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Greens propose radical shake-up of auto industry

Helping hand: The Australian Greens policy calls for the removal of import tariffs, GST and stamp and registration duty on all new EVs, while it will also waive all registration fees for the first three years of EV ownership.

EVs at heart of Greens party plan to reduce, then eliminate combustion-engined cars

29 Mar 2019

THE Australian Greens party has released a comprehensive climate policy that commits to significant incentives and mandatory requirements for major car manufacturers to increase the take-up of electric vehicles as it pushes for a ban on the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars from 2030.
But the automotive industry has criticised the Greens’ proposal to introduce a 17 per cent “luxury fossil fuel car tax” for the next four years on all combustion-engined light vehicles costing more than $66,331 (see separate story).
The party says this new tax would pay for its range of measures designed to make electric vehicles more affordable, which include removing import tariffs, GST and stamp and registration duty on all new EVs, and waving all registration fees for the first three years of EV ownership.
Combined, these actions are expected to reduce the total cost of a new EV by at least 20 per cent, according to the Greens, which are banking on the Shorten-led Australian Labor Party winning the May federal election in order for it to have a bigger influence over government policy.
Not stopping there, the party calls for legislation requiring all major car companies to have an increasing proportion of their annual sales of light vehicles to have a zero-emissions powertrain, starting with two per cent by 2020, five per cent by 2021 and 10 per cent by 2022.
This policy, which would force the car-makers to submit tradeable credits equal in value to their EV target number for each year, is forecast to take some 200,000 combustion-engined cars off the road by the end of 2022 – and will hit those brands who do not submit sufficient credits “with a larger penalty”.
That said, the policy document also states that these credits could be traded between car companies which have more ambitious sales percentages (and therefore produce more credits) and those which do not sell enough EV models to meet their target.
In a further crackdown on the industry, the Greens propose to legislate for a long-anticipated mandatory vehicle emissions standard, set at 105 grams of CO2 per kilometre by 2022 – a figure the party says would “roughly match” the EU standards in place by 2021.
This figure is in line with federal Labor’s previously stated policy, but three years earlier than the ALP had targeted, while the Coalition government has not yet committed to a target or timeline – and, as reported exclusively by GoAuto, will not make its intentions clear until after the election in May. 
The government has since confirmed this week that no practical action will be taken on its EV strategy until mid-2020, and while industry is ready for change, GoAuto understands that the Greens’ target is far more stringent than those advocated by representative bodies.
This is obvious when the most recent data shows Australia’s average CO2 emissions for new light vehicles in 2017 were at 171.5g/km.
The Greens have stopped short of specifying a target for commercial vehicles – light commercials alone are currently at 221.2g/km, according to the latest data – but said it would design and implement a heavy vehicle efficiency standard and require Euro 6 standards “in all new cars and trucks immediately”.
In order to meet the heavy recharging requirements that would come with a rapid uptake of EVs, the Greens propose to establish a $150 million fund to provide grants for the installation of public EV charging infrastructure, with fast-charging stations prioritised. 
Under its plan, the federal government will make matched contributions of up to $45,000 per station to support the installation of more than 3000 charging stations across Australia. 
The longer-term goal to ban the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines from 2030 onwards follows similar commitments made by Denmark and the Netherlands, while Norway wants them out by 2025 and France and the United Kingdom are working on a 2040 deadline. 
The 2030 timeframe also matches the target year for Australia to be running on 100 per cent renewable energy, which is a core tenet of the Greens’ new climate policy.
“If we’re truly committed to meeting our Paris Agreement commitments and building towards net-zero emissions, we need to transform the way we transport people and goods,” the party said. 
“There is no time to waste. Unlike the Liberal and Labor parties, whose decade of dysfunctional government has failed to deliver a plan to reduce emissions, we are committed to repowering our economy through clean energy. 
“We understand that electric vehicles are better for our health, cheaper to refuel and maintain, and emit no pollution when powered by renewable energy. 
“That’s why, under our plan, there will be no petrol or diesel cars sold in Australia after 2030, tougher vehicle pollution standards will be legislated and the cost of electric vehicles will be significantly reduced so more people can buy them sooner.”

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