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Task force to pave the way for EVs into Australia

Switched on: The Australian motor industry has formed a task to plan for the arrival of electric vehicles such as the Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

Industry body formed to lobby governments on environmental vehicle issues

General News logo12 May 2009

A SIX-member car industry task force has been formed to help co-ordinate the introduction of electric vehicles on Australian roads.

The EV Task Force, consisting representatives of Mitsubishi, Nissan, Renault, Toyota, Holden and Honda, was formed at the first meeting of an industry Electric Vehicle Working Group in Melbourne last week.

Mitsubishi Australia will be represented by Ashley Sanders (the product engineer for i-MiEV), Nissan Australia by regional EV co-ordinator Michael Hayes and Renault Australia by director of quality services David Wynne, while the other three have yet to nominate their representatives.

Ensuring an effective roll-out of the necessary infrastructure required for the impending arrival of production plug-in EVs was predictably one of the top agenda items identified by the Electric Vehicle Working Group, along with the need to work closely with state and federal governments.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Andrew McKellar told GoAuto this week that the EV task force would meet for the first time later this month “to put together more detailed ongoing activities and work program”.

“The issues of cost of ownership are fundamental to the overall equation when you are bringing a new technology or new vehicle type or new powertrain into the market, so clearly that is an issue that needs to be part of the discussion,” said Mr McKellar.

80 center imageLeft: GM's plug-in Volt.

“There was an acknowledgement that there is a broad range of stakeholders that need to be engaged, including proponents that are looking at servicing different aspects of the market, including infrastructure provision, and I guess the cost-effective provision of infrastructure is a key issue here as well.

“The technical standards and so on are in train and don’t necessarily form an immediate focus of the working group, as those activities are obviously taking place already.

“First and foremost, what the group saw is that there is an important role in terms of government policy in this whole area (of environmental cars), and electric vehicles is an important part of the equation because you have product coming to market.” Mr McKellar said state and federal governments were at the top of the stakeholder pyramid and that the FCAI’s introduction of the EV Working Group was designed to ensure the industry was involved in policy issues such as the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, fuel excise, vehicle fleet environmental standards and even government purchasing directives.

“Many manufacturers have announced plans to release electric vehicles in the next few years and we must ensure that Australia is ready for this technology,” he said.

“There is a whole sequence of policy arrangements that will impact on the competitiveness for these types of vehicles coming into the market.

“We’re trying to achieve a level of co-ordination and co-operation across the industry to ensure that, where there are obstacles or impediments being encountered, we’re acting in a co-ordinated way to address those impediments and ensure that when brands want to bring a new product to market there aren’t going to be artificial barriers to that occurring.

“Beyond that, I think you need to fit what the industry is looking for into a broader strategic framework that addresses all approaches to enhanced environmental performance, which includes EVs, hybrids, clean diesel, alternative fuel and ultimately hydrogen and so on.”

Read more:

FCAI acts on EVs

EV power war sparked

Japanese makers add spark to electric buzz

Nissan lobbies for Australian electric car grid

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