptick in popularity for EVs, the study still claims that local uptake will lag far behind other markets around the world, including Germany, Canada and the Netherlands, among others.


Currently, Australia’s take-up of EVs tracks at less than one per cent, however is expected to hit 10 per cent by 2026, up to 20 per cent before the end of the 2020s, 30 per cent by 2031 and 40 per cent by 2033, before tapering off to about 60 per cent by 2040.


Electric Vehicle Council (EVC) CEO Behyad Jafari said the results of the study helped clear up some confusion around EV take-up in Australia, despite the federal government’s lack of policy and incentives for EV ownership.


“There was a lot of misinformation in the media during the federal election about Australia's transition to electric vehicles, but what these new government figures show is, that even on a business-as-usual basis, 50 per cent of new vehicles sold domestically will be electric by 2035,” he said.


“The underlying factors driving a transition to electric are irresistible. The government's modelling shows Australia will get there eventually no matter what – the choice we face is whether we move ahead of the curve or lag behind.”


Interestingly, the report estimates that the percentage of overall EV sales in Australia will rise above the global average from around 2035 onwards.


The report describes the modelling of EV uptake across 22 countries around the world and uses a number of factors and estimates to come to its conclusions.


Factors such as battery price in dollars per kWh, the cost of purchase and running costs of EVs versus fossil fuel vehicles, the planned addition and removal of subsidies to determine the cost ratio of electric versus internal-combustion vehicles, and the predicted take-up of EVs in various countries.


For example, the model forecasts downturns in sales in countries such as the US and Belgium in coming years, as subsidies are planned to be cut in future.


The report claims that it is important for policy makers to understand the predicted speed of EV uptake in countries for reasons such as planning levels and timing of subsidy programs, the allotment of tax dollars for EV programs against infrastructure funding, and determining the demand of the electricity supply.


Mr Jafari said he would like to see Australia embrace EVs at a faster rate, in order to match the demand in other countries.


“If we're on already on the path to this destination why not motor there? If the Australian government recognised and supported the transition it would bolster opportunities for investors, advance the cleaning of our urban air, reduce our carbon emissions, and bolster the chances of a new Australian EV manufacturing sector,” he said.


“Globally there is some $US300 billion being invested in the EV sector – surely Australia should be getting a piece of the action.


“We already have a slew of globally innovative companies starting here, but they are swimming against the tide compared to their competitors in nations with more supportive transition policy.


“Australia has abundant natural advantages. For example, we extract the raw materials for EV batteries, so why not manufacture the batteries themselves?


“The government would not have to do much to put real wind in the sails of the Australian EV sector. As this report shows the destination for Australia is pre-determined, the choice is how much value and benefit we capture in getting there.”


Unsurprisingly, the report predicts Norway to lead the way in EV take-up, followed by Finland, Sweden and South Korea.

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