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Redarc investing in EV transition
Policy certainty required to get more Australian investment in EV technology: Redarc
9 Sep 2021
By MATT BROGAN
REDARC Electronics is a well-known Australian manufacturer, but less well known is how it is making significant inroads into the field electric mobility.
Over the past three years, the company has invested significantly in research and development of electronic components associated with electric vehicles, including high-capacity fast chargers in conjunction with overseas interests, military electronics, and even circuitry designed to support the South Australian Space Industry Centre.
While Redarc continues to invest as much as 15 per cent of its profits back into EV-related research and development, company CEO Anthony Kittel warns that Australia risks falling behind the rest of the world where electric mobility is concerned if government policy fails to keep pace.
He also cautioned that businesses were taking a wait-and-see approach could further delay the rollout of much needed e-mobility infrastructure as the shift to e-mobility nears.
Speaking to GoAuto via video link from Adelaide this week, Mr Kittel explained that although companies including Redarc were adapting to the e-mobility landscape and the opportunities it presents in a timely fashion, the pace of government regulatory change was frustratingly slow.
“E-mobility, which includes all things associated with electric mobility, is one of the top three strategies of our business. We are working on technologies that will support the industry as well as key power elements of electric vehicles, and obviously that requires a significant investment,” said Mr Kittel.
“The main issue, however, is that in Australia, at least, the EV industry is moving very slowly, and the take up of electric vehicles is exceedingly slow. Because of that, we’re not in a hurry to invest heavily in just one lane of electric mobility, and I don’t think we’re alone in that.”
Mr Kittel said he believed examples globally could serve as pointers for change to Australia’s lagging e-mobility policy. He cautioned that without prompt change, Australia risked placing behind the rest of the world where new vehicle technology was concerned, especially as many vehicle manufacturers announce timelines for the cessation of ICE powered models.
“I think global uptake shows where our electric vehicle future is headed. With government incentives around tax and capital costs, as is the case in countries like Norway, for example, you see how preferential treatment can make electric mobility work. We’re yet to see a lot of that in Australia,” he said.
“The thing is, we only have a short amount of time to sort this out. By the 2030 or 2033 the majority of vehicles produced will be electric, and I guess companies and consumers alike are keen to see just what the tax and incentive landscape will look like as we move toward that date.
“I also think we’ve seen enough confidence in international markets to say we’ve got an idea of how to move down this path. There will need to be regulatory framework changes put in place, but I think it’s somewhat inevitable.”
Mr Kittel warned that without urgent and drastic policy change aimed at supporting the uptake of EVs among consumers, many associated technology companies would be forced to turn their focus elsewhere.
“We’re not putting all our eggs in one basket. One of the key questions that has yet to be answered around electric mobility is, how will it be taxed?
“Will there be an equivalent to the fuel excise? Will there be an arrangement similar to that the New Zealand government is proposing of a per-kilometre tax? I think a lot of these creases need to be ironed out before companies and consumers are prepared to make substantial investments.
“Mass production of EVs is a reality we have to deal with. The way we tax and support that change is therefore critical, and from Redarc’s point of view also brings a great deal of opportunity.
“Once that’s defined, and when the parties involved learn how to recover that investment, there’ll be a rapid acceleration in not only take-up of electric vehicles, but also their technology. Really, I think it’s only a matter of time,” concluded Mr Kittel.
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